rape kits

Bheki Cele / Photo by Luke Daniel, TheSouthAfrican.com

Bheki Cele stocks all SA police stations with rape kits, ‘as promised’

Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele told parliament on 13 November 2019 that no police station in SA is without rape kits.

rape kits

Bheki Cele / Photo by Luke Daniel, TheSouthAfrican.com

In September 2019, there was an alarming shortage of rape kits in South African police stations and many excuses for it, however, Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele said that by the 14 November 2019, the problem would be solved and they would be available at every police station in the country. 

Today, 14 November 2019, Cele has delivered on his promise after assuring the National Assembly, as well as the rest of the country just yesterday, that as things stand, no police station is without rape kits. 

Here’s why rape kits are important 

In a statement released by the South African Police Service (SAPS), rape kits are used to collect evidence from victims of sexual assault and rape. 

Following reports that some police stations had insufficient kits in stock, the SAPS entered into a contract with a supplier which would provide kits for the next three years.

SAPS Lirandzu Themba said: “The supplier has provided police stations with 16 different types of rape kits including, Adult Sexual Assault Collection Kits, Paediatric Sexual Assault Collection Kits, and Buccal Sample Collection Kits used to collect samples from alleged perpetrators of these crimes.”

Minister Cele has commended the roll-out to all police stations. 

“At least we know that we have three years of supply and there will be no shortages. The low supply of such an essential kit at any police station must be avoided at all costs,” said Cele.

Initial shortage due to corruption

Cele said on 6 November 2019, that the crippling shortage of rape kits in the country’s police stations could be attributed to corruption within SAPS. 

When addressing the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) conference in Durban, Cele addressed the serious lack of rape kits in the country’s police stations, illustrating high levels of maladministration in the SAPS.

According to Cele, corruption is so rampant in the police force that those behind it sacrifices crucial services to advance their personal interests.

Gender-based violence prompts greater need for rape kits

Cele made the concession as sexual assault and gender-based violence came under sharp focus in the country after the gruesome rape and killing of University of Cape Town (UCT) student Uyinene Mrwetyana, allegedly by a post office employee, and the killing of female boxing champion Leighandre Jegels.

Cele revealed in September 2019 that SAPS had signed a procurement contract with a new company that would supply a variety of evidence collection kits used in rape cases. 

“Furthermore, in his reply to MP’s in Parliament, he committed to ensuring all police stations would have rape kits by 14 October,” said DA MP, Andrew Whitfield.