AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit requested clarity about the number of investigations currently being conducted into the behaviour of Jerome Pedro, a traffic officer in Dwarskersbos, as well as clarity on why adv. Hanlie Linde, the Municipal Manager, is being included in communication regarding an investigation in which her own conduct could possibly also be the subject of inquiry. This request, on 5 June 2020, came in reaction to a letter from adv. Etienne Vermaak, the Bergrivier Municipality’s legal representative.
AfriForum currently represents five residents of Dwarskersbos who fell victim to Pedro’s alleged unfair and arbitrary conduct during the lockdown period. The Private Prosecution Unit called for Pedro’s suspension, and that the criminal charges against these individuals for the supposed transgression of lockdown regulations be dropped.
According to the municipality, adv. Linde handled Pedro’s initial investigation and found nothing inappropriate about his conduct. She also allegedly made derogatory remarks on her private blog towards some of the residents of Dwarskersbos after the arrest of Ludwig Gericke. In a letter to Ray van Rooy, mayor of Bergrivier, AfriForum demanded that Linde’s conduct also be investigated. If adv. Vermaak, the new investigator, reports to adv. Linde (as is suggested in the municipality’s communication) AfriForum regards it as irregular and believes adv. Vermaak won’t be in a position to conduct the second investigation subjectively.
In addition to this, the municipality still haven’t supplied AfriForum with the evidence used in the initial investigation of Pedro, as requested.
“AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit will not allow the municipality to conduct a quick, one-sided investigation into irregular conduct and then promptly declare an individual as innocent. Investigations of this nature require an investigating officer that is truly independent and we will continue to act in the best interest of our clients to ensure that justice prevails and that the guilty parties are held accountable,” says Natasha Venter, AfriForum’s spokesperson for this case.
- Read the letter here.