Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)
Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

Cases getting postponed as prison warders fail to take suspects to court

By Bongani Nkosi Time of article published Jun 25, 2020

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Failure by correctional services officials to bring suspects facing trial and convicts remanded in prisons to the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg is forcing postponement of several cases.

Operations at the court were slowly returning to normal after the easing of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, but too many cases on the roll were being postponed.

The common cause was the failure of suspects in custody and convicted parties from attending sentencing proceedings.

They were inexplicably not brought to court, prosecutors explained to judges as they requested postponements.

Transporting prisoners to courts was the duty of officials of the Correctional Services Department, and they had performed it with aplomb pre-Covid-19.

Before the virus outbreak, it was rare for cases in Joburg to be postponed and, as a result, those being held in custody not being brought in.

Gauteng Correctional Services spokesperson Zandile Mabunda had on Wednesday not responded to questions emailed to her.

The issue first emerged last week in the case of rapper Thulani Ngcobo, popularly known as Pitch Black Afro.

The Never Let You Go hitmaker had to explain to the judge that he had been a no-show because prison officials did not call him.

Ngcobo’s case was subsequently concluded last week. He was found guilty of culpable homicide over the December 2018 death of his wife Catherine Modisane.

But most of the cases were not be postponed by just a day. The Star witnessed several being set back by at least two weeks.

This included the case against rapist Adam Cummings and co-accused Johanna Maregele. The 22-year-old woman Cummings paid to lure and kidnap young girls for him was not brought to court.

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