New NPA boss Shamila Batohi urged to withstand political pressure

Batohi is the first female to head the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) which is one of the toughest positions in the country.

FILE: New NDPP Shamila Batohi at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 4 December 2018. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Newly-appointed prosecutions boss Shamila Batohi has been urged to withstand political pressure and improve staff morale to make sure that she stays in office for longer than her predecessor, Shaun Abrahams.

Batohi is the first female to head the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) which is one of the toughest positions in the country.

She was appointed in 2018 to succeed Abrahams, whose tenure was cut short after a Constitutional Court ruling that his appointment was invalid.

Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution executive secretary Lawson Naidoo says: “She needs to demonstrate the strength of character to withstand whatever political pressure that she may come under. Inevitably, she will at some point during her tenure. It may not immediately be at the outset, with the new wave political will to support the independence of the prosecuting authority.”

Meanwhile, Paul Hoffman, a senior counsel and the driving force behind the Institute for Accountability, says it will take years for the NPA to restore its reputation.

“So, while everybody wishes Ms Batohi well in her new job, she’s going to struggle to get the NPA to function as it should unless the legislature and the executives help her by the work related to corruption out of the NPA and the Hawks.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)