Tomorrow, 20 September 2016, the South African Police Service (SAPS) is set to oppose the application of the Nyanga Community Police Forum (Nyanga CPF) to intervene in an Equality Court court case seeking the fair allocation of police resources...
The case brought by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and Equal Education (EE) argues that the current system of allocating police resources is both irrational and inequitable and that in implementation ultimately, if not intentionally, results in racial discrimination. The Nyanga CPF submitted an application to intervene as the Third Applicant in this matter in June this year. Both the SJC and EE support the Nyanga CPF’s application.
The CPF, represented by the Legal Resource Centre, has argued that it is in the interest of justice for it to participate in the proceedings because the community that it represents is directly and substantially affected by the discriminatory allocation of police resources. The facts support the CPF’s argument.
The Nyanga police precinct is one of the most dangerous places in South Africa. Nyanga has consistently had the highest number of murders in the country for the last six years. In 2014/2015 Nyanga had the sixth most reported cases of assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm in the country. Over the same period it had the third most robberies with aggravating circumstances reported.
In addition in 2014 Parliament’s Portfolio Committee of Police found that 56 detectives in Nyanga were investigating 9000 dockets. One detective had 600 cases.
Despite these facts, the Nyanga police precinct is the fourth least resourced precinct in the Western Cape, which in turn is one of the country’s least resourced provinces. More shockingly, according to the current system used by SAPS to determine appropriate deployment numbers, the Nyanga police precinct should ‘in an ideal scenario’ be the second least resourced precinct in the Western Cape.
The South African Police Services Act of 1995 lists one of the objectives of CPFs as “improving the rendering of police services to the community at national, provincial, area and local levels”.
The decision of the Nyanga CPF to help ensure a fair allocation of police resources to the Nyanga police precinct, the Nyanga Cluster, the Western Cape and all police precincts nationally is clearly in keeping with this objective. In addition, having attempted in the spirit of co-operation to address the issue with SAPS, the Minister of Police and Parliament’s Portfolio Committee of Police without success, the Nyanga CPF has been left with no other course of action.
Tomorrow, as arguments are heard in the Equality Court (High Court, Cape Town), Nyanga CPF members, Nyanga residents and members of the SJC and EE will be outside the court to support the CPF’s right to intervene.
More than two years ago the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry noted that “the residents of the poorest areas of Cape Town that bore the brunt of apartheid are still woefully under-policed twenty years into our new democracy and are often the police stations with the highest levels of serious contact crime”. It is unconscionable that communities are still battling to receive the necessary resources to implement the Commission’s recommendations.
The Nyanga CPF, the SJC and EE demand a professional and efficient police service with a just and fair allocation of police resources.
Martin Makasi (Nyanga CPF Chairperson) 084 871 3612
Chumile Sali (Social Justice Coalition) 071 609 3236
Nishal Robb (Equal Education) 079 511 6790