Khayelitsha: The link between alcohol & crime

A formal study into the link between alcohol & crime will be conducted in Khayelitsha.

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 - In a possible first for South Africa, a formal study into the link between alcohol and crime will be conducted in Khayelitsha.

This emerged at the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry, which resumed on Monday.

The inquiry, which was set up by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, is investigating alleged police inefficiencies in the township and an alleged breakdown in the relationship between authorities and the community.

Chief Executive Officer Liquor Board Thys Giliomee says there has never been a formal South African study to determine whether alcohol consumption gives rise to crime.

He told the Khayelitsha Commission what they do know is that excessive alcohol abuse contributes to social ills and harms.

Giliomee says that besides the study, they will also look at the number of illegal shebeens in Khayelitsha.

Police estimate there are around 1,400 illegal taverns in the township.

Meanwhile, an expert witness at the Khayelitsha commission has suggested the police service revisit its resource allocation process.

Community law researcher Jean Redpath has found that at least 380 additional officers are needed to help boost policing in the sprawling township.

She was the first witness as the second phase of the commission started on Monday.

Redpath told the commission she believes police are not coping because of, what she's called, unfair and irrational resource allocation.

"There is a problem with the allocation because allocation is supposed to be based on the burden of policing and if you are resourcing Harare at the lowest number per 100,000, you are suggesting that the burden of policing is the lowest in Harare. Clearly that's not the case."