“Is this what justice is? For him this bail of R2,000 is like a pat on the back.”
These were the words of Maria Clark after the court granted the man accused of killing her daughter, Angelique Clark-Abrahams, bail. Carl Abrahams, the deceased woman’s husband, was released on R2,000 in the East London’s magistrate’s court on Monday. He has also been granted permission to visit the child he has with Clark-Abrahams.
The bail outcome has not only shocked family members, but women’s rights organisations.
“I am sure for his family it is very good. He will be allowed to see the child under my supervision as well,” said Clark.
Abrahams has been charged with rape and murder.
He was arrested in August after Clark-Abrahams was assaulted and subsequently admitted to Cecilia Makiwane hospital’s ICU, where she died weeks later.
Anti-gender-based violence organisations in the Eastern Cape lambasted the move to grant Abrahams bail and called it an insult in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV).
The activists called for the justice system to send a strong message to people accused of GBV.
Siyamthanda Ndlela of the Total Shutdown Movement said: “I am completely shocked that this man received bail when the president has called for harsh sentences for gender-based violence perpetrators and no bail for its suspects.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa, addressing a joint sitting between the NCOP and members of the National Assembly in September, where he told members about his emergency plan to tackle violence against women and children, said: “We affirm our position that the state should oppose bail for suspects charged with rape and murder of women and children.”
Ndlela said some gender-based violence cases did not have enough evidence, but it was the duty of the justice system to fast-track such cases.
“The system needs to look into that so that cases do not drag on.”
Clark-Abrahams’ death sent shock waves across the country and prompted Ramaphosa to visit her family and those of slain UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana and boxing and karate champion Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels.
Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre director Dr Lesley-Ann Foster, commenting on the bail outcome, said: “This is outrageous and wholly inappropriate.”
Foster, who also serves on the Presidential Interim Committee on Gender-based Violence and Femicide, said she would report the matter immediately to the presidential committee.
Bumb’INGOMSO’s programme manager for behaviour change intervention, Mancane Futwa said the accused being granted bail was insulting.
“The justice system needs to take GBV cases with a much higher tone. It’s even worse when someone lost their lives. This [R2,000 bail] is worse than a slap in the face.
“The family will relive the trauma every time they see that person. It’s an unfortunate thing to happen.” — Additional reporting by John Harvey
BY: GUGU PHANDLE and ZIYANDA ZWENI
SOURCE: DISPATCH LIVE