The North West provincial police management noted with concern the withdrawal of cases by victims or survivors of crime.
It has become apparent that victims and survivors of crime withdraw their cases after registering them. While some of these cases are withdrawn before the suspects are arrested or cases are presented before the courts, others are withdrawn while they are already in court rolls.
It is also disturbing to realise that serious cases such as assault with intent to do Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH), rape, attempted murder and those that are domestic violence related are withdrawn by some victims and survivors of crime. In some instances, the victims or survivors of crime are influenced by their relatives to withdraw cases. Although reasons for withdrawal differ from one case to another, it is clear that sometimes, there is exchange of cash wherein the victims or survivors of crime accept payments from the defendants.
The Service Charter for Victims of Crime in South Africa stipulates that the Prosecutor can ensure that special measures are taken to apply to court for a compensation order in terms of Section 297 and 300 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977) for victims or survivors of crime including in cases of sexual offences and domestic violence. Members of the community are advised to follow this legal method rather than settling the matter between or among themselves.
The police are putting efforts which include the utilisation of various resources that are limited at times, to ensure that all reported cases are promptly investigated. It is therefore significant that where possible, withdrawal of cases must be avoided as the practice has no element of deterrence. It is also likely that those who commit crime may continue with criminal acts knowing that they will negotiate with the victims or survivors of crime to escape justice.