Mthethwa stand-off looms over bill
POLICE Minister Nathi Mthethwa is headed for a showdown with the DA-controlled Western Cape government, and has threatened court action to oppose a bill which would give the province greater oversight over police.
Yesterday Mthethwa's spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, said the Western Cape Community Safety Bill clashed with the constitution. He said Mthethwa took advice from constitutional law experts who found "the bill was not constitutional in its entirety".
The Western Cape Community Safety Bill would grant the province powers to monitor the police and "foster greater co-operation between the police and communities".
It also creates a police ombudsman.
This is the latest incident in which Community Safety MEC Dan Plato has locked horns with Mthethwa and provincial police departments over their management and oversight.
Plato has been lobbying for the re-introduction of specialised police units to fight gangs and drug traffickers, a request which has up until now, received a cold reception from the provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer.
Yesterday, Plato said Mthethwa's response to the bill was "disappointing and strange".
"The constitution was carefully considered while drafting our bill. We are confident it is in line with constitutional and legal principles.
"That is why it is so disappointing the minister opposes efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the police in the Western Cape," he said.
Instead of taking powers from the police, Plato said the bill sought safety for communities across the Western Cape by improving oversight mechanisms.