Cape Town – Police Minister Bheki Cele has revealed that over a third of rape cases that were investigated by the SAPS were concluded in the 2021-22 financial year.
Cele revealed this when responding to parliamentary questions from Good party MP Brett Herron.
Herron also enquired about the concluded investigations that were referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for prosecution, cases that were closed without referral to the NPA and those cases still under investigation.
“In respect of the stipulated number of 41 695 charges of rape in 2021-22, a total number of 15824 case docket investigations were conclude by the South African Police Service,” Cele said.
“A total of 9 068 cases were closed without referring them to the NPA,” he said. Cele also said cases that were concluded without referral to the NPA included 737 false rape cases, 823 cases went undetected, 6756 withdrawn and 97 were finalised.
The minister stated that only 7557 concluded investigations were referred to the NPA for prosecution.
“A total number of 9246 of the reported rape cases are still under investigation.”
When asked about the average period of time the SAPS concluded rape investigations, and the causes of delays, Cele said the finalisation of a case depended on the merits and complexity of each case and the average period had not been determined.
“A request to the SAPS research component will be submitted to conduct research with respect to the average time it takes to conclude rape investigations,” he said.
Cele said delays in the finalisation of a case could be attributed to the complexity of the investigation, taking into account support to the investigation such as assessment reports by social workers and forensic leads.
“There is an on-going process to resolve the provisioning of DNA reports, which is being addressed by the SAPS forensic science laboratory.”
He said the shortage of forensic social workers also impacted on the finalisation of cases.
“A total number of 40 posts for forensic social workers were, however, advertised in September 2022 and the interview processes are currently under way to resolve this internal dependency.” Cele added certain external factors also inhibited the finalisation of cases such as reports from psychologists and the Department of Social Development.
“The relevant investigating officers are, however, in regular communication with the aforementioned entities to expedite the submission of the required reports,” he said.
Meanwhile, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said the conviction rate for statutory rape and sexual assault stood between 94% and 100% over the past three years. Lamola was responding to DA MP Alexandra Graham who asked for information in connection with of conviction, acquittals and incomplete statutory rape cases.
Lamola said the NPA did not collate offence-specific data as requested but there were court statistics available regarding statutory rape and statutory sexual assault matters as reported and dealt with at the Thuthuzela Care Centres.
He said there were 116 convictions for statutory rape and two convictions for statutory sexual cases in 2019-2020.
Lamola also said there were 61 convictions for statutory rape and two convictions for statutory sexual assault the following financial year.