Western Cape police are not saying whether they plan to respond to a request from Premier Helen Zille for comment on a series of complaints against them.

Zille has given police management until close of business on Wednesday to respond to complaints sent to the office of Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer concerning an apparent breakdown in the relationship between police and residents of Khayelitsha.

The move came after a call from civil society to institute a formal inquiry into claims of inaction by the police and after a spate of vigilante attacks in Khayelitsha since March.

The provincial cabinet has already unanimously endorsed a decision to establish a commission of inquiry if all the necessary legal requirements are met.

“It was decided that there are adequate prima facie grounds to warrant this step,” Zille said. “The latest sets of complaints have now been sent to the police for comment, and they have been given until today to respond.”

Provincial police could not say whether they would respond to the complaints by Wednesday.

Western Cape police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said all the complaints were sent to the police’s head office in Pretoria.

But when contacted on Tuesday, national police spokesman Lindela Mashigo said: “I don’t know anything about that. The provincial office needs to reply.”

In November, the Social Justice Coalition, the Treatment Action Campaign, Equal Education, the Triangle Project and Ndifuna Ukwazi, called on Zille to establish an inquiry into apparent policing and criminal justice system failures in Khayelitsha.

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Cape Argus