Police dismiss Khayelitsha recommendations: Zille

2015-08-07 22:55


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Cape Town - Recommendations to improve policing in Khayelitsha are yet to be implemented more than a year later, said Western Cape Premier Helen Zille on Friday.

''Because we have not yet had a reply from the Minister, let alone a signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with SAPS, the majority of the Inquiry recommendations cannot be implemented,'' said Zille.

Zille appointed a Commission of Inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha in August 2012, following a multitude of complaints about policing, and vigilantism. Her right to do so, however, was challenged by the national minister of police but the Constitutional Court later ruled in Zille's favour.

The Commission got underway in January 2014, where more than 100 witnesses testified before former Constitutional Court judge Kate O'Regan and former National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli. The 500-page report, Towards a Safer Khayelitsha, concluded that there were serious inefficiencies in policing in the area and a breakdown of trust between the community and police.

But on Friday, Zille said she had not yet received a reply from the Minister of Police in terms of the recommendations, nor had a Memorandum of Agreement been signed with the South African Police service. She also released the draft police report, which Zille says responds to the commission's 20 recommendations. Zille said the draft report disputes most of the commission's findings and tries to put much of the blame on the provincial government.

She said she had written to National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega regarding the classification of ''strictly confidential'' on the police's response, which Zille regarded as interim. She had given them until July 31 to respond to the classification, but had heard nothing, so had decided to make the response public.

According to Zille, this is the draft response by the police to the commission's recommendations:

1: Each police station in Khayelitsha should have a community elected policing forum
- SAPS disagrees because it suggests it is not committed to working with the community and that the Western Cape government structures in this regard are not delivering on their mandate.
- SAPS says a joint forum, consisting of eight sub-forums including gang violence, vigilantism and business safety, each chaired by SAPS, has been formed, and met in April this year to develop a strategic plan for 2015/2016. It will also put a community service charter in all the police stations.

2:  Adopt a procedural justice model of policing in Khayelitsha, which will include training on procedural justice policing, revise the station performance chart and performance agreements to see if procedural justice policing is being implemented. There should also be a ''community scorecard'' to get feedback on the public's trust in the police.
-  SAPS does not agree with this because it suggests it is running a flawed service in Khayelitsha with inappropriate leadership. SAPS believes police officers are regularly reminded of procedure at parades and briefings and know what procedures to follow. It already gets feedback through social media, and other methods.

3: A monitoring and oversight team to ensure the inefficiencies at three Khayelitsha police stations and the Khayelitsha Family and Child Services (FCS) unit are eradicated.
- This is already being done through existing structures.

4: Urgent change management process at three Khayelitsha police stations and the FCS Unit.
- The same response as that of recommendation 2.

5: Urgent strategic review of detective services at all three Khayelitsha police stations and the FCS unit.
- SAPS says it is ''fallacious'' to say they are not performing well. Conviction statistics prove that detective services is working properly.

6: Provincial Commissioner to issue guidelines for visible policing in informal neighbourhoods.
- The City and province's inability to provide proper lighting, sanitation and spatial planning as well as ensuring that there are street numbers makes policing more difficult and dangerous in Khayelitsha. 
- ''It is not the duty of SAPS to provide such infrastructural amenities'' and it is 'absurd' for the commission to attribute these policing difficulties to SAPS. 

7: Revision of SAPS's system for determining the theoretical human resource requirement of police stations and the urgent allocation of human resources to three Khayelitsha police stations.
- The money for this is set by the legislature, but extra ''allocations'' have been provided to Khayelitsha, with the Western Cape a priority province regarding a recruitment drive.

8: Other steps to improve relations between SAPS and the people of Khayelitsha:
- The provincial department of community safety must maintain good relations between the police and the community and it is ''unfortunate'' that the contrary ''prevails'' in the Western Cape.

- There is no need to monitor CPFs because if all systems were in place, the CPFs should report as per their constitution.

- It is ''ridiculous'' of the commission to suggest crime statistics by station be published monthly. These are already available to certain sections of the police, but to prevent abuse of the statistics, StatsSA manages and audits them for annual release.
- A reviewed policy on reservists is in place and recruitment has started. Reservists must be employed, and must serve as volunteers.
9: Review of Human Resource Practices:
- SAPS is in the process of establishing ''Trial units'' to standardise sanctions.
- The posts for station commander and detective commander of Khayelitsha's Harare police station have been filled.

10: Revision of the Station Performance Chart.
- An annual Top 1500 conference is held in January to discuss performance.

11: Vengeance Killings and Vigilantism.
A sub-forum intends to define and examine the causes of vigilantism and map hot spots, and police are already working together with other departments on this.

12: Multisectoral task team on youth gangs to be established.
- SAPS says the department of community safety has failed in this role, as well as tackling drugs, so SAPS has established a joint forum to deal with it.

 13: Provincial Task Team to survey community attitudes to unlicensed liquor outlets in order to assist policy formation.
- This was directed to the Department of Community Safety which has failed to address it in terms of zoning and by-law enforcement. 

14: Domestic violence
- A sub-forum for crimes against women and children has been set up by SAPS.

15: Deals with information technology and systems to contact SAPS
- SAPS believes it has reliable systems for the public contact it.

16: Handling of complaints by police stations.
- Complaints are handled in line with Internal Police Investigative Directorate protocol

17: Governance and oversight.
- This was directed at the Civilian Secretariat of Police and the Department of Community Safety

18: Use of CCTV cameras.
- SAPS believes there is a ''serious challenge'' regarding the failure of the City of Cape Town to put cameras at crime hotspots. It is concerned that Cape Town has over 500 cameras but in Khayelitsha only one out of eight work. 

19: Physical Infrastructure at Police Stations and proposed new police station in Makhaza.
- Building plans will be drafted for a police station at a site that has been identified.

20: Addressing backlogs at national chemical laboratories in Cape Town.
- The backlog has been reduced with the new laboratory in Plattekloof.

In the draft response, the SAPS's main contention was that the whole criminal justice system should have been investigated. Provincial and local government tasked with providing an enabling policing environment should also have been brought in. It believed the commission was an ''expensive and resource hungry paper exercise''.

''This office is of the view that the findings and the recommendations of the commission are bias (sic) and misdirected,'' said the draft response.

Read more on:    da  |  helen zille  |  riah phiyega  |  cape town  |  crime  |  police

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