GBVF complaints line opened
Citizens who are not satisfied with the services rendered by the South African Police Service (SAPS), especially with regard to gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), have been encouraged to lodge complaints.
According to National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole, the SAPS has prioritised the handling and investigation of GBVF-related complaints and cases and enhanced its complaints mechanisms across all provinces.
“The purpose is to ensure a continued and sustained professional service and consequence management for poor performance by any of our policemen and women,” General Sitole said.
“The reporting of poor service will help SAPS management ensure that citizens receive the desired help and that any gross dereliction of duty is not repeated,” he added.
Spokesperson of the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), Javu Baloyi, has welcomed General Sitole’s call, noting that the commission has received numerous complaints about victims of GBV and intimate partner violence (IPV) not being properly assisted by the police.
The CGE is a constitutional entity that was established to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.
The CGE recently held a consultative dialogue on intimate partner violence with various stakeholders to gain understanding from survivors on why they often withdraw their cases before they go to court.
“There were myriad reasons advanced, but critical amongst them was the police’s inability to assist complainants in a manner they found acceptable”.
In an effort to remedy the situation, the commission has been working with national, provincial and district police offices to help bring about a change in attitude and to promote the willingness to serve. More sensitivity must be shown to complainants of GBV and IPV, Baloyi stressed.
Baloyi said the CGE has in the past two years summoned the SAPS on three occasions to appear before it and explain why GBV and IPV complainants are not being assisted in the expected manner.
“We are making inroads in ensuring that every member of the SAPS understands the severity of GBV and IPV.”
Baloyi stressed that survivors of GBV and IPV need an enabling environment to encourage them to speak with ease. Statements of this nature should not be taken in the client service centre, in full view of everyone.
“The police must stop giving protection orders to complainants to personally serve on their abusers because that is the duty of the police. Police must act in accordance with the law instead of offering psycho-social counselling.”
Baloyi explained that too often police officials urge complainants to withdraw cases and go home to privately deal with what they perceive as a family matter. This is not in the best interests of the complainant, he said.
Members of the public have been encouraged to report cases of abuse at the nearest police station. Cases of gender discrimination should be reported to the CGE at 0800 007 709.
General Sitole said if complainants are not satisfied with the service they get from the police station, they can submit a complaint directly to their local police station’s community service centre, station commander, district/cluster commander’s office or the provincial complaints coordinators inspectorate.
Service complaints can also be lodged at the National Service Complaints Call Centre at 080 033 3177 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Complaints can also be lodged as follows:
• Eastern Cape: 040 608 7078 / complaintsEC@saps.gov.za
• Free State: 051 411 7804 / email@example.com
• Gauteng: 011 274 7786 / firstname.lastname@example.org
• KwaZulu-Natal: 031 325 5951/4886 / email@example.com
• Limpopo: 015 293 7186 / Lim.firstname.lastname@example.org
• Mpumalanga: 013 249 1429/1430/1435 / email@example.com
• Northern Cape: 053 802 7416 / firstname.lastname@example.org
• North West: 018 299 7057 / email@example.com
• Western Cape: 021 409 6535 / firstname.lastname@example.org