Some NGOs have voiced concerns regarding an apparent trend of those accused of against minor. The NGO’s say some of the accused delay their trail by insisting on going for mental evaluation.
These cases usually go on for years and some are provisionally withdrawn. NGOs say the continuous postponements cause further traumas to victims.
In October this year, a 12-year-old girl from Gantatelang was allegedly raped by her own uncle. He was out on bail for raping a 13-year-old – who stay opposite them – at the time of the incident. The young girl vividly remembers the morning. She was busy making porridge.
“I was at work when the brother called me to tell, mom something is wrong you must come home. When I got there she told me that the her uncle found her cooking porridge and forcefully pushed her against the wall where she couldn’t defend herself, and took out a big hard thing and put it inside her,” says the victim’s mother.
Facing the alleged perpetrator in court is already a harrowing experience for survivors of rape. Delays puts more emotional strain on the survivor, says Dr Shandera Omar of Teddy Bear clinic.
“Indeed it is justice delayed, which actually translates into justice denied, because often victim’s trauma is prolonged the anxiety continues to escalate whilst the accused is actually protected, and I think this is often tactics that are used by many accused or sexual predators.”
The National Prosecuting Authority’s Phaladi Shuping says sending accused for mental observation is a huge problem in the Northern Cape.
“Currently Kimberley is using a ward in Kimberley correctional centre, in a month they can only send three inmates, or three accused persons, now the problem that we have you send three this month, next month you get two or three, so you find that roughly on the list we sitting with thirty accused persons that must be sending for mental evaluation.”
While suspects make use of their rights to prolong the processes justice is delayed and young victims suffer more.