NPA to give clarity on rape, murder suspect release
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DURBAN - WHILE the National Prosecuting Authority and the police were yet to give clarity on the release of the suspect in the murder case of a 14-year-old teenager, the ANC Women’s League handed a memorandum demanding that the justice minister institutes a probe against Hammarsdale Magistrate’s Court, for its failure to prosecute suspects.
ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini led the march to Hammarsdale Magistrate’s Court, outside Durban, demanding a full investigation into the conduct of the magistrates and the prosecutor in the area.
Fed-up community members came out in droves to express their dissatisfaction with the way matters were handled at the Hammarsdale Magistrate’s Court.
“Today’s march was triggered by the release of Sbahle Luyanda Ndlela’s alleged murderer, even though there were witnesses, and the fact that the prosecution rate was shockingly low,” Dlamini said.
Luyanda was allegedly raped and strangled over a week ago in front of her siblings. Her mother’s ex-boyfriend was arrested, detained for a few days, and later released.
Sbahle’s mother, Smangele Ndlovu, 31, claimed the suspect, whom she broke up with three years ago, had a history of being abusive.
She had a protection order against him, obtained in 2018, and three cases against him, of assault with an intention to cause grievous bodily harm.
Police confirmed the protection order and the assault cases.
Provincial police spokeswoman Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the matter was not enrolled in court.
NPA provincial spokeswoman Natasha Kara said she would get all the details on the matter today.
“Magistrates in this court can’t account for the cases they were supposed to prosecute. They behave as if they work for themselves. So we are saying, magistrates and prosecutors alike need to know and understand clearly that they are not working for themselves, but are serving the communities,” Dlamini said.
In a memorandum, the community demanded that the magistrate be put on special leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
“We have quite a number of unresolved cases and relatives of the victims who were not given any feedback. Criminals are loitering on our streets posing a great threat to the community. Your failure to prosecute has created a safe haven for criminals,” the memo read.
Among the list of demands was that, Police Minister Bheki Cele, began an inquiry into the fitness of Mpumalanga Police Station Commander’s fitness to hold office.
The march organisers gave authorities a 72-hour ultimatum to respond.
“We demand that the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, dispatches a team of investigators to determine whether money played a role in ensuring that the criminals walk free, after committing heinous crimes,” the memorandum read.
ANC Women’s League provincial secretary Nonhlanhla Gabela alleged that the Hammarsdale court had a tendency of releasing criminals even though there were witnesses, who were willing to testify.