CPF, Saps battle it out

2016-09-22 06:00
 Nyanga residents march outside the High Court in Cape Town, while their legal brains were challenging resource allocation to the Nyanga Police Station inside the High Court. PHOTO: GROUND-UP

Nyanga residents march outside the High Court in Cape Town, while their legal brains were challenging resource allocation to the Nyanga Police Station inside the High Court. PHOTO: GROUND-UP

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As the Nyanga Community Police Forum defended its application to intervene in an Equality Court case seeking fair police resource allocation on Tuesday, a group of protesters picketed outside the Western Cape High Court, to support the call for police allocation of resources.

The application-represented by the Legal Resources Centre- was brought by the Social Justice Coalition and Equal Education in March.

The South African Police Service opposes the application for intervention.

Members of the group sang and chanted outside the steps of the court, holding up placards reading reading ‘CPFs are community representatives elected by the people’ and ‘Review police resourcing now!’

Nyanga has the highest number of murders of any police precinct in the country; 279 in 2016.

According to a statement from SJC, EE, and Nyanga CPF released on Monday, the Nyanga CPF, in failing to reach a cooperation agreement with the SAPS, “has been left with no other course of action” but to organise outside the court.

The statement says Nyanga is rife with crime and has had the highest number of murders in the country for the last six years and significantly high rates of assault and robbery.

Despite these realities, the Nyanga police precinct is one of the least well-resourced in the Western Cape.

“It is unconscionable that communities are still battling to receive the necessary resources to implement the [Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry’s] recommendations,” the statement said.

“The Nyanga CPF, the SJC and EE demand a professional and efficient police service with a just and fair allocation of police resources.”

In today’s hearing, Peter Hathorn, advocate for the Nyanga CPF, argued that the CPF should be allowed to intervene in the case because it represents the community and exists to protect its rights.

“This situation is impacting the constitutional rights of the residents of Nyanga.”

The legal advocate for SAPS, Renata Williams, said the Community Police Forum as an organ of state should not be able to challenge SAPS, another organ of state.

“It’s in a situation(of) conflict. You can’t have the CPF, which comprises a station commander, who’s completely left out when the resolution is stated, fighting the SAPS,” she said in the hearing.

“Because that’s in reality what will happen should this application submission be granted.”

She said there was no support for the idea that resource allocation in Nyanga violated the Equality Act.

“Nowhere is a case made out that Nyanga is under-resourced on the basis of racial discrimination,” she said.

The Nyanga CPF would have to make a case that police resources were distributed on a racially unfair basis, Williams said.

Martin Makasi, the chairperson of the Nyanga CPF, said the core issue was Nyanga’s lack of police resources, an issue raised with SAPS many times to no avail.

“We’ve got documents that can prove that there have been numerous meetings where we’ve been saying to SAPS: ‘The challenge in Nyanga is that the police station is under-resourced,’” he said.

“I think SAPS is missing the point completely. We are not really basing our argument on our numbers in terms of the stats. We’re basing our argument on the fact that the police station is under-resourced. From the establishment of our police station, it was never resourced properly.”

The court said a decision on the application would be issued by Friday morning.

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