Vavi sympathises with overworked police

Zwelinzima Vavi says he sympathises with Khayelitsha police.

Suspended Cosatu General-Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - Suspended Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi says he sympathises with the Khayelitsha police.

He attended the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry on Monday following the death of his 25-year-old relative.

Busiswa Sizaba was found dead in a street in Harare township.

Speaking to 567 Cape Talk, Vavi said the police handled the matter badly.

"Police arrived at my sister's place on 21 January to say that your granddaughter was picked up dead on the streets on 17 January. This means that it takes them five days to locate a family of a person murdered almost in the same section. I find that absolutely disgusting."

He says the family of the victim did not receive any assistance from the police.

"Secondly, they leave no further details. The family has to take up the investigation on their own. The father of the victim has to go back to the police to get more information regarding the investigation."

Vavi says the community does not trust the police.

"I then establish that they have lost trust in the police completely. They are now beginning to celebrate mob justice as the only option that they have."

However, he says he understands the challenges facing the police.

"I find myself in a tight corner. I'm also a trade unionist, who represents these police and who knows their plight, the overload on their shoulders, the violence they take to their families and the lack of basic resources and support for the police. You sympathise with them as well."

He says management has failed the police.

"There is no leadership. There is no management skill to ensure that the police are provided with the support and resources. We have a third commissioner at the national level who is not a train police officer and that's a first problem."

Vavi will now try to get on the commission's list of witnesses.

The commission was set up by Premier Helen Zille to investigate alleged police inefficiency in the area following several incidents of mob justice.