Litigation: Constitutional Court policing battle draws in Equality Court

Communities in Khayelitsha, surrounding townships and informal settlements are keenly watching a Constitutional Court hearing to force the Police Minister to allocate resources to their communities. A Cape Argus report notes the case has been brought by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and others. The SJC, through its legal representative, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), is seeking leave to appeal against what it says is the Equality Court’s constructive refusal to grant a remedy for the unfair discrimination, concerning inadequate allocation of policing resources to townships and informal settlements.

As an alternative, SJC, Equal Education, and the Nyanga Policing Forum are seeking direct access to the Constitutional Court to determine the outstanding issues in the 2016 Equality Court application, or for the limited purpose of issuing directions to the Equality Court regarding the finalization of the proceedings before it. In 2018, the Equality Court found and declared that the allocation of police human resources in the province and the system used by the police to determine the allocation of police human resources unfairly discriminated against black and poor people based on race and poverty. However, the hearing on what relief should be granted to remedy the unfair discrimination found in the judgment was postponed by the High Court ‘to a date which shall be arranged with the parties’, the SJC said. SJC researcher Thando George said after months of attempting to arrange for a hearing on an effective remedy to address the unfair discrimination, the SJC approached the Constitutional Court as a last resort. LRC attorney Amy-Leigh Payne said since December 2014 the LRC and the state had been engaged in discussions.

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