Frustrated Komani residents say they are falling victim to crime while police flatly refuse to help them.
A resident, known to The Rep, said police at the Queenstown Police Station refused to open a case against her husband who had stolen her car.
The woman, who has been separated from her husband for a year and is in the process of a divorce, said her estranged husband took her vehicle during a visit to their children.
“He came to visit the children on Saturday. He then asked to use my car to take the children out for lunch because his is not in a good state. I refused,” said the mother.
She said while the husband brought the children back, he again stole her car even after she had tried to hide its keys. She is still not in possession of her car and police refuse to open a case.
“I went to the station to open a case of vehicle theft. Police told me because the person is known they would phone him. He told them we were married in community of property and therefore it was legally his vehicle,” she added.
Despite being the vehicle being in her name, being separated for a year and currently in the throes of a divorce, she was allegedly informed that it was a civil matter and police could not intervene.
Komani lawyer Wesley Hayes has condemned the refusal by police to assist his client, saying people who are married can still commit crimes against each other.
“Just because a couple are married does not mean they are exempt from committing a crime against one another. Police are obligated in terms of the law to open a criminal case if a crime has been committed. A docket should be opened by the police in the name of the complainant. Thereafter, the matter should be investigated and formal charges brought against the accused if there is enough evidence,’ said Hayes.
Hayes said this was a disturbing trend in Komani as a similar instance had happened at the same station last year.
Last year The Rep reported, (Police refuse to open a case), that another woman had tried to open a trespassing case against her husband. At the time it was reported that an officer had refused to open a case because he knew the accused husband.
“This is actually very common. Police try to negotiate with people against whom cases are being opened instead of doing their job. It is actually a breakdown of civil society when police refuse to protect us and uphold the law. The boom of private security is evidence that people no longer have confidence in law enforcement,’ said Hayes.
In response to questions sent to police spokesperson captian Namhla Mdleleni about the matter, Mdleleni said an investigation would be launched on why the victim had been turned away and that a case of a stolen vehicle would be opened.