WCG Disputes SJC Claims on Khayelitsha Commission Recommendations
The Western Cape Government has made progress on all the Khayelitsha Commission recommendations directed at us. We dispute any suggestion to the contrary.
No less than 13 of the 20 Khayelitsha Commission recommendations relate directly to SAPS, and all 20 of the recommendations are dependent on SAPS. And indeed, Khayelitsha Cluster Commander, Major General Brand, has been doing everything possible to give effect to the proposals.
The SJC is well aware of this.
We fought all the way to the Constitutional Court for the Premier's right to create this Commission. We will continue fighting for progress on its recommendations, on behalf of residents of Khayelitsha and the Western Cape.
The initial opposition by SAPS to the Commission's findings, and constant instability in SAPS management, has been a major frustration to ourselves and our community partners in Khayelitsha. This situation cannot be resolved by protesting outside our offices.
While limited by the lack of support from National Government, the remarkable work done by Major General Brand in Khayelitsha is testimony to a policing authority on the ground that is in service of the Community.
Despite the obstacles, we have made progress on Recommendation 12 (Youth Gangs, p. 457 of the Commission's Report):
- Paragraph 60 requires the Community Safety Department to establish a Youth Gangs task team comprising of a range of stakeholders - this is currently being implemented through the Khayelitsha Joint Forums set up by Major General Brand.
- The Khayelitsha Joint Forum is organised into sub-forums looking at key issues such as youth gangs, women and children, reducing the harms related to alcohol and drugs.
- We are ready and willing to expand this work further, once SAPS signs the long-outstanding Memorandum of Agreement with us, as required by the Commission. Despite several complaints all the way up to the President's Coordinating Council, we still await this signature.
- Paragraph 61 requires a strategic plan to be drawn up to address the issue of youth gangs. To this end, Community Safety has provided extensive input to the National Anti-Gang Strategy. We are eagerly awaiting the formalisation of this strategy by the national SAPS.
- We have further convened a forum of civil society groups focused on preventing vengeance attacks and killings.
Regarding school safety, the provincial Education Department has extensive programmes and policies in place:
- R30 million is budgeted for the department's Safe School programme this year.
- The programme funds security infrastructure at schools, requires each school to implement a safety plan and safety committee, and mobilises community support for safer schools.
- Schools report any incidents that compromise school safety to our Safe Schools Call Centre. Safe School staff work with schools and other partners to address any issue.
- There is also the After Schools Game Changer, a provincial strategic priority, that aims to provide safe learning spaces for learners after school hours (run by DCAS and the WCED).
- The WCED also participates in the Khayelitsha Joint Forum, along with several other departments.
The other recommendations to which the provincial government is directly linked have received top priority. For instance, greater support and resources to Community Policing Forums are being provided, the Alcohol Harms Reduction Game Changer is up and running as a strategic provincial priority, and our oversight mandate has been strengthened by the Community Safety Act (which provides for a Police Ombudsman, Neighbourhood Watch professionalisation, and more Regular Crime Stats, amongst other matters).
A detailed update on progress with the Khayelitsha Commission recommendations will be provided on the 2nd anniversary of the Commission's completion, 26 August 2016.