The Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry: Challenging the scope of provincial policing powers

  • Phumlani Tyabazayo Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature
Keywords: Police, Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry, Constitution, Minister of Police, National Police Commissioner, Constitutional Court, South Africa, policing powers


On 24 August 2012, the Premier of the Western Cape appointed a commission of inquiry, in terms of section 206(5) of the Constitution, to probe complaints of police inefficiency and a breakdown of relations between the community and the police in Khayelitsha, a township in the Western Cape. The Minister of Police and the National Police Commissioner challenged this decision and lodged an urgent application with the High Court of the Western Cape. The adjudication of this matter by the High Court and, subsequently, by the Constitutional Court, presented an opportunity for the courts to clarify the scope of provincial policing powers. This article analyses the courts’ interpretation of the scope of provincial policing powers and argues that the adjudication of this matter has clarified the powers of provinces with regard to policing. The article also examines impediments to the exercise of provincial executives’ policing powers.

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