A prosecutor tasked with handling the case of two students who allegedly raped another learner has declined to prosecute.
This was confirmed by Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Lungile Dlamini who told City Press on Tuesday that the prosecutor, for reasons unclear to him, declined to pursue the matter.
The learners attend the Thuto-Lesedi Secondary School in Vosloorus near Boksburg
“Initially the case was placed on the roll and the prosecutor declined to prosecute. The parents of the victim were called and accompanied the police to the prosecutor who explained the reasons why the case was placed on the roll,” he said.
“At this stage the case is being reviewed and will be taken back to the prosecutor once the investigation has been finalised for a further decision.”
Gauteng MEC for education and youth development Panyaza Lesufi confirmed the lack of willingness by the prosecutor to take up the matter, saying the courts were blasé in taking action amid allegations of a sexual assault that transpired at the school on July 25.
“We immediately suspended the leaners and handed them to the police and the courts refused to proceed with the case,” said Lesufi in a Twitter post.
Lesufi’s comment came after reports circulated that a 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped in a toilet by the two boys who a week before the incident were caught with hard drugs on the school’s premises.
Lesufi said the lack of prosecution could have been as a result of the manner in which the victim’s statement was processed.
“The family feels uncomfortable with the way the information was recorded from the victim. Apparently, according to the family, they were narrating the story to a third party because the person who was narrating the story could not understand an African language so they needed an interpreter,” he said.
“In the process of all this, there were a lot of scratches in the statement and by the time that statement was presented to the prosecutors, they felt that there were a lot of changes.”
The MEC – who on Tuesday met with the school’s stakeholders as the disciplinary hearing of the two pupils – added: “The family say they believe there has been interference by the local police, from people the family has accused of being relatives of the perpetrators.”
During the meeting Lesufi said the family of the girl had cried foul about how the case had been handled by the police.
“The family say they believe there has been interference by the local police, from people the family has accused of being relatives of the perpetrators,” he said.
The MEC went on to acknowledge the drug problem the school was plagued with.
“The school is infested with drugs. There are learners openly selling drugs and there is a group of learners, I am told, in grade 12 who are recruiting grade nine learners to continue their legacy, and we need to break that cycle,” he said.
Lesufi said the school had been added to the list of 20 [now 21] other schools identified as being in desperate need of intervention following a spate of violence in these schools.