The Medical Research Council have compiled a dossier investigating sex crimes across South Africa. Like most of our criminal statistics, the figures regarding convictions for rapists are a grim read.
Their report on behalf of the NPA – titled ‘Rape Justice in South Africa’ – revealed a shocking lack of justice for the victims of rape. Of the 3,952 cases they studied, just 340 ended in a guilty verdict and a conviction: that amounts to a meagre 8%.
The investigation hasn’t just highlighted a problem with the process of justice itself though. Intentionally or otherwise, it has genuinely shown police action regarding this crime to be truly incompetent.
Here’s a sorry state of affairs. If you’re lucky enough to be one of those 8 per-centers who gets to see justice served via a conviction of your rapist, there is still no guarantee that person will be locked behind bars.
The minimum conviction for rape is a 10-year jail term. However, according to Rachel Jewkes (the Medical Research Council’s executive scientist for research strategy), sentencing protocol is being completely ignored in favour of a ‘suspended sentence’:
“What’s shocking is that whereas 247 perpetrators were imprisoned, 68 of those convicted received suspended sentences. In Gauteng 36% of adults convicted for rape received a suspended sentence, while in the Free State 20% of adults received suspended sentences. We cannot understand how this is possible.”
Last week, the Crime Stats for 2016/17 were released. They showed a 4% decrease in incidents of rape. As we’ve previously suggested here, take that with a pinch of salt.
Just look at the conviction rate. Look at the let-downs these victims face on a regular basis. Look at the fact that a rapist is known to their prey 64% of the time. These cases aren’t dropping. They’re just not being reported by the exasperated, defeated victims.