Former colleagues in Pietermaritzburg sing Batohi’s praises

2018-12-05 16:10

The country’s new National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Shamila Batohi, has made history yet again.

Yesterday she became the first woman of colour to be appointed to the position since the dawn of democracy.

She was also the first woman of colour to be appointed as KZN’s Director of Public Prosecutions, a post she left in 2009 to become a senior legal adviser to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.

As news spread of her latest feat, most of her former colleagues in Pietermaritzburg were singing her praises.

No doubt an ardent fan, an advocate who worked with her previously, chanted her name when interviewed.

“Not only is she a dynamic leader but she has the international and national experience that the position requires,” she boasted.

The advocate said the fact Batohi had spent so long out of the country was a positive factor.

“She is able to see things with fresh eyes to deal with the problems in the NPA. She is a leader that the organisation has been lacking,” she said.

It was during Batohi’s stint in KZN that black people were promoted to management positions, added the advocate.

Another of Batohi’s supporters said “this is the best thing that could happen to the NPA”. He li-kened her to an “iron lady”, saying she will not tolerate nonsense”.

“She has the determination and integrity to ensure the organisation performs to its full capacity.”

Retired Judge Thumba Pillay posted on his Facebook Page, “More than 20 years ago Advocate Batohi prosecuted before me in the high court. I found her to be thorough, hugely dedicated and tenacious.

“She is an excellent choice and I am quite certain that she will carry out the enormous task before her with courage, conviction and without fear or favour.

“My sincere congratulations go out to her. At a time when the institution has lost all credibility, she needs all the support she can get to restore the credibility of this all important institution in a functioning democracy.”

MP Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, the DA’s shadow minister of justice, said in a statement that the party expects to see Batohi tackle state capture head-on, ensure that former president Jacob Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution is vigorously opposed, and to take urgent steps to secure the extradition of members of the Gupta family to face justice in South Africa.

She said Batohi has a “momentous task” ahead of her. The NPA has been systematically “eviscerated under successive NDPPs”, added Breytenbach.

Batohi’s illustrious career includes being appointed to a high-level team by Nelson Mandela in 1995 to investigate apartheid-era hit squad activities.

She was also the lead prosecutor on the King commission of inquiry into match-fixing involving former Proteas captain Hansie Cronje.

Batohi completed her schooling at Burnwood Secondary in Clare Estate, studied at the then University of Durban Westville, and completed her postgraduate degree at the then University of Natal, Durban. She started her career in private practice and followed that with a 15-year stint as a public prosecutor.

Batohi will start work in February next year after serving her notice in her current job.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  npa

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