Alexis Bizos, son of Adv. George Bizos, appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Adv. Gerrie Nel, head of AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, acted as prosecutor on behalf of the victim, Monique van Oosterhout. She was married to Alexis Bizos at the time of the incident. The hearing date is tentatively set for May 4, 2020.
Bizos allegedly assaulted Van Oosterhout in 2015 and broke six of her ribs. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) initially refused to prosecute him. Adv. George Bizos is a human rights champion and was outspoken in his criticism of apartheid.
After AfriForum announced in 2018 that it had applied for a zero prosequi certificate to prosecute Bizos, the NPA suddenly announced that it would indeed prosecute Bizos. Bizos was then invited to make representations to the NPA before the prosecution would be instituted. After receiving Bizos’ representations, the NPA again decided not to prosecute. Van Oosterhout then again applied for a certificate to prosecute Bizos privately.
“It is clear that the NPA is merely engaged in lip service with regard to cases of violence against women and children. Bizos is apparently not being prosecuted because of his father’s political commitments, and this is unacceptable, ”says Andrew Leask, chief investigator at AfriForum’s private prosecution unit.
According to Leask, it is important for AfriForum’s private prosecution unit to get involved in cases like this. Firstly because the NPA cannot be selective with the prosecution of suspects and secondly because the judicial system has repeatedly failed this victim.