Cape Town – The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been criticised by religious leaders in the Western Cape after the suspects involved in the Verulam mosque bombing in 2018 in Durban were set free.
In a statement released on Monday, the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum (WCRLF) said it has written an open letter to the NPA to appeal for the swift reinstatement of the case on the court roll and a “competent, capable and committed lead prosecutor is appointed by the NPA KwaZulu-Natal Division to ensure that the necessary investigations are promptly finalised and the trial of the accused brought to completion”.
This comes after the matter was struck from the court roll in July and the 12 suspects were set free.
The WCRLF represents all major faith communities in the Western Cape and the letter was addressed to the national director of public prosecutions, advocate Shamila Batohi.
The reason for striking the case from the roll was unreasonable delays at the start of the trial in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court.
“The NPA has allowed this matter to be treated with such an apparent lack of concern or diligence by the lead prosecutor and the NPA Kwazulu-Natal Division,” the forum said, stating the only thing done by the prosecutor assigned to the case since February was “four telephone calls”.
The WCRLF said the case involved “a significant act of terror”.
It urged that the death of Muhammad Abbas Essop and the serious injuries to the imam, Sheikh Alli Mchinyani, and the caretaker, Mohammed Alli, as well as damage to the mosque and destruction of religious books, including the Holy Qur’an, not be in vain.
African News Agency (ANA)