Zille welcomes Khayelitsha commission ruling

2013-10-01 14:45
Helen Zille (Picture: AFP)

Helen Zille (Picture: AFP)

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Cape Town - The Western Cape provincial government on Tuesday welcomed a ruling by the Constitutional Court dismissing Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s application against a probe into policing in Khayelitsha.

“The court’s judgment affirms the role of the Western Cape government in conducting policing oversight, according to Section 206 of the Constitution, which I exercised through the appointment of the commission of inquiry,” Premier Helen Zille said in a statement.

Zille set up the inquiry in August last year to investigate alleged police inefficiency in the area. Mthethwa opposed the inquiry in the Western Cape High Court.

His application for interim relief was dismissed in January. Mthethwa then approached the Constitutional Court.

He argued that the inquiry's terms of reference were vague and Zille was not entitled to appoint a commission of inquiry with coercive powers over the SA Police Service.

Recommendations to Cabinet

But in the judgment handed down by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, the court held that without coercive powers the commission would be unable to fulfil its mandate. It dismissed the argument that the terms of reference were too vague or broad.

"The Constitutional Court refused to make an order declaring the premier’s decision to establish the commission inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid," it said.

"Furthermore the premier was obliged to take reasonable steps to shield the residents of Khayelitsha from an unrelenting invasion of their fundamental rights as a result of the alleged police inefficiency."

The commission’s primary purpose was to make recommendations to Cabinet on how to improve policing in the area.

“We remain committed to working with both the commission and the [police] in order to increase safety in all our communities and, now that we have clarity on this aspect, trust that the commission can move forward in fulfilling its mandate with the full co-operation of the police,” Zille said.

Read more on:    police  |  nathi mthethwa  |  helen zille  |  cape town

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