A group of gogos and mothers are traumatised after spending 60 days in a prison far from their home in KwaZulu-Natal.
This was after a local magistrate in Colenso denied them the option of bail after a service-delivery protest in the area in which nobody was injured and no property was damaged.
Their time in prison costs the taxpayer about R252‚000‚ while the women are still counting the economic losses their families suffered during their incarceration.
The Sunday Times over the weekend reported on their plight behind bars
Now‚ an expert at the Dullah Omar Institute at the University of the Western Cape says it appears as if “the magistrate wanted to punish someone and was using these women to do so”‚ pulling them as scapegoats into someone else’s political battle.
Professor Lukas Muntingh‚ who heads up Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) at the Dullah Omar Institute‚ said he found the incarceration to be very “strange”‚ especially if compared with high-profile criminals like Henri van Breda or Oscar Pistorius‚ who were granted bail despite being charged with murder.
“People perceived to have less power are more at risk of adverse treatment by the criminal justice system. They end up sitting in cells because they will not sue or make it difficult for the state‚” said Muntingh.