Policing flaws flagged in Khayelitsha

Cape Town - Serious flaws in policing at three Khayelitsha police stations have been identified by the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry.

They include crime scenes not being secured, detectives failing to take dockets to court, only 1 percent of cases resulting in convictions, no regular patrols, and unanswered phones.

A crowd protests at the Khayelitsha police station recently against the killing of a doctor at the Site B hospital. Photo: Henk Kruger. Credit: CAPE ARGUS

Highlighting a series of key policing problems in the sprawling township, the commission, led by Justice Kate O’Regan and advocate Vusi Pikoli, presented its report to Premier Helen Zille in Khayelitsha on Monday, saying it was clear “policing in Khayelitsha is profoundly challenging”.

The commission found there were serious overlapping inefficiencies at the Site B, Harare and Lingelethu West stations, as well as the Khayelitsha Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit. And there was a breakdown in relations between residents and the police.

“Many cases are simply not investigated properly, or at all. This does not mean that no cases are investigated properly, but the proportion of cases reported to Khayelitsha that result in convictions is tiny, possibly as few as 1 percent,” it said.

Many detectives had a case load of more than 150 dockets, some as many as 200.

“Detectives failed to take dockets to court, which resulted in charges being withdrawn, or cases struck off the roll... there are dockets every week that do not get delivered to court.”

While the police knew about many of the inefficiencies, management in both Khayelitsha and the province “have not fixed them”.

The commission came up with 20 recommendations to beef up policing in the crime-ridden township, including: