Failure of law enforcement agencies to bring perpetrators to book and the unjustified release of criminals by the justice system were among the concerns raised by community members of ward two Emalahleni Municipality as they recently marched to the Lady Frere magistrate’s court to protest against gender-based violence.
Members of the ANC Bubele Branch, residents of ward two, traditional leaders and members of the South African Council of Churches and its leaders issued two memorandums directed to the chief magistrate and the police commissioner last week, calling for the apprehension of offenders and no bail for rapists, murderers and paedophiles.
ANC ward two Bubele branch chair, Thobela Memani, said cases of rape and murder were rife in the area, indicating that these cases remained unresolved with alleged perpetrators roaming around committing more crimes. In one of the memoranda the community members appealed to the police to be efficient in collecting evidence “so that it is credible enough to present a strong case that will result in an acceptable conclusion and the arrest of criminals when crime is committed. Police should desist from the tendency of taking perpetrators away and releasing them to come and brag to the victims that they are untouchable. By so doing, this encourages them to continue offending people which tends to provoke people and easily results in what is referred to as mob justice. Stop befriending criminals, drug dealers and shebeen queens.”
Both the documents listed names of perpetrators who were released and cases that could not be traced on the system. The chief magistrate was given 20 days to respond on “why the perpetrators were released, how much bail they were granted and why? What will you do to expedite the process that will culminate in a fair and just conclusion of these cases?” stated the document.
The police commissioner was given 15 days to provide reasons why the cases could not be traced on the system. “What will you do to reinstate them for the victims’ families to see justice done for their loved ones? Why are the listed cases not progressing and also inform us how you will assist in bringing them to finality,” the document read further.
Memani said they had proceeded to the Bengu community hall for an interdenominational prayer service