Shamila Batohi. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL
Shamila Batohi. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL

It’s not clear what’s more embarrassing: the fact that SA’s so-called priority crimes unit, the Hawks, is allowing Steinhoff to help pay for the criminal investigation into itself, or the fact that it took its dozy investigators two years to realise they didn’t have the skills to run the investigation themselves.

The Hawks, as well as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), should be at the forefront of ensuring accountability. It’s not as if they don’t have a wide canvas of possibilities: state capture was so brazen that there’s a seemingly endless cast of people you’d expect to be in handcuffs, while investigators are also spoilt for choice by the raft of corporate scandals — from Steinhoff to VBS Mutual Bank and Tongaat Hulett.

Instead, thwarted by their own incompetence and justifiably waning confidence, they have done zip. Much was expected of Shamila Batohi, appointed as head of the NPA in February 2019. But despite her early fighting talk, the ledger of arrests for state capture or corporate scandals is still as empty as a list of Jacob Zuma’s greatest accomplishments.

It’s depressing to reflect that one of the reasons the security forces abused their power, leading to Collins Khosa’s death, is that they felt immune from consequence. It’s an indictment of our investigators — perhaps the only indictment they’ll see for a while.