Cape Town – Police Minister Bheki Cele has been lambasted by civil society groups for his denial that last year there was a shortage of proof collection kits, also known as rape kits, at police stations. In presenting the three-quarter crime figures, Cele said a three-year deal was still in place with a supplier in 2019 to provide these vital kits, and the availability of the kits was checked on a weekly basis in all provinces, and replenishment was done at the request of a station. There is already a three-year deal signed with a supplier in 2019 to supply these vital kits. The availability of rape kits is checked on a weekly basis in all provinces, and replenishment is done as required by the stations.
In August last year, 35 police stations in the Western Cape were called by SA Women Fight Back and found that only seven of them had enough rape kits, and a majority of them did not know what a rape kit was. Also, there were a range of stations that did not respond. Zintle Khobeni, president of the Great People of South Africa, said rape kits were not easily accessible, particularly in poor communities, and remained inaccessible regardless of the amount of government funding.
Certainly, the Minister of Police and the whole Department cannot expect us to consent to the argument that there is no shortage of rape kits, not after many reports have been released by the same Department, the Commissioner for Gender Equality, and other reports by civil society organizations.
Call to Action Collective’s Sibongile Mthembu said there was a shortage of rape kits last year, and they were purchased in December and January based on a reprioritized budget. Mthembu said it took time for the kits to be received by smaller police stations. When we conducted our investigations from February to March, we could confirm that most of them did, even though they were under five, because we were told that storing them was a problem,” she said.” Action Society spokesperson Daleen Gouws said a study on 23 police stations in the province by the Western Cape community security department presented the truth.