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South Africans should say ‘no more’ to corruption – NPA Director
Author: Corporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]
Published: 12/04/2022

​​The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) needs the support of ordinary South Africans to stop corruption and end the culture of impunity, said National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batohi.

She delivered the annual Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert Honorary Lecture* of the Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert Institute for Student Leadership Development at Stellenbosch University's Centre for Student Leadership, Experiential Education & Citizenship on Monday (11 April 2022). The topic of her address was Citizen-leadership in South Africa through the lens of accountability – action and service.

Batohi highlighted the important work that the NPA has been doing to fight corruption, but also admitted that the institution still has a lot more to do.

“The NPA wants to contribute to the development of the social and economic fabric of our country by holding accountable those who are responsible for corruption."

She called on all South Africans to support the NPA as it tries to bring to book those who want to act with impunity.

“In order to deal with corruption in our country, government cannot do it alone. It requires all the people of this country who care about this country to come together to deal with the issue. We can't do it alone; we have to work with society.

“We need the support of citizens of our country while they do hold us accountable. The success of our fight against crime generally and corruption in particular, also depends on the involvement of all citizens. We need to do a lot, but we need your help.

“There needs to be a groundswell of active citizenry, to say 'no more' to corruption. We need important institutions like the NPA to be defended.

“We are acutely aware as the NPA of what successful investigations and prosecutions, but particularly with regard to corruption will do for this country. And we will not waiver from our constitutional commitment to prosecute without fear and favour."

According to Batohi, impunity is no longer a given.

​“The ubiquitous taps of corruption and rent-seeking are being closed. It is now not a case of whether people will be held accountable; it's a case of when people will be held accountable."

She said important cases are being brought to court which will show that “the rule of law in this country is sacrosanct and that those who have almost brought our country to its knees are held accountable".

Batohi added that when those guilty of corruption and state capture are not held to account, trust and confidence in the state and in the criminal justice system is undermined and over the long term, the role of law is weakened, resulting in a general crisis of lawlessness and instability due to a lack of accountability.

“A strong justice system where the rule of law is being upheld contributes hugely to the confidence in the country."

Batohi said holding people accountable for corruption and state capture also means recovering the money that they have stolen.

“We can hold people accountable, we can put people in prison, but at the end of the day, if we are not able to bring back the stolen money, we will still be struggling as a country, even though there will be people in jails.

“Recovering stolen money is important, because all of that money needs to be ploughed back into improving the lot of people in society."

*The annual honorary lecture, with the financial support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, aims to create a platform for our student leaders, academics and broader international community to engage critically on current South African political and governance issues.​