Budget cuts will have huge implications for NPA, warns Batohi

The NPA on Wednesday briefed Parliament’s justice committee on its annual report for the past year and its performance during the first quarter of this year.

FILE: NPA boss Advocate Shamiela Batohi. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

CAPE TOWN – National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shamila Batohi has warned that any cuts to the NPA’s budget would undermine the gains made in rebuilding the organisation and its ability to do its job.

The NPA on Wednesday briefed Parliament’s justice committee on its annual report for the past year and its performance during the first quarter of this year.

Batohi said if proposed budget cuts were implemented, the NPA would lose R1.1 billion of the R1.3 billion cash injection it was given last year.

She said this would have huge implications for the NPA.

Batohi said the additional funding allowed the organisation to embark on the biggest recruitment drive in its history. But the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the parlous state of the country’s finances meant it could face a cut of R1.1 billion.

“Any proposed budget cuts will seriously undermine the gains we have tried to achieve and also the President’s commitment to rebuilding the NPA,” she said.

Batohi said the NPA was in talks with National Treasury about the proposed cuts.

“What we must really guard against is that the NPA was given R1.3 billion for the next MTEF [Medium -Term Expenditure Framework] process. If the proposed cuts are actually implemented, approximately R1.1 billion of that will be taken away. So, in effect, the NPA would have received no increase at all. We would have to employ over 580 fewer officials,” Batohi said.

Batohi said the NPA needed more funded posts than it currently had, and more resources generally for the fight against crime and corruption.

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