South African Police Services; Independent Complaints Directorate: briefing

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14 November 2001
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

14 November 2001

Mr M E George

Relevant documents:
Presentation by the South African Police Services
Presentation by the Independent Complaints Directorate

The South African Police Services briefed the Committee on work relating to the eradication of organised crime and drugs from our society. The Committee probed the apparent link between the use of drugs and perpetration of crimes. It was evident from the briefing that dagga and mandrax are the most commonly used drugs in South Africa. There was great concern over the fact that South Africans consume 80% of the world's production of mandrax.

The Independent Complaints Directorate briefed the Committee on its activities and the re-engineering of its budget to ensure it will be used to the optimum. The point was raised whether members of SAPS were giving the ICD a tough time in the performance of their mandate and whether the Department has been ignoring the ICD's request for additional funding as a result of this dislike. The ICD did not confirm the aforementioned perception but it was evident that certain members of the committee felt it to be the case. The Committee was however impressed by the ICD's efforts in re-engineering their budget in order to make do with the funds that they have at their disposal.

South African Police Services (SAPS)
The delegation comprised National Commissioner J Selebi, Divisional Commissioner de Beer, Senior Superintendent G Mason, Senior Superintendent Labuschagne and Inspector Smit.

Senior Superintendent Mason conducted the presentation on organised crime and drug trafficking. He noted that a recent study showed a definite link between the use of drugs and the perpetration of crimes. The combined finding of the study, which was conducted in three phases, indicates that an average of 45,6% of the arrestees tested positive for at least one drug. An average of 70% of persons arrested in connection with housebreaking and 68,7% for drug and alcohol related offences were most likely to test positive for drugs. The aforementioned statistics would be useful in the formulation of crime and drug prevention policy, as well as health policy.

The efforts of the South African Police Services via the National Crime Prevention Strategy 2002/2003 is focussed on combating organised crime. Related to combating organised crime is the identification and analysis of drug hot spots. An Organised Crime Threat Analysis (OCTA) identified the following as the top threats:
-Drug related: 102 threats registered.
-Theft of motor vehicle: 85 threats registered.
-Fraud related: 71 threats registered.
-Armed robbery: 69 threats registered.
-Armed robbery of motor vehicles: 47 threats registered.
-Corruption: 31 threats registered.

Superintendent Mason said that most of the drug related threats are concentrated in the Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Gauteng. SAPS is currently engaged in Operation Crackdown which aims to stem the flow of drugs into our society. The successes of the operation is evidenced by the following seizures:
dagga: 25769kg
mandrax tablets: 32694
ecstacy tablets: 5298
cocaine: 24859 g
crack: 6 rocks
The illegal manufacturing of drugs is also becoming a phenomenon in SA. The opening up of illegal manufacturing plants has escalated since South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994.
Of greater concern was the fact that 80% of the world's production of mandrax is consumed in South Africa. SAPS attribute the high consumption of mandrax to the high consumption of cannabis in South Africa. The mandrax is apparently crushed into a powder form; thereafter it is mixed with the cannabis and smoked. In SA it is very rare for the one to be consumed without the other.

Cannabis is the only natural drug in South Africa. There are currently ± 1200 hectares under cultivation. SAPS have seized 717701kg of cannabis with a street value of R717701. It is interesting to note that the price of cannabis has been stable at around R1/1g. Commissioner Mason said that South Africa was being used as a transit point for the distribution of drugs throughout the world. The drug trade has even taken off in Africa. Since 1992 a large proportion of West Africans have entered into the illicit drug trade into and out of South Africa.

The drug trade has taken off immensely with the globalisation of the world's economies. It is becoming an increasingly attractive option to South Africans, given the dire state of affairs of our economy. As a result many South Africans have been arrested abroad for being couriers for the drugs. The numbers of arrests vary from 142 in South America to four in Asia. It was therefore apparent that the SAPS had to identify the drug hotspots in South Africa. The Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng were identified as major areas of concern. It was not surprising that most of the drug related offences perpetrated in these areas involved the trade or use of cannabis.

Adv Swart (DP) asked why the influx of drugs is more so at our borders than at our seaports. He also asked if South Africa is mainly used as a transit country for the distribution of drugs or whether it is an end user of drugs.

The Chair noted that it was clear from the presentation that South Africa is one of the largest users of drugs in the world and this is a dire state of affairs. Although Brazil is the largest producer of drugs in the world, they are one of the smallest end users of drugs.

The Chair discouraged the asking of further questions due to time constraints.

The rest of the presentation was conducted in a closed session, as SAPS were to divulge the names of major players in the organised crime and drug trade.

Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD)
The ICD briefed the Committee on the scope of its work and its budget. The delegation comprised of Adv K McKenzie, Mr T Tsabalala, and Mr E Balloi, Ms E Verster and Mr S Mabona.

Adv McKenzie emphasised that the ICD is committed to fulfilling their mandate even though their efforts had in the past been limited by budgetary constraints. The ICD had managed to restructure their budget to ensure it will be utilised more optimally. These changes include the re-engineering of the personnel structure. The management structure was streamlined to allow for more personnel at grass roots level. Expenditure on support services was also limited so that funds could be spent on the investigation of complaints. As a result of these changes the ICD was able to stay within the limits of their R25m budget for the period 2000/2001.

The programmes initiated by the ICD are, briefly, as follows:
• Programme 1: Administration
Head of administration, Mr Baloi, noted that the programme provides for the overall management and proper organisation of the ICD. The ICD is represented in all the provinces but unfortunately only four are adequately staffed. In order to satisfy all legislative requirements and to address shortcomings experienced in the support rendered to the line functionaries additional funding had to be made available to establish an Internal Audit Component.

• Programme 2: Investigation of complaints
The programme concentrates on the investigation and monitoring of specified categories of complaints lodged against members of the South African Police Services. There are currently 35 staff members performing the duties of investigators nationally and all of them are located at provincial offices.
The classification of cases and the numbers of complaints received from 1 April 2001 to 30 September 2001 are as follows:
Class 1: Deaths in police custody (266)
Class 2: Crime referred by Minister or MEC (0)
Class 3: Criminal offences by members of police (215)
Class 4: Misconduct by members of police (1896)
Class 5: Cases falling outside mandate of ICD (955)
The above figures reflect a significant increase of 24% over the same period last year.

• Programme 3: Monitoring and Development
The programme receives and registers complaints from the community, the Minister and provincial members of the Executive Council for Safety and Security. After an investigation, recommendations are made to the Director of Public Prosecutions and to the SAPS for criminal prosecution and departmental prosecution respectively. It further entails research into systematic problems and the making of recommendations to curb errant behaviour on the part of police members. The monitoring of the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act by SAPS also falls under this programme.

Ms Fester proceeded to give the Committee a breakdown of the ICD's budget allocations and expenditure trends. The expenditures for the programmes above for the year 2000/2001 are R10 107 000, R11 709 000 and R3 699 000 respectively.
The budget allocations for each programme before and after the re-engineering process are as follows:
• Programme 1: R12 677 000 (before); R10 659 000 (after)
• Programme 2: R10 118 000 (before); R10 290 000 (after)
• Programme 3: R3 920 000 (before); R5 766 000 (after)
It was therefore evident from the figures that the ICD has been engaged in efforts to make do with their current budget allocations. The re-engineering of their finances did however necessitate cutting down on expenditures at various levels.
The ICD is confident that it would meet the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

In conclusion Adv McKenzie noted that the ICD's mandate has been extended, even though their budget has not been increased. Crimes perpetrated by the police are on the increase and Ms McKenzie felt that the SAPS are not yet able to investigate themselves.

Mr M Booi (ANC) congratulated the ICD in the manner in which it is handling their finances. He felt that the ICD seemed to be very goal orientated.

Mr E Ferreira (IFP) said that he has the perception that the police dislike the ICD. Having said this is it not a problem getting co-operation from the Department of Safety and Security? Would it not have been easier for the ICD if they were under the Department of Justice?

Adv McKenzie felt it to be a political question and preferred not to give specific comment.

Mr P Zondo (ANC) asked what the working relationship between the ICD and the Safety and Security Secretariat is like.

Adv McKenzie stated that a working relationship with the Safety and Security Secretariat is present at a provincial level.

The Chair asked whether the number of deaths at the hands of the police have increased or decreased at the hands of the police since the inception of the ICD? Is there co-operation between the police and the ICD.

Adv McKenzie stated that in the past two years the amount of deaths in police custody has decreased by 10%. There has been great co-operation between the police and the ICD provincially but at national level it has been lacking in many respects.

What would the ideal budget for the ICD be?
Adv McKenzie stated that an additional R5m per year over the next three years would suffice.

The Chair enquired what the relationship is between the ICD and the Anti-Corruption Unit.

Adv McKenzie noted that the Anti Corruption Unit has been very co-operative with the ICD as far as making their resources available to them. She did however point out that the work of the respective organisations is very different.

The Committee appeared impressed by the manner in which the ICD had coped with their budgetary problems.

The meeting was adjourned.


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