Groups to protest in support of inquiry into police

| Mary-Anne Gontsana
Khayelitsha residents march in Lingelethu against crime. Photo Nokubonga Yawa

Tomorrow the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) will host a People’s Commission of Inquiry outside the Cape High Court as a protest in support of the Commission of Inquiry into Khayelitsha policing.

Earlier this year, in August, civil society organisations welcomed the appointment of the Commission of Inquiry into the allegations of police inefficiency in Khayelitsha. The announcement was made by Premier Helen Zille. It came after the organisations submitted a legal complaint to Zille’s office in November 2011, demanding the inquiry.

The commission was due to start on the 12 November but has been put on hold because legal action by the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa.

Another civil society organisation, Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU), which aims to build and support social justice organisations, has started an online petition in support of the inquiry. The petition, started on Monday with the aim of getting 1,000 signatures, has over 240 signatures and is continuously increasing.

Sifiso Zitwana, who is a member of NU’s fellowship programme, said the petition was to show support for the Inquiry. “This commission will be a good thing for the Khayelitsha community and we want it to continue. We will be at the protest outside the Cape High Court on Thursday.”

This comes after Mthethwa filed an application for an interdict against the Inquiry in the Western Cape High Court. This case will be heard in court tomorrow during the People’s Commission of Inquiry.

Spokesperson for Mthethwa, Zweli Mnisi said the appointment of the commission was a political agenda on Premier Zille’s part. “We not only opposed the establishment of the commission but we came with a plan of what can be done. The only thing that Zille is doing is duplicating what is already there. There is a system in place that deals with such matters, a task team was appointed to look into the problems in Khayelitsha policing, but they had to stop their work because suddenly a commission of inquiry was established. We also have to consider the fact that this commission will cost the taxpayers R57 million. The minister met with the premier and told her all his reasons why he was against the commission. We are not saying that a commission cannot be established, but there are other avenues that can be explored instead.”

Zak Mbhele, spokesperson for Zille, said: “The commission has not been suspended. Only the public hearings have been put on hold for now until the interdict hearing at the High Court on Thursday morning. The commission has still been continuing its other work of receiving statements and testimonials from Khayelitsha residents and other stakeholders.”

Civil organisations that have shown support and will take part in Thursday’s protest together with the SJC include the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU), Equal Education (EE) and the Triangle Project.

TOPICS:  Crime Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into Policing National Provincial

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