Mthethwa takes aim at Zille's plan
A new row is looming between the Western Cape government and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa - this time over the province's planned commission of inquiry into policing on the Cape Flats.
Social Justice Coalition asked Premier Helen Zille in October to establish the commission to investigate alleged police inefficiency and the state of the justice system in Khayelitsha.
It claimed shoddy police work led to cases being thrown out of court and frustrated residents were taking the law into their own hands.
When Zille announced on Friday that her cabinet had, in principle, endorsed the establishment of the commission, Mthethwa hit back.
Zille said: "It was decided that there are adequate prima facie grounds to warrant this step.
"The latest sets of complaints have been sent to the police for their comment."
Zille said the police had until tomorrow to respond.
Nine people, alleged to have robbed residents, have been brutally murdered in vigilante attacks in Khayelitsha this year.
Zweli Mnisi, Mthethwa's spokesman, yesterday described the proposal as "disturbing", accusing Zille of acting for political reasons.
"As the ministry we always encourage oversight on the police but people must not do so for narrow political reasons," said Mnisi.
"We will reach out to the premier's office and get clarity and, based on that, we will decide whether to take legal advice on its constitutionality."
In an open letter to Zille on Friday, the non-governmental organisation said that, though crime, particularly murder, was on the decrease across South Africa, Khayelitsha had experienced the opposite - 283 murders in 2008-2009, 290 in 2009-2010 and 310 in 2010-2011.
"Each day our friends and neighbours are robbed, beaten, raped and murdered. We cannot walk to communal toilets or public transport without fear of falling victim to crime.
"When we try to report crimes to seek justice, we are turned away from police stations or treated very poorly."
This is not the first time that Mthethwa has opposed security initiatives in Western Cape.
He clashed with the province earlier this month over its Community Safety Bill, which would grant the province more powers to monitor police. The bill would also allow for the creation of a police ombudsman.
Mthethwa labelled the bill "unconstitutional".
Community safety MEC Dan Plato wants the return of specialised police units to fight gangs and drug traffickers.