Police Minister Bheki Cele has rescinded Western Cape police commissioner Thembisile Patekile’s controversial language policy.
CAPE TOWN – Police Minister Bheki Cele has rescinded Western Cape police commissioner Thembisile Patekile’s controversial language policy.
Patekile recently issued an instruction that only English be used in all A-1 forms at police stations across the Western Cape.
A-1 statements are written up when complainants are reporting crimes at police stations.
Patekile’s policy decision raised the ire of many, with the DA in Parliament writing to Cele on March 24 to probe him about the decision.
DA spokesperson on police Ockert Terblanche asked what Cele’s position was on Patekile’s policy.
In his response, Cele said the decision emanated from a directive titled “Official Language Records in all Courts within the Western Cape”, given by a judge in 2018.
However, Cele added that all provincial commissioners would be instructed by national commissioner Fannie Masemola to “withdraw” any provincial language policy which is in conflict with the national policy.
Cele said there was a “confusing” paragraph in Patekile’s instruction, describing it as being in conflict with SAPS national policy.
“The provincial head (of) legal services in the Western Cape has been alerted that the provincial instruction should be withdrawn and rectified,” Cele said.
Terblanche said Patekile’s instruction was “nothing more than discriminatory in nature”.
“Just like our victory at the University of Stellenbosch last month where the South African Human Rights Commission found that the SU violated the human rights of Afrikaans-speaking students, the DA considers this directive a huge victory,” Terblanche said.
“The A1 statement is the first line of defence 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.
“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. However, after the response from the minister, the DA welcomes the removal of these discriminatory language policies from these provinces as well.”