Police deputy minister wants tougher punishment for rapist cops


Deputy Minister of Police Maggie Sotyu wants the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) to investigate police rapes without fear or favour and to ensure it holds police management accountable to provide reports on police rapes and detainee rapes in police cells.

She was speaking at the “ICD – Embrace Dignity Workshop” held at the Townhouse Hotel, Cape Town this morning. According to ICD Executive Director Francois Beukman, the purpose of the workshop was to engage relevant stakeholders on the new legislative mandate of the directorate and it approach to investigation of rape. “To create awareness among and instil confident in stakeholders about the directorate’s new legislative mandate and to contextualise, review and make recommendations in dealing with rape cases.”

Sotyu emphasised that there must be a clear mechanism of pro-active monitoring and a suitable and operational location where this proactive monitoring will be done by ICD on rapes committed by police. In future the ICD will transform its operational framework and mandate and will be known as Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), thus rebranding itself as an “investigative” body as opposed to a “complaints” receiving body, her office said in a statement.

The deputy minister further urged the ICD to forge partnerships with professional partners to develop and obtain accurate rape statistics and to ensure that there is no under-reporting of rape cases. “[The] IPID Act immediately expands the ICD workload considerably; and there is currently major capacity constraints in staff trained as investigators. Therefore, the recently established Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units within SAPS should be considered as a main partner, as there are already 1896 FCS investigators fully trained nationally. Having immediate sufficient experienced rape investigators is therefore critical,” Sotyu said.

For the financial year March 2009 to April 2010, 12 police officers were charged for rape and for the year 2010/2011, 35 police officers were. Of these 18 were found guilty, six were acquitted, 12 were withdrawn and 11 are currently pending. “Rape is a lifetime trauma and it must be condemned and severely punished. These statistics are disturbing and that is why there must be a thorough forensic support to investigate rape cases…
“We want to ensure that in cases where a police officer is suspected of committing such crimes, that such a case is investigated by an independent body. This approach will go a long way in building public confidence in the police while at the same time, re-enforcing government’s commitment to ensure the most vulnerable in society, are not abused by the very people who should protect them,” she added.