South African Police Service Annual Report 2008/09, Programme 1 and 2

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15 October 2009
Chairperson: Ms L Chikunga(ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The committee was briefed by the South African Police Services (SAPS) on Programme 1, Programme 2 and the Financial Statements of their Annual Report for the financial year 2008/09. The committee was impressed that SAPS had received an unqualified audit, but were concerned over the implementation and policy formulation of sector policing, SAPS firearm losses and the training of SAPS members. The committee expressed their condolences over the death of Olga Kekana and police officers killed in the line of duty. It was deemed unacceptable that Linda Mtimkulu, Head of the Legal Division, was not present to account to the Committee. Other areas of concern included the distribution of police vehicles to stations and the efficacy and number of bullet-proof vest in SAPS members’ possession. Members examined in some detail the answers that SAPS had given to the SCOPA Committee, questioned the training and the effectiveness of this, asked also about the statistics, and stated that issues not fully covered in this meeting would be addressed in later meetings.

Meeting report

The Chairperson extended the condolences of the Committee to the families of the SAPS members killed and injured recently, and wished those injured a speedy recovery. She descried the killings.

She then congratulated the South African Police Service (SAPS)  on receiving an unqualified audit for five years, noting that the audit report for 2008/09 contained no matters of emphasis.  This was believed to be due to SAPS having the correct systems in place.

South African Police Service (SAPS)briefing
Commissioner Magda Stander , Deputy National Commissioner ,
Personnel, Management & Organisational Development, SAPS, thanked the Chairperson for the condolences expressed, and added that the Minister of Police and she had visited the aggrieved families.

SAPS would continue to strive to improve its performance.

Commissioner Julius Phahlane, Divisional Commissioner:Personnel Services, SAPS, presented Programme 1: Administration (see attached presentation for details), acomparing actual performance against targets with regard to Human Resource Management, Budget and Resource Management, Basic Service Delivery, Risk Management and Corruption and Fraud mitigation measures.

Commisioner Arno Lamoer, Divisional Commissioner:Visible Policing, SAPS, compared Visible Policing (VP) actual performance against targets (see attached document). Crime statistics for crimes dependant upon police detection were outlined, as well as the rate of reduction or increase of the various contact related crimes. The number of escapees from police custody (1144), attacks on police officials (629), killing of police officials (105) and acts of violence against the farming community (794) were outlined. The number of interventions in medium and high risk interventions was stated at 1492 and 230 respectively.

Commissioner Stefan Schutte, Divisional Commissioner: Financial & Administration Services, SAPS, went through the financial statements of the SAPS for the financial year 2008/09. SAPS had received an unqualified audit. The financial figures for Programme 1 were outlined.  This programme was highlighted as also being a support programme for the other programmes, including training, information technology and property management. Comparative analysis against other years indicated that SAPS had met its goal, especially in regard to Programme 2: Visible Policing. He referred to the Income Statement, and indicated that there had been full utilisation of voted funds and revenue collected was R376 million. Spending policy direction was met, with spending priorities accomplished in terms of improved remuneration and additional personnel. Overtime deployment due to VP at events like elections had led to a virement of funds. 

Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) said that Ms Mtimkulu of the SAPS Legal Division should have been present at this meeting, and voiced her dismay at the fact that she was not present.

Ms D Schafer (DA) agreed.

Comm Stander took note of this, and added that Ms Mtimkulu would be present at the meeting in the following week.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee would want the legal unit to be present.

The Chairperson stated that the programmes under discussion at this meeting were Administration and VP, Although finance cut across all programmes, she requested that Members confine their questions to these two programmes.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) said that she was contacted by an ex-SAPS member who wished to re-enlist, but was rejected due to not fitting in with Employment Equity (EE) quotas. The situation was ridiculous and she asked who would be able to deal with the matter.

Ms Kohler-Barnard requested the total number of outstanding disciplinary cases from the previous financial year, particularly since those whose cases were still pending continued to be paid. The finalisation figure of 1.77% for civil claims cases was questioned, and the number of actual cases was requested.

The Chairperson asked whether this question could rather be asked when Ms Mtimkulu appeared before the committee.

Ms Kohler-Barnard agreed, but added that Comm Stander had assured members that the delegation was capable of answering any legal questions.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked how many firearms had been lost by SAPS members, and how many were recovered. There was no detail on the number of SAPS members who still did not have their own bullet-proof vests. She also noted that micro-dotting of vehicles needed to be done, but there was also a need to first ensure that this method of vehicle tracking had not already been compromised by criminals. She requested the timelines in relation to the complete implementation of sector policing and asked whether this would be completed within the next three years. An explanation or theory for the increase in sexual offences was requested.  She asked whether those responsible for escapes had been arrested and expelled from SAPS. With regard to farm attacks, she asked what the situation was now, due to the closure of commando units. The status and dealings with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), in relation to the role in border security, was sought. Finally she asked for the success rate of live hostage recovery.

Comm Matthews Siwundla, Divisional Commissioner: Supply Chain Management, SAPS, replied that all officers possessed vests and 200 000 vests were in possession of members. SAPS was purchasing more to meet the expected increase in officers.

Comm Lamoer replied that SAPS had requested that Station Commissioners of high priority stations supply a plan of implementation by 31 October and that the outstanding high priority stations had until 30 November to comply. Priority stations would comply by June 2010 and all others by 31 December 2012. 

Comm Lamoer noted that the information on how many hostage victims were killed would be forwarded to the committee, but the majority of hostage interventions were successes. Ongoing discussion between the SANDF and SAPS was occurring and a planning session was to take place on 19 November. 

Comm Lamoer stated that the number of farm incidents had actually only resulted in 86 murders. Members who were responsible for escapes were held responsible.

Comm Phahlane replied that those who wished to re-enlist could direct their requests to the  National, Provincial and Divisional Commissioners who dealt with personnel, stating when and why they left the service and what their skills were. He added that re-enlistment would not have been considered only on the basis of skin colour. Up to September 2009, 37 former- member applications had been approved, of which 16 were white males and 6 were white females. Ex-members’ expertise and interim occupations were also used as a determining factor.

Ms Kohler-Barnard countered that she had seen letters sent to re-applicants stating that they did not meet EE requirements and that this applied to individuals who had only left the service months ago. She asked for a fuller answer.

Comm Phahlane repeated his answer, and added that he was not aware of individual cases that differed. SAPS would look at each case according to its merits.

The Chairperson stated that with regards to sector policing policy, SAPS had appeared before Standing Committee on Public Accountws (SCOPA) on 1 July 2009 and had stated that the SAPS  had no sector policing policy. He asked whether this was approved by 31 July.

Ms A van Wyk (ANC) warned that the policy draft had been in the pipeline for seven years, and she was not pleased to hear that implementation was now still only contemplated for completion in 2010. She asked whether this policy was still relevant after eight years had elapsed. 

Comm Lamoer replied that the policy was drafted in 2002, and that there was an instruction issued two years ago, which was contained in the draft policy. He added that less than 100 stations did not implement any form of sector policing.
Mr M George (COPE) appreciated the SAPS administration fully utilising the funds allocated, but asked if they were getting value for money. He asked for a comparison with the standards of police services in other comparable countries. He asked why it appeared that the SAPS budgeted R7 million for escapes, and why there were such high numbers of escapes from police custody. He also asked why there was a virement from VP, as it was the police services' core business, and suggested that perhaps there was over-budgeting.

Comm Stander replied that SAPS had achieved a lot, and was constantly striving to improve in terms of value. She added that SAPS possessed more than enough vehicles to provide their mandated function.

The Chairperson stated that in her constituency there were no available vehicles and that Comm Stander’s statement made her very concerned about distribution of resources.

Comm Stander replied that SAPS had approximately 40 000 vehicles and that distribution lay with the relevant Provincial Commissioners. She added that if there was a station without vehicles, the Chairperson should tell her where this was.

Comm Lamoer added that some of the SAPS station cells were not conducive to containment, but that courts often referred awaiting trial prisoners to stations. He added that a target was never put on the number of escapees, and that any escape was one too many.

Mr George asked what SAPS was doing about the provinces, as they were responsible for national management and provincial oversight.

Ms Van Wyk added that the committee was also referring to results. Crime fighting targets had not been reached, although the SAPS budget was increasing each year. National Treasury’s opinion was that the country was not receiving value for the money being spent by SAPS.

The Chairperson stated that the National Commissioner was responsible for adequate resource deployment according to the Constitution, and that blame could not be shifted onto the provinces.

Comm Stander replied that she was not shifting blame,; but that the National Commissioner met with the provincial Commissioners who were supposed to account for national compliance to him. She added that SAPS had entered into performance agreements with Provincial Commissioners.

The Chairperson replied that SAPS needed to attend to this matter, as the distribution of vehicles did not talk to the work being done by stations. Furthermore, these vehicles were open to abuse.

Ms Van Wyk stated that 18 072 members had failed operational training, and asked what the reason for this was, and what had happened to these members since. She also asked what the cost of this 13% failure rate was, adding that operational training formed a crucial part operational safety. With regard to finalisation of disciplinary hearings, she stated that the SAPS had not achieved its targets and that the reasons provided were not new. She asked why SAPS was not criminally charging these individuals and only putting them through a disciplinary process. She stated that the lack of career development and management processes was unacceptable. She stated that if SAPS had a career management programme, then this should have been included in the Annual Report.

Comm Gary Kruser, Divisional Commissioner:Training, SAPS, replied that members declared not competent were sent back for remedial exercises to their provinces and then mandated to re-take the training that they had failed. There were 200 operational courses and the reasons and costs for failure would be forwarded to the Committee in writing.

Comm Phahlane admitted that SAPS had underperformed in terms of disciplinary cases and that over the past two years the focus was on finalisation of cases, not taking into account the timeframes. He added that 519 cases had been carried over from the 2007/08 financial year. Disciplinary units had been established and officers who had committed criminal acts were criminally charged.

Ms Van Wyk asked for a simple reason in general why personnel were failing.

Comm Kruser replied that sometimes this had to do with fitness, or with the shooting tests, or where officers were “rusty” in their knowledge, or in detective training. He stated that there were a host of reasons and it was impossible to generalise..

Ms Schafer asked what the quality of police training was, as it was very clear that the police id not understand the law. She added that she had heard that training did not cover the law at all and asked whether this was true. Furthermore, she asked why only 32% of SAPS training centres had been accredited by Sector Education and Training Authorities.

Ms Schafer asked when the review of the reservist system would take place, and asked why SAPS needed a moratorium on reservists in the first place. She asked whether it was worth rigidly sticking to employment equity, given the increasing vacancy rate. She asked if training included target shooting.

Comm Kruser replied that the current training programme did have a law module and that SAPS included remedial training with regards to law. All personnel undergoing detective training re-did the law module. All basic training, management and leadership centres were accredited, and in-service institutions would be accredited by the end of the year. All provinces had the capacity to certify firearm proficiency. With regard to target shooting, SAPS had various levels, but did not train people to shoot at cars if the suspects fled. Officers were only allowed to shoot if the lives of any members of the public, or their own lives, were at risk.

Rev K Moeshoe (ACDP) asked what the rules were in the case of a person not stopping the car, as the Kekana incident showed that aim was taken at the driver and not the tyres. He asked what the responsibility of the SAPS was after someone was shot and injured or killed. He added that the media report of SAPS driving away from the scene was very worrying, and asked why, if a prima facie case existed, it would take months to conclude. He asked what the effectiveness of police bullet-proof vests was, as a company in the East Rand had said that SAPS vests did not stop rifle rounds.

Comm Lamoer replied that in terms of crime scene management, the first members on the scene were supposed to secure the scene and look after the injured. He added that the Independent Complaints Directorate was investigating the Kekana incident.

Comm Kruser added that SAPS members were not permitted to shoot if no lives were in danger, and that the procedure, in the case of a car not stopping, was to call for support.

Comm Hamilton Hlela, Deputy National Commissioner:
Supply Chain Management, Protection, Security & Evaluation, SAPS, replied that the SAPS vest specification emanated from the United States Institute of Justice and that all of their vests were examined to ensure 100-percent effectiveness. He added that the steel plate system alluded to by the company from the East Rand was outdated and dangerous. He stated that the SAPS vests being used were composed of 21 layer of Kevlar and that at a range of 5 metres a 9mm round only penetrated up to 5 layers. SAPS vest were certified to be rifle and pistol-round proof. He added that SAPS vests used ceramic plates. SAPS vests were compliant with South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and Armscor standards, thus making them of the highest international standard.

Rev Meshoe reiterated his question about rifle rounds and stated that there were claims that AK-47 rounds penetrated police issue vests.

Comm Hlela replied that SAPS issue vests did in fact stand up to AK-47 rounds and were completely rifle-round proof.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) was concerned about the SAPS officers subjected to s
uspension without salaries. He asked when SAPS would fill the personnel vacancy of 400 at senior levels.

The Chairperson stated that according to SCOPA, money spent on AVL was considered wasteful expenditure. She asked why SAPS was continuing to spending money on this.

Comm Schutte replied that when SAPS had appeared before SCOPA, it had said that 5000 AVL units would implemented this year and another 5000 next year.  He added that if SAPS could implement it properly AVL would be a very good thing. He stated that SCOPA believed this too, as long a proper monitoring system and disciplinary measures around the utilisation of AVL occurred.

Comm M Meyer, Assistant Commissioner, SAPS, added that 27 800 units had been installed in total and 1 000 units were in the process of being installed.

The Chairperson asked why there was an increase in house robbery.

The Chairperson drew attention to the fact that the presentation had stated that 19 801 personnel had been trained, but that the Annual Report showed that 11 034 personnel had been trained.

Comm Kruser replied that there were different levels of basic training and that as such the same person would be certified more than once, leading to discrepancy between the numbers.

The Chairperson replied that that did not explain why the figures were different, as the presentation was a summary of the Annual Report and as such there should be no difference.

Ms Schafer asked where street survival and firearm training was done.

Comm Kruser replied that it was done at a provincial level and that legally only the first level of training was mandated.

Ms  Schafer asked how SAPS did this in areas that did not even have training centres.

Comm Kruser replied that SAPS made use of private facilities.

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked how many, out of the firearms recovered, had been linked to criminal cases. He voiced concern over police and military issue R5 assault rifles being stolen and used by criminals. He asked for clarity on the killing and assault of police officers and asked when a policeman was considered to be “on duty”. 

Mr Ndlovu asked, in regard to virements, why these were used from the SAPS' core business of visible policing.

Comm Lamoer replied that deaths and assaults on duty were defined as those when officers were on active duty or placed themselves on duty when they saw a crime occurring.

Comm A Mofomme, Assistant Commissioner, SAPS, replied that SAPS losses included stolen and lost firearms and that as at September 2009, 2 944 firearms were lost in total and that 446 were recovered. He added that this was not solely for this financial year, but was the total figure over time. Marking of SAP firearms was still under way.

Ms Van Wyk asked how many of these stolen firearms were police issue R5 assault rifles.

Comm Lamoer replied that the question of R5 assault rifles and crime scenes was linked to detective services and forensic testing.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked why the recovery rate of SAPS firearms was so low.

Comm George Moorcroft, Assistant Commissioner, SAPS, replied that he could not provide the required reasons as SAP firearms were included in the total figure of stolen and recovered firearms.

Mr George stated that SAPS was actually supposed to provide the committee with statistics of firearms stolen from all security agencies and added that they needed to know about crimes in which these firearms were used.

Comm Schutte replied that SAPS had achieved its target in terms of VP and that there was a small surplus which was used  by cars for the Detective Programme. He added that all cost commitments of VP were met and addressed, with no compromise due to virement.

The Chairperson asked for the cost of implementing AVL for all police vehicles.

Comm Schutte replied that SAPS would not install AVL on all vehicles. Monthly fees would be R48 for the service, R37 for maintenance and a once-off unit cost of R457. 

Ms Van Wyk asked if the units were tamperproof.

Comm Meyer replied that they were.

Mr Nkoshilo Seimela, Director: Research and Statistics Unit, SAPS, replied that the increase in sexual offences could be attributed in part to changes brought about by the new Sexual Offences Act, which now included a wider range of crimes, and that SAPS was conducting a study to confirm this hypothesis. He added that he believed that the increase in house robbery was due to the economic climate, and SAPS was also conducting a study to confirm this hypothesis.

The Chairperson stated that it seemed that as long as house robberies did not result in murders or rapes they would not be taken seriously and properly investigated.

Mr Lekgetho reiterated his question about why suspended officers were not receiving salaries as they had not been terminated. He asked when SAPS was going to fill the 400 senior position vacancies.

Comm Phahlane replied that SAPS was in the process of filling the vacant posts before the end of the financial year. The seriousness of the offence was used to determine whether or not the officer in question was suspended with pay.

Ms Molebatsi asked whether there was a procedure for suspensions.

Comm Phahlane replied that there was a grievance procedure and a code of conduct.

Mr Lekgetho asked what the criteria were.

Comm Phahlane replied that there was a schedule of offences.

Ms Van Wyk added that the Committee needed to review the SAPS’s own investigations into its disciplinary code. She asked whether the redefinition of the term ‘child’ in the Children’s Act had also led to the decrease in child related crimes, as redefinitions were attributed to increasing crime statistics in relation to other offences.

Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) asked how safe SAP 13 storage was for confiscated items such as drugs.

Comm Lamoer replied that he did not think that SAP 13 stores were safe. and added that feasibility studies were under way to determine whether it was possible to centralise SAP 13 stores and remove them rom stations.

The Chairperson stated that the committee  would interact with the SAPS on issues that they did not have time to address in the meeting. According to the presentation it did not appear that sector policing was still the SAPS's core concern. Furthermore, she could not understand how the SAPS did not tell SCOPA that they were ratifying the draft sector policy with the Provincial Commissioners. There was concern about around the capacity and certification of station commissioners; and as such it was important that appointment of station commissioners was not a haphazard process.

She thanked the SAPS delegation but reiterated that it was not acceptable that the Legal Division was not present.

Comm Stander replied that it was her decision that led to the Legal Division not being present, and tendered another apology.

The meeting was adjourned.

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