AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit demanded in letters to the Department of Social Development and the SAPS on 28 July 2020 that the child abuse case of a five month old baby receive immediate attention to prevent the victim from suffering further trauma. This follows after the unit assisted two doctors and a social worker last week in laying criminal charges of attempted murder.
It has however come to the unit’s attention that the police still hasn’t acted on the charges since they were laid last week. “Instead of arresting the suspects, the SAPS has been busy transferring the case from one station to another and from one unit to another. This conduct shows that the government’s public statements that cases involving the vulnerable members of society should be prioritised, is simply lip service,” says Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.
Back in April 2020, when the baby was only five weeks old, doctors already laid charges of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm after she was admitted with injuries consistent with continuous abuse (including fractured ribs). According to information supplied to AfriForum, the Department decided in April to place the baby in temporary custody with her grandmother, after which she was returned to her parents on 1 May. This despite the fact that the baby’s father had appeared in court as a suspect who could possibly be linked to the abuse.
Medical evidence shows that the fractures that were evident when she was admitted to hospital again in July, could possibly have been inflicted while she was in her parents’ care. Family members have also come forward to supply AfriForum with relevant information concerning the parents.
Adv. Nel believes the absence of decisive action in this case by the authorities is inexcusable. “The only conclusion that can be made from the facts available, is that the Department, the SAPS and the NPA’s failure to act possibly exposed this helpless child to further life-threatening abuse and we now demand that they follow their mandate and act in the best interest of the child. The prosecutor’s reasons for deciding to drop the case of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm against the parents in April 2020 is shocking. AfriForum will therefore do everything in our power to ensure those who are guilty are brought to book for their actions.”