Minister Fritz commemorates passing of Jesse Hess and grandfather at ceremony
Minister Fritz commemorates passing of Jesse Hess and grandfather at candle lighting ceremony
Today, the Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, attended the one-year memorial of Jesse Hess (18) and her grandfather, Chris Lategan (85) who were both found dead in a flat in Parow. The memorial was commemorated with a candle lighting ceremony.
Minister Fritz has previously requested that the Department of Community Safety’s Court Watching Brief unit monitor the court processes relating to the double murder.
Minister Fritz said, “My Department have since implemented a range of programmes in the fight against domestic violence (DV) and gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF). These steps are geared at ensuring that the appropriate steps are followed throughout the criminal justice chain to ensure the safety of our residents.”
Minister Fritz added, “We are guided in our approach on GBVF and DV by our Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) unit. The Department will continue to conduct the relevant M&E over SAPS and provide related assistance in terms of its compliance with the DV Act.”
The Department of Community Safety has recently concluded its report on SAPS’ compliance with the DV Act. The findings were as follows:
- 57% of VISPOL and 69% of detective members at top 20 stations did not undergo 5-day DVA training course;
- There are cases where DVA incidents were not recorded in the DV Register 508(b), and challenges with alignment between the DVA register and other DVA documentation, such as the occurrence book and docket books of members attending to DV outside the station;
- Protection orders are not always served within the target of 48 hours;
- There is challenge with the correct filing of protection orders, which must be available on a 24/7 basis at stations;
- There is a lack of trained volunteers within Victim Friendly rooms;
- There is a lack of safe house facilities within the precinct of many stations;
- Dockets are often not provided to court in time and investigations are incomplete.
Court Watching Brief Unit
Minister Fritz said, “I have tasked Advocate Leslie Morris with monitoring and reporting on cases, as part of the oversight mandate of the Department relating to GBV and DV cases, which have been struck off court rolls due to police inefficiencies and ineffectiveness. Going forward, the Court Watching Brief (CWB) unit will provide quarterly reports unpacking trends and referral blockages to be addressed by the relevant stakeholders.”
As a part of Advocate Morris’ work within the CWB Unit, he will also drive advocacy projects in the form of workshops. Between 10 – 11 August 2020, he took part in workshops in Lamberts Bay, Elands Bay, Graafwater, Clanwilliam, Citrusdal and Wupperthal. The training provided focused on:
- What is a Protection Order;
- How to apply for a Protection Order;
- How to address and minimize secondary trauma at SAPS and other relevant stakeholders; and
- Guidelines on reporting secondary victimization.
Launch of “A guide for victims of domestic abuse”
Minister Fritz said, “The Department of Community Safety has created A guide for victims of domestic abuse. The booklet provides practical information on how to obtain a protection order. I encourage residents to share this information far and wide to ensure that it reaches those who may need it most. Going forward, the Department will implement a range of communications devised to share this information further.”
The booklet assists in:
- Defining a domestic relationship and domestic violence (DV);
- Outlining the rights of a victim of DV and the responsibilities of SAPS;
- Defining a protection order and how to obtain it; and
- Providing useful contact details on how to access GBV and DV related support.
Western Cape Police Ombudsman
The Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO), Mr JJ Brand, is investigating cases of secondary victimization (SV). On Thursday 2 July, Minister Fritz wrote to the WCPO requesting that his office investigate two instances SV reported at SAPS stations in Site B, Khayelitsha, and Langa.
In both instances, the victims had approached SAPS after allegedly being raped. In the first instance, the victim was told to 'return the next day and not to bath”. In the second instance, the victim and her mother were reportedly pepper sprayed by police and only attended to the following day by a police officer who was called out from another station.
In the WCPO's letter it was stated that, "Complaints were registered for both... the allegations deemed to fall within our mandate... My office intends consulting with the victims of the incidents first to verify whether they indeed want to pursue with complaints of alleged inefficiencies against SAPS."
Additionally, the WCPO stated that both cases of alleged SV "would be included in our current investigation of the alleged failure of SAPS to provide sufficient victim support to victims of crime at the police stations in the WC." The Provincial Commissioner further instituted disciplinary action against the case of SV in Khayelitsha.
Attention broadcasters, please see English audio clip here: https://clyp.it/4f2vob3l
Cayla Ann Tomás Murray
Spokesperson for Minister Albert Fritz
Tel: 021 483 8550
Cell: 064 121 7959