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‘No case numbers until after lockdown’ – cops tell woman robbed at home, before u-turn

04 May 2020 - 13:46 By Iavan Pijoos
After some confusion, police officers visited the woman's home to take her statement, and an hour later a case number was issued.
After some confusion, police officers visited the woman's home to take her statement, and an hour later a case number was issued.
Image: Claudia Schnepf

A Cape Town woman said she was turned away at a police station when she tried to open a case of house burglary at the weekend.

Sarah Rice told TimesLIVE that police officers subsequently contacted her and she had been able to lodge the case.

The theft took place at her home on Sunday.

“I left my front door gate open as I was moving between the house and my front yard with rubbish and stuff. The thieves jumped over my fence, ran in and grabbed what they saw on the table - my handbag and laptop,” Rice said.

Rice said she went to the Woodstock police station around 2pm to open a case, but was told no new case numbers would be issued “until after lockdown”.

"They said they had been told yesterday [Saturday] that this was how it would be because of the courts.

“After thinking about it and speaking to my family and neighbours, I realised  this had to be rubbish,” she said.

Rice said she called the station and asked to speak to the station commander, but he was unavailable so she spoke to the shift supervisor.

“He seemed uncertain about whether I could or couldn't get a case number and said he would call me back.

“He called back about 15 minutes later to say I could come through the next day to report  the crime and get a case number as the station was too busy to send a vehicle.”

She said an hour later the officer said police would go to her house to take a statement.

Two policemen arrived at her home about 6pm.

Rice said she received a case number an hour later.

“I was then called by the station commander who said he would be looking into it the matter on Monday as this should not have happened.

“I was confused, upset and scared. My sense was that if the police can't open cases and charge people, then they have no power to enforce anything.

“It also made me suspicious of the low crime stats during lockdown. Of course the numbers will show a drop if nothing is being reported,” she said.

Police were not reached for comment at the time of publication.

Deputy justice minister John Jeffrey reacted to a thread posted on Twitter by another Capetonian about the incident, saying this was not the law. 


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