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Shamila Batohi insists there is no crisis at the NPA

Investigative Directorate head in the NPA, Hermione Cronje being introduced by the National Director of Public Prosecutions at the National Prosecuting Authority (NDPP) Shamila Batohi, formally during a Media briefing at NPA offices in Silverton. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency/(ANA)

Investigative Directorate head in the NPA, Hermione Cronje being introduced by the National Director of Public Prosecutions at the National Prosecuting Authority (NDPP) Shamila Batohi, formally during a Media briefing at NPA offices in Silverton. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency/(ANA)

Published Dec 8, 2021

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The head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Shamila Batohi reiterated on Wednesday that there was no crisis at the prosecuting body in the wake of the resignation of Independent Directorate (ID) head Hermione Cronje.

“It’s a normal part of the development and growth of the institution that is focused on delivery and impact in the next phase of the ID’s life,” Batohi said when briefing the justice and correctional services portfolio committee.

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She said there has been engagement between her and Cronje on her vacation of office as head of the directorate before the end of her term.

“Advocate Cronje has indicated the reasons for her decision and the NDPP fully understands.”

She also said Cronje would leave the ID well positioned to deliver on its important mandate as she had reported to the committee when they last appeared before it.

“There is confidence, given all the groundwork that has been done, that its work will continue unaffected, in the coming months,” she said.

Batohi said starting up the ID as an entity has not been an easy task.

“In addition, the ID operates in a complex legal and institutional context. The ID has received extensive strategic, operational and administrative support since it was established.”

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She, however, said in just over two-and-half years, the ID was now a well-established unit within the NPA with over 120 staff, a substantial budget, new state-of-the-art building.

“We are ready to manage the transition of additional capacity and skills from the Zondo Commission when it wraps up its work in the coming weeks,” the national director of public prosecutions said.

Batohi also said the entity’s annual budget in 2021 was approximately R107 million and it was projected to grow substantially to R180m next year.

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“The ID has additionally begun the process of on-boarding resources from the State Capture Commission in order to manage the process of when the report is submitted to the president.”

Batohi said their priority was to ensure continuity for the ID in the short and long term, including a well-planned transition process led by deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Ouma Rabaji-Rasethaba, who will support Cronje during the transition period.

She also said the NPA would start the recruitment process to identify a new head of ID in close consultation with Justice and Correctional Minister Ronald Lamola.

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“The process to appoint a new Investigating Director will be rigorous to ensure that it is the right person with the right skills who will deliver.”

Batohi insisted that there would be no leadership gap.

“The ID is well capacitated and has a capable senior leadership team in place that will continue driving the work of the ID over the coming months, pending the appointment of a new head.”

Rabaji-Rasethaba would work closely in support of Cronje during her final months to provide a smooth handover process, with the support and engagement of the rest of the ID’s senior leadership team, she said.

“The NPA is not in crisis and there is no widespread sabotage of the ID or any part of the NPA taking place. The NPA is not in crisis and there is no widespread sabotage of the ID or any part of the NPA taking place.”

Batohi insisted that the ID stood on solid foundation.

“We are on solid foundation,” she said.

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