When: Thursday 29 May, 9h00 – 17h00
Where: Lookout Hill, corner Spine and Mew Way Road, Khayelitsha
Final oral arguments for the Commission of Inquiry will be heard this Thursday, 29 May 2014 at Lookout Hill, Khayelitsha. The Commission will then compile a written report containing the findings of the Commission pertaining to the investigation, as well as recommendations as to how any inefficiency in the delivery of police services and a breakdown in relations between the community of Khayelitsha and the South African Police Service (SAPS), where they are found to exist, may be alleviated or remedied. This report must be submitted to Premier Helen Zille on 11 July 2014.
Over the past months the Commission has heard evidence from approximately 100 people including residents of Khayelitsha, police, government officials and academics about policing, safety, crime and other related issues. There have also been tens of thousands of pages of information that have been submitted to the Commission to help it with its work.
The evidence has at times been harrowing and painful. We have heard of gross violations of the rights to life, human dignity, equality and freedom and security of person amongst others. We have heard about instances of police brutality, corruption and insensitivity towards victims of crime. But we have also heard of the challenges faced by police – a lack of resources and support in an area that experiences extremely high crime rates.
Dr Julie Berg, from the Centre of Criminology and the Safety and Violence Initiative at the University of Cape Town testified before the commission. She spoke of how the process provides, “an opportunity to reflect on 20 years of democracy and what we mean by democratic policing.” She stressed the need for parties to be willing to experiment. The starting point would be, “quite an explicit plan of 3-5 years”, with Khayelitsha being used as a “testing ground” which could potentially have both “national and international implications”.
From the outset, the SJC has stated that the Commission would have the potential to effect positive change in many areas and that we must all use this process as an educational tool to address issues of policing and safety more generally.
Looking forward, it is important to note that it was never the intention of the complainant organisations to vilify the Khayelitsha police. Many of the factors which have led to and resulted in police inefficiency, as well as a breakdown in relations between the police and members of the Khayelitsha community, are by no means the fault of the police alone. It is essential to acknowledge that for there to be real progress and positive developments post the Commission of Inquiry, buy-in from all stakeholders is required. These stakeholders include the SAPS, City of Cape Town, Western Cape Provincial Government, the National Prosecuting Authority, Community Policing Forums, community organisations and residents.
Ultimately, the Commission is about improving the lives of people – residents of Khayelitsha and beyond, as well as the police and everyone who is responsible for safety and justice.
We hope you can join us tomorrow to be part of this historic event.
For further comment please contact:
082 92 09708
072 284 9779