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'Rogue unit' saga gives Batohi toughest test yet

Publish date: 12 July 2019
Issue Number: 4738
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: Criminal

NPA boss Shamila Batohi will be faced with arguably her most politically fraught decision since taking office in February when she reviews the prosecution of SARS officials in the ‘rogue unit’ saga, says a Business Day report. The NPA has confirmed that all the accused in the rogue unit trial have appealed to her to drop the case. If she does, this will put her on a collision course with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who has urged the state to ‘finalise the court process’ against them. Batohi’s office said she was asked to review the decision to prosecute Johan van Loggerenberg, Ivan Pillay and Andries Janse van Rensburg in June, and is expected to make a decision on the future of the case by 14 October, when their trial is set to resume. Batohi ‘needs to be clear on how the NPA proceeds on that date and for this she will consider the representations for review’, NPA communications manager Bulelwa Makeke reportedly told Business Day. Mkhwebane has found that the establishment of the unit was unlawful and asked the police to investigate Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and other SARS officials for alleged violations of the Constitution and the National Strategic Intelligence Act. Makeke explained that the NPA office set up to manage representations is gathering evidence linked to the case, which will be put before an expert advisory panel yet to be assembled by Batohi. That panel will evaluate this evidence and make findings on whether the NPA has a reasonable prospect of success in the case. Batohi will make a decision based on these findings, as she did in evaluating the racketeering charges against former KZN Hawks boss Johan Booysen. Batohi elected to drop those charges this week.

Full Business Day report (subscription needed)