Vlakfontein residents protesting after the court case against Fita Khupe, who was implicated in the murder of seven Khoza relatives, was dropped by the State. Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko met with Vlakfontein community members after the charges against Khupe were dropped. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA).

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko met with Vlakfontein community members after the charges against Fita Khupe for the murder of seven Khoza family members were withdrawn for lack of conclusive evidence.

Last week, the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) said it had withdrawn charges against a 61-year-old Khupe -- one of two men charged for the murders of the Vlakfontein family -- due to lack of conclusive evidence linking him to the murders.

On Monday, Mazibuko said the community members raised their issues relating to their dissatisfaction with the outcome of the court process.

"The community said they were not happy about the change of the court date from 13 June to 7 June 2019 without them being informed, they want the charges to be reinstated and a new investigation to be conducted," she said.

"The also expressed their dissatisfaction with how the case was handled and the amount of time it took for evidence to be gathered and they do not accept that there is no evidence to prosecute and convict Fita Khupe."

She said the community wants evidence to satisfy themselves that Ernest Mabasa was dead.

Mazibuko said she has asked a tasked a team within her department to conduct an investigation with the intention of assisting the community to lodge a claim to have the charges against Khupe reinstated. 

She said she was committed to engage the justice ministry on the merits of the case and explore reinstating the charges. She will also engage with the community safety MEC in the Western Cape about the in-custody death of Ernest Mabasa.

Mazibuko said she will visit the community of Vlakfontein and hold a public meeting to address other unresolved gender based violence cases in Vlakfontein and surrounding areas.

She said she also met with the SA Police Service Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela and senior management.

Mazibuko said priorities in the province would include training police officers; putting in place systems and mechanisms to prevent crime; strengthening community police forums and community safety forums; targeting gang violence and drugs; and implementing the National Plan of Action to end Gender Based Violence.

"It is of utmost importance that the police uphold the principles of Batho Pele and restore public trust by disassociating themselves from corrupt activities," said Mazibuko.

African News Agency (ANA)