Less than 1% of warrants for domestic abuse led to arrest

A reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed that the police service failed to execute 99% of warrants for arrest, granted in terms Domestic Violence Act.
This is extremely disturbing considering the extremely high level of gender violence in our country.
Domestic violence is defined broadly as physical, sexual, emotion, verbal and/or psychological abuse. It also includes harassment and stalking.
Since the 2015/16 financial year, out of 224 930 warrants issued, a mere 1 624 arrests were made.
This means that a tiny 0.72% of those warrants were carried out.
If a complainant can show that an already granted protection order has been violated and the perpetrator has continued to threaten or commit violence then, according to Section 8(4) of the Domestic Violence Act, “a complainant may hand the warrant of arrest together with an affidavit…to any member of the South African Police Service”.
It is then up the SAPS officer to investigate if “the complainant may suffer imminent harm as a result of the alleged breach of the protection order” and if so, the SAPS must make an arrest.
Given that a woman is murdered every eight hours in South Africa, it seems almost impossible that in 99% of these cases, the SAPS would be able to conclude that no imminent danger exists.
It has now become clear that, not only do the SAPS consistently fail to keep South Africans safe, it now seems possible that they are actively contributing to the massively high rate of gender violence.
This may be, in no small part, due to the severe under-resourcing, under-staffing, under-training, and under-equipping of our police service.
Yet, the fact remains that the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, must answer for these shocking statistics that provide reasons for why so many women in South Africa rightly fear for their lives on a daily basis.

Police fail to serve 1 in 4 protection orders in under two months

Today, a presentation by the Civilian Secretariat for Police on compliance with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) revealed that the police fail to serve 1 in 4 protection orders in under two months.
This is simply unacceptable especially considering the unacceptably high level of violence against women in our country. The DA believes that under the ANC, National Government has directly failed in the protection of victims of domestic violence.
For an abused partner or relative, anything more than a few days can literally mean the difference between life and death, making two months of neglect a horrendous finding.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has claimed that he will reduce the shockingly high levels of violence in our society, yet this astonishing fact goes to show just how little is being done to ensure the safety of those threatened with violence.
I will therefore write to Minister Mbalula to demand that he release the list of the worst performing stations and that he and the station commanders be summoned to account to the Police Portfolio Committee.
A protection order, issued in terms of the DVA, should be served as soon as is possible and provides for immediate remedies in crisis situations. Any delay may place the life and safety of the person seeking protection at risk.
These remedies include prohibiting a person from entering a shared house, entering the complainant’s house and entering the complainant’s work place. The court may also issue an order to seize any arm or dangerous weapon in the possession or under the control of the respondent and order the respondent to pay emergency monetary relief.
The whole reason for these critical remedies is defeated if the police only perform the interdicting order on the abuser more than two months later. It also places victims of domestic abuse in danger of not being adequately protected by the justice system.
It is high time that Minister Mbalula put his money where his mouth is and answer why these unacceptably high delays exist in the serving of protection orders.