South Africa: Shamila Batohi, the Woman With the Country On Her Shoulders

Photo: GCIS
Advocate Shamila Batohi after her appointment as the new head of the National Prosecuting Authority (file photo).

The new director of public prosecutions starts work on Friday and walks into one of the toughest and most politicised jobs in the country. Shamila Batohi has a justice-hungry country waiting for her to turn truth into prosecutions.

Appointed in late 2018, Shamila Batohi jetted back from her job this week as a senior legal adviser at The Hague to the International Criminal Court into an institution with "lots of shit", according to the colourful description of a senior official who spoke to Daily Maverick.

Two commissions of inquiry have heard evidence in the past two weeks of how senior office-bearers at the NPA allegedly took money to quash prosecutions and of how political considerations trumped justice. Giving testimony at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi alleged that confidential NPA documents related to a Special Investigating Unit investigation were given to the company by Dudu Myeni, the powerful sidekick to former President Jacob Zuma.

"She is coming into an institution that is utterly dysfunctional and riven by division; (its leaders) have done the bidding of those in power. The network of corruption required that the key decision-makers in the NPA be controlled. There...

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