Action Society court wrap: 7 – 11 August 2023
Multiple court cases overseen by Action Society were either impossible to get to, or had to be postponed due to taxi strikes last week. Witnesses and accused alike couldn’t get to court and some courts were even closed. Last week alone, Action Society went to court with five cases, all of which where the violence was perpetrated against children and all of which had been postponed numerous times before due to a combination of indifference and incompetence from the justice system.
“It is very concerning that in an increasing number of these cases, the perpetrators were out on bail for previous offences against the victims whose murder cases we are overseeing today. The percentage of cases perpetrated against children are also rising at an alarming rate. How can this be allowed to continue? By granting bail, the freedom of perpetrators is prioritised over the protection of our children. What a tragic reflection on our justice system,” says Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society.
“The state’s shocking failure to convict is the result of poor police work, forensic backlogs and delay upon delay in courtrooms. Granting bail is nothing less than the justice system themselves facilitating an escalation of violence against the women and children they are tasked to protect.”
The bitter-bittersweet case of little Bokgabo Poo
“This case was bitter-bittersweet for us. Bitter, because the man accused of four year old Bokgabo Poo’s rape, murder and mutilation could not be tied without reasonable doubt to her death and has left her devistated family with lingering questions and doubts. Bittersweet, because during the course of the investigation into Bokgabo’s death, DNA evidence could be linked to the unsolved rape of another victim, a nine year old girl. Because of that, the accused in Bokgabo’s murder had no choice but to admit guilt of the nine-year-old girl’s rape and has subsequently been sentenced to life in prison. The not-guilty verdict in Bokgabo’s case means the case is closed, at least for now, but we are thankful that we could rid society of a ruthless child rapist.”
It was a beautiful spring day. Little Bokgabo was playing with a friend in a park not far from home in Wattville Benoni on October 10, 2022 when she was approached by a strange man. The man paid her friend some money to go buy lollipops at a filling station, leaving him alone with Bokgabo. When the little boy returned, Bokgabo and the man had disappeared. Bokgabo’s mother sent out a desperate plea for help on a Whatsapp group when she learned what had happened from Bokgabo’s friend and a search party gathered to search for the little missing girl.
The search continued the next day. Little Bokgabo’s body was found piece by piece over the next three days. Her killer had dismembered her body. Her leg was found in a yard about 3 km from where she had been playing with her friend the day after her disappearance. The search party eventually found her mutilated torso in a veld, where her mother identified her body.
Lihle Zenzile – the little girl in the trunk
The case against the family member who, according to all accounts, murdered 10-year-old Lihle Zenzile, appeared in the Paarl Magistrates Court on Monday 7 August 2023.
Lihle’s body was found stuffed into a trunk in her parents bedroom on 6 January 2023 in Mbekweni in the Paarl. An 18-year-old suspect, who is a relative of the family, was arrested after he turned himself in and directed police to the scene of the crime.
Action Society attended the court proceedings on 2 May but the case was postponed as the suspect was placed under mental observation. The case was postponed again on 7 August so that further mental evaluations could be completed. The suspect will appear in court again on 24 August.
Mitchell’s Plain teen rape
The matter relating to a teenage girl who was raped by two boys was heard in the Mitchells Plain Court. However, due to the taxi violence in the area, the witness due to testify on the day was unable to make it to court. Action Society visited the court the next day, but found that the court was closed and the case could not proceed. This case has been postponed on numerous occasions, one of the issues was faulty equipment at court last year. Action Society is awaiting feedback on a new court date.
Paarl stalk and stabber
The man accused of stabbing a 16-year-old girl in the head in Paarl appeared in the Paarl Magistrates Court again on Monday 7 August. The man, the young girl’s ex-boyfriend, stabbed her in the head in July 2023. He was out on bail after previously trying to kill her when he stabbed her in the lung. The case was moved to the Paarl Regional Court and the accused will appear in court again on 17 August 2023.
Paarl Photographer Rapist
The case against the Paarl Photographer Rapist had to be postponed for the sixth time last week because that suspect couldn’t be transported from the correctional facilities due to the taxi strike.
The 19 year old victim, who wanted to follow a modelling career was targeted by the Photographer rapist in October 2021 under the ruse of a photoshoot to further her modelling portfolio. The attacker lured her to a secluded area where he drugged and raped her. The case will be before the court again on 13 October.