Necklacing, not Zille, is what should disturb Mthethwa
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa appears to be going out of his way to create obstacles in the Western Cape. Earlier this month, he described the province's Community Safety Bill - which allows the Western Cape to monitor the police - as unconstitutional.
He threatened court action if it went ahead.
Yesterday, Mthethwa's office responded sharply again - to an initiative by Western Cape premier Helen Zille, who has been pressed by community leaders to deal decisively with the escalation of vigilante action in Khayelitsha that has resulted in the necklacing of nine people so far this year.
Instead of offering constructive ideas on how to deal with this grotesque act, Mthethwa's spokesman described as "disturbing" the setting up of a commission of inquiry into the violence.
For Zille, it is a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't.
She is regularly accused of not delivering to the black citizens of the province, but when she attempts to do so, she is portrayed as a political opportunist.
The suggestion of an inquiry into the violence and lack of proper policing in Khayelitsha did not come from Zille. It came from the Social Justice Coalition with whom she had conferred on Friday.
But instead of its suggestion being welcomed, we have an ANC minister whose grandstanding is likely to cost lives and further expose the residents of Khayelitsha to the risks of becoming victims of both crime and vigilante action.
What has Mthethwa done, beyond one visit to the township, to chastise the residents for this trend of necklacing?
Zille, at least, is trying to take action - and rightly so.
Necklacing cannot be allowed to continue and neither can the high rate of crime.
It is part of Mthethwa's brief - as national minister of police - to ensure that the entire country's population is safe - and that certainly should include the Western Cape.