Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

The Portfolio Committee on Police has directed South African Police Service (SAPS) senior managers to increase and enhance training for SAPS members to ensure compliance with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA). The committee yesterday received a report on compliance with the Act and complaints against SAPS members, as contemplated in Section 18(4)(a) of the Act.

The committee said non-compliance with the Act undermines the fight against gender-based violence, which increased training will equip police officers with the tools necessary to ensure proper reporting and investigation of domestic violence. “It is unacceptable that in a country like South Africa, with abnormally high cases of domestic violence, there are still some members of the SAPS that are not complaint with the Act. While there is a general improvement in the number of complaints received, complete compliance is non-negotiable according to the committee,” said Mr Nocks Seabi, the Chairperson of the committee.

The SAPS and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service informed the committee that from 1 April to 30 September 2023, 60 complaints were reported. Fifty of those cases involved failure to complete a SAPS 508(a) form (a domestic violence form used to descriptively register the incidence of domestic violence received) and the Domestic Violence Register (SAPS 508(b)). Seven cases involved the failure to record DV incidents in the occurrence pocket book and two cases concern a failure to assist a complainant to open a case.

While the committee acknowledged that various actions have been taken, including the issuing of verbal warning and final written warnings, the committee believes continuous training will assist police officers to properly handle cases of domestic violence and comply with legislation. The committee has also urged departmental investigations to be speedily concluded to ensure that members are held accountable.

The committee was also critical of the high number of police officers accused of perpetrating domestic violence in the period under review. “It is alarming that 165 members of SAPS are accused to be perpetrators of domestic violence. How can we expect perpetrators to assist and protect the most vulnerable. This is unacceptable and urgent strategies must be developed and implemented to remedy this concern,” Mr Seabi emphasised. The committee has also called for enhanced psycho-social support for members to help them cope with the violent environment in which they operate.

Another concern for the committee is that 116 police stations are still without victim-friendly rooms. While the committee acknowledges that there are measures to mitigate this gap, it emphasised the need for more focus on capital projects to develop such rooms.

Meanwhile, the committee also received a report on the outcomes of Safer Festive Season operations and is generally pleased with the police visibility and operations during the festive season. While the committee acknowledged that budgetary constraints hinder the continued roll-out of similar operations, it requested a budgetary estimation on the costs involved for Parliament to consider.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

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