AfriForum welcomes that SAPS will not only provide English service ‒ will monitor implementation

The civil rights organisation AfriForum welcomes that, according to media reports, General Fannie Masemola, the National Police Commissioner will instruct all provincial commissioners to withdraw any instructions on the language of service delivery that are not in line with the national language policy of the South African Police Service (SAPS). This follows in response to an order of the Western Cape Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile, that all A1 statements and official documentation of the SAPS in this province should in future be in English only. According to the national language policy, Afrikaans, Xhosa and English have to be used in the Western Cape, and the public have to be served in any other language of their choice as far as possible.

After the order of the Western Cape police commissioner had become known, AfriForum and Solidarity reminded him in writing of the requirements of the language policy and asked for confirmation that his order has been withdrawn. AfriForum is ready to proceed with legal action if it has not been withdrawn and will monitor the service delivery of the SAPS in the Western Cape in this regard.

According to Alana Bailey, head of Cultural Affairs at AfriForum, the commissioner is also reminded that the SAPS owes feedback to civil society, and not to political parties only.

Meanwhile, members of the public overwhelmingly indicated in response to a question of AfriForum that they believe that power should be devolved from the national government to provinces ‒ amongst other reasons in order that the police will provide service in the language that the communities in which they are stationed, require. Currently, members of the SAPS are often stationed in provinces where they cannot speak the local languages. “This creates the risk that cases are not reported, or that language errors may occur in statements that are taken, with the result that victims lose a court case because their version in court differs from that in the original statement,” says Bailey. “Such travesties of justice cannot be allowed.”

Anyone experiencing language problems when communicating with the police is welcome to send the information to afriforum@afriforum.co.za.

Similar Posts