Cape Town - Western Cape police conceded shortcomings in policing in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, and have committed to a summit to address them, a commission of inquiry heard on Thursday.
“There are police shortcomings that must be remedied by the police,” Norman Arendse, for the SA Police Service, told the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry.
Making his final submissions to the commission, Arendse said provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer would have to take the lead in addressing the policing problems in the area.
“The provincial commissioner will have to arrange a summit here in Khayelitsha for the police and those roleplayers involved in this commission of inquiry,” Arendse said.
“The agenda must be the shortcomings identified in the commission of inquiry that have remained unattended.”
Arendse said there had already been sincere attempts to fix policing problems in the sprawling Cape Town township.
Earlier, counsel for NGO the Social Justice Commission (SJC) asked the commission to find that policing was inefficient and that this had led to a breakdown of trust by residents.
It was also argued that this breakdown of trust was a contributory factor to the spate of mob justice killings in the area.
The SJC recommended a task team be set up.
“The complainants recommend that as a matter of urgency or priority that a task team must be formed by SAPS to formulate a strategy to deal with vigilantism... focusing on the prevention of these incidents,” Legal Resource Centre (LRC) lawyer Ncumisa Mayosi said.
Mayosi said police should classify mob justice attacks as a separate category of crime.
The institutional culture in the police service needed improvement, as the attitude of officers led to a breakdown of trust between SAPS and residents.
“The commission must find the SAPS units operating in Khayelitsha is not responsive to the community,” said Mayosi.
“They (police) treat them (residents) with disrespect. They treat them discourteously. They treat them with contempt.”
Mayosi's colleague Pete Hathorn told the commission the spate of vigilante violence in Khayelitsha was proof that residents did not trust the police.
“If one looks at the extent of the vigilante violence... that doesn't occur where policing is taking place effectively,” Hathorn said.
“It's clear from the pattern of evidence... that people in Khayelitsha do not feel confident that if they take a thief to police that it will be dealt with effectively.”
Hathorn was referring to scores of witnesses, including activists and ordinary Khayelitsha residents, who testified in the inquiry.