About 1 400 up on charges of violence

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

About 140 cases involving more than 1433 perpetrators arrested during the outbreak of xenophobic attacks three weeks ago have been heard at various courts across the country.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Tlali Tlali said the number of people tried was not the same as the number of people arrested because some people faced the same charges.

"Other cases are regarded as so-and-so versus the state in a certain charge," Tlali said.

"All the culprits have been arrested and have all appeared in court to have their cases remanded to various dates."

Last week Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla announced that special courts would be set up to expedite xenophobia-related cases.

This after meetings with the NPA and police in the face of mounting pressure from lobby groups.

Tlali said the NPA and Department of Justice would work together to ensure the cases were finalised quickly.

He said prosecutors could rely on the doctrine of common purpose to make successful cases against some perpetrators.

But culprits would first have to be positively linked to their crimes - which is notoriously difficult in mob justice cases.

The doctrine, which is often used in prosecuting gangrelated offences, allows a member of a group of perpetrators to be held responsible for the criminal conduct of the others - if they are found to have acted with a common purpose to commit the crime.

National police spokesman Director Sally de Beer said of the 1433 alleged perpetrators, 616 were arrested in Gauteng, 390 in the Western Cape, 155 in North West, 97 in Mpumalanga, 64 in the Free State, 62 in KwaZulu-Natal, 38 in Limpopo and 11 in the Northern Cape.

Tlali said he did not know when the special courts would be available in Gauteng.

The courts are already operational in Western Cape.