Independent Police Investigative Directorate Bill & Civilian Secretariat for Police Services Bill: Briefings by IDC and Secretariat of Police

NCOP Security and Justice

14 September 2010
Chairperson: Mr T Mofokeng (ANC, Free State)
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Meeting Summary

The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) briefed the Committee on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Bill (IPID Bill) which would establish an Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to ensure effective independent oversight of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Municipal Police Services (MPS). The current Independent Complaints Directorate would be renamed to re-brand the Directorate to focus on investigations rather than complaints, and to assert its Constitutional mandate. The IPID would be established at national and provincial levels. In terms of the new mandate, IPID must investigate serious offences committed by any member of the police force, and criminal offences revealed by this investigation would have to be referred to the National Prosecuting Authority, with the Minister and Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (the Secretariat) also being notified.  IPID would report to the Minister and Parliament. The appointment process was described, along with the functions of the National Office, the Management Committee and Consultative Forum. Provincial Heads were to be at Chief Director level, to bring them on an equal level to SAPS equivalents. Investigators would be appointed subject to security screening, and would be assigned policing powers. The IPID would be obliged to investigate any deaths in police custody, deaths as a result of police actions, and any complaint relating to the discharge of an official firearm by any police officer. It must also investigate rape by a police officer, whether the police officer was on or off duty, and rape of any person while that person was in police custody, and any complaint of torture or assault against a police officer in the execution of his or her duties. It must furthermore investigate any matter into corruption matters within the police, at the request of the Executive Director, after the receipt of a complaint from a member of the public, or one that was referred to the Directorate by the Minister, an MEC or the Secretary. Furthermore the Directorate 'may' investigate matters relating to systemic corruption involving the police. The workload was likely to increase. In the past, the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) had been severely constrained by not being able to get the support and cooperation of SAPS, but Chapter 7 specified what station commissioners would have to now do, and the responsibility of the National Commissioner or the appropriate Provincial Commissioner to initiate disciplinary proceedings and report back to the Minister, the IPID and the Civilian Secretariat for Police. The responsibility for enforcing the Domestic Violence Act would shift to the Civilian Secretariat. IPID would be financed by appropriations from Parliament.

Members asked how and why organs of State would help the IPID to maintain its impartiality and independence, where the budget would be derived, why the name of the ICD was to be changed, whether IPID would address the rural areas, and why certain areas had been chosen above other, apparently more needy areas, for the opening of offices. Members asked why there was no obligation to investigate systemic corruption, and wondered about the security clearances, commenting that these took too long and recommending that the military intelligence procedures should be used. Members asked how IPID would ensure that it did not face similar challenges as the current ICD, thought there was a need to be realistic about the budget, and wondered if the IPID would achieve more than ICD had managed to.  

The Secretary of Police briefed the Committee on the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Bill (the Bill), noting that it was in compliance with Section 208 of the Constitution. The problems with the Secretariat in the past having its budget allocated by the South African Police Service, and having to report to the accounting officer, the National Commissioner, as well as being in charge of monitoring that functionary, would be addressed since the Secretariat was to be established as a separate department, would receive its allocations from Parliament, and would report to the Minister and Parliament.  The Secretariat would monitor the performance of the police service and regularly assess the extent to which the police service had adequate policies and effective systems, and recommend corrective measures. It would also monitor and evaluate compliance with the Domestic Violence Act, 1998. The failure of the provinces to establish effective oversight structures was a further motivation for institutional reform, and provincial structures would now be housed in the offices of the MECs, which would help to strengthen the MECs’ responsibilities without creating duplication of services.

Members were critical of the Bill, and felt that there were dangers of duplication. Several Members cautioned against the bloating of the Civil Service and commented that it was up to the NCOP now to investigate whether there was a need for the two structures, in view of concerns that there seemed to be duplication with confusion of the various roles. Both Bills were Section 76 Bills. The NCOP took exception to the suggestion that a Constitutional change would be required if the Secretariat were to be disbanded. Members asked where the Secretariat would be housed, asked for further clarity about cooperative governance arrangements, and the relationship between SAPS and the Secretariat. Members concluded that the matter would need to be fully debated in the provinces.

Meeting report

Independent Police Investigative Directorate Bill [B15B-2010] (IPID Bill): Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) briefing
Mr Francois Beukman, Executive Director, Independent Complaints Directorate, briefed the Committee on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Bill (IPID Bill). This Bill envisaged the regulation of the functions and powers of the Independent Policy Investigative Directorate (IPID or the Directorate) through various structures, to ensure its independence, impartiality and accountability. The Directorate would function independently of the South African Police Services (SAPS) and its structure would include a National Office and Provincial offices, a Management Committee and a Consultative Forum. Mr Beukman emphasised that each organ of State must assist the Directorate to maintain its independence and impartiality in order for it to perform its functions effectively. Interference from outside bodies had to be avoided.

The National Office was to be headed by the Executive Director, who was to be appointed by the Minister. The relevant Parliamentary Committee could confirm or reject the appointment. The Executive Director would be appointed for a term of five years, renewable for one additional term only and would be subject to the laws governing the public service. As the accounting officer, that person would be responsible for the financial affairs of the Directorate and must ensure compliance with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). His or her crucial responsibilities related directly to IPID's core functions. Serious offences committed by any member of the police force must be investigated, and he/she must then refer any criminal offences revealed by the investigation to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for criminal prosecution, and notify the Minister of such referral. The NPA in turn must notify the Executive Director of its intention to prosecute. This fact must be conveyed to the Minister, and a copy of the notification should also be provided to the Secretary of Police.

In terms of Section 206 of the Constitution, the Executive Director may, upon receipt of a complaint of an alleged offence committed by any member of the SAPS or Municipal Police Services (MPS), refer such investigation to the National or Provincial Commissioner concerned. Mr Beukman explained that there could be less serious cases, which had been reported to the IPID, and these could be referred to the appropriate Commissioner to investigate. The aim of this Bill was to free up IPID from having to investigate less pressing cases of an administrative nature, in order for IPID to concentrate on investigating serious offences. Provision was also made for the referral of criminal matters to the appropriate authority for investigation (such as the Hawks) where these cases fell outside the scope of the Directorate.

Mr Beukman then described the IPID’s accountability. Reporting would be to the Minister and Parliament, and the Executive Director must report on the activities of the Directorate at any time when requested to do so by the Minister or Parliament. The National Office would house the Executive Director, the current Corporate Services Unit,; an Investigation and Information Management Unit and Legal services. The Executive Director would be responsible for appointments to these units, and for the issuing of Security Clearance certificates, which staff would receive after undergoing security screening.

The functions of the National Office included giving strategic leadership, developing and implementing policy, overseeing and monitoring performance, gathering and analysing information in relation to investigations, identifying and reviewing legislative needs and reporting on such matters to the Secretariat. It would also have to attend to the internal auditing of the Directorate. It must provide administrative support to the Directorate, strengthen the co-operative relationship between the Directorate and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Services (the Secretariat). The National Office would also be responsible for reporting to the relevant MEC on matters referred to the Executive Director by the MEC, submitting an annual report to the Minister and to Parliament, implementing measures to develop effective public awareness of the provisions of the Act, especially in the rural areas, and dealing with any other matter referred to it by the Minister. It must make recommendations to the SAPS resulting from investigations done by the Directorate and report twice a year to Parliament on the number and type of cases investigated, the recommendations made and the details and outcomes of those investigations. In addition, the Executive Director may delegate functions, but this must be done in writing and in accordance to the provisions of the Bill.

The Management Committee (MC) would consist of the Executive Director (who would be the Chairperson) and the provincial head for each province. The function of the Management Committee was to ensure co-ordination and alignment within each province. This encompassed strategic and performance plans, priorities, objectives and adherence to financial requirements prescribed by the PFMA. The MC would discuss performance in the provision of services in order to detect failures and initiate preventative or corrective action when necessary. It would also ensure regular reporting on matters specific to the performance of the respective provincial directorate's functions and raise national management issues. The MC would meet at least four times a year and could determine its own procedure to follow at its meetings. Mr Beukman noted that the representation of the Provinces in the MC was a major improvement on the existing structure of policing oversight and decision making. The Consultative Forum would consist of the Executive Director and the Secretary of Police (the Secretary), and in consultation with one another they may invite any person to attend a meeting. The functions of the Forum were to facilitate closer co-operation between the Secretary and the Executive Director, and to discuss issues relating to trends, recommendations and implementation of such recommendations.

The Bill envisaged that the Provincial Heads would be at the level of Chief Director, not Director, which would place those functionaries on an equal level as their SAPS equivalents. The functions of Provincial Heads would include the management of the provincial office, performance management of staff and the facilitation of the investigation of cases and reporting to the Executive Director on matters investigated. Most importantly, they would refer matters investigated by the provincial offices to the National or relevant provincial prosecuting authority for criminal prosecution. Furthermore, they would report to the relevant MEC on matters referred to the Provincial Head by that MEC.

Mr Beukman described the appointment, remuneration, functions and powers of investigators. They would be appointed by the Executive Director, in consultation of the Provincial Head, and should at least have a Grade 12 certificate, or a relevant degree or diploma, and must have knowledge and relevant experience of criminal investigation or any other relevant experience. Their appointment would be subject to a security screening investigation by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and would be issued with a security clearance certificate by the Executive Director. An investigator would be given policing powers by the Minister within three months after his or her appointment. The conditions of service, including salary and allowances, must be on par with members appointed as detectives under the SAPS Act. Investigators would have the powers that the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) bestowed upon a peace officer or police official, relating to the investigation of offences. This would include the entry and search of premises, the seizure and disposal of articles, arrests, the execution of warrants and the attendance of an accused person in court. Measures regarding conflicts of interest, disclosure of interest and limitation of liability would be strictly enforced, to prevent and compromising of the investigations and in order to maintain the integrity and independence of the IPID.

Mr Beukman outlined the types of matters that IPID would investigate. It ‘must’ investigate any deaths in police custody, deaths as a result of police actions, and any complaint relating to the discharge of an official firearm by any police officer. It must also investigate rape by a police officer, whether the police officer was on or off duty, and rape of any person while that person was in police custody and  any complaint of torture or assault against a police officer in the execution of his or her duties. The Executive Director could also initiate an investigation into corruption matters within the police on his or her own, or after the receipt of a complaint from a member of the public, or that was referred to the Directorate by the minister, an MEC or the Secretary. It must also investigate “any other matter” referred to it as a result of a decision by the Executive Director, or requested by the minister, an MEC or the Secretary.

Furthermore the Directorate 'may' investigate matters relating to systemic corruption involving the police.

Mr Beukman noted that the implications were that the work load would be increased significantly and investigators would have to be trained for them to fulfil the mandate.

Another major change in how the current ICD and the new IPID would operate related to the reporting obligations and cooperation by members of SAPS. In the past ICD had been criticised for not really being able to get the necessary support from SAPS, with its recommendations to SAPS often simply being filed away. Chapter 7 of the IPID Bill thus proposed that the Station Commissioner, or any other Member of SAPS or MPS must, immediately after becoming aware of something that needed to be investigated, notify the Directorate of these matters, and must also, within 24 hours, submit a written report to the Directorate in a prescribed form. There would be an official tracking mechanism from SAPS to IPID. In order to improve on the bad record of the past, the members of the SAPS and MPS must provide their full co-operation to the Directorate, including supplying all the necesssary assistance, information and documentation required for investigation purposes.

The Bill also proposed that the National Commissioner or the appropriate Provincial Commissioner to whom recommendations regarding disciplinary matters were referred, must, within 30 days of receipt, initiate disciplinary proceedings in terms of the recommendations made by the Directorate, and must inform the Minister in writing, and provide a copy to the Executive Director and the Secretary. This would be followed up by a written report to the Minister on progress made, with copies sent to the Executive Director and Secretary. On finalisation of the disciplinary action, the Minister was to be informed in writing of the outcome, and copies had also to be sent to the Executive Director and Secretary.  

In relation to finances and accountability, the Directorate would be financed from money appropriated by Parliament, and the Directorate would be subject to the PFMA. The Executive Director would be responsible for the Annual Report which must include the Auditor-General's Report.

Chapter 10 of the Bill covered the regulations and internal arrangements, which Mr Beukman said had not been adequately addressed before. This would ensure that the public and investigators would know exactly how the Directorate functioned, and that procedures would not be short circuited. It would focus on access and control of confidential information and records and the procedures to be followed when investigating matters.

The Bill also dealt with the necessary transitional arrangements. He highlighted the amendment to the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 (Section 18), as the responsibility for this would in future reside with the Secretariat. Chapter 10 of the SAPS Act of 69 of 1995 would be repealed.

Mr Ntuli Bheki, Chairperson of Community Safety and Liaison, KwaZulu Natal Legislature, asked if the “Secretary” referred to was the Head of Department, and if there would be ranking as was the case with SAPS personnel.

Mr Beukman responded that the referral to the Secretary was to the Secretary of Police as envisaged in the Civilian Secretariat for Police Services Bill. In terms of ranking the IPID fell under the Public Service Act, so civilian titles such as Senior, Chief and Assistant Director applied. More designations might still be added.

Mr M Mokgobi (Limpopo, ANC) asked Mr Beukman to elaborate on the reference made to the necessity of organs of State assisting the Directorate to maintain its impartiality and independence.

Mr Beukman replied that the ICD was not currently part of the Security Cluster because the approach was that it had to be seen as independent, and its role was to oversee police officers’ conduct. It would not be correct for the IPID to sit with those bodies in National and provincial structures. Currently the ICD formed part of the General Administration Cluster and that would be the approach in the IPID.

Mr D Bloem (Free State, COPE) asked where the budget would come from for IPID to ensure its independence. He also enquired why the name was being changed.

Mr Beukman responded that the name reflected the change of focus, from that of dealing with complaints, to an actively investigative function. Currently the ICD received all level of complaints that did not fall within its mandate, such as issues that should be dealt with by the Presidential Hotline. It was necessary to communicate to communities that IPID focussed on serious crimes committed by members of SAPS and MPS, and the name change would re-brand it. In relation to the budget, he said that the IPID would receive its own budget, in terms of the Parliamentary process, and this would not form part of the police budget. The IPID had to lobby for its own funds, and hopefully, with the support of the parliamentary committees, hopefully the funding would increase.

Mr Bheki said that reference had been made in the presentation to the rural areas. However, he noted that South Africa was over 60% rural, and he did not get a sense that this was being addressed by the IPID mandate. He asked specifically how the Directorate planned to get to the rural areas and what were the practical steps for it in future.

Mr Beukman said it was very important that IPID had a footprint around the country to do its job, or else its mandate would be purely academic. In KwaZulu Natal, for instance, the ICD, during the past year, had only been able to visit 60% of crime scenes, meaning there was no independent investigation of the other scenes. There had to be a commitment to the public that IPID would visit all the scenes. The instances of police crime in the country had been looked at, and the needs had been established. The Western Cape did not have a satellite office. It was planned that IPID offices were to be opened at George and Worcester. In the Northern Cape an office was proposed at Springbok. The North West currently had Rustenberg, and an additional office was proposed at Klerksdorp. An additional office at Vereeniging was proposed for Gauteng. The Free State had an office at Bethlehem and an additional office at Kroonstad was proposed. In the Eastern Cape there were offices in Mthatha and East London, and offices for Port Elizabeth and Queenstown were proposed. An office at Bela Bela was proposed for Limpopo. There were currently KwaZulu Natal offices in Durban and Mpengeni and offices at Ulundi and Kokstad were proposed. The broadening of the scope of IPID made these additional offices necessary, and the strengthening of the existing provincial offices was also required. These measures, and additional investigators, were needed to ensure compliance with Section 28. Financing was to be aligned to the three year Medium Term Expenditure Framework cycle.

Mr Bloem referred to the provision covering matters relating to systemic corruption which the Directorate 'may' investigate. He wondered why the word ‘will’ had not been used, which would then oblige the Directorate to investigate those.

Mr Beukman referred to the preceding provision which covered ‘corruption matters within the police' which 'must' be investigated. This affirmed that IPID was obligated to investigate police corruption. However systemic corruption referred to large projects nation-wide, or where trends were emerging -for instance at Hillbrow Police Station where foreign nationals were targetted. Another instance had raised itself last year, where the Minister had called for the investigation of the frequent escapes of persons from police custody. These investigations were not ordinary investigations but were of a broader perspective. IPID could investigate such cases depending on the circumstances.

Mr Bloem also referred to the provision for the discharge of members if their security clearance certificates were withdrawn, and was concerned that this would not be in compliance with Labour Law.

Mr Beukman said the dismissal procedure would entail consultation with NIA, and would be based on hard evidence, and it would be covered by the conditions of service.

The Chairperson stated that the current ICD had challenges with regard to both human and financial resources, which had impacted negatively on ICD’s capacity to execute its mandate. He therefore enquired how the IPID would ensure that it did not face similar challenges.

Mr Beukman said that he had a detailed response on the financial implications of the Bill, which did not form part of the presentation but which he would supply to the Committee soon. Provision was made for the upgrading of the current capacity and for additional staff in all the relevant departments, the upgrading of the existing offices and the establishment of additional offices, strengthening of the administration and the training of investigators. He explained that the investigation of corruption was a specialised field. The total proposed budget was R69 million in the first year, R102 million in the second year and R136 million in the third year. He said this was a wish list and IPID would have to negotiate with Treasury on what were regarded as the main priorities.

Mr Mokgobi asked if the budget had been approved by National Treasury and if it would be linked to performance.

Mr Beukman replied that it was part of the Estimates of National Expenditure that ICD would submit to Treasury in December. The new strategic plan would have to speak to the new mandate and targets which would be redefined in terms of Clause 28 of the Bill.

Mr Ntuli enquired about the proposed additional offices and asked what had informed the choice of the locations in KwaZulu Natal. He said the areas around Newcastle and Masinga were rife with criminal activity involving the police and these had a greater need. 

Mr Beukman welcomed the input and said that what he had presented were preliminary proposals and they were open to further proposals from the Committee. There would be public hearings before finalisation.

Mr B Nesi (Eastern Cape, ANC) was concerned that the human and financial resource problems alluded to earlier were not resolved, yet IPID was being proposed without these having been finalised. He said that the proposal may be good, but wondered how the new structure had been arrived at. He asked how the IPIC would motivate for money, especially for a larger undertaking, when the ICD had failed because of the lack of resources.  

Mr Beukman said that these were valuable questions and could be addressed by looking at the current environment. He said the ICD had been formed in 1997, during the transitional phase. In the 13 years which had elapsed, SAPS had grown tremendously and so had serious crimes committed by the police such as rape, corruption and shootings. The oversight function had to respond to the behaviour of the members and to redirect the focus to the current members of SAPS.

Mr Beukman said that ICD had had some success. In relation to deaths in police custody, the ICD had been relatively successful, and there had been many convictions. There had been a duty on SAPS members to inform the ICD of the alleged crimes committed by its members, but in many cases this did not happen because there were no sanctions. These sanctions were to be introduced under the IPID Bill. In terms of reporting on the Domestic Violence Act (DVA),  ICD had not had good results, but this function would be transferred to the Secretariat. The ICD had been relatively successful at investigating crime, but it was not the only body responsible for the investigations. By focussing on serious crime, the IPID would improve the success. The area of least success was that of misconduct by members of SAPS. There had been more than 3 000 cases in the past year, which was a drain on resources and there was no legal onus as yet for SAPS to act on the recommendations of the ICD. However, Chapter 7 of the IPID Bill would eradicate this flaw. The Secretariat would be responsible for the reporting duties under the DVA, which had consumed time and resources, leaving more time for IPID to fulfil its core functions.
Mr Bloem asked what the current budget of the ICD was. He noted the amount for R136 million for the third year in the IPID budget, commenting that this was a huge amount and that there was a need to be realistic. He also noted the large amount for vetting in the proposed budget, and asked who would be doing the vetting. He also wanted to know how many of the current staff had gone through the vetting process and how many of them had failed.

Mr Beukman said that there were challenges with vetting, and the process could take from 18 months to two years, and many members of the ICD had not been correctly vetted. The IPID would negotiate with NIA to fast-track the process. It was an administrative process. Currently there were only two persons responsible for this function, one dealing with security and the other having an administrative function. The position had been upgraded to that of Deputy Director, in the Bill.
Mr Mokgobi said that this was a Section 76 Bill and had to go to the provinces for the provincial mandates. He proposed that the Committee note the matter and move forward.

Mr Bheki concurred, but commented that the IPID would be a positive change from the ICD as it was independent from SAPS and would eliminate the 'fear' factor. Many of the ICD's investigators had been in relatively junior positions and SAPS was protocol- and ranking-sensitive, which had made the task of the ICD very difficult. 

Mr Bloem said the problem with vetting was a serious issue, and if corruption in SAPS was to be eliminated then screening had to be done. He agreed with Mr Beukman that NIA took too long, and asked why Military Intelligence was not being used, as it had a very effective system of screening.

Mr Beukman said that the IPID would, in terms of the Bill, be able to work with NIA in improving the situation.

The Chairperson noted Mr Mokgabi's proposal and said there was a permanent delegation to the provinces on this matter. The Chairperson said the process would move to obtaining mandates from the provinces.

Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Bill (the Bill): Secretary of Police briefing
Ms Jenny Irish-Qhobosheane, Secretary of Police, said in her opening remarks that there had been extensive consultation with the Provinces and with the MECs at MinMEC, and meetings with the Minister, on the principles behind both Bills. The Police Secretariat (the Secretariat), which would be renamed as the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service, had had consultation with the Heads of Departments, who had already begun to brief the provincial departments and the Premiers on what was included in the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Bill (the Bill). She hoped that this prior knowledge would assist the Committee in discussing the Bill. Not all the aspects contained in the Bill necessarily had to wait until the Act was implemented – for instance, in the area of cooperative governance, the Secretariat could already begin to align its annual projections and plans with those of the provincial MECs. That process had already started.

Mr Bloem interjected to say that he had a problem with the statement that implementation could begin before the Bill was passed. He asked how it was possible for something to begin without the Parliamentary Committees’ approval.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane responded that the legislation would strengthen the Secretariat's hand but the cooperative governance processes should already exist. Provinces and national government should be co-operating. Historically they had not been co-operating, and so there was already a process under way for them to begin to co-operate properly. When the legislation was passed, the co-operation that had already been developed would make it easier to implement that legislation. She emphasised that she had been speaking only of processes that were not in fact dependent on the legislation, but on principles that already existed, and said that no implementation of what was not currently allowed for had taken place.

She continued that the Bill spoke to Section 208 of the Constitution, which required that the Minister of Police establish a Civilian Secretariat for the Police, which would operate directly under the Minister's direction and authority.

One of the problems in the past was that the Secretariat had been housed under the South African Police Service Act, which meant that it was a cost centre of SAPS. Although it was supposed to report directly to the Executive authority, the Minister, the accounting officer for that cost centre had in fact been the National Commissioner. This in effect meant that the oversight body, the Secretariat, had reported to the Minister on the one hand yet also had to account to the National Commissioner, over whom it was supposed to have oversight. This was one of the problems that the current Bill was addressing. The Minister indicated the need for this change, and also felt that the oversight function of the Secretariat should be strengthened. The White Paper on Safety and Security outlined the need for the South African Police Service to be viewed as a trusted vehicle of law enforcement. In other democratic states, policy, planning and monitoring were carried out by non-police civilian officials. Comparative studies indicated that conflicts of interests between policy, monitoring, and implementation impacted negatively on governments' ability to redirect delivery to priority areas, and that there should be a distinction between these roles.

This distinction was central in the proposed reorganisation of the Secretariat. The Minister would be responsible for the development, monitoring and implementation of policy, and was accountable for all three of these dimensions. The Secretariat had become a dysfunctional body and needed to be capacitated and empowered. Legislation was not enough, but institutional reform was also required. The functions of the new Secretariat would encompass providing the Minister with policy advice, monitoring and auditing the police, providing support services to the Minister, mobilising role-players, stakeholders and outside partners. SAPS would focus on its core business, which was to prevent, combat and investigate crime, maintain public order and manage all operational functions of the service.

When reorganising the current functions along the lines just stated, systems of accountability would be improved and managerial responsibility would be clearly allocated. Such systems would allow the Secretariat to match policy priorities with operational performance and would also ensure more effective monitoring of the police. These principles were reflected in the objects of the Bill, which would give effect to Section 208 of the Constitution. The provisions for the establishment, composition and functions of the Ministerial Executive Committee, as required by Section of 206(8) of the Constitution, related to the existing MinMEC structure. The objects of the Bill also provided for co-operation with the IPID and SAPS.

Mr Ivor Kinnes, Chief Director, Secretariat of Police, addressed the functions of the Secretariat. An important change was that the Secretariat would monitor and evaluate compliance with the Domestic Violence Act, No 116 of 1998. There had been extensive consultation with gender groups on this matter. The Bill made provision for the establishment of three core functional units. The Policy and Research Unit would conduct research into policy matters, the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit would conduct quality assessment of SAPS and monitor and evaluate its performance, and the Partnership Unit would encourage national dialogue on safety and crime prevention and facilitate pro-active and interventionist models in communities.

He stressed that co-operation between the Secretariat, the IPID and SAPS would be vital, and the Secretariat would assist in ensuring that SAPS implemented recommendations from the IPID. The Bill also made provision for the establishment of provincial Secretariats, who would monitor and evaluate the implementation of policing policy in the provinces.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane noted that the Bill would amend and repeal sections of the SAPS Act.

Mr Ntuli asked where the Secretariat would be housed. He asked if this would be separate from the IPID.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane said the Bill established the Secretariat as a separate department, reporting directly to the Ministry, and that it would receive its budget from Parliament. At the provincial level the provincial Secretariats would be housed in each MEC's offices. Constitutionally the MECs had a role of oversight and monitoring the police. They also had a role to develop partnerships, but no role in policy-making, as that was a national competency. If the new Secretariat had gone the route of establishing branches, it would essentially have been duplicating the structures responsible for monitoring. This solution worked for both the MECs and Secretariat, and the Bill made provision for the provincial Secretariats to be part of the MECs’ offices. The Head of Department (HOD) at the provincial structure would be the accounting officer of that structure, but there would be dual lines of reporting to the MECs and to the National Secretariat. This was a fairly complex issue, but the Secretariat thought that all Constitutional boundaries were observed. There was a need for co-operative governance to ensure success.

Mr Mokgobi asked for clarity on the co-operative government implementation to which Ms Irish-Qhobosheane had alluded to in her introduction.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane responded that within government, each sector had to have its own aligned annual performance plans. That had not happened before between the civilian oversight sector and the MECs. However, this was happening now, for the first time. A workshop would be held to identify similar plans which should form part of the sector performance plans. Not all provinces had established Secretariats. Many MECs were responsible for dual functions – such as Transport and Police being combined in one portfolio. The result had been invariably that the MEC would tend to focus on one portfolio and not allocate sufficient resources to the other. At the moment, the MECs, could, but did not have to establish secretariats. This Bill would require that they must establish a provincial Secretariat, and that funds would have to be made available. This would also serve to enhance the MECs’ oversight role.

Mr Nesi commented that the HODs and Secretariat appeared to be playing the same role, and asked how they would be able to demarcate their responsibilities.

Mr Bloem asked if it was really necessary to have a Secretariat when there were HODs at the provincial level.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane responded that HODs covered more than one policy issue and police oversight often depended on the HODs’ other priorities. The HOD had to be the accounting officer to prevent parallel structures as explained before. In some provinces there was only one person monitoring the police for the entire province.  HODs and MECs had been supportive of the provincial secretariat when it was discussed with them, as it would give the MECs the legislative backing to go to National Treasury and ask for the necessary resources.

Mr Bloem asked what the relationship between the SAPS and the Secretariat was. He also asked why the Secretariat was taking over the monitoring of the Domestic Violence Act complaints specifically.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane said that currently the Secretariat's role was to oversee the police, and it had the authority to do so. However, the fact that currently the Secretariat’s budget was controlled by SAPS meant that SAPS could undermine the oversight function by not allocating sufficient budget. Under the new legislation, the Secretariat would essentially be performing the same functions, but would no longer be financially dependent on SAPS. The Secretariat would be reporting to the Minister and not the National Commissioner, as it was a contradiction to be overseeing one institution and then receiving a budget from the same institution. In respect of operational issues, the Secretariat would report to the Minister, who, in turn, would communicate with the National Commissioner to issue instructions to the police services. The Secretariat would not issue instructions to SAPS. The IPID would focus on investigations of police involvement in crime, and the Secretariat would do broader monitoring and oversight.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane said that the reason why the Secretariat was taking over the monitoring of the Domestic Violence Act was that the ICD had performed that function, but it would no longer exist. It was therefore to be transferred to the new Secretariat.

Mr Mokgobi asked if the proposed Bill was not a matter of creating jobs. The Minister had to execute his duties, and there were lines of implementation, and then another line of oversight, within one Ministry. He was not sure if this Bill did not amount to wasting the resources of the State. He was concerned that this might be leading to a bloated civil service.

Mr Bloem concurred with Mr Mokgobi, and said the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) would look into whether this was really necessary. He agreed that there seemed to be a duplication of functions. He was also concerned that the oversight of the Domestic Violence Act had been removed from the ICD. He asked why the Secretariat was not monitoring children in the custody of SAPS.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane replied that if the NCOP decided to do away with the Secretariat, it would have to come up with a Constitutional amendment, as the Bill spoke to the imperatives of Section 28 of the Constitution. She noted that Mr Bloem’s comments seemed to infer that there was no longer any need for an be inferred from the comments made by Mr Bloem was that his party did not feel there was any need for an oversight function in respect of the police, which would then mean that all the comments made by the Minister on this process over the past six months were without substance.

Mr Mokgobi said he thought Ms Irish-Qhobosheane had given a technical answer. He also noted that she should not have named Mr Bloem’s political party.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane immediately apologised.

Mr Mokgobi said the matter would be addressed by the NCOP, and the talk of amending the Constitution was not necessary, as there were other processes which could be followed.

Ms Nesi noted that the Members had raised critical issues, as both Bills were Section 76 bills. He echoed Mr Mokgobi's comments and found the naming of political affiliations to be divisive. Members served on the Committee with the common purpose to deliver services to their communities. He said since 1994, comments had been made that the Civil Service was bloated, and yet the trend continued. He was not sure if these Bills were going to assist in fighting crimes, as they seemed unnecessarily complicated and there appeared to be a lot of duplication. He proposed that Members should go to the provinces and deliberate there, and that, through engagement, they could probably come to a better understanding of what was envisaged in the Bills.

Mr Kinnes said there were misconceptions about the ICD and the Domestic Violence Act. The ICD would still be doing the investigations on domestic violence. The reason why the initiative to transfer oversight to the Secretariat in regard to the Domestic Violence Act was taken was that the SAPS had not taken the ICD recommendations seriously. The IPID could still do investigations, draft a report and make recommendations. A copy of those recommendations would also come to the Secretariat, who would then have the role of ensuring that the Commissioner acted on those recommendations.

Mr Mokgobi noted that the oversight duty rested with Parliament, and that duty would not be taken away. He reiterated that the whole process should be taken to the provinces. The NCOP had its own constitutional obligations. These were Section 76 Bills, and the NCOP must address the controversial issues, for which technical support would have to be provided.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane said if the Secretariat was alerted to the dates on which the matter was to be taken to the provinces, it would be happy to make itself available, and the provincial offices could also provide technical support.

Mr Mokgobi said that in his experience the provincial offices usually referred Members back to national offices. He also commented that the provincial legislatures were complaining that the six week cycle was too short.

Adoption of Minutes
The Chairperson noted that there was not a quorum to approve the previous meeting’s minutes. This matter would therefore be postponed to the next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.


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