A man accused of raping a six year a six year old child appeared for the second time in the Lusikisiki magistrate court. The appearance on the 9th of September 2019 was basically the judge reading out the accused rights in accordinace to the constitution of South Africa. The judge proceeded to postpone the case to the 10th of September 2019. This was on the premise that charges were going to be officially laid against the accused, offering him an opportunity to accept the charges or plead otherwise.
On the day of the hearing The accused's representative was present on the stand and officially declaread as the accused representative. The day's proceeding were a stop start affair, much to the frustration of those whom were present to support the victim's family inside the courtroom. The first adjourment was when Mr Mjobo raised a point that, he was not aware of the charges being laid against his client. Hearing that it was a cartegory 6 offence and was never offered an opportunity to read through the charge sheet. The accused's representative proceeded to plead with the judge to be given time to view the charge sheet and make his own notes before going ahead. The plea was granted, and the court adjourned till 2:20PM.
Court proceeding commenced after the lunch hour, immediately after that the accused representative raised what he said was a concerning matter with regards to his client's safety. This was after he consulted with his client, stating that his client complained of being hurled at and threatened by one of members in the court, identifying the person in question with his clothing apparel "red T-shirt".
The presiding Magistrate addressed the concern urging the various community members present at the court to remain calm and trust the court to properly serve justice in accordance to the law. According to the presiding judge people should understand that in eyes of the law the accused is innocent till proven otherwise, so people should refrain from inciting violence and hurling insults, and let the law take its course.
The back and forth exchanges between the defendant's representative and Magistrate continued, this time the representative relaying a request from his client that the court should proceed with bail application. Reluctantly so, the representative reiterated his earlier statement to be afforded the necessary time to prepare his client's move for bail, which he said would be unlikely on the day. The defendant's representative requested an adjournment to a later day stating communications were not enough between him and state prosecutor with regards to the merits of the case.
After a brief discussion between the two opposing representatives, the scheduled date was unanimously agreed to the 17th of September 2019.
Outside the courtroom people who came in huge numbers to support the family, were visibly not satisfied and irritated with the day's resolution. In light of all that, they showed maturity and discipline to understand the directive from the leadership group. After meeting for a debrief with the leaders of the march, they proceeded to disperse peacefully.
We also had an opportunity speak with the mother of the victim who chose to remain anonymous citing the safety of her family. Visibly demoralized and upset the mother said that she expected a lot better from today's judgement. The mother also stressed that her child was grossly violated and has no idea if she could ever recover from this. She is hoping that the justice system could do better going forward in ensuring her safety, the child's safety and that of her family. This was in consideration of a recording the mother received relaying to us that the accused, while in hospital, said that the family were stupid not to wait for him so he could offer them R10 000 or better yet, build them a house.
“A measly R10 000,” she said, could never ever compensate to what this man did to her child's innocence, and seeing him today on the stand broke her heart even more thinking of her daughter being violated in that manner. Responding to the question of her daughter's health state, the mother said that her daughter is not alright at all. Even though she was sent to the doctor after this tragic incident happened and on Monday, she was then transferred to Mthatha were she was further examined, then cleared to go home. Yesterday when the mother returned from court, her daughter was complaining of excruciating pain in the affected area and now she had to take her back to the hospital. After receiving treatment, she is now home in better state than yesterday.
The mother had these words for all those who have supported her through this nightmare. She appreciates the support from her community whom have welcomed her since arriving in the new home. Their movement was supposed to be a new start full of hope and happiness not aware this could happen so soon while still finding their way around the new community. She urged all the organizations, civil society, activists and all parties that took their time in supporting her cause to please continue with their efforts. She is very appreciative and draws strength from the fact that she is not alone in the fight for justice of her beloved daughter.
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