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Elderly rape victim dies before trial despite DNA evidence

The justice system has come under fire after the alleged rape case of an elderly Khayelitsha woman was struck off the Wynberg Magistrates Court roll after the victim died.

Subsequently, the former accused, Khayalethu Mkhumathela, 50, a member of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will no longer go on trial for the alleged crime.

Activist, Zona Morton, who had been monitoring and assisting the victim and family, criticised the justice department and attributed the delay in the case due to the DNA backlog that exists countrywide.

“The perpetrator was injured by community members who found him in the act. A case was opened and rape kit done. The investigating officer found DNA on the scene and this was submitted along with rape kit... Due to the rape injuries the victim struggled to walk. The investigating officer was dedicated to this case and fetched her for court every time. The DNA backlog caused delay with court appearances as well as Lockdown.

“The justice system seems to be the main obstacle in this matter. The evidence is there sitting with SAPS, the DNA amended bill is there but if the judiciary is going to scrap something like this off roll and see it as the victim’s case being dealt with knowing that the DNA results have not come out yet, when does the judiciary come onto par with actual effectiveness of sentencing and deterring future perpetrators from committing the crime. The tool is there to use but failure of the judiciary we will sit with incidents where people are released on parole and sentences are reduced,” said Morton.

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