Pretoria - Different civil society groups, religious formations and political parties are gearing to protest at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court where, the 20-year-old man accused of raping a seven-year-old girl in a Dros restaurant, will appear on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, #NotInMyNameSA secretary general Themba Masango told African News Agency (ANA) that his organisation plans to picket at the court, calling for a harsher sentence to be imposed on the accused when he eventually goes on trial.
"We plan to come in our numbers at court on Wednesday. We are engaging the prosecutor as we speak. We are saying (the accused) is not mad. He must be subjected to a blood test to prove our accusations. We want answers to the questions we are posing. We do know that he is not mad. Why is he getting preferential treatment? Is it because he is white?" said Masango said at the time.
#NotInMyName has been at the forefront of pickets every time the accused appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
Incredible Happenings Ministries leader, Prophet Paseka "Mboro" Motsoeneng, who has partnered with #NotInMyNameSA said it was critical for the South African community, particularly church organisations to stand with victims of crime.
"I have taken a decision to play an active role in the fight against all forms of women abuse happening in South Africa. From time immemorial, the church has been the refuge for victims, so myself, as a leader of a church I am continuing on that path. I will dedicate time on Wednesday to join different political parties and activists who will be denouncing the accused in this case. We cannot fold our hands when a seven-year-old innocent girl is molested," said Motsoeneng.
"This is why I have partnered with #NotInMyName so that we join our forces to fight this scourge. This fight needs everyone to join in - despite our differences."
Earlier this month, the Pretoria Magistrate's Court sent the accused for mental evaluation at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria.
The accused faces charges of rape, possession of drugs, assault with intent to do bodily harm and intimidation.
He allegedly followed the little girl from the restaurant's play area to the toilets where he raped her. The girl's mother caught him in the act after she went looking for her child.
The court has heard that the accused has mental issues, and has previously attempted suicide several times due to depression caused by bipolar disorder.
The defence, led by Legal Aid attorney Riaan du Plessis, requested that three clinical psychologists be appointed to assess the accused, instead of the usual two.
On Tuesday, the African National Congress in Tshwane said it will also be mobilising members to protest at the court - as it had done in previous appearances.
"We are very firm that (the accused) should remain behind bars for the crimes he committed against the victim, the victims family and the people of this country, we are convinced that the courts should not allow him to hide his satanic behaviour behind the veil of insanity," said Tshwane Caucus spokesperson Lesego Makhubela.
"(The accused) was perfectly aware of what he was doing and was responding to his wicked inclinations. In observing the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence and Abuse of Women and Children, the court should never allow him to be set free."
Meanwhile, the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) has advised motorists to avoid streets adjacent to the court as they will be congested by the picketers.
"Streets in the [Pretoria] CBD will be congested, so motorists are advised to avoid the affected streets and use alternative roads. TMPD and [SA Police Service] SAPS officers will be deployed to monitor the picket and all affected streets," said Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba.
Francis Baard Street will be closed for traffic between Sophie de Bruyn and Bosman Street from 8am until 3pm.
African News Agency/ANA