The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken note of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of Advocate Shamila Batohi as the new National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).
The DA expects to see the new NDPP tackle state capture head-on as one of her first priorities. This means, among other things, reinstituting charges against the accused in the Estina dairy matter, ensuring that former president Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution is vigorously opposed, and taking urgent steps to secure the extradition of members of the Gupta family in order to face justice in South Africa.
Tackling state capture head-on also means making sure that the donation from controversial Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson, to the President’s campaign fund, is investigated and if necessary prosecuted without fear or favour
Less glamorous but of equal importance is the hard work that will be required to get the NPA back up and running. This involves increasing prosecutors’ court time, improving conviction rates, filling vacancies, and appointing men and women with the necessary independence, insight and single-minded fortitude into senior management positions. Only if the NPA is led with integrity will it be capable of attracting quality prosecutors and aspirant prosecutors.
Batohi has a momentous task ahead of her. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been systematically eviscerated under successive NDPPs, permanent as well as acting, and is currently a shadow of its former self. It will take years to restore what was lost under politically captured individuals such as Menzi Simelane, Nomgcobo Jiba and Shaun Abrahams.