NPA, police in rapist wrangle

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

The National Prosecuting Authority in KwaZulu-Natal has rejected claims by police that it set free a man convicted of rape.

Police claim that a 22-year-old man from Mtubatuba, in northern Zululand, was convicted of rape on May 28 and was due to be sentenced next week.

But NPA head in the province, Shamilla Bathoi, disputed the police claim.

"The matter of State versus ZZ Zikhali was due to go to trial on May 28. But two weeks ago the complainant informed the prosecutor that she did not want to proceed with the matter.

"The prosecutor consulted extensively with the complainant and her grandfather and the charges were dropped. There was nothing more we could do. We take rape cases very seriously."

She said if the man was indeed convicted then the matter would have been out of their hands.

Local detectives told Sowetan that the case was dropped nearly a year after it was brought to court.

Police spokesman Captain Jabulani Mdletshe said a lot of time and energy was spent on the case.

"A DNA test was done and the results received from the forensic laboratory in Pretoria proved that chances were 99,9 percent that he had sexually abused the victim."

Liesel Gerntholtz, from the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, confirmed that if a person was convicted then the state could not withdraw the charges.

"The courts would have still proceeded with the case based on the evidence - forensic or other - before it," she said.