n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The Khayelitsha commission of inquiry : perceptions and experiences among senior police personnel

Volume 29 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Public enquiries into aspects of police and policing are no stranger to twentieth century South Africa. This paper focuses on the Khayelitsha Commission, which was mandated to investigate allegations of 'police inefficiency' and a 'breakdown of relations' between the police and the community. It is particularly concerned with the views and experiences of a sample of police who testified before the Commission. Little in fact is known about the experiences of police as the primary subjects involved in official inquiries. The paper attempts to fill this gap by exploring how police personnel experienced the process itself. Data collection relied on both field observations of the public deliberations of the inquiry and interviews with sixteen members of the South African Police Service who testified. The data reported on here provide insight into the perceptions and experiences of the raison d'être, terms of reference, operational procedures, findings and recommendations of the Khayelitsha inquiry. Understanding police experiences of public inquiries may yield insight into the willingness of the organisation to engage or dismiss recommendations forthcoming from public inquiries.

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