Cop suspended for alleged sexual abuse
A Pietermaritzburg police inspector accused of sexually assaulting a mother whose sick child died in her arms when she went to seek help from the station has been suspended.
The case has made headlines while the country celebrates Women's Month.
Yesterday, the police in the province vowed to take the case "very seriously" and said it should not deter women from reporting such matters in future.
They also said they "appreciated" the fact that the woman came forward to report the matter.
The 40-year-old inspector, who is still to be officially charged in a court of law, was suspended yesterday after his arrest.
The 32-year-old mother said she had gone to the Copesville satellite police station on the night of July 29 to call an ambulance for her sick three-month-old son.
While at the station the police inspector allegedly demanded sex from her while she carried the child, who latter died in her arms. The child will be buried today.
The police inspector was due to make his second court appearance on September 10.
He was granted R1000 bail on his first court appearance.
The woman told the police the incident took place in the station's reception. The alleged advances lasted for about an hour while she held the dead baby in her arms.
The attack stopped when the paramedics arrived and declared the child dead, but allegedly continued after they had left. It finally stopped when a mortuary vehicle arrived to remove the body.
Owing to the bereavement, the police said, the woman had reported the matter only on August 2 and the suspect was arrested after being identified in a parade.
"We take crimes against women and children seriously and will investigate these allegations thoroughly," police spokesman Jay Naicker said.
"This type of conduct is shocking and it is in our own interests to act decisively since we would not want anyone with such tendencies to have anything to do with policing in this province."
He said women in the community should not be deterred from coming forward to report such matters.
Naicker said the inspector had been suspended and that an internal investigation was under way.
"If found guilty he can be dismissed from the service even before the finalisation of the criminal investigation," he said.