Barely two weeks after AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit wrote to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) about the abandoned case against Vuyo Mhlakaza-Manamela, the state has decided to prosecute her. The Deputy Speaker of the Gauteng Legislature will face charges of assault with intention to inflict grievous bodily harm and crimen injuria. The case stems from an alleged attack on police Protection and Security Services officer, Sgt. Lizzy Mojapelo.
She approached the unit after the NPA declined to prosecute. The matter was withdrawn last year after senior prosecutors allegedly told Mojapelo that the matter would be difficult to prosecute because the suspect is a very high-profile person.
Today Adv. Andrew Chauke, the Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions, wrote in a letter addressed to the unit:
“Having studied the contents of the docket, your request for a nolle prosequi certificate and the report of the relevant Senior Public Prosecutor, this office is satisfied that there is a prima facie case against Nomvuyo Mhlakaza-Manamela and the matter should not have been withdrawn against her.
“This office has issued an instruction to the Chief Prosecutor that Nomvuyo MhlakazaManamela must be prosecuted on charges of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm and crimen iniuria.
“The relevant Senior Public Prosecutor who withdrew the matter has been reprimanded.”
“This is a victory for the principle of equality before the law. We will ensure that politicians are not sheltered from prosecution. Although we had to ensure that justice is eventually done, I want to compliment Advocate Chauke and his office for his conviction and willingness to accept that a mistake was made and to direct the prosecution of Ms. Mhlakaza-Manamela,” says Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.
“I am very happy with the NPA’s decision. It’s just unfortunate that AfriForum had to get involved first, but the NPA must serve me and my daughter with justice — that is all we need. We are grateful to AfriForum,” says Mojapelo.
The alleged assault took place in February 2020 at the home of Mhlakaza-Manamela and her husband, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Bhuti Manamela. Mojapelo alleges that the suspect, in a drunken fit of rage, severely assaulted her. She further states that her police superiors did not want to help her open a case, but instead did everything in their power to frustrate those efforts.
A medical examination confirmed that Mojapelo sustained multiple injuries, and also confirmed she was 11 weeks pregnant at the time. She suffered vaginal bleeding and had to receive fertility treatment to ensure her pregnancy was not terminated.
Mojapelo, as a diligent and dutiful police officer, documented details of the alleged assault at every step of the process – from the occurrence book (OB) entry at the scene of the crime to compiling notes of her interactions with prosecutors and investigators. Despite the prima facie evidence against Mhlakaza-Manamela, the NPA declined to pursue the matter.