A Komani police officer has been transferred amid claims that she declined to investigate the rape of a two-year-old because the little girl could not tell her who assaulted her.
Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) detective Captain Nosipho Sondlo was moved from the station following an article based on an interview with the child’s mother, 33.
The mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her daughter, alleged that Sondlo had on February 11 asked her daughter what had happened.
She said: “My daughter responded but was not answering what she was being asked.
“Captain Sondlo then said to me: ‘Sister, you don’t have a case because the victim is not responding’.”
The mother said she had suggested that police visit the daycare centre the child attended to investigate, but Sondlo had told her they could not go there without evidence as the daycare would sue them.
The allegations riled an East London women and children’s rights advocacy group, the Masimanyane Woman’s Support Centre.
Masimanyane director Lesley Ann Foster said the group had since lodged a complaint with Dumisani Ximbi, chairman of the parliamentary select committee on security and justice.
Provincial police spokeswoman Brigadier Marinda Mills said: “Crimes against women and children are a police priority and we are very disappointed with the comments allegedly made by Captain Sondlo.
“It certainly does not reflect our commitment towards fighting crime against children.”
“Although the victim is very young and may not be able to name or point out the perpetrator, the case is not lost or shelved.”
Mills said police had forensic social workers trained to assist in cases of this nature.
“The provincial office has requested an immediate investigation into the alleged comments and conduct of the investigator.
“In the meantime, the investigation is continuing,” Mills said.
She said the little girl had been taken to Bhisho on Monday to see a forensic social worker.
“The investigation has also been elevated to the unit commander, working very closely with the provincial head of the FCS.”
Mills said the mother would be kept informed of all the developments in the case.
Foster said: “We need to find out what remedial action is being taken against the previous police officer.”