Former KwaZulu-Natal top prosecutor Shamila Batohi has been the frontrunner in the run for the appointment of national director of public prosecutions.
A panel, which was was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa and led by Minister Jeff Radebe, interviewed 11 candidates and recommended five of them to be considered for the position.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been without a permanent head since the Constitutional Court set aside the appointment of Shaun Abrahams in August.
Five names were then forwarded to the president to make the final decision.
Those who made the recommendation for the post at National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) top job were Adv Shamila Batohi, Adv Siyabulela Mapoma, Adv Simphiwe Mlotshwa, Adv Rodney de Kock, and Adv Andrea Johnson.
- Siyabulela Mapoma: He is a former member of the Scorpions, the elite investigative agency replaced by the Hawks. He has worked as a prosecutor, a magistrate and an advocate in the corporate sector and is on the Bisho Bar.
- Simphiwe Mlotshwa: He is a former acting director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal who was removed when he refused to prosecute former KZN Hawks head Johan Booysen allegedly under pressure.
- Rodney de Kock: He is the current Western Cape DPP known for attaining plea bargains from the murderers in the “honeymoon murder” case involving British businessman Shrien Dewani.
- Shamila Batohi: She was legal adviser to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court from 2009 until she resigned recently. She also led the prosecution of Proteas captain Hansie Cronje at the King Commission.
- Andrea Johnson: She is the prosecutor who worked with Gerrie Nel in the Oscar Pistorious murder trial and was in the team that convicted Jackie Selebi in 2010.
President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.
Why Batohi was the best candidate?
She led the prosecution of Proteas captain Hansie Cronje at the King Commission, and ‘brought innovation to what is lacking in the criminal justice system’.
The former director of public prosecutions (DPP) in KwaZulu-Natal has also served as senior legal adviser to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court since 2009. In 1995, she was in a high-level team appointed by Nelson Mandela to investigate apartheid-era hit squad activities.
According to Corruption Watch, Batohi has an illustrious pedigree, barring a minor incident. A R1 250 speeding fine against her was withdrawn when she was the KZN DPP. This was, however, attributed to an administrative error.
Du Plessis said Batohi showed a level of innovation and maturity the post required in the post-Zuma era.
“She demonstrated experience and maturity that the others can’t compete with,” senior ISS researcher Anton du Plessis.
“She has an understanding of the gravity of the job because of her experience with high-profile cases. And she also brought a level of innovation and inspiration that stood out in her interpretation of what is lacking in the criminal justice system, and how she would deal with corruption and coming up with special directorates.
“She clearly possesses the kind of innovativeness that is needed now in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and she is clearly saying that what has been done and has not worked for 20 years cannot continue to be done.”