Civil society calls for more media coverage of the Wisani case

The article below appeared in The Star, 22 August 2016
By Shain Germaner

A coalition of civil soci­ety groups is calling for increased monitoring of the murder trial of former ANC Youth League leader Patrick Wisani.

Wisani, the former chairman of the Joburg inner-city branch of the youth league, is being tried for the murder of his girlfriend, Nosipho Mandleleni, whom he allegedly sjambokked to death last September.

Throughout his trial, which is taking place in the high court in Joburg, reports have emerged that Wisani tried to intimidate witnesses, including Mandleleni’s twin sister, Siphokazi, whom he allegedly assaulted too.

While his trial was expected to continue on August 11, the judge presiding over the case recused himself after both the defence and prosecution noted his confused behaviour.

Throughout the trial, Judge André Louw struggled to keep track of the facts, sometimes con­fusing witnesses, how they fitted into the case and the sequence of events proposed by the State.

A new judge was appointed and the trial was set to resume on September 8.

A group of civil society organisations has been monitor­ing the case but this weekend, the coalition asked for further help to ensure the trial continued correctly and that justice was served.

On Saturday, the Yeoville Bellevue No to GBV (Gender-Based Violence) Coalition called on all “concerned civil society organisations, as well as statu­tory and government structures involved in gender issues, to take note of this case and to make their voices heard”.

The coalition consists of Sonke Gender Justice, People Opposed to Women Abuse, Lawyers for Human Rights, the Awethu Project, Justice and Peace, African Diaspora Forum, the Inner-City Women’s Coali­tion, the Commission for Gender Equality and members of the

Yeoville Bellevue community

The coalition has also requested further media cover­age of the case.

“Nosipho’s sister and two other women have bravely testi­fied, despite threats made against them,” it said.

“Now that a new trial is to be held, they will have to do so all over again.

“The coalition calls on the media – print and electronic – to give attention to this trial when it resumes, and thereby honour the life of Nosipho Mandleleni, the bravery of the witnesses and the pain of all women who are vic­tims of intimate partner murder and other forms of gender-based violence in this country” it said.