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WC police understaffed

The WC Community Safety Dept says there is one officer for every 3,200 people in Mitchell Plain.

One police officer has to look after 1000 people, according to a Western Cape report. Picture: Mbali Sibanyoni/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Community Safety Department on Wednesday said one police officer in Mitchell Plain is forced to fend for more than 3,200 people.

In areas like Nyanga and Khayelitsha in the Cape Flats, there is one police officer for more than 1,000 people, Community Safety MEC Dan Plato revealed.

The national average stands at one officer for 303 people.

Plato says while he accepts he can only play an oversight role, he blames police for being too complacent with some operations.

He also questioned the quality of anti-crime operations in gang infested areas following reports of 44 deaths in a weekend.

Community safety standing committee chairperson Mark Wiley says there has been a decrease in visible policing.

At the same time, the Constitutional Court is expected to rule on whether the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry will be allowed to proceed.

The commission was set up by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille in 2012 following several incidents of mob justice in Khayelitsha.

Residents said they lost faith in the police and accused them of being inefficient.

The Police Minister has taken the commission to court in a bid to prevent it from going ahead with the hearing as he believes it is unnecessary.

Judgment is expected in August.