NGOs accuse SAPS of unfair discrimination in allocation of human resources

2016-03-31 21:32
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Cape Town – The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) is challenging the allocation of police human resources in the Western Cape and nationally, saying there was not an equitable distribution in terms of black and poor neighbourhoods.

In a statement, the LRC said it had filed an application in the Equality Court against the minister of police, national police commissioner, Western Cape provincial commissioner and the minister for community safety in the Western Cape on Thursday.

The application was filed on behalf of the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and Equal Education (EE).

The SJC and EE argued that there was a constitutional obligation on the South African Police Service to provide resources in an equitable manner.

According to the SJC's founding affidavit, the current SAPS allocation process was unconstitutional.

Arbitrary systems

“Through arbitrary systems of resource allocation, SAPS is perpetuating unfair discrimination against poor and working class communities. This impairs the dignity of members of these communities, and jeopardises their rights to life, freedom and security of the person, and to bodily integrity.

"Rectifying this misallocation of resources will not immediately resolve the problem of crime in these areas. But it will help. It will make it easier for policemen to prevent and investigate crime in the areas where those basic tasks are most needed," the SJC said.

The SJC and EE want an order declaring the allocation of police human resources in the Western Cape and nationally are unfairly discriminatory towards black and poor people on the basis of race and poverty.

New powers for provincial commissioners

They are also asking the court to declare that provincial commissioners have the power to determine the distribution of police resources between stations, within their province, including the distribution of permanent posts.

The organisations have asked the Court to compel the minister of police, national police commissioner, Western Cape provincial commissioner and the minister for community safety in the Western Cape to undertake various tasks in an effort to redress the imbalances: 

* The provincial commissioner must draft a provincial plan for the re-allocation of resources within the Western Cape to address the most serious disparities.

* The minister of police and national police commissioner must draft a national plan that will guide the re-evaluation of the national system that SAPS uses to allocate and distribute its human resources.

* The minister of police and the national police commissioner must develop a national plan that will guide the re-evaluation, as well as submit reports to court on progress made to implement the national plan and allow for public scrutiny of the re-evaluation process.

* The organisations want the minister of police and national police commissioner to develop and implement a new system for allocating and distributing police human resources to be completed within four years, with the court supervising the evaluation process.

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