Key Points (expanded on below):
- Over the past 5 years we have not seen the necessary political will to implement the Commission’s recommendations.
- Residents in informal settlements are still being discriminated against because there are still no guidelines for visible policing in their areas.
- On 1 September 2019 SAPS will make its plans to remedy the discrimination against poor, black people in the allocation of police resources available to the SJC, EE, the Nyanga Community Police Forum and the Western Cape government.
- A majority of police officers in Khayelitsha, as of last year, had still not received training in the Domestic Violence Act.
- The allocation of CCTV Cameras across Cape Town continues to mirror the discrimination against poor, black areas as seen in the allocation of police resources.
- Construction on the Makhaza Police Station in Khayelitsha has still not started.
- The City of Cape Town has now conceded “that in many areas [in Khayelitsha] the lighting [is] fairly poor and not in compliance with national standards.”
- The City is failing to implement its own Khayelitsha Lighting Master Plan.
It has been five years since the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Police Inefficiency and a Breakdown in Relations between the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Community of Khayelitsha (the Commission) made its findings and recommendations public on 25 August 2014. These findings and recommendations provided and continue to provide a roadmap for what needs to be done to make the police an effective and professional service for everyone and to create safer communities not just in Khayelitsha but across the country.
Over the past five years we have not seen the necessary political will to implement these recommendations and to improve the police service for the better. Instead we witnessed increasingly vocal calls for the deployment of the not-fit-for-purpose South African National Defence Force (SANDF). These calls for the deployment of the army ultimately prevailed and have as a result detracted from the work that was and is still required to fix the SAPS.
Although all 20 of the recommendations made by the Commission are important and deserve attention, time and energy, we have chosen to engage specific recommendations that we believe would help unlock and facilitate the implementation of the others.
Below we look at six findings and recommendations.
Recommendation 6 – Visible Policing
The Provincial Commissioner should issue guidelines for visible policing in informal settlements because these do not exist.
At both national and provincial level, no guidelines for visible policing in informal settlements have been developed in the 5 years since the Commission. This means that residents in informal settlements still do not have visible policing in their communities.
According to Statistics South Africa, 13.6% of primarily poor black people in South Africa live in informal housing. The Constitutional obligation of the SAPS towards communities is not contingent on where people live, whether there are roads and whether they have clearly identifiable addresses. The failure to provide a service like visible policing to residents of informal neighbourhoods, comparable to the service provided to wealthier formal housing, results in discrimination.
Importantly, and not to be overlooked, the absence of guidelines for visible policing in informal neighbourhoods also places police officers, and now members of the SANDF, at risk in these neighbourhoods.
Recommendation 7 – Human Resource Allocations
The SAPS system for determining the allocation of human resources should be revised and more human resources should urgently be re-allocated to Khayelitsha’s three police stations.
The SJC, Equal Education and the Nyanga Community Police Forum, the applicants, had to take the SAPS to court to ensure that the system used for the allocation of human resources be changed. On 14 December 2018 the Equality Court in Cape Town found that the way police resources are allocated discriminates against poor black people.
A court order granted on 6 August 2019 has now committed the SAPS to providing the applicants in the matter with their plan, for how the discriminatory allocation will be remedied, by 1 September 2019.
The applicants, along with the fourth respondent, the Western Cape MEC of Community Safety, will then have 30 working days, until 11 October 2019, to comment on the remedy put forward by the SAPS.
If after this process there isn’t agreement between the parties, the court will set the matter of remedy down for argument on the earliest suitable date.
Recommendation 14 – Domestic Violence
A number of measures, including training courses and research programmes, should be adopted to address domestic violence.
Khayelitsha still only has one Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit. In addition, in March 2018 a monitoring and evaluation team set-up by SAPS and the Western Cape Department of Community Safety found that 85% of Lingelethu West SAPS, 78% of Harare SAPS, and 51% of Khayelitsha (Site B) SAPS had not attended a five-day Domestic Violence Act training course.
Recommendation 18 – CCTV Cameras
The system of CCTV surveillance in Khayelitsha should be improved through a collaborative effort between senior SAPS members and City officials.
In 2015 the Commission found that the 16 CCTV cameras in Khayelitsha were not enough. It highlighted that there were no CCTV cameras in the Harare Police Precinct and that the City of Cape Town needed to fix this.. Since then the Western Cape Government, without consulting the police, installed another 8 cameras, but only in Town Two in Khayelitsha. This means that the 11 wards covering Khayelitsha now have 24 CCTV cameras and that the Harare Police Precinct remains uncovered. By comparison one ward, Ward 62 covering Bishops Court, Constantia and Wynberg, has 41 cameras.
Recommendation 19 – Infrastructure
The physical infrastructure of the Khayelitsha police stations should be upgraded and the new Makhaza police station should be established.
The Makhaza Police Station, which was the second highest priority for the police in the Western Cape in 2004, has still not been constructed 15 years later.
The SJC has tracked the failure of the SAPS to implement this recommendation. The failures to take the necessary steps to ensure the construction of the Makhaza Police Station have been reflected in the Police’s annual reports. In two presentations made to the Portfolio Committee of Police in 2018 we highlighted these failures.
Since then the SAPS finally acquired the land for the proposed police station. To date however no construction has been initiated on the site ear-marked for the station.
Finding on Public lighting
The Commission found that ineffective and inadequate public lighting in Khayelitsha contributed to crime while also making the policing of these crimes more challenging.
Although the Commission couldn’t make a recommendation directed solely at the City of Cape Town it did find that public lighting in Khayelitsha was ineffective and inadequate. Most of Khayelitsha is served by high-mast spotlights that the City itself says should be avoided because they cast dark shadows.
Five years later, in a report tabled in an Energy and Climate Change directorate meeting, the City of Cape Town finally conceded “that in many areas [in Khayelitsha] the lighting was fairly poor and not in compliance with national standards.”
In response to these findings a Khayelitsha lighting master plan was compiled. The plan presented to Khayelitsha sub-councils on 22 November 2017 required of the City to spend R12 930 000 on public lighting in Khayelitsha in the 2019/2020 financial year. However, the actual amount in the City’s 2019/2020 Detailed Capital Budget allocated to lighting in the entirety of Area East (stretching from Mitchell’s Plain to Gordon’s Bay and so including Khayelitsha) is only R7 million, or just over half what the City indicated is needed in Khayelitsha alone.
The City is clearly not even trying to implement its own plan to address its own findings “that in many areas [in Khayelitsha] the lighting was fairly poor and not in compliance with national standards.”
Mandisa Dyantyi Deputy General Secretary 074 386 1584
Khadija Bawa Researcher 072 663 3695