Discussion on Judgment in Minister of Police and Others v Premier of the Western Cape and Others presented by the CSC and SJC
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Discussion on Judgment in Minister of Police and Others v Premier of the Western Cape and Others presented by the CSC and SJC

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To discuss the unanimous judgment of the Constitutional Court in Minister of Police and Others v Premier of the Western Cape and Others, as well as its implications for policing, the power of ...

To discuss the unanimous judgment of the Constitutional Court in Minister of Police and Others v Premier of the Western Cape and Others, as well as its implications for policing, the power of provinces, and intergovernmental cooperation.

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Discussion on Judgment in Minister of Police and Others v Premier of the Western Cape and Others presented by the CSC and SJC Discussion on Judgment in Minister of Police and Others v Premier of the Western Cape and Others presented by the CSC and SJC Presentation Transcript

  • Discussion on Judgment in Minister of Police and Others v Premier of the Western Cape and Others Regarding the appointment of the O’Regan-Pikoli Commission of Inquiry into Police inefficiency and a breakdown of relations between the community and the police in Khayelitsha Prepared by Craig Oosthuizen
  • Background 13 Dec 2003 13 Dec 2004 16 Dec 2005 23 May 2008 TAC activist, Lorna Mlofana, Murdered 1000 people from TAC/MSF march in remembrance of Lorna TAC activist, Nandipha Makeke, murdered and raped 5000 from TAC/MSF march for safety & justice 4 Feb 2006 23 Sept 2010 4 Oct 2011 28 Nov 2011 Zoliswa Nkonyana murdered 600 activists picket Parliament 500 activists hand memorandum to MEC Dan Plato requesting Commission of Inquiry Official complaint lodged with Premier Helen Zille by SJC, TAC, EE, Triangle Project and NU 24 Aug 2012 5 Nov 2012 14 Jan 2013 6 Aug 2013 Premier Helen Zille officially appoint the Commission of Inquiry SAPS applies for the WC High Court for an urgent interdict to stop the Commission of Inquiry HC dismisses SAPS interdict with costs Constitutional Court hears SAPS application Outbreak of Xenophobic violence
  • Constitution Section 206 (3) Each province is entitled (a) to monitor police conduct; (b) to oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of the police service, including receiving reports on the police service; (c) to promote good relations between the police and the community; (d) to assess the effectiveness of visible policing; and (e) to liaise with the Cabinet member responsible for policing with respect to crime and policing in the province.
  • Constitution Section 206 (5) To perform those function a province may “may investigate, or appoint a commission of inquiry into, any complaints of police inefficiency or a breakdown in relations between the police and any community”
  • Principal Arguments SAPS (Applicant) WC Province (Respondent) SJC (Respondent) • Premier exceeded her powers in appointing commission • Terms of reference too broad • Power to oversee police did not include power to subpoena • Premier was fulfilling Constitutional duty • Terms of reference clearly limited (Khayelitsha & SAPS) • S 206(5) of Constitution had no teeth with power to subpoena • Terms of reference clearly defined • Power to subpoena is implied where matter investigated is of public interest (SARFU case) • No power to subpoena would defeat purpose of S 206(5)
  • Judgment Unanimous Judgment in support of the Commission - Written by DCJ Moseneke
  • Judgment The power of SAPS: “Objects of the police service are to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property and to uphold and enforce the law.” “The Constitution makes it plain that policing is a national competence.” “The President appoints the Commissioner. In the Commissioner lies the power to ‘control and manage the police service in accordance with the national policing policy’ and the directions of the Minister responsible.”
  • Judgment The power of SAPS continued: “the Constitution provides for concurrent national and provincial legislative competence over the policing function.” “political responsibility for policing vests in the Minister who must set the national policing policy after hearing out provincial governments on the policing needs and priorities of provinces.” “a provincial executive is entrusted with the policing function as set out in [Chapter 11] or given to the provincial executive in national legislation or the national policing policy.”
  • Judgment SAPS Response to the complaint: “over nine months the Premier sought the response of the Provincial Commissioner over the complaints and how they could be addressed.” “In early July 2012, seven months after the original complaint, the Commissioner requested a task team to investigate the issues raised in the complaint.” “neither the Premier nor the complainant organisations were informed of further steps that the Police Service would undertake as a result of the task team investigation.”
  • Judgment Does the Premier have the power to appoint a commission? “Section 206(5) accords a province a clear power to establish a commission of inquiry into policing function.” “The Constitution requires accountability and transparency in governance.54 And it establishes both a general framework for oversight as well as specific mechanisms through which a province may exact accountability.” “The complainants sought to invoke these oversight mechanisms, which will be best served by a commission entrusted with powers of subpoena over members of the Police Service.”
  • Judgment Does the Commission have the power to subpoena? “The suggestion that the subpoena power amounts to “control of the police service” as envisaged by section 207 is an unwarranted overstatement that has no merit.” “a commission of inquiry appointed by a province under section 206(5) has the implied power to subpoena members of the police service to attend its hearings, testify before it and produce documents and other evidence that may be lawfully required of members of the Police Service.”
  • Judgment Intergovernmental relations: “A dispute only arose after the Commission had been appointed.” “Minister and the Commissioner did not declare a dispute as required by the Framework Act; instead they approached the High Court.” “Courts must be astute to hold organs of state to account for the steps they have actually taken to honour their co-operative governance obligations well before resorting to litigation.”
  • Where to now Commission Timeline: 13 November 2013 – Preliminary sitting on the procedure to be followed by the Commission 21 January – 22 February 2014 – Phase one of public sittings 24 March – 28 March 2014 – Phase two of public sittings (expert evidence)