Magistrate blasts police 'ineptitude'
THE magistrate in the case of two men accused of defacing The Spear, a painting that showed President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed, launched a scathing attack on police, saying their incompetence was impeding the justice system.
This was after the prosecutor, Frederick Beukes, requested yet another postponement of the case, stating that the investigating officer had not submitted all the required documents.
Magistrate Johan Engelbrecht was presiding over the case of Louis Mabokela, 25, and Barend la Grange, 58, who allegedly defaced Brett Murray's painting at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg on May 22.
The two accused, who have been reported not to have collaborated on the widely publicised defacing of the painting, are facing charges of malicious damage to property.
Engelbrecht questioned why the investigation had not been completed because both the accused had fixed addresses.
"The investigation must be completed as a matter of urgency. [Failing which] the court will strike the matter off the role. The accused have fixed addresses," the magistrate said.
He said police incompetence resulted in justice not being delivered on time because the courts had to wait until police concluded their investigations.
Mabokela's lawyer, Krish Naidoo, said it was unfair for his client, who had travelled from Limpopo to attend court in Johannesburg, to go back without the matter being heard.
"This is the second postponement. He [Mabokela] travelled all the way. But the case was not heard.
"We believe that justice must be seen to be done. It is not fair that he travelled all this distance and the state is not ready to proceed," Naidoo said.
Mabokela was accompanied by his uncle, Stephen Sefofa, and a friend, Simon Matshipo, to court.
Engelbrecht postponed the matter to September 4.