Press Statement:

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29 October 2012
The Commission of Inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency in Khayelitsha and a breakdown in relations between the community and the police in Khayelitsha held its first public sitting on 29 October at Lookout Hill, in Khayelitsha.

Chairperson, Justice Catherine O’Regan opened the proceedings and gave a brief overview of the Commission and its terms of reference. She said that the Commission’s terms of reference are to: investigate complaints relating to allegations of inefficiency of the SAPS stationed at Site B, Bonga Drive, Khayelitsha; Steve Biko Drive, Harare, Khayelitsha; and Makabeni Street, Lingelethu West, Khayelitsha and any other units of the SAPS operating in Khayelitsha. The Commission is also mandated to investigate a breakdown in relations between the Khayelitsha community and members of the SAPS stationed at the three police stations in Khayelitsha or operating in Khayelitsha. The investigations must include an investigation into the allegations, and an investigation into the reasons for and causes of inefficiency and breakdown in relations, if found to exist.

The Commission must file a written report containing findings of Commission and recommendations as to how any inefficiency in the delivery of police services, or a breakdown in relations between the community and the SAPS, may be alleviated or remedied.  Those recommendations must include appropriate recommendations for the Province to consider when it makes recommendations to the Minister of Police. The Commission’s report must be filed within six months of the date of the appointment of the Commission, i.e. by 23rd February 2013. The Commission is working hard to meet this deadline.

Since its establishment the Commission has set up offices at the Harare Public Library in Khayelitsha and these offices will remain open until 9 November 2012 for members of the public.  Justice O’Regan urged community members to come to the Commission’s offices if they wish to make statements to the Commission on matters relating to its terms of reference.  The Commission has been gathering evidence from members of the community, as well as roleplayers in the community. This work is ongoing. Over 180,000 pamphlets about the Commission have been distributed in the community, and several adverts have been placed in daily as well as community newspapers.

The preliminary hearing considered proposals by Adv Peter Hathorn, who appeared with Adv Ncumisa Mayosi, who was briefed on behalf of the Women’s Legal Centre which represents the five complainant organisations, concerning the procedure to be followed by the Commission during its public hearings in November.

The South African Police Services was not present or represented at the sitting.  Justice O’Regan noted that on Friday 26 October 2012, the Commission had received a letter from the State Attorney acting on behalf of SAPS, in which it was indicated that SAPS was considering the institution of legal proceedings to challenge the establishment of the Commission on the basis that the process of intergovernmental consultations regarding the establishment of the Commission was not completed properly.  In the letter of 26 October, the state attorney requested that the Commission suspend its proceedings. Justice O’Regan stated that the Commission has responded to the State Attorney and stated that given that the Commission must report by 24 February 2013, it will not be able to suspend its proceedings without rendering it impossible for the Commission to complete its report in time. The Commission of course has no knowledge of the intergovernmental processes relating to its establishment and in the meantime will proceed on the basis that its establishment and mandate are lawful.  

The commission’s public sittings to hear evidence will be held at O R Tambo Hall, cnr Mew Way and Lansdowne Road, Khayelitsha, commencing on Monday 12 November, and continuing through to Friday 14 December 2012.

For any further information on the Commission of Inquiry, please contact,

Amanda Dissel

Secretary of the Commission of Inquiry

082 417 1407

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.khayelitshacommission.org.za