Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
2 minute read
6 Dec 2021
11:35 am

The NPA is not in a crisis, insists Batohi

Bernadette Wicks

Batohi also said Hermoine Cronje's resignation was not due to a strained relationship between them.

National Director of Public Prosecutions (NPPA) Shamila Batohi Picture: for illustration by Gallo Images/Phill Magakoe

The National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Shamila Batohi, has rubbished media reports to the effect that Hermione Cronje’s resignation as head of the Investigating Directorate (ID) was due to a strained relationship between the two.

“It makes for dramatic reporting, that is where it ends,” Batohi insisted at a press briefing on Monday morning.

Batohi last Thursday announced Cronje’s pending exit from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

ALSO READ: Head of NPA’s Investigating Directorate Hermione Cronje resigns

Batohi said at the time she would recommend that President Cyril Ramaphosa accept Cronje’s resignation, effective 1 March 2022.

“After constructive engagement with advocate Cronje, I have supported her request to vacate office as head of the ID before the end of her term,” Batohi said in an e-mail.

“Advocate Cronje has indicated the reasons for her decisions and I fully understand.”

During Monday’s press briefing, Batohi said despite speculation to the contrary, the NPA was not in a crisis.

“And there is no widespread sabotage of the ID or any part of the NPA taking place,” she said.

Cronje’s resignation was the “culmination of various factors”, she said.

Batohi maintained “occasional disagreements” were “normal”.

“The ID was and remains under constant pressure to perform and my job is to ensure it delivers,” she said – adamant there had been “significant progress” since its establishment in 2019, and lauding Cronje for having “played her part” and helping to “lay the foundation”.

“It’s a tough job in a tough environment so it shouldn’t be a surprise or concern that after this period [Cronje] has decided to move on,” Batohi said.

In response to the criticism the prosecuting authorities have faced over the slow pace at which the ID has appeared to be moving, Batohi said it took time to establish new entities.

ALSO READ: Accountability Now threatens to take NPA to court over slow pace of prosecutions

Batohi said it “shouldn’t be surprising or concerning that it’s taken just over two and a half years to get to this point”.

She highlighted that over the past two years or so, the ID had managed to enrol some 18 cases.

Going forward, Batohi insisted there would be no “leadership gap”.

“A detailed transition plan will include interim management and oversight arrangements to ensure the ID delivers on its mandate,” she said.

Batohi added the process to appoint a new head would be “rigorous in order to ensure the right person, with the right skills” was appointed.