Introducing Shamila Batohi: The country's first female NPA boss

2018-12-04 14:59
Shamila Batohi. (Photo by Gallo Images, Alaister Russell)

Shamila Batohi. (Photo by Gallo Images, Alaister Russell)

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Shamila Batohi as the new National Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ramaphosa made the announcement at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Tuesday afternoon.

LIVE: Ramaphosa announces new NPA boss

Ramaphosa said in appointing a new NDPP, "we are addressing the state of dysfunctionality and deficiencies in the NPA that were identified by the court". 

He said the NDPP occupies a vital position in South African democracy, adding that the position makes an essential contribution to upholding the rule of law. 

"The NDPP must ensure that the National Prosecuting Authority exercises its functions without fear, favour or prejudice and should not be beholden to any vested interests, whether in politics, in business or elsewhere," he said. 

Ramaphosa also said the NDPP needs to be able to take decisions independently and impartially.

Following the announcement Batohi took to the podium to thank Ramaphosa for having confidence in her. 

She said her appointment was a historic moment for women. 

Batohi said the President recognised the role of women in the pursuit of equality, justice and fair society. 

"Today, your NDPP stands with you and together we stand for justice and the nation," she said. 

House on fire

During her interview, Batohi described the office of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as a "house on fire".

She also described the kind of leader that she believed should head up the NPA. She told the panel that she believes that one of the measures of the NPA should be how much confidence the people of South Africa have in a national director.

She also acknowledged that when one becomes a manager it is a "terrifying prospect" but being a manager meant that one needs to "inspire people".

Batohi has been a senior legal adviser to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court since 2009.

She was the first woman to be appointed as a director of public prosecutions when she took up the job in 2009 in KwaZulu-Natal. She will now be the country's first female NPA boss. 

Batohi is also known for leading the prosecution of disgraced Proteas cricket captain Hansie Cronje at the King commission of inquiry.

Ramaphosa announced she will take up the reigns in February 2019. 


Tuesday's announcement follows the consideration of five nominees shortlisted by an advisory panel chaired by Energy Minister Jeff Radebe.

The other nominees were advocates Siyabulela Mapoma, Simphiwe Mlotshwa, Rodney de Kock, and Andrea Johnson.

They were selected from 11 candidates who were interviewed - with media present - at the Union Buildings between November 14 and November 16. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa was given 90 days from August 13 to appoint a new NDPP following the exit of then NDPP Shaun Abrahams.

The Constitutional Court declared Abrahams' appointment unconstitutional.

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