The head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Shamila Batohi, says she is concerned about whether the country has the investigative skills to successfully prosecute those who instigated the recent violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Officials from the Justice Department, led by minister Ronald Lamola, appeared before Parliament’s portfolio to discuss how the justice system will process hundreds of people arrested for the looting and violence.
Batohi says successful prosecutions depend on the success of investigations.
“Looking at higher level perpetrator, we need to put together the best skills we have. General Lebeya has indicated putting together necessary skills and capacity. And I hope we have them. Because I still am concerned we may not have the available skills to deal with this and with speed with which we need to respond.”
More than 1 400 people have been arrested in connection with the recent violence and looting. Those who looted and committed acts of violence could face charges including high treason under the Terrorism Act.
Batohi says they have divided the acts into three categories – suspects who looted, organised looters and instigators.
“Even though poverty driven some action, can never be reason to commit crime. NPA is empathetic and will consider each case on merit, will consider with low level perpetrator into restorative justice. But as move to more serious categories of crime, will be relentless in ensuring coordination is clear, to bring to book those most responsible for what happened in our country,” the NPA head says.
Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, Rodney de Kock, told MPs that charges for instigators of the unrest could include high treason charges.
Justice Department officials brief MPs in the video below:
In the video below, President Ramaphosa says no-one will be allowed to mess up SA’s democracy: