The South African Police Service (SAPS) briefed the Committee on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act from the period July to December 2007. It was noted that there had been some improvements, based on a comparison of the figures for the first and second halves of that year, in the way that the Department was handling the matter. There were 50 497 cases of domestic violence reported in from July to December 2007. Only 11 641 (23%) resulted in criminal cases being opened, and there were a number of reasons why this was so, including the reluctance of victims to lay a charge because the perpetrators were most often the breadwinners, and that many complaints did not constitute criminal conduct. Only one complaint per 700 cases were lodged against the way in which the SAPS had handled the matters. However, it was conceded that the public were often ignorant about their rights in domestic violence cases and were unaware of the Independent Complaints Directorate as being able to offer them assistance. Despite this drop in the number of complaints, SAPS was still not totally satisfied with its results, and still faced challenges around training, despite extension of the length of the training course, as there was still a need for specialised training at all levels. There was a need for more effective monitoring and evaluation of compliance issues, teaching on gender sensitivity and diversity, better awareness of the Directorate and better liaison between non governmental organisations, government departments and the community.
Members asked questions about the training, the use of languages in posters and publicity, the training in the different provinces, how training would filter down into the stations, the apparent conflict in training methods, the reasons why charges would not be laid against perpetrators, the discrepancies in the current legislation, whether reports were forwarded to the Department of Social Development, and the lack of effective interventions. Members expressed that there was a need to look again at the legislation as it was failing people, especially in
The Committee was then briefed by the SAPS on four international instruments. There had been a proclamation in terms of Section 26 of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act 2004. The latest developments on the Act were briefly reviewed. The Memorandum of
Understanding between the South African government and the African Union (AU) to contribute SAPS members to assist the AU Electoral and Security Assistance Mission to the Comores was described. Another Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of
Domestic Violence Report to Parliament in terms of Section 18(5)(d) of the Domestic Violence Act, 1998 (DVA): Department of Safety and Security (DSS)
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) said that she thought that there was a problem with the Agenda, because she did not think that the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) and referred instruments should not be dealt with in the same session. She cited the huge discrepancies still existent in the DVA as one of the reasons.
Superintendent Timothy Williams, the Acting National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), retorted that much had already been done by way of reducing these anomalies.
Comm Williams then began his report. Using a graph, he showed that there were 50 497 cases of domestic violence reported in from July to December 2007. According to the graph,
He then continued by saying that out of the 50 497 cases reported, only 11 641 resulted in criminal cases being opened, or 23%, saying that the 77% of cases not resulting in criminal charges emanated from a number of reasons, including the fact that a lot of victims were unwilling to lay charges against their spouses, especially since most of the perpetrators would be the breadwinner. Another factor mentioned was the fact that most incidences of domestic violence did not constitute actual criminal conduct.
To clarify this, he used an example of an alcoholic husband who might sell the family's fridge to buy alcohol. That was not a crime, according to the law, but the wife could get a court order restraining the husband from selling the fridge. If he went against the court order then this would constitute an offence.
Comm Williams then went on to show how the number of complaints received by the public about the handling of domestic violence cases had dropped from the first period of 2007 to the second period of the year 2007. He said that for every 700 or more domestic violence cases dealt with, only one complaint about the handling of the case by the SAPS would be received.
He said that out of the 70 complaints handed in by the public around the handling of domestic violence cases, only 57 made it to the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD). He said that the public were ignorant about their rights in domestic violence cases and were unaware of the ICD as an organisation that would offer them assistance.
He said that even though the SAPS had made great strides in reducing the numbers of complaints, down to less than 1 out of 700 in a 6 month period, SAPS was still not satisfied with the results that they were achieving. He then highlighted a couple of challenges it was facing in achieving better statistics, and offered a few solutions.
He firstly pointed to the lack of adequate training, saying that specialised training in the handling of domestic violence complaints was needed. However, 146 members specialising in the investigation of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences(FSC) had undergone specialised training, and that the initial three week course had been extended to four weeks. Also, 4 000 members had undergone in-service training. He then mentioned the need for this specialised training to take place at all levels within the SAPS and ICD, from initial recruits to top management.
Comm Williams then mentioned the need for effective monitoring and evaluation of compliance issues mentioned in the Act. He said that National Evaluation Services were already conducting inspections at station level on a regular basis.
He then went on to highlight the importance of teaching gender sensitivity within this context. He said that already workshops about diversity and gender issues were being given.
He reiterated again that the community was generally unaware of the protection afforded to them by the Act. In response to this, the Liaison Services developed a communication strategy to raise awareness, enlisting tools such as the use of posters. He noted that the Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the community at large had a major role to play in dealing with incidences of domestic violence, saying that often victims would need counseling and safe houses to go to, something that the SAPS was not equipped to deal with at this stage. He said that greater coordination between the different government departments, NGO's and the community was needed.
Mr C Mabena (ANC) asked in which provinces the 146 members specializing in FCS cases. and the 4 000 members who had received in-house training. had been deployed.
Comm Williams said that he did not have the figures on him but that he could produce them at a later stage.
Mr Mabena asked whether or not different and appropriate languages were being used in the poster campaigns at different places.
Comm Williams said that was the case and that they focused their attention on the demographics of
Mr Mabena asked if more training was received by SAPS members in
Comm Williams said that this was so, but pointed out that there was a need for more training where there was a greater prevalence of cases.
Mr S Mohote(ANC) asked how the training filtered down into the stations.
Comm Williams said that members went for training, yet on their return they might be told by the old staff of the station to forget their training and to do things the way they had always been done at the station. He said that this was obviously an area of concern. He said that the training had only been going on for six months, so it was expected that at this stage there would be certain problems still to be ironed out.
Mr Mohote said that he had visited two stations where there seemed to be a lot of confusion by SAPS members around the correct procedures in dealing with domestic violence cases. He said that they said they were taught one way, and then the ICD would try show them a different way.
Comm Williams said that perhaps a reason for the confusion lay in the way the forms were set out. He said that, according to standard operating procedures, some columns were in certain circumstances filled in, while others were left out, and that perhaps this was the root of confusion.
Ms J Sosibo (ANC) asked why 77% of the reported instances of domestic violence had not resulted in criminal charges being laid.
Comm Williams said that according to
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) said that the legislation on domestic violence had been passed ten years ago and yet there were still discrepancies. She also pointed out that this year was the first year that the government had said that every day should be an anti-abuse day in the year. She wanted to know whether or not the SAPS forwarded incidences of domestic violence to the Department of Social Development (DSD).
Comm Williams said that it was unfortunate that this could not happen all the time because of a lack of manpower and resources. He said that in light of this, local stations were encouraged to mobilise their communities to provide shelter for victims of abuse. He said that SAPS knew that a better working relationship between the various government departments, NGO's and the community was needed.
Ms Van Wyk then said that she had a serious problem with the training given and the interventions the police were taking, because according to her experience it was not effective. She asked the Chairperson and the Committee to re-evaluate the Act and then take it to Parliament. She said that the current legislation and its lack of proper implementation was failing the weaker people in
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) said that there was a big difference between what was being said and what was being done in reality. He asked whether or not the training given was followed up.
Comm Williams said that station inspections and visits after complaints were a couple of the mechanisms presently in place, but agreed that more needed to be done.
The Chairperson thanked the Committee for their questions, and noted that she received numerous complaints about the policing of these matters in Mpumulanga.
Comm Williams said that in general there were complaints. but that the amazing thing was that Mpumulanga had the lowest figures for domestic violence cases.
The Chairperson said that that was because no policing was taking place. She said that she had tried to speak to the community, but that they had dismissed her efforts because of the total lack of policing.
Ms Van Wyk was quick to add that the SAPS was being defensive, and that action was needed immediately.
The Chairperson said that the quality of training the police were receiving in connection with domestic violence needed to be questioned. She said that the training course was not well thought out, and that there seemed to be a lack of commitment on the part of Commissioners. She believed that there was a need to look again at the legislation.
Referred Instruments: Briefing by SAPS
Assistant Commissioner Philip Jacobs, Head: Legal Support Crime Operations, SAPS, brought four matters to the attention of the Committee.
He tabled and noted the proclamations in terms of Section 26 of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act 2004. He said that in respect of a South African individual or entity being named on the Counter Terrorism Committee of the United Nations Security Council list, the President must make notification of this in the Government Gazette.
He said a consolidated list by the United Nations (UN) was published on 20 May 2005 and on 29 May 2006. He said the later list was now under consideration by the Committee.
Comm Jacobs said the latest developments relating to this Act included a review of procedures by the Committee, a proper guideline having been developed for listings, the introduction of a de-listing process and a nodal point having been established where an individual could apply directly or through the government to be de-listed.
Comm Jacobs then briefed the Committee on the Memorandum of Understanding between the South African government and the African Union (AU) to contribute SAPS members to assist the AU Electoral and Security Assistance Mission to the Comores. He said that some 80 members were supplied for this purpose. Furthermore, equipment like tear gas was provided as well as training on how to use such equipment. The mission cost R5 514 619.70 of which R5 027 408.00 was refunded by the AU. The Commissioner pointed out that the difference could be explained by the fact that the South African members of the task team took their own aircraft across.
Comm Jacobs next briefed the Committee on the Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of
Comm Jacobs then briefed the Committee on the arrangement between the Minister of Safety and Security of RSA, and the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations of the Kingdom of the
Full details of each of the arrangements was contained in the powerpoint presentations attached to this Minute.
Ms Van Wyk asked where the budget came from. She said that the money spent was for food, transport and accommodation, which meant that the budget should have come from the areas where those members were stationed. She said the reason she wanted to know was because visible policing was a priority in
Comm Jacobs said that there had been a change this year, in that task teams were not sent across to help but that individual members were contracted by the United Nations. He said that he knew there was a problem with the budget, and that he would speak to other members to see if a yearly budget could be implemented.
Rev Meshoe wanted to know why there was a difference between the amount spent and the amount refunded in respect of the mission to the Comores.
Comm Jacobs said that there was a difference because the task team had supplied their own aircraft.
The meeting was adjourned.
- SAPS Full Domestic violence report to Parliament for period July-December 2007
- Domestic violence act, 1998(Act no. 116 of 1998)
- presentation on referred instruments: Uganda security issues for CHOGM meeting
- presentation on referred instruments: Comores elections
- presentation on referred instruments: Netherlands cooperation agreement
- Government Gazette proclamation
- Report to parliament in terms of section 18(5)(d) of Domestic Violence Act, 1998
- Domestic violence report by national commissioner 1 July - 31 December 2007 presentation
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
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