Shaun Abrahams has his say on Shamila Batohi

A Durban prosecutor who worked closely with Batohi during her time at the helm of the NPA in KZN said the NPA was in for a major shakeup.

Asking not to be named because she was not authorised to speak to the media, the prosecutor said Batohi was “one tough lady who takes no nonsense”.

“She will give you a chance, but woe betide you if you waste that chance. Shamila is exactly what the NPA and SA needs. She does things by the book and has no hidden agendas. What you see is what you get and she expects absolute loyalty, not only to the NPA but to the people of SA, especially the thousands who are desperately seeking justice.”

She said Batohi was not afraid of tackling big cases and would go after whoever had broken the law, regardless of their standing in society.

“She is all for the rights of the downtrodden, the poor and those who have had their rights abused. She hates corruption and abuse of power and will be a breath of fresh in the NPA especially in ensuring these crimes are punished.”

Batohi takes up the position after serving as a legal adviser at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. She has also been involved in major criminal cases.

She was evidence leader during the King Commission which investigated the Hansie Cronje match-fixing in cricket, sat on the panel tasked with reviewing criminal charges against disgraced former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi and also headed the directorate of special operations (known as the Scorpions) in KZN.

During her time as head of prosecutions in KZN in the mid-2000s, Batohi headed the NPA’s national community prosecuting project. The project was aimed at bringing communities closer to prosecutors and helping them and the police to build cases and ultimately secure justice for victims of crime.

At the time she was in the position she said: “The whole idea is for prosecutors to engage and communicate more broadly with communities.

“In many instances, the community gives the prosecutor information, helping the police to do their job better.”

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