News24

Khayelitsha cop rot runs deep

2012-12-05 14:44

Cape Town - Damning details have emerged showing a breakdown in relations between Khayelitsha police and the surrounding community.

The information shows that police investigations were often incomplete or poorly conducted, warrants of arrest were issued and then cancelled for unknown reasons, and crime victims were generally “dissatisfied with the treatment” received from officers.

Initial details released from the probe showed that 701 disciplinary cases were brought against officers at the three police stations in the township - Harare, Khayelitsha and Lingelethu West. With 656 officers at these three stations, this means that some are facing multiple charges.

The probe into policing in Khayelitsha was instituted after activists took residents’ complaints to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and requested an independent commission of inquiry into policing in the area.
 
Zille backed the commission, but it was stopped before it could start when Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa instituted a court order against it.

Police probe found inefficiency

It was decided that the SAPS would first conduct its own probe into policing in the township. It was in this statement that the evidence of police inefficiency was uncovered.

The report also revealed that there was a “dramatic increase" in domestic violence and assault cases registered against police officers of the three stations in Khayelitsha.
 
“This is an indication that those entrusted with the policing of social crimes within the community are, in fact, perpetrators themselves,” it states.
 
The police probe also found victim support centres at the police stations were “unsatisfactory”. For example, the victim support centre at Khayelitsha police station was “found to be situated in an old Wendy house which is in a poor condition and does not conform to any standard set for such a centre”.
 
Investigators found there were volunteers registered and willing to work in the centre, but they were inadequately supported by the station management.
 
Witness statements not taken

Non-governmental organisation Free Gender offered in 2011 to both train officers in victim support and upgrade the support centre, but no feedback was received regarding the proposal.
 
At Harare police station, it was found that although the support centre was adequate, there was nobody manning it.

In further examples of ineptitude, it was revealed that, among other matters:

- witness statements were not taken before case dockets were sent to court, leading to cases being withdrawn;
- forensic experts were not summoned to crime scenes;
- case dockets were withdrawn because statements by the arresting officers were not filed;
- case dockets were withdrawn in court because witnesses were often not summoned.

In one particular case, rape charges were dropped against a man accused of raping 14-year-old Zoliswa Nkonyana in 2001.

Five years later, Nkonyana was stoned and beaten to death by a gang of men because she lived openly as a lesbian. The case dragged on for six years, drawing national attention over the slow pace of justice.

Only four of the nine men originally charged with Nkonyana’s murder were eventually jailed for the crime.
 
Abusive treatment from police - resident

Khayelitsha resident Nombeko Nudhe described to News24 numerous examples of how local police had failed to properly carry out their duties.

Nudhe said that in 2009 she was called as a witness for an accident she was not at. She also accused police of stealing her cellphone.

“In July police searched my house for a family member, and when they left my phone was gone,” she said.

Nudhe claimed police would not let her open a case against the officers who were at her house, because she “did not see who took the phone”.

In another incident earlier this year, she said police would not let her open a case of housebreaking because she reported it a day later.

“Police do not treat us well and their abusive treatment makes us feel like victims.”
 
'Not a total breakdown in relations'

However, the police report states that while there was reason for residents to complain about service delivery, it could not be claimed that there was a total breakdown in relations.

“As it is evident in this report, the [SA] Police Service cannot claim that the services rendered to the community in Khayelitsha [are] of such a standard that the community does not have any reason for complaining,” it says.

But the report also points out that it is “unreasonable” for NGOs to claim there is a "total breakdown in police-community relations”.
 
It said that conventional methods of policing, such as foot and bicycle patrols, are high risk activities given the township’s infrastructure.
 
Khayelitsha police referred News24 to the provincial police for comment. By the time of publishing, Western Cape police had not responded.
 
The Western Cape High Court will on 13 December hear the case of whether to allow the independent commission of inquiry to go ahead.

Comments
  • chris.gill.9849 - 2012-12-05 14:52

    I'm speechless... no wonder they tried so hard to prevent Zille from conducting this probe. I hope they every single one of those corrupt pigs behind bars and bring a bit of hope to Khayelitsha.

      lucy.bush.9231 - 2012-12-05 15:03

      There is NO chance of things getting better , as long as we are governed by criminals..amen

      bob.small.7547 - 2012-12-05 15:23

      It's not just Khayelitsha...its the same all over, useless bunch...!

      Suzanne Viljoen - 2012-12-05 16:34

      ChrisG. where are they going to jail them No space. Imagine if all corrupt people were jailed. The peace and quiet! Enough jobs for all and no traffic lol

  • lyndol.lyons - 2012-12-05 14:53

    A shining example of how well BEE is working. Don't worry about training and skills, put anybody in to fill the quota = recipe for disaster!

  • lynn.syme.1 - 2012-12-05 14:56

    What a surprise! NOT!

  • kalabafazi - 2012-12-05 15:00

    When Mthethwa brought an apllication to have the enquiry quelled the rat stench was overpowering. Now we know why. The SAPS is fast becoming the biggest organised crime unit in the country. There are reports of them involved in Hijackings and armed robberies too. Mthethwa needs to answer to us citizens why he stopped the enquiry.

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-12-05 15:00

    They say a fish rots from the head down. Cut out the head with decisive surgery and get capable and honest cops to command the rest. As it stands now criminals are appointed in senior positions in order to commit crime under protection as well as inside information!

      terra.schoultz - 2012-12-05 15:18

      Andre, I served in the South African Police Service for 16 years. I have been out for 4 years. It breaks my heart to see the service in the state it is. I was proud to be an officer to serve and protect the people of our land. I mostly worked in areas such as these mentioned above, and truly enjoyed every moment of it. It is so true what you are saying, cut of the head.... I myself and a lot of other white and colored ex police wanted to go back, but out of over 550 of us no one was reinstated. Makes you wonder what hidden agenda they have.

  • keith.recore - 2012-12-05 15:12

    "foot and bicycle patrols are high risk activities given township infrastructure" for police??? Then what must it be like for the residents/citizens to walk and bicycle? Doesn't this scream volumes? The Police should be out in huge numbers on foot patrol until its citizens can walk safely, period! Given these stats the attitude of SAPS/Polic is very cowardly and needs immediate change in direction.

      phaldiemeyer - 2012-12-05 21:56

      it's not the quantity Keith , it's the quality of police that's the problem. just throwing people at the problem is not going to solve it. better training as well as checks and balances, and actual field supervision needs to be implemented to get these policemen to do their jobs properly. The problem is the person in that managerial position has no clue how to manage the people reporting to him/her effectively and this is a result of affirmative action. Its not an insurmountable problem, just needs leaders within SAPS to take the bull by the horns and stop passing the buck!!!

  • andre.fourie.980 - 2012-12-05 15:13

    Its like that all over the country. The police are useless.

      lyndol.lyons - 2012-12-05 15:40

      Not all police are useless. There are some, very few, but some who take great pride in their work and are dedicated. Unfortunately, the conditions under which they work, the appalling salaries they are paid and the utter lack of top management/leadership results in the above happening. I blame the ANC.

      John - 2012-12-05 19:59

      Hey!!! Only 90% are useless thugs! How dare you say ALL?

  • ant.duke - 2012-12-05 15:33

    Embarrassing to be S African these days...

  • ignus.v.zyl - 2012-12-05 15:40

    SAPS should be, like they do in the USA, given over to provincial level. There can then be a Federal type police service handling inter provincial type crime and local police for domestic crime like theft, murder etc. Premier Zille will clean that house in a heart beat.

  • Erna - 2012-12-05 15:46

    And once again the DA is proven right. If it wasn't for them initiating the investigation we would be none the wiser.

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-12-05 15:46

    it the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help all

  • crystal.core.5 - 2012-12-05 15:51

    the DA have no control over the appointment of the National Police or things would run as they should, criminals would be few and far between instead of carrying guns and wearing police uniforms. One thing is for sure, this problem is not limited to Khayelitsha, crime is a national crisis and it is a symptom of a corrupt and politically controlled police force (often referred to as the ANC's private army). Police from local communities have been systematically replaced with ANC cadres, white policemen and women have been systematically removed and replaced as part of a racist ANC 'empowerment' policy. The problem is that in many suburbs where white people live the police are not from the local community and don't care about that community they are supposed to be protecting. They instead protect brothers, uncles, cousins, friends and in worst cases colleagues who are perpetrating crimes against these communities. This is evident by the lack of convictions and secrecy around statistics of serious crimes.

  • sisie.indola - 2012-12-05 15:51

    Now if it was an ANC run province things would be so much better - or would they? It seems as though Nahti Mthethwa is as bad an apple as the rest. I really had high hopes for this man, now i know he has been bought and paid for.

      Ozi Erasmus - 2012-12-05 17:57

      Well said....they just a bunch of uneducated and greedy individuals that get loads of money and try to govern the country by making it ungovernable! The DA aint perfect,but they are trying to the right thing by exposing the filth! God be with SA

  • francismusiwalo.ngwana - 2012-12-05 15:52

    at least the people were proven right. We will have to wait for another money waisting commission of enquiry with no tangible results.

  • ndyeboreginaldmazawule - 2012-12-05 16:14

    I so hope the Cape High court will issue some suspensions to all there useless Khayelitsha SAPS officers. It seems as if money is being thrown away to the drain while being given to government officials who are suppose to help the community and Nathi Mthethwa is just another clown who can't do his job

  • tony.becker.961 - 2012-12-05 16:16

    it is plain for all to see that Nathi is a thug and we are close, if not there already to a failed state. But the farse goes on and we are powerless

  • lenox.ntlantsana - 2012-12-05 17:26

    This Black to Black violence must come to an end. People should be effecient and effective especially in power positions they hold in office. These are the people that are being called by the Government to be custodians of descipline. LNN

  • John - 2012-12-05 20:08

    FIRE the lot from the minister down! We are getter off without them! Useless thugs with guns!

  • phillip.marchant.52 - 2012-12-05 20:13

    "But the report also points out that it is “unreasonable” for NGOs to claim there is a "total breakdown in police-community relations. We are innocent, because it is not possible for there to be any breakdown in anything that doesn't exist, in the first place”." Good heavens! If these are the findings of the police enquiry, imagine what would come out in an INDEPENDANT ENQUIRY!!!!!!!!!!! For crying out loud! It is clear that the blood of those who perished in the kangaroo courts, is all over (alleged) minister Mthethwa's hands. For months and month's he thought he was 'Mr Big-Man' by ignoring Helen Zille's warnings that he had a crisis on his hands in Khayelitsha, but why should Mr Big-Cheese listen to the white racist madam, who obviously cares a heck of a lot more for the beleaguered ANC electorate than the ANC, themselves? Nathi, rearrange the following words, to make a well known phrase or sentence: 'chickens, your, roost, are, home & coming'.

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