Luyanda Botha
Cape Town - The appointment of Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Rodney de Kock to lead the State in the case of murdered University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana underlined that the prosecution takes gender-based violence seriously.

De Kock, accompanied by his deputy, Bonnie Currie-Gamwo, came prepared to the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court where rape and murder accused Luyanda Botha appeared before Magistrate Goolam Bowa.

Botha faces two counts of rape, murder and defeating the ends of justice. The State alleges that the accused attacked and raped Mrwetyana inside a Claremont post office in August and bashed her head in with a scale. The accused then allegedly dumped her body in Lingelethu West.

The court was packed with students wanting to have a peek at the accused. Insults were hurled at Botha when he was led from the holding cells into the dock by his legal representative, John Solomons.

Before proceedings started Bowa told the prosecution that in view of the fact that the investigation and the identity parade were concluded, the restriction not to mention the accused's name was therefore lifted.

De Kock told the court that a complete docket with all the evidence and the post-mortem report had been handed to the defence.

De Kock added that next Friday had been set as a high court trial date. Solomons, confirming receipt of the documents, told the court his client had abandoned his bail application.

At a press briefing after the proceedings, De Kock said: “The message we sent to society is that these cases will get all the necessary attention and we will throw all our resources at them. In the end, justice must be done in these matters.”

WC Director of Public Prosecutions, Rodney de Kock said: "The message we sent to society is that these cases will get all the necessary attention..." Video: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

Responding to questions on the merits of the case, De Kock said on Thursday the defence would tell the court how they would respond when the charges would be put to the accused in the high court.

Questions were also raised about the progress of other gender-based violence crimes at the time of Mrwetyana's murder. Currie-Gamwo said the matter of Janika Mallo, whose body was dumped in a yard in Heinz Park last month, was with their office.

“Three advocates are dealing with the matter of University of Western Cape theology student Jesse Hess, who was murdered last month. The investigation part is being prioritised and once we have sufficient evidence that person will be arrested,” she said.

Currie-Gamwo added that the matter of Lynette Volschenk, whose body was cut up, and the murder of horse rider Meghan Cremer would be heard in the Western Cape High Court.

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