'If you don't know the street name I can't open this case'
WHAT do you do after you've been a victim of crime? You go to the police, right? That's what I did after I was stabbed and robbed in Rhodes Park two weeks ago.
I found Jeppe SAPS relatively empty with only about two police personnel taking statements from aggrieved citizens. On seeing the blood on my shirt the first policeman to address me gave me a form and told me to take it to a hospital to be filled in and then come back to report whatever it is I wanted to reported.I told him I had come to report a robbery, not an assault.
"Why should I go and get this form filled?"
"So you don't want my help, huh?"
"I never said that."
"But you say you don't want to fill in the form. You don't want help!"
"I just asked you."
"I'm done with you. You don't want help!"
Another policeman joined in from a distance.
"Are you drunk?"
"We don't take statements from drunk people."
I stood there patiently and silently swore that I wasn't going anywhere without laying a charge.
A man who said he was Lieutenant Colonel Shingange then came and pointed me to some other policeman in a nearby cubicle. This new policeman looked drunk. Not only did he appear drunk, he seemed to be a habitual heavy drinker.
"What happened," he asked.
"I was robbed."
"In Rhodes Park."
"How many Rhodes Parks do you have around here?"
"If you don't know the street I can't open this case."
A policewoman in the next cubicle leaned across and confirmed what the drunk looking cop said to me.
When I tried to ask more questions she called the Lieutenant Colonel, who proceeded to reiterate what they had said.
"Let me get this straight. Lieutenant Colonel, are you saying that if I got shot in the head and somehow survived and stumbled in here to report the incident and I didn't remember the street where I was shot you would not be able to open a case?"
"Yes," said the Lieutenant Colonel. "We cannot open a case without a street name."
With that he left, which meant that I too had to leave without laying a charge.
To verify what Jeppe SAPS had said I decided to take the matter up with Divisional Police Commissioner Gary Kruzer. Within an hour I had a Regional Police Commissioner, who had handed the matter to a Brigadier who had passed it on to another lower ranking officer who, within a day, had sent a detective and his assistant to come to me to take a statement, open a case and assured me that the Lieutenant Colonel at Jeppe SAPS would be asked to explain himself.
What took these many bodies, hours and aggravation to accomplish can and should have been done within 20 minutes by one police officer sitting at his or her desk. What a waste of resources! Incredible!