Friday, October 30, 2009

Rape not a 'crime' for Paarl Police - Mail & Guardian online 30 October 2009

By  Glynnis Underhill  
   A crime intelligence document leaked to M&G reveals that an identified suspect accused of raping three women in the Western Cape last year was allowed to roam free because the cases were allegedly among those not registered and investigated by police.
   The alledged rapes took place in Paarl and Paarl East, the document says. It says that many sexual offences reported at Paarl, Paarl East, Mbekweni and Wellington police stations were not registered on the police crime administration system for months, and in some instances years.
   Some of the cases that were not registered involved children as young as four and five.

The cases were allegedly written up as 'inquiries' by police, according to police sources.

   As they were not registered on the police crime administration system, no detectives were assigned to investigate them, they said, and no arrests were made.
The cases were finally registered on the police crime administration system on June 15 this year and detectives were put on to the cases.

   The leaked document says that the family of a four-year-old girl who had allegedly been raped gave police the name and address of the suspect. The case was reported to police on October 10 2007, but was only registered on the police crime administration system two years later. The child had been taken by the suspect to his shack, where he allegedly raped her. No arrest was made, the document says.

   Another of the cases that was not registered or investigated involved a nine-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by five unknown juveniles.

   A 60-year-old woman, allegedly raped while she was sleeping, provided the suspect's name and address, but no arrests were made, as no investigation was launched.

   The cases were registered on the crime administration system shortly before Western Cape's community Safety Minister Lennit Max asked the Independent Complaints Directorate [ICD] to investigate the manipulation of crime statistics at stations in Paarl, Paarl East, Mbekweni, Wellington and Oudtshoorn.

   A police document given to the M&G by Western Cape police commissioner Mzwandile Petros reveals how, in 2004, he wrote to deputy provincial commissioners and area commissioners to tell them that he had been informed that cases reported, particularly at weekends, were not being registered timeously on the crime administration system.

   Failure to register reported crimes timeously resulted in the provincial commissioner being presented with an inaccurate picture of the crime situation, Petros wrote.

"The practice relating to the late registration of crimes should cease with immediate effect," Petros ordered.
   The M&Greported last week that a police report leaked to the newspaper alleged that Captain Hildegard Mackier, at the Paarl police station, was responsible for manipulating crime statistics to reflect lower incidence of crime.

   The report was sent to Petros on June 15 this year by director Vincent Beaton, who had just been appointed station commissioner in Paarl.

   Beaton wrote that the acting commander of the Paarl [FCS] Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit had told him that former Paarl policed station commander Mzwandile Tiyo had instructed officers not to open rape cases, but rather to record them as inquiries.

   Police spokesperson Billy Jones said the ICD was still investigating the allegations and that Mackier and Tiyo might be investigated. "Although the officers [Mackier and Tiyo] seem egaer to dispute these allegations, it would be improper for them to comment in the media when they still have to be interviewd by the ICD," Jones said.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Suffer the Children - Cape Time, 21 October 2009

I write in response to the wonderfully informative article by Mr Sipho Ngwema in the Cape Times, page 9, yesterday, 19 October 2009: “Strategy, not bullets, will stop criminals”.

The story of the child mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs is not an unknown one – it represents 500 children a day. That is the statistic of rapes committed against children in South Africa on a daily basis.

The Victims’ Service Charter is supposed to prevent further trauma to happen to victims of all crimes in this country. The tragedy of this it that the VSC is useless when the service providers themselves [SAPS, District surgeons, hospital and clinic personnel, social services,
prosecutors] either don’t know their role or are too busy with case loads in order to protect victims from further trauma.

In addition to this, the VSC it is a pretty piece of paper that makes the authors of it look good, but the people at grass roots level are not empowered to use it.

Last week the case of Randolene Fortune was in the Parow Magistrates’ Court. The magistrate wanted to throw the case out due to the fact that Randolene’s mother was ill prepared, emotionally to give evidence.

Allowing the alleged perpetrator a speedy trial - He has rights too. She could not get to the counselors to assist her and her family. Did it not occur to the magistrate that perhaps Randolene’s mother could not afford to get to a state-provided counselor? Fortunately, the case continued the next day and RAPCAN assisted Randolene’s mother.

The author mentions the liberation struggle under the capable leadership of the ANC then – today we are dealing with a different struggle: to keep our children and families safe in a world where politicians pay lip-service, the president of the country has no comment, the national police commissioner is auditing where the CPU personnel have been deployed to when they were disbanded; and while all of this is happening, our nation is crying out, our children are being raped and murdered, crime is rife.

Not one of our leaders in the ANC has come up with a strategy to fight crime. Police personnel are struggling because they don’t have the infrastructure to deal with the magnitude of crimes. With regard to the re-institution of the Child Protection Units for example, our Bheki Cele is doing an audit and he is still busy with it. We are still waiting for him to comment on his strategy that will ensure that no sexual offender [even first timers] gets bail, that it is easy for people to report rapes and crimes against women and children without secondary victimization, that the Child Protection Units are at every police station and that they are armed with professionals who know what they are doing.

No police bullets will help. We are still waiting Mr Cele, for your comment and your strategy.
Norah Papanicolaou
Director - Information Empowers!

World Cup Sex Trafficking Fears by Lynette Johns

Weekend Argus, 24th October 2009

Thousands of sex tourists are expected to be among the half a million visitors to South Africa during the World Cup next year, and there are fears that children will be abducted by trafficking rings.

Professor Susan Kreston says the US, Australia and the UK, Germany and Nigeria are where most of the sex tourists come from. She said there could be as many as 5 000 people who would pay to have sex with children during the month-long event.

Kreston is a Fullbright professor and research fellow at the Centre for Psychology and law at the University of the Free State. She was speaking at The Centre for the Book yesterday at a ‘roundtable’ organised by child rights group Molo Songololo.

Kreston hoped that the Prevention And Combating of Trafficking In Persons Bill would become law before the World Cup. She said traffickers would advertise bogus jobs in major cities, some of them connected to the World Cup, and the successful applicants would find themselves trapped in a world of prostitution.

Children most at risk included orphans, children from child-headed households, poor children and those living in rural and informal settlements. She said the children would often be initiated into the work by being gang-raped, held captive and moved from city to city so that they did not form any relationships with NGOs or people who could help them. They were also moved around the country because clients liked ‘fresh meat’, Kreton said.

Patrick Solomons of Molo Songololo said there would be 12 million children on holiday during the World Cup, and they would want to go where the action was, near stadiums and fan sites. “They will be at risk,” Solomons said.

Kreston said sex tourists often used conferences, workshops and major events as ‘facades of respectability. At the end of the day they go and find street kids.”

Sex tourists often also knew how to contact underground travel agencies which would ‘arrange children to the client’s specifications”. South Africa was a premier destination for sex tourists who found it easy to blend in because of the high number of tourists in the country.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

780 cases of rape reported daily - that is only 7% of ACTUAL rapes in this country!

Some 40,000 rape cases have been brought before the magistrates' courts of South Africa between June 2008 and July this year but only a tenth of that number ended in convictions, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe has said.

"A total of 39,946 new rape cases were added to the rolls of magistrates' courts in all nine provinces in South Africa between July 1, 2008 and the end of June this year,"” Justice Minister Radebe told parliament on October 8 in a written report. KwaZulu-Natal courts recorded the highest number with over 7 000 cases during the period under review, Radebe said.

He said that this is an average of over 780 new cases nationally each working day. "Over the last year, the highest numbers of rape matters appearing in courts were in KwaZulu-Natal, which enrolled 7 278 cases, followed by Western Cape, which enrolled 6 411. Northern Cape enrolled the least number of cases at 1 462," Radebe said.

Radebe said a breakdown of the cases by age showed the majority of rapes were perpetrated by young adults, aged 21 to 30. According to reports, South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world. It is said that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read.

This country also is said to have the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world. The latest crime statistics showed 71,500 sexual offences were reported to police between March 2008 and March 2009, a 12 percent increase on the previous year. The government said that increase could be partly attributed to the inclusion of attacks on men. The last police rape statistics, which date from 2008, showed 132 cases of rape were reported per day countrywide - a figure activists believe to be a fraction of the real number of rapes.

South African President Jacob Zuma has taken a tough line on violent crime since being inaugurated in May 2009. Zuma's new police commissioner Bheki Cele has vowed to crack down on robbers, but has not proposed any specific measures around gender violence.

Ready to tackle crime - what about child sexual abuse?

Dear Editor

I write in response to the letter sent in by T Markandan from Silverglen: “Ready to tackle crime” published on Tuesday, 11 August 2009 in the Cape Times.

We can admire many people for wishing for an ideal world “where a girl [?] can leave a club at 2am and walk unaccompanied and reach home without being attacked or raped” [Bheki Cele].
This is an idealistic dream, and it may liberate us from criminals and criminality.
But realistically, we do not live in that world.

Mr Cele has not yet given the citizens of SA his strategy for ensuring that this would become a reality. It is all fine and well saying that he is strongly against the rape of women and children – I think all rational, reasonable and well balanced people are too. Having a tough stance on criminals is a great start.

What we need is a plan of action and implementation thereof, which includes some of the following:
* Empowering all people through education and information about child sexual abuse;
* Empowering the Community Policing Forums and Victim Empowerment groups with more [quantity] qualified professionals to assist victims and their families;
* Making education and information regarding sexual abuse available to all schools and all communities;
* Make known the methods used by child sexual predators;
* Make resources available to prevent child sexual abuse;
* Make sure that our police personnel have access to non-stigmatised help to assist them in dealing with these heinous crimes that they face daily.
* No bail for even first time offenders of sexual crimes.

The taboo of talking about child sexual abuse has reached a similar epidemic proportion as child sexual abuse itself.

Let us not be impressed by lip-service. Show us a strategic action plan and implementation thereof with haste - where we can say that our new National Police Commissioner has proven his mettle.

I am sure then we’ll know that he hasn’t disappointed those whom he is to serve and protect.

Norah Papanicolaou

What is your strategy, Mr Cele?

Dear Editor [Cape Times]

On Monday, 3rd August 2009, newly appointed National Commissioner of Police, Mr Bheki Cele stated that as any CEO of a company would have, he has a strategic plan for fighting crime. When asked what his strategic plan was for empowering the members of the re-introduced FCS Units [Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units]he commented that he would like to ensure that “a woman must be able to walk from a club or anywhere safely without being attacked”.

The problem, Commissioner Cele, is that for a long time now, women aren’t able to walk safely without the fear of being attacked.
And even more so, the children in our communities are being abducted, raped and murdered. We are yet to hear President Zuma’s comment on this or even his possible plan to abate this.

This nation is tired of politicians politicking. I understand that you are not a politician, but you have power in your hands and you can make a difference in communities where child sexual abuse is rife. You have the power to implement strategies and not just talk about them. You are in a position to empower victim empowerment groups and FCS Units to work with communities who are in a war with child sexual abuse. You are in a position to change this epidemic of our precious children being abducted, raped and murdered.

Please could you let us know, precisely what your strategy is in ensuring that FCS Units are empowered and that the right people who are qualified to handle the job are employed? Could you ensure that communities have access to information about crimes in their area? That communities have access to a police force who themselves are empowered by way of having correct information and resources to handle their own stress of the demands of their jobs without stigma?
The Victims’ Service Charted is great on paper – but we as citizens of this country want to see it working. What is your strategy?

I along with the rest of the citizens whom you are to serve and protect, look forward to your comment.


Norah Papanicolaou

Search This Blog