'Compensation is not enough' - Raped by man and state
R50,000: This is what the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has paid as compensation to a rape victim whose case took nine years to finalise.
The victim, from Malebitsa village in the Moutse area of Limpopo, will share the money with her mother, who accompanied her to court throughout her ordeal from 2002 to 2008.
Payout followed a recommendation in 2010 by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
Madonsela had investigated the victim's plight following a report that appeared in Sowetan in 2008.
Handing the R50000 cheque to the victim at the Groblersdal's Regional Court, Paul Mthimunye, the justice department's director for legal services, said: "We are sorry for the delay in finishing your case.
"The money we are giving you today is part of a process geared to restoring the loss you have suffered."
The victim told Sowetan: "We are not happy with the amount paid out, but there is nothing we can do.
"We feel the money could have been more, particularly since the delay was caused by three state departments."
The victim was 14 years old when she was raped by two neighbours.
The neighbours have since been convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail each.
When she first reported the case in 2002 her attackers, Masuku Matlanato and Tsomi Skosana, were arrested, but were soon released on bail.
Three years later she was still waiting for justice.
Then she was informed that the case had been withdrawn because of a lack of evidence.
The case was reinstated after the victim's mother challenged the decision.
But the victim's woes only got worse. The case was postponed a record 48 times.
Sowetan took up the matter in 2008 on the victim's behalf after being approached by her family,
Madonsela found that the police, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development were guilty of maladministration in the way they had handled the case.
In 2010 Madonsela ordered the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to apologise and compensate the victim and her family.
The department apologised at the time, but refused to pay compensation.
The department claimed the right to compensation focused expressly on loss or damage to property suffered by the victim as a result of the crime committed against her.
The department's director- general Nonkululeko Sindane, said they could only compensate the victim, her mother and witnesses for their travelling expenses.
Madonsela insisted that the department pay the victim and her mother for the emotional trauma they had endured as a result of the delay in finalising the case.
And yesterday the family was finally handed a R50000 cheque as compensation.
Madonsela's office is still weighing its options on the matter and said she would express her view on the compensation amount as soon as possible.
Sequence of events
- She was raped in December 2002.
- Her mother reported the case at Matlelereng police station.
- One of the perpetrators chased her in the street in February 2003.
- Her mother opened another case on the same day.
- The perpetrators were arrested in February 2003.
First appearance: February 11 2003 and was postponed to the following day. On February 12 the case was remanded to March 6 2003 and bail was fixed at R1000 each
- The perpetrators were released in 2006 for lack of evidence.
- The victim's mother approached Sowetanin 2008 for help.
The case was postponed many times until the trial began a year later in 2008. The accused were sentenced in March 2009.
- In 2009 Masuku Matlanato and Tsomi Skhosana were sentenced to 15 years in jail in the Groblersdal Magistrate's Court.
- Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that the police, NPA and Justice Department were guilty of maladministration in the way they handled the case. She ordered them to apologise, in writing, to the victim for the delay in finalising her case.
On October 11 2012, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development pays R50000 compensation to the victim.