Shoddy police work fails thousands of Gauteng rape survivors

Patricia Mokgohlwa MPL Spokesperson on Women Gauteng police have received on average 23 rape cases a day in the last 33 months, amounting to a staggering 23 086 cases of rape reported in the province for this period. This does not include the thousands more instances where women are too afraid to speak up or have no faith in the police to do their work. In a reply to my written question Gauteng police confirmed that two thirds of all sex crimes reported in the province relates to rape. The Annual Crime Statistics released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) no longer provides such a detailed breakdown, quite possibly because of this horrific and embarrassing figure. The most heart-breaking part of the figures is the fact that only 55.6% of these cases ever make it to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for prosecution, with a successful conviction rate in a dismal 8.3% of the cases. The low conviction rate is not simply because of the difficulties associated with prosecuting perpetrators of rape as the figures show that shoddy and incomplete police work often fails rape survivors. More than 8 200 cases, or one in three, are referred back to the SAPS because of incomplete investigations, while almost 8 900, or 40% of the reported rape cases were thrown out of court due to incomplete investigations by police. This figure reaches more than 80% for the first three quarters of the current 2012/13 financial year. The scourge of rape across the province and country has quite rightly been described as a state of emergency and a war on women’s bodies, invoking imagery of the Apartheid-era chaos of the late 1980s. The lack of consequences or repercussions for perpetrators of rape as a result of the failure by police and the criminal justice system to successfully bring them to book quite possibly fuels this scourge. The DA will request detailed information from the Gauteng police on how they intend to reduce the number of cases referred back to the SAPS or thrown out of court due to incomplete investigations. Without effective police work, perpetrators of rape will continue doing so with impunity. Proper, detailed and complete investigations and case dockets are imperative in ensuring the smooth functioning of our criminal justice system. Gauteng police must ensure the highest standards are maintained in this regard to ensure that justice duly and speedily served.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *