Batohi: Senior appointments at NPA will support efforts to restore public confidence and trust

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi with Hermione Cronje. (Gallo Images, Phill Magakoe)
National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi with Hermione Cronje. (Gallo Images, Phill Magakoe)
  • NPA boss Shamila Batohi says the appointment of senior advocates as deputy national directors of public prosecutions will bring vital stability and support her 
  • More senior appointments will be made in due course 
  • Batohi says the appointments of the advocates bring needed impetus to the NPA's work

Advocate Shamila Batohi has welcomed the appointments of deputy national directors of public prosecutions (DNDPP), saying they would bring "vital stability" and support for her as she leads the National Prosecuting Authority. 

Advocates Ouma Rabaji-Rasethaba and Rodney de Kock have been appointed as the new DNDPPs with effect from 1 June. 

Rabaji-Rasethaba has been appointed deputy national director of public prosecutions: Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), while De Kock will focus on the National Prosecutions Service. 

In an internal communication, National Director of Public Prosecutions Batohi told staff: "The appointment of these highly skilled and competent leaders into the senior echelons, as part of the revitalised top management structure at head office, will support our efforts to restore public confidence and trust in the NPA."

READ | Ramaphosa makes senior appointments at NPA

Batohi also issued a statement on Monday that the appointments marked an important step in the new trajectory of the organisation.

"They will bring vital stability and support to the NDPP as she leads the NPA with a permanently appointed team at the highest level of the organisation. 

"This adds much needed impetus to the NPA's work to become a courageous and forward-looking institution, with the ability to address the serious challenges facing South Africa."  

She said more senior appointments would be made in due course. 

This includes the appointment of the fourth deputy national director of public prosecutions responsible for strategy, operations and compliance, she said.

Rabaji-Rasethaba and de Kock

Who exactly are Ouma Rabaji-Rasethaba and Rodney de Kock?

According to the statement issued by the Presidency, Rabaji-Rasethaba, has 30 years' experience. She was admitted as an attorney in 1990 and as an advocate six years later.

She holds a BProc (University of Limpopo), LLB (University of Witwatersrand), Diploma in Company Law (University of Witwatersrand) and LLM (University of Pretoria).

Rabaji-Rasethaba is a governance and risk expert, having worked in the corporate sector for 10 years. She previously served as special director of the AFU and also served as Gauteng Consumer Affairs judge.  

In a statement on Monday, Batohi said: "Assert forfeiture and recovery is a key part of any effective response against rampant corruption, and crucial in making a difference to the lives of ordinary South Africans." 

Fair-minded and independent

In November 2018, De Kock tried his luck by interviewing for the NDPP position, which is now held by Batohi.  

During his interview, De Kock spoke about leading by example and the importance of the NPA and its values.

"Professionalism is something very close to my heart, it's how we go around doing our business," De Kock said at the time. 

"My approach is that all those people we lead in our institution, we lead as a collective. I empower everybody, so when I'm not there, anyone can step onto the bridge."

De Kock has been acting deputy national director of public prosecutions since January this year. He previously served as director of public prosecutions in the Western Cape, a position which he held from 1 November 2003. 

News24’s Mandy Wiener previously reported that advocates who have worked with De Kock describe him as "fair-minded" and "independent".

She said, while he’s lauded as a very capable manager, he is not known for his litigation skills and is said to rely heavily on Zuma prosecutor advocate Billy Downer for guidance in complex legal matters.

De Kock negotiated the plea bargains with the killers in the high profile Shrien Dewani case and he also drove the extradition of the honeymoon murder accused. 

Batohi said De Kock's appointment would "strengthen the NPA's leadership and response at national level".

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