The police minister said officers should put their foot down in order to protect the most vulnerable and start making inroads to combat gender-based violence and femicide.
POLICE Minister Bheki Cele on Tuesday urged officers not to honour and worship criminals.
He said they should put their foot down in order to protect the most vulnerable and start making inroads to combat gender-based violence and femicide.
Cele was in Mpumalanga when he addressed the issue of the Mamelodi woman, who in a video that has since gone viral, detailed how she battled to report a case of assault to her local police.
Keitumetse Maluleka, 32, said she was at the Silverton police station attempting to open a case against her lover earlier in the day, yet he had already been released.
Maluleka said her abuser was roaming the streets and the police did nothing to help her. She alleged that the police were “grovelling to him like a king” when they arrived.
“I opened multiple cases reporting this person, he is making my life a living hell.”
She then pleaded with Cele and Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola to assist.
“I am appealing to you (to) look at my face and head … the police are not helping me; they are waiting for me to die.
“No one can defend us because the people who are supposed to be protecting us are the people exposing us to this abuse.”
Maluleka said she went to Mamelodi police station the night before and found it was closed, ending up going to seek help at Silverton.
She said a female officer opened the case, but insisted on speaking to her abuser first.
Cele said they had heard about the woman’s story and he was dismayed to hear her describing police as “shivering and saluting him (the suspect) to the extent that it looked like they were worshipping him”.
“Under no circumstance should you defend and worship them (criminals), at the expense of the people you are supposed to be protecting.
“This guy is a criminal, but he is invited to the police station, and as he arrives he is told to come back on the 30th and released.
“However, you can see this woman is messed up and even injured on the head, but he is worshipped.”
Cele reminded the police officers of the code of conduct they signed, which he said spoke clearly of the need to protect and serve, especially the vulnerable
“When you walk about and you see that the vulnerable one is in danger, you stop everything you are doing and attend to the safety of that particular person.
“We have a second scourge and pandemic as declared by the president, the abuse and rape of women have to come to an end, and for that to happen we have to put our foot down as we are the first line of defence.”
The Pretoria News attempted to reach out to Maluleka, but that proved difficult as she indicated she was still scared for her safety.
The Commission for Gender Equality said it would be keeping a close eye on Maluleka’s case, especially as the matter proceeded to court.
It said it had been in contact with the Silverton police station to establish the facts on the matter and was given assurance that the case docket would be transferred to Mamelodi police station, the area where the alleged assault took place.
It stated that it was satisfied by the swift action of the Silverton police, who arrested the alleged perpetrator on December 12.
“It is part of our mandate to ensure that organs of state such as the SAPS and the criminal justice system enforce the laws of the Republic of South Africa, in fighting crime and gender-based violence.
“We will be monitoring this case as it appears before the court on December 15,” read a statement from the commission.