OPEN LETTER PORT ELIZABETH IS THE RAPE CAPITAL OF SOUTH AFRICA  UDM Member of Parliament (01/06/2000)
To: Minister of Safety and Security
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development
MEC for Provincial Safety, Liaison and Transport; Eastern Cape
National Commissioner of Police
Provincial Commissioner of Police; Eastern Cape

Dear Sirs


PORT ELIZABETH IS THE RAPE CAPITAL OF SOUTH AFRICA

I wish to bring the shocking rape figures for the Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage area to your attention.  I recently asked a question in Parliament directed at the Ministry of Safety and Security, the reply of which has left me aghast at the extent of rape in my home constituency.

Rape statistics for the Port Elizabeth (PE) and Uitenhage (U) area  during the periods of 1998 and January to June 1999

1998

UNDER 17

AREA

REPORTED CASES

REFERRED CASES

REFERRED CASES WITH GUILTY VERDICT

 

Number of cases reported

Percentage of reported cases with guilty verdict

Number of cases referred

Percentage of number of cases reported

Number of cases with a guilty verdict

Percentage of number of cases referred

PE

658

4.1%

297

45.13%

27

9.09%

U

209

19.1%

133

63.63%

40

30.07%

Total

867

7.72%

430

49.59%

67

15.58%

 

18 AND OVER

AREA

REPORTED CASES

REFERRED CASES

REFERRED CASES WITH GUILTY VERDICT

 

Number of cases reported

Percentage of reported cases with guilty verdict

Number of cases referred

Percentage of number of cases reported

Number of cases with a guilty verdict

Percentage of number of cases referred

PE

986

1.82%

354

35.90%

18

5.08%

U

493

9.53%

304

61.66%

47

15.46%

Total

1479

4.39%

658

44.48%

65

9.87%

January to June 1999

UNDER 17

AREA

REPORTED CASES

REFERRED CASES

REFERRED CASES WITH GUILTY VERDICT

 

Number of cases reported

Percentage of reported cases with guilty verdict

Number of cases referred

Percentage of number of cases reported

Number of cases with a guilty verdict

Percentage of number of cases referred

PE

315

7.93%

147

46.66%

25

17.00%

U

129

6.20%

68

52.71%

8

11.76%

Total

444

7.43%

215

48.42%

33

15.34%

 

18 AND OVER

AREA

REPORTED CASES

REFERRED CASES

REFERRED CASES WITH GUILTY VERDICT

 

Number of cases reported

Percentage of reported cases with guilty verdict

Number of cases referred

Percentage of number of cases reported

Number of cases with a guilty verdict

Percentage of number of cases referred

PE

517

3.86%

209

40.42%

20

9.56%

U

243

8.23%

123

50.61%

20

16.26%

Total

760

5.26%

332

43.68%

40

12.04%

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 walking free!

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.

Yours sincerely

Member of Parliament for the United Democratic Movement
Port Elizabeth; Uitenhage Constituency

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