Police officers who arrested a woman for being drunk in public and then locked her in a cell with six male prisoners, who allegedly raped her, might be dismissed.
The 27-year-old woman was arrested on Friday night and taken to the Volkrust police station in Mpumalanga where she was put in a cell with six men who allegedly took turns raping her throughout the night.
Police are investigating why the arresting officers detained the woman in a men's cell.
The six men, who were also arrested for public drunkenness, will now face charges of rape as well.
"If our investigations find that the policemen acted maliciously and failed in our mission to protect the community, they might be dismissed," police spokesman Abie Khoabane said yesterday.
Police officers arriving to start the day shift on Saturday morning were shocked to find the woman in the same cell as the men.
The woman recounted her ordeal to the day staff and she was taken to a doctor, who confirmed that she had been raped.
After she was seen by the doctor the woman was released and the six men, aged between 19 and 50, were charged with rape.
Sibongile Nkosi, spokesman for provincial commissioner Africa Khumalo, said the police officers would have to give adequate reasons why they should not be suspended for their actions.
"Crimes against women and children are our priority and we don't expect our members to act the way the Volkrust police officers did," said Nkosi.
The police officers would be given seven days to write to the commissioner giving reasons why they should not be suspended.