Pretoria – A top Pretoria cop is being investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) in connection with allegations of rape.
A 27-year-old Mamelodi mother of three, who cannot be named due to the sensitivity of the allegations, has alleged that she was raped and sexually assaulted by a high ranking police officer in the capital city. He cannot be named yet either.
“Ipid confirms a case of rape was reported and is indeed being investigated. The incident is alleged to have happened on 29 March 2016 after the victim went to the police station to collect her vehicle which had been held there for investigation purposes,” said Robbie Raburabu, acting Ipid spokesman.
The victim alleged that she was raped by a 43-year-old lieutenant-colonel in the police station toilet and then given her car keys.
She left and reported the matter to her brother who advised her to open a rape case which she did, Raburabu said. “The case is currently being considered by the prosecutor,” he added.
The alleged crimes are said to have taken place at the end of March when her car was suspected to have been used in a crime.
She said when she arrived at the Silverton shopping centre where the car was parked, it was surrounded by police officers.
She said she told the police that it was her car and that it was normally used by her husband who was out of town at the time. The police then accused her of distracting them and she was taken to the police station where her alleged nightmare began.
When she arrived at the police station she said a senior police officer began questioning her and then allegedly threatened to electrocute her, beat her and that she would spend the night in police cells.
“He accused me and my husband of being engaged in criminality and he took my phone and my bag and said I needed to be searched to see if I had anything illegal on me.”
She said they waited for over an hour for female officers to search her, but when none arrived the male top cop in question said he would conduct the body search himself, and took her to a room.
“He told me to lift my dress which I did. Then he said I should take off my bra and then he started touching my breasts. After that, he said I should get dressed and sit on the chair.”
He apparently left the room and returned saying he needed to search her private parts and when she again undressed, he asked her to spread her legs, to which she protested. He stopped the search.
“He told me to go home and that I should co-operate and help them find my husband.
“He said I should come back the next morning at 8.30.”
The next day she returned to the police station where the alleged rapist told her that her car had been checked and was found not to have been used in any illegal activity and that she would get it back.
He apparently took her upstairs to a computer room where a background check on her husband found him to be clean.
As she was leaving the room, the policeman directed her to a room she later realised was a toilet.
“He immediately started touching me and lifting my dress.
“He unzipped his pants, bent me over and raped me. When he was satisfied he gave me a tissue to wipe myself.”
She said she did not wipe away the evidence and went to the Tshwane medico-legal crisis centre to get tested and gather the evidence for the rape kit. She said the policeman told her he loved her and she should end her relationship with her husband and he also gave her his contact details.
“I first thought I wouldn’t report him because I felt like I couldn’t open a case at the same police station he was stationed at.”
She said she could not sleep following the incident and had been living in constant fear since that day. She, however gathered the courage to open a case and she now wanted to encourage other women to be courageous and open cases against police officers, despite the belief that they protected each other.
“This thing can happen to anyone. There needs to be justice in South Africa.”
Mara Glennie, a member and founder of the TEARS foundation – a rape survivor support network – said she believed that as few as one in 15 rapes were reported to the police.
“The reasons for not reporting are many and include demeaning and lack of empathetic treatment in the police station, lack of confidence in successful prosecutions, fear of attrition, fear of being blamed due to being drunk or high when raped, fear of abandonment and/or fear of not being believed, patriarchy, religion and more,” Glennie said.