While this month the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign is observed, one policewoman in particular has played her part. She was instrumental in seeing 31 rapists put behind bars, with the culprits facing a collective five life terms and 302 years’ imprisonment.
This year, the SAPS is celebrating its men and women in blue, who are not only game-changers in their respective fields, but who go beyond the call of duty to protect women, children and other vulnerable people.
As part of its celebration, the SAPS introduced Sergeant Nombi Peter, a detective attached to the Mangaung Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit in the Free State.
She also forms part of Mangaung District’s serial rape task team.
Peter’s childhood dream of becoming a police officer came true when she was enlisted in the service 14 years ago as a student constable. She holds a degree in forensic Investigation (2022), a diploma in policing (2016) and completed various internal courses.
To date, Peter’s sterling investigations since 2018 have led to a host of rapists being removed from the streets and who are now each serving a long sentence behind bars.
A recent career highlight for her includes the sentencing of a 28-year-old convicted rapist to 20 years’ imprisonment by the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court in October for the rape of a 13-year-old girl.
The accused was found guilty of rape, kidnapping and assault to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH).
The accused attacked the victim in Phase Six informal settlement, Mangaung, in March 2021. He forcefully dragged the victim into his shack where he repeatedly raped her until he let her go the following day.
He also threatened the victim by saying he would kill her if she disclosed the incident to anyone.
A month later the victim fell ill at school, which led to the discovery of her being pregnant following a visit to the hospital. The victim then told her mother what had happened and the police were alerted.
The case was assigned to Peter, who immediately commenced with her investigation. The culprit was arrested that same day and appeared before court, where he was granted bail.
The accused, a Lesotho national, contravened his bail conditions and failed to appear in court. Peter left no stone unturned and through information she obtained he was re-arrested in Phomolong earlier this year.
This time he remained in custody until he was sentenced.
Peter said she resonates with victims of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF). She and her team continuously conduct campaigns within the communities they serve to create awareness on topics such as domestic violence, different forms of abuse, how to apply for a protection order and what to do when you are a victim of rape.
“Being an FCS investigator is my calling, therefore I go beyond my desk and office hours to catch rapists. I urge community members to report crime to their nearest police station for investigations to commence immediately,” said Peter.
Peter holds the SAPS flag high as she endeavours to put more rapists behind bars.