(By Mary-Anne Gontsana, Groundup.org.za)

  • Western Cape Minister for Community Safety released the latest Court Watching Brief report on Wednesday.
  • It said 92 cases were struck from the court roll in three months due to police inefficiencies.
  • MEC Albert Fritz believes this number speaks to institutional corruption within the SAPS.

At least 92 cases were struck off the court roll due to inefficiencies by the South African Police Service (SAPS) between July and September this year. With 66 of the 92 cases related to domestic violence, femicide or gender-based violence (GBV).

This was according to Albert Fritz, Western Cape Minister for Community Safety, who released a report by the provincial Court Watching Brief (CWB) unit on Wednesday.

The unit was started to monitor the progress of cases by visiting courts in the province as well as police conduct and effectiveness. It then notes certain cases removed from the court roll due to police inefficiencies to ensure that the cases are collated sufficiently for it to return to court.

“Dockets are disappearing in different police stations. Cases are just disappearing off the roll … We are not talking about five cases here, we are talking about 92 cases in such a short period. This number speaks to institutional corruption,” said Fritz.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

Fritz said the unit’s work did not interfere in the work of court officials but instead assisted with identifying procedural shortcomings

“When you report a crime and a case is opened and eventually ends up at court, people need to feel that something is being done and something is going to happen. And that is what we want to do,” he said.

Areas and precincts prioritised by the court watching brief include Bishop Lavis, Delft, Mfuleni, Harare, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Philippi, Nyanga and Gugulethu.

On the issue of gender-based and domestic violence cases stuck from the roll, Fritz highlighted the case of Riaan Leonard, who was charged with contravening a protection order.

Leonard’s first appearance in the Mitchells Plain Magistrates court was on 14 October 2019. The case was postponed until 25 November 2019 “for particulars”. On this date, the matter was postponed until 14 January 2020 “for further investigation.”

The case was again remanded another three times from February to June 2020 “due to incomplete investigations” and “the docket not being at court”. The case was ultimately struck off the court roll on 29 June 2020.

“We are plagued by gender-based violence, femicide and domestic violence. Protection orders are an essential tool in this regard. It is unacceptable that the strength of this tool is undermined by inefficient and ineffective police work,” said Fritz.

“My department has written to the provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata, requesting comments on the cases which were removed from the court roll. The report will be submitted, with comments from the commissioner, if provided, to the provincial standing committee on community safety by no later than 30 December 2020,” said Fritz.

READ MORE in Latest News:


Published originally on  GroundUp
.

© 2020 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

SAPS Emergency Services 10111
Toll-free Crime Stop number 086 00 10111
GBV Command Centre Contact the 24-hour Gender Based Violence Command Centre toll-free number 0800 428 428 to report abuse
STOP Gender Violence Helpline Tel: 0800 150 150/ *120*7867#
South African Police Service Report all cases of rape, sexual assault or any form of violence to a local police station or call the toll-free Crime Stop number: 086 00 10111
Legal Aid South Africa Call the toll-free Legal Aid Advice Line 0800110 110 for free legal aid if you cannot afford one
Commission for Gender Equality Report Gender Discrimination and Abuse: 0800 007 709
South African Human Rights Commission Call 011 877 3600 to lodge a complaint about human rights violations.
Domestic violence Helpline Stop Women Abuse: 0800 150 150
AIDS Helpline 0800 012 322
The Warrior Project FREE legal helpline for victims of domestic abuse: 0860 333 353
People Opposed to Woman Abuse(Powa) http://www.powa.co.za, Tel: 011 642 4345
Child Welfare South Africa http://childwelfaresa.org.za/, Tel: 074 080 8315
Childline South Africa http://www.childlinesa.org.za/, Tel: 0800 055 555
Families South Africa (Famsa) http://www.famsaorg.mzansiitsolutions.co.za/, Tel: 011 975 7106/7
Tears Foundation http://www.tears.co.za/, Free SMS helpline: *134*7355#, Tel: 010 590 5920
The Trauma Centre http://www.trauma.org.za/, Tel: 021 465 7373
Thuthuzela Care Centres http://isssasa.org.za/