The South African Police Service (SAPS) had briefed the Committee on some matters arising from the 2009/10 Annual Report on the previous day, but this meeting focused on Visible Policing, with the presenters also being asked to address borderline policing and the firearms centre. SAPS outlined the targets for Visible Policing, which fell under Programme 2. SAPS had various partnerships to prevent contact and property-related crimes, including a whistle-blower project with PrimeMedia and partnerships with Business Against Crime. The targets of establishing initiatives at the 169 high-contact and priority stations was achieved. The National Community Police Board (NCPB) continued with initiatives to support the objectives of the Community Policing Forums (CPFs). Targets were also set out and the performance against them was described, in respect of prevention of contact and property-related crimes, and those crimes that depended on police action for detection. Targets for recovery of lost and stolen firearms were not met, but targets were met for roadblocks, recovery of stolen or robbed vehicles, and recovery of cannabis, as well as targets for recovery of firearms and stolen vehicles and arrests at borderlines, as well as for crowd-related incident arrests. SAPS indicated that sector policing had been implemented at 169 police stations, and that 105 had been visited to assist with implementation of this. Capacity posed a challenge. SAPS aimed to make this model more flexible and to have 209 provincial priority stations establish this in the current financial year. In relation to borderline security, SAPS was deploying over 1000 officials at land borderlines, with more permanently at sea borderline posts. This function was performed jointly with South African National Defence Force. The applications for firearms licences were detailed, but there were problems with backlogs. SAPS summarised that there were some problems that needed to be addressed.
Members raised questions on the management of vehicle fleets, the numbers of deaths of officials, and the escapes from police custody were raised. Members sought more clarity on recovery of firearms, renewals of licensing, whether amended legislation for firearms was required, and the numbers of lost and stolen licences. They were concerned about improper systems of management of the firearms registers, including the fact that there were no firearms registers nor secure facilities for firearms at many police stations. They asked when the Second Hand Goods Bill would be in operation. They also asked about roadblock procedures and findings. Several questions were posed around borderline security, including the reasons for the drop in arrests and in vehicle theft cases here, how many personnel were released, and administrative issues. The Committee noted the need to have a joint meeting of all relevant Departments. In relation to sea borderlines, Members noted that SAPS had paid R16 million for boats to a company that had subsequently gone into liquidation, although the liquidation was the subject of dispute, and asked what was to be done to either complete the unfinished boats or auction them off. Members were particularly concerned about sector policing, querying why it had apparently started in 2002, yet had only to date been implemented in 169 stations, questioning how much was spent on it, and whether there was value for money. Members also asked what systems were in place to determine its effectiveness and efficiency, asked that percentage comparisons be shown, and questioned how it could be effective when some stations had insufficient cars or staff. SAPS explained the rationale, the agreements that 70% of vehicles must be available, and that sector policing must be viewed holistically as one of the attempts to address crime. Members insisted that they must know how it was to be implemented and monitored, and the plans for the future and stressed that all stations must adopt a uniform approach, and that further reports were expected. Members also queried the community policing forums, the numbers of reservists taken in, the pilot training programme, and the slow increase in Victim Support Groups. They also asked how the concerns of the Auditor-General would be addressed. They confirmed that some media reports about the meeting on the previous day had been incorrect in their reports on Gen Cele’s presentation.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson stated that the focus at this meeting would be on the issue of visible policing. However, the Committee was interested in knowing what was happening in relation to borderline policing and to hear the intentions of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in relation to sector policing. Some sectors, such as KwaMhashu, had not fully implemented this sector policing. She also pointed out that the Committee would be interested in knowing how the SAPS intended to spread the issue of sector policing to other police stations.
South African Police Service 2009/10 Annual Report, past and current status of Visible Policing
General Bheki Cele, National Commissioner, South African Police Service introduced members of the management team.
Lieutenant General Andre Pruis, Operational Services, South African Police Services, stated that some issues that the Committee had raised would also be addressed during the presentation.
Lieutenant General Lesetta Mothiba, Divisional Commissioner: Visible Policing, SAPS, said that he would be presenting on Programme 2, which related Visible Policing (VP). He would be presenting the targets and then describing the performance.
He noted that in the 2009/10 financial year, as set out in the Annual Report, there were attempts to enter into partnerships to prevent contact-and-property related crimes. The SAPS target was to establish these initiatives at the 169 high-contact crime stations and other priority stations. This target had been achieved. 183 arrests were made from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010, as a result of the partnership between the SAPS and the PrimeMedia Group, a partnership that was established in 2007 to encourage the community to blow the whistle on crime, by reporting it anonymously. The partnership with Business Against Crime, one of the key partners with the SAPS in the fight against crime, also continued, with a focus on the Criminal Justice Review and Improvement Programme, the Violent Organised Crime Reduction Programme, and the Non Ferrous Metal Theft Reduction Programme. It was noted that the National Community Police Board (NCPB) continued with initiatives to support the objectives of the Community Policing Forums (CPFs).
The next target related to police actions conducted to prevent contact-and property-related crimes and crimes dependent on police action for detection. The target stipulated that actions should be undertaken at the 169 high-contact crime stations and other priority stations. The actual performance was that 52 233 roadblocks were held, (compared to 42 601 roadblocks in 2008/09), 1 542 031 stop-and-search operations were conducted (against 1 006 186 in 2008/2009) and 1 361 504 arrests. It was stressed that 44% of the arrests were made within the boundaries of the 169 high-contact crime police stations.
In relation to police actions conducted to prevent contact-and property-related crimes and crimes dependent on police actions for detections, an 85% target was set for the recovery of lost or stolen firearms. The target was not achieved. A target of 46% was set for the recovery of stolen or robbed vehicles, and this target was achieved, with 46% (32 028) of vehicles recovered relative to 82 661 vehicles stolen or robbed.
A baseline figure of 200 000kgs had been set for the recovery of cannabis. The target was achieved, with 179 716kg of dry cannabis being seized, as compared to 144 408kg in 2008/2009. 251 227 cannabis plants had been seized, which were equal to 25 122kg.
The target for the reduction of contact crimes had been set at 7%. A target was also set to decrease the number of incidents of escapes from police custody, relative to the baseline figure of 700 incidents. It was stressed that 602 escape incidents had occurred in 2009/2010, during which 857 persons had escaped from police custody. This was compared to 719 incidents in 2008/2009, during which 1 144 persons had escaped.
Another area of focus was the deterrence of illegal activities at borderlines and the extent of cross border crime at
Another important area of Visible Policing was the need to neutralise dangerous situations and potentially dangerous situations, and make interventions in medium-risk operations. The target was to maintain the number of arrests for crowd-related incidents, including strikes, marches and public gatherings, relative to the baseline figure of 4 000 arrests. This target had been achieved, with 8 907 crowd-related incidents recorded during 2009/2010. This included 7 913 peaceful incidents and 994 unrest incidents. 4 157 persons were arrested during the 994 unrest-related incidents where violence erupted and where specialised actions were required to restore peace and order.
Ms Susan Pienaar, Head of Crime Protection, South African Police Service, presented on sector policing. This had been implemented at 45 stations in 2008, but the number of stations that had implemented sector policing had been increased in 2009/10, to 169 police stations where there was high contact crime. She explained that Sector Policing meant that a police station would be divided into sectors, a sector commander would be appointed, and a dedicated sector policing would be established. The SAPS also visited 105 stations to assist in the implementation of sector policing. Capacity issues were a challenge in the implementation of sector policing. SAPS was dedicated in particular to increasing capacity in areas that were very problematic. SAPS was trying to make sector policing a flexible model. The next target was to have all 209 Provincial Priority Stations establish sector policing. By end-September 2010, only one station had not implemented sector policing in line with these targets.
Major General Mwala Chipu, Head of Crime Combating, South African Police Service, presented on the issue of borderline security. He stated that for the past financial year, SAPS had deployed 1 056 members on intervals of two months at land borderline, because there were non-permanent members appointed there. There were 48 permanent members for the sea borderline at Simon’s Town, 21 at Richard’s Bay, 41 members at
Major General JM Nkomo, Component Head: Firearms Registry, South African Police Service, stated that since the inception of the new law, about 1 million applications were received and SAPS was able to finalise 185 000. She added that some applications were cancelled and others were refused. About 4 474 applications were also received from institutions, of which 3 599 were approved, 97 were refused and 349 were cancelled. Challenges were being experienced, in that there was a very large backlog. There were 8 668 renewals because SAPS was planning to prioritise new applications. People who renewed would not be prejudiced. She added that SAPS was also waiting for the analysis of fingerprints.
Gen Cele stated that the SAPS had suffered a number of losses in the Department, such as those resulting from the helicopter crash.
Mr Schneemann asked what steps were being taken to reduce the murder of SAPS officials. He also asked why the Committee had never been invited to attend the annual memorial parade.
Gen Cele stated that he did not know why Committee Members were not invited to attend the memorial service but he pointed out that the issue would be rectified.
He noted that murder was an emotionally-charged issue, with high levels of debate and dispute. It was an international phenomenon.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) noted that the management of vehicles was a problem which affected vehicle policing.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked whether the 179 firearms that were recovered at the border were coming into
Ms Kohler-Barnard was very concerned with the renewals of firearms licences, stating that people would tend to “jump through the hoops”, then sit with a receipt, but do no more, which meant that the system was not working. The massive administration burden was an issue for such renewals. She stated that either the section was under resourced, or that legislation was needed to help ease the situation.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) asked how the challenges of sector policing were going to be addressed. He asked why, and in what manner, some applications for firearms were rejected.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked for more clarity on the total number of lost or stolen firearms.
Ms van Wyk voiced her concern that there was a problem in establishing proper systems management of the firearms register.
Mr Schneemann asked whether the firearms that were handed in during the firearms amnesty were handed over.
The Chairperson noted that there were no firearms registers at police stations, and that was a big challenge.
Lt Gen Pruis requested that the questions that had been asked by the Committee on firearms stand over until the Minister made an announcement.
Ms van Wyk asked about the current situation in respect of the Second Hand Goods Bill.
Major General J Nkomo, Component Head Firearm Registry, responded that the Second Hands Goods Bill was awaiting promulgation, and would then be implemented.
Ms Van Wyk asked whether there was a deadline.
Maj Gen Nkomo responded that SAPS was hoping to start implementing it on 1 April 2011.
Ms Molebatsi commended SAPS on its efforts to fight crime. However, she pointed out that the report was silent on the issue of illegal landing strips. She asked how this issue was going to be addressed.
Ms Dube asked whether there were well trained policeman at roadblocks, and how the SAPS would record items that were found in vehicles at roadblocks.
Gen Cele responded that the attitude of members of the public at roadblocks was “terrible”, but this did not mean that SAPS officer could be rude. The nature of roadblocks was going to be changed. He stated that there was a plan in the pipeline to enable about nine Departments, including, for instance, Department of Home Affairs and South African Revenue Services, also to be present at roadblocks. Because roadblocks were crime-deterring activities, no warrants were needed.
Ms van Wyk asked why there was a drop in arrests at the border.
Mr G Schneemann (ANC) asked how many personnel were deployed at air borderlines. He also asked if airports were included in air border lines. He also asked how many personnel were released, in light of the discussions on borderline security, and whether SANDF was going to be taking over the patrol of borderlines fully.
Gen Cele responded on questions relating to borders. There was a difference between border lines and border ports. He elaborated that border ports were entry points or border gates, and that they would fall under Port Security. A decision was taken at Cabinet level to reintroduce members of the SANDF into borderline policing. He stated that there would be a meeting with the army generals, in order to discuss who was going to do what at the borderlines. The police had not been displaced, but were working together with SANDF members. However, it must be noted that SANDF members could not arrest and process arrested people at the borderlines. This was a function of SAPS, which was why the policing of borderlines would remain a joint venture. Because the SANDF had certain equipment already, there was no point in SAPS also purchasing such equipment. He had visited some borderlines, such as Beitbridge, and would be visiting more.
He indicated that borderline policing was more problematic than policing at the border posts. He agreed that administrative issues were a huge problem, particularly if a large number of people were to be arrested. He pointed out that trains between
Lt Gen Pruis stated that SAPS did not make any distinction whether the officials at a borderpost were treated differently, whether police or soldiers. There should be a fence at a border line, either placed by the Department of Agriculture, or a security fence, similar to that between
Maj Gen Mwala Chipu stated that the arrests at borderline had decreased, because of the new programme that had been implemented between
Ms Van Wyk asked why the number of stolen vehicles had gone down, and why there had been a decline in this trend at borders.
Gen Cele responded that there had been cooperation amongst most Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, which had led to the number being reduced. He also added that technology helped reduced the number of recovered stolen cars. It might also be that stealing cars was no longer a lucrative business. He however stated that there was an increase in vehicles being stolen for purposes of cash heists.
The Chairperson stated that she was going to organise a joint meeting with the relevant Departments in relation to the issue of borderline policing.
Mr Schneemann asked when the meeting with the army chief in relation to borderline policing was going to take place.
Mr Schneemann also raised the issue of sea borderlines, asking how many boats were being auctioned and whether the auctioning of the incomplete boats would affect the sea borderline operations.
Gen Cele confirmed that the company from which SAPS had purchased some of its boats had gone into liquidation. SAPS was not sure how it would recover its money.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked how many boats had not been constructed, and whether SAPS paid the full amount.
Gen Cele responded that figures would be provided to the Committee at a later stage.
Lt Gen Pruis was able to confirm that R16 million had been paid for the boats, and that was half of the money. SAPS had two choices: either to take and finish and use the half-built boats, or to auction those unfinished goods.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked SAPS had paid the full amount for the boats, or half the amount.
Lt Gen Pruis responded that it was half the deposit. He added that boats were critical for patrol of the 12-nautical miles.
Mr Schneemann asked to whom the money from the auction was to be paid, and who would be in charge of the auction.
A brigadier from Supply Services, South Africa Police Services, stated that the State Attorney had asked SAPS whether it wanted the half-finished boats to be auctioned or whether it wanted to take over the unfinished boats as they were.
Major-General Julius Molefe, Operations Executive Legal Officer, South African Police Service, added that there was a dispute pending between the partners of the company, with one of them challenging the bankruptcy. He stated that if the partner who challenged the bankruptcy won the dispute, then another approach would be taken.
Gen Cele stressed that the financial and legal staff of SAPS were monitoring the situation closely, and were examining whether it would be preferable to take and finish the boats, or to recover what it could on auction
Ms A van Wyk (ANC) stated that sector policing was started in 2002, but eight years down the line it had only been implemented in 169 stations She asked how much money was spent on sector policing, adding that it seemed as if there was no value for money.
The Chairperson noted that there was a police station in KwaZulu Natal that had faced problems of personnel for sector policing. She asked what systems were in place to determine the effectiveness and the efficiency of sector policing. She asked why supporting documents were not provided to the Auditor-General. She also asked why the SAPS were using figures, instead of percentages.
Gen Cele responded that using percentages would be a lot better. He added that SAPS would try to show both the figures and the percentages.
Gen Cele responded in general to issues raised around sector policing and resources. He confirmed that this was a problem for the whole of the SAPS, not only sector policing. He added that an agreement was in the pipeline, which stated that at any given time, at least 70% of the cars should be running and available. He stated that the SAPS had to fix its procurement, and if it could not do so it needed to outsource. The cars were certainly in existence, but it was the administration of those cars that needed to be fixed. He explained that the remarks by some police stations that they did not have personnel and / or cars were incorrect. KwaMhashu was one of those police stations. He noted that according to figures, this particular station had about 400 staff and more than 120 cars.
Gen Cele stressed that “sector policing was the way to go”
Ms Susan Pienaar also added to Gen Cele’s remarks on the sector policing questions. She stated that instructions were adopted in 2009, and a phase in approach was adopted to implement the instructions, which ensured that a station would have adequate resources before it implemented sector policing.
The Chairperson stated that she did not understand the reference to 2009. She went on to ask what the reference then had been to 2002 for sector policing.
Ms van Wyk stressed that it was not acceptable to say that the policy was adopted in 2009. If discipline around policies was not adopted at top levels, then it would not filter down to police stations.
Ms Pienaar explained that up to 2009 there had always been divisional instructions. From 2009, this had changed because now there was a national instruction, which was enforceable. Stations worked with community policing forums. Because this was a flexible model, each station could adjust the resources. There was more flexibility in the implementation guidelines. A detailed analysis of the efficiency, effectiveness and the success of sector policing had not yet been done. She added that it was a process which was constantly adjusted.
The Chairperson pointed out that the response the Committee received was not what she had expected. She added that there had been guidelines on this, as far back as 2002. She asked why it had taken eight years to actually implement sector policing. Furthermore, she said that if it had taken eight years to implement it for 169 police stations, then she was very worried how long it would take to implement in 1 000 stations. She also asked how sector policing was going to be implemented in all of the police stations, and also how it would be monitored.
Lt Gen Prius agreed with Ms Van Wyk that sector policing did date back to 2002. However, he added that in the intervening years, SAPS had been moving from a stabilising situation, to a normalising situation. Sector policing was a strategy in the normalising process. He indicated that there must not always be a policy paper; for instance when SAPS ran the security of the 2010 World Cup, all instructions were to be found in the crackdown operations, which were run by commanders. What had happened in 2002 was a continuation of something that had started in 2000. It was not possible, within the ambit of the budgets, to have small sectors. Sector policing must be seen linked to other issues. All of these issues had to do with development. For this reason, he urged that sector policing should be seen not alone, but as part of a larger strategy.
The Chairperson asked what the bigger strategy outside sector policing was.
Lt Gen Pruis responded that the strategy was not to be seen as sector policing. The strategy was a national crime combating strategy. This had two aspects, firstly, the geographical approach, which encompassed sector policing, and secondly, the organised crime approach.
The Chairperson responded that the Committee had received a workshop on the issues raised by Lt Gen Pruis. She had, however, expected a response specifically on the issue of sector policing. She asked what SAPS intended for the future.
Gen Cele responded that defeating crime required a strategy broader than sector policing. Sector policing was only one aspect that was needed to address crime. Other components included visibility, and quick response. Sector policing had not reached its full potential .One challenge was the non-availability of cars, but sector policing could not be expected to be fully resourced with vehicles, when SAPS itself was not fully resourced with vehicles. There was, however, an agreement, referred to earlier, that, when implemented, would ensure that 70% of the cars at a station were functioning. Sector policing would feed on the national strategy and help to reduce crimes. He reiterated that sector policing had potential, and it also had some shortcomings, but those problems could be fixed.
Mr Schneemann stated that the broader community had been asking about the issues of sector policing that the Committee had raised. He added that some police officials who were supposed to be attending to sector policing had been seen at McDonalds’ restaurants.
Ms Molebatsi stressed that the problem was the proper management of what the SAPS had. She stated that at a particular station, it had been found that one vehicle had been locked up mistakenly for days, while no petrol card was available to fill the other, but the station commander was not even aware of this.
The Chairperson pointed out that she was under the impression that sector policing was also going to talk to visible policing and community participation. She added that the Committee understood that there were shortcomings. If SAPS was of the opinion that resources were not to be found, then SAPS was supposed to inform the Committee of this. The Committee could not continue to talk about sector policing year in and year out, under the impression that something was in fact happening, but needed to be assured that the problems had been addressed and overcome. A similar response had been given on sector policing to the Committee in the previous year. All stations needed to be guided into adopting a uniform approach. The Committee would have to call SAPS back to address sector policing again, because it was not clear how it would overcome the challenges.
Mr M Swathe (DA) asked why the numbers of escapes had not been reduced.
The Chairperson asked why some police stations did not have CPFs. She also asked about the money allocated to them.
Lt Prius responded that the police did not pay any money to the CPFs.
The Chairperson asked which people were being taken as reservists, and how far the SAPS had gone in training reservists.
Ms Kohler-Barnard stated that the Minister had lifted the moratorium on employing the reservists but the SAPS still seemed adamant that it did not wish to employ reservists.
Gen Cele responded that the moratorium had been selectively lifted.
Gen Cele stated that there were 802 reservists nationally but others would be added. He added that reservists had to meet a certain criteria. He stressed that there was no back door to becoming a police member. He added that the employment of reservists was compromised. Some things were negotiable, but others were standard and non negotiable.
Mr Schneemann wanted to know what was happening with regard to the pilot training programme.
Ms Pienaar responded that the pilot programme was implemented in Alexander in
Mr Lekgetho asked whether the money that was paid for overtime had been paid in line with the correct procedure.
The Chairperson asked why there was a slow increase in Victim Support Groups (VSG). She did proffer her congratulations on the Kwa Mhashu VSG, which was very good. She stated, however, that there was no VSG at Mthubathuba. She asked whether there was a plan in place.
Mr Schneemann asked whether there was any training provided on how to handle protesters.
Gen Cele responded that the SAPS had done well in relation to crowd control. There were also other different agencies that were available to police the crowd, but all of these were generally regarded as being “police”. Much training had been done on crowd control, and he noted that this included robotic-looking gear and water cannons. Some strikes were very violent, and the necessary measures would be taken.
Ms Van Wyk asked what was going to be done to address the Auditor-General’s concerns.
Gen Cele outlined that there were various challenges. A great deal of support was needed. Of the 1 117 police stations, many were police stations in name only. Some in
Gen Cele then alluded to the previous day’s meeting. He had referred to someone, saying that he specifically would not mention names, who had been released on bail twelve times. Despite this, the media had carried a story on this, and he reiterated that he had never mentioned names, but had specifically said that he would not mention the name. A media report carried the headline “Angry MPs brand Top Cop Cele a liar”. He complained that nobody, during the meeting yesterday, had, to his knowledge, called him a liar. He named the newspapers that had carried this story.
The Chairperson stated that no one had branded Gen Cele as a liar. Members had left the meeting with the hope that something positive would happen on the Forensic Services Laboratories. She reiterated that nobody had been called “a liar”. The public should appreciate the sacrifice that SAPS officials were making in protecting them.
The Chairperson stressed that Visible Policing talked to crime prevention. Sector policing was an issue. If there was no clear programme to implement sector policing, then the Committee would be worried. Sector policing had the capacity to improve SAPS community relationships. If there was a strategy, but it was not able to be clearly identified and had “no head and ..no tail” it would be implemented disproportionately.
The Chairperson raised concerns about Msinga Police Station. She said that cases reported to that station were seemingly never investigated and this was not serving the community. SAPS would lose nothing by closing it down. This station clearly needed some help.
The meeting was adjourned.
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