Third quarter report reveals 84 GBV cases struck from court rolls due to police inefficiencies in the Western Cape

The highest number of GBV cases struck from the court roll came from the Atlantis police station. File Picture: Independent Newspapers

The highest number of GBV cases struck from the court roll came from the Atlantis police station. File Picture: Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 24, 2024


Western Cape Police Oversight and Community Safety member of the executive committee (MEC), Reagan Allen has expressed his concerns after the first and third quarter Court Watching Briefs (CWB) Unit reports were revealed.

The report took cases from October 2023 to December 2023, and showed that 265 cases were monitored during this period at 10 different courts, linked to 35 police stations across the province, were struck off the court roll due to the inefficiencies of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Of the 265 cases monitored during this period, 32% (84) of cases related to gender-based violence (GBV) were stuck from the court roll. Taking into account quarters one and two, a total of 174 GBV matters were struck from the court roll between April to December 2023, due to SAPS’ inefficiencies.

The CWB Unit is an initiative of by the department to enhance their ability to perform oversight of the SAPS as mandated by Section 206(3) of the Constitution. Both reports have been shared with the SAPS.

The courts monitored are located in Athlone, Atlantis, Bellville, Blue Downs, Khayelitsha, Kuilsriver, Mitchells Plain, Philippi, Wynberg, and Paarl.

The SAPS stations attached to these cases are Athlone, Atlantis, Belhar, Brackenfell, Claremont, Delft, Diep River, Grassy Park, Gugulethu, Harare, Hout Bay, Khayelitsha, Klapmuts, Kleinvlei, Kraaifontein, Kuilsriver, Lansdowne, Lentegeur, Lingelethu West, Manenberg, Mbekweni, Mfuleni, Mitchells Plain, Mowbray, Nyanga, Paarl, Paarl East, Philadelphia, Philippi, Philippi East, Ravensmead, Rondebosch, Samora Machel, Steenberg, and Wynberg.

Third quarter number of cases struck off the court roll. Picture: WCG

The top three police stations where cases were struck off the roll were 17 from Atlantis, 11 from Kleinvlei, and nine from Kraaifontein.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said the statistics were an indictment on the SAPS, its leadership, and the entire criminal justice system.

“The very authority that is tasked to serve and protect citizens is dismally failing them, and this is largely in poor communities where the most vulnerable live. GBV is an epidemic and it continues to fester in our society, leaving our women and children at risk when those accused are never held accountable.

“What is even more concerning is that these numbers only represent a sample of the cases in the system, which means there could be further failures and injustices being perpetuated. Everyone in the criminal justice system, including SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), need to step-up to ensure that people see the system work for them,” Winde said.

The number of cases struck off the court roll during quarters 1 and 2. Picture: WCG

MEC Allen said he noted that actions have been taken by the SAPS to address these failures.

“I welcome the 17 sanctions imposed against SAPS members for incomplete investigations, six warrants of arrests issued, and one individual that has been found guilty. It is, however, deeply concerning that 12 matters were withdrawn by complainants, which also led to cases being struck off the roll. We will engage the GBV Transversal Forum to increase advocacy to vulnerable groups around the scourge of GBV and why perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted,” Allen said.

He said he was currently awaiting further feedback from both the Western Cape police commissioner, Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile, and the Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Nicolette Bell.

“We cannot have people suffer in this manner and we have to find ways to bring about an immediate turnaround. Part of the reason why we initiated the CWB is to ensure that there is justice for all victims and that as a provincial government we do everything we can to make this province safer for our residents,” Allen said.