Concerns raised about the number of GBV cases struck off court roll

The Western Cape’s Police Oversight & Community Safety Department expressed concern about the number of gender-based violence cases that were struck off the court roll within six months.

PICTURE: Pixabay

Between April and September 2023, the first and second quarter reporting periods of the Western Cape Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety’s (POCS) Court Watching Briefs (CWB) unit, show that a staggering 243 cases monitored during this period at 25 courts, linked to 58 South African Police Services (SAPS) stations across the province, were struck off the court roll due to SAPS’ inefficiencies.

Of these, 89 cases were gender-based violence cases. This consists of 63 cases monitored during quarter one at 8 courts covering 21 SAPS stations, and 180 during quarter two at 17 courts, covering 37 SAPS stations. Of the 63 cases monitored during quarter one, 26 (41.3%) related to gender-based violence (GBV). While in quarter two, 63 (35%) of the 180 cases accounted for GBV. In total, of the 243 cases, 89 are GBV related.


The CWB Unit is an initiative of POCS 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 that were monitored are located in Khayelitsha, Athlone, Wynberg, Mitchells Plain, Bellville, Blue Downs, Philippi, Kuilsriver, Atlantis, Paarl, Mossel Bay, Oudtshoorn, Thembalethu (George), Laingsburg, George, Knysna and Beaufort West.

Western Cape Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC, Reagen Allen, expressed concernt hat these statistics does not reflect all cases.

“These grim statistics leave a bitter taste in my mouth. The continued GBV that is plaguing our society must come to an immediate end. The way SAPS, and by extension the entire criminal justice system, is failing these individuals, often amongst the most vulnerable in our communities, will never be acceptable. It is further concerning that these are just the cases we have monitored and might not paint a full picture of the reality. The criminal justice system has to do better.”

“We initiated our CWB in 2013, which has now also been adopted by all other provinces in the country, to ascertain the effectiveness and efficiency of SAPS’ investigations. Many SAPS officers have excessive workloads, having more than 200 dockets to investigate, which does not help them as investigators, nor the persons who have been violated. This failure does however not justify their inability to comply with their oath and fulfill their constitutional mandate. I note that in certain instances, disciplinary action has been taken against some SAPS members,” he added.

Allen says he will be engaging both the Western Cape Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile and the Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Nicolette Bell

‘’We must gain insight into what must improve to ensure these types of results are not repeated. The pain, suffering and injustice that the victims have to endure has to be addressed and there should be recourse for the victims. We have made several recommendations based on these findings, including that SAPS should develop an improvement plan to minimise the number of cases that are struck off the roll due to their inefficiencies.”

“We are not merely conducting tick boxing exercise. We want our oversight to lead to better service delivery. It is critical that SAPS is credible and trustworthy, while delivering a service that is professional and of the highest standard, which ultimately protects and serves individuals often deeply affected by crime. This is just another stark reminder why SAPS has to be devolved to a capable provincial government such as ours,” added Reagen Allen, Western Cape Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC.


Done By: Mitchum George


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