SAPS shows total disregard for language rights of victims

Issued by Okkie Terblanche MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police
13 Mar 2023 in News

The DA strongly condemns the disturbing news from the South African Police Service (SAPS) advising that they will only be taking A1 statements in English in various stations in the Western Cape.

An A-1 statement is a statement made by a complainant when opening a case.

Given that South Africa has 12 official languages, this ludicrous decision makes it clear that the SAPS is not interested in serving the community it is supposed to serve.

The Constitution requires that the national or any provincial government must use at least two official languages, taking into account the usage, practicality, expense, preference of the population and balance of needs.

SAPS, being a compliment of national government, is flagrantly disregarding the provisions of the Constitution by refusing to recognise other official languages.

In a province where Afrikaans, English, Xhosa and many other languages are prominently used, it is a complete violation of victims’ rights when reporting crimes.

Failure to allow victims to report crimes in their mother tongue will not only impair their dignity but will lead to victims not coming forward at all to report crimes.

The DA will not allow this to happen and have written to both the National Police Commissioner and the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner to confirm in writing that this practice will not be allowed to happen and that victims who come in to report crimes will be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.