Small steps for Batohi at the NPA, but they are significant
As is her wont, she was open and self-effacing, honest enough to acknowledge a South African public that is tired of one set of rules for the connected and another for the rest and a concomitant lack of accountability for apparent wrongdoing.
The fact that the Zondo Commission into State Capture is providing reams of prima facie evidence of just that, without a single arrest to date, merely adds to the sense of public expectation, while former president Jacob Zuma’s use of his much vaunted “Stalingrad defence” to thwart legal processes - and when that doesn’t work, to suddenly be taken ill - merely ratchets up the pressure on Batohi and her team.
By her own admission, the scope of her work is terrifying in its vastness, matched only by the systematic emasculation of the department.
And yet, less than 24 hours after her press conference, officers from the Hawks were swooping on an array of suspects, including former Cabinet minister Bongani Bongo, on a variety of different charges; some to do with corruption in tender processes, or in Bongo’s case, alleged bribery.
In the broader scale of events, these are minor arrests, but taken in the broader context, they are very significant indeed.
By her actions, both at her press conference and then through the arrests, Batohi has proved she does understand the need to win the day in both the court of law and the court of public opinion - but she dare not win the latter only to have the case thrown out.
There will be a more than a whiff of unease this weekend among those who might previously have thought themselves untouchable because of it.