South Africa: Wife-beating investigation is in Gerrie Nel’s sights

- in World News


Advocate Gerrie Nel will lead a possible private prosecution into the case of a man accused of beating his wife.

The son of a well-known South African lawyer allegedly broke six of her ribs.

AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel announced this on Tuesday at their offices in Centurion.

The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) issued a nolle prosequi certificate on September 11[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]2015 to indicate they would not prosecute the alleged assault. The alleged assault happened on March 16[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]2015.

The couple has been married for 23 years. Divorce proceedings are under way.

The charge that Afriforum intends to try to prove is assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm.

Kriel said Afriforum believes in equality before the law and wanted to intervene in this case because they believed the prosecution against their client’s estranged husband was not pursued‚[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“based on the fact that his father is a prominent figure”.

“My simple reading is that the prosecution did not go ahead because of the (alleged) perpetrator’s family ties and surname.”

Kriel also said “we have to break the silence” of violence against women‚ regardless of your surname.

“If you break the law‚ you have to be prosecuted.”

The wife made representations to the National Prosecuting Authority to motivate why they should prosecute her spouse. The NPA was unconvinced and issued the nolle prosequi certificate on September 11[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]2015. A nolle prosequi certificate lapses after three months.

Nel said they approached the NPA on Tuesday morning to indicate they want to reapply for this certificate and prosecute a case of assault GBH (grievous bodily harm).

He said the wife would not speak to the media to avoid secondary victimisation. However‚ in a video supplied by AfriForum on Tuesday‚ she said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“My husband assaulted me. No-one wanted to listen. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) refused to prosecute him. Is it because of his family name? I now have the chance to fight back.”

Nel commented:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“When a victim’s cries for help are left unanswered by her immediate family and environment and she continuously finds herself with her back against the proverbial brick wall with no support for her current situation‚ she feels that she stands alone.”

Nel announced in January 2017 that he had resigned as a state prosecutor‚ to head a private prosecution team which AfriForum was establishing. The team’s focus is to pursue prosecutions where the State “fails miserably or simply refuses to prosecute”.

AfriForum’s first private prosecution took aim at former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane after he crashed his Porsche into a taxi in 2014 on the M1 freeway in Johannesburg‚ killing Phumzile Dube.

The NPA has since indicated it is reconsidering a previous decision not to prosecute him for culpable homicide.

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