Mitchells Plain families have lambasted the police and courts for being an impediment for rape and sexual assault victims, especially those involving minors. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)
Mitchells Plain families have lambasted the police and courts for being an impediment for rape and sexual assault victims, especially those involving minors. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Rape victims in Mitchells Plain find police, courts a stumbling block to justice

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Jun 11, 2021

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Cape Town - Mitchells Plain families have lambasted the police and courts for being an impediment for rape and sexual assault victims, especially those involving minors.

This comes as four sexual assault cases, dating back from 2019, had been allegedly delayed and withdrawn with no communication to victims, causing emotional strain.

All of the victims were allegedly violated by someone close to them or a family member.

Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk confirmed that three of the cases were withdrawn pending counselling of the victims while another one was remanded for a regional court date and DNA report.

The mother of a four-year-old victim who asked to not be named said the grandfather was never arrested, irrespective of the evidence available.

“I feel devastated. All I feel is hatred and I am sick to my stomach because the justice system fails us and the fact that the detective says that I'm sucking it out of my thumb and I'm being vengeful.

“There's a J88 form that proves what he did and two social workers reports but he is still roaming the streets,” she said.

A family member of the 11-year-old twins that were allegedly raped by their aunt’s boyfriend said she was only informed on Monday that the case was withdrawn, with no reason given.

“There has been no communication whatsoever from the detective that has been investigating. In fact, I don't even know how she looks. The last time we were in court when he came out, it was so frustrating.

“The justice system is supposed to be there for us. There was so much evidence presented against the perpetrator, and we were only told that the children are being emotional. Why can't they be emotional after what they were subjected to?” she said.

Ukuvimba Foundation director Venice Burgins who has been assisting the families said it was clear that there was tardiness on the part of the NPA in dealing with these cases, in particular gender-based violence and femicide.

“Why should the backlog of cases become the problem of the people or the ordinary citizens? We still find that when the cases come before the NPA there is some form of delay in that the court rolls are clogged up, but that could not be the problem of the ordinary person.

“As we know, justice delayed is justice denied. Surely, the ministry of justice must look into these matters and see what must be done. It's clear that they must appoint new prosecutors, magistrates or Judges to attend to these cases because of the backlog,” she said.

Burgins called on the president for a ministerial task team to investigate the three spheres of justice as she said it was clear that there was a disconnect.

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