Malema claims new NPA boss is controlled by a group close to Pravin Gordhan

SA's new National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi. Picture: GCIS
SA's new National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi. Picture: GCIS

EFF leader Julius Malema has cast doubt on the independence of newly appointed head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Shamila Batohi.

Malema told thousands of EFF supporters gathered in Soshanguve for its manifesto launch on Saturday that the national director of public prosecutions is “controlled by the group that is close to Pravin Gordhan”.

“To be honest I don’t trust the new head of the NPA because she is too close to Pravin Gordhan,” he said.

Batohi started her tenure at the NPA this week, telling journalists that she was starting the job at a time of crisis for the rule of law.

President Cyril Ramaphosa hired the NPA head in 2018 following a Constitutional Court decision that found that the former head of the NPA Shaun Abrahams’ appointment was invalid.

The EFF has been entangled in a public fight with Gordhan since his return as public enterprises minister in 2018.

In November, the EFF laid charges against Gordhan with the police, accusing him of money laundering, corruption, racketeering, fraud, contravention of the Intelligence Act and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, and perjury.

The party also made damning allegations against Gordhan, including claims that his daughter Anisha Gordhan was a beneficiary of state contracts.

Gordhan has rejected the claims.

The minister also filed a complaint of crimen injuria and criminal defamation and asked the police to investigate any incitement to violence by Malema following a speech he made in which he made several claims about Gordhan.

He also laid a complaint at the Equality Court, seeking an apology from Malema and Shivambu, and damages of R150,000 which, his lawyer said, would be donated to charitable causes if granted.