The SAPS briefed the Committee on their Programmes 3, 4 and 5, namely Detective Services, Crime Intelligence, Protection and Security Services. Members raised questions about the high number of undetected cases and the reasons that led to cases being closed in such a manner; the low conviction rates; complainants being referred to as ‘untraceable’; their setting of low targets; the definition of a child and the definition of conviction; corruption among the police; the Crime Intelligence’s reactive approach; the few number claims against the SAPS being finalised; difference between border lines and border gates; decrease in number of stolen vehicle; illegal firearms and narcotics recovered at ports; cost of VIP Protection Service; the parliamentary villages; funds being moved from Protection and Security Services and other areas of its financial management.
In the afternoon, the Committee was briefed by their parliamentary researcher on the Annual Report of the Independent Complaints Directorate ahead of its official presentation. The presentation provided an overview of service delivery and information on the distribution of complaints received. In its Administration programme, it was reported that the ICD had done well on the transformation front, had a vacancy rate of 6.2% and had a staff turnover of 28%. Under investigations and Information Management, it was pointed out that deaths in police custody remained a problem. In the current financial year, there was a 15% increase of deaths in police custody due to police action. A total 912 deaths were reported, up from 792 in the previous financial year. Kwa-Zulu Natal had a huge increase in terms of deaths in police custody. Other criminal cases against police, ranging from assault to corruption increased from 1 757 in the previous year to 1 931. Under their Research programme, the Committee was told that a task team had been established to conduct research on the management of persons in police custody as well as the use of police vehicles. The research revealed that not all police stations were abiding by the regulations and standing orders on custody management. There was emphasis on the need to provide advanced driving training for police officers. Members asked questions about authorisation to drive police vehicles; testing of police officers for substance abuse involved in driving accidents. It was reported that there were guidelines regulating the use of all government vehicles and that tests were conducted only if and when members were suspected of having driven under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
Annual Report of South African Police Service (SAPS)
Assistant Commissioner Vinesh Moonoo highlighted the performance areas, comparing the actual performance against the target. He explained that a new indicator, “Crimes Undetected” had been introduced. This was to assist in reducing the number of cases which are closed as undetected, where no one was linked to the case or arrested after the investigation. This was to be benchmarked in current financial year.
Divisional Commissioner Richard Mdluli explained that Crime Intelligence had two sub programmes:
▪ Crime Intelligence Operations, which was comprised of three types of operations: these were court directed operations, gathering information in order to understand a situation, and ad hoc operations. The indicator was the number of operations conducted to neutralize crime threats, and the target was to maintain or increase operations. There was a decrease from 18 631 operations in 2007/08 to 17 035 in 2008/09. The number of operations depended on the types of threats posed, which in turn determined on the frequency of operations. Since the frequency of operations depended on the types of threats on which the operations people tasked the department to assist them with, it was not easy to estimate the number of operations that will be generated, or to have an actual target.
▪ Intelligence and Information Management: The focus was on the number of crime intelligence products, and the target was to maintain or increase operations. There was an increase from 95 848 operations in 2007/08 to 142 020 in 2008/09.
Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) referred to the detectives as a whole. Although they had achieved most of their targets, the targets themselves were set too low. He asked what was meant by undetected cases. He also asked for the definitions of a child and a woman as they seemed to be mixed up. Were these definitions the same as those of other departments in the cluster.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) said that the low targets had an effect on the conviction rate. Low targets led to a low conviction rate. He asked why the targets were not being raised, particularly in areas where the actual performance was higher than the target. He asked why the department was limiting itself. The target on assault and rape against children under 18 was only 40% and he asked why this was so low. He asked if operations from Intelligence depended on the police stations asking for help. The reason for this question was that some problems were persistent. Was this because Intelligence was not getting requests from the stations and not being informed about these problems?
Ms D Schafer (DA) said that there seemed to have been some improvements in Detective Services. Although rates were still low, they were on the increase. She asked why there were so many undetected cases. What were the reasons for not being able to detect these cases? Target set for detection with regards to sexual offences against woman and children was set at 42% and although this had been reached, the target in previous year seemed to have been 72%. She asked why this target had been decreased. With regards to Crime Intelligence, she asked why the number of operations to neutralized cases had decreased, since the threats had not decreased. With regards to Legal Services, she asked why the rate of finalisation of claims had gone down from 55% to 1.77%. This was ridiculous and should be accounted for.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) stated that that she was concerned about the high number of cases undetected. Although a benchmark was being set, it was important to know what the figures were during the previous fiscal year. She asked what the determining factors were that caused what seemed to be a successful detection rate to collapse when it came to conviction rate. The conviction rate was lower than the detection rate in all the crimes. She asked what the determining factors were, and whether this was due to poor performance in court, or lack of support with regards to evidence control. Referring to the number of cases brought to court for sexual offences and assault against children (slide 22), she asked how many of these were successful.
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) stated that Detective Services were still challenged by a low conviction rate. She asked what was being done about the conviction rate, and what would be done differently. Crimes against woman and children has been a priority crime for the last 14 years, but there had been no success in making a lasting difference. Figures were not satisfactory. She asked whether the problem was with legislation and its implementation. One argument from SAPS was that it was very difficult to implement the Domestic Violence Act. She asked whether there was a problem with the understanding and expectations around that issue. With regards to the Criminal Record and Forensic Science Laboratory, she asked what was meant by the statement that the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) lacked capacity. She asked whether this had to do with the number of fingerprints on the system, and what it meant when given as a reason for not achieving the target.
Mr M George (COPE) stated that the number of undetected cases was too high. The target was set at 50% and criminals knew that 50% of them would not be detected or arrested. Out of that 50% an even smaller number was convicted. A clear message should be sent to criminals that when one committed a crime, they would be arrested and convicted. There were 990 charges against police for corruption, and only 50% had been convicted. This meant that either innocent people were being charged and found not guilty, or something was very wrong as this figure was too high.
The Chair asked whether Criminal Intelligence’s approach was too reactive and not proactive. Was the division dependent on people to give them work before actions could be taken? Did Intelligence not have any plans of its own? The report said that there had been some restructuring in the division, which led to intelligence capacity at all 1116 stations. This by itself should have increased performance, but the report did not indicate that this strategy was working. The restructuring should have produced results, and it became worrying when Crime Intelligence was not on top of the situation as a lot depended on it. She asked how conviction rate was defined in comparison to how it was defined by the prosecutors. This could have an impact on the conviction rate, and could make it even lower.
National Commissioner, Bheki Cele, said that with regards to the question on the number of police charged for corruption, every policeman that was suspected of a crime would be charged. The decision to convict was made by the courts. The decision to charge could not be made based on an assumption about whether or not the individual would be convicted. The SAPS did not take people to court because they were sure that they would be convicted. People we taken to court because they were suspects. The question about the difference between detection rate and conviction rate was a worrying one. This was not dependent on the police alone as it had a chain effect that involves other areas. Of the 144 cash heist people that were caught, most of them were foreigners. In such a case fingerprints could not be used as there were no records. Almost every criminal organization group, including bank robberies, had some foreigners in it, which made it hard to convict then. Home Affairs were coming on board in order to assist with the large number of unregistered people, some of whom were criminals. Another factor was that serious criminals had the best legal brains on their team, and the court was assigned junior prosecutors to these cases. There were instances were the lawyers representing the offenders were lecturers who had taught the prosecutors. This caused the prosecutor to freeze and decreased the chance of a conviction. Releasing criminals on bail also impacted on the conviction rate. There were people that had been out on bail 42 times for Schedule 6 cases. Criminals released on bail often tampered with the evidence and witnesses, therefore compromising the investigation.
Divisional Comm Mdluli referred to the question on the Crime Intelligence’s reactive approach. There were three types of operations, one of which was ad hoc operations. These were initiated by Intelligence with the purpose of identifying certain threats and situations. With ad hoc operations, Intelligence gathered its own information in order to support activities happening on the ground. With regards to the decrease in the number of incidents to neutralize crime, the increase in the actual information gathered under Intelligence and Information Management would have increased the number of crime intelligence operations. This would be difficult to explain without going into detail with operational issues.
The Chair said that the reason given for the decrease in the number of crime intelligence operations was confusing to the members. In terms of the report on ad hoc operations, 6559 operations were conducted for the period under review. She asked what the target was.
Divisional Comm Mduli replied that the target was to maintain or increase the number of operations. They did not have an exact target as it was to be benchmarked this year. Most of the figures used were with regards to operations generated in the last year. There had been an AFIS incapacity for 18 months, and they were trying to take over and carry on in terms of this division. He had not been in the division last year, but what was being presented was what was currently being done.
The Chair said that the Committee could not accept the excuse that someone had not been in office at the time. They were a department that had to account for everything that happened whether or not a particular individual remained in office or not.
National Commissioner Cele said that most of the benchmarks were previous achievements, and that these were being shifted as the division restructured. He added that the Intelligence unit had its own methodology due to shifting threats and circumstances, and that to understand that methodology would require certain people to be present. The better answer would have been that there had been a lot restructuring and shifting of benchmarks. He agreed that saying that one was not involved at the time was not an acceptable excuse.
Assistant Comm Moonoo referred to the low targets. He agreed that the targets were low, and that they were working to improve on this. Targets were at 19% when they started, however they were constantly improving on this. Undetected cases were cases that were reported, and investigated, but one was unable to link anyone to the crime due to lack of witnesses and other factors. These cases were re-opened if the information later became available.
Assistant Comm Moonoo said that the conviction rate depended on various factors. A large number of cases were withdrawn by the complainants themselves or by the prosecutors because the complainant could not be traced. With regards to contact related crimes, 67 384 cases were withdrawn by complainants in the last financial year. A further 22 181 were withdrawn by the prosecutors because complainants could not be traced. This had an impact on performance as these were cases were charges had already been made and taken to court. There were cases that were investigated and brought to court, which the court nullified. There were 60 237 such cases for various reasons. It could be that there were insufficient grounds for successful prosecution. Another influencing factor was diversion by the courts. Sometimes the court could order an alternative dispute resolution and that although this would be a success for the court, for the police this was a withdrawal. These cases were withdrawn by the court as they decided that the perpetrator should be placed on a certain programme. It could not be regarded as a conviction, and this had an impact on the conviction rate. There were also a number of cases pending. A survey was conducted with regards to people awaiting trial in custody. The survey revealed that 62.12% of the cases that he physically checked were actually ready for trial. He added that the definition of a conviction was when a person was taken to court and found guilty.
Assistant Comm Godfrey Lebeya said that the definition of a child was in accordance with the Children’s Act of 2005, where a child was defined as someone, male or female, under the age of 18. The definitions of conviction used by the courts and the police differed. The percentages obtained with regards to each definition differed because the formulas used were not the same.
Ms Van Wyk asked what was going to be done to ensure a better success rate in cases with witnesses, such as contact crimes and domestic violence.
National Comm Cele replied that in such cases, the perpetrator was known to the victim, and cases were often withdrawn. The law was that anyone who withdrew such as case should be charged, but this was not happening anymore, and he did not know whether that law had been abolished or not. He added that the next intake of SAPS would be more legally trained, especially with regards to statement taking. With regards to people disappearing, a new response unit was being formed in order to provide faster response. These people would be trained, mobilised and more efficient.
Mr George said that when charging a policeman with corruption, there should be concrete facts to support this, since it was different to charging an ordinary individual who was prone to crime. One could not wake up one day and decide to charge a policeman. The image of the police went a long way, and if they were charged, there should be strong evidence to support this.
Assistant Comm Edward Ngokha, SAPS Criminal Record and Forensic Science, said that the capacity of the AFIS was its ability to handle cases coming in, and the number of fingerprints coming in. The hardware and the software needed to be upgraded as they could not handle the amount of work coming in.
Divisional Comm Mthimkhulu said that the length of time it took to process civil claims was not dependent on the police. The conducting of civil claims was not within the powers of the SAPS. It was conducted on behalf of the police service by state or private attorneys. A new formula had been introduced to assist in reducing claims by 5%. In doing so, the history of civil claims was investigated, and it was discovered that it took three to five years to finalise a claim. The amounts reflected were not the amounts paid out, but rather the amounts instituted against the police service. Not all of these claims would be paid out as they included frivolous and inflated claims, hence the involvement in legal action. Unfortunately the new indicator still seemed to be slow, however there was downward management, and the results exceeded the 5% target set.
The Chair asked what the police man or woman would have done in order for it to be termed corruption. What impact did this have on crime fighting by the police? She asked for clarity on when a complainant would be regarded as untraceable, and who made that decision. She knew of a case were the complainant was a professional who worked in a hospital. After having reported the rape of a child, she had never been informed about the progress of the case. She asked whether it was possible that there could be some corruption involved in complainants being ‘untraceable’. Detectives were being paid to trace complainants every day, and yet the cases never got to see a day in court. These untraceable complainants led to the case being thrown out of court, and a person who had paid bail was free to go and rape another child. This seemed like an ongoing business and no one seems to be following this up.
Ms Van Wyk said that she welcomed the changes that would take place. She stated that there needed to be a measure that would be used with regards to the chain reaction on how one area affected the other. SAPS was its own biggest enemy with regard to the way the statistics were reflected. Treasury made it clear that performance management was absent in SAPS. What was being done about this? Or was the department waiting for a qualified opinion from the Auditor General? If the figures in Programme 4 on Intelligence were only related to serial murderers, serial rapists and paedophiles, as indicated by footnote five, then there was a problem. She asked for clarity on this. SAPS should move from a reactive approach to a more proactive approach. Each policeman should realise that they were gathering intelligence in whatever post they were in, and should become crime intelligence driven.
Mr Ndlovu said that he was confused by the figures in Programme 4, and asked for clarity on the phrase “neutralize crime threats”. In Programme 3 the Forensic Science Laboratory used 35 days as an indicator while the Criminal Record Centre used 30 days. He asked why a single indicator was not being used since these areas fell under the same umbrella. He asked if the definition as read from the Children’s Act was the same as the definition in the Child Justice Act. Would a difference in definition affect the percentages obtained? The definition used by the police should be the same as that used by other departments.
Rev Meshoe made an example of a situation where a child had been raped by someone known to them, and there was physical and doctor’s evidence to support this. If the mother of the child withdrew the case, what would prevent the police from continuing with the case? Was there a need to look at legislation to ensure that the investigation continue? With regards to the bail that was granted 42 times, he asked whether the police had at any point opposed bail. If not, why had this not been done? The police knew the risks that the accused posed, and if their opposition to bail was being denied, then there was a need to look at legislation. With regard to 62% of cases being ready for trial, he asked whose responsibility it was to ensure that the cases went to trial.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked whether all legal claims against the SAPS were taken to court, and who was responsible for deciding whether or not SAPS should pay. She asked where the fault lay that 62% of cases were ready for trial but the cases were not moving forward.
Ms Schafer stated that she knew for a fact that the police did oppose bail but were often denied. She had heard from the horse’s mouth that magistrates were too scared to refuse bail out of fear of being taken on appeal. If they granted bail they could not be taken on appeal. She went on to ask who decided whether or not to prosecute. The statistic of 1.77% civil claims finalised was too little, and should be improved upon. SAPS should consider asking for help from other departments. Community service from the Legal Society would go a long way to help improve the situation.
Ms M Dube (ANC) stated that statement taking was a major problem for SAPS. Some policeman could not even write an affidavit, which was the reason why so many cases were being thrown out of court. She asked whether this was considered in the training. She asked what the role of the CPF would be, and whether they would be trained in these areas.
Assistant Comm De Kock referred to the outstanding question on crime statistics. Table 13 on crimes against woman and children showed that there had been 20 141 sexual offences against woman, 30 124 offences against children, and the added total was 50 265. Table 5 showed that there had been 71 500 sexual offences, and the question posed was whether the difference of about 20 000 were all males victims. According to the system, they were all male. In the past the total in Table 13 would have been the same as the number in Table 5 because only a girl child and an adult woman could be raped. Since the new law was passed, the definition of rape was broadened to include males. Before the law was changed, the 20 000 male victims would have been registered under common assault.
Divisional Comm Mdluli stated that footnote 5 on Programme 4 should have been better phrased since there were other crime categories such as robbery with aggravated circumstances. In response to the question on what would be done, he said that the Crime Intelligence division would provide training to the handlers on the ground. They would be capacitating operatives on the ground as there seemed to be a vacuum in staffing. There would be working towards shifting from a reactive to a proactive approach in terms of gathering information before thing happen. He said that he was currently moving from province to province dealing with intelligence managers and members to see what the problems were and what needed to be done, while at that he was also looking at what could be done at a National level.
Divisional Comm Mthimkulu referred to the question on the finalization of civil claims. She said that 55.3% of civil claims had been finalized. The length of time took to finalize a claim was about 3-5 years. Figures that were shown in the financials were with regards to claims instituted in 2004/05. For 2008/09, the figures would be lower. Because of the time legal process took, which was out of SAPS control, as it was reliant on time frames as set by the rules. This was why only 1,77% of claims had been finalized. It was the policy of SAPS to consider the merits of every civil claim. If there was merit in defending the case, then the case would be defended. This decision was made with the advice of state attorneys. In some matters a negotiated settlement was made to the best advantage of the state. She could not at that time present figures on which matters had been settled and which had not, together with the ones that were currently before court.
Ms Kohler-Berman asked how long it took to negotiate a settlement.
Divisional Comm Mthimkulu replied that it took about thirty days depending on whether there was an agreement as to the summons proposals.
Ms Van Wyk said that the issue was not clear, and asked whether they were saying that only 1,77% had been settled. She asked how many claims had been instituted in the year being reported, what the oldest claim in the system was, and how many cases had actually lapsed. She asked whether it was possible to clean up the system in order to see whether the contingency was actually R70 billion, or whether it was less. She suggested that the Committee should draft questions on the information it would like to obtain on the issue of civil claims against the SAPS.
National Comm Cele stated that he was very opposed to settlement. The money belonged to the state and should be protected. He agreed that there were families that had lost their breadwinners, which was why the policies should be tightened in order to avoid corruption as the system could be open for serious abuse. The best determination of whether a claim should be settled was a decision from the courts. At the same time, families that had incurred a genuine and obvious loss should not be crippled.
On corruption within the police, he said that he hoped that the Committee was not saying that SAPS should be judges and only charge people whose guilt they were sure of. He reiterated that whenever someone was suspected they had to be charged and taken to court, including the 1 369 cases still pending against police. As to what constituted corruption, he made an example of a young constable who took sick leave, and was caught in action in a cash heist. They were ready to arrest a whole special unit for stock theft. Some of the members bought farms, and took the stolen stock to their farms. These however were extreme cases. Other borderline cases involved manipulation, and the involvement of police in the disappearance of dockets and witnesses. There were policeman who were arrested in the Free State for being involved in illegal mining. There was the grey matter on witness protection. Witnesses were protected by the Justice Department, while being needed by the police. Some witnesses moved out of protection for various reasons, such as their children not being taken to school. Police involved in crime would be treated like any other criminal and taken out.
The Chair agreed that everyone was equal before the law.
Assistant Comm Ngokha stated that the comment on the alignment of the indicators for Programme 4 had been noted. When the number of days used as an indicator changed, it was obvious that the percentages would change as well.
Assistant Comm Moonoo responded that the 62% of the cases awaiting trial were already on the court roll, and that ensuring that these cases got to court was the Justice Department’s responsibility. Only the prosecutor could withdraw a case. The police did not have the power to do so.
National Comm Cele referred to the question on whether or not the police oppose bail. Schedule 6 cases should not be getting bail, but they did. There was only a small percentage of instances were the police did not oppose bail. In many cases the police do oppose bail but were denied. As a result police had to chase people they had already caught. Repeat offenders were not meant to get bail, but bail was being granted to them nonetheless.
Assistant Commissioner Godfrey Lebeya, in response to the question on the definition of a child, said that the definition of a child under the Child Justice Act was coherent with the Children’s Act. The definition in the Child Justice Act was however subject to the nasciturus rule, which stated that a person between the ages of 18 and 21 could be treated as a child if it was to their best interest.
The Chair said that the Auditor General had stated that the targets in Detective Services were unmeasurable. They were not time bound in specifying deadlines for delivery. The source documentation was incomplete, inaccurate and unreliable. How could the division claim to have achieved certain goals when the targets were unmeasurable. She asked what would be done to change this.
Assistant Comm Moonoo said that the targets were measurable and there were figures in support of that. The division would be moving from a crime computerised administration system to the E-docket system, which would ensure that the source of information was more reliable. He said that he did not understand what the Auditor General meant when he said that the targets were unmeasurable because quarterly performances were measured, and compiled to form the Annual Report.
Mr George asked if the National Commissioner was happy with the training given to detectives.
The National Commissioner replied that SAPS had pockets of excellence. Special Forces and Task forces were well trained. There were two areas that seemed to be lagging behind. One of these was the retention of trained, skilled detectives against their loss to other areas. This skill was not only a trained but an acquired skill as well, with the best detectives being those with 10 years experience. By this time detectives had already been moved to other areas. The problem was not with the training, but rather the retention of detectives.
Protection and Security Services
Divisional Comm Tshabalala briefed the Committee on background to the division. He moved on to the VIP Protection Services and summarised what the service entailed. Overall the performance had been relatively satisfactory given the number of movements and the written complaints received in general. He outlined Static and Mobile Security, and summarised the geography and structures of the Ports of Entry. He briefed the Committee on the performance at the ports of entry, comparing actual performance against the targets set. There had been a decrease in the number of firearms recovered. This could be attributed to the increase in the number of people deployed at ports, and the policing model that was established, where every unit that functioned at the port of entry reported under one single command. The reduction was due to the effective policing and visibility at the ports. There was also a decrease in the number of stolen vehicles recovered. With regards to narcotics, there was a decrease in cannabis, mandrax tables, methaqualone, crystal meth, and cocaine. There was an increase in the recovery of illegal goods, and the number of people arrested for illegal firearms, stolen vehicles, illegal drugs, illegal goods and maritime- related offences and violations of the Immigration Act of 2002. He spoke also on the performance at the railway and the government security regulator sub-divisions. There were challenges faced by each of the five sub divisions. These included the infrastructure at ports which could not support the personnel being pumped to the ports. Corruption was a major issue, and polygraph test equipment had been introduced to serve as a deterrent. There were problems with lack of training and discipline, however these were being monitored. Despite all of this, the division with all its sub-divisions had performed fairly well.
Mr George said that the biggest challenge with VIP protection was that one could stay there until the rank of a captain. Good VIP protectors were being moved to different areas due to promotion. Promotions in the VIP section came very slow. He asked what could be done to give them an incentive to stay. With regards to the number of stolen vehicles recovered, he asked how many had actually been stolen, as this could affect percentages. He also asked for clarity on whether these statistics were part of the crime statistics that had already been presented.
Ms Van Wyk said that the reason given for the decrease in firearms, vehicles and narcotics was the greater visibility of the SAPS. However on the same report, the same three crimes were reported as figures that should increase all the time as they were dependant on SAPS action. She asked for clarity on this.
Ms Schafer asked for clarity on how the firearm figures could have gone down from 952 to 199. It certainly was not because there were fewer being brought into the country. How could the drug-related figures have gone down when illegal drugs had increased by 7.2% according to the Annual Report?
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked how they could have only been seven breaches to security when there were constant break-ins and other offences at Acacia Park. She asked where the visiting dignitaries fitted in with regards to VIP protection, and whether the 206 people protected referred only to people permanently residing in South Africa
The Chair said that the division was the lowest spender, and an amount of about R80,6 million was shifted to other programmes. She asked for clarity on this
Divisional Comm Tshabalala referred to the question on the promotion of close protection officers. SAPS policy stated that once you become a captain, you become a manager with people reporting to you. One could not perform the tasks of a close protection officer with that rank. Allowing a captain to perform the tasks of a close protection officer would mean that the individual was not growing. The principle of the organisation was that a close protection officer had to be an uncommissioned officer. The VIP Protection Service as a component of Protection and Security Services (PSS). It was an organization with a structure that had a certain number of posts. Once the structure was full, it did not make provision for a promotion. A promotion was only made when there was a post to be filled.
With regards to the number of vehicles stolen, he said that he did not have a figure for the number of vehicles stolen in South Africa. And of those vehicles, he could also not say how many left the country. Because of the increased visibility of SAPS at the borders, his impression was the criminals were finding it difficult to get the vehicle through the ports of entry. If these vehicles were getting out the country, it could be that the criminals had turned to the border lines.
Assistant Comm Tembela Kulu agreed that there had been breaches of security at Acacia Park, however they were not recorded as security breaches as they were handled by Goodwood Police Station.
Mr Ndlovu asked to where the Goodwood security figures were sent.
The Chair asked for clarity on what constituted a security breach if a theft at Acacia Park did not constitute a security breach.
Assistant Commissioner Kulu replied that they became part of provincial and the global statistics. Parliamentary parks were not the within the mandate of the SAPS. Although the offences constituted a breach of security, the PSS did not have a record of this since these cases were reported to the local police stations. The SAPS was merely deployed at the parks because of a special agreement that had been made with the presiding officers. With regards to the areas that the PSS was directly responsible for, there was no need to call the local police station as there were people on site to whom the crimes would be reported.
National Comm Cele reiterated that when criminals see the police deployed at the border posts, they find altenative ways to get into the country. The numbers would indeed decrease at the border gates, but this did not mean that they would not come through the border lines, which was not Divisional Comm Tshabalala’s responsibility.
Ms Kohler-Berman stated that the confusion with regard to the parliamentary villages originated from the PPS report, where villages were clearly included as one of the areas protected. She said that she wanted know how much of the R2.2 billion was spent on the protection of the 206 dignitaries and how many of them were foreigners.
Divisional Comm Tshabalala said that Comm Schutte could attest that they had not transferred funds to any other programme.
Comm Schutte said that there had been a transfer of R18 million as a result of mobile homes for ports of entry that had not been delivered, and funds had to be shifted to other areas including detectives. They were struggling in terms of infrastructure at the ports and were trying to improve on that, which was why the mobile homes had been ordered. Divisional Comm Tshabalala was referring to the operational funds of the divisions which was something different.
The Chair said that the division was frequently and increasingly condoning irregular expenditure. This time it was R28.4 million, while the previous year it had been R10 million.
Comm Schutte said that they were getting better at reporting. There was one supplier which accounted for 41% of this amount. There was an increase from a R10 million condonement in 2007/08 to a R28.4 million in 2008/09. About R13 million of the R28 million was one supplier. Although the figure was higher, the cases were actually fewer. There were a number of controls being put in place to try and enhance expenditure.
The Chair asked was going to be done to ensure that such a situation did not continue. She also asked for an explanation as to why the division was the lowest spender.
Comm Schutte replied that there was a structured process in place in terms of reporting. Supervision was being enhanced and there were standard controls and segregation of duties in terms of transactions being checked before they were finalised. With regards to procurements, 99% of irregular expenditures had to do with procurements, were procurement prescripts were not being complied with. This lead to it being an irregular expenditure. There were a number of controls being put in place with the hope of enhancing expenditure. Although undesirable, the ratio of the R28 million condonement was a minute percentage of the R4 billion total. The division was the lowest spender due to the shifting of funds that resulted from the mobile homes not being delivered.
Divisional Comm Tshabalala said that he would rather not reveal the costs involved in protecting the foreign dignitaries as this would give an indication of the scope of the protection, and pose a threat to their safety. This information regrettably ended up in the media, and once there, anyone would be able to make a determination on the scope of the security provided.
The Chair asked why the ports of entry and border lines were under different programmes since they seemed to be related.
Divisional Comm Tshabalala said that for policing purposes these were basically the same thing. When it came to actual border line control, border line security was the responsibility of the defence force, and this was the case anywhere in the world. The decision was taken by ministers and management of the police to separate the two, and to hand border lines back to the South African National Defence Force, and documents were drafted to that effect. However this did not mean that the local police would disappear.
National Comm Cele added that the decision had been for the SANDF to take back the border lines at least until the 2010. There were ongoing talks as to whether the situation would be permanent.
The Chair concluded by saying that the Committee would be looking forward to the finalisation and contents of the performance contracts of the senior managers. There was some discomfort with the shifting of funds from the visible policing programme to other programmes. The Committee was not sure whether they were over budgeting for that programme, hence the shifting of funds. Something very drastic had to be done with regards to the training of the SAPS. The contents should be looked at to ensure that current problem areas were attended to, together with problems with discipline and physical fitness of the police. There should be a programme to ensure that the police were well trained when it came to ability to shoot. The Department had been restructuring for too long, and this restructuring should come to finality. The Committee was interested in the capacity and performance of station commissioners. Legal Services should be looked into as the information provided in the report had been inadequate, and that which had been provided left a lot to be desired. There was no proper distribution of equipment, particularly motor vehicles. The national office should look into this because the discipline was skewed. The programme sector policing was in disarray. The presentation did not suggest that the department knew were it was in terms of time frames and achieving its goals. I was not clear were the department was headed to with this programme. This was an important programme that needed to be looked at. The policy was signed but had the programme been evaluated and had corrections been made? With regards to Detective Services, it was worrying that the division’s response to issues raised by the Auditor General was that it did not know why those issues had been raised. The existence of a problem had to be accepted before changes could be made. If the Auditor General was to be doubted in that instance, it would also have to be doubted in its findings that the department had an unqualified audit opinion as far as finances were concerned.
The Committee would be compiling a report with recommendations on the issues contained in the Annual Report. The Department had been addressing the issues that were raised by the Committee and the Auditor General. It was in the interest of everyone to ensure a safe and secure country, and together that could be achieved. SAPS were the first line of security, and the image of the police should be looked after. Corrupt policeman should be dealt with without mercy.
National Commissioner Cele said that the issues would be taken into consideration. The issue of the chain value effect was a problem, and they would try, with the help of the Committee, to drum sense into the other departments involved. He thanked the commissioner who had commented on the policemen that were killed on duty. The public should realise the threat posed on the police by serious criminals who were willing to kill to get what they wanted. The issues raised by the Auditor General and the Committee would be addressed.
Annual Report of Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD): Parliamentary Research Unit analysis
Mr Mpumelelo Mpisi, Parliamentary Researcher for the Portfolio Committee on Police, said that legislation, particularly the South African Services Act, makes it plain that the ICD could investigate any misconduct or offence allegedly committed by a member of the South African Police Service (SAPS). The Act went further to say the ICD must investigate any death in police custody or as result of police action and may also investigate any matter referred to it by the Minister of Police or provincial counterparts. ICD’s strategic objectives were to increase capacity for improved capacity for investigations, to reduce deaths in police custody that were due to police action and to ensure better compliance with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA). Section 18 of the DVA says it constituted misconduct if a member of the police force failed to comply with an obligation imposed in terms of the DVA unless such non-compliance could be exempted by the ICD.
It was reported that the ICD now had six satellite offices throughout the country. Over 6 119 cases were reportedly received in the 2008/09 financial year. Over 5 074 cases were carried over as backlog from the previous financial year, taking the total number of cases at the ICD disposal to 11 193 in 2008/09. The cases completed were reported to be between 6 125 and 6 133. The ICD had made a total 1 935 recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecutions and SAPS for further action. DPP received 723 recommendations while SAPS received 1 212 recommendations. The distribution of complaints received by the ICD in 2008/09 were as follows; criminal cases (i.e. fraud, theft, corruption) increased by 9% from the 2007/08 financial year, there were 912 reported deaths in police custody, an increase of 15%. Domestic violence related cases dropped by 10% compared to the previous year, while general misconduct cases remained more or less the same as the previous year. The overall picture of complaints received showed a staggering 6 119 cases reported, which meant a 5% increase from the previous financial year.
Programme 1: Administration
On the human resources and demographical front, a total 253 employees were said to be employed by the ICD. From that, 138 (54.5%) were male and 115 (45.4%) were female. Africans employed by the ICD now stand at 214 (84.5%) and the remainder 15.4% comes from other races. It was reported there were only two African male individuals in the top management structure, one African female and one white female. Senior management had 12 individuals (9 males and 3 females) whom were all African. There were 123 recruitments made in the current financial year, compared to 102 in the previous. Vacancy rate, as reported stood at 6.2% compared to 7.6% in 2007/08 financial year. Mr Mpisi said it would be helpful if the ICD explained how many of the personnel staff comprised of investigators since investigators were the backbone of the ICD. There were 24 service terminations reported and the overall turnover was said to have amounted to 66 (28%). Promotions amounted to 36 while misconduct disciplinary hearings were nine. The outcomes of disciplinary hearings were six. Mr Mpisi said it was not clear why the disciplinary hearings and the outcomes did not match.
Programme 2: Investigations
Mr Mpisi sad this was the key programme of the ICD. He said it was in this programme where deaths, criminal cases and misconduct incidents against SAPS members were dealt with. There were notable increases of deaths in police custody as a result of police action. Kwa-Zulu Natal recorded the highest number of deaths in police custody which rose by 47%. Northern Cape on the other hand had a significant drop of deaths (-26%) in police custody. Overall, there were 912 deaths in police custody throughout the country, up from 792 in 2007/08 financial year. Mr Mpisi said it was worrying that the number of deaths increased and adviced members to consider visiting some of the police stations especially in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Criminal cases ranged from assault with grievous Bodily Harm, attempted murder, corruption, defeating the ends of justice reported. Mr Mpisi said it was inconceivable that the ICD reported to have received only a total 254 corruption related cases while SAPS reported a total 990 corruption related incidents. General misconduct incidents showed no great deal of change from the previous financial year. Mr Mpisi said it was interesting to observe that Kwa-Zulu Natal, which had the highest police custody deaths, showed a decrease in general misconduct. He also said it would be interesting to know why there was a huge increase of cases of misconduct from the North West Province.
Programme 3: Information Management and Research
Research investigations were conducted to investigate the custody management of persons in police custody and also to look at accidents involving police vehicles. The purpose of the research was to determine the extent of police adherence to regulations as stipulated in the standing orders on custody management. The findings of the research were, among others, that not all police stations adhered to standing orders, one of them being standing order 361.6 which states that juveniles must only be detained as a last resort. The recommendations made included the adding and upgrading of cells, creating a monitoring tool that can be used to ensure compliance with relevant policies and standing orders. There was a further recommendation that SAPS must liaise with the Department of Correctional Services in order to help reduce overcrowding in police cells. In terms of accidents involving police vehicles, the research found an increase of such incidents over the past financial years. It further found that the majority of the police drivers involved in accidents were constables. Only 25% of the police drivers involved in accidents were tested for illegal substances. The interviewees expressed the need for a course in advanced driver training. Recommendations made included the need for further driver’s training courses for SAPS officials, the need for mandatory illegal substance testing on all police officers involved in accidents.
Mr M George (COPE) wanted clarity on the figures presented. He asked whether the 912 deaths in police custody were due to police action or whether this was the total number of deaths, including deaths caused by other factors not as a result of police action.
Mr Mpisi said the figure he presented focused on the deaths in police custody as a result of police custody, but the Department could explain how many deaths there were including those not due to police action.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) said she was concerned that very few police officers were tested for substance abuse after they had been involved in accidents while driving police vehicles. She said this to her sounded like the police were above the law to some extent.
Ms A van Wyk (ANC) said it was worrying that there were fundamental differences in the Annual Report of the Auditor General and that of the ICD. She further said that despite parliament doing its best to give the ICD enough resources that they have asked for, the output from the ICD had been of poor quality.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) said the ICD was like an organisation operating from the ivory tour. He said after perusing through some of their booklets, he found no mention of where their physical location was at or information on how the public can get into contact with them.
Ms van Wyk agreed with Mr Lekgetho, saying the another thing that points to incompetence of the ICD was that the law makes it plain that the ICD should table its report in parliament with the Speaker of Parliament, who then distributes it to relevant Portfolio Committee members but this was not happening, instead reports were brought and kept in the storerooms.
Mr George said the staff turnover of 66 (28%) was too high for a small organisation like the ICD. He asked the researcher what could be the reason behind such an unpleasant turnover rate.
The Chairperson, responding to Mr George, said 28% staff turnover was not that bad in her opinion but nevertheless the ICD could still be asked what the general causes of their staff turnover were.
Mr Mpisi further said that out of the total 66 members, who left the ICD, some left due to transfers, promotions and others resigned to pursue other options.
Ms M Dube (ANC) asked for clarity as to who was allowed to drive police vehicles. She said it would be helpful if there were guidelines in place which specify who may and who may not drive the police vans.
Mr Mpisi said as far as he was aware, all state employees need to have a permission to drive a state vehicle. He said there were harsh penalties for individuals who drive state vehicles without some sort of authorisation and he would like to believe SAPS operated alongside those protocols.
Mr George noted that the Auditor General gave a scathing report about the ICD, saying the senior management was very inaccessible and arrogant. Mr George said it looked like the ICD itself needs to be transformed before it can try to transform the police.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr George, saying she was aware that the AG gave the ICD a disclaimer in terms of their finances. She said it was inconceivable that a Department with 250 employees could not manage its finances properly. She said the Committee needs to find out what measures have been put in place to correct the situation and the disclaimer of the AG.
Mr Mpisi said the Committee was raising very important questions which the ICD needs to answer, especially with regard to managing its finances and wasteful expenditure. He said an example of such wasteful expenditure would be a situation they had before the start of the meeting where an official was sent from Pretoria to come and interact with the Committee when in fact such interaction was scheduled to take place in three days to come.
The Committee members expressed their gratitude to Mr Mpisi for sharpening them ahead of their upcoming interactions with the ICD, saying they benefited a lot from his presentation which raised critical questions which the ICD should give clarity to.
The meeting was adjourned.
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