POLICE deputy provincial commissioner Major-General Sharon Jephta has been portrayed by the Social Justice Coalition as an uncaring public servant who “dismissed” a complaint of police inefficiency.
Jephta was the second high-ranking police official in the province to give evidence before the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry investigating alleged police inefficiencies in the area.
During yesterday’s sitting,
advocate Ncumisa Mayosi, representing the SJC and its allies, raised the issue of a letter Jephta had addressed to then-head of the police inspectorate Major-General Sean Tshaballa, in June 2012, seven months after they had lodged a complaint with Premier Helen Zille.
In the letter, Jephta said there was no breakdown between the Khayelitsha community and the police because the area had functioning community police forums. She called on them to clarify their allegations.
Mayosi said this response was uncaring and careless. She said that based on a police task team report in 2012, CPFs at the Harare and Site B Khayelitsha police stations were not functional, meaning Jephta’s statement was incorrect.
Mayosi said an inspection report in 2011 at the Harare Police Station showed that investigating officers were failing to give feedback to complainants and that investigations into serious crimes were poorly conducted. These shortcomings were recurring and appeared again on inspections reports of 2012, Mayosi said.
She said Jephta had failed to perform her constitutional obligation by not acting on them.
Jephta denied that her response was uncaring or careless. She said it had been based on information from station commanders that CPFs were functional at the time. Asked why she had not considered her own inspection reports when responding to the complaint, Jephta said she did not have them in front of her.
She said a meeting had been set up with the NGOs to discuss the matter further but they had not attended it.
Provincial commissioner Arno Lamoer will appear before the commission today.