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Cape town - A senior crime researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has called for the probe into police inefficiency in Khayelitsha to be extended to include the police service nationally.
This comes after the Western Cape High Court this week dismissed, with costs, an application by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa for the commission of inquiry into police inefficiency in Khayelitsha to be suspended.
Dr Johan Burger, a senior researcher in the ISS’s crime and justice programme, said a national judicial commission of inquiry was the only answer to “a better police service, free of rot”.
“The high levels of alleged corruption, criminality and inefficiencies in the South African Police Service have to be investigated nationally. We are renewing our call for the president to institute a national commission of inquiry into police inefficiency.”
The ISS first called for an inquiry in 2011, but was ignored, Burger said.
The Western Cape commission, headed by retired Judge Catherine O’Regan, was suspended in November - a month after being established by Premier Helen Zille - pending the outcome of the court proceedings after Mthethwa approached the court.
Burger said he supported the Western Cape commission and hoped that the recommendations would be implemented.
“A similar inquiry was set up in New York in the 1980s, headed by Judge (Milton) Mollen.
The commission investigated allegations of corruption and criminality and came up with good recommendations implemented by new mayor at the time Rudy Giuliani. Today, the NYPD is one of the top police units in America.”
In his 2011 request, The Case for a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the South African Police Service, Burger said the widespread problems in the lower ranks of the police were not surprising, given the serious allegations against the Police’s most senior ranks.
Burger said a national commission of inquiry would assist newly appointed police commissioner General Riah Phiyega to understand the problems facing her force.
“The Police Ministry should stop seeing a commission of inquiry as something negative.”
But Mthethwa has shot down Burger’s request, calling him an “opportunist”.
Mthethwa’s spokesman Zweli Mnisi said what Burger was calling for had “nothing to do with the latest Western Cape court ruling” and should be dismissed.