'She plays race card with kids'
A white senior public prosecutor could be in trouble after her colleagues accused her of playing the race card when prosecuting minors.
Carlette Muller is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases involving minors in the Johannesburg region.
Social workers, police and prosecutors believe that Muller prefers to send black children to court - while withdrawing cases involving their white counterparts.
"This leaves black children with criminal records for life," said a concerned senior justice official.
Sowetan can reveal that Muller's colleagues have now complained to the National Prosecuting Authority. They have also approached the senior magistrate at the Johannesburg family court, Daniel Thulare, to deal with the matter.
The justice official said yesterday: "Whenever we are dealing with juveniles we have a mandate to divert them into rehabilitation programmes so that they don't have criminal records. People who work in Carlette's office claim that she prefers to send black kids to court while diverting their white counterparts."
In August last year Muller apparently decided to prosecute a 12-year-old black child despite social workers, who investigated the child's circumstances, recommending he be sent into the rehabilitation programme. The minor, whose name is know to Sowetan, was accused of stealing clothes worth R1000.
We can further reveal that a month earlier she had recommended that a 16-year-old white girl, bust for theft of clothes valued at R2900, be sent to a rehabilitation centre.
This was despite further testimony by the suspect's mother that she was a drug abuser and that she was stealing things from home in order to support her habit.
A few weeks later Muller was said to have withdrawn theft charges against a 16-year-old white youth - despite social workers requesting the boy be detained at a centre while they investigated his case.
Thulare said yesterday: "I can confirm that social workers and members of the public did complain to me about . diversions along racial lines and I have brought the matter to the attention of the NPA."
Thulare said Muller has in turn accused him of defamation.
"I have been aware of these complaints for some time. In my view the solution to the whole problem is to do a proper investigation," Thulare said.
Muller, when approached by Sowetan, said: "I am not prepared to talk about that matter."
She then stormed out of the office.
Dennis Bloem, the chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on correctional services, told Sowetan: "Social workers and other prison officials have complained that whenever a black child has been arrested they are denied bail.
"And when a white child is involved prosecutors go out of their way to get relatives or guardians so that the juvenile could be released. We have heard that some of the prosecutors are not consistent when they apply the law."
NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali said yesterday: " The NPA will institute an inquiry in order to determine what the state of affairs is before taking any corrective action, if one is warranted."