Independent Police Investigative Directorate Bill: deliberations on Chapters 1 to 5

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12 August 2010
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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered Chapters 1 to 5 and agreed on what changes needed to be effected to the final draft. The Committee flagged Clause 19 for later deliberations when the issue of rank, positions and level of appointment within Independent Police Investigative Directorate was resolved.

During the meeting discussion, attention was given to the appointment of the Executive Director. In its quest to ensure that the position of the Executive Director did not go unfilled for a long period of time, the Committee resolved to have an appointment made by the Minister, in consultation with the relevant portfolio committee as soon as reasonably possible but not later than one year after the post had been left vacant. With regard to referring matters to the National Prosecuting Authority, the Committee felt it would not be desirable that the Executive Director “must” refer all its criminal investigations, especially those which may have been found to be spurious allegations against police members. It was agreed that the refusal to grant a security clearance certificate meant that the Executive Director “must” not “may” dismiss such a member who had been appointed. There were many members including the Chairperson who felt that the Consultative Forum in Chapter 4 should include Community Policing Forums.

Meeting report

The Committee went through the Bill with the Executive Director of the Independent Complaints Directorate to establish what changes needed to be effected in the final draft.

Chapter 1: Definitions
Clause 1
Mr Francois Beukman, Executive Director: Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) said “municipal police service” would be added to the definitions in clause 1 of the Bill. It would be defined to mean a municipal police service established under section 65A of the South African Police Service Act.

The definition of “Secretariat” would carry the new definition of the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service established in terms of section 3(1) of the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act, 2010. The definition of “Secretary” (of police) would be defined as the Secretary for the Police Service appointed in terms of section 6(1) of the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act, 2010.

Also to be contained under clause 1 would be “security clearance certificate” which would mean an official document indicating the degree of security competency of a person.

Mr Theo Hercules, State Law Adviser, noted there was no official definition of security clearance certificate even in the National Intelligence Act but he said the above definition of the Committee would suffice.

Clause 2
The Committee agreed to omit the words “branches in the provinces” in clause 2(1) and to replace it with the phrase “provincial offices”.

Clause 2(3) would be omitted and replaced by a new sub-clause 3 which would state, “(3) The directorate is financed from money appropriated by Parliament”.

Clauses 3 and 4 were agreed to.

Chapter 2: National Office
Clause 5 Appointment of Executive Director
Where reference was made to “parliamentary committee”, the Committee agreed to use the phrase “committee” or even to name the committee that would be informed of the name of the successful candidate by the Minister.

The Chairperson had reservations about the suggestion to actually name the committee as the name of the committee could be changed in the future.

The Committee had a long discussion on whether there should be a time limit of 90 days in clause 5(4). Some members suggested that allowing the Minister to appoint someone to act as the Executive Director within 90 days would place unnecessary pressure on the Minister.

Mr M George suggested that the Committee use “six months’ period” as the timeframe for which an acting person can occupy the position of the Executive Director before a permanent appointment was made.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) and Mr G Schneemann (ANC) agreed with the “six months’ period” suggestion.

Finally, the Committee resolved to insert a clause which directed that once the Executive Director was unable to perform the functions of the office for a substantial period of time, the Minister should make a permanent appointment within a reasonable period of time, but not exceeding a period of one year after the position had been left vacant.

Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) suggested that the word “absent”, referring to the Executive Director’s absence from work, should be deleted and replaced with “unable to perform the functions of office” which would be more appropriate.

The Committee agreed.

Clause 6

The debate around the clause centred on the use of the word “may” or “must”when it came to referring matters to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for criminal proceedings.

Mr M George (COPE) was concerned about stating “must” refer all criminal investigations to the NPA. Some investigations could arise from spurious allegations and if the word “must” was used; problems could be created when the NPA was flooded with cases which would not fly in court. Discretion needed to be provided for the Executive Director to make a determination.

The Committee decided that the Executive Director “must” refer to the (NPA) only those matters which was revealed by the outcome of investigation, to be criminal. 

Clause 7:
In Clause 7(6), Mr George queried the appropriateness of the phrase “may withdraw” a certificate of appointment if a person had failed to obtain a security clearance from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). He said that such persons “must” be released of their duties. This was agreed to.

The Committee agreed that all reference in the clause referring to “a certificate” must be replaced by “security clearance”.

Clause 8
The Committee agreed to insert a further provision 8(m) under the list of functions of the national office. Clause 8(m) would compel the national office to report twice a year to Parliament on the number of cases, recommendations, details and outcomes thereof.

Clause 9
The Committee approved the contents of the clause.

Clause 10
The Committee approved the contents of the clause.

Chapter 3: Management Committee
Clause 12
Mr George felt that the Chief Financial Officer of IPID should be a part of the management committee established in terms of clause 11.

The Chairperson disagreed, saying the same argument could be advanced that the HR manger of IPID should be a part of the committee. The provision allowing the Executive Director to invite any person deemed relevant for the particular meeting, would cover Mr George’s concerns that there could be meetings that would need the presence of the Chief Financial Officer.

In the end, the Committee was satisfied with the list of individuals that would form part of the management committee

Chapter 4: Consultative Forum
Mr George suggested that certain senior police officials and even the representatives from the Community Policing Forums must be part of the Consultative Forum to be established in terms of Clause 15

Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) wondered whether clause 9 had not already provided for what Chapter 4 intended. It was not ideal for Parliament to set out the agenda for meetings as found in clause 17(b) and (c).

Mr Lekgetho felt Chapter 4 was important and should be kept. He agreed with Mr George that CPF representatives should be a part of the Consultative Forum.

The Chairperson expressed her agreement with Community Policing Forums forming part of the Consultative Forum, but did not agree with Mr George’s submission that the Commissioner of Police should be included as well.

Ms Kohler-Barnard suggested that clause 9(3) should be deleted if Chapter 4 was to stand because they were one and the same thing. 

The State Law Advisers were asked to re-look at clause 17(c) and report back to the Committee how best the intentions of the clause could be worded.

Chapter 5: Provincial Offices 
Clause 19
The Committee flagged clause 19 for later deliberations when the issue of rank, positions and level of appointment within IPID was resolved.

Clause 20
The Committee approved the contents of clause 20. 

Clause 21
The Committee approved the contents of clause 21 in its entirety.

The Chairperson asked that members prepare for the next meeting by reading the Bill from Chapter Six onwards. That chapter was very important and had received much attention from civil society during the public hearings.

Ms Kohler Barnard agreed with the Chairperson, saying it would be highly beneficial if members took the time to go through the submissions as they would come in very handy in the work of the Committee on Chapter Six.

The meeting was adjourned.



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