The trial of a police general on complaints of crimen injuria was put on the roll for trial today in the Oudtshoorn Magistrate’s Court. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit has a watching brief on behalf of Riana Stander (formerly Viviers), the complainant in this case, and attended the court proceedings. However, the accused’s legal representative argued today that her case is being handled by the state attorney and that the firm representing her has not yet been vetted by the State Attorney.
The case was adjourned until 2 September to determine whether the law firm has indeed been vetted by the State Attorney and to set a trial date. The state did not oppose the application for postponement. The state also did not oppose the defense’s request that the accused does not have to be at court on 2 September. The defense argued that she lives in Pretoria and does not want to travel that far for these proceedings.
“We are disappointed that the accused once again succeeded in further delaying the trial, as this case has been dragging on since 2016. However, Magistrate Graehymme Williams was very strict today and indicated that the state and defense had eviscerated the court’s discretion to make a decision regarding the adjournment of the case by agreeing in advance on the adjournment. We are also delighted that the case is finally before the court and will continue to assist Riana to see that justice is served,” says Adv. Phyllis Vorster, Prosecutor at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.
The National Prosecuting Authority initially refused to prosecute the accused. It is only after the Private Prosecution Unit requested a nolle prosequi certificate on Stander’s behalf in July 2019 to prosecute privately that the state revised its decision not to prosecute.
The charges stem from an incident in 2016 where the accused allegedly ordered Stander and other officers (all trainers at the police college in Oudtshoorn) to stand on a stage and then made derogatory statements about their clothing, weight and skin colour to the applause of the recruits. Among other things, she answered her own question regarding what was wrong with the people on stage by saying that they were too white. Stander already opened a case docket in November 2016 just after the incident. Mostly due to the trauma and stress this incident caused, Stander has since been declared medically unfit and is no longer employed by the SAPS.