I am left with the
impression that rapists in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage are freely roaming the
streets with very little fear of being caught, or in the unlikely event of being
caught, that they would be successfully prosecuted.
The figures relate to the year of 1998 as well as the first half of 1999, and
deal with the rate of reported crime versus the rate of prosecution and
convictions for two categories of victims, those 17 and younger and those older
than 18. What emerges from these statistics portray a horrifying
situation, especially since it can be safely assumed that the rate of reported
rape is much lower than the actual reality due to the stigma attached to rape.
Put very simply, reported rapes of minors totalled 867 for the year 1998. Of
these less than half went to court, and eventually only 7.7% resulted in guilty
verdicts. Eight hundred reported rapists of minors in Port Elizabeth and
Uitenhage are still walking free!
The figures for victims 18 years and older paints an even more dismal picture.
In 1998 a total of 1 479 cases of rape were reported in Port Elizabeth and
Uitenhage. Of these cases, only 44% went to court, and only 65 guilty
verdicts resulted, a ridiculous success rate of only 4%. This translates
into another 1 414 rapists in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage that are still
Although figures for only the first six months of 1999 were available, the
pattern repeats itself.
The desperate state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. The reasons for
this situation are a shortage of staff, lack of proper training and insufficient
cooperation between the SAPS and the Department of Justice. There is also little
doubt that chaos and corruption in the Department of Justice is a contributing
factor. The Department of Justice, especially, owes the community of Port
Elizabeth and Uitenhage an explanation for the low rate of guilty verdicts.
On behalf of the community of Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage I call on you to
personally intervene. This shocking situation must be addressed by a joint
effort between the Minister of Safety and Security, the Minister of Justice and
Constitutional Development, the MEC for Safety, Liaison and Transport, the
National Commissioner of Police and the Provincial Commissioner of Police.
We, as South Africans and specifically the Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage
communities, cannot talk about "freedom" and "a better life"
if the majority of the perpetrators of crimes committed against women and
children walk free and continue to believe that they can get away with it.
Your immediate attention in this regard will be highly appreciated.
Member of Parliament for the United Democratic Movement
Port Elizabeth; Uitenhage Constituency