Tempers flare at Khayelitsha policing inquiry

Adam Armstrong

Justice Kate O'Regan has hurried along the advocate for police at the time-constrained Khayelitsha commission of inquiry.

Time limits have been set for questioning in the second phase of the Khayelitsha commission of inquiry. (David Harrison, MG)

Phase two of the inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha is under way under tight time constraints and tempers were frayed this morning when one of the commissioners, Justice Kate O’Regan, asked advocate Norman Arendse for the South African Police Service to finish up his questioning of expert witness Sean Tait.

The second phase of the commission, which started at the start of the week and whose public component is limited to this week, is scheduled to hear four or five expert testimonies a day. There is a time limit set for each advocate for their round of questioning.

After O’Regan asked Arendse to wrap up his questions, she went on to say: "Perhaps if you put your questions more crisply, you would move more quickly."

Arendse responded by asking, "Am I not putting my questions crisply?", to which O’Regan replied: "No".

A heated exchange followed in which both spoke firmly. It ended with Justice O’Regan saying: "I am not impressed with your tone. You will have until quarter to 12."

The complainant legal team has criticised Arendse for not being adequately prepared. He appeared to be unaware yesterday of the dates during which two of the three police stations in Khayelitsha had been built, for example. –

GroundUp is a community journalism project that reports on stories from South Africa’s townships.

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