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'Prosecution skills have been hollowed out'- Batohi laments NPA’s budget

Shamila Batohi says the authority would like to use the skills built up in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture– but she says the NPA lacks the budget to pay for them.

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

CAPE TOWN – National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shamila Batohi said that the authority would like to use the skills built up in the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture but she said that the NPA lacked the budget to pay for them.

Batohi told Parliament’s Justice committee on Wednesday that the NPA and the Hawks had been stripped of the ability to investigate highly complex corruption cases and that she wanted to make use of the expertise developed by the Zondo Commission.

The state capture inquiry has so far cost taxpayers R700 million since it began its work two years ago. Batohi asked Members Parliament (MPs) to imagine what it would cost law enforcement and the NPA to properly investigate the cases that would come their way from the Zondo and other commissions of inquiry.

Batohi said that the NPA was expecting an “avalanche of work” but she’s put a question mark over whether or not law enforcement agencies and the prosecuting authority would have the means to comprehensively deal with it.

“Investigation and prosecution skills have been hollowed out in recent times. The DPCI (Hawks), which should be the key feeder into the [Investigative Directorate] to deal with this, also has a serious lack of skills in terms of the ability to investigate highly complex corruption cases."

Batohi said that she found that in the NPA, complicated corruption matters were not really being prosecuted. Apart from one or two cases. For that reason, she’s been in talks with the Zondo Commission on taking over its investigative capabilities, including its IT systems.

"We would want to be able to utilise those skills in the NPA. But certainly, we will not be able to pay both investigators and legal counsel, or those who would come across as prosecutors in the NPA – for various reasons, and one is there is no budget for it."

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