Cape Town – The Strand Collective Leadership held a peaceful protest yesterday to highlight what it said was poor service from the local magistrate’s court and the criminal justice system in the province.
The leadership said the area was experiencing a number of high-profile gang-related murders, violent crimes, including shootings, and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, and the alleged perpetrators of these crimes were being granted bail.
The community demanded an urgent intervention from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the province and that the courts should not grant bail to the alleged perpetrators of violent crimes.
They also demanded that those found guilty of gang-related murders and violent crime receive the maximum jail sentences. They demanded a detailed response outlining how the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will intervene.
CPF chairperson Jannie Frieslaar said the community has witnessed that a high percentage of high-profile gang-related murder cases and violent crimes, including rape and gender-based violence, had been withdrawn from the court roll.
“The alleged perpetrators of those crimes were also granted bail. In many of the matters, the families of the murdered victims have not received any justice from the courts. We, as the leadership collective, demand justice for every victim of crime.
“We demand that the victims and their families receive support, and that the courts will ensure that they allege perpetrators will be successfully prosecuted and remain behind bars,” he said.
Phambili Community Development director Colin van Wyk said the community was in mourning and felt helpless and let down by the justice system. He said more than 58 murders had taken place in Strand in the past 12 months.
“It appears that the law is on the side of the perpetrator. The community has lost its trust in the justice system. Women and children are being abused continually. About 6 weeks ago, one woman was brutally raped and murdered.
“It was very sad to see the husband, children and families of that murdered woman at the funeral that I was conducting as a pastor. I have personally conducted several funerals of murdered victims, including a young man that was shot right in front of his house, 10 metres from the church, where we also held his funeral service,” he said.
Van Wyk said the Strand police management has confirmed that all the murders were gang-related, and that it was a major concern for the safety and health of the community.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Erick Ntabazalila said the NPA would study the memorandum and respond as soon as possible.