Meeting SummaryThe South African Police Service was compelled to comply with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, any failure to did so constituted misconduct. The former Independent Complaints Directorate monitored SAPS’s non-compliance until 31 March 2012. This role was transferred to the Civilian Secretariat for Police according to the new Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act of 2011. It also had to make recommendations. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) presented its report for the period January 2011 to March 2012. A breakdown of incidents according to province was given as well as the number of incidents that had been resolved or were outstanding. Many police stations were found to be largely non-compliant with Domestic Violence Act provisions following station audits and IPID was reacting with workshops and training.
The Committee demanded reasons for failure to discipline individuals who did not comply and queried the effectiveness of IPID’s oversight of SAPS. When exemption for non-compliance was not granted, SAPS had to act against their members. This was why the IPID was created, to give this process teeth. The Committee pointed out that Section 30 of the IPID Act required institution of disciplinary action after 30 days, not just recommendations.
The Civilian Secretariat of Police then presented details on the hand-over of responsibility to them by IPID, saying that the implementation plan emphasised compliance between all stakeholders and the facilitation of reporting to Parliament for greater transparency and accountability. Although training was to continue, it was observed that various reasons for non-compliance exist and this necessitated various solutions.
The South African Older Person’s Forum briefed the Committee on the increasing problem of violence against elderly persons, saying that they should by all rights be included in the legislative definition of vulnerable persons and granted targeted protection. Part of the solutions proposed were the sensitisation of SAPS members and through them communities to the problems faced by elderly persons so as to dispel cultural stereotypes. The Committee signalled a commitment to furthering the protection of elderly persons. The Committee said that SAPS must involve stakeholders for the elderly in the strategy forming process. They must look at the elderly as an interest group that must be represented. The Secretariat must also look at the elderly as a reference group when developing policy frameworks. Presenters were encouraged to lobby other parliamentary committees. The Committee would approach the Speaker of Parliament to incorporate old persons into the definition of the vulnerable in legislation. This awareness should also be spread to the Executive.
Domestic Violence Report by Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID)
Mr Francois Beukman, IPID Executive Director, introduced the members of his delegation then handed over to Mr Moses Dlamini, National Spokesman for IPID.
Mr Dlamini began by outlining the Domestic Violence Act’s (DVA) legislative mandate, specifically the fact that failure to comply by SAPS with one of the obligations amounts to misconduct of which the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) must be notified. Unless the ICD directs otherwise, SAPS must then institute disciplinary proceedings and a report must be submitted to Parliament every six months containing the details of incidents of non-compliance in that period. The DVA Report presents a factual analysis of non-compliance by SAPS with the DVA including failure to arrest transgressors, failure to inform victims of options or failure to note reasons for non-compliance. The DVA mandates the IPID to refer individuals for disciplinary action, conduct DVA audits, process applications for exemptions, run awareness campaigns and conduct workshops with SAPS.
A provincial breakdown of DVA intakes from January 2011 to March 2012 was displayed with the Western Cape leading at 32% of total intakes. The most common form of non-compliance was the failure to arrest an abuser if an offence of violence had been committed; 7% of DVA cases were a failure to inform the victim of their options; 11% of cases were failure to note the incident in a domestic violence register. There were only 19 applications for exemption by the SAPS, despite 104 incidents of non-compliance. There were eight such applications made in North West Province and six in the Eastern Cape while many of the highest offending provinces such as Western Cape and Gauteng did not apply for exemption at all. These numbers should concern Parliament as they indicate a trend of non-compliance with the DVA. Either disciplinary action should be taken against the offenders or applications for exemption should be lodged.
Mr Innocent Khuba, Acting Provincial Head of IPID in Limpopo, observed that the period of January 2011 to June 2011 saw Eastern Cape close two out of six cases of non-compliance as being substantiated with one pending closure. Two more were granted exemption and the last was still under ICD investigation. Free State had six cases, all of which were awaiting response from SAPS at the time of the drafting of the report. Gauteng had nine cases, one was closed as substantiated and the rest were awaiting response from SAPS. In KwaZulu Natal, all three cases received were awaiting response. In Limpopo, all four cases received were awaiting response. North West Province was also pending response from SAPS on both cases received, as was Northern Cape for its single case. None of Western Cape’s six cases had received a response from SAPS yet and Mpumalanga had no cases to report.
From July 2011 to March 2012, Eastern Cape received eight cases, closed one as substantiated, handed over two to the Civilian Secretariat of Police and awaited response from SAPS on three. Free State received eight cases, all of which were awaiting response from SAPS. Gauteng closed two out of ten cases as substantiated, the rest were awaiting response. None of Kwa Zulu Natal’s three cases were closed, whilst all of Mpumalanga’s cases were closed as substantiated. North West was still awaiting response for all five of its cases, as was Northern Cape for all but one of its six cases. Western Cape received 28 cases, 15 of which were closed as substantiated with the remainder awaiting SAPS response. Limpopo reported no cases.
Ms Bongiwe Tukela, Acting Provincial Head of IPID in the Western Cape, explained the factors taken into account by a DVA audit. The availability of the DVA was one, as well as whether or not there was an updated list of service providers at Community Service Centres and in each police vehicle. The audit also considered whether or not copies of every protection order and warrant of arrest were filed, the availability of a victim friendly care centre, the maintenance of a register for all complaints tendered against SAPS members in terms of non-compliance with the DVA, whether disciplinary measure were taken against members or they applied for exemption and which steps were taken in the direction decided upon by SAPS. A breakdown of Station Audits was presented by province, with Free State having conducted the most at 40 and the least being done by Northern Cape which was 16, to total 263 from January 2011 to March 2012.
Mr Thabo Leholo, from IPID in the Western Cape, provided statistics for the station audits.
● The ICD conducted 101 police station audits during Jan - June 2011, and found that:
• 18 stations were complying on a level of Non-Compliant (0-49%).
• 29 stations were complying on a level of Fairly Compliant (50-79%)
• 42 stations were on a level of Substantially Compliant (80-99%)
• 12 stations were Fully Complaint (100%) with the DVA prescripts.
● The ICD conducted 162 police station audits during July 2011- March 2012, and found that:
• 11 stations were complying on a level of Non-Compliant (0-49%)
• 51 were complying on a level of Fairly Compliant (50-79%)
• 73 stations were on a level of Substantially Compliant (80-99%)
• 27 stations were Fully Complaint (100%) with the DVA prescripts.
Proactive oversight findings of the audit were that there was generally a failure to apply for exemption. Further, there was a lack of understanding of SAPS obligations under the DVA. Administratively, record keeping remained a weakness with many forms not being filed properly and lists of service providers not being updated. The DVA and National Instructions were not readily available to SAPS members either.
There were a total of 297 awareness campaigns conducted over both periods, the most in one province was 40 in Gauteng and the lowest was 17 in Kwa Zulu Natal. There were a total of 27 workshops: Free State hosting 9, Kwa Zulu Natal hosting 7 and the rest being shared between Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape and Western Cape.
The Chairperson chose to take a break from the presentation and invited questions from the Committee.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) asked the delegation to clarify the use of past tense, specifically whether the cases that were outstanding at the time of the report being drafted had since been closed.
The Chairperson also requested an explanation for “awaiting response” from SAPS, and asked what they had been required to provide ICD with before the case could be closed.
Mr Matthews Sesoko, Acting Chief Director of Investigation and Information Management at IPID, explained that open cases referred to at the time of the report’s drafting. In the interim time some of those may have been closed but that information was not reflected in the report.
Mr Dlamini also explained that in order to close a case, the ICD required SAPS to either discipline the member or apply for exemption. Outstanding cases required a response from SAPS in order to progress.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) noted his general disappointment and shock at the findings in the report. He asked if this signalled SAPS disobedience or if it was simply negligence. He asked for clarity over the criteria used for choosing stations to be audited and what measures were attempted to enforce cooperation when SAPS fails to comply.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) asked, in the case of disciplinary measures being taken against SAPS offenders, if reports of them were given back to IPID. It appeared that non-compliance was wilful, in which case training would not make a difference. Disobedience was frequently reported but the IPID emphasis seemed to be on training not discipline. She requested details on the sanctions as a result of disobedience by SAPS members and also the extent to which IPID held SAPS accountable such as in the case of enforcing the use of the firearm register.
Mr Lekgetho pointed out that the change from ICD to IPID was artificial as the personnel remained the same and so did the problems. The statistics of non-compliance was not accompanied by sanctions so it was not clear what measures were proposed to enforce compliance. It had not been shown that oversight activities were producing any positive results nor how Government funding had helped the situation. Also, if there was failure to apply for exemption, after what period would action be taken where no exemption was granted? If IPID did not exercise authority they lost their effectiveness. Until SAPS was incentivised to comply they would continue to flaunt the regulations of the DVA. The handover of ICD to IPID needed to go beyond a name change.
Ms P Mocumi (ANC) added that the findings on Slide 21 were not coupled with proposed remedies. The delegates had not been clear on what plan they proposed to put in place to solve the problems faced by IPID. The Act had been around for many years so there was no excuse for IPID to not ensure that its contents were fully understood. With regards to the workshops conducted, stations were battling to implement the DVA but after almost two financial years stations were still not undergoing these workshops. Ms Mocumi asked what criteria were used to justify excluding these stations or if they were simply content with their non-compliance.
Mr D Stubbe (DA) asked if the oversight findings on Page 20 were a generalisation or specific to certain stations.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) queried the ability of awareness campaigns to yield results. She requested information about the reasons for non-application for exemption and proposed solutions for non-compliance. If SAPS was given so much time to respond, they were able to cover up allegations.
Ms Kohler-Barnard raised the issue of protection orders brought by victims that were not served or recorded, the response to which seemed to be training. Women had been beaten to death as a result of this oversight, it was not reasonable for training to be considered as an adequate solution.
Ms Molebatsi added that if a police officer was personally involved in abuse, it was dubious whether he should be allowed to continue working and requested details on the likely sanctions against him.
The Chairperson identified a key part of IPID’s mandate as making a difference in the behaviour of SAPS. ICD had been responsible in the past for this and the delegation from IPID was remarkably similar in terms of personnel. Although a new body had been created with a new name, they could not claim absolution from responsibility for previous failures. The satellite office in Upington had been visited by the Committee and it was discovered that the administrative system was woefully inadequate. Recommendations were requested from IPID for solutions. On a case dealing with a specific officer, the recommendations given referred to two completely different officers and in the past recommendations had even included ‘cut and paste’ sections from other reports. The individuals in IPID were meant to be making a difference but this was clearly not happening. Also it had not been made clear what procedure was followed when responses from SAPS were overdue. She asked if the Minister had been made aware of this problem and what the problem was with implementing the DVA. It should not be necessary to await investigations from SAPS, now that IPID had investigative powers. The Committee could not justify requesting more funds for IPID from Treasury. However, the Committee would increase its oversight over IPID procedures. Finally the Chairperson asked why some provinces had such low inspection figures.
Ms Kohler-Barnard expanded on the Upington visit by recalling that the Committee was told there had been no suspensions or incidents but it later emerged that there clearly had been and nobody at IPID had given instructions for disciplinary measures.
Rev Meshoe asked for clarification on the distinction between ICD and IPID.
Mr Beukmann began his response by saying that IPID derived its powers from the DVA much as ICD did and therefore was bound only to give recommendations to SAPS on their duty to take disciplinary action against offenders of the Act.
The Chairperson interrupted to say that the contents of the Act were understood by the Committee but that it was unclear if they were being adhered to. She asked for an explanation as to what changes had occurred that would ensure that IPID would exercise its powers properly as the statistics did not reflect any changes.
Mr Beukmann replied that the DVA only empowered IPID to recommend action to SAPS, not to issue instructions on disciplinary issues.
Continuation of Domestic Violence Report by IPID
Mr Dlamini cited Section 18 of the DVA as authority for this line of reasoning, saying that failure by a member of SAPS to comply with the DVA amounted to misconduct and that the ICD must be informed of such misconduct. Unless directed otherwise by ICD, SAPS must institute disciplinary actions against the member. Steps taken as a result of recommendations from ICD must be submitted in a report to Parliament. ICD sees itself as a monitoring body, not a disciplinary body. Their obligation was the processing of applications for exemption. Where it was not granted, SAPS must act against their members. The Committee’s concern was understood and noted, but the ICD was not empowered to take action. This was why the IPID was created, with teeth. Action had since been taken against members who had not complied. However the DVA did not directly grant disciplinary powers. IPID’s understanding of the DVA mandate was that Parliament could hold the National Commissioner accountable for submitting reports.
Mr Lekgetho requested confirmation that a recommendation made to SAPS that resulted in an application for exemption that was refused, went no further.
Mr Dlamini said that monthly meetings had taken place in the provinces regarding concerns over lack of feedback. The training was ongoing and perhaps the Members were correct in saying that training alone was insufficient to deal with non-compliance. He conceded that stronger action perhaps should be taken, but observed that SAPS had the obligation to take disciplinary action.
Mr Sesoko reiterated that IPID did not have legislative power to discipline SAPS members. The criteria used for conducting station audits were that each province had its own programme that looked at which stations were previously audited so that comparisons could be made. Action taken against SAPS officers could range from written warnings to dismissals or suspensions depending on the degree of non-compliance. The period of awaiting response from SAPS was preceded by the recommendation made by IPID to SAPS, and until they indicated whether they intend to apply for exemption or not, IPID must be patient. The low figures for workshops in certain provinces could be explained by the process IPID followed. For the majority of workshops, stations had requested that they be carried out. Low numbers for oversight in some provinces could therefore be partially explained by apathy on the part of the provinces.
Mr Dlamini stated his belief that all the arrests made thus far under DVA were pertaining to rape or assault and not murder.
The Chairperson pointed out that Section 30 of the IPID Act required institution of disciplinary action after 30 days, not just recommendations.
Mr Sesoko explained that the handing over of DVA functions to the Civilian Secretariat of Police was done on a provincial basis. Certain cases had not been handed over when IPID came into being, and this was because they themselves were awaiting response from other parties. As part of the handover, IPID assisted in the training of staff by conducting workshops throughout June and July. Future workshops were planned to take place in August and September for the remaining provinces. The Secretariat staff accompanied IPID for station audits so as to gain exposure to the relevant procedures.
The presentation concluded by discussing challenges faced by IPID including that some SAPS management did not take disciplinary action against SAPS members, some members did not apply for exemption, the DVA was not fully understood by members, there was a culture of silence around domestic violence and lengthy periods were taken to discipline SAPS members.
Hand-over of some DVA Responsibilities from IPID to Civilian Secretariat of Police (CSP)
Ms Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane, Secretary for Police, introduced the rest of SAPS delegation and noted briefly that although there had been some handover hiccups in Gauteng, the province was fully on board.
Ms Millicent Kewuti, Chief Director of Monitoring and Evaluation at CSP, spoke first about the background of the DVA, saying that its main goal was to provide victims with an accessible legal tool to prevent domestic abuse. The Act had a lot of scope but implementation had been set back by many challenges. The Act places the National Commissioner of SAPS at the head of implementation, empowering the Commissioner to issue National Instructions and Directives. It placed a positive legal duty on the police to comply with the law. The National Commissioner must submit regular reports to Parliament. The responsibilities of the Civilian Secretariat of the Police included monitoring of DVA compliance through station audits, monitoring of implementation of recommendations following non-compliance and reporting to Parliament on compliance or lack thereof. Provincial Secretariats must submit to the MEC and the Secretary of Safety and Security quarterly reports on activities done. They must also receive monthly reports on non-compliance complaints from Provincial Commissioners and make recommendations on disciplinary processes.
The implementation plan to have the Civilian Secretariat’s mandate clearly regulated involved development of the relevant Act and alignment of SAPS National Instructions for monitoring purposes. This was expected to be completed by 31 March 2013 and had been partially successful so far. In terms of forums, one of the targets was for the Consultative Forum to be utilised for strengthened cooperation so as to improve relations with IPID and facilitate handover of responsibilities. To date the Memorandum of Understanding had been developed and was awaiting signature by the Senior Managers. IPID had submitted its final DVA compliance report. Greater utilisation of the Head of Department and M&E Forum would ensure alignment between Provincial Secretariats and the Civilian Secretariat and regular reporting on police performance on DVA implementation. A Compliance Forum was established and had held one meeting so far. The Forum aimed to strengthen the relationship with SAPS, so as to establish proper channels for implementation of recommendations and to synchronise reporting to Parliament.
The implementation plan also meant the convening of a Gender and Child Justice Reference Group.
·This Reference Group would have a combination of policy makers, academics, civil society and business people with knowledge and experience in working with gender based violence and the policing environment that would hold an advisory role to the Secretariat with regard to policy formulation, implementation and compliance The Reference Group would
improve the ability to identify gaps and challenges and
come up with effective remedial measures that would improve the Secretariat’s monitoring mandate.
Ms Kewuti reported that the
Reference Group has been established and one meeting had been convened on 8 June 2012. Inputs for the DVA station audit tool were made. The following organisations and institution formed part of the Reference Group: TLAC (Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre), POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse), Getting Research into Policy and Practice (GRIPP) from Health Systems Trust, Childline, Teddy Bear, Ikhaya Lethemba, UCT, Wits, CSIR, RAPCAN (Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect), Women’s Legal Resource Centre.
Standard operating procedures were being developed for monitoring the DVA. A draft DVA monitoring tool had been developed and piloted. Uniform reporting templates should be developed by the end of September 2012 and these would aid consistency in reporting. The Secretariat aimed to design and develop internal complaints management systems for improving the workflow process by September 2012. Capacity building implementation was nearing completion and entailed the conducting of workshops with all Provincial Secretariats on how to monitor the implementation of DVA at station level. Mpumalanga would be trained in August 2012.
The communication strategy implementation included lobbying the Provincial Commissioners and the conduct of joint communication outreach and awareness programmes with IPID. Posters and pamphlets would be developed with information on the Secretariat’s mandate. Although a draft communication plan had already been developed, implementation in this area was ongoing.
Comment by SAPS
Lieutenant-General Seswantsho Lebeya, Divisional Commissioner: Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, speaking on behalf of SAPS, noted that there were various issues dealt with by the IPID presentation that were not always raised in reports by Provincial Commissioners. The creation of the Compliance Forum would aid with facilitating interaction between stakeholders. SAPS remained committed to such compliance.
Rev Meshoe asked for the other members of the Compliance Forum. He requested details on the powers of the Secretariat to enforce compliance (as opposed to the IPID where there was none). Further, there must be disciplinary powers held over SAPS if they still did not comply.
Mr Lekgetho spoke of a website article giving details on a policeman who killed his wife. However, such individuals were still permitted to carry firearms. It was not sufficient to report such incidents to Parliament; action must be taken against the individuals. He wanted to know if SAPS was admitting that there was non-compliance with the Act or if they believed that there was not a problem.
Ms Molebatsi observed that in IPID’s training programme, only one day was allocated and this might not be sufficient. She asked if there was subsequent training as well,\ or not.
Ms Kohler-Barnard noted that the handover from IPID to the Secretariat meant a loss of oversight powers such as arrest or investigation. The Secretariat was not empowered to arrest an offender so this seemed to amount to a downgrade of the importance of DVA compliance. Non-compliance could result in death and even if this was merely the result of negligence, it was still important to have a degree of plausible accountability. She asked how the Secretariat could enforce compliance.
Rev Meshoe asked how the Secretariat aimed to go about ensuring that SAPS members understood the DVA more fully.
The Chairperson observed that there had been a clear indication from NGOs that was shared by the Committee that there was evidence of domestic violence within SAPS. Part of the problem was a culture of silence. Bringing this under the power of the Secretariat strengthened oversight as many powers derived from the DVA directly. She asked how this issue of silence was being dealt with.
Ms Irish-Qhobosheane admitted that there was no magic solution to the problem and there had been a long period of non-implementation that needed to be overturned. The Secretariat was emphasising an investigation into the reasons for non-compliance rather than simply resorting to training. The Compliance Forum was an accountability forum. If nothing else there would at least be answers given on reasons for non-compliance and justification for exemption applications. The Secretariat did not have policing powers, but there had not ever been a case where ICD was required to actually arrest someone. However, there was nothing to stop the Secretariat from requesting an investigation from IPID into an individual. This was the first step towards actual prosecution.
Ms Kewuti mentioned that SAPS members’ understanding of DVA could be achieved by simplifying its contents and developing a simple checklist for members to refer to for clarity. This was being pursued through the Compliance Forum as training had not addressed this problem sufficiently thus far. She repeated that Gaateng Province was fully on board and was conducting audits.
Mr Lekgetho queried whether non-compliance was really a result of misunderstanding the DVA. Provincial Commissioners fully understand the Act but individuals appear not to. There needed to be accountability not just of individual offenders but also of their supervising officers.
Lieutenant-General Lebeya agreed that at a provincial level there were people who understood the law very well whilst others did not. The Secretariat had issued a National Instruction aimed at simplifying the duties created under the law. Those at the face of the community need to have greater understanding. It was not claimed that none of the SAPS members understood. Clearly many did but many also did not and they must constantly be reminded of what was expected of them.
Ms Irish-Qhobosheane clarified that there was no single reason for non-compliance. In some areas it may be lack of understanding. In monitoring, solutions must be given for a variety of reasons rather than developing only one solution. Some of them may require disciplinary measures, but there was no catch-all solution.
The Chairperson summarised by saying that there was much more to be said on domestic violence. The first report was expected soon and SAPS and IPID would be called to respond to the challenges outlined in the implementation of DVA. The Committee believed that IPID had a greater responsibility than mere monitoring.
Violence against the Elderly: briefing by South African Older Persons’ Forum
Mr Roedolf Kay, National Coordinator of the South African Older Persons’ Forum, began the presentation by saying that security at Pension Payout locations had a few issues. There were countless reports of exploitation of older persons and people with disabilities. This was not limited to one or two paypoints but was actually rife throughout the country. SAPS were not doing enough to remedy this situation. There were safety zones around pay points but incidents occurred directly outside the zones and SAPS should prevent this. At times police had been present in body but absent in mind and on one occasion even asleep in their vehicle.
Witch hunts were also a problem. The belief in witchcraft remained strong and led to human rights abuses in the name of culture. Alleged witches were subject to “jungle justice”, forced exile and sometimes even killing. They were usually women but not always. Older persons suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia may be seen as witches due to their strange behaviour. An 81 year old lady in KZN was found dead with 50 stab wounds in her body. Her neighbour allegedly killed her because he blamed her for killing family members with witchcraft.
Exploitation and abuse of the elderly was a major problem in SA and the Older Persons Act 13 of 2006 was passed specifically to address this. It applied not only to community violence but also to residential care facilities. Many SAPS members were unfamiliar with the Act and their derivative roles. The Act made provision for an abuse register but currently there was not a single name on the register and cases were not prosecuted. Stakeholders were of the perception that SAPS members were unwilling to assist in cases of abuse and did not take reports seriously.
The increasing problem of drug and alcohol abuse was also having an effect as perpetrators (often family members) under the influence saw old people as soft targets for violence and exploitation. Whenever crime was on the rise, older persons were at greater risk. Other motivations for crimes were racism, distorted cultural abuse and political motives. They were an especially vulnerable segment of society and deserved targeted protection by SAPS.
SAPS required sensitising on the issue of Old Persons rights. They were often the first point of contact and it was vital that they gain the trust of old persons. Negative stereotypes must be dispelled and SAPS must be provided with strategies for working with people with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.
The recommendations to the Committee were firstly that the Crime Research and Statistics of SAPS stipulate reporting on the neglect and ill-treatment of children and that this should be extended to old persons. This was consistent with legislation that applied to the protection of older persons against abuse. Age should be seen as aggravating circumstances. Zones around pension pay-points should be better protected by SAPS. The prevalence of witch hunts required targeted protection. SAPS members needed to be adequately trained in the stipulations of the Old Persons Act and aware of the definitions of elder abuse and older persons in need of care and protection. They must remove the perpetrator in cases where this would be in the interests of the older person. Protection should be provided and Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) services made available to them. SAPS members must be sensitised to older persons’ issues especially medical conditions.
From June to July 2012, there were numerous incidents of older persons being killed, 15 were presented to the Committee.
The Chairperson offered SAPS an opportunity to react.
SAPS and the Civilian Secretariat of Police response
Lieutenant-General Lebeya admitted that there had definitely been more of a focus on women and children rather than old persons. In many cases something had been done to assist victims above the age of 60, and age had not generally been a discriminatory factor. SAPS was committed to interacting with the presenters so as to analyse ways of enhancing protection for elderly persons. It was also necessary to educate communities on the aging process and the difficulties thereof. One of the main problems was the misinterpretation of behaviour connected to age.
Ms Irish-Qhobosheane agreed that engagement with the presenters was absolutely necessary. Older people need to be properly integrated into the definition of vulnerable groups. Many areas of the presentation required cross departmental interaction.
Mr Lekgetho confessed that he found the report to be depressingly honest. It was understandable that elderly people had lost their faith in SAPS. Instead of arresting those individuals who were keeping the IDs of old people, it appeared that police in fact assisted them. If one wanted the community to assist in fighting crime it must be made clear that assistance was required. The police were often oblivious to the need for community engagement. SAPS attitudes left a lot to be desired and this was the first step to solving community problems.
Ms Molebatsi suggested that the Committee pursue its own solutions in their own time.
Ms Kohler-Barnard agreed that the suggestion that statistics of abuse of old persons be included with abuse of children should be actively pursued by the Committee.
The Chairperson concluded the meeting by saying that SAPS must involve stakeholders in the strategy forming process. They must look at the elderly as an interest group that must be represented. The Secretariat must also look at the elderly as a reference group when developing policy frameworks. Presenters were encouraged to lobby other Committees. The Committee would approach the Speaker of Parliament to incorporate old persons into the definition of the vulnerable. This should also be spread to the Executive.
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