A police official is facing disciplinary action after turning an alleged rape victim away from reporting the incident and instead advising her to return the next day. An investigation into the matter has been launched, and the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner and the Western Cape government have condemned the official’s actions.

In a statement, South African Police Service (SAPS) representative Brigadier Novela Potelwa explains the incident occurred on the evening of Monday, June 22 at the Khayelitsha police station on Site B.

The 26-year-old victim had been travelling to the TR Section in Khayelitsha when the driver changed the route and allegedly raped her. She was then dropped off at an unknown road, and then driven to the local station by an individual who spotted her.

“Western Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata has learned with horror of an incident where a Khayelitsha woman who was allegedly raped in the area was turned away from the Khayelitsha police station by a police official and advised to return a day later,” said Potelwa. “On Tuesday afternoon – June 23, 2020 – a senior police official from Khayelitsha police station visited the victim’s home as part of the investigation and a rape case was subsequently opened. The perpetrator is yet to be arrested as detectives are following several leads.”

SAPS prescripts stipulate that no one who wishes to open a case should be turned away from SAPS service points, which are police stations.

A disciplinary investigation against the implicated police employee has already been initiated. The police official in question has been identified as part of the unfolding investigation.

“I cannot wait to see the disciplinary investigation finalised. Not only is it embarrassing to know that a victim of a crime left a police station without being assisted. The claims of what happened smack of dereliction of duty on the part of police. The unfortunate incident happens when the country is battling an alarming rate of incidence of gender-based violence,” said Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Matakata.

Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz welcomes the disciplinary action, saying this swift action sends an important message.

“This disciplinary action sends a strong message to SAPS members that action must be taken against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and domestic abuse, particularly as we are in GBV crisis. SAPS have a duty to protect and serve. Women should not have to suffer the second-hand victimisation of not having their cases attended to or being mistreated when reporting GBV at police stations. I look forward to the outcome of the disciplinary,” said Fritz.

Picture: Facebook / South African Police Service

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