South Africa: Shamila Batohi's Path to Success Is Strewn With Improvised Explosive Devices


It is clear from Shamila Batohi's attitude and her demeanour that the fight is on. She is going to be careful, aware of her position and aware of the importance of what is happening around her.

It must be strange to be South Africa's National Director of Public Prosecutions. Strange to know that no one in this position has ever finished their once-off non-renewable term. Strange to feel the weight of public expectation, to have everyone ask you, at every turn: when? When will you act, arrest criminals, charge them with their obvious crimes? When will there be prosecutions of those we all know committed wrongdoing, stole and robbed South Africa blind for so long?

On the afternoon of Tuesday 18 November, NPA head Shamila Batohi held her first engagement with the media.

To walk through the halls of the NPA is to be reminded of several incidents in its past.

There was the day in 2009 when the-then acting NPA head, advocate Mokotedi Mpshe, announced that he was withdrawing corruption charges against Jacob Zuma. This was just days before the elections. The room was packed with journalists and Mpshe was obviously under huge pressure. It was also obvious that...

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