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ConCourt dismisses appeal in the allocation of adequate and equitable police resources

A wall that has the words "Makhaza Police Station" written on it is at the location where a police station was supposed to be built. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

A wall that has the words "Makhaza Police Station" written on it is at the location where a police station was supposed to be built. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 21, 2022

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Cape Town - The Constitutional Court has dismissed an appeal in the allocation of adequate and equitable police resources case which was brought forward by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) against the police minister and others.

The court said leave to appeal could not be granted as there was no order from the Equality Court to appeal.

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It said the Constitutional Court was not the court that should have been approached, and it had no competence to enforce SJC’s right of access to the courts until the Equality Court had declined to do so.

In February, SJC, through its legal representation Law Resources Centre (LRC), approached the Constitutional Court seeking leave to appeal against what it said was the Equality Court’s constructive refusal to grant a remedy for the unfair discrimination concerning the inadequate allocation of policing resources for townships and informal settlements.

This was after the Equality Court found and declared that the allocation of police human resources in the province, and the system used by the police to determine the allocation of police human resources in the Western Cape unfairly discriminated against black and poor people, based on race and poverty, in 2018.

However, the hearing on what relief should be granted to remedy the unfair discrimination found in the judgment was postponed by the high court “to a date which shall be arranged with the parties”.

This case relates to the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry which, in 2014, released a report including 20 recommendations for implementation, such as the upgrade of the physical infrastructure of the Khayelitsha police stations and the establishment of the new Makhaza police station, including the allocation of human resources.

SJC spokesperson Thando George said the Constitutional Court’s dismissal had not discouraged the organisation. She said the recent surge in murders in Khayelitsha demonstrated the intersections between race, poverty and safety in South Africa, especially informal settlements.

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“Furthermore, the call for the construction of a permanent police station in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, to increase safety service provision in the area shows the necessity of vindicating the rights of poor and black communities who continue to suffer from discriminatory allocation of police resources,” George said.

Cosatu provincial secretary, Malvern de Bruyn said the government’s failure to allocate adequate and equitable police resources to poor and disadvantaged communities created opportunities for criminals to commit crimes.

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