Khayelitsha Commission Anniversary: Classified SAPS report
In August 2012, I established the O’Regan Commission of Inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency in Khayelitsha.
On 25 August 2014, the Commission completed its work, and a copy of the report was handed to the Western Cape Government, City of Cape town and Social Justice Coalition.
Today, one year on, the SAPS preliminary response to the Inquiry’s 20 recommendations is classified as “strictly confidential”.
I have a copy of this SAPS response, handed to us by General Riah Phiyega at a meeting on 8 June.
I further informed the SAPS that should they not respond on the classification of the document by 31 July, we would presume that they no longer proposed to place any form of confidentiality embargo on it. I have to date received no written response to this letter.
That is why today, I have handed the classified SAPS response, as well as my written reply to General Phiyega, to the civil society organisation, Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and the City of Cape Town.
I will also today be making this document available to the media, and to any member of the public who wishes to read it.
We do regard the SAPS response to the Commission as interim in nature, notwithstanding its choice of wording in some respects.
General Phiyega has conveyed her expectation of robust debate on this matter at the meeting with our officials on 8 June.
We will continue to engage the SAPS to seek the way forward.
We understand that the longer we wait for a commitment to the recommendations, the longer the people of Khayelitsha continue to live with poor policing.
The Commission was established as a result of a breakdown in relations between the community and the police in the area.
This manifested in several ways, including vigilante killings and other issues in Khayelitsha, raised as serious concerns by civil society organisations.
While we have not heard from the National Minister to whom we handed the Commission’s report in September last year, he has an obligation in terms of section 206 (5) (b) of the Constitution to respond to the Commission’s report.
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 the 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 the 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 the SAPS.
We forwarded a draft MOA to General Lamoer on 15 October 2014 covering:
• visits by the DoCS to police stations;
• arrangements for the DoCS to inspect closed dockets;
• the manner in which the DoCS may investigate complaints against members of the SAPS;
• the role of the DoCS in relation to the Community Policing Forums (CPF) and NHW; and
• collaboration between the DoCS and SAPS on key safety challenges.
Since then, I have written six times to the National Minister, including letters to General Phiyega, and President Jacob Zuma, requesting disscussion of the MOA at the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC).
The DoCS wrote to the National Minister three times, and Minister Plato held several meetings with the provincial SAPS.
Because we have not yet had a reply from the minister, let alone a signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the SAPS, the majority of the Inquiry recommendations cannot be implemented.
Later this month we will be going to Khayelitsha to discuss our implementation process and the way forward on this matter.
I wish to remind all that the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry made two definitive findings: namely that there are significant and serious police inefficiencies at the three police stations in Khayelitsha, and secondly, that there has indeed been a breakdown of relations between the community and the police.
The WCG cannot address any of these findings without the full cooperation of the SAPS. We cannot improve police efficiency for the police, but will only succeed if it is done with the SAPS.
Please note: Email Michael Mpofu directly on email@example.com for copies of the SAPS Report and the Premier’s response.