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Responding to questions in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament today, Minister Reagen Allen revealed that the Court Watching Brief Unit is now set to be replicated across the country. An initiative of the Western Cape Department of Community Safety and Police Oversight, the Court Watching Briefs Unit works to monitor court proceedings in order to determine police inefficiencies and monitor police conduct.
Members of Court Watching Brief Unit attend court proceedings throughout the province in order to identify police inefficiencies. When an issue is found, a comprehensive report is compiled and referred to the police commissioner for immediate action. In this way, the failures of SAPS can be learned from and rectified.
The initiative provides a mechanism to evaluate police performance that is desperately needed. The Court Watching Brief Unit’s recently-released second and third quarter reports revealed that 283 cases were struck off the roll due to SAPS inefficiencies between October 2022 and March 2023. Were it not for the Court Watching Brief Unit, these cases may never have been flagged for urgently-needed attention.
The Court Watching Brief Unit was created in 2014 by the Western Cape Government, and has monitored thousands of cases to date. Now, the initiative will be expanded to the rest of South Africa, in what is an acknowledgement of an undeniably sterling, DA policy. Members of the Western Cape Department of Community Safety and Police Oversight have already provided training on Court Watching Briefs to certain other provinces since 2019 at their request. Now, this training will be provided to all other provinces, with a view to getting Court Watching Brief Units up and running nation-wide as soon as possible.
DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Community Safety Gillion Bosman says: “I am overjoyed to learn that this policy which has worked so well in the Western Cape will now be implemented across the country. This DA-devised policy provides a vital mechanism for the failures of SAPS to be identified and addressed, and for our police force to improve its efficiency and its conduct. I congratulate Minister Allen on working with his national counterparts to bring Court Watching Brief Units to all South Africans.”
Issued by Gillion Bosman, MPP - DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Community Safety