Two Milnerton police officers are facing rape charges after allegedly doing a cavity search on a Monte Vista man in public.
The man (who can’t be named because he is an alleged rape victim) claims he was subjected to the search in Sanddrift while waiting in his car for a friend.
The officers are facing both a criminal and internal disciplinary investigation, but have not been suspended, SAPS confirmed on Tuesday.
The alleged victim’s mother said her son had been scarred for life, and she has vowed not to let the matter rest until he has justice.
“Right now I am looking for a lawyer, and I want to sue them for the pain and suffering they caused my child. My son was sent an SMS from the police to confirm that a case has been opened against the two officers,” she said.
Table View police spokeswoman, Captain Adriana Chandler, confirmed a rape case had been registered.
“Initially the case was investigated by the Milnerton cluster Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, then it was transferred to the Independent Police Investigation Directorate, which is now investigating the case and interviewed the victim,” said Captain Chandler.
The man’s mother said her son was too upset to talk to Tabletalk but he told the Daily Voice he had been parked outside a friend’s house on Friday January 12, waiting for him to get ready so they could go to town.
He had moved to the back seat of his car and had been watching cartoons on his laptop when two police officers approached him and accused him of acting suspiciously. According to him, the officers did a thorough body search then told him to take off his pants and underpants and get on his knees in the back of the patrol van, where an officer inserted his fingers into his anus without putting on gloves.
The man claimed at least 12 people had been standing outside their homes at the time. A teenage girl had been brushed aside by the officers when she had tried to intervene.
Legal Aid South Africa lawyer Dennis Masango said cavity searches should be done at the police station and not in public, according to the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977.
Police can’t search someone without having “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity.
“Searches have to be done in a dignified manner, and the police have to reasonably suspect that there is imminent and possible danger or suspicion that someone is about to commit a crime,” said Mr Masango.
Someone who felt they had been publicly humiliated by a wrongful police search could sue for defamation, but that could be hard to prove.
Mr Masango said to make a rape charge stick, it would need evidence of an intention to derive pleasure or cause harm.
“The police can say that they were acting within their means and that they had no intention to commit sexual misconduct,” said Mr Masango. In South Africa, rape is defined under the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act, of 2007, as any person who unlawfully and intentionally commits an act of sexual penetration with a complainant, without the complainant’s consent.