Clare Ballard presents an expert report at the Khayelitsha Commission

Community Law Centre’s researcher, Clare Ballard, yesterday delivered a report and presented a submission, which dealt with independent oversight of the police at the Khayelitsha Commission. This is a commission of inquiry into allegations of police inefficient in Khayelitsha and a breakdown of relations between the community and the police in Khayelitsha. According to her report issues of the effective oversight of police stations and investigations into SAPS were raised during the course of the Khayelitsha Commission’s (the Commission) phase 1 hearings.

Her report dealt with the following the value of independent oversight, foreign and international models of best practice, oversight structures relevant to the Khayelitsha police stations, and gave recommendations.

This report focused primarily on oversight functions insofar as it pertains to the protection and fulfilment of the rights of detainees. It must be said, however that effective oversight over operational concerns helps ensure good governance, the combating of corruption and the swift reaction to crime – concerns no doubt relevant to the fulfilment if citizens’ right to freedom and security.

The report also pointed out that, the value of regularised, unannounced inspections from an institution that has complete independence from its subject cannot underestimated, particularly when dealing with detained suspected offenders, a category of society that are extremely vulnerable. Oversight structures involved in monitoring and inspections must, however, strive to utilise the same set of standards when evaluating compliance.

In addition, those institutions involved in investigations must have a formalised system of referrals. There must be agreement regarding which institutions will deal with certain categories of complaints and a system whereby complaints, once investigated, are referred to the relevant prosecuting authority.


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