Meeting SummaryThe Committee discussed some logistical issues highlighted during the trip and considered the report, raising minor technical amendments. The report was however not finalised.
Members’ concerns included certain police stations reporting fewer criminal cases, so as to appear as having lowered the crime rates in their area and get awards. The Committee also raised concerns about the policemen who had locked a woman in a cell full of male inmates and she was raped repeatedly. The policemen, who had made the blunder, had not been charged for that offence.
The Committee was also concerned about the fact that prisons were still overcrowded because alternative sentencing did not seem to be working. Pregnant women and children, who grew up behind prison bars, did not receive the necessary attention.
Consideration of an Mpumalanga Oversight Report
The Chairperson said that many police stations underreported the incidence of crime so that they could get awards for lower crime rates in their jurisdiction.
Ms F Nyanda (ANC) (Mpumalanga) mentioned that some police reservists were not paid even though they worked long hours.
The Chairperson referred to policemen who locked a woman in a cell full of males. The woman was raped repeatedly throughout the night. The policemen should be charged and redeployed.
Mr Moseki said that the report pages were not numbered.
Mr Moseki suggested that police, especially those on patrol, should be supplied with bullet proof vests. The Independent Complaints Directorate should be strengthened, so as do their work properly.
Mr Mzizi said that some complainants were not aware that the prosecutors had sometimes closed dockets. The complainants would then think those dockets had simply disappeared. Prosecutors should inform the complainants and explain the reasons for the closure of the dockets. The Department of Justice should recruit more foreign language interpreters especially in border towns.
The Chairperson suggested that the training of women prosecutors should be a top priority because women related better to women investigators, especially in rape cases.
Mr Mack said that magistrates should avail themselves for community awareness programmes. He said that the alternative sentencing did not seem to be working because prisons were still overcrowded. The Inspecting Judge did not even visit some correctional centres.
Mr Mzizi said that he was disturbed by the plight of pregnant women in prisons and the children who grew up in prisons.
The report was not finalised.
The meeting was adjourned.
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