Pretoria - The African National Congress in Tshwane has accused the Pretoria Magistrate's Court of treating Nicholas Ninow - the man accused of raping a seven-year-old girl in a Dros restaurant - with kids gloves.
On Wednesday, the court officially referred Ninow to undergo mental evaluation for a month at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria West.
The spokesperson for the ANC Tshwane caucus, Lesego Makhubela told journalists outside the court that justice was being delayed for the young victim of rape.
"We're very disappointed, this is just a delay of justice for the family. The wheels of justice are turning very slowly and it's frustrating for the family of the victim who have to actually come and listen to those presiding over this case saying the matter is going to be postponed," said Makhubela.
"It's now indefinite. From the time the crime was committed to this day, you can imagine the psychological trauma the family is going through, and the trauma that the child is going through. We've placed so much resources and everything actually on the perpetrator of the crime."
Makhubela said given the gravity of the accusations against Ninow, interventions should have been made for his to get evaluated speedily, without the time he spent waiting for a bed to become available at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.
"We're not dealing with a matter of theft here. We're dealing with something that is eating the hearts of the family, draining their emotions. It's very difficult for them to come here every day and to look at this perpetrator when the judges are actually postponing this thing. We're not happy at all," said Makhubela.
Scores of activists from organisations including the African National Congress' Women's League and #NotInMyNameSA were picketing outside the Pretoria court, when Ninow appeared in court.
Themba Masango, #NotInMyNameSA secretary-general said the court was shifting goalposts, from whether Ninow committed the crimes to whether he was sane or not.
"This is a sly tactic that the attorney is using and I don't hear a lot of people crying foul about it. Now it's no longer whether Nicholas Ninow raped or not. It's about whether he was sane or not when he did it," said Masango.
"That's a whole different ball game. We are calling on the justice system, the court and especially the prosecution team to be very vigilant, to make sure that it actually comes back to the actual matter why we're here.
"An innocent child was raped, and we demand justice for that. Nicholas Ninow cannot be reintegrated back into society. Nicholas Ninow cannot come back and be part of society because he's a rapist."
Ninow will return to court in February after undergoing mental evaluation at Weskoppies. He faces charges of rape, possession of drugs, assault with intent to do bodily harm and intimidation.
The accused allegedly followed the little girl from the restaurant's play area to the toilets where he raped the child. The girl's mother caught him in the act after she went looking for her child.
The court has heard that Ninow has mental issues, and has previously attempted suicide several times due to depression caused by bipolar disorder.
Police said the white powder they found on the accused was the drug Tik - medically known as methamphetamine, a potent central nervous system stimulant that is mainly used as a recreational drug.