File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Cops face disciplinary action for sending taxi rape victim from pillar to post

By Shanice Naidoo Time of article published Jan 9, 2020

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Cape Town - The Western Cape police ombudsman  has found against Goodwood police  officers after they turned away a woman  who was raped at gunpoint inside a  taxi.

After the incident in October, Kelly  (not her real name) was sent from Goodwood police station to Bellville before  the case was transferred to Kuils River  police station. The Weekend Argus is in  possession of the findings by the police  ombudsman which states a preliminary  investigation was conducted into the  allegations and wrongdoing was found  on the part of SAPS.

“Disciplinary steps have been initiated against the members concerned.  The outcome has been  communicated to the  provincial commissioner of SAPS,” says
the letter. 

Kelly told the  Weekend Argus it was  almost three months  and she did not receive  much feedback from  the police, except for  an officer at Goodwood  SAPS who allegedly  asked her if she was  going ahead with the  case. 

She is at her wits’  end and feels that she won’t get justice.

“I gave them so much information  and still they have not been able to do  anything. I want justice, I want to live  my life. I can’t go on knowing they are  still walking around free. What if they  see me again? That is my main concern. 

“I’m still in fear,” said Kelly.  “There was a time I wanted to drink  all my sleeping pills because I felt I am  no longer a woman.

“The only thing that kept me from  doing it were my two children.

“The police don’t care about me as a  rape victim. This is how I feel after this  incident.”

Police spokesperson Captain FC van  Wyk refuted the claim the police asked  whether she wanted to drop the case.

He said the case was still under  investigation and the complainant was  frequently updated.

“The suspects are unknown. CCTV  footage was obtained and distributed in  the media without success.

“The investigating officer is still following leads. The DNA is still outstanding. The Commander of Kuils River FCS  and the investigating officer said neither  of them made contact with the victim  to ask whether she was still interested  in proceeding with the criminal case,”  Van Wyk said.

“The victim was contacted by telephone to get clarity with regards to  the phone call she received but she did  not answer. The disciplinary against  members of Goodwood SAPS is being  investigated. If the complainant feels  unhappy about the investigating officer  from Kuils River FCS she may direct a  complaint to this office,” he said.

Calling to check on the case has  drained Kelly emotionally.

“I was told they (the police) found  the taxi I was raped in but it was burnt  out. It was burnt about a month and two  weeks after the incident. Only the taxi  I was raped in was burnt and the other  one was fine. I have to keep calling the  police and now it’s a new year. I will try  my very best I’m scared  every day of my life. I  just keep a happy face  so that nobody can see  the hurt on my face,  that guy broke me and  I have to live with it  every day.

“I know that they  don’t only have my  case to work on but at  least just let me know,”  said Kelly.
Mara Glennie,  founder and director of  gender-based violence advocacy NPO,  Tears Foundation, said people exposed  to sexual violence often feel their lives
have changed forever and that they  would never come to terms with the  trauma.

“The many myths surrounding sexual violence only add to a survivor’s  anxiety and often prevent them from  sharing their experience, even those  they are close to.

“They fear they will be blamed or  people will not believe them,” she said.

“The National Instruction of the SAPS  states that when a crime or alleged  crime is reported at a police station  or to a member on patrol attending  to complaints, irrespective of whether  the crime was committed in the  station area of that police station  or the station area of another police  station, the member receiving the  report must interview the complainant  and open a case docket. It is thus  irregular to refer complainants to  another station,” said ombudsman
spokesperson Deidre Foster. 

* Victims can contact Tears at  *134*7355# [email protected] or  Rape Crisis’ 24-hour helpline:  021 447 9762.

Weekend Argus

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