A former metro police officer still has flashbacks, years after an alleged sexual assault at work.

Almost six years after an alleged sexual assault left her fighting for her life in the ICU, a former City of Cape Town metro police officer still has nightmares as she battles with the trauma caused.

Verna Simpson claimed she was assaulted by her superintendent in 2018. She opened a case against him and the outcome of an internal investigation found her boss guilty. The matter is currently being heard in the Cape Town Regional Court, where it has been delayed several times. It is set for its next hearing on 11 March 2024.

Her family have been by her side since the ordeal and claimed the city has not offered her much-needed support.

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“She gets nightmares and weeps whenever she talks. She gets anxiety attacks all the time and is still on anxiety medication. She constantly complains of back and neck pains and pains in her chest. She is going for a neck operation in May this year due to the stress of the assault and secondary victimisation of the City,” her husband, Winston, told The Citizen.

Secondary victimisation

Simpson said that after she laid a complaint about the assault, she was moved to an isolated room for months. She claimed it was a storeroom and compared it to a dumpsite.

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She was dismissed in 2021, allegedly for speaking to the media pending a dispute between her and the City of Cape Town.

The City of Cape Town told The Citizen they were unable to comment on the claims as it is being heard before a labour court, but the city council’s media manager Luthando Tyhalibongo previously told IOL: “The redeployment was in her best interests until the conclusion of the hearing. This measure was taken to protect her”.

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Winston said the long fight in criminal and labour courts has drained the family emotionally and financially.

“I must pay the advocate while still waiting for a date. I must pay my wife’s medication. It is a severe trauma and stress for me and our family. My wife has mood swings, flashbacks, anxiety attacks, and her health is very poor. The stress has triggered her asthma as well.”

He claimed the superintendent was reinstated, while his wife struggles at home.

“He walks the streets of the city, as normal, while my wife is suffering”

Despite requests for comment on the alleged reinstatement, the city did not answer The Citizen questions by the time of publication.


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