Advocate Shamila Batohi's appointment as NDPP has been widely welcomed by the law fraternity and civil society. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Advocate Shamila Batohi's appointment as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) has been widely welcomed by the law fraternity and civil society. 

She starts her new job in February next year. 

President Cyril Rampahosa announced her appointment on Tuesday signalling a new dawn for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) which had lost public confidence. 

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) said it has full confidence that Batohi has the skills and integrity to restore the independence of the NPA. 

"We are confident that Ms Batohi has the skill, conscientiousness, integrity and independence necessary to tackle the challenge of leading our prosecutorial services, and to ensure a stable directorate that serves the public of South Africa professionally, effectively and fairly, and provides a proud mirror of our criminal justice system to the outside world," said LSSA chairpersons Ettienne Barnard and Mvuzo Notyesi.  

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) said Batohi has a huge task ahead of her as she attempts to restore credibility in the NPA. 

The organisation was at the centre of legal action against former NPA head Shaun Abrahams' removal after the Constitutional Court found his appointment as unlawful.  

"We hope that the appointment of Adv Batohi will mark a period of stability and a return to a focus on its constitutional mandate to prosecute without fear, favour or prejudice. While much attention will focus on how it deals with prosecutions relating to state capture and grand corruption in the forthcoming months, the importance of ensuring that the interests of the ordinary victims of crime are considered will be equally important," said executive secretary  Lawson Naidoo.  

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said:  We wish Advocate Batohi the best of luck in taking this battered but crucial institution forward, in restoring the confidence of both its staff and the public in the NPA, in overcoming the factionalism in the NPA and in reinstating the ethics of targeting criminals rather than whistleblowers," said OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage.  

Ramaphosa said he had confidence in Batohi and that appointing a new head of the prosecuting authority is part of addressing the dysfunctionality at the organisation. 

"In appointing a new NDPP, we are addressing the state of dysfunctionality and deficiencies in the NPA that were identified by the court. The National Director of Public Prosecutions occupies a vital position in our democracy, and makes an essential contribution to upholding the rule of law and ensuring the efficiency and integrity of law enforcement," he said. 

“As the NPA Act requires, she has the experience, conscientiousness and integrity to be entrusted with the responsibilities of this office. Despite the many challenges the NPA has faced in the past, we know that there are women and men of great ability, experience and commitment within the NPA who are dedicated to doing their job and doing it well,” he said.