Premier Zille Announces Update on Proposed Commission of Inquiry into Policing in Khayelitsha
Media Statement by Premier Helen Zille
On Friday, 29 June, my office received correspondence from the National Police Commissioner requesting that I hold in abeyance for three weeks any process towards the establishment of a provincial Commission of Inquiry, pending a qualitative investigation by her office into problems in the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Khayelitsha.
This is a welcome development and comes after months of persistent correspondence from my office. It marks the first substantive response from SAPS on complaints I had previously received and forwarded to them for their response since December 2011. Over the past seven months, my office has sent to the Provincial and National Commissioners of Police every complaint submitted by the Social Justice Coalition, the Women's Legal Centre and Khayelitsha activist, Nkwame Cedile, and four separate pieces of follow-up correspondence.
During this period, the crisis of vigilante killings continued to escalate and the death toll currently sits at 11 known murders. This is a completely untenable situation, to say the least. The province's constitutional role in policing matters is confined to oversight but the consistent delays in response by SAPS have made it difficult for us to fulfill this function. We have been patient in our engagement with SAPS but this patience is finite and, in fact, the patience of the residents of Khayelitsha has already run out.
In the spirit of co-operative governance, I have agreed to the National Police Commissioner's request. Given that she was only recently appointed to her post, it is appropriate that I afford her the opportunity to get full clarification on the issues. If she is able to begin resolving the issues without my having to resort to the process of a Commission of Inquiry, it will save the provincial government millions of rands and demonstrate her bona fides in working with the Western Cape Government to achieve more effective policing and safer communities.
This, however, will be the last deadline extension to which I will agree for SAPS. After 20 July, the time for "consideration", "deliberation" and "clarification" will be over and I will take whatever action is appropriate within my powers to ensure that the state of policing is seriously addressed.
I will be writing to the complainants who had approached me with their request for me to establish a Commission of Inquiry to inform them of this latest development and encourage them to engage further with the National Police Commissioner's office regarding any further complaints they have and on the progress of the investigation over the next three weeks.