Activists accuse top cops of ignoring court order over Western Cape Policing
\n Aron Hyman | 2017-01-23 16:48:23.0\n \n \n \n \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n \n\n \n\n\n \n \n
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\n \n \n \n Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane. File photo \n \n \n \n
Image by: Simphiwe Nkwali. © Sunday Times.\n / \n \n Simphiwe Nkwali / Sunday Times\n \n \n
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\n As if acting police chief Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane doesn’t have enough to worry about‚ civil rights groups have accused him of being in contempt of court.\n
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Phahlane is among senior police officials who were taken to court by the Social Justice Coalition and Equal Education over the alleged inequitable and discriminatory distribution of police members and resources.
Phahlane and the other respondents‚ including Police Minster Nathi Nhleko and Western Cape MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato‚ were accused of missing the deadline to file responding papers at the High Court in Cape Town. On Monday the organisations protested outside the police headquarters in Cape Town.
SCJ spokesman Dalli Weyers said the Western Cape was the most under-resourced province in terms of police resources and personnel.
He said precincts with the highest murder rates‚ such as Nyanga and Khayelitsha‚ were the most under-resourced.
“If SAPS is of the opinion that they need to be where crime and violence happens then their resource allocation is illogical‚” said Weyers.
“If you have very murderous precincts like Nyanga‚ which is the murder capital of South Africa‚ being the fourth least-resourced police precinct in the entire Western Cape – that speaks to the fact that resources aren’t where they’re needed.”
He said that SAPS did a “massive disservice” to the police officers deployed to these areas.
“The level of stress and anxiety that goes with being a policeman in general is compounded in these precincts‚” he said.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille set up the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry in 2012. One mandate was to investigate complaints relating to the inefficiency of police at three stations and units in Khayelitsha. The commission submitted its final report to the premier in 2014 and found‚ among other things‚ inefficiencies in policing in the area.
The organisations then took the police to court‚ including Western Cape Provincial Police Commissioner‚ Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula.
The SJC said that police had defied a court order by not filing responding papers as requested by the High Court.
“They are in contempt for failing to file responding papers …. The case was launched to address the irrational and discriminatory allocation of the police’s human resources across all 1‚140 police precincts.”
Police Brigadier Sally De Beer said that police had “taken cognisance” of the protest.
“As matters stand‚ the necessary legal processes and procedures are being attended to. The SAPS will refrain from commenting further pending the finalisation of this matter in court‚” she said.
Phahlane’s Pretoria home was raided by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) last week.
-TMG Digital/The Times
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