Africa
S. African president appoints new chief prosecutor
Last Updated: 2018-12-06 14:35 | Xinhua
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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday announced the appointment of Shamila Batohi as the new National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

"I am confident that Batohi possesses all the attributes of a capable NDPP," Ramaphosa said.

Throughout her extensive and distinguished career, and in the course of the selection process, Batohi has shown herself to be a fit and proper person, said Ramaphosa.

Batohi was among five candidates recommended by a advisory panel for the NDPP position.

"After consideration of their recommendations, I have decided, in terms of section 179 of the Constitution, to appoint Shamila Batohi as the new National Director of Public Prosecutions," Ramaphosa said.

The NDPP "occupies a vital position in our democracy, and makes an essential contribution to upholding the rule of law and ensuring the efficiency and integrity of law enforcement," the president said.

South Africa has been without a NDPP, a critical law enforcement position, since August this year when the Constitutional Court declared "invalid and unconstitutional" the appointment of Shaun Abrahams as the NDPP by then president Jacob Zuma.

Abrahams has been accused of inaction to prosecute those involved in alleged corruption scandals, including Zuma.

The Constitutional Court ordered that Ramaphosa appoint a new NDPP within 90 days. In making this order, the court highlighted the severe challenges that have confronted the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) in recent years, including leadership instability and a decline in public confidence in the institution.

This prompted Ramaphosa to appoint an advisory panel to identify and conduct interviews with individuals worthy of consideration to occupy the position.

"In appointing a new NDPP, we are addressing the state of dysfunctionality and deficiencies in the NPA that were identified by the court," Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.

The NDPP must ensure that the NPA exercises its functions without fear, favor or prejudice and should not be beholden to any vested interests, whether in politics, in business or elsewhere, said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa praised Batohi for her experience, conscientiousness and integrity to be entrusted with the responsibilities of this office.

Batohi started her public service as a junior prosecutor in the Chatsworth magistrate court, KwaZulu-Natal Province in 1986 and steadily rose through the ranks to become the Director of Public Prosecutions in the province.

She was seconded to the Investigation Task Unit established by President Nelson Mandela in 1995 and later served as the first regional head of the Directorate of Special Operations based in KwaZulu-Natal.

For much of the last decade, she has served as a Senior Legal Adviser to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

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