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Concern over non-implementation of Domestic Violence Act

The Portfolio Committee on Police has raised concern over the high number of public complaints against the South African Police Service (SAPS) with regards to failing to implement the Domestic Violence Act at police stations.

Committee Chairperson, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, said that while the committee welcomes the cooperation between SAPS and strengthened monitoring by the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (CSPS), members of the committee are concerned about 59 cases of non-compliance reported.

“This is concerning in the context of the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in the country and members of the SAPS must provide a refuge for victims of domestic violence,” Joemat-Pettersson said.

The committee received the bi-annual report from the SAPS on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA).

The report showed that some of the complaints lodged against SAPS members during the period between 1 April - 30 September 2021, include 15 cases of failure to open a case, two cases of failure to file a protection order, and two cases of failure to render satisfactory service to the victim.

“The committee is of the view that members of the SAPS should be equipped with advanced training to ensure that victims of GBV receive quality service from them,” Joemat-Pettersson said.

According to the committee, the victims of domestic violence will be certain about the quality of service they will receive and will be encouraged to report cases to the police.

The committee also raised concern about cases reported during the period 1 October 2020 - 31 March 2021 that are still to be finalised by the SAPS. It urged the National Commissioner to expedite the conclusion of those cases and ensure consequence management.

It however welcomed the improved oversight and monitoring conducted by the CSPS, and urged the SAPS to implement the recommendations made.

It also concurred with the CSPS that the SAPS should urgently close gaps in the implementation of the DVA at police stations to address administrative and operational non-compliances that are serious and exposing the victims to perpetual danger.

The committee further reiterated the need for societal recommitment to fighting acts of domestic violence.

“This scourge requires that as a society we collaborate to ensure prosecution of perpetrators. The police alone cannot win this war. They must play their role to ensure that we succeed,” Joemat-Pettersson said.

Over 100 police identified as alleged perpetrators of domestic violence

Meanwhile, the committee expressed shock at a report that 147 SAPS members were identified as alleged perpetrators of domestic violence, with a high prevalence in the Western Cape.

While commending the information that 77 firearms were confiscated from SAPS members who are alleged to have committed acts of domestic violence, the committee has called for disciplinary proceedings to be concluded on all cases.

“The committee has called on the SAPS to improve compliance inspections at police stations and has also called for the enhancement of training to ensure that police are capacitated on how to handle cases of domestic violence,” the chairperson said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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