MORE THAN 420 XENOPHOBIA CASES LAID

ANC Daily News Briefing/Sapa, 25 August 2008

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A total of 421 cases are pending in connection with xenophobia attacks countrywide, the safety and security ministry said on Monday. Spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said a total of 1446 charges had been laid related to the May violence that killed more than 60 people. The cases have been postponed pending further investigations, bail applications and applications for legal aid. Another 82 people walked free after charges against them were withdrawn for a number of reasons. Reasons for withdrawals included requests by the complainants for the cases to be withdrawn (where victims have been re-integrated into the communities), complainants/victims or crucial witnesses having left the country or could not be found, Mulaudzi said in a statement. Only the Western Cape had decided to set up three special courts to try their cases, he added. The other provinces would adopt a "needs-based approach [which] would be employed in making a determination whether or not special or dedicated courts should be made available for purposes of processing these cases with speed. "The approach is informed by different considerations at any given jurisdictional area and the outcomes may not be the same in all jurisdictions," Mulaudzi said. A breakdown of the number of cases per province: North West (seven), KwaZulu-Natal (52), Free State (15), Gauteng (139), Western Cape (164), Eastern Cape (43), Northern Cape (one).