Khayelitsha activists want answers from Nhleko

Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko holds the microphone at Saturday’s Imbizo in Khayelitsha. Photo by Bernard Chiguvare.

GroundUp staff and Bernard Chiguvare

19 October 2015

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko addressed over a thousand people at an Imbizo in the Khayelitsha Stadium on Saturday. He accused the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into Policing of being politically motivated. Earlier at the same meeting, ANC Western Cape head Marius Fransman, made the same accusation.

The Inquiry headed by Justice Kate O’Regan and Advocate Vusi Pikoli was established by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille in August 2012. After unsuccessful litigation by the national police to halt the commission, the Inquiry began its work in early 2014 and published its recommendations in August 2014. The Inquiry found that there had been a breakdown in relations between the Khayelitsha community and the South African Police Service (SAPS).

A year later, Zille released Police Commissioner Phiyega’s response to the Inquiry, which essentially dismissed every recommendation.

Beyond his accusation of the Inquiry being politically motivated, Nhleko barely touched upon it in his 30 minute speech.

However, before Nhleko and Fransman spoke, SAPS Cluster Commander Johan Brand spoke for about 15 minutes on what steps had been taken by SAPS to address four of the approximately 20 recommendations of the Inquiry, and what still needed to be done. Brand has also made available a detailed presentation on what SAPS in the Western Cape is doing to implement the Inquiry’s recommendations.

About 700 people in the audience were members of the Social Justice Coalition, the organisation that campaigned for the Inquiry. They had marched from Khayelitsha’s Green Point Hall earlier in the morning to come listen to the Minister.

Chumile Sali, the organisation’s head of safety and security, was pleased with Brand’s presentation, but he said that the SJC did not believe that Minister Nhleko had dealt with the issues. “We are waiting for the response to the memorandum we handed to the Minister in August. We are expecting it by end of October 2015,” he said.

While Nhleko and the recently suspended Phiyega have dismissed the Inquiry, Brand and his team in the Western Cape have been trying to implement its recommendations. However, many of the recommendation depend on the support of the national minister to be implemented, and so the progress Brand can make is limited.