Malema has no trust in new NPA head Shamila Batohi

The EFF leader claimes Advocate Shamila Batohi is too close to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

EFF leader Julius Malema at the Giant Stadium in Soshanguve on 2 February 2019 for the launch of the party's election manifesto. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has slammed the appointment of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Advocate Shamila Batohi.

Addressing thousands of party supporters on Saturday at Giant Stadium in Soshanguve, Tshwane, where the EFF launched its election manifesto, Malema claimed that Batohi was too close to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Batohi started in the position of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) on Friday.

“I have no trust in the new NPA head. She is very close to Pravin Gordhan. She’s controlled by a group that is very close to Pravin Gordhan… I don’t think they were helping anything there. They were appointing her to protect the crimes of Pravin Gordhan and the cabal that is aligned with Pravin Gordhan and Cyril Ramaphosa,” Malema said.

The EFF leader’s comments are somewhat different to his statement during a media briefing in Parliament in December 2018, where he wished Batohi well in her new position and thanked President Cyril Ramaphosa for appointing the first women to lead the NPA.

“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,” Malema said at the time. “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].”

Batohi was appointed NDPP by Ramaphosa in December last year following an interview process by panel, led by Energy Minister Jeff Radebe. The interviews for the position of the NDPP was televised live last year. There were five candidates who were shortlisted for the position.

On Friday, Batohi started her 10-year term as the NDPP and vowed to put justice first, saying she is starting her new job at a time of crisis for the rule of law in South Africa. She said on Friday during her inaugural press conference that the independence of her organisation will be prioritised.

“I feel fairly confident that will not happen. But who knows what will happen in the future. If it does for any reason then I will fiercely defend it,” Batohi said.

READ: EFF's 2019 election manifesto

2019 EFF Manifesto by on Scribd