NEWS & ANALYSIS

FCS units facing chronic shortages of rape kits – Zakhele Mbhele

DA says DNA collection kits and vehicles in several province also in short supply

FCS units facing chronic shortages of rape kits, DNA collection kits and vehicles in several provinces

17 May 2018

reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed chronic shortages of rape kits and DNA collection kits in Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FSC) units across the country.

This paints a grim picture of the chronic under-resourcing and under-equipping of the FCS units which are critical for securing justice for the victims of violence and abuse.

Following the DA’s bid to seek details of the extent of shortages in the FCS units, the reply revealed that nationally, there’s a shortage of about 384 vehicles dedicated to FSC units.

KwaZulu-Natal has the most critical vehicle shortage of 77 vehicles. This accounts for 20% of the national figure.

There’s also a shortage of 18 637 crime kits, referred to as “rape kits”. Gauteng has a shortage of 8 850 kits which accounts for 48%, or almost half the national shortage. The FCS Unit with the biggest shortage of rape kits is the Plessislaer unit in KwaZulu-Natal, with a shortage of 1000 kits.

There is also a shortage of 43 489 DNA collection kits across the country. The province with the biggest shortage is Gauteng with a shortfall of 10 300 DNA kits, closely followed by the Eastern Cape, with 10 000. Together, they represent 47% of the total national shortage. The FCS unit with the biggest individual shortage is again the Plessislaer unit, with a shortage of 2 000 kits.

Other equipment shortages, which hampers the functioning of FCS units, include a national shortage of 268 landline telephones; 173 bullet-resistant vests; recording equipment for interviews and a massive lack of 414 laptops at FCS units across the country.

This is horrific and does not bode well for the effective functioning of the FCS units as these resources are crucial for the police to assist victims of rape and violence and drive swift, quality investigation of cases. The DA has long maintained there is a serious nationwide police mismanagement crisis and the FCS units are hardest hit by its trickle-down effects.

These shocking statistics are reflective of the extent of this crisis within the SAPS leadership and our people, especially victims of rape and abuse, are failed on a constant basis due to the under-resourced and under-equipped police service.

A DA government would have the political will to make it a top priority to address these problems by fixing the fundamentals and getting the basics of management right.

Issued by Zakhele MbheleDA Shadow Minister of Police, 17 May 2018