Georgina Mashaba and Zakariah Koue, siblings to the late Elizabeth Koue who was allegedly murdered by her partner in July 2016. The accused was later acquitted of the murder by the Protea Magistrate’s Court. The siblings expressed their disappointed with the law as they believe they had a solid case against the accused.
Johannesburg - A Soweto family has lodged a complaint of incompetence against the prosecution team at the Protea Magistrate’s Court.

The family approached the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) alleging that the court failed to uphold the rule of law with regard to protecting women who die at the hands of their abusive partners.

Kgomotso Mashaba lost her aunt Elizabeth Koue after she was stabbed to death on the morning of July 16, 2016.

“My aunt had been in an abusive relationship with a man famously known for domestic violence.

“In all the years our aunt had been with this monster, her life had been under threat as she would not be allowed to leave him.

“Like the psychopath that he is, he would stalk her, then beg her to forgive him and employ all sorts of tactics to get her back, which mostly involved violence and instilling fear. Because she feared for her life, she stayed with him, until she was stabbed and killed,” said Mashaba.

According to Mashaba, the suspect allegedly ran off following media reports about his whereabouts.

Fearing mob justice, he eventually handed himself over to the police a month after the crime.

For almost three years, the family awaited justice to be served, attending court without fail and enduring delays.

To the family’s shock, the matter was closed on February 19 this year after the suspect was found not guilty and discharged.

“We find the decision by the magistrate totally unacceptable. We were told it was ‘unfortunately one of those cases’ where a determination couldn’t be made as to what happened that fateful morning.

“My family is extremely devastated by these remarks, taking into account the evidence that was presented to the court. This man was discharged, his case closed, despite his abominable history of violence, and the abuse he perpetrated against our aunt.

“The court gave him a free ticket to freedom, allowing him to literally get away with murder,” said Mashaba.

The devastated family said this was yet another statistic of the criminal justice system failing society, slain women in particular.

“Our mothers and sisters get intentionally killed by their partners every single day, yet the law protects the killers instead, giving them get-out-of-jail-free cards.”

The distraught niece added that not enough was done from the prosecution side to ensure that the case was seen for what it was and for the suspect to be seen for who he truly is (a murderer).

“We had done everything we could to bring the abuse to the attention of the prosecution and this evidence was never presented in court. Instead, the man claimed self-defence with no evidence whatsoever to this effect and the court accepted his version of events,” said Mashaba, adding that her mother Georgina, the accused’s sister and his niece had been witnesses to the crime.

“They gave a statement to the police on the same day, and the days that followed.

“In court, however, the sister changed her story multiple times, which the prosecution never followed up on, never bothered to challenge. She opted to change her story to protect her brother and the court allowed this discrepancy to fall through the cracks.”

Meanwhile, the NPA confirmed receiving a letter from the complainant and that the director of public prosecutions in the Gauteng Local Division, Andrew Chauke, gave instructions that a file for representations to be opened.

NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw-Mjonondwane said the file is receiving the necessary attention. “The office of advocate Chauke requested the chief prosecutor of the Westrand, Ms Lynn Wessels, to furnish his office with a detailed report concerning these allegations.

“She said the NPA is also waiting for the transcribed record of proceedings so as to come to an informed decision.

“The complainant will be contacted as soon as there is any feedback that is due to them,” said Louw-Mjonondwane.

The Sunday Independent