Khayelitsha police ‘incapable’ of helping LGBT residents

When prominent lesbian community activist Funeka Soldaat was raped "by some boys from Khayelitsha" in 1995, she turned to the police for help. 

Yet this week she told the Khayelitsha commission of inquiry into policing that her torment had continued at two police stations, where her treatment after the attack left her devastated.

Speaking in isiXhosa, Soldaat recalled how she first went for assistance to the Lingulethu West police station in Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats, where she was told by the police she would have to wait because there was no transport available to take her to the hospital. 

"After waiting for a while, two white gentlemen came into the station. I had been sitting there, and I had been raped. I was supposed to be taken to hospital," Soldaat told the commission.

"These gentlemen put me at the back of the van and took me to Site B hospital. They dropped me outside and I went in by myself. My shoes had been lost. A nurse told me I was supposed to have brought a letter from the police station saying I had been raped."

Barefoot, Soldaat walked from the hospital to the nearest police station – the Khayelitsha Site B police station.

"By the time it came for me to lay a complaint, a police officer looked at me from head to toe. He asked me what had happened. I told him I was raped. But what happened was he didn't take my statement and he went to talk to other police officers. They came and asked me what happened. It looked like they were considering my sexual orientation."

Soldaat said she could not take it any more, so she left. "I went home and slept after that," she said. "My life was now a disaster."

NGO founder
The 53-year-old activist gave her witness testimony dressed in a blue peak cap and a purple T-shirt promoting Free Gender, the organisation she founded.

Soldaat said she was eventually helped by Rape Crisis, who put her in touch with an investigating officer at the Site B police station and, once again, she reported the case.

"They took the case, but even when they were taking my statement I was not trusting what they were doing," she said.

Soldaat said she had little further contact with police officers involved in her case. She focused on her recovery. "Rape Crisis said the most important thing was healing," Soldaat explained to the commission.

Soldaat's account caught the police legal team unawares. Advocate Norman Arendse, who has been hired to represent the police, pointed out that Soldaat's testimony was not part of the affidavit she had handed to the commission. 

Arendse said, as a result, he was unable to respond to her personal account because he was not given warning to consult with his clients.

In her affidavit to the commission, Soldaat explained that Free Gender is a nongovernmental organisation based in Khayelitsha.

LGBT intolerance
"The organisation was established in Khayelitsha mainly because of the community's lack of understanding and its intolerance of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people," said Soldaat.

She said there is considerable ignorance about the various forms of sexuality and sexual identity.

"This often manifests in a generally bad attitude, poor relations and even anger towards the wider lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community," said Soldaat.

"A section of the Khayelitsha community tends to unfairly treat LGBT people as social outcasts." She said they are often targeted for "so-called corrective rape, sexual assault, theft, robbery and many other crimes".

Soldaat said over many years it had become apparent that Khayelitsha police are incapable of providing help and protection to LGBT people, both before a crisis and when they present themselves as survivors of these crimes. "Khayelitsha police appear to lack the energy, will and intent to provide a service to LGBT [people]," Soldaat said. 

Police are slow to follow up on leads and are "homophobic", she said.

Advertisting

‘There were no marks on his neck’, Neil Aggett inquest...

The trade unionist’s partner at the time he was detained at John Vorster Square says she now believes his death was not a suicide

We need to ask awkward questions about our schools

Ignore the language used in brochures and on open days and be vigilant about the details

Study unpacks the ‘hidden racism’ at Stellenbosch

Students say they feel unseen and unheard at the university because of their skin colour

Ramaphosa enters the fray in fight between Gordhan and Mkhwebane

The president said his court case is “unfortunate” and a “measure of last resort”
Advertising

Press Releases

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.