Probe into police on hold

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khayelitsha cop shop INLSA Lingelethu West police station in Khayelitsha. Picture: Jason Boud

Cape Town - The commission of inquiry into the Khayelitsha police will not hold public hearings until an urgent interdict application by the minister of police has been finalised.

Evidence leader Nazreen Bawa said on Thursday it would be prudent to wait for the Western Cape High Court’s decision.

Public hearings have been suspended, as have the serving of subpoenas on a number of police officials.

This week, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa filed court papers challenging the establishment of the commission of inquiry set up by Western Cape premier Helen Zille to investigate police inefficiency in Khayelitsha.

The matter will be heard at the Western Cape High Court on Monday. Subpoenas would also be challenged.

“We have indicated that we intend to oppose the application,” said Zille.

“An agreement has been reached between all the parties… for the hearing of the application to be postponed to December 10, 2012. This agreement will be made an order of the court [on Monday] and will give our lawyers adequate time to study the application and prepare a comprehensive and detailed reply.”

Part of this agreement, said Zille, was that the public hearings intended to begin on November 12 would not proceed and no effect would be given to the subpoenas issued to the SAPS.

“However, this does not mean that the commission itself has been suspended and the other investigative work being done by the commission is not affected by this agreement.”

The commission was established after the Social Justice Coalition agitated Zille for two years to investigate claims of police inefficiency which had given rise to vigilantism.

At a press conference this week, Zackie Achmat, speaking on behalf of the Social Justice Coalition, said a final decision would be made this week on whether to join the court action. Achmat said the police’s action and Mthethwa’s affidavit were factually deeply flawed and legally unsustainable. “The decision by the police to challenge this in court can only be seen in a negative light and as an attempt to avoid public scrutiny.”

Cape Argus


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