A Pretoria woman was arrested days before South Africa went into lockdown. She has been sitting behind bars for eight weeks without being allowed to apply for bail.
Maroela Media reported, Sandra Otto, 57, is charged with stealing a box of wine worth R49.95 in northern Pretoria. Her family says she does have a receipt for the wine that the officer did not want to accept.
Otto was arrested on March 22 and appeared for the first time a day later in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court, where the case was postponed for seven days.
The country went into a lockdown shortly after the Covid 19 pandemic and Otto has since been detained at the Kgosi Mampuru jail in the city.
Her lawyer, Robert van Wyk, says Otto is not receiving her medication at this stage and is being held in a crowded cell.
Van Wyk says that’s probably the case with many other people who have been arrested and detained in DCS facilities over the past few weeks. “There must be hundreds of other people in the exact same boat,” he says according to Maroela Media.
Thousands of people have been arrested for violations of the seclusion regulations in recent weeks. In some cases, people pay guilt recognition fines – leading to a criminal record – or they are released on police bail to appear in court later. In the courts, cases are postponed weekly because the accused cannot attend the court proceedings.
Van Wyk said he also could not meet with his client again because he was not allowed to at the jail.
“If the department does not provide clarity on the matter within days, I will need to approach the high court to force the department to bring my client to court.”