National Police Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola has tendered a public apology to the victims of the Krugersdorp attack where eight women were raped in July 2022.
The apology from the SAPS follows the public release of personal information of the eight women which included their names and surnames, age and physical addresses.
Following the incident, the National Commissioner ordered an internal departmental investigation into the matter.
The investigation was conducted and concluded. The final report found that indeed the personal information of victims was released inappropriately but no ill-intent was uncovered. This however still does not justify the sharing of such information.
The information which was shared on various internal WhatsApp platforms of the SAPS sought to only mobilise all the necessary role players and resources in a bid to apprehend those responsible for this heinous crime.
During the process of tracing the suspects the SAPS Management of Gauteng, the relevant district, stations and units were alerted of the crime and requested to mobilize resources to trace the suspects.
WhatsApp messages were used to communicate due to the urgency of tracing the suspects.
Unfortunately, personal information of the above-mentioned victims were disclosed in the WhatsApp messages on SAPS WhatsApp groups, which found its way to social media. The SAPS regrets the disclosure of such personal information and apologises to the victims of the dreadful crimes for the information breach and the hardship caused as a result.
The SAPS Management continues to issue directives and drive internal awareness campaigns within the SAPS in an endeavour to avoid a repeat of such information breach.
The Management of the SAPS assures all people in South Africa of its commitment to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013.
“On behalf of the SAPS, I apologise unreservedly to the victims in particular and their families. Crimes against women and children remain a priority for members of the SAPS and in the past financial year, 386 life sentences were handed down to perpetrators of Gender Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) related crimes and during the same period 17 481 suspects were arrested for such crimes, “said General Masemola.
Source: Government of South Africa