Dan Plato, MPP
Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
I am greatly concerned with the latest development where all charges, relating to the rape and murder of 9-year-old Elihle Hlanjwa, against a 27-year-old man were withdrawn due to a lack of evidence.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has stated that the lack of sufficient evidence provided by the South African Police Service (SAPS), together with the time required to analyse existing evidence, are the reasons for the withdrawal of the charges and that as a result they were compelled to release the suspect.
It is a sad day and a blow to our justice system when yet another case is being shelved because of insufficient evidence for a conviction, especially when the young victim was reportedly able to identify her attacker before her death in hospital.
Too many victims of crime are left without justice as too many suspects and offenders do not get their full day in court.
I will be requesting a full update from my Department so that we can assist the SAPS in identifying any potential shortcomings that can be addressed in this, and in future cases, to ensure that we are not failing little Elihle. I will also be raising the ongoing investigation with the Provincial Police Commissioner, General Arno Lamoer, to ensure that the police do not fail little Elihle Hlanjwa and her family.
A successful investigation leading to a court conviction requires all stakeholders to play their part. Shortly before Youth Day, this case must not be remembered as the day our criminal justice system failed our innocent youth.