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NPA boss Shamila Batohi says law enforcement will not be drawn into political battles

National Prosecuting Authority boss, advocate Shamila Batohi. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

National Prosecuting Authority boss, advocate Shamila Batohi. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Mar 26, 2022

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Cape Town - National Prosecuting Authority boss, advocate Shamila Batohi, says the agency will not be drawn into political battles within the ruling party and other parties.

She said law enforcement agencies can get entangled in the dynamics and discussions of political parties, but needed to "hold the line" and stick to their mandate..

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Batohi was briefing Parliament’s portfolio committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs on Friday.

The Special Investigating Unit, led by advocate Andy Mothibi, as well as the Hawks, led by Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, were also present at the briefing, where they stated that there was no selective prosecution of cases.

But Batohi said law enforcement had to stay away from political battles.

The ANC is holding its elective conference in December.

Factions in the ruling party have in the past been accused of using law enforcement agencies to further their political objectives.

The NPA boss said it would be in the interest of the prosecuting authority and other law enforcement agencies to stick to their constitutional mandate.

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“We have to be really careful about being drawn into political discussions, particularly as we move towards conferences at the end of this year. Law enforcement gets entangled in various dynamics. We have to be really careful that we hold the line and make sure we do what we are constitutionally mandated to do, and nothing more,” said Batohi.

She also denied they were involved in selective prosecution of cases.

This was after members of the EFF in the committee asked about whether there was selective prosecution.

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ANC MPs also asked about the prosecution of corruption in some municipalities.

They wanted to know why politicians were not prosecuted, but in most cases it would be senior officials charged with corruption in municipalities.

Mothibi said they followed the evidence and they investigated people on the basis of the evidence that was available.

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He said their task was to ensure they fight corruption, irrespective of who was involved.

Lebeya also said their role was to ensure there was evidence.

“We don’t support any specific political view. We deal with crime,” said Lebeya.

Batohi also said there was no selective prosecution of cases.

“With regard to selective investigations and prosecutions, General Lebeya and advocate Mothibi have talked about the fact that we follow the evidence. I think beyond that, that is all we can say is that we do not target people. There is a lot of public information relating to certain people, but we don’t target people.

“We follow the evidence, as the general said, and it doesn’t matter who is at the end of the evidence when the matter is fully investigated and the NPA is able to take the decision on, it doesn’t matter who is at the end of that we will prosecute in line with our mandate. We will prosecute irrespective which political party or affiliations, or how powerful or not people are, we follow the evidence and we prosecute cases,” said Batohi.

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Political Bureau

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