In Summary
  • Batohi, the first female to occupy the role, is a former prosecutions chief in KwaZulu-Natal province and has served as senior adviser to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) since 2009.
  • In 1995, she was part of a high-level team appointed by Nelson Mandela to investigate apartheid-era hit squads.


President Cyril Ramaphosa named a respected female lawyer on Tuesday to head South Africa's prosecuting authority, which had been accused of improperly protecting former president Jacob Zuma.

His appointment of Shamila Batohi further distances him from Mr Zuma's scandal-tainted rule during which several top jobs, including head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), were filled with loyalists.


"I am confident that the advocate possesses all the attributes of a capable National Director of Public Prosecutions... she has shown herself to be a fit and proper person," President Ramaphosa told reporters in Pretoria.

Ms Batohi's predecessor Shaun Abrahams was dubbed "Shaun the sheep" for his slavish loyalty to Mr Zuma and repeatedly manoeuvered to protect him from facing a slew of corruption charges linked to a 1990s arms deal.

It was in the dying days of his tenure that Mr Abrahams decided to reinstate the graft charges which Mr Zuma is now seeking to have dropped.

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