Xhosa policy discriminatory - Sapu

2014-08-27 17:55

Cape Town - Deploying only police officers who speak Xhosa to Khayelitsha, Cape Town, is discriminatory and unconstitutional, the SA Policing Union (Sapu) said on Wednesday.

"While we acknowledge that language could be a barrier in terms of service delivery, Sapu supports the notion that the deployment of officers should never be done through race or language," said the union's general secretary Oscar Skommere.

"We have always encouraged officers as part of the larger South African society to move with times. The new South Africa opened doors for the co-existence of all racial groups as the rainbow nation of God."

He said the union had adopted a multi-ideological stance since its inception in 1993.

It was responding to recommendations in a report released by the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry on Monday.

The commissioners, former Constitutional Court Judge Kate O'Regan and Advocate Vusi Pikoli, recommended that police officers should be able to speak Xhosa.

"The commission notes that the Census 2011 makes plain that more than 90% of the residents of Khayelitsha speak isiXhosa as their mother tongue," the report stated.

"In the circumstances, the commission considers that it would be desirable for members of the SAPS [SA Police Service] who work in Khayelitsha to be able to speak isiXhosa."

The commission offered two solutions.

First, language training could be offered to police staff who needed it. Alternatively, the police service could "actively seek" to ensure new members placed in the area spoke the language.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille established the commission two years ago to look into policing in the area.

It found there was a breakdown in relations between Khayelitsha residents and police officers, characterised by a significant level of distrust among residents. It also found many inefficiencies in the way officers did their jobs.

  • Kobus Hattingh - 2014-08-27 18:45

    It makes a great deal sense to have Xhosa speaking SAP members in a predominantly Xhosa area. The same goes for the Zulu's etc etc. Get over race and language for a change and do what is functional.

      sthembize.zulu - 2014-08-27 19:13

      Kobus, isn't that 'separate development?'

  • Michael Ndalama Mwale - 2014-08-27 19:44

    Rainbow nation of God? God never created rainbow nations. Each ethnic group had it's own geographic area. That aside, the isiXhosa policy is not discriminatory as it is important for the police to be able to understand and be understood by the people they police, for without communication there is no intercourse. The notion of a rainbow nation is nothing but a fantasy that is completely out of touch with reality.

      sthembize.zulu - 2014-08-27 20:00

      Mwale, Verwoerd and other apartheid architects as well as the KKK would be proud of you

  • Archie Dempster - 2014-08-27 19:56

    It's more important that they know the law

  • Lwando Barayi - 2014-08-27 20:09

    To me language is not an isue. The issue is to be a Khayelitsha resident and be a police officer in Khayelitsha. This makes you choose between your safety and that of your family when you are off/on duty and doing your job unconditionally. The other issue is the demoralisation that might be the result of unfair promotions.

  • Nhlanganiso Faku - 2014-08-27 20:19

    back to bantustantism the old homeland policy coming back,south Africa is a multilingual country.job discrimination based on language demography coming must not be allowed i agree with sapu.

  • Seba Toto - 2014-08-27 20:46

    We are leaving in a new South Africa. Why is it that xhosa's are employed in other provinces where xhosa is not spoken. It is almost impossible to get a gov't post in the eastern cape province if you are not xhosa speaking. Please let us mature and get rid of tribalistic tendencies!

  • Skhangele Fana - 2014-08-28 08:42

    Azisebenzi ezizakuthi. Zincendisana namajitha zona. Makufakwe amangamla. But. Angabulalwa.

      Siyabonga Biyela - 2014-09-15 15:49


  • Joanne Hart - 2014-08-28 13:25

    Do what works for the community - and if that is speaking the predominant language, then fabulous. When did SA become this allergic to any form of success?

  • No Sugarcoating - 2014-09-15 14:45

    Crime does not discriminate, why should policing it, do so?

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