Rape charges against Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mbuso Mandela have been provisionally withdrawn, South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old was arrested last year for the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl at a pub in Greenside, Johannesburg.
The state brought the application forward on Wednesday based on new information that has emerged.
The matter has been struck off the court roll pending further investigations. The accused was out on a bail of $550.
In December, the state prosecutor told the Johannesburg magistrate’s court that investigations into the alleged crime had not yet been finalised.
He requested that proceedings be postponed for a potential witness to be consulted.
The state had also not consulted with the 15-year-old complainant as she was writing her school examinations.
In her affidavit, the victim claimed the accused had forcibly kissed her, put his hands in her pants and raped her.
Mbuso disputed this, claiming in his affidavit the sex was consensual and that he had no idea she was underage.
He claimed the pub where they had met did not allow entry to people under the age of 21.
The girl was also drinking and smoking, it was alleged.
Mbuso has previously said he does not want the courts to be lenient with him because of his “powerful surname”.
Under South African law, a suspect’s identity cannot be revealed until the accused pleads to the charge.
The National Prosecuting Authority said withdrawing the case for now was in the best interest of the trial as they were probing new evidence linked to the case.
“We have now obtained new information that requires further investigation,” prosecution spokeswoman Phindi Louw told journalists.
Ms Louw said withdrawing the case did not mean that the accused was “off the hook”. “The charge could be reinstated at a later stage, pending our investigation,” she said.
According to the prosecutor, the 15-year-old complainant was said to be “seeking mechanisms to cope with the trial.”
Mandela’s lawyer had previously argued that the sex was consensual and that the girl was 16 years old.