The panel on appointing a new NPA head has sent five recommendations to President Cyril Ramaphosa after an exhaustive interview process. The future of the beleaguered institution and the criminal justice system is now in his hands.
The panel, comprised of leaders of the legal fraternity and Chapter Nine institutions, recommended Ramaphosa choose from either Shamila Batohi, Siyabulela Mapoma, Simphiwe Mlotshwa, Rodney de Kock and Andrea Johnson, all advocates.
The Constitutional Court gave Ramaphosa 90 days from 13 August to appoint a new NDPP after it ruled both former NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana’s resignation and his successor Shaun Abrahams’s appointment were unlawful.
The Sunday Times reported it had reliably been told Ramaphosa will likely appoint Batohi, a former KwaZulu-Natal head of prosecutions who has worked as a legal adviser at the International Criminal Court in The Hague since 2009.
The NDPP interviews focused on candidates’ independence from political interference, experience and integrity, and how they understood the challenges at the NPA, which has never seen an NDPP finish a full term, and how they would tackle them.
Batohi’s experience and directness appeared to make her a favourite among panelists.
“The house is on fire,” she said of the NPA.
She was the chief prosecutor at the Edwin King Commission of Inquiry into match-fixing in cricket and was part of an investigation into apartheid hit squads. During her interview on Friday, Batohi emphasised the role of public prosecutors as “the voice of the victims in court”, and the need to start improving the NPA’s public credibility, which has been sacrificed by political interference and factionalism among its national leaders.
It is sad that the preferred choice, Prof. Thuli Madonsela is not part of the list. Many South Africans how how shown displeasure over the candidates.