Publication: Sapa Issued: Pretoria Date: 2004-10-20 Reporter: Sapa

Alleged Attack In Pta : State Wants Immunity to be Waived






Date 2004-10-20


The case against a 20-year-old man who allegedly tried to rape a Pretoria advocate last week has been struck from the Pretoria Magistrates Court's roll pending the outcome of an application for his diplomatic immunity to be suspended.

The deputy director of public prosecutions in Pretoria, George Baloyi, said Zondi Ashipembe is the grandson of the third secretary in the Namibian High Commission and therefore enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Baloyi said his office applied to the Namibian government for Ashipembe's diplomatic immunity to be waived so that the case against him could continue.

Ashipembe was released into the care of the Namibian High Commissioner to South Africa on Tuesday.

Baloyi said "certain undertakings" were given by the High Commissioner. These included that Ashipembe would be kept under his supervision all the time, he would not return to the place where the alleged attack on the advocate took place and he would not try to contact the woman. "The most important thing is that he will remain in the country until we have an answer from the Namibian government," Baloyi said. Ashipembe is a neighbour of the advocate. He allegedly assaulted her and tried to rape her in her townhouse last week. She is one of the key witnesses in the Schabir Shaik fraud and corruption case. Baloyi could not say when a reply from the Namibian government was expected.

"We tried to push it for today or tomorrow, but we cannot rush them. Let's just say we hope it will be soon."

With acknowledgement to Sapa.