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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Police investigating its own for sharing of Krugersdorp sexual assault victim’s details

The Information Regulator found Saps violated the Protection of Personal Information when distributing the names and ID numbers of the victims

The South African Police Services (Saps) said it be will conducting an internal investigation into the leaking of personal details of sexual assault victims linked to the Krugersdorp gang rape case.

In July last year, eight women were raped and their film crew robbed, allegedly by a gang of armed zama zamas (illegal miners) during a music video shoot at a disused mine in West Village, Krugersdorp.

Police violated Popia

On Wednesday, the Information Regulator (IR) found that Saps violated the Protection of Personal Information Act (Popia) when distributing the names, addresses, and ID numbers of the victims via WhatsApp to a number of people within the police force.

“The personal information of data subjects contained in the WhatsApp message was excessive and not relevant for the purpose for which it was distributed, which, according to the Saps, was to alert the respective stations of the serious crime which had been committed in the West Rand District.”

ALSO READ: Three boys arrested after another tells of harrowing rape ordeals

It also said police failed to take appropriate, “reasonable, technical measures to prevent the unlawful accessing of personal information of the rape victims  as prescribed in Popia.

Public apology

The regulator ordered that police issue a public apology within 31 days which features prominently in major national weekly newspapers and social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.

The regulator also instructed  Saps to investigate the conduct of officers responsible for the unlawful processing of the victims details and include training on Popia in all police training programmes.

Abiding by ruling

Speaking to The Citizen, police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said Saps has taken note of the ruling by the Information Regulator.

ALSO READ: Saps ordered to apologise for distributing details of women in Krugersdorp gang rape case

“The Saps will abide by the ruling and ensure compliance, notwithstanding the outcome of the internal investigation into the said disclosure which will be made public within the stipulated period.”

“Lucky to be raped”

In August last year there was massive outcry and a chorus of calls calling for Minister of Police Bheki Cele to resign after he said  one of the victims was ‘lucky to be raped by one man’ during a TV interview.

“They ordered the rest to watch as others were raped; one woman was raped by ten different men, the other one by eight, the other one by six, the other one by six, four and three and all that,” said Cele.

“The one 19-year-old was lucky, if it is lucky, that she was raped by one man,” Cele said at the time.

ALSO READ: Calls mount for Cele to resign over ‘lucky to be raped by one man’ comment

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