At a media briefing, South Africa’s new National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi acknowledged the problems that she inherited as the new boss of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and outlined what she planned to do to restore its credibility.
She also introduced Advocate Hermoine Cronje, head of the NPA’s newly formed state capture directorate.
“I want to assure you that working with her in the past, I have absolute confidence she has the temperament and resolve” for the job, Batohi said of Cronje.
“She is passionate, fiercely resolute, and if anyone can do the job she can,” she continued.
Batohi highlighted that herself, Cronje and the NPA were serious about tackling corruption and said they would be going after those who had weakened and compromised the criminal justice system.
Batohi said she had to address what she described as a “leadership crisis” at the NPA upon assuming her new position and acknowledged the new for fresh leadership at the entity.
Changes to its leadership had not occurred as quickly as she had hoped, she added.
Batohi said she underestimated the “depth and extent” of the challenges she would face in trying to “revitalise the NPS, both internally and externally”.
The new NDPP said she had been “listening, understanding, and engaging” at various levels in a bid to address the challenges she faced as new NPA head.
Aside from attempting to address the leadership crisis, Batohi said she had been assessing high profile cases at the NPA and reviewing them to ascertain whether or not she should prosecute.
She also highlighted what she said was a lack of budget for the NPA, describing this as a “serious problem”.
According to Batohi, there has been no recruitment at the prosecuting authority since 2016, which she added had had an effect on morale.
“We’ll be unable to deliver the service people expect if this situation persists,” Batohi said.
Those in attendance at the briefing alongside Batohi and Cronje included Hawks boss Godfrey Lebeya and national police commissioner Khehla Sithole.
Compiled by Daniel Friedman / The Citizen