Today, March 30, 2016, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and Equal Education (EE) have announced that they will be taking Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko and the acting National Commissioner of Police Kgomotso Phahlane to court on the ongoing inequitable, irrational and unjust allocation of police resources.
The announcement was made at a press conference on the site of the proposed Makhaza Police Station in Khayelitsha. The Makhaza Police Station, which was a “priority” for the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Western Cape in 2004, is set to be built in the current SAPS precinct of Harare – the least resourced precinct in the province. Currently planning and design for the station is scheduled for 2016/2017 with construction scheduled for 2018/2019, fourteen years after being identified as a priority by SAPS.
In 2014, the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Police Inefficiency and a Breakdown in Relations between SAPS and the Community of Khayelitsha (the Khayelitsha Commission) explained that “[o]ne of the questions that has most troubled the Commission is how a system of human resource allocation that appears to be systematically biased against poor black communities could have survived twenty years into our post-apartheid democracy.”
The SJC and EE have also since confirmed that a similar pattern applies in KwaZulu-Natal, where peri-urban Black communities with high crime rates are vastly under-resourced compared to other communities. Given that the same underlying causes of this disparity are present in the other seven provinces, it is likely that they too perpetuate the inequities of Apartheid.
Despite repeated requests from the SJC and EE for the Minister and the acting National Commissioner to act on the pattern of inequitable, irrational and discriminatory resource allocation, no action has been taken.
The court application accordingly seeks a remedy to this pattern of discrimination. It will seek to compel the Minister and the acting National Commissioner to take urgent steps to:
- Revise its theoretical system of allocating human resources through an open, consultative process in order to ensure outcomes that are rational and non-discriminatory;
- Make the theoretical and actual allocation of police human resources publicly available;
- Remedy, as a matter of urgency, the discriminatory allocation of resources within the Western Cape; and
- Declare that Provincial Commissioners have the power and the obligation to deviate from the theoretical human resource allocation in order to provide a fair and equitable distribution of police resources.
In addition, the SJC and EE are seeking an order for the court to supervise the revision of the SAPS system that determines resource allocation as well as the actual allocation process of police resources. This order is sought to ensure that the Minister and the acting National Commissioner comply with their constitutional and statutory obligations. This additional requirement is necessary given the Minister and the acting National Commissioner’s inexplicable and ongoing refusal to act on the Khayelitsha Commission’s recommendations.
The court application will be made in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000.
The courts papers will be made available online today.
For comment please contact:
Phumeza Mlungwana (SJC General Secretary) 074 417 8306
Ntuthuzo Ndzomo (EE Deputy General Secretary) 072 931 4343
Chumile Sali (SJC Head of Safety & Justice Programme) 071 609 3236