100 times in court and case continues

22 March 2011 — Anele Pontshi and his four co-accused appeared for the 100th time in the Protea magistrate’s court in Soweto last week – and their case was promptly postponed again. Ananias Ndlovu writes for The Sowetan.

The postponements have made it one of the longest court appearances in Gauteng.

The group waited all day just to be told that their case would be heard in two weeks’ time. They will appear again on March 29.

For the past five years the state has been trying to prove that Pontshi, 22, Sithembiso Ngema, 28, Sizwe Zulu, 27, Raphael Maduna, 36, and Mothusi Mmota, 24, are guilty of two counts of housebreaking and kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, rape and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The state alleges the five entered a house in Kliptown, Soweto, in 2006 and raped an 11-year-old girl before they assaulted her father and robbed the family.

But since the trial started it has been marked by a string of postponements to the dismay of the victim’s family, witnesses, the accused and the families of the accused.

On March 23 2007 accused number four (Maduna) was not brought to court and the case was postponed to April 23. On September 10, not all witnesses came to court and it was postponed to November 27. On that day it was postponed again as accused number five (Mmota) was attending another case.

Read the full story here.

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The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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