Public hearings to begin in Khayelitsha

The first of 22 days set aside for public hearings will start at the Khayelitsha commission today.

Commissioner Kate O'Regan and the police's lawyer Norman Arendse chatting at the Khayelitsha Police Station on 21 January 2014. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry will today hear oral testimony on the first day of public hearings in the township.

Provincial Premier Helen Zille established the commission in August 2012 to investigate allegations of police inefficiency in Khayelitsha and an alleged breakdown in the relationship between community members and police.

The premier was under pressure from non-government organisations to do something about a rise in vigilante killings.

An official from the provincial Community Safety Department and a Khayelitsha resident will be called as witnesses today.

It's the first of 22 days of public hearings, comprising phase one of the commission's proceedings.

Evidence leader Nazreen Bawa says the first witness will give the commissioners a breakdown of the township's geography.

"The police precincts, the areas and the schools are all part of the initial evidence, which will be part of the context setting for the commission. We're going to look at the geography and economics."

On Wednesday, commissioners Justice Kate O'Regan and advocate Vusi Pikoli visited areas affected by vigilante killings, violent crime and gangsterism as part of their inspections in-loco.

Watch EWN's 2012 report below on the spate of mob justice killings which prompted the setting up of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry.