Ricochet News

'Rape victims being denied justice because SAPS Eastern Cape has no testing kits'

Sep 14, 2018
'Rape victims being denied justice because SAPS Eastern Cape has no testing kits'

Thousands of women in the Eastern Cape, who are raped could be denied justice because the South African Police Service does not have a single rape kit on hand, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says.

"In a province with 19 reported rapes a day, this is a shocking betrayal of the rights of women. This will cause the already low conviction rate in rape cases to plummet further," said Bobby Stevenson (MPL), Leader of the DA in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, who is also its Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Safety.

"It is beyond belief that rapists could be free to roam our streets again in search of other victims, because the SAPS has no rape or DNA collection kits."

Stevenson said that, while responding to a parliamentary question to MEC for Safety, Ms. Weziwe Tikana, confirmed that the province did not have a single rape kit for the 2018/19 financial year.

According to the response, during the last financial year the SAPS used 41,545 rape kits, and used a further 44,600 DNA collection kits, so it is clear that having no tests on hand is a significant problem.

“Other victims of crimes, like murder, where DNA evidence could play a crucial role in seeing the perpetrators convicted, could also be denied justice as Tikana also confirmed that not a single DNA collection kit is available in the province,” Stevenson said.

“In a province that accounted for 16.15% of South Africa’s sexual assault cases reported in the 2017/18 financial year, with 8,094 cases reported, it is simply unacceptable that not a single rape kit is available.

“This is a crisis of huge proportions!”

He added that in response to why there was a shortage on rape kits, “the MEC passes the buck, saying the matter is a national challenge, and not just isolated to the Eastern Cape”.

“Rape victims are being betrayed by an under-resourced police service. Why is the SAPS finding itself in this position? Heads should roll!

“The police should have access to the necessary equipment to do their work so that perpetrators can be nailed and jailed. Rape victims already have so many hurdles to overcome just to come forward and report the crime,” he added.

“I will ask follow up questions of MEC Tikana to request clarity as to when these critical shortages will be addressed. I will also be taking this up with my colleague in the national assembly Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele.”