Shamila Batohi. Picture: ALON SKUY
Shamila Batohi. Picture: ALON SKUY

The public will soon be able to lodge complaints of improper conduct or corruption against National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials directly with their boss, Shamila Batohi’s office. 

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said on Monday that the German government has pledged about R9.5m towards this “critical drive to achieve the NPA’s strategic pillars of public credibility, independence, professionalism and accountability”.

Dealing with the previous “capture” of the NPA under former president Jacob Zuma forms part of the work being done by the commission of inquiry into state capture.

The impact of abuses by prosecutors has, over the years, seen politically sensitive prosecutions being instituted but later reviewed and set aside in court.

Some of these explosive prosecutions were used to remove law enforcement officials in critical jobs, and was at the heart of an inquiry into the conduct of Nomgcobo Jiba, former deputy national director of public prosecutions; and former special director Lawrence Mrwebi. 

Both were found to be unfit to hold higher office in the NPA, and were, accordingly, fired by President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

Ngwema said the envisaged structure in Batohi’s office, which is provided for in the NPA Act, will give direct access to her office by members of the public to report any misdemeanour involving members of the authority.

“Over a decade or so, the NPA was entangled in allegations of state capture as some of its prominent members were accused of being appointed into leadership positions to weaken the NPA and to act in the interest of certain political and personal influences,” Ngwema said. 

He said these allegations and perceptions of politically motivated changes in leadership and the allegations of impropriety against some of the NPA’s senior leaders, led to an exodus of skilled staff, the freezing of new appointments, as well as a virtual end to its professional development and training programmes.

He said Batohi committed to restoring credibility to the NPA, and to work to regain the respect the institution once enjoyed, when she was appointed in Deccmber 2018.

He said the new structure will be implemented through technical assistance provided by the Institute for Security Studies.

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