A Year On and Still No Justice for Nataniël Julies

ActionSA notes that on Monday 26 July 2021, the High Court in Johannesburg granted bail to two of the policemen charged for the killing of Eldorado Park teenager Nataniël Julies which happened in  August 2020. Caylene Whiteboy and Simon “Scorpion” Ndyalvane were granted bail and ordered to pay an amount of R1000,00 (One Thousand Rand) on their release.

It is a matter of public record that Nataniël Julies, who suffered from Downs Syndrome, was shot and killed by police officers after he allegedly failed to respond to the officers who questioned him after he had gone to buy biscuits at a local shop.

While we continue to respect the rule of law, Monday’s court proceedings will do little to affirm the family’s and community’s faith in our justice system. Our communities have waited to see justice done for almost one full year. It is evident that the criminal justice system is letting our people down.

In a climate where public confidence in our law enforcement authorities is at an all-time low, where those who are powerful or close to power, are quite literally seen getting away with murder, South Africans need to see justice carried out – whatever the court may ultimately determine that justice be. The prolonged and drawn-out legal process only serves to undermine that justice whilst also denying families the closure they desperately need.

Our nation-building project is in tatters and we would be remiss to ignore the damage that Nataniel’s killing has done to that project. On top of that, you then have establishment politicians like Gauteng Premier David Makhura make, as he did, unfounded statements to the effect that Nataniël was killed “in a cross-fire between the police and a gang in the area” they perpetuate harmful stereotypes about specific communities along racial lines, to the detriment of our nation-building project, with deadly real-life consequences for these communities.

This senseless killing of Nataniël sent shockwaves throughout his community of Eldorado Park, the rest of the country, and the world. It remains an unending sore point. The fact that the criminal trial has yet to begin, almost a year since his killing is a travesty and it betrays our best-intentioned efforts at ensuring that justice is not just carried out, but seen to be carried out, expeditiously so. The family, community, and country need to start healing and this cannot be done whilst the matter is still pending.

Heart-breaking as it was, the community of Eldorado Park came together to support the family through their difficult time. For the community, this was a turning point. A moment of hope, as it were. They showered the family with love and support and have simply called on the government to play its part, bring the guilty to justice and ensure that this does not become yet another forgotten case.

South Africans are correctly gatvol of government incompetence, the glaring lack of care, and the tardy pace by which criminal matters are prosecuted. They are gatvol at not seeing justice done in their lives, whereas they can see the country being set ablaze in support of one powerful man.

ActionSA has stepped in to provide legal support to the family of Nataniel Julies by briefing attorneys on a Watching Brief to ensure that the matter is prosecuted properly so that a just outcome may be arrived at. We value the lives and dignity of every South African and will not stand idly by while our fellow citizens are abused and disregarded by their own government.