Almost eight years after a brutal attack that lasted 16 hours, rape survivor and Gauteng businesswoman Andy Kawa was back in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape – and this time she is seeking justice by suing the South African Police Service for damages just short of six million rand.
On December 9, 2010, Kawa was abducted while walking along Kings Beach, held hostage and gang raped for a period of 15 to 16 hours in sand dunes.
Kawa managed to escape from her abductors the next day.
In 2012, Kawa pointed out her alleged assailants during a protest march along the same beachfront, but the charges against the two men were withdrawn when DNA evidence failed to link the men to the brutal attack.
Kawa was in the Port Elizabeth High Court today for her civil claim against the State. The defendants in the case include the Minister of Police, Brigadier Ronald Koll and the two investigating officers who were assigned to her case, Matabata Madubedube and Adine Solomon.
According to court papers, Kawa claimed that the SAPS wrongfully and negligently breached its duty to investigate her allegation that she had been abducted, held hostage and gang raped by a group of men.
Court papers state that police also failed to search the area in the vicinity of the car park at King Beach, where her car had been left and broken into at the time.
Papers further cite that police were delayed in responding to the call by joggers who assisted Kawa after the attack, who reported at the time that she had been found on the beach after she had allegedly been raped.
Police are also accused of failing to search the area of the sand dunes after Kawa had reported the allegations at the police station.
According to the court papers, one of the investigating officers in the case claimed that he was unable to conduct the investigation properly because of a lack of transport and insufficient airtime on his cellphone. The other detective in the case failed to compile an identikit of Kawa’s abductors.
Private investigator, Major General Bushie Engelbrecht testified on Tuesday that he had been asked to give his expert opinion on the investigation of Kawa’s case.
Engelbrecht who perused the docket for the first time last month, said that searching for a victim or suspects should have been done immediately and the area should have been cordoned off. He was adamant that if a search was conducted police would have found Kawa. Kawa claims that she herself had to conduct the investigation into her own rape case and collect evidence.
She claimed to have suffered post traumatic stress and depression and has not returned to her brokerage consultancy since the attack in 2010.
The case continues.