A cooperative government approach to domestic violence : the case of SAPS, Ikageng and the North West Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
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The study investigated the current status of cooperative government between the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Ikageng and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in the North West Province (NW DJCD). With its focus on cooperative government, the study concentrated particularly on the efficiency of the administrative services in cases of domestic violence and the manner in which the victims thereof are treated by the police officers at SAPS Ikageng and the NW DJCD employees during the process of lodging complaints (domestic violence) and applying for protection orders. Cooperative government is a constitutional imperative, enshrined in Chapter 3 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (hereafter referred to as the Constitution, 1996). The Constitution, 1996, also encapsulates the right of each citizen to safety and freedom from all forms of violence, as part of its Bill of Rights (RSA, 1996:5). Furthermore, the government promulgated the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 to provide the victims with the best possible protection against domestic abuse (RSA, 1998:1). However, in spite of substantive constitutional obligations and statutory provisions, domestic violence in South Africa remains pervasive (Hasselbacher, 2010:190; Maselesele et al., 2011:2517; Morei, 2014:928; Davies & Dreyer, 2014:1; HSRC, 2014:11; The Conversation Africa, 2015; RSA, 2016). Previous research conducted nationally, established that both the police officers at SAPS and the DJCD often neglect their responsibilities to properly administer cases of domestic violence (Lopes et al., 2013:20; Morei, 2014:936; HSRC, 2014:11). Furthermore, numerous complaints have been received from the victims of domestic violence, who claim to be treated in a hostile and insensitive manner by police officers at SAPS and the clerks of the court at the DJCD (ICD, 2011:2; CSP, 2016:4). The study therefore investigates the following research problem: A lack of effective cooperative government between SAPS Ikageng and the NW DJCD, as well as neglect of responsibilities by employees from both the government entities, result in ineffective and delayed administrative processes in cases of domestic violence, causing inefficient service delivery and inhumane treatment of the victims thereof. An extensive literature study, as well as empirical research was conducted. The reviewed literature established the theoretical, as well as statutory and regulatory frameworks for domestic violence and cooperative government in South Africa. The study adopted a qualitative research approach and a case study research design. Semi-structured personal interviews were utilised as data collection instrument, which focused on establishing the participants' personal experiences, perceptions and knowledge of domestic violence and the administration of such cases. Personal interviews were conducted with: 10 operational police officers at SAPS Ikageng; one (1) police officer at the Domestic Violence Office of SAPS Ikageng; two (2) employees at the NW DJCD (one clerk of court and one magistrate); two (2) social workers; and 10 victims (women) of domestic violence. The results acquired through the interviews revealed that a lack of cooperative government between SAPS Ikageng and the NW DJCD led to inefficient and delayed administrative processes in cases of domestic violence. The empirical research also revealed that the victims of domestic violence are treated with discontent and insensitivity. Subsequently, the study provides several recommendations to improve cooperative government between SAPS Ikageng and the NW DJCD, as well as efficient delivery of administrative services to the victims of domestic violence including humane treatment of these victims. The following recommendations were made: SAPS Ikageng and the NW DJCD should implement the constitutional principle of cooperative government, as prescribed by the Constitution, 1996; effective and accountable leadership should be ensured; monitoring and evaluation measures and mechanisms should be implemented; and the capacity of both departments should be improved in terms of resources and training of police officers at SAPS Ikageng and the clerks of the court at the NW DJCD.
- Humanities