Two Joburg women have been left shattered. Their rapists are in jail this weekend. But the two sisters don’t know who to trust because two of the attackers were uniformed police sergeants.
“It feels as though I have nowhere to turn to. What hope is there for me... men who were supposed to protect me hurt me... they defiled me,” said Katrien* from her lawyer Ian Levitt’s Sandton office yesterday afternoon.
This week, police replaced the original investigating officer with an officer from the Independent Complaints Directors (ICD) as detectives search for a further two suspects, who the victims suspect might also be serving police officers.
Gripping her 24-year-old sister’s hand, the 27-year-old told how the two of them had been stopped on their way home from Montecasino, in the north of Joburg, last Friday night.
“Jacqueline* and I usually have lunch on Fridays. But because of my office Christmas party, we decided to meet at Montecasino after work,” she said.
Katrien said her younger sister arrived at the shopping centre and parked her car there. They left shortly afterwards and drove to a restaurant across the road from Montecasino.
Later that evening the women, who admit they could have been over the legal drink driving limit, drove to Jacqueline’s house in a complex in Paulshof.
A police van drove up as they approached the driveway of the complex.
“Two police officers wearing uniforms approached us and asked us to get out of the car. They said they were searching for drugs and weapons. They asked us to put our hands on the car.
“They didn’t use any breathalyser nor did they threaten to arrest us,” said Katrien.
A security guard at the complex allegedly witnessed the entire stop-and-search procedure.
After the police left, Katrien dropped her sister off and immediately headed home to Fourways
She was driving on Witkoppen Road when she was again stopped by police. “They asked me to pull down my window. In that instant I noticed it was the same police officer who had stopped me outside my sister’s complex.
“He said to me that I lied to him.”
Katrien believes the officer had assumed that she lived with Jacqueline and that she wouldn’t be driving home because she had been drinking.
She claimed the one police officer leaned into her car and undid her seatbelt while the other kept watch. He pulled her out through the window and dragged her on to the back seat, where he pinned her down.
“He pulled down my pants, undid my his zip and raped me. He didn’t say anything except to call his partner (when he was finished) who did the same thing.”
Katrien, who said she had blacked out, said she came to and noticed that cars were still driving past her.
“No one helped me. I pulled my pants up and drove home.”
Her boyfriend, who declined to be named, said he helped Katrien when she staggered and collapsed at the door.
“She was hysterical when she got home. She told me she had been raped. I called her sister and found out the same thing had happened to her.”
Meanwhile, Jacqueline cried inconsolably as she recounted her ordeal.
She said she had run after Katrien’s car when she realised she had forgotten her house keys.
“My keys were in my car at Montecasino and I wanted to alert Katrien. I ran out of the complex to catch up to her. I thought she was still close by,” she said.
A few metres away stood a red Opel Cadet.
Jacqueline said two men jumped out and grabbed her.
“The one wore a red shirt and the other beige pants. They dragged me to the long grass. The young one raped me from the front and the older one turned me around and raped me from behind. I hardly remember what happened after that,” she sobbed.
Jacqueline’s boyfriend, Freddy*, came looking for her after he was phoned about Katrien’s attack. “We couldn’t find her (Jacqueline) in the complex. We looked in the streets and finally found her hiding in the bushes. She was shaken up and quivering with fear,” he said.
The two sisters were rushed to Olivedale Hospital in Randburg where rape kits were administered by medical personnel to capture evidence of the sexual attack.
“I don’t understand why they did this to us. Why did they bother Jacqueline? If it was about the alcohol, she was not driving. I was,” sobbed Katrien.
Yesterday, the sisters’ mother challenged the arrested officers to tell the truth. “I want them to tell us who the other guys are. They know where they are.
“I want to fix this. It’s every mother’s job to fix things. But how do I fix my babies?” she cried.
ICD spokesman Moses Dlamini said the department would investigate the matter, and urged the National Director of Public Prosecution to prosecute if investigators could prove a case against them.
Last night, Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko condemned the rapes, saying if the officers were responsible, they had to be punished.
Last night, her spokesman, Thapelo Moiloa, said the department needed to emphasise that the abuse of women and children was not acceptable. “We have appealed to victims not to come out during 16 Days (of No Violence Against Women and Children), but throughout the year to report their cases.”
He said the MEC and her officials had been speaking to women across the province on their rights and how not to become victims.
ANC Women’s League spokeswoman Troy Martens said it was unacceptable that women were unsafe in the hands of the police. “Every rape of any woman in SA is unacceptable and should be condemned. Especially when women are meant to be protected by the police. We hope justice takes its cause as this is a bad reflection for the South African police.”
The two police sergeants will appear at the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court on Monday for a formal hearing.
* Not their real names