Malmesbury Police Station must immediately rescind unlawful language instruction

Issued by Okkie Terblanche MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police
26 Sep 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Okkie Terblanche MP.

It has come to our attention that Captain Tamboer at the Malmesbury Police Station, issued an instruction on 19 September, mandating that complainants’ statements must be taken exclusively in English.

We wish to emphasise that this directive is invalid to the extent that it contradicts the directive issued by the National Police Commissioner, as confirmed in a written Parliamentary Question earlier this year.

The National Commissioner explicitly instructed all Provincial Commissioners to withdraw any provincial language instruction that conflicts with national policy. This move by the National Commissioner was a response to the DA’s parliamentary question about language policies, and we view it as a significant victory for language rights.

To ensure that justice is not compromised and that the rights of all citizens are upheld, we strongly urge police officers at Malmesbury Police Station to refuse to implement the unlawful instruction issued by Captain Tamboer. Our Constitution and the Use of Official Languages Act, 2012, are clear: linguistic diversity and the use of mother tongues must be respected. The A1 statement is the victim’s first opportunity to be heard, and language should not be a barrier to justice.

The DA calls on the Provincial Police Commissioner to take immediate action and rescind the unlawful language instruction issued at Malmesbury Police Station. It is essential that our law enforcement agencies adhere to national policies that uphold the principles of linguistic diversity, fairness, and justice for all South Africans.

This incident in Malmesbury is not isolated, as similar language policies have been enforced in other provinces. However, we remain committed to advocating for the removal of discriminatory language policies wherever they exist within the SAPS.

The DA will continue to ensure that victims are afforded the dignity, respect, and justice they deserve. Our fight is not only for linguistic rights but also for the fundamental principles of justice and fairness in our society.

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