Taxi rape victims reports ‘mishandled’
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.