Cape Town - Premier Helen Zille has filed a complaint of misconduct against a senior national police official for trying to encourage ANC members of the provincial legislature to object to the draft Western Cape Community Safety Bill.
The bill is aimed at giving the Western Cape more power in its oversight role over the police and to help highlight systemic problems.
Zille said on Thursday that she received a tip-off about an e-mail allegedly sent by Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane, the secretary for the police service in charge of the civilian secretariat for police service.
She submitted the complaint to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Mthethwa’s spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, said he had received Zille’s complaint.
Zille said the e-mail, which was sent towards the end of last month, asked that the members object to the draft bill and requested them to make a submission during the upcoming public hearings on the bill.
In the e-mail, Irish-Qhobosheane said: “Dear comrades, the DA in the Western Cape is planning legislation whereby they want to control the function of the South African police and have the provincial commissioner answer to a local board.
“They are trying to degrade SAPS to the level of municipal police. Deadline for objections is Monday, November 26, 2012. Please make your voice heard by faxing your objection… Please remember policing is not a provincial competency, but national.”
Zille said that Irish-Qhobosheane had contradicted the constitution.
“The e-mail also constitutes an abuse of state resources to promote a party political agenda,” Zille said.
“Furthermore it is intended for the explicit purpose of manipulating a public participation process for party political ends. This contradicts the purpose of public participation, which is intended to be a bona fide process and not manipulated by people with political agendas.”
Zille said it was also important to note that Irish-Qhobosheane’s comments reflected the same objections that Mthethwa had raised about the bill.
She said she and Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato had asked Mthethwa to take disciplinary action and inform them of the outcome.
Mnisi said Mthethwa would read Zille’s complaint and reply appropriately once he had done so. - Cape Argus