Pretoria - A Pretoria sex worker has accused two Tshwane Emergency Services personnel of raping her in the back of an official municipal vehicle and then dropping her off in veld near the N4 highway this past weekend.
The sex worker, whose name is known to the Pretoria News but who may not be identified as she fears for her life after reporting the incident to police, said she was threatened with death before being raped by the men.
The two were arrested but released on warning by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Court records indicated the case had been struck off the roll for further investigation.
Emergency services spokesman Johan Pieterse and mayoral spokesman Blessing Manale said the two had been suspended from work while internal investigations were under way.
The sex worker said her ordeal began early on Sunday when she was hitch-hiking to her Mamelodi home after a night working between Arcadia and Gezina.
She had decided to hitchhike and thought she would be safe when a rapid-response BMW pulled over and offered her a lift home.
“They pulled over and I told them I was going to Mamelodi. They offered me a lift. Before we got on the N4 highway, they were really nice and speaking to me politely.
“I figured I was safe because they were emergency people and driving an emergency vehicle.
“But once we got on the highway their attitude changed. One of them started talking about a SIM card that he could not find in the car.
“He then jumped into the back and started looking for the SIM card in the back of the car where I was sitting.”
Shortly after the man climbed into the back seat of the BMW, he started asking her whether she had stolen the SIM card.
“He started searching me and accused me of stealing his SIM card, but then he started fondling my breasts,” she said.
The men started asking each other what they should do to her, with one suggesting they should shoot her and throw her out of the car, she said.
“At that stage I was really scared and I begged them not to kill me.
“The car stopped near the intersection of Hans Strijdom (Solomon Mahlangu Drive) and the N4 and (the man) took out a condom, demanding sex if I wanted to stay alive.
“I could not get out of the car because all the doors were locked. He then raped me.
“When he was finished the other guy got out of the car and came to the back seat, where he also raped me.”
The two men then left her in the veld and sped off in the direction of Mamelodi.
“When I got out of the car I was crying and screaming. Some security guards heard me screaming and came to ask what was happening. I told them and they called the police.”
The sex worker said police picked her up at the scene and took her to the Silverton police station. She filed a complaint of rape and was taken to the Mamelodi Hospital.
Pieterse confirmed that two workers in the emergency services had been arrested in connection with the incident and had been suspended.
“The case is under investigation. As the city we take these allegations very seriously. That is why we have suspended both of them. We cannot say much at the moment because we are investigating the case,” said Pieterse.
“We have not questioned the two members yet, but the case is with our legal department. We understand the woman has opened a case with the police.”
This was the first incident of its kind to have been reported to the police, said Pieterse.
“We have never heard of such a thing happening with any of our personnel. I’ve been here for 30 years and this is the first time we have had such allegations against any of our members,” he said.
Manale said the city would uphold the suspension until the conclusion of the trial – if the case went to trial.
“While we respect the court process… in the interest of public confidence in our service and for the sanctity of the EMS, we have taken the appropriate step by suspending these officers,” Manale said.
He would not comment on whether a municipal vehicle was used in the alleged rape.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Mike Mbewe confirmed that a case of rape had been opened with the Silverton police station and that investigations were continuing.
“We can confirm that two suspects were arrested on Sunday after charges of rape were opened against them by a complainant,” Mbewe said. “The men are aged 34 and 33 and they appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.”