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President calls on Batohi to act with integrity

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All prosecutors would enjoy her full support, as long as they also discharged their jobs with integrity

SHAMILA BATOHI after being named by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings as the new head of the National Prosecuting Authority. Picture: Jacques Naude African News Agency(ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the new National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shamila Batohi, to act with integrity as she takes over the troubled National Prosecuting Authority.

Ramaphosa was announcing Batohi as the successful candidate for the post following a nomination process which saw five candidates being shortlisted for the post.

The top job at the troubled NPA has seen its previous incumbents resigning or being removed before their terms ended due to political interference which has led to internal divisions and instability.

Ramaphosa expressed confidence in Batohi, saying she possessed all the attributes of a capable NDPP.

He called on Batohi to act with integrity and without fear or favour as she led and addressed the state of dysfunctionality and deficiencies in the NPA

“At this moment in our history, as we address matters that South Africans are most concerned about – such as state capture, corruption and widespread crime – our country needs a National Prosecuting Authority that is above reproach in the performance of its mandate and that enjoys the confidence of the public,” Ramaphosa said.

Batohi – currently a senior legal advisor to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court at the Hague since 2009 – said she was capable of turning the prosecuting authority around.

“Enough has been said elsewhere on crises and divisions within the NPA. Suffice to be said here that those elements within and without, who insist of frustrating the ends of justice and ultimately the nation, will not be tolerated,” Batohi said.

She said all prosecutors would enjoy her full support, as long as they also discharged their jobs with integrity.

A former director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal who has risen through the ranks of the NPA from a junior prosecutor position when she started in 1986 – Batohi is the first woman to become NDPP.

Casac executive secretary, Lawson Naidoo, said Batohi was a suitably qualified person for the job as she was experienced and a career prosecutor.

“We hope she will be given the space she needs to turn the institution around and address the many challenges facing it. We are confident that she will restore public confidence,” Naidoo said.

Police union Popcru has also welcomed Batohi’s appointment saying it hoped it would put to the end what it called the malicious removal of heads of the country’s law enforcement agencies by those in political office.

“The task that lies ahead for the new NDPP head is near insurmountable as there needs to urgently be a change in public perception because the country’s capability to fight organised crime has been decimated by years of political infighting, factionalism and blatant corruption,” spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said.

Batohi starts her job as NDPP in February next year.

– Staff Writer