SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE’S FCS UNIT ACHIEVES SIGNIFICANT CONVICTIONS IN CHILD PROTECTION EFFORTS

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  • The South African Police Service (SAPS) is actively combating crimes against children and gender-based violence through the efforts of its Family Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Investigations (FCS) unit, which secured 2300 convictions and 19, 360 arrests in the past year.
  • The FCS unit focuses on four main types of crimes: sexual crimes, person-directed crimes, illegal removal of persons, and electronic media-facilitated crimes. The unit also includes Forensic Social Workers who provide critical assessments and therapeutic services to victims.
  • Highlighting their recent success, the FCS unit has achieved significant convictions, including several life sentences for severe cases of child rape. The unit, led by Mayor General Mmantsheke Lekhele, plays a crucial role in ensuring justice for victims.

The South African Police Service(SAPS) observes Child Protection Week daily by ensuring those who commit crimes against our most vulnerable in society, are put behind bars. In the past year, the SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Investigations (FCS) unit led investigations that ensured that 2300 accused were convicted and 19 360 were arrested for GBVF-related crimes as well as crimes against children. 

The role of the FCS Detectives in the SAPS is to ensure the effective prevention, and investigation of FCS-related crimes; and to ensure justice for victims of family violence, crimes against children and sexual offences.

FCS-related crimes can be divided into four (4) main groups, namely:

  • Sexual crimes (incest, rape, sexual assault) 
  • Person directed crimes(assault, assault GBH, Murder) 
  • Illegal removal of a person (Kidnapping, abduction, missing children)
  • Electronic media facilitated crimes such as child pornography as well as filming and sharing of others during sexual activity without consent.  

The unit also has Forensic Social Workers (FSW) whose responsibility is to assist FCS detectives in completing psychosocial and risk assessments, provide effective therapeutic services, and implement crisis interventions for victims of crime who often have experienced severe trauma and grapple with significant social, emotional, psychological and behavioural challenges. These assessments are presented to the court as part of the evidence. 

A breakdown of the convictions achieved in the past year includes:

  • 321 accused were sentenced to life in prison 
  • 296 accused were sentenced to 20 years and more imprisonment 
  • 611 accused were sentenced to a period ranging from 10 to 19 years imprisonment 
  • 1072 accused were sentenced to a period ranging from 1 to 9 years imprisonment 
  • 19 360 suspects who perpetrated FCS-related crimes were arrested. Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape registered the most arrests which are as follows:
  • GP: 3293 
  • KZN: 3786
  • WC: 4857

A highlight of the convictions is as follows:

EC: In February 2024, 58- year-old Thembisile Sonjica from East London was sentenced to life imprisonment and an additional 5 years for raping his female grandchildren aged 5 and 8 years old. 

GP: In March 2024, 31-year-old Arthur Lepheana was handed down two life sentences after he was found guilty of raping his biological daughter who was an infant at the time of the rape. This incident happened in Olivenhoutbosch. 

LIMPOPO: In January 2024, 36-year-old Joppy Madihlaba was sentenced to life imprisonment for repeatedly raping his 7-year-old niece whenever the girl was left in his care in Dennilton. 

WC: In November 2023: 35-year-old Jerome Botha from Paarl was handed down two life terms in prison for raping two female minors aged 5 and 6 years old. At the time of the incident, the children were playing outside near his home when he called them into his home and inserted his fingers in their private parts. 

 KZN: In August 2023, 59-year-old Peter Msweli was sentenced to life imprisonment for raping and impregnating his biological daughter who was 11- years old at the time of the incident. 

The FCS unit is headed by Major General Mmantsheke Lekhele who has 18 years of experience as a detective. She holds a Diploma in Policing, B-Tech Policing and a B-tech degree in Business Administration. 

 

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