Pretoria - Civil rights group #NotInMyName on Wednesday said it was disappointed with yet another postponement in the case against the man accused of raping a seven-year-old girl in a Dros restaurant in Silverton, east of Pretoria.
The matter was postponed to 15 January 2019, but could return to court earlier if a bed becomes available at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria West.
"He is trying to postpone the inevitable by requesting these mental evaluations," #NotInMyName secretary general Themba Masango outside the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
He said that the suspect's use of bipolar disorder as an excuse for his behaviour was an insult to people who lived with the condition. "We will not rest until he goes to jail," Masango said.
"At every appearance, we will be there to insist that he goes to jail and for a very long time."
Different political parties, religious organisations and activists lined up along Francis Baard Street as the matter was heard in court.
Inside court, the prosecution said the man had not secured a bed at the Weskoppies psychiatric hospital in Pretoria, where he was supposed to undergo mental evaluations.
If a bed becomes available before 15 January, he will make a court appearance to be formally referred to the mental institution.
He faces charges of rape, possession of drugs, assault with intent to do bodily harm and intimidation.
The suspect 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 previously heard that the suspect has mental issues and has previously attempted suicide several times due to depression caused by bipolar disorder.
ANC Women's League secretary general Meokgo Matuba said her organisation would continue to fight for the rights of victims of abuse.
"We are always with the victims of gender-based violence. This is part of the responsibilities of the ANC Women's League, to fight for women's rights.
"Today we say 'aluta continua'. Our struggles are the same, irrespective of our [different] political affiliations. We are mothers, we are human beings, we are women and at the end of the day we feel hurt. When another woman has a challenge, we must always be there," Matuba said.
The ANC Women's League picketers marched to and from Francis Baard Street, with head of the Incredible Happenings Ministries church, Prophet Paseka "Mboro" Motsoeneng and #NotInMyNameSA activists.
Motsoeneng appealed to fellow church leaders to take the lead in the fight for an end to violence and abuse against women.
"What has happened to this little child, as a father, it really touched me and I am here to support the family. I am here to support the child. I am here to ensure that this young man who did this stops," Motsoeneng said.
"The postponement is really unfair because it's like justice being delayed to this little one. All the evidence is there, and the man is using different tactics to do this, to delay all this.
"It may take time, but the arm of the law is too long. I believe in the end, justice will be done," Motsoeneng said.
Political parties including the ANC, the Economic Freedom Fighters, the Democratic Alliance and the African Democratic Change made their presence felt outside court - with members in different party regalia marching and singing together.
African News Agency (ANA)