SJC accuses police of delaying resources court case

2017-08-12 07:59
The Social Justice Coalition together with Equal Education and the Nyanga Community Policing Forum are taking the police to court.
 (Natalie Pertsovsk, GroundUp)

The Social Justice Coalition together with Equal Education and the Nyanga Community Policing Forum are taking the police to court. (Natalie Pertsovsk, GroundUp)

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Johannesburg – A civil society court bid to ensure police direct more resources to poor areas with high crime levels has been delayed by three months, GroundUp reports. 

The matter follows the commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha, which found that fewer police resources are allocated to poor areas where crime levels are higher. More resources are channelled to wealthier, largely white, areas.

The court case, brought by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), Equal Education, and the Nyanga Community Policing Forum, was set down to be heard in the Western Cape High Court, sitting as the Equality Court, on August 17, 21 and 22. The Legal Resources Centre is representing the organisations.

The SJC said the SAPS asked for the postponement. The SAPS denied this.

On August 3, lawyers and the two judges overseeing the matter agreed that the hearing would take place on November 28, 29 and 30.

SAPS spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said the judges postponed the case because the SJC filed its heads of argument too late.

SJC safety and justice programme head Chumile Sali said the police gave a different reason when they met at court. They said that one of their witnesses was away, which resulted in a late affidavit submission.

Sali said that on April 23, Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi said police would not oppose the matter. This resulted in the SJC filing its heads two days late while they confirmed if Mkongi meant what he said (he apparently did not).

The Women’s Legal Centre, which was admitted as a friend of the court, had also not yet filed heads of argument.
Sali said it was the third time the matter had been postponed.

"The judges warned that they did not want to postpone the matter," the SJC said in a statement.

The court was very serious about the fact that this matter relates to communities that cannot be put in a position to lose faith in the court systems."

The SJC said the SAPS-caused delay was "discriminating against black communities".

Read more on:    saps  |  johannesburg  |  courts

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