The appointment of advocate Shamila Batohi as the new National Director for Public Prosecutions (NDPP) has been widely welcomed.
The ANC applauded the appointment, which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Tuesday afternoon.
“We have no doubt that this appointment heralds a new era in efforts to strengthen the criminal justice system characterised by a robust and incorruptible prosecution authority,” the party said in a statement on Tuesday.
The party said it believes Batohi’s appointment reflects how far the country has come in advancing women’s empowerment.
“This is an achievement we must celebrate as a nation and must equally serve as a source of inspiration not only for young women and girls, but for all citizens.
We call on the incoming NDPP to work tirelessly in building a prosecuting authority that becomes a standard bearer of a criminal justice system that delivers on the constitutional promise that all citizens are equal before the law. Access to justice and fair treatment of the poor remain intractable challenges facing our criminal justice system.”
The Democratic Alliance congratulated Batohi on her new position but said it expects the new NDPP to tackle state capture head-on as one of her first priorities.
DA wants Ramaphosa donation probed
The party also listed other issues for Batohi to tackle when she starts next year. These include re-instituting charges against the accused in the Estina dairy matter, ensuring that former president Jacob 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 for them 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 President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign fund is investigated and, if necessary, prosecuted without fear or favour,” said the DA’s Glynnis Breytenbach.
“South Africa has waited years for an independent, brave chief prosecutor who stands unequivocally for justice,” said Breytenbach
The Economic Freedom Fighters wished Batohi well and said it believed her appointment would bring some degree of stability and dependability to the country’s criminal justice system.
“The EFF will closely monitor all prosecutorial decisions of the NDPP, because for the longest time, cases opened against high-profile politicians and huge capitalist corporations were not followed by thorough prosecutions.
“The EFF advises the NDPP to act with maximum impartiality, openness, and adherence to the laws that govern South Africa, because narrow political interests will try to manipulate the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA).”
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse wished Batohi the best of luck in “taking this battered but crucial institution forward, in restoring the confidence of both its staff and the public in the NPA, in overcoming the factionalism in the NPA and in reinstating the ethic of targeting criminals rather than whistleblowers”.
The Law Society of South Africa also weighed in.
“We are confident that Ms Batohi has the skill, conscientiousness, integrity and independence necessary to tackle the challenge of leading our prosecutorial services, and to ensure a stable directorate that serves the public of South Africa professionally, effectively and fairly, and provides a proud mirror of our criminal justice system to the outside world,” spokesperson Barbara Whittle said.
The General Council of the Bar said in a statement that it welcomed the President’s appointment and wished Batohi well, while the Public Servants Association called on the new NDPP to speed up the finalisation of the political cases that have been hanging on for years.
It also pointed that funding was needed for key posts in Batohi’s department.
“The PSA is aware that senior and junior staff members have been leaving the Department, some even for lower-paying jobs owing to the unsatisfactory working environment and lack of proper leadership. A lack of funding will be as good as setting up the new NDPP up for failure,” said PSA Acting General Manager, Tahir Maepa. — News 24