Seventy-six percent of police stations in South Africa do not have adult rape kits in stock, the DA said. File picture: AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File

Johannesburg - Seventy-six percent of police stations in South Africa do not have adult rape kits in stock, while a further 69 percent of stations do not have child rape kits in stock, the Democratic Alliance claimed on Sunday.

Without these kits, evidence in reported rape cases could not be collected, and without evidence the ability to successfully prosecute rapists diminished drastically, DA spokesman Andrew Whitfield said in a statement.

"It is wholly unacceptable and a damning indictment on the South African Police Service (SAPS) that only a handful of police stations are equipped to successfully gather evidence from victims of rape," he said.

The shortage of rape kits was a crisis of national importance which needed to be resolved as a matter of great urgency.

"These shocking statistics were revealed by the National Police Commissioner [Lt-Gen Khehla John Sithole] after a request for information submitted by the DA," Whitfield said.

The DA would write to Police Minister Bheki Cele and "provide him with 90 days to ensure the rape kit crisis is resolved by ensuring that provincial needs are met".

This issue had to do with the lives and dignity of the women and children of the country. The current figures indicated that SAPS had run short of over 128 000 rape kits, with only around 18 000 adult rape kits in circulation in South Africa.

"If the minister of police does not heed to our call to resolve the rape kits crisis he must take full responsibility for the failure of the SAPS to investigate rape, arrest rapists, and ensure successful prosecutions of those who commit this heinous crime," Whitfield said.

African News Agency (ANA)