Dawie van Vuuren stood at the parking lot of the police station looking across at Thandi who approached from a moderate distance. Her stilettos clacked over the hard surface as she thrust her hips sideways with some energetic action. As a white man he often found it challenging to define beauty on the African woman but Ms Molefe was pleasant on the eye, even a fool could see.
He asked himself what was a beautiful lady like her doing in the force when she could spruce a dull office any day. Dawie van Vuuren was from the old generation and the notion of women exchanging gun fire with Joburg gangsters did not make sense to him, he believed women should be protected.
On the other hand, Thandi was closing in on van Vuuren and she could feel the scrutiny levelled at her by her counterpart but she was not fazed, it happened a lot to female officers.
There was a sly look about van Vuuren, and Thandi reckoned his paunchy stomach was an indication of weekends’ potjiekos with the boys, coupled with promotions that had since kept him behind the desk. She wondered why he was so interested in this case.
“Hello, you must be Lieutenant Colonel van Vuuren,” Thandi said while offering her hand to the readily-smiling Dawie. She was put off by men who smiled with their mouth opened, what if a fly ends inside?
“I’m Warrant Officer Molefe,” she added.
He couldn’t hide his delight.
“Lobolo must cost an arm and a leg if a beautiful woman like you has no ring on it,” Dawie said rakishly as they shook hands.
Okay, so you’re funny? Thandi thought. She was thirty-two years old and of course not married, but it was none of anyone’s business. She maintained her formal demeanour.
Realising the lobolo blunder Dawie resorted to professionalism.
“Please, just call me Dawie,” he suggested after an awkward moment. He went on, “And if you don’t mind I’d rather we use my car.” Thandi stared on puzzlingly; he saw it fit to clarify, “It will be easy because I know the way there.”
“Where’s it, your car?” she asked icily.
With the motion of his head Dawie directed her towards a spick and span 80s Nissan Skyline parked over there. She looked at the vehicle without expression; then back – and only to find a sheepish grin on his face.
The interior of the Skyline smelt of over sprayed air-freshener and strong alcohol.
“I did some background check after you gave me your victim’s details,” Thandi spoke while looking into the screen of the opened laptop before her. She eyed her acquaintance then continued, “And just as the dead man in my case, your Mr Crothers was also charged with rape in 1993, but was never convicted.”
“No way,” Kobus said in a soft mocking tone, clearly mimicking some psychotic character he had seen in a movie.
“What?” Thandi engaged in a friendly tone, she was loosening up, Dawie was a jovial man.
“So, your victim can’t be associated with a rape charge because he’s white?
In response he gave her a silly look that said: ‘Come on now, do we have to go there?’
She supplied nonetheless, “And the complainant in that case was a black woman.”
Dawie pursed his lips and drove.
Mrs Crothers shouted while pacing restlessly on the rug of her lavish living room, “Are you people serious, my husband has just died and you have the nerve to come here and tell me this?” Her eyes were heavy with tears and grief.
Dawie and Thandi sat on the long couch watching her like helpless schoolchildren. Mrs Crothers stopped and faced them; Dawie ducked his eyes.
Mrs Crothers sniffled, brushed back her blonde hair and spoke with suppressed anger.
“People who’ve killed my husband are probably drunk somewhere in a township using the money stolen from him!”
“We believe nothing was stolen from your husband, Mrs Crothers,” Dawie managed to say.
But she wouldn’t have it.
“I don’t bloody care, just go and do your job for once!” she fired, then broke down and cried.
Tell us: How would you react if the police came to your home and told you that a family member had a pending rape case against them, despite them being the victims?