The Committee received a briefing by the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner on the theft of firearms in Mitchell’s Plain and Bellville South police stations which occurred last month. The Cluster Commander at Mitchell’s Plain reported the theft of firearms after conducting an inspection of the police station. There were a total of 15 firearms not accounted all of which were state firearms. The matter was currently being handled by the Hawks for further investigation. There were 20 firearms missing from the Bellville South police station. Investigation showed there were actually 18 firearms missing through a break-in and the other two firearms were sent to forensic investigation. All 18 firearms were 9mm and an investigation already commenced. There were no developments to date around recovery of these firearms or arrest of any members involved.
The Committee asked about the sequence in which the firearms went missing to ascertain whether they all went missing the same day. The Committee requested it be briefed as to whether these firearms were in any way used to commit criminal activities. It would be important for the Committee to be briefed on monitoring and review measures in place to mitigate against these cases. Some Members commented that what happened in Mitchell’s Plain and Bellville might be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the problem of state firearms leaking in various police stations. It was unclear as to whether the provincial inspectors had sufficient capacity to conduct basic inspections and to check if all was in compliance with internal controls.
Some Members highlighted that the Committee also warned about the complicity of police members with gangs in terms of accessing guns. Members asked if the Provincial Commissioner was getting sufficient support or cooperation from station commanders in the police stations concerned. The Committee requested it be briefed on the place where the confiscated firearms were kept in order to avoid the situation where these firearms were recycled back to criminal gangs.
The Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) then briefed the Committee on the progress made in implementation of the Domestic Violence Act. There were a total of 242 cases of non-compliance reported and 208 disciplinary cases initiated. There were 25 cases where disciplinary processes were not initiated. There were nine applications for exemptions made by the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner’s office and seven of these applications were granted. The CSPS and SA Police Service (SAPS) at national level will be conducting road shows with all Provincial Forums to educate SAPS members on recording and reporting non-compliance. The first engagement took place in KwaZulu-Natal resulting in a three-day workshop. There were oversight visits done in 234 police stations and a total of 103 cases of non-compliance were identified from four provinces.
The CSP highlighted Victim Friendly Rooms (VFRs) were fully functioning in 61% of the police stations - this indicated the VFRs were open and available for use 24 hours and had resources as stipulated in National Instruction 2 of 2012. In 16% of the stations VFRs were functioning but were not fully resourced while in 10% they were not functional. Furthermore, 13% of the police stations did not have a VFR - this was mainly due to unavailability of office space. In 67% of the police stations visited, all protection orders received were served within two months. Only 18 % of the stations had not served all the protection orders received within two months.
The Committee asked about the issue of consequence management towards station commanders who did not comply with instructions. There was a need to deal with prior violent tendencies - what was to be done by station commanders if there was any violence committed by police members? Members also asked the CSP to explain the difference between station visits and oversight visits as this was not clear from the presentation. The Committee also wanted to hear about the action taken against those police stations that did not serve protection orders. There should be cooperation between local police stations and local courts to improve conviction. Some Members felt there was discrepancy in terms of the data provided – this was in terms of the VFRs with some stations stating they had 100% while the CSP found it was 60%.
It was unclear what was preventing the police from delivering the protection order on the same day it was granted in order to protect women who were constantly abused and killed by the same offenders. It was concerning to hear about this problem of under-reporting on gender-based violence – was this deliberate or not? Members highlighted the non-delivery of protection orders was a major issue as it meant women who faced violence and abuse on a daily basis was not being supported. It was troubling to hear the report from the Minister’s Office seemed to suggest there were no arrests effected in 99% of the cases. There was great non-compliance from SAPS members exacerbated by a lack of consequence management for non-compliance.
To the provinces Members emphasised the provision of Victim Support Centres were the responsibility of provincial departments. Eight provinces made brief presentations to the Committee on progress made with regard to implementation of the DVA. The majority of provinces still struggled to provide facilities for victims of gender-based violence. The provinces also highlighted the problem of lack of infrastructure to ensure implementation of the Act.
Some Members wanted to know the reason for the high number of reported cases of gender-based violence committed by SAPS members in Mmabatho police station and whether this was a cultural issue in the area. The Committee requested it be informed of steps taken to prevent gender-based violence in the area as there were 22 reported cases of the transgression. Members questioned exemptions referred to, and its link to non-compliance, and the use of the term “intimate violence”.
The Committee asked to be provided with written submissions on all questions from Members which were not answered. The Committee also requested it be furnished with the important provincial reports.
Briefing on Theft on Firearms in Cape Town Police Stations
Gen. Khombinkosi Jula, Provincial Commissioner of Police, Western Cape, indicated the bulk of the theft of firearms in Mitchell’s Plain and Bellville South police stations occured last month. The Cluster Commander in Mitchell’s Plain reported the theft of the firearms after conducting an inspection of the police station. There were a total of 15 firearms not accounted for all of which were state firearms. The matter was currently being handled by the Hawks for further investigation. There were no new developments on the matter as yet in terms of recovery of the firearms and arrest of SAPS members involved. There was another investigation underway in terms of internal controls at these police stations to ensure there was effective control in place for these state firearms. In essence, the matter was currently under investigation and therefore not much information could be divulged at this stage.
Gen. Jula stated there were also 20 firearms missing from the Bellville South police station. Investigation showed there were actually 18 firearms missing as a result of a break-in while two firearms were sent for forensic investigation. All 18 firearms were 9mm and investigation was already underway. There were no developments relating to recovery of the firearms or arrest of any members involved. The matter was currently being handled by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). It was not clear what went awry with handling of these firearms as internal controls were very clear on procedures to be followed in the handling of firearms. There was much being done in ensuring firearms did not land in the hands of criminals. Much support was also being received from the National Commissioner of Police. A project plan was compiled to look at the extent of the problem and ways in which handling of state firearms could be centralised more effectively.
The Chairperson commented that Station Commanders were the officials responsible for ensuring there was compliance in the handling of state firearms - there should be consequences for provinces and national on the mishandling of these firearms.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked about the sequence in which these firearms went missing to ascertain whether they all went missing on the same day.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) asked if IPID had adequate capacity to handle the investigation on the loss of firearms in Bellville South. The involvement of the Hawks could be important in terms of getting to the bottom of the problem. The Committee had been highlighting the problem of leaking firearms from station levels for a very long time. The unfortunate part in all of this was that sometimes a lost SAPS firearm would end up shooting a SAPS member. The Committee should be briefed on whether these firearms were in any way used to commit criminal activities.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) found the main problem to be non-compliance measures in terms of the handling of state firearms. It would be important for the Committee to be briefed on monitoring and review measures in place to mitigate these cases.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) said that what happened in Mitchell’s Plain and Bellville might be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the problem of state firearms leaking from various police stations. It was unclear as to whether the provincial inspectors had sufficient capacity to conduct basic inspections to check if everything was compliant with internal controls. The Committee raised the issue that there seemed to be lack of support of the project aimed at fighting gangsterism in the province. The Committee also warned about the complicity of police members with gangs in terms of accessing guns. It would be crucially important to ascertain whether the flare in gang violence in the Western Cape may well be linked to the leaking of firearms from different police stations. It was completely baffling to hear of firearms going missing from police stations when SAPS members were meant to be there 24/7. How was it possible for there be a break-in at police stations where the police were visibly there? The Committee should be briefed on measures implemented to prevent recurrence of this scourge.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) asked if the Commissioner was getting sufficient support or cooperation from Station Commanders in the police stations from where firearms went missing. It was unclear if the Committee would also look at the matter of the vetting process as per the previous meeting with SAPS especially in the Western Cape where there was a problem of gang violence. The Committee should be briefed on the place where the confiscated firearms were kept at in order to avoid the situation where these firearms were recycled back to criminal gangs.
Gen. Jula responded that SAPS was not in position at the moment to respond on whether those firearms were used in any criminal activities. There was a no reason to believe the cases involving the missing firearms would collapse since SAPS was taking pictures of all these firearms and there was also filling involved in order to secure evidence. Station Commanders were also the subject of investigation on the missing firearms. There was support from everyone involved in ensuring those responsible for leaking of these firearms were able to face the wrath of the law. The issue of the vetting process was a work in progress as it was crucially important. The project plan compiled was to ensure all firearms were centralised so as to prevent recurrence of this problem.
There were various controls implemented to prevent non-compliance and Station Commanders were responsible for ensuring compliance at station levels. Station Commanders need to conduct an inspection once in a month so that all firearms were accounted for. A Station Commander needed to appoint a 13th official to conduct further inspection of firearms. Discrepancies in firearms need to be immediately reported. There were also other inspections conducted by cluster commanders to ensure compliance. Certificates were supposed to be submitted to confirm all state firearms were audited and accounted for. It must be corrected that both of the cases were in fact conducted by the Hawks and IPID was not involved. There was no confirmation at the moment as to whether the leaking of firearms was in any way linked to the surge of gang violence in the Western Cape. There were speculations that seemed to confirm there were indeed some SAPS members colluding with gangs to commit criminal activities but this was pure speculation at the moment. There were screening procedures that need to be followed to deal decisively with this matter. The firearms in Bellville South police station disappeared on the same day as there was a break-in but SAPS was yet to determine the sequence of the leaking of the firearms in Mitchell’s Plain.
The Chairperson thanked the Commissioner and asked that the Committee be provided with a follow-up report on the matter as it was one of public interest. The Committee would also like to know the detailed proactive steps introduced to prevent recurrence of this problem. The Committee reiterated its call for consequence management and that SAPS leadership needs to be firm in handling this matter.
Civilian Secretariat for Police: DVA Monitoring Report
Mr Alvin Rapea, Secretary for Police, indicated the Domestic Violence Act (Act No.116 of 1998) placed a number of obligations on SAPS, and other state departments, with regard to its implementation. The Secretariat was mandated by the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act (Act No. 2 of 2011) to monitor and evaluate SAPS’ compliance with the DVA and make recommendations to the police service on disciplinary procedures and measures with regard to non-compliance with the DVA. The report covered the non-compliance data supplied by SAPS and oversight data collected from the police stations. The CSP together with the Provincial Secretariats (PS) conducted oversight visits at 234 police stations across the country during the period 01 October 2016 to 31 March 2017. The oversight visits focused on looking at both regulatory and operational compliance on the implementation of the DVA by SAPS members.
In terms of the DVA, failure by SAPS members to comply with duties as outlined in the DVA and National Instruction constituted misconduct. The National Instruction further required the Station Commander to submit monthly returns of non-compliance cases received. The Station Commander was expected to institute disciplinary action against members who did not comply with the DVA unless it was granted an exemption. There were a total of 242 cases of non-compliance reported and 208 disciplinary cases initiated. There were 25 cases where disciplinary processes were not initiated. There were nine applications for exemptions made by the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner’s office - seven of these applications were granted exemption by the Western Cape Provincial Secretariat.
CSP and SAPS at national level will be conducting road shows with all Provincial Forums to educate SAPS members on recording and reporting of non-compliance. The first engagement took place in KwaZulu-Natal resulting in a three-day workshop attended by all Cluster Commanders on the first day and Station Commanders and Visible Policing (VISPOL) Commanders on the second and third day. Oversight visits were conducted in the 234 police stations and a total of 103 non-compliances were identified from four provinces , namely, Free State, Limpopo, North West and Western Cape. There were 70 cases where disciplinary proceedings were initiated. During this reporting period 67 members were reported as domestic violence offenders from the 234 police stations visited. North West and Free State had the highest number of offenders at 32 and 22 respectively. Mmabatho police station (North West) had 22 members while Bethlehem police station (Free State) had five members. There were 10 Section 102 inquiries conducted. There were only 14 disciplinary processes initiated and 32 firearms seized.
Mr Rapea said the Victim Friendly Rooms (VFRs) were fully functioning in 61% of the police stations - this indicated the VFR was open and available for use 24 hours and had resources as stipulated in the National Instruction 2 of 2012. In 16% of the stations VFRs were functioning but were not fully resourced while in 10% they were not functional. Furthermore, 13% of the police stations did not have a VFR - this was mainly due to unavailability of office space. In 67% of the police stations visited, all protection orders received were served within two months. Only 18 % of the stations had not served all the protection orders received within two months. In 15% of the stations visited, there were no records of protection orders received. One of the challenges with service of protection orders was poor communication and cooperation between local police stations and local courts.
Findings indicate majority of non-compliance recorded by SAPS was related to failure by members to carry out administrative obligations as regulated by the DVA and National Instructions. The low number (14) of disciplinary processes initiated against these members was a cause for concern considering that by being perpetrators of domestic violence, SAPS members have contravened their Code of Conduct. SAPS should come up with a system to monitor repeat offenders in relation to administrative non-compliance. The national Supply Chain Management should fast-track the process of provision of VFRs to those police stations that did not have sufficient office space to provide for a VFR. The working relationship between local courts and police stations needs to be strengthened in order to improve the service of protection orders.
Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in Kwazulu-Natal
The KZN representative stated that in carrying out its mandate, the Department of Community Safety and Liaison (DCSL) conducted Domestic Violence audits using a Domestic Violence Monitoring tool. The purpose of these visits was to monitor how police stations were complying with the DVA and National Instruction 7/1999. The visits were also aimed at identifying challenges with implementation of the DVA by police stations and to equip the police with information on how compliance and implementation can be improved. The Department took over the mandate of Domestic Violence Audits in 2012 from the former Independent Complaints Directorate. DVA audits were carried out using a national standardised monitoring tool. These audits are carried out on an announced basis and the tool was administered to a Designated Domestic Violence officer (if the station had one) or the Visible Policing Commander.
Findings made during these audits at stations were then presented to provincial SAPS management at the DVA Compliance Forum. The DVA Compliance Forum for KZN was officially launched on 21 July 2017. Prior to the launch of the Forum there were constant engagements with SAPS where findings shared at a provincial level and interventions carried out to deal with challenges identified at stations. The Department had a good working relationship with SAPS in the province and was working together in improving DVA compliance levels at stations. The audit findings also discovered an additional number of irregularities, including:
- list of organisations that victims of domestic violence can be referred to was not found in the Community Service Centre (CSC)
- required documentation and forms were not kept in a particular area in the CSC
- not all members knew how to complete DVA documentation properly
- particulars of complainants were not completed in detail
- copies of Occurrence Book entries and Pocket Books were not being made
- There was no proper filing system at stations in respect of Domestic Violence files
The KZN representative pointed out there were a number of turnaround strategies implemented to deal with challenges identified in audit findings. The key concern for the Department was the inability of SAPS to deal with the issue of non-compliance by members. The department addressed the issue of dealing with non-compliance head on by work shopping provincial SAPS management, Cluster Commanders, Station Commanders, Visible Policing Commanders and Regional and District departmental management on non-compliance. This workshop was done in conjunction with National SAPS, Provincial SAPS and the CSP. The workshop was held over a three-day period from 23 - 25 August 2017.
Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in Gauteng
Mr Duminisani Ngema, Chief Directorate, Gauteng Provincial Secretariat, stated the DVA audits were conducted in the following clusters during the reporting period:
- Tshwane North Cluster, which consisted of 10 policing precincts; average compliance of the cluster was rated as 82.6%
- Johannesburg East Cluster, which consisted of eight policing precincts; average compliance of the cluster was rated as 83.15%
- Johannesburg North Cluster, which consisted of five policing precincts; average compliance of the cluster was rated as 78.12%
- In addition, follow up visits were conducted in Sinoville, Krugersdorp, Randfontein and Khutsong policing precincts
It was highlighted that in the Tshwane North Cluster, the Station Commander and CSC Commander of Akasia police station should ensure all relevant information, as outlined in Section (5)(e) of National Instruction 7/1999, were available in the CSC. The Station Commander and CSC Commander of Temba, Ga-Rankuwa, Hammanskraal, Loate and Mabopane police stations should ensure the list of organisations and services were updated every six months. The Station Commander and CSC Commander of Akasia, Ga-Rankuwa, Hammanskraal, Rietgat and Soshanguve police stations should ensure copies of Protection Orders and Warrants of Arrest were correctly filed.
The Station Commander and CSC Commander of Hillbrow, Yeoville, Rosebank and Norwood police station should ensure the list of organisations and services and Form 1 was available as outlined in National Instruction 7/1999 in each police vehicle at the station was utilised to attend to complaints. The Station Commanders and CSC Commanders of Norwood and Rosebank police stations should ensure the list of organisations and services were updated every six months. The Station Commanders of Ga-Rankuwa, Hammanskraal, Mabopane and Rietgat police stations should ensure a Station Order was compiled for Victim Empowerment as per Section (4) (a) (ii)-(iii) of National Instruction 02/2012. In Johannesburg East Cluster, the Station Commanders of Jeppe, Linden and Norwood police stations should ensure a Station Order was compiled for Victim Empowerment as per Section (4) (a) (ii)-(iii) of National Instruction 02/2012. The Station Commander of Norwood should ensure National instruction 02/2012 was available and that the VFRs were accessible 24 hours.
Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in the Free State
The Free State Representative pointed out that 29 police stations were audited on compliance with the Domestic Violence Act (Act No. 116 of 1998), National Instruction 7 of 1999 and Provincial Order 1 of 2016. A total of three police stations were found to be non-compliant and 14 police stations were partially compliant and 12 police stations significantly complied with prescripts of the Domestic Violence Act and associated National Instruction and Provincial Order. Recommendations made included that station files must contain all prescribed documents. It was also recommended that stations update Lists of Organisations every six months in line with paragraph 3 (3) and (4) of National Instruction 7/1999. The members must assist complainants with sensitive complaints at the VFR. Members must complete these documents correctly - failure to do so was regarded as misconduct and station management must investigate and take appropriate action. Relief Commanders must ensure members complied with the DVA.
According to Standard Operating Procedures, stations that performed between 50 and 79 were categorised as partially compliant. Stations that performed between 80 and 99 were categorised as significantly compliant. Identified challenges to the DVA included:
- non-compliance to the DVA and lack of corrective measures
- most stations submitting zero returns to province every month on DVA non-compliance and yet there were reported cases of domestic violence at the stations
- in some instances, domestic violence related incidents were still not registered in accordance with prescripts of the Act. For example, police would rather register a case with domestic violence elements as ordinary assault to avoid the administrative “burden” related to DVA
Non-compliance of general prescripts included non-inspection of relevant registers and, when inspected, mistakes were not picked up. In most instances, station management did not apply corrective measures in instances of non-compliance. A number of corrective measures were implemented including establishment of a compliance forum in the Free State in terms of Standard Operating Procedures. Reports emanating from audits (monitoring implementation of the DVA) were discussed at the Compliance Forum (findings and recommendations). This structure met on a monthly basis. Matters emanating from DVA audits, and other oversight reports, were discussed during Joint Management Meetings between the Provincial Civilian Secretariat and SAPS. SAPS received quarterly reports on Monitoring and Oversight performed by the Civilian Secretariat.
Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in the Western Cape
Adv Yashina Pillay, Chief Director, Secretariat for Safety and Security, Western Cape Government, said the Department followed a hybrid approach in relation to monitoring of SAPS stations as follows: -stations with a high level of domestic violence reported
- all stations where baseline information was not available as per implementation of the CSPS monitoring tool for DVA compliance (version five which was implemented with effect from mid-2015)
Preliminary feedback was provided to station management teams after monitoring was conducted. Feedback was also provided at the level of the DVA Compliance Forum which met on a monthly basis. Stations where DVA monitoring was conducted for the 2016/17 financial year included Lamberts Bay, Maitland, Mfuleni and Nuwerus. Lamberts Bay had 57.8% compliance while Maitland had 81.6% compliance rate. Of 16 stations where the DVA and SAPS National Instruction 7/1999 were monitored, 50% of the stations achieved a “partial compliance” rating (under 80%) and 50% a “significant compliance” rating (80% and above).
Adv Pillay highlighted there were number of recommendations forwarded, including:
- all stations must have properly appointed DVA co-ordinators
- all Station Commanders must ensure DVA co-ordinator’s had the necessary level of experience
- the handover process between the outgoing co-ordinator and new co-ordinator should be properly managed for continuity
- SAPS fixed establishment should make provision for the post of DVA co-ordinator
- the SAPS 508 Register must be utilised at all stations
- limited training opportunities were available for attendance of five-day DVA course - only seven DVA courses were offered during the 2016 calendar year in the Western Cape. There was a need for structured in-service training to take place at station level
Adv Pillay concluded by pointing out the Department acknowledged the crucial role Community Police Forums (CPFs) were required to perform in relation to civilian oversight and being the link between communities and SAPS. The national strategy, for example the Anti-Gang Strategy, relied heavily on effective and efficient functioning of CPFs. To this end the Department developed funding for a performance model for CPFs, namely the Expanded Partnership Programme (EPP). Activities the CPFs were required to perform and report on the EPP were based on Section 18 of the SAPS Act. CPFs performed a first-level oversight role and matters such as domestic violence can be dealt with more effectively if CPFs were functional.
Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in Mpumalanga
The Mpumalanga representative indicated the DVA audit function fell under the Monitoring and Evaluation Program and was headed by a Deputy Director with two assistant Directors and two administration clerks. Mpumalanga had 87 police stations and 56 were audited for DVA policy compliance – these stations were also crime-priority stations. The DVA compliance forum, which had the mandate of discussing progress made by SAPS in implementation of recommendations, did not exist. The province awaited signed terms of reference by the National Secretariat and the National Commissioner of Police. The recommendations reports were submitted to the Office of the Provincial Commissioner on a monthly basis. The Department did not get reports on implementation of the recommendations. In the first quarter, out of 18 police stations, 72% of audited police stations were partially compliant and 28% were non-compliant. In the second quarter, out of nine police stations audited, 100% compliance was partial. In the third quarter, 16 police stations were audited, 31.2% were fully compliant, 6.3% were significant compliant and 62.5% were partial compliant. In the fourth quarter, 13 police stations were audited, 15.4% were fully compliant, 7.7% were significant and 76.9% were partial.The province was successfully managing monitoring implementation of IPID recommendations.
In terms of challenges, there were different interpretations of the DVA / National Instruction 7/1999 by oversight bodies including SAPS management Intervention, CSSL and SAPS National Office. There was still improper implementation of DVA / National Instruction by SAPS members in most cases e.g. incident forms were not always fully and correctly completed. There were no records available at all police stations for non-compliance by members.
Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in Limpopo
Ms Nchabeng Tsebe, Head, Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison, stated the Limpopo Department of Safety, Security and Liaison embarked on a campaign on the DVA, stakeholder mobilisation, engagement and education from the 13/14 financial year to ensure maximum protection of the victims of the DVA and ensure SAPS as the main stakeholder complied with the DV Act, to create awareness through public education as a crime prevention strategy, impart knowledge on communities about their rights and recourse should they become victims of domestic violence and educate communities about the roles of SAPS, Department of Health, Department of Justice and Department of Correctional Services when implementing the DVA.
Ms Tsebe said there were number of service delivery issues that still needed to be addressed with a focus on capacitating SAPS through conducting workshops on its role to implement the DVA correctly. There were also plans to popularise the DVA among community members so that they knew their rights and promote a healthy society free from domestic violence and thus reduce contact crime levels in communities. Verification of DVA designated officers and a skills gap audit was conducted in 97 stations, the training programme was developed, and 40 stations were piloted (13/14). The Department received an allocation of R6 million for the programme from the Provincial Treasury and extended the programme to 97 police stations in 2014/15. 10 staff members were appointed and placed in all five districts of the Province. Later on a Deputy Director was appointed at the provincial level to ensure coordination of DVA programmes in the Province. The current Domestic Violence Act budget was R11 351 853.68.
A total of 16 training programmes were implemented in 16 SAPS clusters and 16 community outreach initiatives were implemented in 16 SAPS clusters. A total of 99 DVA Audits were conducted in 99 stations and one provincial DVA conference was conducted for the 2016/17 financial year. One training programme was implemented, 102 DVA Audits were to be conducted in 102 stations (26 DVA audits were already conducted) and 13 Outreach Programmes were to be implemented in 13 SAPS clusters (seven were already conducted) in the 2017/18 financial year. Summary of the audit findings showed poor execution of National Instruction 7 of 1999 by some SAPS DVA coordinators. Some SAPS members and some community members still had little regard for the importance of the J88, at times victims tampered with this evidence, there was insufficient training of some VEP volunteers and poor role clarification between some volunteers and social workers.
In terms of successes, the Department managed to make an impact as SAPS members were beginning to implement the Act correctly. The community members were now knowledgeable about their rights and were flocking to various stations to report these incidents. The Province managed to develop an integrated approach to the DVA which flowed from the 2016/17 conference resolutions. There were interventions made to deal with the challenges, including:
- establishment/formation through the national secretariat of the Compliance Forum was harmonising both the relationship and functionality of the DVA in the Province
- a cluster approach assisted in promoting a common understanding, sharing of resources and elimination of duplications among members thus promoting efficiency and effectiveness
- continuous stakeholder training;
- involvement of traditional leaders in DVA programmes
Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in the North West
The North West representative said assessment of police stations was done during the First Quarter (April to June 2016). Thereafter police stations were monitored quarterly to assess compliance and implementation to departmental recommendations by SAPS. During the First quarter, the overall performance of police stations ranged from 94.1%, which was significant compliance, and 46.6% for non-compliance to the Act. During the Second Quarter overall performance was 95.0, which was significant, and 54.0% for non compliance to the Act. For the Third Quarter the overall performance was 94.4%, which was significant, and 54.5% for non-compliance to the Act. In the Fourth Quarter the overall performance was 93.4%, which was significant compliance, and 56.2% for non-compliance to the Act.
The following were overall recommendations not complied with by the police station even after numerous visits by the Monitoring Official:
- not all members were trained on the DVA and Sexual Offences Act, including sign language
- complainants were not requested to sign the OB or Pocket Book as an acknowledgment that their rights were explained to them
- police Stations still experienced shortage of personnel and vehicles to deal with DVA and sexual offences cases
- police Stations did not have VFRs
- entries in registers did not correlate (SAPS 508(a) and SAPS 508(b)
- domestic violence related cases were not registered in the Case Administration System
- registers were not completed according to prescripts in that non-compliance by members were not recorded or record thereof kept
- non recording of incidents included recording of criminal cases against members
In order to improve compliance to the Act and the National Instruction, the Department developed an Action List and all findings and non-compliance were recorded. The list was shared with SAPS and implementation of recommendations by SAPS was monitored quarterly. There were awareness campaigns on the service offered by the Department, i.e. through the Complaints Unit, where community members were advised to contact the Department and report issues of poor service delivery by the SAPS. Community members were also provided with the Department’s toll free number, which was accessible 24/7, and encouraged to contact the Department for intervention. The Department, through its vigorous monitoring method, assisted SAPS members with the following:
- proper recording of incidents in the SAPS 508(a) and SAPS 508(b)
- how to properly complete DVA forms and documents
- how to complete monthly returns
- recording of incidents against members
Some challenges included resources, as experienced by most police stations and non-compliance by members, was communicated to the Office of the Provincial Commission for intervention. The Department will continue to monitor the action list and support police stations to ensure compliance by members resulted in improved service delivery to communities, more especially victims and survivors of domestic violence. The Department believed internal monitoring mechanisms should be strengthened. The Station Commissioner should ensure full adherence and compliance to provisions of the Act and National Instructions. Station Commanders should be held accountable for failing to record incidents of non-compliance by SAPS members.
Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act in the Eastern Cape
Mr Z Kani, Head, Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Eastern Cape, indicated that in assessing the compliance level, the Department conducted announced monitoring visits at 100 police stations. These police stations represented a mixture of urban, peri-urban and rural areas. Scope of the monitoring visits focused on:
- compliance (registers, forms and implementation)
- training of members on the DVA, Sexual Offences Act, Child Justice Act and the Victim Empowerment Programme
- status of VFRs at police stations
There are 196 police stations in the province under 22 clusters, the provincial population is at +- 7 000 000. Total police personnel is 19 062, 15 341 operating under the SAPS Act with 3 721 operating under the Public Service Act. Total number of sexual offences numbered 8 797 but this was reduced to an average rate of 5% from previous years. It was found that 20 police stations did not have VFRs, 27 had but these were not resourced and 53 had and these were resourced and fully functional. Three police stations did not have Domestic Violence coordinators. None of the 100 police stations visited for monitoring purposes were found to be fully compliant with the DVA. Of the 100 only 27 were found to be significantly compliant whilst 44 were found to be partially compliant and 29 police stations not compliant at all. There was a general shortage of vehicles at various police stations.
The list of organisations and form 1 documents that should be kept in the patrol vehicle must be made available. VFR’s at police stations should be made available and resourced by SAPS even if a certain office was allocated for it. VISPOL, Detectives and support services should get DVA, Sexual Offences Act, Child Justice and Victim Empowerment training from the police stations listed. SAPS 508 (non-compliance) register and Form 2 should be kept and be made available even if there were no recorded cases.The Provincial Office of Safety and Liaison and SAPS Provincial office should re-visit the stations. The purpose of re-visiting was to give assistance to stations especially those who scored less than 50% with respect to compliance with the DVA. This practice will help struggling police stations upgrade their standards.
The Chairperson said that Gauteng and KZN would have to explain the low number of visits to the stations as it was extremely low considering the scourge of gender-based violence in the country. There should be an annual target in terms of the number of people to visit the stations reporting gender-based violence. The issue of gender-based violence was impacting the fabric of society and therefore it needed to be handled with the seriousness it deserved. It was important to hear about the issue of consequence management towards Station Commanders who did not comply with instructions. There was a need to deal with prior violent tendencies – what would be done by Station Commanders if there was any violence committed by police members?
Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked the CSP to explain the difference between station visits and oversight visits as this was not clear from the presentation. The Committee should hear about action to be taken against those police stations that did not serve protection orders. There should be cooperation between local police stations and local courts to improve conviction. There were also complaints that there were not enough female members to serve victims of gender-based violence.
Ms Molebatsi found there to be a discrepancy in terms of the data provided by some police stations such as with VFRs with some stations they had 100% while the Secretariat said the figure was at 60%. The Committee should be clarified on this discrepancy. It was unclear what was preventing the police from delivering protection orders on the same day in order to protect women who were constantly being abused and killed by the same offenders. SAPS reported an increase against members in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape - the question was whether there were steps taken to ensure this was addressed. It was concerning to hear about the problem of under-reporting on gender-based violence - the question was whether this was deliberate or not.
Ms Kohler Barnard noted non-delivery of protection orders was the major issue – for an order to be implemented two months after it was granted did not support the women who faced violence and abuse on a daily basis. There were cases where SAPS members refused to go to informal settlements and hand over a protection order. Consequence management in terms of SAPS members who did not deliver a protection order should be implemented. Increases in verbal warnings given to SAPS members who failed to deliver a protection order did absolutely nothing as it did not affect the pockets, promotion or even security of these members. The reality was that women were killed every day because of the failure of SAPS members to simply deliver a protection order.
Ms Kohler Barnard also noted a significant increase in cases against SAPS members in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape - the Committee should hear what exactly the CSP intended to do on this matter. It was baffling why SAPS was not seizing the firearms of police members who had complaints against them of committing gender-based violence. The problem was that most of those firearms were often used in cases where a police officer would kill the whole family and himself in the process. It was really a disgrace to witness that there were SAPS members who failed to simply deliver a protection order while women were getting killed every day in the country.
Mr Mbhele expressed concern about the statistics provided by the CSP and other provinces in terms of the protection of women from gender-based violence. Issues that often arose out of the protection order were often matters of urgency and dealing with a victim that was highly vulnerable and traumatised. Failure to deliver a protection timeously was troubling considering the scourge of gender-based violence in the country. He reminisced about a case where a friend of his asked to stay in his place until the protection order was granted and this once again proved that SAPS was taking too much time to deliver a protection order. The VFRs in various police stations were often locked and the person with the key would not be around. It was troubling to see that the country was still dealing with these shocking instances in many areas. It would be important to hear about the possibility of getting physical infrastructure in place for VFRs to be fixed and addressed.
Mr Mbhele asked that the Committee be briefed on where information on non-compliance by SAPS came from - it was unclear as to whether this information was coming from members of the public or from internal monitoring in place. It was also not clear if non-compliance was based per station or multiple counts of non-compliance at a particular station. All protection orders were issued with an arrest warrant that was suspended until violation of the order. The report from the Minister’s office seemed to suggest there were no arrests effected in 99% of the cases – this was a large number of cases where there were no arrests effected by SAPS. There was a great non-compliance from SAPS members and there was also lack of consequence management for non-compliance. There was weak deterrence from the perpetrators of gender-based violence as there were low chances of consequences. SAPS should explain why there was few arrests and conviction of perpetrators of gender-based violence.
Mr J Maake (ANC) wanted to know reasons for the high number of reported cases of gender-based violence committed by SAPS members in Mmabatho police station and whether this was a cultural issue in the area. The Committee should hear about the steps taken to prevent gender-based violence in the area as there were 22 reported cases of transgression. What were the exemptions the presentation referred to especially since this was linked to non-compliance? It was unclear whether the phrase “intimate violence” was a correct phrase to use as it sounded a bit contradictory. Was this a common term being used?
Mr Ramatlakane commented that prevention of gender-based violence was one of government’s priorities and this had been a case over a period of time now. The policy statement by government needs to be supported by operational plans to ensure it was realised. Presentations made pointed to the contrary. It was noted in the Eastern Cape that females preferred to be served by female police officers and this issue was linked to providing Victim Support Centres. There should be a concerted effort to increase the capacity of female police officers in order to be able to serve females who had been the victims of gender-based violence. The Committee should probe the factors that continued to prohibit implementation of the DVA. It was unclear whether there was a shortage of resources or lack of commitment to ensure the Act was being implemented and that there was compliance.
Mr Ramatlakane pointed out the provision of Victim Support Centres was the responsibility of provincial departments to ensure infrastructure was made available through the processes of provinces. It was unclear how it was possible that we still spoke about lack of infrastructure for Victim Support Centres in various police stations. What steps were being taken to ensure this was being addressed? Resources could only be made available if there was commitment to implement the policy direction. The Committee should hear know whether the CSP was capacitated because it was the responsibility of the Secretariat to ensure the DVA Act was implemented including the provision of a conducive environment for victims of gender-based violence. The fact that not all police stations had Victim Support Centres in place painted a bleak picture on the lack of progress on the matter.
Mr Mhlongo asked if there was a concerted plan to ensure that every budgetary cycle was able to take into account the need for Victim Support Centres. The reality was that all police stations should have these facilities in order to be consistent with the Act. There should be designated personnel at every station to focus and specialise in the enforcement of the Act. It would be important to hear if SAPS identified the members committing gender-based violence.
Mr Rapea responded that SAPS was in the process of developing a plan to ensure implementation of the Act. There were forums established to prioritise implementation of this Act. The Minister held an Action Indaba on 17 and 18 August 2017 where all were invited including community-based organisations, academia and the youth. The major theme of the action-oriented Indaba was to come up with actions to be taken to tackle the problem of gender-based violence and sexual offences. The next step would be for the CSP to go to provinces so that the provinces could look at these action plans and then develop their own specific actions. The Minister unveiled the six points to address gender-based violence and this was also unveiled at the Action Indaba. The six points addressed minimum requirements in the police stations and there was also an acknowledgment from the report that the police could not solve this problem on its own as the support of everyone in government and the general public was also required.
Mr Rapea added that police stations would need to have the capacity to deal with cases of gender-based violence. The CSP would be going to Cabinet with the report where there would be discussions on implementation of this report from a broad spectrum. There were capacity challenges in place and this was the same even in provinces - this was a major problem that needed to be taken into consideration. There were police stations that did not have VFRs at all but made use of alternative spaces. However, it should be emphasised the focus was to have the VFRs within the precincts of police stations. Special Commanders were required to submit non-compliance cases to the sub-provincials and this information was then submitted to the provincial secretariats and also to the national SAPS. Provincial secretariats would submit all the information collated to SAPS. In essence, this was administrative data collected from SAPS as required by law. There were also interviews conducted of members of society to get broader views on the matter.
Mr Mbhele expressed concern about self-evaluation as this could lead to an inaccurate picture on the veracity of gender-based violence on the ground. Provincial Commanders were therefore required to present administrative data that would prove they were incompliant.
Mr Rapea replied there was an investigation being undertaken in case there was a member found to have been accused of committing gender-based violence. There were cases being followed in the event where a member would be exempted from a particular case because of lack of evidence.
Mr Kani responded that most cases of non-compliance were found in rural-based stations and in farming communities - this was an interdepartmental challenge. The Department of Roads and Public Works would need to assist the province on the matter as this was linked to the distance of police stations. There were cases where a particular police station would not be relevant because of its location. There was a plan in place aimed at reaching out to those police stations located on the periphery. The bigger challenge was whether there was huge dependability on the National Department of Public Works. There were delays at times in procurement instructions and availability of resources or funding. The province was currently engaging local communities and businesses where they would donate containers that could be converted to VFRs. The province was deemed as non-compliance in accordance to SAPS safety standards.
Mr Kani added the province was also experiencing challenges in terms of getting female police officers especially on the night shift - this was particularly the case in far-flung areas. Data provided by the province was not consistent with data provided by the CSP. The province would appoint a task team to work on consolidating all data. IPID was also going to outline all cases that were domestic violence-based. There were members that were dismissed, suspended and others would be suspended without pay. There were also a number of cases that would be withdrawn. There were tough instances where SAPS would continue with the case despite its withdrawal. There were 196 police stations in Eastern Cape operating from seven districts. The actual number of people doing the job was 14 – this explained why it was extremely difficult to monitor 196 police stations given the resources provided. The important part of the work was action to be implemented to address these findings. The province asked the Department of Social Development for assistance in training of additional personnel to deal with challenges identified. There was no better phrase of describing this as “intimate violence” without being sensitive. The violence towards women was often committed by police officers who were intimate with their partners.
Ms Kohler Barnard added there was validity in use of the phrase “intimate violence” as it actually described violence between perpetrator and intimate victim.
The KZN representative pointed out there was indeed a disturbing picture being portrayed by the findings in KZN police stations. The Department was taking cognisance of these findings and steps were being implemented. There were still challenges with shortage of resources as reflected in the presentation. The province was almost done with the process of recruitment of competent personnel to deal with a number of challenges. The current financial year spoke to 65 police stations and there would be growth of police stations in the next financial year as the province was preparing to build more stations to supplement population growth. There was a turnaround strategy made available. There was a focused approach in implementing remedial actions put forward.
The Chairperson asked that the Committee be provided with written submissions to all questions from Members that unanswered. The Committee should also be provided with those important reports that the province promised to provide.
The meeting was adjourned.
- South African Police Service presentation
- Civilian Secretariat for Police Service presentation
- Eastern Cape Province presentation
- KwaZulu Natal Province presentation
- Gauteng Province presentation
- Free State Province presentation
- Limpopo Province presentation
- Mpumalanga Province presentation
- North West Province presentation
- Western Cape Province presentation
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