AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit achieves victory for victim of sexual abuse at the start of 16 days of activism

AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit welcomes certain developments in, but remains concerned about the handling of cases of violence against children in the Brits Regional Court. Adv. S. Mzinyathi, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Pretoria, confirmed to AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit that one of the cases of child abuse in which the Unit currently has a watching brief has been transferred to senior prosecutors at the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court.

This follows after the prosecutor in Brits, without consulting with the Private Prosecution Unit or the current foster parents, indicated that she did not think that there was a chance for a successful prosecution, and referred the case to the DPP for consideration. After it was understood from the defence team that the prosecutor had shared her view with the DPP, the Private Prosecution Unit made representations in this regard to the DPP. With regard to these representations, and after studying the docket, the DPP confirmed that there is indeed a prima facie case against the accused and that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) would prosecute. The DPP must be complimented for his insight to move the matter for trial from Brits to Pretoria North.

In this case the grandfather and mother of a young girl, and another man are being prosecuted on several charges of rape of a little girl who was six years old when the alleged crimes were committed in 2018. The astonishment of the Private Prosecution Unit regarding the initial reluctance to prosecute is backed by clear medical evidence, which points to serious sexual violence. The girl allegedly described how offenders pushed a dish sponge into her mouth during the rapes and sexual molestation to prevent her from making any noise. The three defendants were charged after the unit became involved in the case on 29 June 2021, but two other suspects identified by the little girl have not yet been arrested, including the grandmother.

“Today marks the start of the international campaign of 16 days of activism against violence against women and children. Although we welcome the DPP’s decision to prosecute, it is concerning to think that this matter, as well as other cases of violence against women and children in which the Unit is providing assistance, would probably simply have disappeared had we not intervened,” says Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.

Furthermore, the mother and father of a baby girl were also recently found guilty in the Northern Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after the NPA were compelled by the intervention of the Private Prosecution Unit to prosecute. The baby girl’s life-threatening injuries were administered after the NPA refused to prosecute the parents on the first charges that were laid with the SAPS.

In another case of child abuse, also in Brits, it was apparently decided to prosecute the mother and father of a baby in the Northern Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit indicated that they wanted to institute private prosecution on behalf of interested parties after the NPA initially withdrew the charges against the accused. The NPA, however, reinstituted prosecution of the baby’s parents after AfriForum made representations to the DPP.

In this case the biological mother of the victim, who was only seven weeks old at the time, allegedly admitted to a kindergarten teacher that she put her baby in a freezer if he cried too much. The allegation is made that the baby sustained burn wounds, because he had been left in the freezer for such extended periods of time. The J88 of the baby further contains a list of 12 injuries. This case will be heard in the Northern Gauteng High Court from 24 to 28 January 2022.

“Although cases such as these in which children are the victims are often difficult to prove, it can be done if the prosecutor gives dedicated attention thereto. The NPA owes it to society to prioritise these types of matters and to ensure that specialized prosecutors deal therewith. We know that there are prosecutors who preform miracles in cases in which women and children are the victims, but we will not hesitate to become involved if we see that this is not the case,” Adv. Nel concludes.

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