09/10/2017 15:15 SAST | Updated 09/10/2017 15:15 SAST

If Ntsiki Mazwai Lays Rape Charges, This Is How It Will Work

"It doesn't matter how long ago it happened. The right to prosecute does not expire."

Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antoni Muchave

Ntsiki Mazwai has hinted that she could be pressing charges against her alleged rapist after she made an accusation against him on Friday on Twitter.

Professor Pieter du Toit from North West University said that should Mazwai decide to lay charges, the case would be treated as a separate case, even though the alleged offender is already going to prison for a similar crime.

READ: Dear Ntsiki Mazwai: Strength To You, Speaking Out Could Not Have Been Easy

Here's how Du Toit said it would work:

Docket is opened

"Like with any other case, police would open a docket and then investigate. It is important to remember that with a serious offence like rape, it doesn't matter how long ago it happened. The right to prosecute does not expire," he told HuffPost SA.

NPA decides whether or not to prosecute

"Once the docket is handed to them, the prosecuting authority would make a decision on whether or not to go ahead with the case. If they do, he'd be tried [in a separate case]," Du Toit said.

In court

"The accused would be tried and the state would need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he is guilty. The court would need to be satisfied with all the evidence and sentencing would depend on whether the alleged incident happened before or after the minimum prescribed sentence legislation was put to effect," Du Toit added.

Du Toit said prosecuting older cases, although success is not impossible, could prove to be a challenge.

"The older the case, the more challenging it is to prove. However, with that said, I'd like to emphasise that the time of rape does not and should not matter and it's not impossible to prosecute. Victims should still report it," he told HuffPost SA.

NOTE: Although Mazwai has revealed the identity of her alleged rapist, a well-known singer, HuffPost SA cannot name him as charges have not been laid officially against him.