South Africa, Cape Town – The case of Cytheria Rex’s brutal rape and murder by stabbing, which has been delayed 89 times since 2011. 17-year-old Rex was allegedly raped and murdered, and seven men were arrested in 2011, but the case has been repeatedly delayed.
Her mutilated body was discovered shoved into a wheelie-bin on a field in Eikendal, Kraaifontein, on February 22, 2009, with a trail of blood left by the bin which enabled the police to pinpoint the house where she was murdered.
Virgil Sass, Oswill Grootboom, Imeraan Hendricks, Lee Cloete, Rhonwen Rhode, Warren Robertson and Keenan Lewis pleaded not guilty when they first appeared in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on December 4, 2009.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said all the accused in the case were arrested on February 22, 2009.
Bail was opposed and all the accused were kept in custody until the investigation was completed and the case transferred to Regional court 3 for the purpose of trial.
In 2011, the case was postponed four times, in 2012 seven times, in 2013 13 times, in 2014 six times, in 2015 10 times, in 2016 eight times, in 2017 nine times, in 2018 11 times and last year 13 times.
This year, the men have appeared in the dock eight times.
Ntabazalila said the case was postponed only once because the prosecutor was sick.
“Otherwise all the delays were a result of the accused changing lawyers, making unsuccessful representations, lawyers withdrawing, accused absconding…”
DA provincial spokesperson on Social Development Gillion Bosman said he will be writing to the Community Safety, MEC Albert Fritz, requesting that “this horrific travesty of justice is referred to the department’s GBV desk at the Court Watching Brief without delay”.
Bosman said while the efficacy of the criminal justice system and policing was a national government competency, the province could – and absolutely must – step in to monitor the issue.
“This is why we have a Court Watching Brief, namely, to monitor criminal cases such as this and escalate inefficiencies as far as possible so that ultimately justice is served and restitution takes place for affected victims and families,” he said.
Ntabazalila said on November 11, 2020: “Lawyer for accused four and seven was still absent at court. Accused four and seven objected to the appointment of the lawyer as he was not conversant in Afrikaans.
“Legal Aid was informed and postponed till December 14, 2020, for Judicare for accused four and seven,” he said.