The Secretary of Police emphasised the importance of the Secretariat in the civilian oversight role of monitoring and auditing the police. The mandate of the Secretariat of providing the Minister of Police with legal services and advice on constitutional matters had been limited to civil claims. However, the view of the Secretariat was that it monitored and did not deal with civil claims directly. The Secretariat had received many complaints about service delivery but was of the view that the South African Police Service (SAPS) should be responsible for dealing with complaints. The Secretariat would monitor what SAPS was doing about these complaints within their complaints system.
The Secretary of Police informed the Committee that a deadline of finalising the reorganisation of the Secretariat had been set for the end of April 2010.There was also work being done towards the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) Bill and the Private Security Bill which would be tabled by the end of the year. The Secretariat was also working together with SAPS to reshape the reservist policy so as to address some of the issues arising from this policy. Further legislative work that was underway was on the alignment of provinces. The Secretariat emphasised the need for an interdependent relationship between the ICD and the Secretariat and as such both ICD and the Secretariat had agreed to a joint review around performance which would focus on how each entity was impacting on the others work.
Owing to the changing of ranks, the Committee agreed to a briefing meeting with the National Commissioner on this before it was implemented. The Secretariat was reminded that Parliament should have been consulted about this policy change before implementation. Among the concerns the Committee would seek clarification on was the impact it would have on the costing and budget for 2010/11 in relation to remuneration. The meeting was also important so that as parliamentarians went for constituency period they would be able to clarify these matters with their constituencies.
The Committee was referred to the issue raised by the National Commissioner concerning the change of ranks (from superintendent to brigadier and so on) which would be in effect by 1 April. A suggestion was made to schedule a meeting with the National Commissioner in order that the issue of change of ranks is explained to the Committee before implementation.
Ms D Schafer (DA) said the matter of militarisation of the police had to be clarified. As parliamentarians went for the constituency period, they would need to clarify these matters with the constituency.
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) asked about the process and whether there was any form of public consultation.
Mr G Schneemann (ANC) agreed with the suggestion made by the Chairperson. Changing of ranks would have an impact on the costing and budget that was presented for the year 2010/11 in relation to remuneration.
Mr M George (COPE) said that there should have been consultation with parliament looking at the nature of the matter.
The Chairperson said that with the support received from the Committee on the matter, the office of the National Commissioner would be informed about the scheduled meeting.
Secretariat of Police: Annual Performance Plan Briefing
Ms Jenny Irish-Quobosheane, Secretary of Police, presented the annual performance plan briefing. She informed the Committee that the Secretariat attached great importance to their civilian oversight role of monitoring and auditing the police. In relation to the mandate of the Secretariat one area of focus was to provide the Minister with legal services and advice on constitutional matters. This role had been limited to civil claims but the view of the Secretariat was that of monitoring and not dealing with civil claims. The Secretariat would then focus on the formulation of legislation and work with the police to ensure its implementation. This role would have an effect on the capacity of the Secretariat as it had been using other state departments to carry out this function. Among the functions of the Secretariat was to monitor and mobilise role players and stakeholders outside the police.
The Secretary of Police informed the Committee that a deadline for finalising the reorganisation of the Secretariat had been set for the end of April 2010.The performance and adherence to performance targets would be tracked at every management meeting. The Secretariat was working towards the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) Amendment Bill and the Private Security Amendment Bill which would be tabled by the end of the year. Legislative work was underway on the alignment of provinces and there was also a need for an interdependent relationship between ICD and the Secretariat. Both ICD and the Secretariat had agreed to a joint review around performance which would focus on how each entity was impacting on the others’ work. The Secretariat would focus on setting up a website that people would use as a resource and also set up a policy reference group that would comprise of leading academicians and civil society.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane said that the Secretariat was working together with SAPS to reshape the reservist policy to address some of the issues arising from this policy. The Secretariat had received a lot of complaints about service delivery but said SAPS should be responsible for dealing with complaints and that the Secretariat would then monitor what SAPS was doing about these complaints within their complaints system. There was a need to carry out a province by province assessment of service delivery at a local police station level as indicated in the strategic plan. This would be resource intensive hence the co-option of other partners from civil society.
Ms Schafer reminded the Secretariat that they had a duty to inform the Committee regarding the change of ranks.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane replied that the Secretariat would take a more proactive role to engage with the Committee and this would extend to key policy and topical issues.
Ms Schafer suggested that the Secretariat be involved in making input to the Committee on the budget of SAPS. This would allow them to determine policy direction and measuring the outcome of service delivery in SAPS.
The Secretary of Police said that the Secretariat would definitely want to focus on this.
Ms Schafer asked why the Secretariat had only included the internet in its reporting as a means of improving communication to its stakeholders when not all were able to assess this facility.
The Secretary of Police replied that with the change in legislation there would be a partnership unit established in place of communication which has been referred to in the current legislation. This would cover all stakeholders.
Ms Van Wyk asked about the total percentage of the budget allocated to staff remuneration and also requested for an organogram to show how the Secretariat was restructured or supposed to be structured.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane replied that the organogram would be presented back to the Committee once it was approved by the minister. The human resource budget was more than the operations budget because the Secretariat wanted to build in house capacity instead of out sourcing work.
Ms Van Wyk asked what decision was made regarding the R3 million which was meant for a five day soccer expose that the Secretariat had not used and whether these funds would be rolled over instead of being lost.
The Secretary of Police replied that the R3 million would be lost to SAPS but they had agreed to give the Secretariat an additional R3 million next year to recover the amount.
Ms Van Wyk said she had difficulty understanding the role of the Secretariat, the Inspectorate and the ICD, such as whether complaints about service delivery within areas should be sent to the Secretariat or ICD.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane replied that some of the individual complaints would be handled by the Inspectorate and the Secretariat would monitor. The ICD would deal with issues such as deaths in custody, rape involving a policeman among others.
Mr Schneemann asked why the percentage of the budget allocated to remuneration was quite high compared to other sub programmes. Would the budget be sufficient to cover the work that the Secretariat had planned?
The Secretary of Police replied that the Secretariat would avoid building a large bureaucratic structure and was working with provinces that were allocated huge budgets. The idea was to influence how the money would be spent.
Mr Schneemann asked if the many targets would be met as their deadlines were coming up soon.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane replied that the targets set between April and June were the building blocks for the other things that were supposed to happen latter. Therefore if the Secretariat was to meet its targets there was need to ensure that these were met.
Mr Schneemann asked what establishing provincial Secretariat management forums were all about and whether these would be over and above the current structure.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane explained that this was an issue that would be included in the new legislation. This would include a provincial Secretariat functioning at provincial level appointed by the Minister in consultation with the Secretariat. The provincial Secretariat would be influenced by the strategic plans of the national Secretariat.
Mr Schneemann asked if the Secretariat was getting co-operation from SAPS when performing its monitoring role.
The Secretary of Police replied that it was difficult for the police to deny information because of the legislation and the relationship the Secretariat had with the minister. The police on some occasions had been very co-operative in providing information and in other cases they have had to be forced through the minister’s intervention.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) asked why the Secretariat had to rely on parliamentary questions to get information. Was this a sign that there was no co-operation from SAPS?
Ms Irish-Quobosheane said the monitoring process did not only rely on the information provided by the police but also used information from other sources.
Rev Meshoe asked if the Secretariat was consulted on the issue of changing of ranks.
The Secretary of Police replied that the Secretariat was briefed but it was ‘quite far down the process’. The Secretariat had made certain inputs.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) asked what was being done to ensure that community safety forums where functional so as to curb vices such as substance abuse among the youth.
Mr Dumezweni Zimu, Chief Director: Partnerships, Secretariat, replied that the Secretariat was developing a criterion and intergovernmental partnerships which would be a consultative process thereby picking up on issues such as substance abuse.
Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked what the Secretariat meant by the term ‘intervening’.
Mr Irvin Kinnes, Chief Director: Policy and Research, Secretariat, replied that the Secretariat was trying to engage the police in a proactive way by intervening, based on information picked up before any damage is done.
Ms M Dube (ANC) asked what the position was concerning the reservists. Would they be incorporated or sent home?
Mr Zimu replied that the answer would be made available to the Committee by way of a written response by Monday as this was a lengthy issue requiring a detailed explanation.
The meeting was adjourned.
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