New NDPP Batohi fights govt over decent salaries for senior prosecutors

2019-02-06 16:21
Advocate Shamila Batohi

Advocate Shamila Batohi (The Presidency)

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After fighting for salary increases and benefits for more than 10 years, deputy directors of public prosecutions seem to have found an ally in their new boss and National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Shamila Batohi.

Some reportedly earn significantly less than their subordinates.

Batohi took over the reins at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on February 1.

According to The Citizen, Batohi sent a letter to the state attorney on Tuesday stating that her office would no longer oppose an application by the Public Servants' Association aimed at forcing the NPA to improve the salaries of deputy directors of public prosecutions and chief prosecutors.

In doing so, Batohi went against a decision of Justice Minister Michael Masutha not to fight further against the salary and benefits increase, IOL reported.

This came as a "surprise" to the advocate who represented the government and the NPA.

READ: 10 top priorities in new NDPP Shamila Batohi's inbox

He told Pretoria News that Batohi called him on Tuesday morning to tell him her office was no longer opposing the application.

But the newspaper reported he was in a difficult position as Masutha and the director general, whom he also represented, indicated that they were definitely still opposing and obtained a court order to postpone the application, stating they needed time to consult with Batohi to persuade her not to withdraw her opposition so that they may present a "united front".

The postponement was granted by Judge Wendy Hughes, who said in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that Batohi had seemingly not consulted the minister or director general.

"This resulted in a conflict of interest as the minister and director general, who relied on opposing papers filed by the NPA and had the same legal representative, seemed set to forge ahead with their opposition," according to The Citizen.

Although the increases in remuneration were approved in 2014 after a lengthy battle by the State's senior legal professionals, former head of the NPA Shaun Abrahams refused that it be implemented, IOL reported.

The postponement will allow Batohi to meet with the minister and director general as the case "had huge implications for the State," Pretoria News reported.

Read more on:    npa  |  michael masutha  |  shamila batohi
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