News24 Wire
Wire Service
3 minute read
17 Jul 2021
10:28 am

‘Child victims forsaken by criminal justice system’, says AfriForum’s prosecution unit

News24 Wire

The unit wants urgent intervention and investigation of the 'persistent ineptness' of law enforcement in handling the cases.

Advocate Gerrie Nel, head of Afriforum's private prosecuting unit. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Lobby group, AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, has written to Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi on four cases which reveal, “… horrendous allegations of sexual offences”, perpetrated against children.

“These four cases contain evidence of some of the most horrendous sexual offences against children that I have encountered throughout my career.

“Despite this serious degree of abuse, it seems that law enforcement in Brits is either inept or unwilling to protect these children. These children have not only been forsaken by their parents and caregivers, but also the criminal justice system,” head of the unit advocate Gerrie Nel said.

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In the nine-page letter dated 8 July 2021, the private prosecution unit addresses the Gauteng DPP on cases where child victims were “forsaken” by the criminal justice system.

“Not only are we dealing with what we infer must be the inept handling of the matters, but confronted with clients who, despite noble endeavours to care for molested and neglected children, are faced by a failed criminal justice system.

“This despite the government publicly stated objective to prioritise cases against women and children,” the letter reads.

The unit further requests urgent intervention and investigation of the, “… persistent ineptness of law enforcement in the jurisdiction of Brits”, regarding the handling of the cases.

According to the lobby group, in the first case, the case against the accused was withdrawn. The accused allegedly raped and sexually assaulted his five-year-old stepdaughter.

In the second case, the lobby group inferred from evidence that a six-year-old girl’s grandmother and mother used her as a commodity by allowing her to allegedly be raped for payment. This case is currently before a court.

The third case deals with the biological mother of a victim, who was only seven-weeks-old at the time.

The woman allegedly admitted to a kindergarten teacher that she put her baby in a freezer if he cried too much. The case was withdrawn.

Lastly, the fourth case deals with a two-and-a-half-year-old girl who was allegedly badly sexually molested to the extent that her mother sent her to school with a pad in her undergarments to mask the bleeding.

All four cases, which are not connected, were opened in Brits. News24 has seen the case numbers provided by the lobby group.

Nel concluded: Although we request in our letter that the [DPP] should launch an urgent investigation into the apparent ineptitude of law enforcement in the Brits jurisdiction with regard to the handling of these cases, the private prosecution unit will do everything in our power to ensure that justice is done for these extremely vulnerable members of our society.

NPA spokesperson for north Gauteng, Lumka Mahanjana, confirmed receipt of the letter to News24 on Friday.

“I can confirm the DPP north Gauteng has received the letter from AfriForum, and the matter is being attended to by the DPP office,” she said.

News24 asked the North West Police about the status of the four cases opened in Brits.