The Carolina Magistrate’s Court has on 25 June 2020, sentenced 30-year-old Linda Prince Mabuza to an effective three years imprisonment for contravening a protection order.
The sentence comes at a time where there is a public outcry regarding domestic violence incidents where women suffer tremendously at the hands of abusive men and unfortunately many women have been brutally murdered.
In an effort to remedy the situation, the government has put in place systems to curb this scourge, which a protection order being one of them.
Mabuza was penalised for not adhering to the conditions spelled out in the protection order which was issued against his name by assaulting the mother of his two children and police did not hesitate to lock him up.
The sequence of events depicts how Mabuza on 27 October 2018, when returning his two children to their mother after they visited him, got embroiled in an aggressive argument with the mother of his children that led to the assault.
During trial, the court emphasised that Gender Based Violence is a felony and there has been a demand for justice to deal harshly with those who have long claws, shamefully perpetuating Gender Based Violence.
The court concluded that Mabuza did not respect the court and for his actions, deserved to be punished to deter others.
On the same note, the Provincial Commissioner of the police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma indicated that victims of Domestic Violence, should be equipped with knowledge to understand the existence of the protection order and its functions.
“A protection order can be instituted against blood related members for example, boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands/wives as well as children/parents.
The process of applying for a protection order starts at the police station where the victim will be given forms to complete, however if the victim has been assaulted, he/she can either opt to register a criminal case docket, apply for a protection order or even do both.
The forms which are completed at the police station, are then taken to court where an interim order in three copies will be granted to the plaintiff, one to be filed at the police station, the other will be kept by the victim then the last copy is to be served to the defendant.
The interim order has a date when the plaintiff as well as the defendant should meet at court where both parties will be offered an opportunity to contest against each other on the reasons contemplated by the plaintiff.
Should the court rule in favour of the plaintiff, a final order will be issued again in three copies and the same procedure as in the case of the interim order will unfold.
However, at this stage a warrant of arrest will accompany the final order.
The police have a responsibility to accompany the plaintiff when serving the interim or the final order to the defendant.
The final court order will remain active unless otherwise changed by the plaintiff,” said General Zuma.
He further indicated that the most challenges often encountered by police, is the withdrawal of cases by plaintiffs where in a court order has been issued against the alleged perpetrator.
He said that what the victims should know is that when he/she withdraws a case which has a court order, which means you nullifies the existence of it.
In that way, if you are threatened in any possible way, you will be required to restart the whole process.
He explains further about the benefits of this process that, if the final order has not been instituted, the suspect can still be arrested during the stage of an interim order.
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Therefore, the victims should acclimatise themselves with these processes as it is a measure by government to stop Gender Based Violence. Victims of circumstances must not hesitate to report those who are violating their rights to the police.
“There are instances where women are battered by their partners and some are left crippled or died gruesomely. The community must refrain from holding unlawful family courts whereas someone has been severely injured,” said General Zuma.
General Zuma concluded, he indicated that the sentencing of Mabuza is welcomed as it shows that the victim stayed put until the end of the case and we request other victims to do the same.
“I am delighted by the sentencing of this accused and I admire the bravery of the victim, work done by the team of investigators, the Prosecution team as well as the Judiciary. This is a step towards the realisation of a safe environment for children and women in our society. We believe that the sentence will serve as a deterrent to those who violate Protection Orders.
This sentencing has come amidst a flood of Gender Based Violence incidents where women are severely assaulted, some were even killed by their spouses or boyfriends. We urge men to desist from perpetuating violence against women. Let there be tolerance amongst couples and if there are differences, try to seek help. Do not die with a protection order in your house, report the perpetrator to the police,” said General Zuma.