Victim, organisation fears historical abuse case might be thrown out

A woman from Krugersdorp accuses her uncle (who was a minor at the time) of raping and molesting her and her brother 30 years ago.

The organisation Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) have raised concern over a historical case of child abuse that keeps on getting postponed.

In a statement from the organisation, they explained how they have been involved in a historical abuse case between two siblings and their uncle. They are disappointed at the rate at which the case is progressing.

It is considered a historical case because the complainants are adults and the alleged abuse occurred when they were children.

A Krugersdorp woman accused her uncle (who was also a minor when the abuse started) of raping and molesting her and her brother more than 30 years ago. She alleged that she told her mother and grandmother about the abuse and that she was ordered by her grandmother and aunt to keep quiet.

When her grandmother passed away, she decided to confront her abuser.

The accused faces two counts of rape involving minors. Last year the court heard that the abuse of both the brother and sister continued for many years until the accused was in matric and victim one was in Grade 3. The court also heard that victim two said in his statement that he once walked in on the accused while he was with victim one, and asked them what they were doing. His sister then burst into tears.

The accused was granted bail of R30 000 and is not allowed to contact the two victims or their parents or come within 100m of them.

“The complainant opened a case against her uncle in 2021 and the matter has been on the roll ever since,” the statement from WMACA read.

The case was back in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court recently, but was again postponed for the outcome of representations and could potentially be struck from the roll.

“The decision lies with the Department of Public Prosecution and we expect to hear the outcome in June.”

This means the case has gone to the high court to see if they can continue to prosecute. The defense also has a chance to fight for the case not to go ahead. If the case is withdrawn, it can be withdrawn provisionally, which means that it could be placed back on the roll with sufficient evidence. If the state, however, decides not to proceed, the complainant can apply for a nolle prosequi, and pursue the case privately. A nolle presequi is a legal Latin meaning ‘to be unwilling to pursue’.

Luke Lamprecht from WMACA explained that because the brother is also a victim, it corroborates the complainant’s case.

The WMACA said they believe that withdrawing this case would be nothing short of a slap in the face and a complete waste of the court’s time.

“In this particular case, the version of the complainant has been met with disbelief and little faith by the prosecutor who has outwardly expressed the unlikelihood of a successful prosecution.”

They added that historical abuse cases should be treated with the same urgency and sensitivity as current cases but, according to the organisation, this is not happening.

“I am very disappointed at how slow my case has been progressing. I’ve had to work through a lot of secondary trauma over the years while my abuser walks around free and is unapologetic about what he has done. Our justice system is not victim-centric and the notion of speedy justice remains a myth. But these delays do not deter me. I want to see this case get justice.

“Rape is a schedule five offence as per our Criminal Procedure Act [51 of 1977] which makes it a very serious crime. If the court declines to prosecute despite all the evidence and the seriousness of the matter, I believe it would not only be an injustice to me, but a major discouragement to other rape victims out there.

“I am disappointed that the justice system is even considering the possibility of covering, doubting, or denying these heinous acts.

“It feels cruel that the case can be taken off the roll. Where are our human rights? I am staying positive and know there is only one truth,” said one of the victims.

Krugersdorp News reached out to the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court for feedback and will give an update once information becomes available.

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