Taxi rape vic­tims re­ports ‘mis­han­dled’

Saturday Star - - NEWS - MARK OLALDE

IT HAS emerged that the po­lice mis­han­dled the state­ments of vic­tims of the re­cent rapes in taxis by send­ing them to dif fer­ent precincts in­stead of im­me­di­ately tak­ing a state­ment.

“We’re aware of two such state­ments, and the MEC has en­gaged with the pro­vin­cial po­lice com­mis­sioner on this mat­ter,” said Ndi­vhuho Ga­disi, spokesper­son for the Gaut­eng Depart­ment of Community Safety.

SAPS spokes­peo­ple con­firmed that an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion had been launched into the mat­ter.

“Should there be any truth to this al­le­ga­tion, the (pro­vin­cial com­mis­sioner) will take stern dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against those mem­bers found to be in the wrong,” SAPS Gaut­eng spokesper­son Bri­gadier Mathapelo Peters said.

Peters de­fended the level of po­lice train­ing, point­ing to “spe­cialised de­tec­tive units”, which deal with sex­ual vi­o­lence, do­mes­tic abuse and of­fences against chil­dren.

Lisa Vet­ten, who re­searches gen­der is­sues at the Wits City In­sti­tute, said train­ing was in­ad­e­quate across the force and the pres­sure to re­duce rape may lead to re­duced re­port­ing.

“These de­tec­tives are the ones who in­ves­ti­gate the case, not the ones who have the first point of con­tact (with rape vic­tims),” she said.

“Uni­formed of­fi­cers are the ones who take ap­palling state­ments. Be­cause they haven’t been trained well, those very poor state­ments ac­tu­ally be­come a prob­lem in court.”

No sus­pects had been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the rapes by late yes­ter­day. Ac­cord­ing to both Ga­disi and Peters, the taxi be­lieved to be used in one of the rapes was im­pounded on Thurs­day night.

”We’ve iden­ti­fied the per­pe­tra­tors and we’re hot on their heels,” Ga­disi said.

Theo Malele, Na­tional Taxi Al­liance Gaut­eng spokesper­son, said taxi oper­a­tors de­clined to as­sist in iden­ti­fy­ing po­ten­tial sus­pects, la­belling it as “a job for (the MEC) and the po­lice”.

Sev­eral vic­tims of the rapes were also robbed. Gaut­eng MEC for Community Safety Siza­kele Nkosi-Malobane, along with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of taxi as­so­ci­a­tions, will lead a march through the city on Mon­day to raise aware­ness of gen­der­based vi­o­lence.

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