Batohi, Lamola called to answer questions in Parliament about ID head Cronje's resignation

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National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi with Hermione Cronje.
National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi with Hermione Cronje.
Gallo Images, Phill Magakoe
  • Shamila Batohi said Hermione Cronje had asked to vacate her office, three years before her term was due to end. 
  • Batohi will recommend to Cyril Ramaphosa that he accept Cronje's resignation, which her spokesperson told News24 had been discussed for "several months". 
  • Parliament wants assurances that Cronje's March 2022 exit from office won't lead to disruption. 

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi and Justice Minister Ronald Lamola have been called to appear before Parliament on Wednesday – to answer questions about why Investigating Directorate (ID) head Hermione Cronje asked to step down. 

"We want them to take us into their confidence as to what measures they are putting in place to ensure that there are no disruptions, and what was the reason for her [Cronje] leaving," chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services Bulelani Magwanishe told News24 on Friday. 

He said the portfolio committee wanted to hear from Batohi and Lamola what the impact on Cronje leaving would be on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), which has come under increasing fire over its slow pace in putting those accused of serious corruption on trial. 

READ | Investigating Directorate head Hermoine Cronje to vacate office

Magwanishe added that Batohi would also face questions about why the NPA had missed its own deadline to make a decision on whether it would charge anyone in relation to the 1985 murders of the Cradock 4, at the hands of apartheid police. 

Batohi is scheduled to hold a press conference on Monday, only the third time she has done so during her term in office, and will undoubtedly face multiple questions about what had motivated Cronje's exit.  

In an email to staff, she said: "Advocate Cronje has indicated the reasons for her decision and I fully understand."

At this point, it remains unclear whether Cronje will attend that press conference.

She has not yet commented publicly on the reasons for her resignation, which has yet to be accepted by President Cyril Ramaphosa.  

In response to queries from News24, NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga stressed that Cronje's departure from the prosecuting authority – prior to her term coming to an end – should not be viewed as a "crisis" for the prosecuting authority.

That view was echoed by Batohi, in her statement to NPA staff. "Our priority is to ensure continuity for the ID. Deputy [National Director of Public Prosecutions], advocate Rabaji-Rasethaba, will support advocate Cronje in this transition period, during which time the new head will be recruited," she said.

Cronje was the first person to lead the ID, which was established by Ramaphosa in April 2019, "as an instrument in the fight against corruption".

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