198 cases withdrawn in court due to SAPS inefficiencies | Western Cape Government

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198 cases withdrawn in court due to SAPS inefficiencies

3 August 2022

Between 1 April 2022 and 30 June 2022, 198 cases serving before court were withdrawn as a result of police inefficiencies by the South African Police Service (SAPS). That is 198 cases that will never be tested by law, 198 alleged crimes where the perpetrators will simply walk free, and a raft of victims who will never see justice served. This, in itself, is criminal.

These statistics are drawn from the quarterly report of the Department of Community Safety’s Court Watching Brief team, a unit we established to bolster police oversight, as mandated by section 206(3) of the Constitution.

Said Minister Reagan Allen: “It is egregious that the SAPS has failed in such simple ways. Instead of helping victims of crime to achieve justice, they’ve dealt them a further blow, and as a society, we must stand up and say that we cannot allow this to continue”.

This is a breakdown of the cases withdrawn:

Categories of inefficiencies:  Quarter 1 (April -June 2022)

Count

%

  1. Cases withdrawn due to the dockets not being at court

85

43%

  1. Cases were withdrawn due to the investigation being incomplete

80

40%

  1. Cases were withdrawn due to the accused not being brought to court

21

11%

  1. Cases were withdrawn due to the witnesses not being subpoenaed

8

4%

  1. Cases were withdrawn due to the forensic reports being outstanding

4

2%

Total

198

100%

 

Minister Allen continued: “I am outright angered by these statistics, as these are not just mere court cases, but actual human beings who were affected by crime. My heart is bleeding for the very individuals whom we request to put their trust in SAPS and the justice system, so that whoever violated them will be held accountable and receive the necessary sentence. The only manner in which overall faith and trust can be restored is if our SAPS officers and detectives are empowered with the relevant resources and tools, necessary skills and the right attitude to see their cases through.”

“This is another reason why SAPS should be devolved. The current system and management will continue to fail the committed officers on the ground, which means that our residents will continue to bear the brunt of these inefficiencies,” added Minister Reagen Allen.

The top 5 police stations that accounted for 48.2% (41) of the 85 cases withdrawn for dockets not at the court, are:

  • Beaufort West: 16
  • Oudtshoorn: 10
  • Lingelethu West: 8
  • Kuilsriver: 4
  • Knysna: 3

The top 5 police stations with incomplete investigations, which accounted for 52.5% (42) of the total 80 cases, are:

  1. Oudtshoorn: 13
  2. Laingsburg: 12
  3. Citrusdal: 7
  4. Beaufort West: 6
  5. Manenberg: 4

Said Minister Allen: “I am going to visit these stations and stand by them until police management helps them sort their issues out. The residents of these precincts, and all residents in fact, deserve a police service which will ensure that crime is diminished, and that justice is served when it takes place.”

“I am also outraged that right in Women’s Month I receive a report which states that Gender based violence cases (GBV) accounted for 18.2% (36) of the overall 198 cases monitored. This is a dismal failure on the part of SAPS to turn around one of the biggest issues plaguing our society today. It is no wonder that women don’t want to report crimes of this nature – their cases are dead in the water in SAPS’ hands.”

All 36 GBV cases were withdrawn/ struck off the roll due to the systemic failures. More than two thirds (25 counts) of the 36 GBV cases monitored were withdrawn because the dockets were not brought to court. Eight of the 36 GBV cases were withdrawn because the investigation was incomplete.

Minister Reagen Allen continued: “As much as there are issues with resources and particularly a dire lack of detectives, it cannot be acceptable that our people are being failed in this manner – SAPS management must address this with urgency. We have to do better, and I want SAPS at station level and in the Western Cape to know that we will continue to fight for them, however they should not stop fighting for the protection of our residents.”

“SAPS is fully aware of this report, but I’ll be sending it directly to Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, himself, to his Pretoria office. In it, we’ve recommended that the investigators should put shoulder to the wheel in an effort in to ensure that all relevant and required dockets are brought to court in time and on the specified date, while also doing everything in their power to complete the docket before it is sent to the court. Once we are able to achieve this, we will start seeing fewer cases being thrown out of court,” concluded Minister Reagen Allen. 

Media Enquiries: 

Marcellino Martin
Spokesperson for Minister Reagen Allen
Marcellino.martin@westerncape.gov.za
082 721 3362 (m)