An advocacy organisation, the Wise Collective, has warned that the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to decline to prosecute Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana for sexual assault, will jeopardise the country’s fight against gender-based violence.
Last week, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Mpumalanga, Nkebe Kanyane, confirmed the NPA’s decision.
It relates to an alleged case of sexual assault that a complainant had opened against Godongwana at the Skukuza police station in August. The complaint followed an incident alleged to have occurred at a hotel in Skukuza.
The Wise Collective’s director, Advocate Brenda Madumise, says the public will begin to doubt the commitment of law enforcement agencies to fight gender-based violence.
“It puts us in a very difficult position because the public will start to doubt everyone, that see we told you that there was no case here. And the woman’s credibility is put to the test. I want to know whether the NPA could not proceed even without her because the police would have done a thorough job in gathering evidence and would have got some conviction or another even giving testimony.”
NPA declines to prosecute the sexual assault case laid against Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana”:
In a statement, Kanyane said the decision follows a “thorough assessment of all available evidence and after consultations with the complainant who expressly did not wish to proceed with the case despite being offered all the necessary support available to complainants in cases of this nature”.
Last month, Godongwana said in a statement that the case was opened almost a week after he had made a private visit to the park.
Godongwana said he was in his room with his wife at the time that the alleged incident is said to have occurred and that there was no basis for the allegations.
He said in the statement that he had always respected the rights and dignity of women and the allegation went against everything he had stood for.