Batohi warns: 'From the president downwards, if there is evidence, you will be prosecuted'

National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi has assured South Africans that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will not hold back if there is evidence of wrongdoing against high-profile individuals.

Batohi made the assurance at a media briefing at the NPA's headquarters in Silverton, Pretoria, on Friday.

She was responding to a question about a potential conflict and how the NPA would deal with an investigation conducted by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) involving allegations against the national police commissioner Khehla Sitole.

Sitole, who was at the briefing on Friday, has pledged the police's support for the NPA.

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"From the president downwards, if there is evidence, you will be prosecuted," Batohi said.

New NPA Investigative Directorate head Hermione Cronje also weighed in on the matter, saying they had space and the independence to do their jobs and that, if there was enough evidence, they would not hesitate to act.

"So, unfortunately for the commissioner, if the evidence points to his culpability, he will be dealt with," she said.

Cronje also told reporters that she was fully aware that South Africans had very high expectations and that they were "holding out hope that we can bring an end to impunity and finally bring to book those who have so brazenly flouted our laws".

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"And I also have no doubt that those who are responsible for the state of affairs in our country will not be sitting idly by while we seek to hold them accountable for what they have done and that any benefits they derived unlawfully are recovered from them," she said.

Cronje said the directorate was currently working closely with the police and the Hawks, who have already dedicated senior staff to assist the NPA with the establishment of the directorate.

She said institutions such as the Financial Intelligence Centre, the Special Investigating Unit, the South Africa Revenue Service and the State Security Agency have all pledged their support to the directorate.