Mthethwa requests meeting with Zille over Commission of Inquiry

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pretoria - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has written to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille requesting a meeting to discuss her announcement of a Commission of Inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency in Khayelitsha.

"The meeting, once confirmed, would also focus on understanding the rationale by the Premier on why such a commission of inquiry is the most appropriate mechanism to establish the veracity of the allegations of police inefficiency and a breakdown in relations between the community and the police in Khayelitsha," the Police Ministry said.

Mthethwa wrote the letter to Zille on Monday, in the "spirit of co-operative governance and co-operative intergovernmental relations," it added.

"I also desire that by writing to you, we shall avert an intergovernmental dispute. This is necessary as organs of state are constitutionally bound to co-operate with each other in mutual trust, good faith, to assist and support each other," Mthethwa said in the letter.

The Ministry said that while Mthethwa had absolute respect for Zille's right to establish a Commission of Inquiry, he held the view that the appointment of such a Commission at this stage was premature and may impact on other initiatives currently underway.

The minister remained concerned about crime, particularly gender-based violence in the Khayelitsha district and given the challenges, police continued to do their best in dealing with the situation, the ministry said.

In addition, Mthethwa had visited and held various community participation meetings around Khayelitsha and surrounding areas.

"I therefore, request that you postpone the commencement of the work of the appointed Commission of Inquiry so that we may discuss the matter to enable us to find possible alternative resolutions, if any, to the challenges that you believe exist in Khayelitsha," said Mthethwa in his letter.

To help resolve the challenges, Mthethwa intends to discuss Zille's correspondence to the National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega, as well as the processes and structures that are underway in resolving the challenge of crime in Khayelitsha.

Since the announcement of the Commission, Mthethwa received a report and a briefing relating to the matter from the National Commissioner of Police.

He has also requested his legal team to consider the matter and provide him with advice as soon as possible.

"I am approaching this request with an open mindset, mindful that through our pending discussions, should I become convinced that this Commission of Inquiry is necessary, I shall ensure that my department co-operates fully with it," Mthethwa said in the letter.