Public Protector urged to investigate 'cover-up' of rape case involving top cop
Johannesburg - Police top brass have asked Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence (OIGI) to investigate the possible cover-up of a rape case involving a senior police official.
The Sunday Independent can reveal that a police administrative clerk opened a charge of rape against the top cop in 2010 after he allegedly forced himself on her in Kuils River, outside Cape Town, in 2010.
Police sources and the female victim confirmed this week that nothing has come out of the case nine years after the woman, who was 23 at the time and directly reported to the official at the SAPS provincial office, was violated.
In one of the official complaints seen by the Sunday Independent, a police brigadier, whose name is known to the paper, suggested the official was never prosecuted because of “allegations of interference at the Ipid (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) and some rogue elements from NPA (National Prosecuting Authority).”
The top cop refused to answer questions put to him during a telephonic interview, saying he “doesn’t speak to the press”.
“This matter has been weaponised,” he said.
The man may not be identified until he appears in court and is asked to plead.
NPA head of communications Bulelwa Makeke on Saturday confirmed that the man was a suspect in a rape case.
Mkhwebane’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe and advocate Jay Govender, spokesperson for Inspector General of Intelligence Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, also confirmed they had received complaints against the man.
The official is a former Robben Island political prisoner and allegedly shared a cell on the island with “very influential people”.
Police Minister Bheki Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba on Saturday failed to respond to calls and a text message requesting comment.
Kuils River station commissioner Colonel Jayce Naidoo confirmed that a rape case was opened against the man in December 2010 and transferred to Ipid in January 2011.
“When I made inquiries with Ipid about the status of the case since I took over here as the station commissioner, I am sent from pillar to post. This year alone I sent them three or four emails but still nothing ” he said.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent, the alleged rape victim accused the police of conducting a botched investigation from the onset.
“Police didn’t even ask for the clothes I was wearing when I was raped. The man didn’t even use a condom. They just took me to the doctor but never shared with me the results,” she said.
The woman confirmed that she was an administrative clerk at the SAPS provincial office in Cape Town and reported to the official when the alleged incident took place.
“I was working until late and he decided to give me a lift. Along the way, he stopped the car and raped me. He threatened me and he is a big man. I will never forget that day or that man.”
The woman said she was later transferred to another station so she had no contact with her alleged rapist.
“If the law can fail me as an SAPS employee, can you imagine what is happening to other rape victims around the country?” she asked.
“I have been waiting for eight years for justice while the man who raped me keeps on getting promotions.”
She said the last time she heard from the investigating officer was in 2011.
“He just phoned me out of the blue to say he is dropping my case because he was getting death threats, and that was the last time I heard anything about my case.”
Govender on Saturday confirmed that they were probing the top cop.
“We have been conducting an investigation on the matter which pertains to the allegations of rape and particularly the abuse of power intended at derailing the investigation. It has been alleged that the docket has gone missing several times and was at a certain stage being investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.”
She also confirmed that Dintwe met with the complainants in the case.
“It is noteworthy that this has been a difficult investigation because the witnesses and officials of the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence have been threatened, thereby delaying the finalisation of this investigation.“
Accusing the alleged rapist of trying to frustrate the investigation, Govender said the man “keeps on demanding that we inform him of the people that we will be meeting and that he needs to approve such engagements although the investigation is against him. In certain instances, the agreed meetings have been rendered unsuccessful as potential witnesses will be called into ‘urgent’ meetings on the dates and times scheduled for our engagements.”
Governor said no amount of threats and intimidation would stop the OIGI from investigating allegations made as prescribed by law.
Mkhwebane’s spokesperson Segwale said the public protector received a complaint against the top cop only recently.
“The public protector accepted the jurisdiction, meaning it will be investigated. Our Cape Town office will assist the public protector with the investigation.”
The NPA’s Makeke confirmed that the prosecuting body received a docket about the top cop.
“The office further confirms that the charge was rape, it was alleged that the rape occurred in Kuils River during December 2010.”
She also confirmed that the complainant was an SAPS employee. Makeke said a decision was made on August 3, 2011, not “to prosecute the matter because of no reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution”.
She maintained that it was the police’s responsibility to communicate the NPA’s decision to the victim.
Ipid acting spokesperson Sontanga Seisa said the directorate completed its investigation and referred the case docket to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for a decision.