Police resource inequality case to be heard in February

SJC members and residents of Khayelitsha and Nyanga in front of the gates of Parliament. Photo by Bernard Chiguvare

The Equality Court sitting in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday postponed the hearing of a case brought by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC ), Equal Education and Nyanga Community Policing Forum against SAPS to 14 and 15 February 2018 for final arguments.

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

The Equality Court sitting in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday postponed the hearing of a case brought by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC ), Equal Education and Nyanga Community Policing Forum against SAPS to 14 and 15 February 2018 for final arguments.

The civil organisations claim allocation of police resources in the Western Cape has failed and that it unfairly discriminates against black and poor people.

According to the organisations, more police officers and other resources are currently allocated to affluent areas with relatively low crime rates. This is one of the findings of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry.

SAPS dismissed the argument by the organisations claiming that resources are based on crime patterns.

“We know that poor communities are vulnerable and need policing but crime patterns continuously change and this affects the allocation of resources,” says Advocate Thabani Masuku for SAPS, further explaining that areas where crime cases are under-reported are likely to be under-resourced.

Masuku argued courts should not be involved in the allocation of police resources.

“At this stage we have not failed. We are in the process of reevaluating police resource allocation. SAPS is in a position to deal with the allocation policy. Courts should not be involved, ” he said.

SJC physical graph showing the disproportionate allocation of resources and crime rates in the Western Cape. Photo By Bernard Chiguvare

Asked what he felt about the proceedings and the arguments from SAPS, Dalli Weyers from SJC said he is happy about their presentation made from 28 -30 November 2017 but feels some of the arguments made by SAPS were upsetting.

“We are feeling good about the proceedings. Our senior counsel have made it clear what we are asking for. We are in no way telling SAPS what to do but simply asking the courts to find the racial discriminations and asking the police to go and come up with a system that fixes that.

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“SAPS arguments are upsetting. They should not make a distinction between the murder of a child and the theft of a purse. Policing requirements of these two cases are different. Murder cases result in death and the finality of death requires more kind of dedicated and investigative resources than the snatching of a purse.”

To the argument that courts should not be involved, Weyers responded that it does not hold. “No matter the complexity of what the government is doing, there has to be an option to come to courts for some declaration to say that what the department is doing is some form of discrimination.”

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About Bernard Chiguvare 30 Articles
Originally from Zimbabwe and since 2014 I been contributing to different publications in South Africa. My area of focus as a reporter is on the rights of vulnerable communities and foreign nationals in any country.