DURBAN - THE KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Executive Council says it is concerned about a report regarding the handling of incidents related to domestic violence by the police.
In its final sitting last week, led by Premier Sihle Zikalala, the council noted with concern a report from KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni on the state of policing in the province.
The council said it was disappointed with the report’s findings which showed glaring weaknesses and ineffectiveness within police stations, especially when handling domestic violence cases. Other findings are that:
- Protection orders are not being enforced because of vehicle shortages.
- Particulars of complaints being detailed correctly.
- Victim friendly facilities lack resources; some are under-utilised.
- Most stations do not have Victim Friendly Rooms.
- The report made recommendations meant to improve the state of policing of gender-based violence (GBV) and domestic violence (DV) cases in the province. These include:
- Ensuring trial times are improved by increasing cases’ trial-ready capacity.
- Reallocating human and financial resources to focus on GBV and domestic violence.
- Prioritising detective training.
- Urgently addressing the effectiveness of SAPS garages in servicing vehicles.
Tears Foundation founder Mara Glennie said a lack of confidence in the justice system had resulted in a dramatic fall in reported rapes.
“There is a systemic failure to deal with complaints by victims at all stages of the criminal justice process.We are failing GBV victims and vulnerable members of society. It is an open secret that the police system is in a state of disarray. There seem to be no sustainable strategies in dealing with the way police handle GBV cases, we are most likely to see the number of cases increase during December.”
Daniela Gennrich, co-ordinator of We Will Speak out South Africa, commended the executive council for taking these matters seriously.
“All these measures to correct these multiple problems are very valuable, but what is generally lacking is a systemic, formal set of mechanisms to monitor the diverse services for GBV and DV, with a proper command structure and people responsible to deal with complaints at every level. Also for a reporting helpline for survivors that is low hassle and cost free, so that breaches at local level are reported and responded to promptly.
“The whole police force and all court officers need proper GBV training as trauma responders.”
The SAPS were unable to provide comment yesterday.