Prosecuting the guilty

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

The National Prosecuting Authority says 137 people have been convicted of murder, rape, and armed robbery charges arising from the xenophobic attacks last May.

More than 1433 people were arrested during the violence.

Tuesday - May 12 - is the first anniversary of the attacks.

NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said the offenders were jailed from three to 25 years.

"They were found guilty of crimes that include public violence, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property, robbery, rape and murder.

"They have been sentenced according to the circumstances of their cases. In some cases they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment with an option of a fine."

He said 51 cases were still to be tried and another 82 were still being investigated.

"About 182 cases have been withdrawn for reasons that include the difficulty in tracing witnesses or complainants, because some did not have addresses and others have gone back to their countries of origin.

"Other complainants withdrew charges after they had reconciled with their perpetrators and have now been reintegrated into the communities from which they had fled," Tlali said.

He said the NPA and the Justice Department are committed to setting up "dedicated courts" to process the remaining cases.

"There were three dedicated courts put in place in the Western Cape.

"Other parts of the country could manage to process these cases without adjustments to the legal resources in place," Tlali said.