Cape universities call for crime inquiry

Cape Town - Probing the state of policing in Khayelitsha is the first step in tackling high levels of crime in the area, the Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch said on Tuesday.

In a joint statement, Stellenbosch rector and vice chancellor Russel Botman and his Cape Town counterpart Max Price said the SA Police Service (SAPS) had a duty to protect the public.

File photo: Cindy Waxa. Credit: INLSA

They said that given the unabated levels of violence and residents' dissatisfaction with the standards of policing, there was clearly a need for an integrated solution to the perceived lack of policing.

“As a first step, it is imperative that the state of policing in Khayelitsha be impartially and independently investigated, and that recommendations of this investigation be promptly implemented,” they said.

“It is essential that this investigation be supported by all levels of government, and be based on sound constitutional principles.”

Western Cape premier Helen Zille established the Khayelitsha commission of inquiry in August, following a spate of vigilante killings.

The commission was to have completed its work and handed in a completed report by the end of February.

However, its activities were put on hold pending legal action by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who applied for an urgent interdict against its establishment.

Last year, Mthethwa argued that Zille's decision to appoint the commission would affect the independence of the SAPS.

His application was dismissed by the Western Cape High Court last week.

Mthethwa's legal team has yet to announce whether it will uphold or appeal the ruling.

The commission is in a state of suspension, with an announcement on its next move expected sometime this week.

Botman and Price said they were compelled to comment on the matter, since violence had an impact on people's development.

“As universities, we are committed to the development of individuals, through knowledge, to their fullest potential. Violence, its effects and the fear of violence are an enormous hindrance to human development.”

They said the investigation should aim for a community free of violence and crime, a police service that acted in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and a government which punished corruption. - Sapa