Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry progress update
26 August 2016
Today marks the 2nd Anniversary of the completion of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry.
Led by Advocate Vusi Pikoli and Judge Kate O'Regan, the Commission was established by Premier Helen Zille to investigate the alleged breakdown in the trust relationship between the SAPS and the community of Khayelitsha.
Of the 20 recommendations, 13 directly fall within the mandate of the SAPS. The remainder relate to the Western Cape Government's Department of Community Safety (DoCS). These are to be implemented in partnership with SAPS, several other departments, and the City of Cape Town.
It is important to recognise the remarkable commitment shown by the Provincial Commissioner and most of his management team, in particular the Khayelitsha Cluster Commander. They are facilitating the implementation within their scope of control, by working closely with the Western Cape Government.
The Commission remains a stand-out example of a provincial government pushing its Constitutional oversight mandate over policing to the very limits. No other province has pushed the boundaries this far, in holding national government to account for their policing mandate.
From the outset, it has been a struggle, first to establish the commission, and then to have its recommendations implemented.
When Premier Helen Zille first announced the Commission, the province was forced by then National Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, to defend its decision to do so. The Inquiry eventually proceeded after the unanimous ruling of all 11 Constitutional Court Judges, in favour of Premier Zille.
Two years after the Commission's conclusion, we still face many obstacles to achieving the full implementation of all its recommendations.
Most noticeable is the fact that the current National Police Minister has, to this day, not yet formally endorsed the findings of the Commission, nor has he responded to the recommendations made.
Our partnership with the Provincial SAPS management, however, has meant that progress could be made on many recommendations, despite the obstruction and lack of political will from the national SAPS and the Police Ministry.
We still do not have a signed Memorandum of Agreement between our Community Safety Department and national SAPS, despite escalating this matter all the way up to the President's Coordinating Council.
Without the Police Minister, National Police Commissioner, and indeed the President, demonstrating the same commitment to the safety of Khayelitsha residents shown by the province, and local SAPS officials, the implementation of the recommendations will remain a difficult process.
Much of the technical recommendations made by the Commission, hinge on substantive bread and butter issues, like the basic act of ensuring there are enough police officers and detectives in Khayelitsha to get the job done.
The national average police to population ration is 1:358. For Khayelitsha's 3 police stations, this ratio is much worse:
- Harare – 1:826
- Khayelitsha – 1:569
- Lingelethu West – 1:440
This under-resourcing of the police is replicated in the workloads of detectives operating in Khayelitsha. An acceptable detective to docket ratio is considered to be 1:40, and at most 1:50 (as found by the Commission). The latest ratios in Khayelitsha are however much higher, according to a recent reply to a parliamentary question:
- Harare – 1:79
- Khayelitsha – 1:67
- Lingelethu West – 1:127
Political will and operational commitment is required, particularly from national government, to rectify the under-resourcing of police in Khayelitsha. We hope that the recent deployment of additional SAPS staff will improve these ratios, and we keenly await an update in this regard.
We will continue to advocate for a fairer deal for Khayelitsha residents, a community impacted by 7 962 violent crimes in the 2014/15 financial year.
Despite the initial fierce opposition from SAPS to the Commission's findings, it is heartening that we now have a coordinating committee in place, as per recommendation 3, to oversee and report on the progress made in implementing the recommendations. The committee includes SAPS, provincial government, and other stakeholders.
The Khayelitsha Joint Forum is also in place at community level. This includes sub committees on youth gangs, women and children, and reducing the harms related to alcohol and drugs.
While progress has been made with respect to some recommendations, several critical ones remain outstanding or have seen very little movement:
7: Revision of SAPS's system for determining the theoretical human resource requirement of police stations, and the urgent reallocation of human resources to the three Khayelitsha Police Stations
This is yet to be done.
10: Revision of Station Performance Chart
This is yet to be done. We are informed the National Police Commissioner's office is responsible for approving this implementation.
19: Physical infrastructure at police stations and proposed new Makhaza police stations
This is yet to be done.
20: Address backlogs in national chemical laboratories in Cape Town
National Department of Health
There are delays within the national Department of Health regarding Blood Alcohol analysis and Toxicology. These analyses are performed by the Forensic Chemistry laboratory.
It is also important to acknowledge where progress is being made by both SAPS and the province on many other recommendations:
Progress on Implementation by the Department of Community Safety
3: Monitoring and oversight team to ensure inefficiencies at the 3 Police Stations and the Khayelitsha FCS unit are eradicated.
The Premier and National Police Commissioner resolved to establish a Task team, co-chaired by the Provincial Minister of Community Safety and the Provincial Commissioner of Police, to further facilitate the implementation of the recommendations
8: Steps to improve relations between the SAPS and people of Khayelitsha
SAPS & DoCS
- DoCS continues to work with Community Policing Forums (CPFs) in all 3 police stations, supporting them with their elections and capacity building. A Chrysalis graduate was appointed to each CPF to assist with administrative functions. DoCS monitors the functioning of CPFs via the Extended Public Partnership (EPP) reporting system. DoCS has also provided capacity building to CPFs and Neighbourhood Watches regarding domestic violence.
- In light of an external assessment, DoCS developed an Extended Public Partnership Improvement Plan to responded to the Recommendations (Jan 2016), and the implementation is being monitored.
- A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between all CPFs and DoCS.
- All CPFs are now participating in the Programme and payments amounting to about R70 000 have been made to them.
- A Cluster safety plan was also developed as part of the Policing Needs and Priorities Process. Part of this looks at strengthening the role of CPFs.
12: A multi-sectoral task team on youth gangs to be established by DOCS
The Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry recommended the setting up of a multi-sectoral task team on youth gangs, for the purpose of drawing up a strategic plan to address the issue.
Whilst we were locked in negotiations with SAPS about the implementation of the Khayelitsha Commission recommendations, a new National Anti- Gangs Strategy was being developed under the auspices of the National Intelligence Co-ordination Committee. The Western Cape made inputs into this new strategy through its Department of Community Safety. This new National Anti-Gang Strategy incorporates the phenomena of youth gangs and therefore nullified the need to have another separate strategy developed for Khayelitsha. The Western Cape Cabinet resolved during a meeting on 11 May 2016, to support this new National Anti-Gangs Strategy.
The Department of Community Safety was assigned the responsibility to facilitate this.
The final adoption of the new National Anti-Gangs Strategy, which includes the governance, cooperation and funding arrangements, will be presented to the Provincial Cabinet during September for final approval.
- This is currently being implemented through the Khayelitsha Joint Forums.
- The Forum is organised into sub-forums looking at key issues such as youth gangs, women and children, and reducing the harms related to alcohol and drugs.
- A Youth Summit was convened on 15 July 2015 (arranged by different Departments, DoCS and SAPS and NGOs).
- In addition DoCS has undertaken the following youth related activities in the last financial year:
Organise the religious fraternity in Khayelitsha around youth:
19 religious organisations were funded to run holiday programmes in the June/July 2015 holiday period, reaching 1 135 youth;
17 religious organisations were funded to run holiday programmes in the December/January 2016 period - 1 1000 youth participated;
13 religious organisations funded to run holiday programmes in the 2016 Easter period for 2 495 children;
Total cost of programmes: R1 17
Create opportunities for youth on the EPWP programme:
14 students trained at Chrysalis Youth Academy from May to July 2015;
24 students trained at Chrysalis Academy from August to October 2015;
17 students trained from January to March 2016;
30 Youth placed with identified institutions in April (1 year), 34 placed in September 2015 and 17 placed in March 2016;
Total cost: R2 174 345
Create opportunities in High Schools in Khayelitsha:
Safety marshals placed at 18 schools (April to March 2016);
44 safety marshals placed at high risk schools till end March 2016 ;
Total cost R844 800.
- DoCs will play a key role in co-ordinating the 2016 National Anti-Gangsterism Strategy adopted by Cabinet.
13: Provincial Task Team to survey community attitudes to unlicensed liquor outlets to assist policy formulation
- The Province established an Alcohol Harms Reduction Game Changer. This has two arms:
-Policy and Law reform - developing policy proposals for the reform of liquor trade and consumption in the WC.
- Community Based Action. This has 3 levels: Effective law enforcement; access to alternative economic and recreational activities; and reducing alcohol consumption for high risk groups.
- 11 Neighbourhood Watch members have been recruited and trained; they have collected data for the project and also conduct patrols in the community:
- They are mapping liquor outlets in the area;
- Obtaining data on trading conditions of liquor outlets
- Further research will look at attitudes of patrons.
- DoCS has further commissioned research by the Department of Public Health at UCT, including:
- Literature review of alcohol-related research and statistics relevant to Khayelitsha (alcohol trade, alcohol related harms and community perceptions towards the use of alcohol)
- Analysis of 3 phases of the annual household survey on community's experience of alcohol use, built environment, violence and mental health
- Analysis of this information focusing on young adults
- Analysis of alcohol trauma cases presenting at health services
- Focus group analysis of sub-sectors of the community (law enforcement officials, community safety groups, outlet owners and managers and community members)
- Outlet mapping and type of outlet
- Monthly alcohol seizures data provided by SAPS
This is a 6 month project at the cost of R500 000, and will be completed by September 2016.
The findings of this study will feed into the policy development process, as well as the community based action element of the Alcohol Harms Reduction Game Changer.
17: Governance and oversight.
Various role players with key responsibilities, including:
a) Civilian Secretariat: must actively monitor the SAPS and FCS unit;
b) Minister of Police must ensure that the Civilian Secretariat is adequately resourced to enable it to perform its functions;
c) DOCS: & SAPS should reach a common understanding on their respective; responsibilities - and to cooperate in mutual good faith.
- To date, SAPS have not signed or agreed to the Memorandum of Agreement. Subject to further discussions with SAPS.
- SAPS and DOCS have collaborated on specific challenges - safety kiosks, alcohol harms reduction game changer, gangs, among other programmes.
- DoCS continues to conduct inspections at the Khayelitsha police stations.
- Watching Briefs: DoCS has proposed the expansion of our Watching Briefs unit to monitor court cases in Khayelitsha.
While we acknowledge that more needs to be done, we rely heavily on the efficiency of our partners, such as SAPS, NGOs and the community as a whole to make progress.
We would like to once again thank the provincial SAPS management as well as the Khayelitsha Cluster leadership, for their partnership with our Department of Community Safety, to improve safety conditions.
Our government remains committed to ensuring the safety of the people of Khayelitsha and the Western Cape.
And we will do everything in our power to exercise our constitutional mandate and oversight powers in this regard.
Issued by Michael Mpofu, Spokesperson for Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, 26 August 2016