NPA boss urges Brics prosecution services to unify in fight against crime
Shamila Batohi says more co-operation needed to defeat criminal networks
The co-operation of Brics states’ prosecution services in fighting criminal networks is not only desirable, but also essential, national director of public prosecutions Shamila Batohi said on Thursday.
She was speaking at the fifth meeting of the heads of prosecution services of the core Brics states, hosted by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as part of SA’s current chairmanship of the bloc.
Batohi said transnational criminal activities pose a significant threat to the safety and wellbeing of societies.
“By their very nature, they are complex, multifaceted and defy borders. Criminal networks operate seamlessly across borders, and our response must mirror this global reach,” Batohi said.
She said by presenting a united response, by sharing information and developing strategies that can effectively dismantle these networks, the Brics prosecution services will “amplify our collective strength”.
Batohi said the heads of prosecution services meeting builds on commitments made by the five countries, among others, through the Brics summit declarations to enhance international co-operation through collaborative information-sharing networks and mutual legal assistance, to combat illicit financial flows and to support the investigation, prosecution and recovery of stolen assets.
She said these will be subject to the domestic laws and regulations of Brics countries.
Batohi said SA was reeling from the effects of at least a decade of state capture, an orchestrated attack against SA’s democracy and economy, in which a coterie of political and business elites undermined the state and its institutions for personal, political and financial gain.
She said state capture not only devastated the economy and development prospects, but also ripped the heart out of the rule of law.
“Over the past three years, we have been hard at work, and made significant progress, in building a strategically aligned, capacitated NPA that values and defends its prosecutorial independence.
“Impunity is no longer a given; the wheels of justice turn slowly, but the rule of law will prevail. We certainly hope that our strengthened collaboration will help speed up the justice machine.”
The heads of the Brics prosecution services issued a joint statement recognising the importance of promoting good relations and co-operation to facilitate the exchange and dissemination of information, expertise and experience.