Constitutional Court to hear if Khayelitsha police inquiry should proceed

| Mary-Anne Gontsana
Photo by Mary-Anne Gontsana.

Next month, the Constitutional Court will hear the appeal by Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa after his application for an interdict to stop the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into policing in Khayelitsha was unsuccessful.The case is set for 6 August.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille announced the appointment of the commission at a press conference last year in August. The COI was suspended nine months ago after litigation initiated by Mthethwa stopped it from proceeding. His case was heard in the Western Cape High Court where Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso, dismissed Mthethwa’s application.

Mthethwa, in correspondence dated 16 October 2012, proposed that the National Police Commissioner oversee the investigation into the complaints made by social justice organisations instead of appointing a commission.

Spokesperson for Mthethwa, Zweli Mnisi, said they couldn’t comment on the court case at this point as it was sub judice, meaning that the case was under judgement. They were “observing”.

General Secretary of the Social Justice Coalition Phumeza Mlungwana said they were hoping that the minister wouldn’t take it this far, especially since he has himself admitted that there is a problem in the policing system in Khayelitsha.

“We won the high court case for the commission to proceed … We are just hoping that he will realise and cooperate with us as organisations and the community because there is definitely a need for a commission of inquiry. The minister was tasked by the national police commissioner to find solutions to solve this problem, and a commission is definitely one of those solutions,” said Mlungwana.

Just last week, GroundUp journalist Tariro Washinyira was mugged in Khayelitsha’s Town Two.1 She experienced firsthand the breakdown in the township’s policing when after reporting the incident to police, she was told that nothing could be done because it wasn’t in their jurisdiction.

Washinyira had gone to Khayelitsha to interview a family for an article she was writing. She was accompanied by Equal Education member, Thando Dyamara who has been robbed before at the same spot.

Thando said, “The SAPS is failing us as members of the community, we report our cases to them and nothing is being done about them. If you call the police they take long to come to the crime scene. That’s why other people resort to taking the law into their own hands. In Kensington when I call for a police van it takes about 5 to 10 minutes, but in Khayelitsha it would take 30 minutes to 2 hours. I was robbed at gunpoint at the same spot in Town Two just by the traffic lights in 2011 by two guys. Ever since I reported the incident I have never even been to court. The case has been struck off the court roll many times and this is upsetting.”

  1. Washinyira escaped unhurt and the muggers did not manage to steal anything. 

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TOPICS:  Crime Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into Policing

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