SAPS instruction English

Police Minister, Bheki Cele. Image: Flickr

DA claims victory as ‘discriminatory’ English only SAPS instruction is withdrawn

SAPS Provincial Commissioner in the Western Cape had issued an instruction that all victims’ A1 statements must be in English only.

SAPS instruction English

Police Minister, Bheki Cele. Image: Flickr

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape has claimed victory after the withdrawal of the instruction by the SAPS Provincial Commissioner that A1 victims’ statements would only be taken down in English.


According to the party, in a Parliamentary response, Police Minister Bheki Cele said the National Commissioner would instruct all Provincial Commissioners to withdraw any provincial language instruction which conflicts with national policy.

The DA had queried why the Western Cape Provincial SAPS Commissioner instructed that A1 victims’ statements would only be taken down in English.

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DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police Okkie Terblanche said he wrote to both the National Police Commissioner and Western Cape Provincial Commissioner advising them that the instruction went against the provisions of section 6 of the Constitution and the Use of Official Languages Act, 2012.

Terblanche said the Constitution requires that the national or any provincial government use at least two official languages, considering the population’s usage, practicality, expense, preference, and balance of needs.

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“The current instruction is nothing more than discriminatory. To exclude all other ten official languages without any rational basis would be incredibly detrimental to the justice system, and statements would become inaccurate. They would potentially lead to victims not coming forward at all.

“The A1 statement is the first line of defense for the victim to be heard and for justice to be done. In a province where Afrikaans, isiXhosa, and many other languages are prominently used, to refuse the victim using their mother tongue would be a travesty of justice.”

DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police
SAPS instruction English
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This is not the first time an instruction of this nature has been issued. This has happened before in Limpopo as well as in the Northern Cape.

“After the response from the Minister, the DA welcomes the removal of these discriminatory language policies from these provinces as well,” the deputy shadow minister said.

The party said it looks forward to the public retraction of any exclusionary language instruction issued by a Provincial Commissioner of SAPS. It will continue to ensure that victims are afforded the dignity, respect, and justice they deserve.