Police raped us – street kids
March 08 2008 at 10:22AM
Street children living near Albert Park allege that two of the girls who have been living on the perimeter of the park were raped by members of the Durban Metro Police – and one of them is now missing.
According to careworker Sipho Nyaka, whose NGO, World Back to God, helps look after street children, he has seen police officers arresting street children and found girls stripped naked and handcuffed on more than one occasion.
Nyaka said one of the girls who alleged she had been raped by a Metro policeman after being arrested was missing.
The other one who said she was also raped was still with the group of street children in the park on Friday.
However, a teenage boy who was arrested a few weeks ago has allegedly been missing since his arrest.
Nyaka said he has also seen police attack the children and has himself been assaulted.
But despite having witnesses’ statements and registration numbers of the Metro Police vehicles driven by the officers allegedly implicated, Nyaka has been unable to lay charges.
On Friday, The Independent on Saturday accompanied Nyaka to the Broad Street Police Station where he has tried on two occasions to open a case on behalf of the young girls.
Police again refused to open a case and told him that because he wanted to lay a charge against a police officer he would have go to Durban Central Police Station.
Nyaka says he has been to the Durban Central Police Station and was referred back to Broad Street Police Station because this was where the incident allegedly happened.
KwaZulu-Natal police Supt Vincent Mdunge said he was surprised that police had failed to assist someone with a complaint.
"When a complainant goes to open a case, even if the police station does not have jurisdiction they are bound by the call of duty to assist all people, even if it means they have to take the docket by police van or post the docket to Durban Central Police Station," he said.
He said Broad Street Police Station was a satellite station but there was no such ruling that a person could not open a case at a satellite police station just because the charge was against a policeman.
Nyaka said one of the young girls, who had been allegedly raped by a policeman, tried to open a case at Durban Central Police Station about two hours after the incident, but was told she did not have any evidence and had not seen a doctor.
Many of the children told The Independent on Saturday that they were often kicked and hit by police officers because they slept in the street.
Metro Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Thozamile Tyala said the allegations had not officially been brought to the Metro Police’s attention.
He said in order to take action they needed to be informed and then had to check their records.
He said people who had complaints against the police must come forward and there were many avenues to follow. These included the Independent Complaints Directorate and SAPS and Municipal Ombudsmen.
According to the Independent Complaints Directorate’s 2006/2007 annual report, investigators finalised 7 374 cases of complaints against police officers across the country. These included backlogged and new cases.
o This article was originally published on page 2 of The Independent on Saturday on March 08, 2008