May the honourable SAPS please stand up!!!

17 Jan

I have been an activist for over a decade now. Standing for women and children’s rights is passion driven but also can be quite frustrating and draining.
Throughout 2014 I spoke openly about two particular cases where the South Africa police had not followed protocol in rape cases.
The one being at Hillbrow police station where six policemen( Men) were called to a rape case, they found the perpetrator and let him go. The survivor was present and requested medical attention, they denied that and told her to sleep it off as she had been drinking. I went public on the matter as the survivor reached out to me for assistance via socila networks. Through POWA, Dr Sindi Van Zyl, my group of powerful activists, we took her to the clinic where she was treated accordingly and then we opened a case. For her own reasons, she withdrew the charges and focused on recovery both physical, and emotionally. She did however request that the matter regarding the police continue. I contacted the SAPS and had countless meetings where i was interviewed, statements taken, excuses given but in the end, no results. The six policemen in question continued in their posts without any explanations.

Mid year I was called again to a rape case, this however was slightly different as I knew the man accused. After speaking to the survivor about what had occurred, I knew that she was telling the truth. I continued to help her with the case. Firstly, she reported the case at Moffatview police station and received secondary victimization from the captain taking her statement.The captain is a woman. She was blamed for the incident and was made to wait an hour and a half for the statement to be completed. The series of event that occurred after were disgusting.
The rape accused had his employers contact her and offered her R20 000 bribe to drop the case. They pretended to show concern and offered her a place to live only to find that they were expecting sexual favours from her for that. She moved out and we placed her in a shelter temporarily until she found refuge elsewhere.
We discovered that the investigating officer did not follow protocol when taking down statements form the witnesses and therefore the case was thrown out of court.
We made contact with the police on a provincial and national level, each time we were interviewed, told the same story and then lied to.
Finally the National prosecuting authority got hold of the case and proved that the case had a chance and was reopened.
Finally someone had listened to her.
The next step was to have him arrested. A new team was assigned and we went to the accused place of employment, where I was kicked off the property and the accused was nowhere to be found. His employer assured the police that he would be handed in the following day, that did not happen.
Weeks have passed an he still has not been arrested, in the interim she and I have received suspicious calls saying that they are police and have him and we should meet them. After refusing to drive out in the middle of the night without my lawyer, they stopped calling me.

I was about to lose hope and respect for our Police, then I had a meeting with an amazing women who has been part of the police force for many years. She told me stories of the work of the police in South Africa, certain stations who have a NO-Corruption policy and who stand for what the SAPS is supposed to stand for.
Taken from the South African Police website:
Vision, Mission and Values of the South African Police Service:

The Vision of the South African Police Service is to –

create a safe and secure environment for all the people in South Africa

The Mission of the South African Police Service is to –

prevent and combat anything that may threaten the safety and security of any community
investigate any crimes that threaten the safety and security of any community
ensure offenders are brought to justice
participate in efforts to address the causes of crime

The Values of the South African Police Service are to –

protect everyone’s rights and to be impartial, respectful, open and accountable to the community
use the powers given to us in a responsible way
provide a responsible, effective and high-quality service with honesty and integrity
evaluate our service continuously and make every effort to improve on it
ensure an effective, efficient and economic use of resources
develop the skills of all members through equal opportunity
cooperate with all communities, all spheres of Government and other relevant role-players

To fulfill in the vision and mission of the South African Police Service, all members are subjected to the South African Police Service’s Code of Conduct.

The Code of Conduct of the South African Police Service was introduced on 31 October 1997. The Code of Conduct is a written undertaking which each member of the South African Police Service is obliged to uphold, in order to bring about a safe and secure environment for all people of South Africa.

Ethical policing demands that all employees of the South African Police Service –

act with integrity
respect for people’s diversity and the law
perform their duties according to the Code of Ethics

This made me realise that like in many industries, there are always the rotten apples, not keeping in line. I still believe that we need to highlight the wrong doings but also praise where needed.
I received this beautiful poem written by one policeman about the death of his colleague. After reading it, it left me with a lump in my throat and happy that we still have hope.
Please assist where you can to highlight wrong doing, corruption and mistreatment of anyone including officials. If we do not talk about it and raise these issues, change will not occur.

Tired of fighting
I am in the police,
I wear a blue uniform
I patrol during thunder and lightning,
I am tired of fighting
I patrol under the hot African sun,
I have to fight a man armed with a gun,
I have to fight for my life, I won
I have to fight with his family, I killed their son
I have to fight drug dealers resisting arrest
I have to fight through the pain of pepper spray and tear gas
I have to fight rioters throwing stones
I have to hide from rocks that break bones
I have to fight family insisting I arrested an innocent man
I have to fight family because I refuse to arrest an innocent man
I have to fight the urge to beat a father to death
He raped his own child with alcohol on his breath
I have to fight lawyers claiming abuse
I will not release their client, I refuse
I have to fight self appointed legal experts with nothing better to do
They claim to know the law better than I do
I have to fight the court granting bail, the 3rd time
I have to fight the court, the sentence is to serve no time
I have to fight correctional services, he is on parole
But his crime spree is still out of control
I have to fight public opinion that we are all the same
I have to fight public opinion that we sit down with only weight to gain
I have to fight public opinion that I waste their tax money
We are not all corrupt that statement hurts, it is not funny
Today I had to fight back tears at policeman funeral, my partner, my
friend, He lost the fight He lost his life
How am I supposed to console his mother, wife and children?
But we, the brave are not allowed to cry, even when our brothers die
I am tired, so tired of fighting
I stopped counting
Today I fight no more, I need to rest
Tomorrow I’ll continue the fight for my beloved country
For you, and me, and all the rest
I am the police
I wear a blue uniform

http://www.powa.co.za
http://www.saps.gov.za

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