The Civilian Secretariat for Police outlined the role it played in develop policies subject to the approval of the Minister. It had to also monitor the implementation of the policies. The Secretariat had identified a number of challenges on how SAPS addressed the growing number of protest actions, which in some instances were accompanied by provocation, intimidation, public violence and criminality. It said it was now imperative that SAPS aligned itself with the following key issues as crucial areas for intervention and redress:
▪ the establishment of a dedicated Public Order Policing Unit,
▪ training of members attached to the public order policing unit,
▪ command and control,
▪ operational planning and types of protests,
▪ negotiations with commanders,
▪ the use of force,
▪ correct equipment,
▪ use of crime intelligence.
It discussed each of these matters in depth.
The ICD presentation focused on statistics and showed the poor conviction rate of cases involving SAPS abuse of power in crowd control situations, mainly because the specific SAPS members could not be identified. Of 204 cases, 52% had recommendations made to the Public Prosecutor that criminal aspects were involved. However, 75 cases had been closed as unsubstantiated because the SAPS members could not be identified. The ICD made a number of useful recommendations on how the more than ten challenges idenfitied by them in these situations could be solved, such as correctly completed SAP 15s.
The SAPS briefed the Committee on the history of the Public Order Policing Units, their numbers, deployments and arrests, and resources in terms of personnel, equipment and vehicles. SAPS spoke on the measures it had taken to ensure standarised procedures in the management of crowds, its recruitment methods and training curriculum and its future plans.
A number of key issues caught the attention of the Committee. The first was whether SAPS or the Civilian Secretariat made policy. The response that the Minister made and approved the policies. The role of SAPS was to implement them and the role of the Secretariat was to monitor the implementation of the policies.
The Committee was concerned with the lack of coherence between the SAPS presentation and that of the Secretariat on which crowd management model was being used in the country. The Secretariat favored the French model as it was less confrontational.
The Committee was very concerned that members of the Tactical Response Team could be deployed from other provinces without their names being known to station commanders. The Chairperson stressed her concern over the violence committed by members of the TRT unit. It was agreed that the TRT Unit should not be used in crowd management because they were trained to deal with hardened criminals. The Chairperson urged the Minister to deal with the issue of TRT because these units were being misused by provincial MECs. The Committee noted the large number of cases reported to the ICD that included deaths and attempted murder by SAPS members in
The Chairperson began by condemning the murder of a Member of Parliament, Bishop Tolo, who was brutally murdered while he was in his house. It was brought to her attention by the brother of the victim that there were eight other people in the same area who had been murdered in the same way. The matter needed to be followed up urgently and the perpetrators arrested. The Committee would be visiting the police station in the area and the case would be followed by the Committee keenly. The perpetrators had left a lot of evidence and this would help the police in ensuring a watertight case.
The Chairperson said Section 7(1) in Chapter 2 of the Constitution said that the Bill of Rights was the cornerstone of South Africa. The Chairperson went on to quote Section 7(2) which said that the state had a duty to respect, protect and promote and fulfill the rights in the Bill of Rights. Section 12(1) said that everyone had the right to freedom and security of the person. Section 17 stated that everyone had the right peacefully and unarmed the right to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions. In addition Section 36 of the Constitution stated that the rights in the Bill of Rights could only be limited by a law of general application to the extent that the law was reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic country. The issues that would be discussed in the meeting talked to the core of the Constitution. SAPS was supposed to explain how they intended to deal with demonstrations. During the Soccer World Cup the police demonstrated that they could deal with crowd control but after the World Cup all these skills disappeared. In order to deal with this, there was need to have presentations from SAPS, the ICD and the Civilian Secretariat for Police.
Civilian Secretariat for Police presentation
Ms Jenni Irish-Quobosheane, Civilian Secretariat, Secretariat for Police, said that the role they played was to develop policies which would then be submitted to the Minister who would approve the policies. Once the policies were approved they were submitted to the Department. A policy document on policing public gathering was being worked on. The role of the Secretariat was to conduct research and adopt best practice for policing of public protests and gatherings. They were tasked with developing policy which once approved by the Minister would become official policy for the Department of Police, monitor the implementation of the policy and advise the Minister on future revision and approach to policy requirements.
Adv Chemin Ontong, Chief Director: Head of Policy and Research, Secretariat for Police, presented on the policy for policing of public protests. The dynamics in the policing of public protests in South Africa after 1994 underwent a major shift. Prior to 1994 policing measures for public protests were characterised by arbitrary "riot control" and abusive actions. The transformation within SAPS attempted to rationalise public order policing. However serious gaps existed within the policy environment and SAPS reacted to the gaps by introducing operational policy. The establishment of Public Order Policing (POP) units as Area Combating Crime Units (ACCUs) required a change in the mindset of SAPS towards effective crowd control and management. Recently the country has experienced a growth in the number of protest actions, in some instances accompanied by provocation, intimidation and public violence and criminality. The challenge was for SAPS to respond to the issues in a manner that recognized and balanced the rights of citizens to protest and the need to ensure that law and order was maintained. It was important to determine the extent to which public order policing conformed to legal imperatives. Another challenge facing SAPS was how to balance the need for policing public gatherings and protests versus other SAPS roles regarding policing. Hence there was need to look at whether the approach to the policing of public protests was consistent with the constitutionally accorded rights for all individuals, effective and peaceful public control and whether it generated the very violence it sought to control in public protests.
The scope of the Secretariat was to establish a policy framework with guidelines for SAPS to review and align operational strategies and instructions. Its objectives were:
- to create proper crowd control and management capacity in SAPS,
- introduce a framework within guidelines for SAPS on policing of protests in line with international standards,
- introduce training standards in addressing the principle of "first responder", SAPS operational planning and response, resource deployment and physical execution.
The legislative and policy framework was guided by the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, Regulation of Gatherings Act, SAPS standing orders, the Peace and Security Protocol, the Intergovernmental Relations Act and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
The key questions and implications for the policing of public protest and gatherings included whether, the training of SAPS was still relevant and appropriate, the training facilities had proper infrastructure and equipment, who was policing the protests and whether there was planning, implementation, control and command during protests.
In terms of the United Nations, law enforcement agents were supposed to adopt and maintain rules and regulations on the use of force subject to constant review. As such country dynamics dictate which approach was best suited for the police in a crowd management. Britain, Italy, France, Sweden, Germany, Spain, the USA and Scotland applied mechanical force. Mechanical force involved the use of devices or substances such as batons, canine physical contact with a subject or a natural agent spraying as opposed to the use of a firearm to overcome a subject’s resistance to the exertion of authority.
In terms of the South African context, operational policy strategy was supposed to take into account the operational environment based upon sound democratic principles. The policy established a framework for the policing of public protests and it called for the introduction of strict measures on the use of force during public protests. The policy guidelines were supposed to inform all of SAPS operational strategies in the policing of public protests while restoring trust and confidence in communities. There was the need to introduce proper sanctions for non compliance and adherence. SAPS initially adopted the French model with regards to the policing of public protests and gathering and the training was provided by the French during the Soccer World Cup. More recently SAPS had moved to the Belgian approach.
It was now imperative that SAPS aligned itself with the following key issues as crucial areas for intervention and redress:
▪ the establishment of a dedicated Public Order Policing Unit,
▪ training of members attached to the public order policing unit,
▪ command and control,
▪ operational planning and types of protests,
▪ negotiations with commanders,
▪ the use of force,
▪ correct equipment,
▪ use of crime intelligence.
The presentation considered each of these key issues in detail.
- For example, the establishment of a dedicated Public Order Policing (POP) Unit had to give effect to section 17 of SAPS Act. The POP Unit had to be properly capacitated and resourced. Members of the units could be utilised for other duties but they must be readily available when required and take command and control of public disturbances.
- Training facilities and standards had to be upgraded and renovated. The training was supposed to equip individuals to deal with any situation. All trainers had to be accredited and competent to provide accredited training. Commanders of the units had to be trained in negotiation techniques. An instruction to discharge a firearm had to be subject to review and investigation. A decision to discharge a firearm was had to be made by a commander. The Secretariat suggested that water canons be employed to disperse the crowd.
- SAPS had to kick start procurement processes to ensure all the required equipment was procured, evenly distributed, allocated and that proper maintenance procedures were introduced.
- A threat analysis had to be conducted by the intelligence fraternity throughout the whole community in order to identify hotspots. The use of intelligence as part of policing public protests was essential. Intelligence had to identify key risks during the protests and liaise with commanders regarding the risks and isolate key individuals from the crowd. All gatherings had to be videoed since this would not only help the police to identify gaps and weaknesses in their approach but it could be used to address any criminality that occurred during the protests (see document for full details).
Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) presentation
Mr Francois Beukman, ICD Executive Director, spoke about the changes to ICD’s mandate as given by Section 28 of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act of 2011. In terms of the reporting obligations the station commander or any member of SAPS or Municipal Police Service (MPS) were obliged to notify the Directorate of any matters that were supposed to be investigated by the Directorate immediately after becoming aware of the issues and had to submit a written report within 24 hours thereafter. The members of SAPS were supposed to provide their full cooperation to the Directorate including the arrangement of an identification parade within 48 hours and the availability of members for the taking of an affidavit or an affirmed declaration. The ICD ‘may’ also investigate systemic corruption involving the police.
Mr Moses Dhlamini, ICD National Spokesperson, gave the Committee the statistics of cases involving crowd control. The ICD had received 204 crowd control cases over a period of ten years from 2002-2011. The highest number of cases involved assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm. There were 52 murder and 55 attempted murder cases. A breakdown per province was given. The highest number of murder cases were reported in KwaZulu-Natal followed by Mpumalanga. The lowest number of deaths were recorded in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and the Western Cape. The highest number of attempted murder cases were in the North West province followed by the Western Cape and Limpopo. Out of the 87 alleged assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm, a total of 60 cases were reported by Mpumalanga. The ICD recorded a year on year increase of alleged cases of brutality from 5 in 2006, 16 in 2007, 25 in 2008 and 59 cases in 2009. Lastly 59% of the victims had been involved in protest marches or demonstrations. In 85 of the 204 cases, investigations had been completed. Of these, 79 had been closed: 75 cases had been closed as unsubstantiated as members could not be identified and 4 cases had resulted in prosecution (of which there were 2 acquittals, 1 inquest, 1 conviction). In 52% of the cases, recommendations had been made to the Public Prosecutor due to the criminal aspects involved. In 8% of the cases, recommendations had been made to SAPS in terms of the departmental aspects involved. In addition 62% of the cases were made by the victims themselves and 38% were made by a third party complainant.
Mr Matthew Sesoko, ICD North West head, outlined 11 challenges and provided the recommendations on how these could be solved. Some of these were:
▪ On the challenge of identifying members involved in the actual crowd control and any other incidents including shooting, assault and arrest, ICD recommended that unit commanders ensure that SAP 15s were completed before every intervention by the POP units including the serial number of firearms, shotguns, number of live rounds and rubber bullets and members carrying teargas/pepper spray and any other equipment.
▪ The ICD recommended that units or members report to the police station commanders or POP commander on duty in order to address the challenge of units being involved in unplanned events.
▪ It recommended that the police procure crowd management equipment that could be linked to a specific user in order to address the problem of identifying members using crowd control equipment.
Mr Beukman rounded off the presentation by saying that the IPID Act created a new oversight framework and that there was going to be a review of standard operating procedures. New definitions were given and a clear distinction was made between SAPS and the MPS.
South African Police Service (SAPS) presentation
Lt Gen Lebeya, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Crime Detection, said that most disputes were never resolved before demonstrations were done in the public arena and this generated a number of policing assignments. In policing they always kept in mind the prescripts of the Constitution, in particular, section 17 and 18 of the Bill of Rights. When the rights of participants of demonstrations were violated, SAPS was supposed to do something. There was an average of 1000 “strikes” per province but only a mere percentage of the strikes left SAPS wanting.
Lt General Mawela, SAPS Division Commissioner: Operational Response Service (ORS), spoke about what measures had been taken to ensure SAPS members were effective in the management of crowds. A brief background was given. In 1995 there were 42 Public Order Policing units with 11 000 members responsible for crowd management as its primary duty and its secondary role was crime prevention. In 2002 the name changed to ACCU which consisted of 7327 members. It primary role was the prevention of crime and its secondary role was crowd management. In 2006 the name was again changed to CCU which comprised 2595 members. 2011 saw a name change of the unit to POP and 4343 members were in the unit. A breakdown of the POP Unit figures per province was given and the activities conducted between 2010 and 2011 were presented. The resources that the unit had were 546 armored vehicles, 299 personnel carriers and 10 water cannons.
SAPS had taken a number of initiatives to ensure that its members were efficient in the management of crowds such as adherence to goals and principles, continuous recruitment and training. They sought to standardise procedure within SAPS to manage crowds. It sought to uphold the constitutional rights of individuals, acknowledge the rights of citizens and be firm and impartial. A crowd management curriculum would be introduced and this would prepare officers for crowd management incidents and how to handle weapons. There was current training being offered that supported crowd management such as Operational Commander Training (OCT), Platoon Commander Training (PCT) and Section Leader Training (SLT). In addition 8500 members from the POP and the stations had been trained prior to the Soccer World Cup. SAPS sought to provide refresher training for all current POP commanders and members. Future recruitment of POP members would focus on physical fitness exercises, practical shooting exercises and psychometric evaluation. In expanding the POP Unit they sought to focus on members who had already trained in crowd management, new recruits from police stations and direct recruits from police academies. The challenges that they faced were outlined such as the lack of general public education about constitutional rights and limitations, lack of witnesses in communities to violent crimes and provocation and incitement of violence.
The Chairperson referred to the ANCYL protest march happening in Johannesburg and said it was important to note that the Constitution was clear on the right to be involved in a “peaceful” demonstration. This excluded the throwing of stones. The right was very specific.
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) condemned any form of misbehaviour in protests. This needed to be addressed by unions and other organisations. She asked SAPS what lessons had they learned from the Tatane case and what were they doing differently. In addition she noted that the Secretariat had indicated a preference for the French model and SAPS had indicated a preference for the Belgian model. Why was there this discrepancy and what was the main difference between the two models? In a recent municipal protest two weeks earlier, the POP unit was well equipped and protected but the policemen who were standing besides them did not even have bullet-proof vests. She asked why this was allowed to happen. In addition, there was no communication between POP and SAPS. She was concerned about the very high rate of deaths in KZN and asked if there were specific recommendations. Were there reasons for only 4 cases being actually prosecuted out of the 52% that had been sent for prosecution. She suggested that all POP unit firearms should be ballistically tested. She was concerned as equipment was not being maintained. What was the status of the rest of the equipment on the ground and how much would it cost to maintain. How many helmets were there, how much equipment was needed and where was the equipment used during the Soccer World Cup? How many POP commanders were there and how many had been trained? Lastly she noted that the SAPS presentation had not referred to the role of intelligence.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) asked SAPS why the protest in Johannesburg was allowed to proceed. She asked if intelligence had been used and whether SAPS was taking a backseat because the protest involved the ANCYL. Thousands of people were arrested during the protests in London and courts had stayed open in order to deal with these people. On average only three people were arrested during protests in South Africa. Why was this being allowed to happen? Were the names of the arrested captured on a database? She asked the ICD how many recommendations out of the 8% proposed to SAPS had been implemented.
Mr L Ramatlakane (COPE) asked whether the changing of names had a negative effect on the work that was supposed to be done. He asked the ICD why some basic functions of the police were considered to be challenges by the ICD. He expressed shock that the reason the ICD did not have an acceptable conviction rate was that they did not have adequate information.
Mr M Molebatsi (ANC) said that the tactical response team (TRT) unit committed a lot of violent acts but only 13 cases had been reported. She asked if the reported cases were a true reflection of what was actually happening. Why were unplanned gatherings allowed to proceed if they were unplanned? Lastly she asked what procedure was followed in granting people permission to march.
Mr M Swathe (DA) asked SAPS why it had changed from the French to the Belgian model and from where had the information in slide 12 been gathered, especially when SAPS said it did not have a video camera to capture what was happening. SAPS had attempted to evaluate crowd management but why had SAPS not come up with mechanisms to stop problems related to crowd management and why was SAPS unprepared to deal with this. The statement blaming the unions instead of the police raised the question of the protection of citizens and property. A thorough explanation was needed why the blame was not supposed to be placed on the police. He noted there was a serious gap in investigating cases.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) stressed that certain procedures were supposed to be followed before permission could be granted for a protest. The police played an important role in ensuring that constitutional marches were peaceful. When would the 330 vacant posts referred to by SAPS be filled and when would SAPS acquire rubber bullets. He noted that there was a need to learn from other countries. He asked when a dedicated POP unit would be established.
Ms P Mocumi (ANC) asked why the French model had been abandoned. She asked the ICD how old were the active cases since the statistics dated back to 2002. If the cases dated back to 2002, when would they be finalized? She asked for a breakdown by province of the figures for SAPS resources. Lastly she asked why SAPS had stopped videoing protests.
The Chairperson asked the Secretariat about budget implications and time frames for implementation. She noted that none of the presentations had referred to the Safety at Sports and Recreation Act as the Act talked to some of the issues raised in the meeting. She asked the ICD why there were a lot of cases in Mpumalanga and what were SAPS and ICD doing in order to address the problem. She asserted that the figures were not a true reflection of what the TRT was doing on the ground. She gave an example of a township where people were abused by members of the TRT unit. There was serious abuse by the specialised unit. She asked what the Department was doing to address the situation. She asked how long the cases had been active. She expressed her concern about the low conviction rate and the effect it had on people who participated in criminal activities. SAPS failed to arrest people who participated in criminal activities during protests. She asked if the primary focus of POP was on crime prevention or crowd control. She asked what this type of policing meant in terms of the budget, equipment and priorities. The Chairperson asked SAPS how it intended to evaluate its members to ensure they were well aware of procedures. She appreciated the fact that SAPS was reviewing its curriculum. She asked if the curriculum recently implemented was going to be reviewed and, if so, how was it going to be reviewed with the exclusion of the people who implemented the curriculum. Who was in charge of making and implementing the policies?
Ms Van Wyk noted that SAPS had approved 5661 resources for personnel. She asked if the other 1000 plus resources related to TRTs.
Ms Irish- Quobosheane responded that the Secretariat adhered to the Constitution and it was this Constitution that determined how they operated. Policy was determined by the Minister and in the past the issue was blurred. The Minister approved the policies and SAPS would then submit a proper implementation plan on how it intended to implement the policies. The role of the Secretariat was to prepare the policy document and monitor whether SAPS was implementing the policies. There would be costs involved in the re-establishment of the POP unit. The POP unit was supposed to be part of the national structure and under a national command and control, to prevent the provincial authorities from using the POP unit in a manner that they wanted to. She added that they were not saying that the POP unit was not supposed to have provincial capacity. The primary function of the POP was crowd control and its secondary function was crime control. Section 11 and 12 of the Regulation of Gatherings Act was very clear on being able to criminally prosecute and civilly charge conveners of gatherings and that had not been happening. Very strict conditions were imposed on conveners. The conveners could be criminally prosecuted or they could face civil liability hence there were supposed to be proper prosecutions. Section 11 and 12 were supposed to be utilised in order to ensure proper prosecution. Ms Irish-Quobosheane stressed that internationally use of intelligence was made in order to identify people and isolate people from the rest of the crowd and they would conduct snatch operations where these people where removed from the crowd. In terms of models, they were not trying to establish a one size fits all mode. The Secretariat was supporting the French Model. Historically SAPS used the Belgian model but during the Soccer World Cup, SAPS was trained by French officials. The French model was said to have a better approach in managing the police and the crowd. The French model involved a shorter distance being left between the crowd and the officers and this enabled the officers to manage the crowd more effectively and resort less to shooting. She added that the entire policy was not based on the French model but it was just a particular aspect related to the French model. The Civilian Secretariat asked who attended the section 4 hearings and what conditions were placed on the conveners of marches at the hearing since this was very crucial. SAPS officials were supposed to attend the meetings. The purchasing of equipment for the POP unit would have some financial implications. She however stressed that some of the equipment had been purchased during the world cup. The Minister had approved the policy and hence the Secretariat and SAPS were going to sit down and discuss on the implementation plan ands establish proper time frames so that they were able to monitor the issue. The Safety at Sport and Recreational Events Act was mentioned in the document but it was not said as much as the Regulation of the Gatherings Act because the policy focused more on gatherings.
Mr Beukman responded that the with regards to Mpumalanga the ICD had strengthened management in the province and they appointed a special task team to look at some of the cases. The failure of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to prosecute was because of the failure of the ICD to identify witnesses.
The Chairperson said that SAPS was expected to uphold and enforce the law. A person was murdered in the presence of SAPS officials in Ermelo during a protest. She asked how this could have happened.
Lt Gen Lebeya responded that police officers who witnessed the commission of a crime were supposed to act irrespective of who the accused was. It was expected that if an investigation was conducted by ICD, the members of SAPS who were witnesses were supposed to cooperate and submit affidavits.
Mr Sesoko responded that the identification of SAPS members was a challenge. There was reluctance on the part of SAPS members to cooperate. At times the stations commanders did not know which SAPS officials had attended the public protests because the people would have been deployed from head office. In most cases where they had been successful, the ICD did not have direct evidence but only circumstantial evidence. He said that SAPS members acted outside the framework of the law because they knew that they could not be identified and held accountable. If there were proper systems in place to hold SAPS officials accountable, they would not act outside the ambit of the law.
Mr Dhlamini responded that 35 of the outstanding cases in slide 9 were from 2010 and 40 were from 2011. The bulk of the cases were not from 2002 but were recent cases. Most of the 2010 cases had been completed. The high numbers in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal were attributed to some crowd control incidents that occurred over a period such that one incident could have multiple fatalities.
Ms Van Wyk said that the high numbers in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga was an indication that there was something wrong in the provinces.
Mr Dhlamini agreed with the observation that had been made by Ms Van Wyk. He added that the incidents would be looked into. The TRT was trained to deal with violent criminals hence they were not suitable to deal with protests.
The Chairperson asked who deployed the TRT.
Lt Gen Mawela responded that TRT commanders at cluster level were responsible for deploying TRT members.
The Chairperson said that if TRT were deployed from the cluster level how then could it be possible that TRT members who attended public protests could not be identified.
Lt Gen Mawela responded that if police officers had to go and operate in another area, they had to report to the local police station and upon completion of their duties, they had to report to the police station again. The cluster commander sat with station commanders hence they shared the TRT in all the clusters.
The Chairperson asked if SAPS had checked on what was happening in Mpumalanga because the Mpumalanga figures were very high and they showed that something was very wrong. She asked what had been done by National Office.
Ms Van Wyk asked who was responsible for making the decision to deploy TRT to public protests. She agreed with the view that had been given by ICD that the TRT was not supposed to be used in public protests because it was wrongful deployment.
Lt Gen Mawela responded that at times the TRT units were not monitored. SAPS attempted to evaluate the performance of the units in the provinces. There were commanders of the units who were sometimes not strong enough, hence members of the TRT did what they felt like doing. He agreed that the TRT unit was supposed not to be deployed accordingly.
The Chairperson stressed that the TRT units were sometimes misused by MECs and hence station commanders would not know what to do if such a situation arose. She urged the Minister to deal with the matter.
Mr Dlamini said that there were units from different provinces which were deployed in Ermelo hence it was difficult to identify and account for all the people.
The Chairperson asked how it was possible that people from different provinces were deployed in Ermelo.
Lt Gen Mawela responded that he was the one who was responsible for calling people from different provinces. He had the list of names who had been deployed in Ermelo and the equipment issued.
The Chairperson brought to the attention of SAPS that a person had been murdered during one of the protests by police officers and no one had been arrested as yet.
Lt Gen Mawela responded that he was aware of the murder and it had happened before mobilization. They were aware that the ICD was conducting an investigation.
Lt Gen Lebeya commented about the murder, saying the incident appeared to be linked to similar incidents where the modus operandi appeared to be the same. The Hawks was working on it looking for evidence. Crime Intelligence was supposed to be providing the intelligence to ensure that SAPS was intelligence led. SAPS could not say that they had all the information but they had pieces of information and from time to time they would need more information. SAPS was building capacity in the intelligence environment since all operational units needed information from the intelligence unit. The creation of a database was informed by a conviction. Data was not kept on innocent people but on those who had been convicted.
Lt Gen Mawela said that he was in agreement with what the Secretariat had said on the Belgian-French model. The matter of police officers not wearing bullet proof vests during a protest was something to be concerned about because an instruction had been issued to all members that it was compulsory to all functional members that they be in uniform when they operate.
Ms Van Wyk said there was need for a follow up to be done because there were some police officers at Parliament who said that they had never been issued with bullet proof vests.
Lt Gen Mawela said an instruction was issued that all firearms be ballistically tested and the POP was no exclusion. With regards to the maintenance of equipment, after SAPS changed from public order to focusing more on crime prevention, the armored vehicles that they had once used were kept in the backyard because they were not suitable for crime prevention and were no longer being taken care of. The priority was in acquiring equipment used in day to day crime prevention. They did not have the figures on how many POP commanders there were but the information would be forwarded. SAPS knew that there was going to be a gathering of the ANCYL and the Gauteng Province was issued instructions to engage all the role players and the last meeting had occurred on Sunday 28 August at 12pm at Luthuli House. The dynamics of the gathering might not have been fully dealt with.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked if it meant that the planning was a failure and how was it possible that they did not know what was going to happen when SAPS was intelligence driven.
Lt Gen Mawela replied that he did not have the de-briefing report as to what had transpired. The meeting had gone through the planning process and the information had been received. The members who were responsible planned around the information they had received.
Mr Lekgetho noted that the issue of illegal gathering had not been responded to.
Lt Gen Mawela responded that it was not an illegal gathering because an application was served. Unplanned gatherings were allowed to continue because if SAPS attempted to disperse them, more damage would be caused. The equipment they had was inadequate hence there was a need to upgrade the equipment. He added that SAPS was not responsible for giving people permission to march since it was the responsibility of the local government. The responsibility of SAPS was to ensure that people marched peacefully and that SAPS protect other people who were not involved in the march. Each and every role player in the section 4 meeting was supposed to take responsibility for their own success and failures.
The Chairperson said presentations had been made by three important Departments. Civilian Secretariat had presented a policy and this meant that whatever SAPS did was informed by the Secretariat. It was good that the ICD was able to outline the problems it identified and was able to make recommendations. She added that Lt Gen Mawela had made a vibrant presentation and he seemed to know what he was talking about. He came across as a person who was ambitious and who wanted to correct the situation and there was no reason to doubt him and what he was saying. It would be naive to think that the way the protesting public were dealt with would change within a short time but the presentation has given the Committee something to be optimistic about. At times, SAPS was unjustly condemned, however SAPS was supposed to uphold the law.
The meeting was adjourned
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