AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit supported people in two separate cases in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court today after a long battle to have these cases brought before the Court. The accused being prosecuted on two charges for the murder of Ruan Coen (26) and Jessika Kennedy (25), however, failed to appear in court and the police must now apply for a warrant for his arrest. Lizzie Kganyago appeared for the second time on among other a charge of assault on her SAPS colleague Sanette Erasmus at the Wierdabrug police station. The case against Kganyago was postponed to 17 May 2021 for plea and trial.
The accused in the first mentioned cased crashed on 23 December 2017 into the car in which Coen and Kennedy were travelling, and Coen and Kennedy died instantaneously. The docket on the accused – who was presumably drunk and under the influence of drugs when the accident happened – allegedly disappeared from the Silverton police station. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit worked closely with Col. Werner Everson from the Silverton detective branch and Sgt Piet Ferreira from the Sinoville detective branch to recompile the docket so that the accused can be prosecuted.
In October 2019 Kganyago allegedly repeatedly hit Erasmus, a senior administrative officer of the SAPS, against the head and in the face, pushed her around and pinned her to the floor. This occurred after Erasmus had pointed out to Kganyago that some of the documents that Kganyago had handed to her for processing had not been properly entered into the register. The alleged attack occurred in the office of a senior SAPS officer, who failed to intervene. Erasmus immediately reported the incident to the station commander, after which he called Erasmus and Kganyago to his office. However, Kganyago allegedly made derogatory remarks about Erasmus in the presence of the station commander and swore at her. Kganyago is also charged with crimen injuria.
AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit assisted Erasmus in laying criminal charges against Kganyago after the SAPS initially refused that she lay charges. After the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) indicted that it would not be prosecuting Kganyako, the Private Prosecution Unit helped Erasmus in March 2020 to apply for a nolle prosequi certificate to privately prosecute Kganyago. After receiving the application, the NPA suddenly indicted that the case was still being investigated. The NPA eventually announced in February 2021 (almost two years after the incident) that it would indeed prosecute Kganyago for assaulting Erasmus.
The Unit also supported Erasmus to submit service charges against Kganyago at the provincial police commissioner, as well as against the station commander and the senior police officer who witnessed the alleged assault, because no disciplinary hearing followed. The services charges were rejected, however, as the SAPS alleges that it cannot hold a disciplinary hearing while the criminal case is underway. AfriForum is still applying pressure to the SAPS to ensure that the disciplinary hearing will continue.
“These two cases once again prove that the existence of a unit such as AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit has become indispensable in the fight for justice. Without the Unit’s intervention and support, both cases would simply have disappeared, and the accused would not have had to face the consequences of their actions. We will continue to monitor both cases and support the victims,” says Natasha Venter, Advisor at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.