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South Africa to prioritise prosecution of suspects for violence

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Image / IANS

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South African Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola unveiled directions to fast track trials of those who were involved in the looting and public violence since July 7

Johannesburg: South African Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola unveiled directions to fast track trials of those who were involved in the looting and public violence since July 7.

The directions demand that cases of public violence, public disorder and massive looting which took place recently be expedited, reports Xinhua news agency.

"These directions will enable our courts and the justice system to respond effectively and appropriately to deal with cases flowing from the recent unrest and public violence. We are ensuring that nothing disrupts the processing of these matters and that the public can have trust and confidence in our criminal justice system," Lamola said on Saturday.

"The directions provide for, among other things, the postponement of cases through audiovisual links and the compilation of a priority roll at each court which will enable the courts to prioritise the hearing of priority cases which include gender-based violence and sexual offences, corruption cases, cases involving children and contravention of Covid-19 regulations."

Lamola said, if necessary, additional dedicated staff including from a pool of experienced retired magistrates and prosecutors will be called upon in order to fast-track these cases where hundreds of arrests have already been effected.

More than 2,500 people have been arrested in connection with the violent protests in the country in the past week over former president Jacob Zuma's imprisonment.

The death toll has increased to 212.

In the wake of the violence, the number of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployed has increased to 25,000.

The deployment will remain until August 12.

Zuma, once known for his fight against apartheid, has been imprisoned in the Estcourt Correctional Centre for 15 months for disobeying court orders.

He did not testify before the judicial commission that was investigating accusations of corruption against him between 2009-2018.

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