Police minister Bheki Cele’s office said allegations that Roodepoort police failed to respond to a rape incident earlier this month because they were sleeping on the job are being urgently investigated.
A member of the public recorded a video after rushing to the police station and finding four police members asleep in front of a heater.
“Ma’am, I have phoned here twice. I have asked for help. You couldn’t help me. I got into my car and I [have driven] here to tell you that they are raping a lady at the corner of 7th Avenue and 7th Street. You refused to speak to me,” the concerned community member can be heard saying.
Apparently this is at Roodeport Police station. We’re in hell. pic.twitter.com/l4kvN4NOBj
— Farah C. Fortune (@fcfortune) May 8, 2021
The officers, who were in a dark part of the office and not visible in the footage, offered no response.
“Is this how you treat the public after you have given an oath that you will protect the public?” they are asked.
“Now you can just stand with your eyes closed and rub your eyes, but you are taking our tax money for your salary,” they are told.
The officers can be heard murmuring at the back as the complainant threatens to call a senior officer if they do not help the rape victim.
The four police officers were allegedly women.
“You phone for help here and they are sleeping. You are asking for help for a woman that is being raped, but these ladies can just sit here at the back and hide themselves. That is how they stand up for their sister — their sister in need,” says the person recording the footage.
Cele’s spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, said: “An urgent internal investigation is under way to look into this serious allegation that police officers who were on night duty in the CSC [community service centre] were sleeping and failed to respond to complaints from a member of the public.”
Meanwhile, several people commented on the video, shared on social media, claiming they too had received bad service at the Roodepoort police station.
One woman alleged that at the age of 15, she had opened a sexual and physical abuse case there but after money exchanged hands the case went nowhere.
Another claimed they called the station seeking help for a neighbour several weeks ago but officers “didn’t seem bothered”.
Another person said this was their local police station and at times they did not bother to report incidents because they were seldom attended to.