Western Cape MEC appoints advocate to monitor GBV court cases
Cape Town - Western Cape Minister of Community Safety Albert Fritz has announced the appointment of an advocate to oversee cases relating to gender-based violence and domestic violence in courts.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the minister said advocate Leslie Morris has been appointed to the job and will be acting within the court watching brief (CWB) unit.
A CWB unit has been established in every province in South Africa to monitor police conduct and report inefficiencies.
Members of the units attend court to observe the proceedings. If inefficiencies are found, they compile a comprehensive report that is submitted to the Department of Community Safety’s portfolio committee and the provincial police commissioner. The commissioner then has to account for the department's inefficiencies.
Morris has served the department and CWB unit for eight years and established the department’s guidelines on how victims can obtain protection orders. He has also conducted a number of workshops in rural communities, such as Tulbagh, Klawer and Vanrhynsdorp.
Morris said he hopes to go beyond monitoring cases and towards advocacy.
He said women must be empowered with the knowledge of their rights, especially in cases relating to domestic violence and gender-based violence.
“Whether you live in Constantia (an upmarket area of Cape Town) or Lutzville (a rural town in the West Coast District), it is important that you know your rights and be treated by SAPS with the basic respect that you deserve. My work conducted within the unit will not be limited to the metropole, but will also assist those in rural communities alike,” Morris said.
Fritz said his department will also be establishing a standard operating procedure for cases of gender-based violence which will entail close working relationships with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to ensure information is better shared on related cases.
“I welcome the tasking of advocate Morris to monitor related cases. His empathy and legal expertise will go a long way in bringing guilty parties to book and ensuring the safety of women in our society,” Fritz said.