Khayelitsha Commission anniversary: WCG committed to implementation
Note to editors: The following is an extract of a speech delivered earlier today , 26 August 2015, by Premier Zille, during the anniversary briefing on the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry, at Lookout Hill in Khayelitsha.
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, Molweni!
As you are aware, yesterday marked a year since Advocate Vusi Pikoli and Judge Kate O’Regan handed myself, Mayor Patricia De Lille and Minister Dan Plato the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry report.
The Commission was established as a result of calls by this community in 2012, through various civil society organisations, for an inquiry into the alleged breakdown in relations between the Khayelitsha public and members of the South African Police Service (SAPS).
I agreed to establish this body, as provided for by section 206 of the Constitution, read with the Western Cape Constitution and our own Provincial Commissions Act of 1998.
Once this was established, it is no secret that we did not receive the support we envisioned from the National Minister of Police at the time, Mr Nathi Mthethwa and the National Police Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega. Efforts were made to put a stop to this commission through court action, in the Western Cape High Court where we won the case, and later the Constitutional Court, where all 11 judges ruled in favour of the establishment of this body.
Once work got underway, 7 public submissions from experts and various organisations were received, over 100 witness testimonies were heard, and presentations from civil society and the broader community were made over three and a half months. The Commission completed its work and handed over the final report, at this site, last year.
In its report, the Commission found there was indeed, a breakdown in the relationship between the community and the SAPS.
In an effort to rectify this, 20 recommendations contained in Chapter 15 of the report, were handed down.
Most of the recommendations fall within the jurisdiction of the SAPS. The others outline the role of our government, through the Department of Community Safety (DoCS), the City of Cape Town, civil society and the broader community.
Since then, our government set out to implement the Commission’s recommendations without delay.
We also undertook to urge SAPS and other stakeholders to act according to the report.
This involved numerous meeting requests, letters, telephone conversations and even a request from my office to raise this issue at Presidential level.
While we did not receive the response we hoped for from the National Minister and the National Police Commissioner, we sought to do what was within our mandate.
Guided by the Provincial Community Safety Department, every effort has been made to see these recommendations implemented, together with the City of Cape Town, various NGOs, civil society organisations and the SAPS.
This work includes:
• Successful CPF elections at all three stations in Khayelitsha, facilitated together with local SAPS;
• CPF members trained and signed up to our Expanded Partnership Programme (EPP);
• Convening of a forum of civil society groups focused on preventing vengeance attacks and killings; and
• Developing a strategy with SAPS to create awareness of crimes against women and children, and to strengthen the support to victims, coordinated by a sub-forum.
By far the majority of recommendations, however, rely on the signing of a draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Community Safety Department and SAPS.
We forwarded a draft MOA to General Lamoer on 15 October 2014 covering:
• Visits by DoCS to police stations;
• Arrangements for DoCS to inspect closed dockets;
• The manner in which DoCS may investigate complaints against members of the SAPS;
• The role of DoCS in relation to the Community Policing Forums (CPF) and NHW; and
• Collaboration between DoCS and SAPS on key safety challenges.
Since then, I have written 6 times to the National Minister, including letters to General Phiyega. I have also written to President Jacob Zuma, requesting discussion of the MOA at the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC).
On Monday morning (24 August), I met with a delegation from General Riah Phiyega’s office, led by Lieutenant General Nobubele Mbekela.
At this meeting, we agreed to establish a joint task team which will work through the Commission’s recommendations, with the view to implementation.
This team will comprise five representatives each, from the Western Cape Government and the SAPS, and is set to have its first meeting in the next 14 days.
Its first order of business will be the drafting clear terms of reference to guide its work going forward.
The team will report directly to myself and the National Police Commissioner.
I want to make it very clear that during our deliberations in this joint task team, our first responsibility lies with the people of Khayelitsha, and ensuring that the recommendations are implemented without any further delays.
It is not acceptable to us that, one year on, SAPS have still not signed a Memorandum of Agreement that would enable the full implementation of the Commission’s findings.
Safety is our ultimate goal and we will not accept any undermining of the Commission, as a body established in terms of the Constitution, its findings and the recommendations put forward to us and any other stakeholder.
We will not accept the questioning of the validity of the Commission’s recommendations, or its legal standing as prescribed by the Constitution and the courts.
Our objective as part of the joint task team is to ensure that both the SAPS and our government produce a clear timeline of how implementation will happen going forward. This timeline, we believe, should also be available to the public going forward.
We understand that the people of this community are suffering at the hands of criminals. They are not served by delays in implementing the recommendations.
That is the spirit in which we hope the SAPS will also enter into this task team.
Since 2012, we have made several attempts to get to this point, and we hope our efforts will finally yield significant results for safety in this community.
We are committed to transparency, and will provide regular updates on the work of the task team.
I want to commend the Provincial SAPS – led by General Patekile – the local SAPS, led by Khayelitsha Cluster Commander General Brandt, and the various safety forums, neighbourhood watches, sub-forums and civil society organisations that have worked with the DoCs to continue improving safety in this community.
I had a first-hand opportunity to gain some insight into some of the crucial work these forums are conducting, during the Policing Needs and Priorities (PNP) workshop on the 14th of this month. It was a good opportunity for me to see the coordination between the various organisations involved in Khayelitsha.
Rest assured, the Commission’s recommendations will inform the outcome of community discussions on what the current policing needs and priorities in Khayelitsha are.
Thank you for your work and efforts in assisting us to provide the safest possible environment for you and your families.
My commitment to you this afternoon is that we will not rest until the recommendations in this report become a reality. I will pursue every avenue possible to see this realised.
Thank you for your attention.