How the City Of Cape Town handed rapists their next victim: Closure

2012-07-02 13:34

Last week I posted a story of a woman who was raped on her way to work, and thought it would make sense to answer the questions raised. Questions such as ‘what did the employer do or what happened to the rapists’.

Let me start with the rapists, sadly it is common knowledge that in South Africa, it’s incredibly difficult to prosecute rape cases. According to People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), only 7% of reported rape cases end in a successful conviction. And the most common justification for dismissing a rape case is lack of evidence and let’s face it, the rapist will not confess so the police are faced with the challenge of gathering enough evidence to secure a conviction.

Even when there is DNA evidence extracted from the victim, if the victim does not know the rapist then she can forget about justice. Similarly in Nomzi’s case, she has no idea who the two boys are and the description she provided fits a lot of young men in Khayelitsha so absolutely nothing will happen to the rapists, by now they have probably found other victims.

Nomzi says she is thankful they did not kill her because after they finished taking turns raping her, they could not reach a consensus on what to do with her, one boy told the one carrying the knife to kill her; he refused so they ran away.

Nomzi went to the hospital first because she did not want to be infected with any sexually transmitted diseases and only opened a case a week after the incident so she becomes just another rape statistic.

Then there is the second question: Why did I say that the City of Cape Town should take responsibility for what happened or at least take steps to ensure that this does not happen again?

The answer is quite simple, the City of Cape Town is not just an ordinary employer, it’s a government. Now there is a clear difference between a private company and government. See, Bulelani Mfaco does not have to care about what happens to his maid when she is traveling to and from work, but with government it is different because government is also responsible for ensuring that citizens are safe.

As stated on the first post, municipalities are constitutionally required to promote a safe and healthy environment. Think about the law enforcement agencies municipalities establish, such as a metro police to enforce municipal bylaws, traffic services to enforce traffic regulations, emergency rescue services and health clinics.

The question you must ask yourself is, did the City of Cape Town consider Nomzi’s safety when they required Nomzi to continue clocking in at 5 o’clock in the morning even though she had been raped when:

1. She does not start working at 5 o’clock as there is no power for lighting in the toilets she cleans, so it is too dark to start working at that time.

2. There is no public transport at that time, cannot wait alone for a taxi or bus in the dark.

3. There is a municipal building less than 500 metres away from her shack that she could clock in, if she really must clock in at 5 o’clock.

4. Other employers, including the City of Cape Town let their employees sign their time sheets on site if there are no offices nearby so why should Nomzi have to travel to clock in then back to site?

The City of Cape Town then contacted me to try and track Nomzi down to see how they could assist. But then their spin doctor insulted me by suggesting that I should have contacted them first before publishing the story so I could give the readers the ‘fuller picture’, fuller picture that was all lies.

According to the spin doctor Nomzi was on leave, not true because I had just seen her at work on the day they sent me an email stating that she was currently on leave and had continued working after the incident, her clock in time would change after the story was published. Then she also said that the City of Cape Town had taken steps to ensure that Nomzi receives counselling and that her clock in site is relocated, and that the director of Nomzi’s department was handling the matter.

All nonsense, because Nomzi was not on leave, could not go for counselling because ironically the location for this counselling was also too far and Nomzi told me that she could only go for counselling after her pay day as she did not have the money to pay for the taxi fare.

So I told the spin doctor this and Nomzi’s hours changed from 5 o’clock to 7 o’clock, the City of Cape Town would also transport her to where she must get counselling. It’s a great pity she had to be raped for her work conditions to improve.

And sadly the community is not so committed to fighting crime, all the Neighbourhood watches that used to keep the streets hooligan free have somehow disappeared, so the hooligans have complete control of the streets in Khayelitsha but the police would tell you otherwise.

I remember back in 2008 when the City of Cape Town had organised a workshop for all the Neighbourhood watches, and from that workshop the Mayor established a task team to see how best government can partner with communities to fight crime.

From that task team I learnt that poorer communities such as Khayelitsha, Mitchellsplain and the like have problems with their Community Policing Forums who had become too politicised. So residents would get to the CPF, a structure that is meant to assist and coordinate crime fighting initiatives in their respective communities and turn it into a perfect pitch to fight over DA, ANC, and SANCO politics when all should be united to serve their communities.

Another question many people ask is, why is it safer to walk in Greenpoint at night than it is to walk in Gugulethu. It was crystal clear in that task team that poorer communities did not have a strong commitment to crime fighting initiatives,volunteer or even contribute R50 a month to contribute toward a stipend for the unemployed township men to take turns patrolling the streets.

This works in the suburbs, the residents get their security companies together with the Neighbourhood Watch and the police to patrol the streets. And some even donate money to their Neighbourhood Watches to buy radios and pay a stipend for volunteers. But in the townships, we are too happy to fight over cheap Chinese T-shirts with political party logos for positions when we simply occupy the position and not fulfil our mandate and blame government for not doing anything about crime. So hooligans walk freely on our streets when I cannot even answer my phone on the streets, forget the constitutional right to freedom and security, that is just ink on paper.

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