Pretoria - National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi has urged court officials, particularly prosecutors, to have empathy and humility when dealing with the millions of South Africans seeking recourse in the courts.
"We must be a professional organisation. What does professionalism mean? It is not just wearing a nice suit, standing in the court and prosecuting a case. It is about how we behave everyday, not just in court. It's about how we treat our colleagues with respect. How we speak to people we engage with, whether they are our partners in fighting crime, the police, or the victims of crime," Batohi told a cohort of recruits taking part in the the NPA’s annual training programme of aspirant prosecutors.
"You treat them with humility. You treat them kindly. Many of you are coming from the courts environment. Those people that line our courts, the [court] passages, they are not there because they want to be there. They are there because they have been injured and they have been hurt. They see us as trying to bring some measure of justice into their lives. Be kind and humble. We are humble civil servants."
Batohi told the aspirant prosecutors that "there is no space for arrogance". She charged the recruits to ensure that citizens who turn to courts get the service they seek.
The prosecutions boss warned the recruits that they would lose their jobs if they succumb to the temptation of corruption, in the face of certain individuals in society bent on paying bribes.