Alcohol plays a major role in rape cases in Inanda – station commander

Alcohol consumption played a significant role in the perpetration of rape and sexual assault in Inanda, north of Durban - where the local police station has as the highest number of reported rape cases in the country.

This is according to Inanda police station commander Brigadier Zwelihle Mnganga, who spoke at an oversight inspection conducted by a DA delegation, led by DA MP Zakhele Mbhele.

Police crime statistics for 2016/17 indicated that the police station had the highest number of reported rape cases in South Africa. It had 348 reported sexual offences cases, of which 309 were rape cases.

According to the DA, the reported rape cases increased by 13.6% from the 2015/16 financial year.

'The main factor is taverns'

Mnganga said Inanda had 128 licensed liquor outlets and many more which operated illegally.

"Most rape cases happen when they are drunk. Most of them are raped by known people. The main factor is taverns. If I buy you a drink, then you must sleep with me. They rape each other when they are drunk," he said.

Mnganga also blamed the high number of rape cases on parents who neglected their children.

"Most of them neglect their kids and their neighbours end up raping them," he said.

READ: Bad cocktail of booze and rape

The station commander highlighted some of the station's challenges, telling the delegation that the area's environmental design was not conducive to their efforts to fight crime.

"There are no proper addresses. It's very dangerous when attending to complaints at night because there are also no street names. It is difficult to police the area," he said.

He pointed out that the station served more than 750 000 people and that there were three satellite police stations in the area.

It would help if one of the five satellite police stations in the area could be converted into a full police station, he said.

"That would minimise the workload that we are carrying here at Inanda."

In terms of the population, we're under staffed," he said, adding that they had around 270 police officials at the station.

The station's Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit covers about 60 cases of rape per month. The unit also covers cases in Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, Greenwood Park and Newlands East. However, the station's management said child molestation cases were not prevalent in the area.

Conviction rates were affected by issues with DNA results, which sometimes took too long, the delegation heard.

Another challenge Mnganga raised was the type of vehicles they had at the station.

READ: ‘Concerns’ over rape incidents

"They are not suited for the area. Most of them are broken and are at the garage. It takes about two months before one vehicle is back from the police garage in Jacobs," he said.

The station has about 20 running vehicles and about 21 others are at the garage.

Mbhele said one of the reasons for the visit was to get to the bottom of the high number of sexual assault cases in the area and to find out if the police station had adequate resources, rape kits and survivor-friendly rooms available.

The DA MP said he would escalate the station's complaints to the Portfolio Committee on Police in order for the station to get assistance to function at its best.