Lunga Simelane
2 minute read
2 Jun 2022
6:14 am

Progress made on TRC cases – NPA’s Shamila Batohi tell Parliament

Lunga Simelane

The NPA head says 38 new investigations into deaths of detainees had been reopened.

National Director of Public Prosecutions (NPPA) Shamila Batohi during a media briefing on 24 May 2019. Picture: Gallo Images / Phill Magakoe

While questions are still being raised over delays with apartheid inquests, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is standing firm in assuring the families of victims that justice will be meted out.

The NPA’s National Director of Public Prosecutors Shamila Batohi and her team on Wednesday briefed the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services on the matter.

Batohi noted they were delivering on the NPA’s priority regarding cases emanating from Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

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She said despite the prosecution delays, the NPA was acting with urgency and in the past six months had seen substantial improvement.

“We have established a dedicated TRC component under the deputy national director of public prosecutions and appointed additional dedicated capacity to focus on TRC matters,” she said.

“The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation has done the same. We also have a full-time TRC coordinator function in the national office to drive internal and external collaboration.”

Batohi said 38 new investigations into deaths of detainees had been reopened and 97 matters were under investigation, with more identified for reopening.

“The Missing Persons Task Team established within [the National Prosecution Service] has, to date, recovered the remains of 179 missing persons, of which 167 have been identified and returned to affected families,” she said.

READ MORE: Inquest into death of anti-apartheid activist Imam Abdullah Haron reopened

However, members of the committee questioned the delays. Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister of justice and constitutional development Glynnis Breytenbach said the lack of progress demonstrated a lack of accountability.

“There needs to be provided reasons and the delays need to be delved into,” she said.

With cases from more than 28 years ago, Al Jama-ah party leader Ganief Hendricks said it was disturbing families and victims had waited so long for answers and were then told their cases would not be prosecuted.

There must be a strategy to resolve these issues.