Reopen Jill’s case, say residents

Bonteheuwel residents marched to the satellite police station on Saturday August 31, to demand the case into the death of Jill Fernandez, be reopened.

Bonteheuwel residents, family and friends of Jill Fernandez, marched through the streets on Saturday August 31, to demand that the case into her death be reopened.

The 49-year-old woman died on Sunday December 23 last year, allegedly after being assaulted.

The case was withdrawn on Tuesday August 13.

The family of Ms Fernandez believes the case was thrown out of court because there were discrepancies in the investigation, but SAPS has denied this.

According to a statement re-
leased by provincial SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Novela Potelwa, the case was given another look after complaints that the investigating officer had failed in his duties.

“As the SAPS, we are mandated by law to investigate all reported cases. It was therefore befitting that the case be given another look. Part of that entailed the inspection of the docket again.

“A medical report at the disposal of the SAPS, which was presented as part of the docket to court, does not suggest any form of injury on the 49-year-old person who was brought to the Vanguard Day Hospital on Saturday December 22, 2018 at 10.30pm.

“The post-mortem report which was availed to the investigating officer in April, reflects no injury consistent with claims made by the deceased’s brother. The post-mortem report compiled by a forensic pathologist, found that the deceased died of natural causes. The findings of the post mortem report, coupled with the Vanguard Day Hospital report, led to the case being withdrawn as there was no evidence to support the eye witness account of a concrete slab being thrown at the deceased thereby injuring her seriously,” the statement reads.

Ms Fernandez’ brother, Kurt Fernandez, said SAPS “had the audacity to say the family is lying” and vowed that “we will fight this”.

“I have evidence. I am standing on my word. I am not thumbsucking anything. We demand that the case be reopened by an outside investigator. The post-mortem results were made available to the investigating officer in April, but in July, during the court case, the investigating officer said under oath, he did not know where the post-mortem result was,” Mr Fernandez said.

Henriette Abrahams, from the Bonteheuwel Development Forum, who supported the march, said the reports into the detah of Ms Fernandez, needed to be probed. A memorandum was handed over at the satellite police station in Bonteheuwel after the march.

“This march is not only about Jill. We want to build safer networks for women. Our memorandum is not just aimed at SAPS, but all stakeholders and government departments,” Ms Abrahams said.