Khayelitsha police inquiry legal - judges

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Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. File photo: Oupa Mokoena

Cape Town - Western Cape premier Helen Zille's decision to establish a commission of inquiry to probe police inefficiency in Khayelitha was indeed “rational” and “legal”, two judges of the Western Cape High Court ruled on Monday.

Judges Jeanette Traverso and James Yekiso concurred that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's application for an urgent interdict against the commission be dismissed.

Traverso indicated that fellow judge Vincent Saldanha had a dissenting view.

“As at the time of the establishment of the Commission, the cases referred to by the complainant organisations in their several complaints involving the alleged inefficiency on the part of the SA Police Service (SAPS) in Khayelitsha stood uncontroverted.

“Based on these observations, in my view, the need for action to be taken, in the form of the established Commission of Enquiry, was compelling,” the majority judgment said.

The judges also rejected claims that there were ulterior motives behind the establishment of the commission.

Mthethwa last year argued Western Cape premier Helen Zille's decision to appoint the commission would have an impact on the independence of SAPS.

Mthethwa's legal team also said the commission was established to make media headlines.

The court was packed with activists from the NGO the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), on Monday, who broke out in song when the judgment was delivered.

The activists had led the call for the commission to be established following a string of vigilante killings in Khayelitsha.

Community members complained police inaction had led to residents taking the law into their own hands.

The commission was meant to hold public hearings from November 12 to December 14. - Sapa


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