The Chairperson asked the South African Police Service (SAPS) to present its 2009/10 Annual Report, and outlined some of the concerns expressed by the Auditor-General, congratulated SAPS on some aspects, asked for details of the reshuffle of staff, and asked that SAPS to concentrate in particular on detective services and targets. The National Commissioner and top management of SAPS outlined a change in the SAPS approach, noting that it was striving for unity of leadership and a more equitable spread of responsibility in order to strengthen its work. SAPS then outlined some of its achievements, describing targets for various crimes, and the financial statements, including the allocations of resources and virements, which had remained within the permissible 8%.
Members of the Committee were not satisfied that the report presented actually informed the Committee what exactly was being done, nor where the problems lay. Although the efforts were appreciated, they highlighted several instances in which there was insufficient information presented, pointing out also that they were concerned by the Auditor-General’s warning that certain information was not reliable. SAPS was asked to explain the virements. One Member stated that the reasons that had been given by the SAPS for failing to meet certain targets was unacceptable. Several Members said that they did not believe that the use of targets was necessarily useful, particularly since although arrests had risen, the numbers of matters brought to court and resulting in convictions had dropped. They were, however, aware of the SAPS role within the Criminal Justice system. Members questioned what was happening in detective services and the Forensic Laboratories at some length. Many of the concerns about the Forensic Laboratories were addressed, although Members questioned the information about training, necessity for some equipment, turnaround times and use of machinery. Retention was admittedly a problem. Members also questioned the targets and achievements of the new Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, and wondered if it could be compared to the former Scorpions. There was considerable discussion around detective training, with SAPS finally conceding that although the Annual Report stated that all had been trained, they had not been trained specifically for detective work. Members questioned several times how the backlogs were to be addressed. Some figures were to be made available later to the Committee. Other criticisms related to the failure to link the performance information with the strategic plans, whether value for money was assured, the fact that SAPS members who had been trained overseas were then permitted to resign and be appointed as service providers in that field, and the retention strategies. Members also questioned levels of appointment and outstanding disciplinary processes.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson stated that she had heard about some reshuffling that had happened in the office of the National Commissioner of Police, and pointed out that the Committee would like to be informed about this, to keep its list of contacts up to date.
The Chairperson congratulated the South African Police Service (SAPS) for its work that had contributed to the apparent reduction of crime in the country. She would like SAPS to tell the Committee how it would sustain this. In addition she congratulated SAPS on achieving five years of unqualified audit reports, even though they were not completely clean reports. The audit report showed that targets had largely been met.
She reminded Members that despite the unqualified report, the Auditor-General (AG) had note that certain sources of information were not reliable. She questioned how the SAPS was going to ensure that the reports in future were both factual and reliable. She commended the professionalism of the report, which was much clearer than in the past.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee would not comment much on the document received, pointing out that it was submitted late and stressing that late submission should not be allowed to happen. She said that the meeting wished to focus on detective services.
South African Police Service (SAPS) 2009/10 Annual Report presentation
General Bheki Cele, National Commissioner, South African Police Services, said that the e-mail from the Committee had been received on 8 October.
The Chairperson said she would in that case withdraw her remarks on late submission of documents.
Gen Cele agreed that there had been movements of senior personnel, which were done to strengthen the functioning of the SAPS. General Phahlane was now responsible for the Forensic Department, Lieutenant-General Ngwenya was appointed as Deputy National Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mufume was responsible for personnel, General Nyalungu had been appointed Acting Head of Training, while General Kruger had been appointed as Head of Procurement in the SAPS. He stressed that SAPS was not trying to perpetuate acting positions.
Gen Cele noted that Sections 40 and 65 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) required SAPS to follow certain processes. Other time lines were also set, such as tabling by the Minister of Annual Reports, before 30 September. He had tried to create unity of leadership to address targets raised by the AG. Management met once a month to foster unity of understanding. Minutes of such meetings were kept and could be submitted to the Committee. He believed strongly that this would help the whole of SAPS to function better, spreading responsibilities for management. SAPS also would be focusing on problematic stations in the province, with reports and recommendations to be given on problematic police stations. SAPS was trying to determine the baseline, where previously there had been inconsistency, and it was now agreed that all baselines would emanate from the previously achieved baseline, to be implemented from 2010/11. SAPS would in future report on figures and percentages.
General Julius Phahlane, Forensic Services, South African Police Service, stated that Programme 3 related to detective services. He stressed that it was divided into three: detective services that covered general investigations, priority crime investigation in respect of commercial crime and organised crime, and criminal records and forensic science services. He would present on the actual performance against the target.
The target for percentage of charges, being cases taken to court, for contact crimes was 33%. SAPS had achieved 37.09%. Detection rate for contact crimes and contact related crimes had a target of 43%, and 46.16% was achieved. Conviction rates for contact crimes and contact related crimes showed a target of 15% and achievement of 30.36%. He then set out the targets for commercial crime. For charges in this area, the target was 25% but it had not been achieved. The same applied to the detection rate for commercial crime. The set target of 85% of reports generated in 30 days, for fingerprint identification, based on offenders’ previous convictions. Targets were also not achieved for the percentages of forensic evidence exhibits that should be analysed within 35 days.
General Stefan Schutte, Financial and Administrative Services, South African Police Services, stated that financial reporting demonstrated information about the sources and allocation of financial resources, the use that SAPS made of these financial resources, how this compared to their planned resource utilisation, and whether resources were used in accordance with the legally adopted budget, including financial limits established by appropriate legislative authorities. Section 43 of the PFMA provided for an accounting officer to authorise the shifting of funds between programmes within a vote, up to 8% of the appropriated amount per programme. SAPS was trying to stay within this prescribed 8% shift. Various factors might contribute to the shifting of funds: such as late delivery, higher prices, increase or decrease of finances and personnel leaving the institution.
He stressed that SAPS had fully used its voted funds, with a very small surplus of R28 355. Virements for all programmes were well within the 8%. The spending took account of ring fenced amounts. Itemised spending priorities had been referred to in the 2009/10 State of the Nation Address and the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). Revenue of R 347 million had been collected, which had been surrendered to the Revenue Fund. The main reasons for the increased collection of revenue were improved recovery of incidental debts, sale of non-capital items at auctions, and a very high number of firearm applications. Local and foreign aid assistance had amounted to R5 million. Capital expenditure had been R14 million and there had been a net surplus of about R9 million.
A breakdown of voted funds and departmental payments was given. For Visible , the actual amount allocated had been R17 million, and the total voted funds had been R19 million. The virement had been R16 thousand, or 0,1%. Virements for the detective services and crime intelligence had been 0,9 % and 3,2 % respectively. Increased expenditure arose as a result of modernisation of the Information Technology (IT) environment, and training interventions had resulted in the funds being diverted. Other reason for increased expenditure were more polling stations and personnel that had been established for the general elections and the maintenance and repair of aircraft and vehicles.
Gen Schutte read out the purposes of detective service as being to enable the investigative work of the South African Police Service, including providing support to investigators. He also noted that the main 2009/10 spending priorities for the detective services had been accomplished.
General Cele stated that explanations would be given as the meeting progressed. He explained two underachieved targets. There had been a concentration on the training of new personnel in order to enhance the performance of the division. The maintenance and acquisitions environment was much expanded. He believed that it was not beneficial to work with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and that this hindered purchase of assets, sometimes for up to 24 months. Money had been allocated right at the end of the financial year.
Mr Anwar Dramat, Deputy National Commissioner Overseeing Crime Intelligence and Crime Detection, Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), stated that in relation to commercial crimes there had been an increase in volumes, because of the complexities such as internet fraud, which were of a trans-national nature.
The Chairperson stated that the budget approved in 2009 had included the detective services. However, there was little knowledge about what was actually happening in the detective services and the Forensic Services Laboratory (FSL). She voiced her concern that the presentation was rather too summarised. In particular, FSL was causing much frustration.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) stated that she thought the reports on Programme 3 were unreliable, based on the information of the AG. She also thought the performance of the DPCI was not impressive, particularly when compared to the former Scorpions unit, and that although there were promises that it would improve, this had not yet happened. She also asked why experts were leaving.
Ms Kohler-Barnard thought that the targets were very low. She was concerned that tax payers were not getting value for their money, given the low conviction rates, and that quoting targets of matters referred to court was not useful. She wanted the SAPS to explain exactly how the budgeted amounts were spent. Ms Kohler Barnard asked for an explanation of “55 cases were to be closed”. She asked how meeting police targets was being hampered by police being trained. This explanation was unacceptable.
Gen Cele responded that the Hawks faced a problem of movement of people. The need to vet officials meant that a number of people were unaware whether they would be made permanent, so the environment was unstable. Some issues were beyond the scope of the SAPS. In respect of retention, he advised that one SAPS member who had been based in London, advising the London Police on abuse of children, had been recalled to deal with that issue in South Africa.
Ms A van Wyk (ANC) also cited problems in the reports. She reiterated that the Committee did not know what was happening in the detective services. She was concerned that the Auditor-General, the Committee’s researchers and external bodies all warned the Committee about the correctness of the reports. She pointed out that although virements were low in terms of the percentage, the amounts involved were very high, even higher than the budgets for some other departments. She asked why money was being moved to other areas which already had their own money. She also asked why the SAPS failed to explain its virements for consecutive years.
Gen Cele responded that the comments on reliability of reports made it sound as if the SAPS’s house was on fire. In fact, the AG had noted a problem on one issue only, Visible Policing, but it was made to sound as if this problem stretched across the entire organisation. He was somewhat concerned about the comments. Non-government organisations were given a field day to criticise, but had no recourse against SAPS, and he requested that where statutory organisations raised concerns, they should also offer solutions. Criticisms should come with corrective suggestions.
Ms van Wyk said that the Committee did not want to judge the SAPS on crime statistics, but had little option other than to do so.
Ms van Wyk addressed Ms Kohler-Barnard, saying it was necessary for her to acknowledge the difference between the Hawks and the Scorpions, particularly since the latter, unlike the former, had chosen which cases it wished to take on. She asked how many DPCI staff were based in each province, and what were their success rates. She asked how many detectives were there, and what were the challenges that the detectives were facing. She added that that was why a day was set aside in order to deal with such issues.
Ms van Wyk queried why there was such a low conviction rate, despite the high number of arrests. She stressed that blame surely must also be attached to the prosecutors.
Mr M Swathe (DA) also voiced his concerns. He stated that if a budget was given for a programme, it must be initiated. SAPS needed to check and explain exactly what was happening in the Forensic Laboratories. He stressed that he wanted a thorough explanation on detective services and the Hawks. He supported the suggestions that there must be value for the taxpayers’ money.
Mr G Schneemann (ANC) noted that the detective services looked good on statistics, but lacked in respect of the structures. He noted that there was mention of the President’s State of the Nation Address and that of the Minister of Finance and asked how the comments in each had been implemented.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) was impressed that the National Commissioner had been visiting provinces. He asked where the meetings were conducted. He asked who the beneficiaries of the foreign aid assistance were. He also asked for how long were those officials who were suspended without salary likely to remain suspended.
Gen Phahlane responded that this emanated from the previous financial year. A SAPS member had been suspended, and his wife was also under investigation for defrauding the Department by claiming overtime, but at the point when internal departmental processes were about to be initiated she resigned. Criminal proceedings were initiated. The Hawks recommended that the husband should also be investigated, because he had approved the fraudulent overtime for his wife, and he was suspended to prevent any interference with the investigation.
Mr V Ndhlovu (IFP)stated that the reasons for not achieving targets were not convincing. He added that the complexity of commercial crimes was not a good reason why targets were not achieved, and wanted to know more about the non-achievement.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee had visited the Forensic Laboratories in Pretoria and had approved a budget for them. She asked what the Department was doing to achieve a correct status here. She wondered whether the retention strategy that the SAPS developed was working. She added that the Committee was not being informed about the service providers. She also noted that a fire had occurred in a building that housed drugs, and the Committee had still not been informed what had happened. She also asked for how long the Head of Finance in the Forensic Laboratories had been suspended, and what was being done to take the matter further. The Committee required a detailed report on this.
Gen Cele responded that there had been changes in Forensic Laboratories. SAPS had implemented leadership changes and because of what it had discovered, six people were suspended. All purchases were being done for the purposes of profit making and to add value.
The Chairperson stated that people wanted to know what was happening, and the National Commissioner was not making this clear. She asked specifically to be advised what was happening in SAPS, in relation to detective services, in the areas of human resources, finances, equipment and information technology systems.
Gen Cele stated that while there were structures of governance, the major vision and goal for all was “better and improved governance”. SAPS appeared to be winning the match, but was not yet quite sure who might have scored the goal, and the Committee wanted to know how each aspect of success and failure had been achieved. SAPS had been hampered by its historical way of doing things. The report that the Committee wanted would be the first of its kind, which was not necessarily bad. His report would deal with macro-issues, but the micro issues would be presented on separately. No guidance had been given to him in advance of the type of report that the Committee wanted.
Gen Phahlane would be responding on the Forensic Laboratories, but he wanted to mention that he had been seeking money to establish other forensic branches elsewhere, to avoid all samples being sent for analysis to Pretoria. This would address the backlog. Gauteng Province had expressed interest in helping to build a Gauteng laboratory, but SAPS did not want to outsource the building of laboratories. Some SAPS members were studying at university and would increase the capacities, although this would not happen overnight.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee took as its starting point, the strategic plan, since the Annual Report must be based on the strategic planning. The report by SAPS had not spoken to the SAPS strategic plan or performance plan. This made it impossible for the Committee to oversee the SAPS properly. She reiterated that, for instance, SAPS had promised to train detectives, but had not reported on that, despite the fact that money had been allocated.
Gen Phahlane stated that some issues were difficult to deal with, and impacted negatively on their results. There had been some support in addressing these from the National Commissioner.
He noted that the storage of drugs was a major problem, because of various factors. Drugs were only destroyed after an order was received from Court, or after the completion of a case. The Forensic Laboratories had recently destroyed drugs with a street value of R450 million, because these cases had been finalised. It was risky to keep drugs in a safe, because staff could be tempted to steal them. The intention of FSL in future was to have a pre-destruction order issued, so that photos and samples could be presented in court as evidence, leaving the way open to destroy the rest, and thus free up storage space. FSL had been successful in getting such an order, only in Western Cape. Problems with security were that the CCTV cameras could only see who was entering a storeroom, but not what was happening there. FSL was working with Technology Management Systems to address the issues.
He noted that there were three decentralised laboratories in the country, but not all were on the same level. Ideally, all the three laboratories should perform the same capacities. Accreditation was not a priority but a process was in place to ensure that the laboratories were accredited.
Gen Phahlane addressed the tender abuse by SAPS members’ relatives. FSL had been working on this. In relation to capacity, he said that new demands were being made, and he did concede that there was a shortage of personnel. FSL was not going to rely on private providers to render training.
FSL also had problems with its current building, because it was not completed due to the liquidation of the contractor. He added that a R23 million air conditioner had not been fully installed, and although it was there, and was using electricity, it was not functioning properly. These issues impacted on performance. The laboratories were a problem. The one in Eastern Cape was fine but the one in KwaZulu Natal was in bad condition.
FSL did not have what was required in order to retain employees, and he would not like to create a false impression here. He did not have the actual figures for training with him, but said that about 4 300 had participated and that about 4 049 were declared competent. He was confident that the FSL had great potential, despite its short time in operation.
Mr M George (COPE) stated that the training figures did not tally. He asked how detectives were not trained, why were they not trained and how much money was needed to train them.
Gen Phahlane responded that the numbers given only applied to members in the FSL.
Gen Phahlane added that those who were currently suspended pending disciplinary hearings would remain suspended.
The Chairperson believed that the laboratories could perform better, and said that the impression was created that they were purposely under-performing.
Ms van Wyk asked what the current backlog was in the FSL and how SAPS planned to reduce this.
Lieut-Gen Dramat then spoke to DPCI statistics and performance. He stated that the DPCI had 2 699 members and 520 had obtained top secret security clearance. He added that senior personnel had been appointed in all the nine provinces. People who had the necessary skills that were required by the DPCI, for affirmative action purposes, were identified. The DPCI Act placed very high emphasis on integrity. A Tactical Operation Management System was established. Out of the 50 most wanted criminals in the country, only two had not been captured. A decrease in crime had been seen after the removal of the criminals from the street. He added that the Anti-Corruption Task Team had been cooperating with other departments. DPCI had cracked down on various syndicates who mainly dealt in narcotics. A pyramid scheme was also cracked.
Gen Cele stated that he hoped that the process of Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster would be joined with that of the meeting of Chairs, not just at the operational level but at the performance level, because the SAPS was being frustrated. A particular individual had been arrested but released on bail 12 times for crimes such as cash-in-transit and running “armies” of car hijackers. An officer might, at very high risk to himself, attend to an arrest and SAPS could only hope that that officer would return alive, only for the arrested individual then to be released on bail. He hoped that someday such issues would be addressed.
General Godfrey Lebeya, DPCI, read out the number of personnel per province, which was 279 at the head office, 510 in Gauteng, 357 in the Western Cape, 211 in the Northern Cape, 180 in Free State, 174 in Mpumalanga.
The Chairperson asked what the targeted number was.
General Lebeya responded that the target was 3140, so DPCI was looking for about 400 more personnel.
The Chairperson stated that the report was seemingly reporting on the status.
General Lebeya pointed out that pages 102 to 108 of the Annual Report were dedicated to the DPCI. He addressed the question of the low targets set for DPCI when compared to those of the Scorpions. The targets used different formulaes and were not capable of a straight comparison. When DPCI referred to having completed 11%, this meant that the other 89% of the cases were still outstanding at the courts.
He noted that the “55 cases ready to be closed” were cases that needed no further investigation, but just needed to go through administrative procedures.
He said, in response to complaints about unreliable information, that how the DPCI generated its information must be examined. The Organised Crime Threat Management System was used to generate a result, unlike the case system.
Commissioner Ray Lala, Detective Services, South African Police Services, stated that the total of the number of detectives trained was 14 532 and of these 14 252 were declared competent. He stated that the target was 19%, but it had been surpassed. There had been eight senior appointments in the previous financial year. Detective Services faced challenges of dealing with issues such as managing systems and personnel.
Mr George stated that this response did not say how many detectives were not trained, and why had they not been trained.
Commissioner Lala responded that 4 842 had received the basic training course, but they had not undergone the 14 week training course.
The Chairperson asked how the Department intended to address the issue of the backlog.
Ms van Wyk asked whether the 4 842 had not undergone the basic training.
Comm Lala responded that the all 4 842 had undergone the basic training but not the specialised 14 week training.
Ms Van Wyk stated that what the Committee had been told, namely that there were no detectives who had not been trained, this was not true.
Comm Lala stated that the numbers given were not those that had been given 14 week training.
Ms Van Wyk stated that they had nonetheless not received any specialist training. The basic training course was one that all SAPS members had to undergo.
Comm Lala stated that he disagreed with Ms Van Wyk.
Ms van Wyk stated that some of the senior police delegates in attendance were nodding their heads to agree with what she was saying.
The Chairperson explained that Ms van Wyk was concerned with specific detective training. She went on to stress that the Chief Financial Officer had earlier said that funds had been shifted to detective training but there were still detectives who had not been trained. The Chairperson asked again what systems had been put in place to address the issue of the backlogs.
Comm Lala corrected himself by withdrawing his earlier statement, and saying that the 4 842 members had not undergone any specific training in detection services.
General Vusi Nyalungu, Acting Head of Training, South African Police Services, responded that 11 319 would be trained on detective training, and would start training during the third quarter. In respect of basic crime investigation practice, 2 842 had been trained and 1 317 would be trained. The budget for the previous year was R19 million and the budget for the following year would be R18 million.
The Chairperson asked whether the budget had gone down.
Mr George asked what would be the ideal budget to address the backlog.
Ms van Wyk told Mr George that the budget was not the problem. There were other problems. If detectives and crime intelligence were not improved, then the results SAPS wanted to see would not be achieved.
Ms van Wyk noted that the number of arrests had gone up, but the cases referred to court, and the convictions, had not gone up. She asked how many of the detectives had done all the courses.
Gen Nyalungu responded that capacities were very limited and that included trainers.
Mr George clarified whether he meant that the Department was having problems with the training capacity and the number of trainers.
Gen Nyalungu responded that it was the numbers who were being trained that was low, and that it also included trainers.
The Chairperson asked again what system was in place to address the issue of the backlog, and how SAPS was going to address the problems.
Ms Kohler-Barnard stated that the Annual Report of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development stated that the number of dockets that were being sent back to the SAP had risen by 74%. This meant that this Committee needed to interrogate the calibre of the training.
Ms van Wyk was under the impression that the answer the Committee was going to hear was that part of the 12 month increase in the training of SAPS members would be a career path. She stated that more clarity was needed.
Gen Cele stated that the responsibility of redesigning the programme and the training fell within divisions. For Detectives, work had been started already. SAPS was the best for special task forces in the country.
Comm Lala stated that he would send the Committee a breakdown of the figures.
Gen Cele stated that restructuring had not been finalised, because it had to go hand in hand with the restructuring of finances.
The Chairperson stated that a career path for detectives should be established in the SAPS so that they would not leave the SAPS.
Gen Cele stated that it was impossible for the SAPS to be staffed with an army of generals. There was general consensus among members of the SAPS that people would stay in the same rank, as long as their package increased.
Ms van Wyk asked about the issue of backlogs in the FSL.
Gen Phahlane responded that he was not able to provide a specific figure, although he could announce a drastic decrease of backlogs. He stated that the decrease in backlogs had been noted in all areas except that of chemistry. FSL was in the process of exploring a shift system, alternatively shift arrangement overtime. The backlogs were not caused by staff not doing their work, but related to time frames between when the samples were received, and when they were allocated. In order to address the problem, the FSL would be enforcing time lines.
The Chairperson stated that the system demanded that a certain number of samples be analysed. She asked how the FSL intended to achieve this.
Gen Phahlane responded that the number of people who worked there was going to be increased so that the systems were used optimally.
The Chairperson was under the impression that the machine was operated by four people, and a service provider needed to be there, but if the latter was not present, then the machines would not work.
Gen Phahlane responded that the machinery was operated by the people who fed the machine. He added that the service provider was only there in case there were problems with the machine.
The Chairperson asked what the role of the service provider was and how much the service provider was being paid.
Gen Phahlane responded that the service provider was a former member of the SAPS who had been sent to Germany.
The Chairperson asked whether the former member had been sent to Germany to learn how to operate the machine.
Gen Phahlane agreed that he had been sent Germany to learn how to operate a machine. On his return, he worked for only a short time for SAPS. There was a tendency for skilled SAPS members to be poached by other institutions.
Mr Swathe asked why the finger print identification and target had not been met.
Ms van Wyk asked how many entries were still outstanding. She added that once the Forensic Science Bill was passed, the number would increase.
The Chairperson expressed her concern about SAPS members being sent away for training, resigning, and then being appointed as service providers. She went on to ask why people with degrees were paid salaries equivalent to Standard 10.
A delegate responded that in the process of implementing a retention strategy the SAPS had agreed to upgrade the entry level of people who were professionals with bachelor degrees, from Standard 6 to Standard 10.
Gen Cele stated that there was a generic problem with government. SAPS had highly specialised personnel. Qualified personnel remained in the SAPS because of their love for the SAPS work. The structure needed to be overhauled. The question that would arise would be at what cost this should be done. The structural programme currently would result in abuse by other members.
Ms van Wyk stated that the SAPS was not a spectator in the overhaul of the criminal justice system. She asked how the money that was allocated to SAPS from the criminal justice system was spent in the previous financial year.
Ms van Wyk asked how many of the finger print enquiries that had been received had been completed. She added that private companies received their fingerprint requests within days but finger prints from crimes took much longer to be processed. The primary turnover should be that of crimes. Only one page of the report talked about the FSL, despite its prime importance.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked what level of salary a professional received when he joined the SAPS.
Gen Cele stated that no retention strategy would be adequate in the SAPS. People were being employed and being given salaries less than what they deserved. Most of the money was ring fenced. He was trying to avoid a situation whereby the SAPS would train people to become highly skilled only to find out that there were no machines to operate. Money was used for specified purposes, to avoid challenges from the AG. Much money would be needed to implement a new structure.
The Chairperson agreed with Gen Cele, but stated that SAPS still must do its work.
Gen Phahlane responded that he did not have the figures on the backlogs.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked whether the backlog in biology had gone down.
Gen Phahlane responded that the backlog in biology had gone down by about 33%, but that did not mean that there were no backlogs. Backlogs were not only done by the GSP machine.
The Chairperson asked how crimes against women were going to be addressed. She asked the SAPS to explain the irregular expenditure. She asked whether the SAPS were likely to get a clean audit next year. She also asked why SAPS had not provided records for verification to the Auditor-General.
Gen Schutte responded on irregular expenditure, stating that the SAPS incurred costs in the training environment, such as accommodation and meals. Most of them were small amounts. The National Commissioner took a tough stance on irregular expenditure. SAPS was a huge organisation but was striving for a clean audit.
The Chairperson asked about the shifting of funds.
Gen Schutte stated that late appointments were the cause of this.
Ms Van Wyk asked what “cash on hand” meant and what the difference was with money in commercial banks.
Gen Schutte responded that it was advance money that officers used in urgent situations.
Ms van Wyk expressed her dismay that R23 million was petty cash.
General Cele agreed that the amount was “scary” and said that SAPS was working towards the reduction of that figure.
Gen Schutte noted that the system could be changed.
Ms R Molebatsi (ANC) asked whether the SAPS enquired whether or not the machine it wanted to purchase was already available or not.
Gen Schutte responded that there was project approval.
Ms Molebatsi asked how it was possible that machines could be bought and then not be used.
Gen Phahlane responded that the National Commissioner could answer this, but the purchase of machines was motivated by line managers. He was convinced that some of the machines were not needed. In relation to the issue of storage, he responded that dockets were stored in more than one location. He added that the documents were in sealed exhibit bags.
General Cele said that one could not question a specialist why this machine was wanted, and if it was requested, then it was purchased.
Ms van Wyk stressed that Ms Molebatsi’s question was a question of principle. National Treasury guidelines obliged the CFO to be part of the bid committee. She suggested that a representative of the CFO be on the bid committee. She asked why the Department took so long to realise that machines it purchased were not needed, over years. Management was involved in the running of the SAPS.
Ms Molebatsi added that management should check whether machines were really needed before signing off for the purchase.
Ms van Wyk asked whether the laboratories had been accredited.
Gen Schutte stated that SAPS was becoming strict on demand determination. He added that there was separation of powers, so that powers were not concentrated in the hands of one person.
Gen Lala agreed that there was an increase in the sexual crimes. The Sexual Offences Act came into play and created 68 new crimes, which accounted for the results here.
The Chairperson welcomed the National Commissioner’s remarks about the meetings of the management. This was a very positive move. The Committee still had some worries on the issue of detectives. However, there was seemingly some hope for FSL, as she sensed that the correct details were given, although support was needed here.
The meeting was adjourned.
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