Five years since the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry, and not much has changed for the residents of the impoverished township. The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) says that the community of Makhaza in Khayelitsha continues to face obstacles from national, provincial and local government as far as accessing justice is concerned. The SJC said despite key findings to improve the lack of infrastructure in Khayelitsha, government failed to implement the recommendations of the Commission.
“The initial concerns [of the commission of inquiry] were surrounding allegations of inefficiency, five years ago. Today, Khayelitsha has seen high levels of contact crime and high levels of murder,” said researcher at the Social Justice Coalition, Khadija Bawa.
The Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry drew on the allegations of police inefficiency and breakdowns in relationships between South African Police Services and the community of Khayelitsha.
“All of the current problems we have around security and policing, not only in the Western Cape but in South Africa, the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry spoke to. It spoke about visible policing, domestic violence, youth gangs and the allocation of police resources. From what we’ve seen in the last five years, these recommendations still provide a very relevant roadmap to how policing should operate in South Africa.”
Bawa says that there’s a lack of political will to resolve the issues faced by community members.
“We’ve encountered multiple obstacles when it comes to national, provincial and local government accountability – there has been a massive lack of political will.”
“Civil organisations in and around Khayelitsha have made massive strides in trying to hold national, provincial and local government to account…but this is because community-based organisations have mobilised and not necessarily because there’s been political will to push the recommendations forward.”
A commemorative event will be held in Makhaza and is open to the public.
“The SJC and the community of Makhaza will commemorate the fact that access to justice has been an obstacle for this community,” said Bawa.
A key point in the complaints of the community of Makhaza and the SJC is the failure of government (local, provincial and national) to implement
Recommendation 19 of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry. This recommendation addresses the issue of inadequate policing infrastructure and recommends that a new Makhaza police station should be established.
“The Makhaza Police Station, which was the second highest priority for the police in the Western Cape in 2004, has still not been constructed 15 years later.
The SJC has tracked the failure of the SAPS to implement this recommendation. The failures to take the necessary steps to ensure the construction of the Makhaza Police Station have been reflected in the Police’s annual reports. In two presentations made to the Portfolio Committee of Police in 2018 we highlighted these failures. Since then, the SAPS finally acquired the land for the proposed police station.
To date, however, no construction has been initiated on the site ear-marked for the station,” read a statement by the SJC.