Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says she will not establish a commission of inquiry into child murders unless activists give her more material to work with.
Zille has been under pressure from opposition parties and non-government organisations to “do something” about 30-plus child murders this year.
But Zille told the provincial legislature on Thursday she would consider establishing a commission only after an expert investigation of at least six cases.
“Those families can help us by saying what the police or government agencies could have done to prevent killings of their children in the research that we want to do‚” she said.
All the information at her disposal pointed to children being murdered by people they know within the confines of their homes‚ something that was “very difficult to police”. Also‚ many of the cases had been investigated by police and the perpetrators had been found.
Zille said she had told NGOs calling for an inquiry that she would consider establishing one only if it would help to prevent further murders. “It takes a very long time and a lot of money and a lot of planning to set up a commission of inquiry‚ and at the beginning it’s worthwhile knowing that some real value will come out of it‚” she said.
The preliminary investigation she wants activists to conduct would look at common factors‚ variables and unanswered questions in at least six cases.
“If we find that there was information that could not be gained in any other way but through a commission of inquiry‚ then we could go ahead and establish it‚” she added.
The ANC’s Maurencia Gillion said Zille had not taken the same approach when she set up the commission of inquiry into the breakdown of relations between police and the community in Khayelitsha.
But Zille said she appointed the Khayelitsha commission to find out why more than 90 people had died at the hands of vigilantes and what could be done to stop such killings.