|Picture source: news24|
Of all the courthouses in the country Murphy’s Law (pardon the pun) decided that the one in Polokwane had to burn down. According to Beeld all dockets, charge sheets, computers and files in the Polokwane Magistrates court have been destroyed by the fire.
'Chaos' during fire at Polokwane court – (News24)
Two high profile cases were due to appear in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court today. The one case involved an ANC politician who was charged with the rape of a 19-year old woman. He was expected to plead and apply for bail today (details here). The other case involved a large number of suspects, who were accused of being involved in a rather complicated rhino poaching syndicate (some details here).
The Polokwane Magistrate’s Court was also dealing with the high profile case of the expelled ANCYL President Julius Malema, who together with his co-accused face numerous counts of fraud, corruption and money laundering.
During October 2010 a massive blaze at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court (a national heritage site) also brought the wheels of justice to a halt, causing damage estimated at R30-million. 1000’s of police dockets and court files were destroyed. It was the third inferno at the same court building in a matter of weeks. The cause of the last devastating fire was blamed on an electrical fault in one of the ceilings of the old building. Read: Pretoria court building to be restored to former glory.
At this point in time it’s anyone’s guess what caused the fire at the Polokwane courthouse. Early speculation is that an officer left a burning cigarette in an office, but there are also reports of people inside the court stating that they heard two explosions. A journalist, Maretha Swanepoel, who was covering court cases inside the building, also speaks of a type of explosion – “more of a loud popping sound, really,” she said. Read her firsthand account here.
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