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Cape Town -
The establishment of a commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha was an unlawful intrusion on the powers of the SAPS, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.
Advocate Norman Arendse, for Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, asked a full bench of the court to declare the inquiry unlawful and unconstitutional.
Arendse said Western Cape premier Helen Zille overstepped her powers by appointing retired judge Katherine O'Regan and advocate Vusi Pikoli to probe allegations of police inefficiency in the area.
He said the Constitution conferred certain entitlements to provinces to monitor police conduct and effectiveness. The premier and her cabinet were however not entitled to issue summons or search warrants on police.
“Provincial commissioners are accountable to the national commissioner, and not accountable to provincial cabinet and premier,” Arendse said.
As proceedings continued in court, a group of protesters from NGO, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), gathered outside.
The SJC led the call for the commission to be established following a string of vigilante killings in Khayelitsha. Local residents complained police inaction had led to residents taking the law into their own hands.
The O'Regan/Pikoli commission was meant to hold public hearings from November 12 to December 14.
The commission was since suspended pending the outcome of Mthethwa's application. - Sapa