Writer tells her story of how she took on SAPS for failing to probe her abduction
Johannesburg - Andy Kawa is finally telling her story of how she took on the SAPS for failing to investigate her abduction and assault case, and how she didn’t give up, even though the case dragged on for eight years.
At first Kawa won the civil case against the minister of police at the Port Elizabeth High Court in November 2018. But the SAPS appealed the ruling and the Supreme Court of Appeal found in favour of the SAPS, saying they were not negligent in the handling of her case.
This is all detailed in her book – ’Kwanele, Enough: My Battle with the South African Police Service’ – which takes us through her abduction, right up to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Refusing to accept defeat, Kawa has now taken the matter to the Constitutional Court, where her application has been joined by civil society organisations who firmly believe in holding the SAPS accountable, in line with the Bill of Rights.
She believes a victory will vindicate other victims who continuously suffer injustices in South Africa.
The book started off as a journal entry, where she documented every bit of her life so as not to forget any detail, as she travelled to and fro for court appearances. It was then that she realised that a lot of information was missing from her docket.
“With all that information that I was documenting and collating, I later felt it was necessary to write a book, to share my journey as it could assist other people to learn about the process and possible pitfalls.
So that people who went through similar or worse, could remember to document everything that will help their case.
“Taking on the SAPS wasn’t a decision per se. It was when I felt that my rights had been violated in how the police handled the case. I had to act against that. After going through what I went through, there was no way that I was going to accept that justice would not be served.
“And because we all know that if we let matters go, it simply means that we accept as citizens that we will not hold the SAPS accountable when it doesn’t execute its duties.
“This is not acceptable. I was robbed of my constitutional rights,” she said.
This decade-long battle has proven to her, she said, how the wheels of justice are slow.
“As a woman, a mother, a daughter etc, I’ve got to be the best I can be.
“Through the Kwanele Foundation I want to change lives and help other women. I am inspired to do what I do by knowing that I’m contributing to making South Africa a country where women can receive justice after being violated and reporting the crime.
“Violence against women has always been a pandemic in this country, all we need to do is to look at the statistics. What I went through is a violent crime, we need to be cognisant of how gender-based violence (GBV) is being handled in South Africa.
“So many women have reached out to me about how they have been traumatised by how they are treated by the SAPS when reporting GBV-related crimes.
Continued efforts by women organisations around the country, my own included, to fight against GBV and taking protest actions have ensured that anti-GBV initiatives have received the attention they require and solutions offered.
“We are demanding accountability and an end to impunity. Sadly, despite these sustained efforts the response from the government has been disappointing,” she said.
“Through my advocacy work, it’s been heavy and sad to be exposed to so many women who have been struggling to get justice, from perpetrators not getting convicted, being harassed by perpetrators who are out on bail, missing case files, mishandling of evidence etc.
“We have been at war for some time, the war on women’s bodies.
“Where so many women’s bodies have become crime scenes after sexual violence. The increasing murder of women and children attest to the crisis that we are facing in South Africa.
“It will take all of us, women and men, and accountability from our institutions and government to defeat this scourge,” she said.
“The book is also an act of reclamation as I rebuild my life.
“I hope that as I live through my journey, I change lives.”