The mother of a young victim, who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a former sports coach at Bryanston High School in Johannesburg, says she has experienced a “flood of emotions” as developments are finally set to take place in the case after 19 months of delays.
Monday marked 19 months in the court case against the accused, who is yet to plead, according to a statement by Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA).
The organisation has decried the slow pace of justice in a statement released on Monday – but, for the mother, it has been a mix of emotions.
“Right now, there are a flood of emotions surfacing all at once from the past 19 months of disappointment.
“Feeling anxious but somewhat relieved that there is now light and the end is near,” she said in the statement.
Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Gauteng, Phindi Mjonondwane, said the presiding officer in any matter has a duty to listen to both sides before deciding whether a postponement would be justifiable.
“We have been ready to proceed since June 2019 and the delays are at the instance of the accused.
“We are in the hands of the court,” Mjonondwane said.
Last week, News24 reported that trial was to go ahead after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided to go ahead with prosecution.
Slow pace of justice
WMACA, who have been attending the case throughout and supporting the family and the victim as they go through the justice process, decried the slow pace of justice in the matter.
“How the justice system has handled this case is a deterrent for victims,” the organisation said.
“Over the last year, each appearance has shown how the system on which victims rely to get justice lets them down by upholding the rights of an accused,” the organisation said.
It added that the accused had, throughout the process, “exercised his power and rights to avoid facing his day in court”.
But the victim had been silenced, WMACA added.
“As WMACA, we maintain the power of abuse lies in the silence. The justice system silences the victims and makes them invisible – it does not offer support to the victim, not even through the services they should be providing.
“If it was not for WMACA, this young lady would be going through this stressful process alone,” it said.