Johannesburg - Media reports that suggested hundreds of rape kits remained uncollected from Gauteng hospitals are inaccurate and misleading, the provincial department of health said on Monday.
"The story published in The Star and Pretoria News today with the headline "Raped by the system" gives an incorrect impression," spokesperson Simon Zwane said in a statement.
He said it was not true that rape victims were referred to private hospitals because of backlogs in public hospitals and that Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto had so many uncollected kits it had run out of storage for them.
"Rape cases are treated as acute cases and are attended to immediately," he said.
The Star claimed that the kits, containing swabs of semen, blood and other evidence, lay uncollected in public and private hospitals.
As a result, rape cases were not investigated and court cases were delayed.
An investigation by the newspaper found that kits at one hospital had not been collected for four years. Some of those at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital dated back to 2000.
"[Our] reports indicate that there are only 29 specimens that have not been collected up to the end of May this year," Zwane said.
"There are instances where specimens from self-referred survivors are not collected... it is assumed that they have not followed the advice and opted not to report the alleged incidents to the police."
On Monday, the Democratic Alliance said that Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant General Mzwandile Petros should ensure that the "hundreds" of rape kits were collected before the end of this week and submitted to forensic laboratories.