Khayelitsha commission: Mthethwa approaches ConCourt
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa is to approach the Constitutional Court following a court ruling against his bid to stop a commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha.
“The minister has now decided to make an application for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court,” his spokesperson, Zweli Mnisi, said today.
The application will be based on the contents of the minority judgment in his unsuccessful bid to stop the inquiry.
In the majority judgment handed down in the Western Cape High Court, Mnisi explained, it was concluded that Western Cape premier Helen Zille had complied fully with the principles of co-operative government, so the application made by Mthethwa had to be dismissed.
“The minority judgment, on the other hand, had concluded that the intergovernmental processes had not been fully complied with, and would have ordered the parties to finalise those processes and to report back to the court, so that the court could consider the application again,” he said.
An official at the Constitutional Court said the application had not been received by this morning.
Mnisi said the minister believed the approach adopted in the minority judgment was the correct one.
In the case that was dismissed on January 14 by the Western Cape High Court, Mthethwa tried to stop Zille setting up a commission of inquiry into policing in the Cape Town suburb Khayelitsha after complaints by various community organisations last year.
Residents were complaining that police inaction had compelled them to take the law into their own hands, leading to vigilantism.
Zille, who leads opposition party the Democratic Alliance, was accused of trying to create newspaper headlines and undermine the independence of the police.
The commission was supposed to have been headed by retired Constitutional Court judge Kate O’Regan and former National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Vusi Pikoli, with public hearings scheduled from November 12 to December 14 2012, and a full report due on February 24 2013.
Mnisi said both Mthethwa and the National Commissioner of Police General Riah Phiyega had undertaken to work with Zille and civil society organisations which had wanted the inquiry to address their concerns.
Phiyega had established a task team to consider the matter and it had submitted a comprehensive report to her already, which suggested that further investigations were necessary.
She had drafted terms of reference for the broader enquiry, which Mthethwa had endorsed.
He did not want two inquiries considering the same complaints – so he wanted Zille to stop hers.