[b]Victims in hiding, fearing for their lives
Victims in hiding, fearing for their lives
07 April 2010
For two young mothers, allegedly raped and sexually assaulted by black police at two separate police stations in Gauteng and North West, the thought of ever seeing justice done is quickly disappearing.
For both mothers, who have gone into hiding - fearing for their lives - after being attacked late last year, their belief in the South African Police Force being there to protect the country's citizens has vanished.
For 15-year-old Lucy, from Pretoria, the night she was attacked in a bathroom at Rustenburg police station will remain seared on her mind forever.
Locked up on theft charges, that were later dropped, Lucy was dragged into a bathroom and allegedly repeatedly raped and beaten.
Threatened with death, Lucy and her two-year-old daughter, had gone into hiding.
Similarly, Witbank resident Martie Olivier, like Lucy, will never trust another policeman again.
Olivier was allegedly raped by Kempton Park policemen while en route to the police station after her husband was arrested for a traffic violation.
She suffered the same fate that night after her husband reported the first attack.
Believing that the police have done their utmost to sabotage the investigations - and with no suspects, very little evidence to go by and a painstakingly slow forensic services department to contend with - both women are now relying on the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD).
With the ICD admitting that there is very little to go by in either case, the families' lawyers say their clients are desperate for justice.
Both investigations now hang dangerously in the balance.
The ICD's investigation into Lucy's attack now depends on a statement given to a private investigator by a man held at Rustenburg police station on that fateful night.
Without that statement, says private investigator Desmond Olivier - who was hired by Lucy's lawyer, Delia de Vries to crack the case - there is little, if anything, to link anyone to the attack.
The statement, a copy of which is in the possession of both the Pretoria News and ICD, reveals how Lucy was taken to the bathroom and while an inspector allegedly raped her, two other policemen allegedly stood guard outside the toilet listening to her screams for help.
Olivier says the statement was obtained after months of police allegedly stonewalling the investigation.
Tactics allegedly used to stall the investigation include the apparent manipulation of the identity parade making it impossible for Lucy to identify her attacker.
Olivier said he was pinning his hopes on the statement to catch those behind the attack. "I believe the 'policemen' in the ID parade were not those on duty the night of the attack.
I also believe the case is being sabotaged," he said.
Commenting on Olivier's attack, Olivier (no relation) said while the police were conducting their own internal investigation, nothing had come of it.
"It is pathetic. They are meant to be society's guardians yet they cannot root out criminals in their own ranks."
Speaking about the investigation into Lucy's attack, ICD spokesman Moses Dlamini said while they had potential suspects, DNA had not been taken from them as they were not identified in the identity parade.
"This does not mean the investigation is not continuing.
"Instructions were given by the Mafikeng Directorate of Public Prosecution after the docket was sent to them and they are being followed up on," he said.
Dlamini said: "We have received the statement and we will make our own investigations into it.
"This will require us speaking to the potential witness as the statement is not a sworn statement," he said.
On the Olivier investigation, Dlamini said they were still awaiting the DNA results of a second test.
"The first test came back and now we are waiting for the final results to determine if anyone can be linked to the rape," he said. Arrests would depend on the results.
Lawyer Lesley Steyn said: "We will never give up in this fight for justice even if nothing comes from the ICD's investigations."
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