The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) gave a presentation to the Committee on its strategy to reduce case backlogs. It was stressed that there were both internal and external factors that contributed to the problem of case backlogs. A number of interventions on how to reduce case backlogs were given, such as the reviewing of business processes, provincial annual performance plans and the restructuring of the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee. The priority for 2011/12 was to reduce backlog cases and improve the output. The total number of backlogs per province was given as at 1 April 2010, as well as an indication of how the provinces had managed to lessen their backlog figures. In 2011/12, there would be continued prioritisation of addressing backlogs. The programme managers, the Monitoring and evaluation Committee and monthly reporting to the National Office would all ensure reporting. In future, provinces would be asked to complete backlog cases within six months of the new financial year and there would be improved reporting to complainants. Members asked when the new Act would come into effect, and why there seemed to be a worse situation in KwaZulu Natal than other provinces. They expressed concern that the Department of Health seemed to take so long to compile reports, asked if there was any known reason for this and suggested that the Department should be asked to report to the Committee. Members also questioned why some cases had been finalised, while others of longer-standing remained open, and in particular asked for an update on the investigative capacity, the reports for April 2011, the conviction rate for criminal cases and the position with the case in Ermelo. Members expressed their dismay that the perpetrators apparently could not be identified, but noted that ICD should be informed when police were attending protests, and that the police were supposed to ensure that marches were orderly and safe.
The second presentation outlined the draft costing of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Bill, and summarised the difference between the mandate of the current ICD and the new and extended mandate of the IPID. The budget for the following three financial years was set out. It was stressed that the new mandate would require additional investigative capacity, but it was not possible to determine the final costings until an indication was given of when the Bill would be put into operation, as this date affected the hiring of staff. Members asked what would happen if SAPS failed to report a case, and questioned the situation with the new head office, pointing out that although the Department of Public Works was often blamed for delays, this department worked on a needs-basis. Members also asked whether the task teams would be permanent, whether the Minister had yet signed off on the budget.
The Committee noted that it would like to have further meetings to discuss the issue of crowd control.
Chairperson's Opening Remarks
The Chairperson noted that on 15 March it was brought to the attention of the Committee that the current Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) budget had not catered for the changes that would occur as a result of the implementation of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Act, and there was as yet no costing document in line with National Treasury requirements. Another issue raised at that meeting had been the case backlogs of the ICD. ICD had now produced some answers on this, within the time frame required by the Committee, and would give a presentation at this meeting.
She noted that the six-monthly reports on the Domestic Violence Act would be postponed until the South African Police Service (SAPS) was present.
Independent Complaints Directorate presentation on case backlog strategies
Mr Tommy Tshabalala, General Manager: Investigations, ICD, noted three important definitions in regard to “case backlogs”. He said that firstly, a “backlog” was regarded as a case where investigations had not been completed within the time period set by the strategic plan. “Completed” referred to processes that the ICD could control and influence, such as visiting a scene, attendance at a post mortem and obtaining affidavits. “Finalised” meant both that the technical processes, and all reports, including technical post mortems, ballistic, DNA analysis and recommendation reports for submission to the Director of Public Prosecution or South African Police Service (SAPS) management, had been done.
Mr Tshabalala mentioned a number of issues that could contribute to backlogs, including lack of adequate investigative capacity, increase in time spent attending court, and the late notification or non-reporting of cases. There were also some external factors that influenced the completion of cases such as the complexity of some cases, the fact that cases only reported in the last quarter of the financial year were unlikely to be completed within that current financial year, and those cases that depended on cooperation by external stakeholders, such as the SAPS or the Department of Health, before they could be finalised.
The strategic plan for 2010-2013 was to reduce the number of backlogs to no more than 10% of the previous year. The primary objective was to improve service delivery. The strategic plan for 2011 to 2016 was to finalise more cases and to reduce existing backlogs. The ICD sought to reduce case backlogs by reviewing business processes, and using provincial annual performance plans. Furthermore the ICD intended to restructure the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee to effectively monitor and evaluate performance by provinces on a monthly and quarterly basis, and to conduct audits to ensure compliance with the strategic outcomes, as well as ensure that each province met its targets. Lastly the ICD sought to reduce the number of case backlogs by using a new case management system that would provide an early warning mechanism and escalate information to the supervisor of the case worker, where there had been non-performance or undue delay. This system would also generate updated statistical reports, which could be drawn on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
The total number of backlogs per province was given as at 1 April 2010. KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of backlogs, with 729 cases, followed by the Western Cape, with 676, and Gauteng with 506 cases. The least number of backlogs was recorded in Northern Cape, with 13 cases, and Limpopo, with 53 cases. KwaZulu Natal recorded the highest number of deaths with 241 cases. Western Cape recorded the highest number of cases of misconduct, at 377 cases, followed by Gauteng with 329 cases.
Mr Tshabalala went on to give the changes in backlogs per province. The highest percentage of change was recorded in the North West Province, which had dropped its backlog figures by 82%, Eastern Cape, which had dropped the backlog by 79%, and Free State, with a drop of 68%, and Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal with a lowering of 63%. The lowest change was recorded in Mpumalanga, where the backlog was lowered by 15%.
For the year 2011/12, the programme would continue to prioritise the reduction of case backlogs, and the improvement of output during the 2011/12 financial year, through the constant and effective monitoring and evaluation of performance, on a monthly basis, by the programme manager, by the work of the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee and by monthly reporting to National Office on the progress made towards the completion of cases.
Mr Tshabalala then outlined the plans to address the current and future case management. All provinces would, in future, have a target to complete backlog cases within six months of the new financial year. Provinces must also report on backlog performance in their monthly performance reports. Complainants would be provided with monthly feedback regarding the progress that had been made towards the completion of their own case. Lastly the Provincial Annual Performance Plans for 2011/12 must include quarterly reporting on backlog cases.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) noted that the ICD were well on the way to changing over to the IPID. She asked how the legislation was working and whether it was fully implementable.
Mr Francois Beukman, Executive Director, ICD, responded that the President had assented to the IPID Act but a date still had to be set on when the Act would come into effect, and for this reason the IC was still operating under this name, and not as the IPID.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked what changes had been made by ICD in relation to staffing.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked whether there were any indicators as to why KwaZulu Natal showed more instances of police complaints. She also stressed that it seemed to be the province where people would most fear the police.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) said that the strategy to reduce case backlogs was impressive. He asked whether ICD was doing well, and how it was coping with the issue of capacity.
Mr V Ndlovhu (IFP) asked why the Department of Health seemingly took so long to respond to queries.
Mr Ndlovhu asked whether the intervention in Mpumalanga had helped, and whether more staff members were needed.
Mr M Swathe (DA) asked whether ICD was prioritising cases that would be reported in the last quarter of the financial year. He further asked why the ICD was not consistent in deploying investigators.
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) asked what steps were being taken to address the issue of late reporting of cases. She was concerned with the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee dealing with backlogs only after they had occurred. She also stressed that a breakdown should be given for the figures that related to changes in backlog per province. She asked how the ICD intended to deal with the issue of backlogs that related to service delivery and the Domestic Violence Act.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) asked whether the issue of investigative capacity had been dealt with.
Rev Meshoe asked at what stage ICD intervened in backlogs.
Ms P Mocumi (ANC) asked under which category negligence was classified.
Ms Mocumi asked for the findings in the report on the level of performance on backlogs, for April 2011.
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) asked how the ICD determined whether there was a cover-up.
The Chairperson asked what the conviction rate was in relation to criminal cases.
The Chairperson asked how the ICD prioritised its cases and why there appeared to be problems when it came to issues of post-mortem reports and histology reports.
The Chairperson asked if all delays were genuine. She stated her appreciation for the fact that the Tatane case had been finalised in two weeks, but noted that other cases that had occurred before the Tatane case, such as the Ermelo case, had not yet been concluded. She wanted to know what systems would ensure that the older cases were attended to first.
Mr Beukman indicated that there were no eye witnesses in the Ermelo case as opposed to the Tatane case where there was video evidence.
Mr Israel Kgamanyane, Provincial Head: Free State, ICD responded that the case had been finalised and it was ready for trial. However a trial date had to be set.
The Chairperson asked how it was possible to finalise the Tatane case, when other cases remained outstanding.
Mr Tshabalala stressed that the problem with protests was that units from different areas would be posted to deal with the protesters, making it difficult to identify the individual police officers, in addition to the fact that most of them would be wearing helmets. It would also be difficult to identify the police officers when they used rubber bullets as opposed to live ammunition, because live ammunition could be traced to a specific gun.
Ms Van Wyk noted that the IPID Act made provision for this body to be informed when police were attending at protests, so that the IPID would also be able to have its investigators present at the protests.
The Chairperson said that it was of grave concern that people engaged in protesting could be killed but that the perpetrators were difficult to find, and urged that better solutions needed to be found.
Mr Beukman agreed that Ms Van Wyk was correct. The ICD had tried to have investigators present at previous protests, although it was very dangerous, but this comment was noted. The ICD would try to do more work more in interdisciplinary teams to achieve better results.
Ms Van Wyk pointed out that marches were not supposed to be dangerous; people had a right to march and it was the responsibility of the police to see that the marches were safe.
Mr Ndlovhu stressed that whereabouts of every police member must be known. In addition there was a need for all involved to be open with others.
Mr Moses Dhlamini, National Spokesperson, ICD, responded that in the Ermelo matter, there were 31 cases - mostly involving assault, but some of malicious damage to property, and two deaths - and in all of these cases the victims had been interviewed but could not identify the police officers. In addition there were about seven different units that had been posted to Ermelo. Furthermore, the person was shot with pellets, and there were both police officers and security officers present.
Mr Ndlovhu asked whether police officers were being deployed together with security officers, and who had authorised the deployment of the security officers.
The Chairperson stressed that it was especially serious that deaths had occurred in the presence of police officers, and no arrests could be made.
Mr Matthews Sesoko, Provincial Head: North West, ICD, pointed out that there was a problem in accurately identifying from where a specific shot had been fired. Even commanders at times failed to do so. It was important to look at the issue of crowd management by police officers. The SAPS were supposed to call and brief stakeholders on how they intended to deal with crowd control.
Mr Tshabalala went on to detail answers to the other questions asked.
He agreed that there was insufficient capacity in some of the provinces. The reason why there was intervention in Mpumalanga was that two of the investigators were not available for a long time and this affected the province. The reason why inspectors were deployed in Kwa-Mhlanga was specifically to deal with torture matters that had been reported, so that other staff in the office could deal with their regular cases. The issue of late reporting had been raised with the provincial commissioner.
Mr Sesoko pointed out that in relation to service delivery protests there had been some interaction with the SAPS and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Services. A task team was also in place that was responsible for the transition. The Secretariat staff were being trained on how to ensure compliance and how to do station audits.
Mr Tshabalala stressed that a breakdown of the figures that had been requested by Ms Van Wyk would be submitted in writing. Problems with post mortems did happen from time to time and the ICD could wait as long as two months for a post-mortem report, and as long as two years for histology reports. The ICD did not know what the exact cause was of the delays.
The Chairperson asked whether the reports were quality reports, especially when they came late.
Mr Tshabalala responded that if ICD was not satisfied with the quality of the report it would employ an independent pathologist.
Mr Sesoko pointed out that the issue of late pathology reports was related to late reporting of cases.
Mr Tshabalala stressed that the question of conviction rates would be responded to in writing. When dealing with complaints, ICD had to distinguish between cases, depending on the seriousness of the cases.
IPID Bill: Costing
Ms L Cwele, Chief Financial Officer, ICD, began by indicating that her presentation would cover the shift in legislative mandates from the ICD to the IPID, as well as the additional legislative duties, areas that were going to be enhanced, and the re-organisation process. She would also give a summary of draft costing and a graphical cost projection.
She outlined that the legal mandate of investigation of the ICD was contained in Chapter 10 of the SAPS Act of 1968. However, this would be replaced, when the new IPID Act came into force, with the mandate contained in section 28 of the IPID Act, which gave IPID the mandate to investigate. IPID’s powers included investigations of deaths in police custody, discharge of an official firearm by a police officer, rape by a police officer or rape in custody, torture or assault, and corruption matters. There were also additional reporting obligations to the Minister on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis, and IPID must report to Parliament on an annual basis. Other legislative duties included the increase in community awareness and liaison, and cooperation with the (newly named) Civilian Secretariat for Police Service.
The net results of the change in legislative requirements would be that there would be renaming and reorganization. The new and extended mandate would focus on serious priority crimes. There would be a dedicated legal services programme, improved reporting and accountability practices and improvement of management structure.
Ms Cwele then tabled a summary of the draft costing, in order to assist in the implementation process. The additional costs were set out that would be required for 2011/12, at R24 million, for 2012/13 at R120 million, for 2013/14 at R145 million, and for 2014/15 at R217 million. It was stressed that the additional costs that were not part of the current operational budget of ICD would be subject to change, dependent on the expected manpower, date of proclamation, and approval by the executive. The costs included those associated with personnel and related expenditure, investigator training, investigative equipment, specialised and investigative services, public awareness and communication costs.
Ms Cwele stressed that there was an intention to convert the present ICD from a general complaints structure to IPID becoming an investigative driven organisation. There would be an emphasis on strong investigative capacity. IPID sought be become an independent institution with the necessary skills and resources to investigate serious crimes committed by the police.
The Chairperson requested that the information that had been added to the presentation be submitted to the Committee.
Ms Molebatsi asked what would happen if the SAPS failed to report a case to the ICD.
Mr Beukman responded that in terms of the new IPID Act there would be an obligation on SAPS to report cases, but in terms of section 78 members of the public could also report cases to the ICD.
Ms van Wyk asked what had been National Treasury's approach to the projected budget, and what the situation was with the new head office.
Ms Kohler-Barnard requested that members of the Department of Health should also brief the Committee.
Mr Ndlovhu asked whether the task teams were permanent.
Mr Beukman noted that the task teams were not permanent and as soon as the Act comes into effect they would be disbanded.
Ms van Wyk asked how ICD was interacting with the Ministry in relation to the implementation of the draft IPID budget, and whether the Minister had signed off the budget.
Mr Beukman responded that one of the documents that accompanied the President's Proclamation was the staff establishment organogram, which should be signed off by the Minister. This document would have an impact on the number of staff.
The Chairperson asked what was meant by the note in slide 7 of the presentation.
Ms Cwele responded that the note on slide 7 was inserted to emphasise the effect that time had on the budget process. If the date of proclamation was to be moved, it would affect the hiring of staff, which in turn would affect the budget.
Ms van Wyk asked what factors could lead to the Act not being implemented on 1 January 2012.
Ms Cwele responded that the date of signing off and approval of budget could lead to the Act not being implemented on 1 January. The ICD was advised by National Treasury to be conservative in the budget process, and also advised that the costing exercise should be done fully.
Ms van Wyk reiterated that her questions on the head office and whether the Minister had signed off the budget had not been answered.
Mr Beukman responded that the Minister had not yet signed off the budget. In addition the head office was the responsibility of the Department of Public Works (DPW), who was responsible for entering into contracts.
Ms van Wyk pointed out that there was a tendency to blame the DPW, but she would like to point out that the DPW worked on a “needs-based” assessment.
Mr Beukman responded that in 2008 the then-management of ICD decided that a new head office was needed. The process to get a new head office started in 2008, and a building in Sunnyside, Pretoria, was presented to ICD. There were two limitations to that building – one being the security issue and the other that the space was insufficient. DPW had then offered the ICD the current building, which had more space. ICD then asked the DPW whether there were other options available, and was told that there were no other options. The building allowed provision for further growth.
The Chairperson was concerned that the ICD was not using the whole building.
Ms Cwele responded that the details in relation to the contracts would be forwarded to the Committee.
The Chairperson stated that in the IPID Act, it was specifically stated that the IPID must function independently of SAPS, and organs of the State were supposed to assist the Directorate to maintain its impartiality and to perform its functions. This implied that there must be independent and impartial investigation of the crimes committed by members of the SAPS. The Committee fully expected the body to conduct its work without fear or favor.
The Chairperson said that there was need for a further meeting in order to discuss the issue of crowd control. The ICD should provide further information, as promised, by 23 June 2011.
The Chairperson noted that it was in the interests of citizens of the country that the new IPID Act be implemented as soon as possible.
The meeting was adjourned.
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.