Police chief mum on Khayelitsha inquiry

ANC Western Cape provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile has strongly criticised the commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha, which the Democratic Alliance-led provincial administration launched this week.

But national police commissioner Riah Phiyega is avoiding political rhetoric. Speaking on her behalf, police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said a legal team was study-

ing the terms of reference of the commission before giving an opinion.

"If the intention is good, then the fight against crime must not be ­compromised because of political differences and affiliations," Mnisi said. "We will not oppose for the sake of opposing."

In Khayelitsha, mob justice has become commonplace and vigilantes have killed more than 14 people in the area this year alone.

Residents have blamed the rise in vigilantism on a breakdown in the relationship between the communities and police.

Civil society organisations, which have collected many chilling complaints from residents about the police in Khayelitsha, have vigorously campaigned for a commission of inquiry to be launched.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's announcement of a commission to investigate allegations of police inefficiency and a breakdown in relations between the community and police has been welcomed, although some civil society organisations say it is long overdue.

They are also calling for Cape Town's metro police, an integral part of policing in Khayelitsha, to be included in the terms of reference of the commission.

Retired Constitutional Court Judge Kate O'Regan and former National Prosecuting Authority director Vusi Pikoli have been appointed as commissioners. They will report back to Zille within six months. Recommendations will then be made to the national police ministry.

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