Cape Town - A fake SAPS (South African Police Service) post on social media which has gone viral has sparked a lot of anger for its cavalier encouragement of rape culture.
The post is of a piece of paper headlined “Special Public Announcement For The Festive Season”, accompanied by grammatically incorrect text and the SAPS emblem.
The image reads: “Do not go out to party for money without drinks. If you drink someone [sic] you must expect that someone to expect something in return. And when he starts to demand that something… Please do not call us. Give him what he wants.. The SAPS WILL BE BUSY WITH IMPORTANT CASES!!”
While several people figured out that the post was fake, they were still outraged by it.
Author Naledi Mashishi said, “I strongly doubt this is real but the fact that people find this funny is disgusting.”
Other comments included: “Look at all the rapists excited about this false information” and “When they say South Africa is the rape capital of the world, sh*t like this is why…”
Another person said: “The people laughing in the comments are disgusting. this is disgusting. i hate this place. wtf. @SAPoliceService pls [sic] tell me this is not real .”
And another user added: “My mom is still part of SAPS, and do you want to know why it's so believable that this is real, to so many? My own mother, probably about two weeks ago, told me about how officers asked a woman who came to lay a charge why she dressed a certain way.”
The SAPS took to X (formerly Twitter) to respond that the post was fake, and warned people not share it: “It came to the attention of SAPS that the following announcement has been circulated on WhatsApp Groups and social media platforms. It is fake and SAPS urge citizens not to share this fake message.”
When they say South Africa is the rape capital of the world, shit like this is why… https://t.co/Yyxn59qww3— Anita (@Puxxy_Spice) November 27, 2023
Look at all the rapists excited about this false information. https://t.co/dufgjU5Ixr— HRH Namhla 🇵🇸 (@Nampree) November 27, 2023
My mom is still part of SAPS, and do you want to know why it's so believable that this is real, to so many? My own mother, probably about two weeks ago, told me about how officers asked a woman who came to lay a charge why she dressed a certain way. https://t.co/ElOkwgSZI6— babes umlungu (@zeniaontop) November 27, 2023
Many found the post to be in poor taste which went viral over the weekend coinciding with the start of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.
Meanwhile, on Monday morning, the Western Cape Police Ombudsman Oswald Reddy, took the opportunity to drum the message of the 16 Days of Activism campaign, urging the public to report service inefficiencies within the SAPS to the police ombudsman, especially cases of GBV.
“We take the 16 Days of Activism as an opportunity for us to say to victims of GBV who have reported their matters to SAPS, but who are unhappy with the service they received, ‘we are here to support you: reach out’.”
Reddy explained that the National Instruction 7 of 1999 on Domestic Violence provided clear directives on how SAPS members must respond to and assist victims of domestic violence.
Some of these include:
– A complainant may approach the SAPS for assistance at any time, irrespective of when or where the incident took place, and SAPS members may under no circumstances turn complainants away;
– Complainants must be treated in a professional manner and must be assured that action will be taken;
– A SAPS member who attends to a domestic violence complaint must take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the complainant, including securing the scene and searching for and seizing any dangerous weapons such as a firearm without a warrant;
According to the instruction, Station Commanders must have a list and contact details of organisations in the area which offer support, counselling services, accommodation, and medical treatment to GBV victims. This list must be available to complainants and victims of domestic violence.
“The Domestic Violence Act ensures that victims of domestic violence have maximum protection from abusive domestic relationships. The Police Ombudsman was established to assist individuals who are not happy with the service they receive from SAPS,” Reddy said.
“If you are not happy with the service you received when you laid your domestic violence complaint, reach out.”
Since its inception in December 2014, the provincial ombudsman has received a total of 4610 complaints from the public.
“We offer a valuable service to the public. If you are not happy with the service you received from the SAPS, you come to us, and we will follow-up and assist you,” Reddy said.
For more information about the Police Ombudsman and to lodge complaints about SAPS service delivery complaints, about domestic violence or any other matter, visit https://www.westerncape.gov.za/police-ombudsman.