Activists have slammed SAPS members who commit rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence, saying it is an “indictment on the citizens of the country”.
They were reacting to the 10-year prison term handed to a police officer from Laingsburg SAPS by the Worcester Regional Court on Wednesday.
Constable Lizalise Sentane, immediately appealed against his conviction at the same court.
The appeal was opposed by the State, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said.
Sentane was confirmed to still be working for the SAPS earlier this year after an internal disciplinary hearing against him found him not guilty on the rape allegations.
Police have now made an about turn following his conviction, confirmed spokesperson Andre Traut, when probed about Sentane’s employment status.
“SAPS management is aware of the guilty verdict of the member cited in your enquiry, and an internal process in terms of the police’s disciplinary regulations is currently under way.
“This process is, however, a matter between the employer and the employee and is treated as such,” said Traut.
Earlier this year, Ipid spokesperson Robbie Raburabu confirmed that the rape took place on November 25, 2016.
The 34-year-old victim was detained on a charge of theft and while in the holding cells, Sentane kissed and undressed his victim and when she resisted, he raped her at gunpoint.
Raburabu said Ipid investigated the matter and Sentane was arrested but was later released on bail.
In response to the sentence and conviction, crime whistle-blower and anti-GBV activist Zona Morton said: “The guilty verdict of Sentane is a victory for survivors and victims of rape. The SAPS management should react far more aggressively with regards to police officers committing rape, especially when the victim/survivor is raped in custody. This is an act of brutality and torture as the woman was raped at gunpoint.
“Shockingly, this officer Sentane has remained in the service of the SAPS for seven years while also on bail for a crime the president said no bail will be given. This abuse of power must be seen as treason against civil society who the SAPS must serve and protect. We also have two crime intelligence officers on bail for rape of minors and one senior member of the Uniform Branch at Lentegeur also for the rape of a minor. Unless these rapes are expeditiously handled in terms of disciplinary process we will not get justice timeously.
Justice delayed remains justice denied.” Community activation manager of civil society organisation the Cape Forum, Bernard Pieters, said: “Cape Forum welcomes the Ipid investigation into the Sentane case. An independent body such as Ipid is central to acting as a watchdog to keep the SAPS in check.
The findings of Ipid is a win for victims but is a blow to the image of the SAPS which should be a body the public can trust to keep them safe.”
The appeal judgment will be handed down on November 6 at the Worcester Regional Court. Sentane will remain in custody after his sentencing on Thursday.