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Tshwane - Civil rights group AfriForum on Thursday applied for a nolle prosequi certificate to enable it to privately prosecute "a prominent person in the financial sector for allegedly raping his granddaughter who was three at the time.

"Just imagine, you get abused in your grandfather's house, you are three years old, you report to your mother and father and your father first confirms this report but later denies it. A psychologist, in a psycho-legal report confirms this sexual assault ... what happens to her? She gets threatened by the father who tells her that you will rue the day you ever met us'," head of AfriForum's private prosecution unit Advocate Gerrie Nel told journalists in Pretoria.

"Your teacher [the child's teacher] confirms your report, she phones your mother but what does the accused do? He visits the school and demands that the teacher be fired. Now it's two years later and the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) decided not to prosecute."

Nel said currently, the mother has very limited access to the child, who is now five, and continues to live with the accused grandfather.

"The father is on a business trip as we speak, so the accused in this particular matter has unfettered access to the victim. The father is obviously a very successful and respected business person," said Nel.

He said when AfriForum was approached, they were "astonished" by different aspects of the case and how it had been handled.

"The police did not obtain the statement of the most important independent witness, who in this case is the school teacher. Within a week or two after the incident, the teacher confirmed this incident. When we were approached in May this year, we were astonished that the police neither approached this teacher nor consulted this teacher, or the psychologist that compiled the psycho-legal report," said Nel.

"Within a month of this case being reported, the police closed it down. They closed their file and closed their docket. When the mother approached us, we wrote letters imploring the police to ensure that those statements are taken and that they take into account all the facts in this matter before a decision is taken. We had no response."

He said the provincial police commander was approached but there was no response. 

"The NPA took a decision, without the statement of the teacher. As we speak now, we have approached the teacher, and we have consulted with the teacher. We are in possession of her version, as well as the version of the psychologist, as well as headmistress of the school who was approached not only by the accused in this matter to dismiss this teacher, but also by the father of the victim," said the former prosecutor of the NPA who secured the conviction of Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius for killing his girlfriend.

"The prosecutors I know, and I've been a prosecutor for many years, if they consult with this teacher and the psychologist, they will prosecute in this matter. If this matter received the attention it deserves, the prosecution would have been concluded. This happened in September 2016. We are two years later ... the NPA has decided not to prosecute."

Nel said a year after the incident, another psycho-legal report was obtained on the same matter and based on that new report, the father opened a case of rape against the mother.

"What did the police do? They jump into action immediately. They searched the mother's house. We had that [second] report evaluated by Dr Gérard Labuschagne. He not only censured the report but he, more specifically, recommended that steps be taken to report the professionals involved to the HPCS (Health Professions Council of SA)," said Nel.

He said the mother was currently permitted to see her daughter for an hour every two weeks. 

A nolle prosequi certificate can be issued after the NPA resolves that there is no reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution. Nel said he believes there are very good chances of a successful prosecution in the matter.

African News Agency (ANA)