Johannesburg - The Hillbrow station policeman was supposed to take 17-year-old Thuli* home from the police station following a brief arrest over her ID. Instead, he allegedly took her to his flat and raped her.
Thuli’s aunt Irene* said her niece, who was visiting her relatives in Hillbrow for the holidays, was walking with four of her cousins around 6pm on Friday when police officers stopped them and demanded to see their identity documents.
The cousins produced their passports, and Thuli showed them her ID. The officers apparently said the ID appeared to be fake and arrested her.
“When her cousins came back home and told us what happened, we went to the police station to find out what the problem was,” Irene said.
When they arrived, there was no record of Thuli’s arrest, and the officers who were at the station could not find her.
The family didn’t see the teenager until the following morning. Irene said that when she and her husband were eventually filled in on Thuli’s whereabouts, they found out that she had been released at around 8pm the previous evening.
After it was verified at the police station that her ID was valid, Thuli had been released under the care of a police officer, who was supposed to take her home.
Irene said the teenager had been transported in a minibus taxi with several other police officers who were dropped off along the way, either to report for duty at their various posts or to knock off after their shifts had ended.
When Thuli was left alone with the man who was supposed to take her home, he had allegedly told her he needed to go to his flat to fetch a jersey because he was cold.
When they arrived, Thuli told him she’d wait by the entrance while he fetched his jersey.
“He refused to let her wait outside. He told her she was under his custody, and if anything happened to her, he’d be in trouble so he couldn’t leave her alone,” said Irene.
Irene said the police officer had scolded Thuli and insisted he did not want to get in trouble with his superiors over her refusal to co-operate, and told her she had to go inside.
She eventually went with him. The family alleged he had kept her at his flat throughout the night. They said he had dropped her off on her street early the following morning.
“We ran into her as we were leaving to go to the police station. I could tell something was wrong by the look on her face. I asked her what happened and she burst out into tears,” said Irene.
“I kept asking her where she had spent the night and she was too scared to say anything, she just kept crying.”
Irene said she suspected the teenager might have been raped, so she took her to the bedroom to examine her, and her fears were confirmed.
She went back to the police station with Thuli to report the rape, which was eventually confirmed after a medical examination.
Irene said she was told that the officer was arrested on Saturday and appeared in court for a bail hearing on Wednesday.
“The investigating officer is on leave, so we’re not sure what’s happening,” she said.
Gauteng police spokeswoman Captain Pinky Tsinyane had not responded to The Star’s queries at the time of publication on Wednesday night.
* Not their real names.