'I was forced to spend the festive season alone' - Mandela grandson

2016-03-09 14:05
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Johannesburg - The rape charges against former president Nelson Mandela's grandson were provisionally withdrawn in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. 

Prosecutor Nadine Nel made the request as the State was awaiting psychiatric assessment reports and therefore could not proceed with the trial.

The 15-year-old complainant was seeking further psychiatric help to cope with the trial, which had been scheduled to begin on Wednesday, March 9, and was set down for five days.

Dressed in a black suit and tie, a formal white shirt, and smart, black shoes, Mandela sat in the dock with his fingers laced, looking straight ahead.

His brother, aunt and cousin were in court.

The defendant allegedly raped the teenager at a restaurant in Greenside on August 7 last year. He was granted R7 000 bail after spending more than a week in jail.

In her affidavit, the victim claimed he forcefully kissed her, put his hands in her pants, and raped her.

In his affidavit, the 24-year-old said the sex was consensual and he had no idea she was a minor. He said the pub where they met did not allow entry to people under the age of 21.

Marinda Veldsman, for Mandela, submitted an affidavit in which he asked the court to strike the matter off the roll completely. If the State decided to reinstate the charges, it should do so with written permission from the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

Withdrawal, bail

Mandela asked that his bail conditions be revoked and his passport returned to him. He asked that the State get written permission from the NDPP if it wanted to issue an arrest warrant for him.

Magistrate Hasina Habib told Veldsman that once the State announced its intention to provisionally withdraw the matter, all bail conditions would automatically fall away.

Veldsman said her client's request was for a complete withdrawal of the charges, preventing the State from reinstating them "in the indefinite future".

Habib said the court could not dictate to the prosecution how to deal with the matter, as both were independent of each other.

Nel said the decision was in the complainant’s best interest.

In the affidavit, Mandela said that since his arrest he had lost the freedom to move around as he pleased and was suffering trial-related prejudice.

During the festive season, he was forced to stay at his Houghton home while his family went away on holiday.

Lonely Christmas

"I was forced to spend the festive season all by myself," he said.

His family's reputation had suffered after his identity was made public in the press and on social media, despite the fact that he had not yet pleaded.

"I cannot pursue any employment because of the proverbial sword hanging over my head."

Further delays in the matter would prejudice him because the memories of the witnesses would start to fade.

"I have the right to a trial within a reasonable time," he said.

In September, City Press reported that Mandela allegedly sent a video to the girl via social networking site Snapchat. In the video, subtitled Monday Missions, he laments having to report to a police station regularly.

“Again and again, it’s the same old thing. You know what I’m saying? Fucking bail conditions and shit, mother fucking dammit man,” he says.

His teenage accuser told City Press she felt “scared”, “confused” and “intimidated” when she received the video.

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