Durban - Thirteen different types of rape and sexual abuse evidence collection kits are expected to be distributed to police stations across the country. This comes after stations around South Africa reported that they had run out.

According to the police, they have entered into a new contract with a service provider. Police Ministry spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said they secured a procurement contract with a company to supply the kits.

She said the contract with the previous service provider was cancelled because of allegations of corruption between the supplier and police officers.

“Before the termination of transactions with that supplier, the process of procurement and distribution of the rape kits was managed nationally by our head office supply chain management. This meant that at national level, supply chain will procure the kits and distribute them, and the numbers are managed on a centralised system,” she said.

Themba said the kits were not replaced once the contract was terminated.

SAPS management had introduced a contingency measure by instructing provinces to start procuring these kits on a quotation basis. Themba said that after the signing of a new contract with a new supplier, 13 different types of evidence collection kits would be handed over to police stations.

“These kits will be able to collect evidence in cases of adult sexual assault, paediatric sexual assault and buccal or swab sample collections. The first consignment was received over the weekend and will be strategically distributed to provinces to augment their existing stocks. A distribution plan has been designed and implemented for this purpose,” she said.

Police Minister General Bheki Cele has commended the rapid resolution of the problem.

The Durban-based Independent Crisis team, which assists in counselling in cases of rape and domestic violence, has welcomed the announcement.

The team's Carol van Tonder said it was very important for a rape victim to go through the required processes quickly, the giving of a statement and having the rape kit test done must be seen as a priority, and be done efficiently and speedily in order for her or him to feel they are supported.

DA spokesperson on police Andrew Whitfield said they welcomed the news and would monitor the distribution of the kits to police stations.

The Mercury