Faceless muscular ethnic man grabbing wrist of girlfriend during dispute
Faceless muscular ethnic man grabbing wrist of girlfriend during dispute. Representational Image. Alex Green/Pexels.com

The Portfolio Committee on Police directed the South African Police Service (SAPS) senior managers to intensify training for police officers to ensure compliance with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA).

The Committee's decision follows a report on police officers' compliance with the Domestic Violence Act, which also highlighted complaints against SAPS members, as outlined in Section 18(4)(a) of the Act.

The committee emphasized that failing to comply with the Act undermines the fight against gender-based violence, stressing that enhanced training would give police officers the skills needed to accurately report and investigate cases of domestic violence.

Chairperson of the committee Nocks Seabi said, "It is unacceptable that in a country like South Africa, with abnormally high cases of domestic violence, there are still some members of the SAPS that are not compliant with the Act," SA News reported.

Seabi added, "While there is a general improvement in the number of complaints received, complete compliance is non-negotiable, according to the committee."

Between April 1 and Sept. 30 last year, SAPS and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service received about 60 complaints. Among them, 50 cases were related to the failure to fill out a SAPS 508(a) form and the Domestic Violence Register (SAPS 508(b)), which are used to record incidents of domestic violence.

Seven cases were identified involving the failure to document domestic violence incidents in the occurrence pocketbook while two cases related to not assisting complainants in opening a case.

The committee recognized that some measures, like verbal and final written warnings, have been taken. However, the committee emphasized the need for ongoing training to help police officers effectively manage domestic violence cases and comply with legislation.

Furthermore, the committee urged prompt completion of departmental investigations to ensure accountability among members. Criticism was also directed towards many police officers, accused of committing domestic violence during the reviewed period.

"It is alarming that 165 members of SAPS are accused of being perpetrators of domestic violence. How can we expect perpetrators to assist and protect the most vulnerable? This is unacceptable and urgent strategies must be developed and implemented to remedy this concern," Seabi noted.

Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South African men and boys to break the cycle of violence as the country has been witnessing an increase in crimes against women.