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Batohi warns NPA could flounder if it doesn't get support urgently

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi told Parliament’s justice committee the NPA had a high vacancy rate, while the morale of staff is low.

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

CAPE TOWN - National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi said that if the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) did not get urgent support, it would find it “extremely difficult” to meet the demands placed on it.

Batohi is working to restore the organisation’s credibility and heal internal divisions after being appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa. She took up the reins in February and on Tuesday made her first ever presentation to Parliament’s justice committee.

Batohi told the committee the NPA had a high vacancy rate, while the morale of staff is low.

A blunt message for MPs from NPA head Shamila Batohi: "The bottom line is, if the NPA does not get support urgently, however, we will find it extremely difficult to meet the demands."

The NPA faces a R27 million shortfall in the current year on staff salaries, even though a freeze on recruitment means it has lost 650 prosecutors. Its operating budget is short by R94m, meaning it won’t be able to pay service providers.

The NPA also needs other support. Batohi said that she expected her office to come under intense attack from various quarters once the NPA starts making headway.

"We certainly will need a lot of support when those kind of attacks come."

Has she experienced any political pressure to date?

"No – absolutely none. And I hope that continues for the rest of my term."

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