On Wednesday 19 July 2017 the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), Equal Education (EE) and the Nyanga Community Policing Forum (CPF) held an information session to update interested parties on the Police Resource Allocation case.
The case will be heard in the Western Cape High Court (sitting as an Equality Court) on 17, 21 & 22 August 2017. This comes over a year after the SJC & EE filed their founding affidavit in March 2016. The Nyanga Community Policing Forum (CPF) have since joined the case and Women’s Legal Centre Trust has joined as amicus curiae.
On Wednesday representatives from the SJC, EE and the Nyanga CPF emphasised that they were compelled to take legal action after SAPS failed to respond to the numerous attempts the organisations made to engage on the issue of police resource allocation.
Dalli Weyers, senior researcher in the SJC’s Safety and Justice Programme, presented statistics that showed how areas with less violent crime, which were well-resourced, were largely white and wealthy. “The allocation of police resources is irrational and discrimanatory,” Weyers said, “We’re not asking for more resources but for the current resources to be re-allocated”.
The issue of inadequate police resources in black, working-class areas is a significant obstacle to education. Ntuthuzo Ndzomo, EE deputy general secretary, noted that EE members report feeling unsafe on their way to school, at school, and going home from school.
Nyanga CPF secretary Dumisane Qwebe lamented the many unkept promises from Ministers of Police, and the highly unsafe environment in Nyanga. According to Qwebe, the Nyanga CPF has been advocating for another police station in Nyanga since 1998.
Taking SAPS to court has not been an easy decision on the parts of SJC, EE and the Nyanga CPF. We have been compelled to do so because of SAPS’ unwillingness to engage the issue and to ensure that police resources are re-allocated in a manner that does not discriminate based on race and class. It has been three years since the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations and, while there has been some change, the issue of police resource allocation has not seen the significant structural change required. As a result, we will continue fighting for safety and justice for all.
The SJC will picket outside the Sea Point police station on Thursday 20 July 2017 from 11am, and the Harare police station on Friday 21 July 2017 from 11am. The Sea Point police precinct had 3 murders in 2016 while Harare had 166 murders. Despite these vastly different rates of extreme violent crime, Sea Point has more than four times as many police per capita than Harare.
During the exploratory phase of the court case the applicants have been able to access data showing the allocation of SAPS’ Human Resources to all 1140 police precincts around the country. These documents can be found here. As part of the update on the case the SJC has also made all court documents public. These can be found at http://www.sjc.org.za/resources.
Chumile Sali - 073 813 1728
Head of Safety & Justice Programme
Dalli Weyers - 082 460 2093
Senior Researcher, Safety & Justice Programme