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Commissioner furious after police station turns away rape victim AGAIN

Western Cape police commissioner Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata is on the warpath after a rape victim was turned away at Khayelitsha police station on June 22 2020.
Western Cape police commissioner Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata is on the warpath after a rape victim was turned away at Khayelitsha police station on June 22 2020.
Image: Alaister Russell

The Western Cape police commissioner says she is horrified by an incident in which a woman who wanted to report an alleged rape at Khayelitsha police station was told to come back the next day.

The same police station was involved in a case reported by SowetanLIVE's sister publication the Sunday Times in September 2019, when a mother made five attempts over four days to report the rape of her three-year-old daughter.

Lt-Gen Yolisa Matakata said on Wednesday that the police officer who turned the woman away on Monday would face a disciplinary investigation.

Spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa said a preliminary investigation had begun after details of the incident emerged on social media.

“Preliminary reports suggest that the 26-year-old victim had visited the police station in Site B on Monday evening, and was indeed attended to by a police official from the police station. The police official in question has been identified as part of the unfolding investigation,” said Potelwa.

“On Tuesday afternoon, 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.”

Matakata said police rules said no-one who wished to open a case involving rape, sexual violation or other forms of violence should be turned away.

She added: “I cannot wait to see the disciplinary investigation finalised. 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.”

Social media also came to the rescue last September when the three-year-old's sister vented frustration on social media after her mother was turned away from Harare and Khayelitsha police stations.

At Khayelitsha, said the mother, she was told “the detective who deals with rape cases was not available”. When she returned there the following day, she was turned away for a second time.

The woman’s older daughter, who turned to Facebook for help, said: “I have no hope that rape and the killing of women will ever end in SA. The police’s attitude towards my little sister’s case is testimony to this. One wonders how many other cases are ignored.

“Our families have to go on social media for police to take our cases seriously, otherwise they won’t help us. They are only interested in protecting their reputation.”

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