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Is NDPP Shamila Batohi afraid to hold Ramaphosa accountable for Farmgate?

Published Jun 21, 2022

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By Ray Solomons

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THE National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi has a wonderful reputation but has been given a poisoned chalice. Batohi has had to withstand repeated requests from powerful political figures to get involved in the ANC factional politics.

One can only imagine the pressure she could possibly be under, allegedly from the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, and the Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, to charge people that are their political enemies or to protect those that are their political friends - those are the whispers in the political corridors of the ANC.

In politics, there are no permanent enemies or friends, so now Batohi is faced with the greatest test of her life.

The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, who campaigned on a ticket of anti-corruption and who lured the likes of Batohi and other good people from law enforcement authorities, has proven to be nothing short of being a con artist.

While during the day, he speaks the language of anti-corruption, during the night, he is counting his dollars. On land, he speaks about job creation, in the air, he is counting his dollars.

When he is in Parliament, he speaks about respecting the rule of law, but in his lounge, he is an accessory to kidnapping and torturing those who dared to steal from him.

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But for Batohi the appetizer was charging ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule – and rightfully so – except she had the wrong case, she should have gone for something more concrete.

Her cherry on top is to charge the Guptas and it’s about time, that is if they eventually arrive. I can’t wait for Atul and Rajesh Gupta and Ramaphosa to have conversations in adjacent cells. One can only imagine what that conversation would be about.

Batohi, before she deals with all those who were implicated in Justice Raymond Zondo’s State Capture Commission of Inquiry, has to deal with Ramaphosa. That is the buffalo in the room that will not disappear.

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Of course, Ramaphosa’s praise singers and all of those whose life now depends on Ramaphosa staying in power will do everything possible not to prosecute the president.

The effervescent Zak Yacoob, who long ago got rid of his independence to be a praise singer for the ill deeds of those in power, started defending the indefensible and even went on national television to say it is not a crime not to report a crime.

Batohi needs to stand up and do the right thing, failing which, she will lose the credibility, the respect and the career that she has built up in her lifetime. No South African will ever respect her office if she does not prosecute the president.

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Fighting corruption is a must and is everybody's duty, but when corruption is at the head of an institution and government, then it becomes imperative. The president must be charged criminally for having done what he did, and Batohi must not be afraid as history will be on her side.

Batohi has the opportunity to get rid of the spectre of political suicide that was the life of her predecessors so that she can be forever known for doing the unthinkable, which is to hold a sitting President to account for his alleged crimes.

The President must account in the criminal court, but Batohi has to account in the court of public opinion. That is what matters the most.

* The views expressed by the writer are not necessarily those of Independent Media

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