The acting director of public prosecutions in the Western Cape, South Africa, stated that a pastor has allegedly sexually assaulted two minors and will not be prosecuted.
Western Cape, South Africa, National Prosecution Authority spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila, stated that the director of public prosecutions, Nicolette Bell, has carefully considered representations, docket content and various reports before submitting her decision, and has confirmed to the Moorreesburg Magistrate’s Court prosecutor, not to institute prosecution against the local pastor.
Eric Ntabazalila stated that it was necessary to outline Nicolette Bell’s reasons for her decision.
All three dockets relate to two minor children who were three and four years old at the time the alleged incidents occurred.
In September 2019, a prosecutor spoke to both minors and found that with both the complaints the prosecutor was concerned about the ability of the witnesses to testify in a court of law.
In October 2019, he did not enrol the matter but the prosecutor referred the matter to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for a final decision.
He stated that further investigation into the matter was requested and members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) were asked to complete the investigation.
The child complainants, their age, development stage and level of maturity had to be considered, this was stated by Eric Ntabazalila.
These components were of importance as the State would rely on their testimony.
He also stated that in order for a child witness to testify in court, a competency test is often used to determine if they have an age-appropriate understanding of truth and lies, particularly, for the purposes of their evidence in court, this is a required for the oath, affirmation and a reprimanding in terms of Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977.
Both of the minors were taken to a clinical psychologist and detailed reports were taken for both of the complaints.
The clinical psychologist found that the complaints would not be able to be taken under oath and there would not be any reprimanding that would be able to happen.
Eric Ntabazalila stated that without the testimonies of the minors there would be insufficient evidence to prosecute the pastor.
Nicolette Bell stated that the National Prosecution Authority remained committed to protecting the vulnerable, especially women and children who are victims of sexual offences.