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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
24 April 2002
INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS DIRECTORATE BUDGET; ANNUAL PROGRAMME; SCOPE OF FUNCTIONS
Chairperson: Mr E George
Documents handed out:
Independent Complaints Directorate
The Independent Complaints Directorate briefed the Committee on the Administration; Investigation of Complaints; Research and Development programmes. The budget programme and expenditure was presented.
The Committee felt that the report needed more details and elaboration to understand the document.
The Chairperson introduced the following delegates from the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD): Advocate McKenzi, Executive Director; Ms E Bester, Chief Financial Officer; Mr S Mahlangu, Programme 3 Manager; Mr T Tshabalala, Programme 2 Manager and Mr E Baloyi, Programme 1 Manager.
Mr Baloyi is responsible for programme 1(administration), which is responsible for the overall management and organisation of the ICD. He outlined the national personnel structure of the ICD and their commitment to staff training and development, improving information and communication technology and improving service delivery. He also highlighted pending disciplinary actions against some staff members of the ICD. He concluded by summarising challenges that would confront his programme in the financial year 2002/2003.
Mr Tshabalala is responsible for programme 2 (investigation of complaints), which investigates death in police custody and complaints of police criminality and misconduct lodged with the ICD. Mr Tshabalala listed the main activities of programme 2 and gave and outline of cases that were investigated by the ICD during the financial year 2001/2002. He also gave and account of police corruption in Nelspruit and how the programme was going to improve service delivery. He concluded the presentation by summarising the challenges that would face his programme for the financial year 2002/2001.
Mr Baloyi is responsible for programme 3 (research and development), which is responsible for the process of recording, monitoring and researching cases of police misconduct that are lodged with the ICD. He outlined the activities of the three sub-programmes (complaints registry, monitoring and research and development) with some statistical overview. He also indicated his commitment to improving service delivery and concluded by listing challenges that would be facing the programme for the financial year 2002/2003.
Ms Bester presented the ICD's budget as at 31 March 2002. Specifically explained that programme accounted for forty one percent of the budget not only for administrative purposes but for support and special projects. Moreover, she stated that two percent of the forty one percent was used for the Department of Public Work's for accommodation and renovation for the ICD. She also pointed out that the budget for programme for the year 2002/2003 decreased from R12 677 000 to R11 864 000.
The Chairperson asked if the increase in the number cases of police misconduct was either because more cases were reported or that police were committing more offences.
Advocate McKenzie said that both cases were factors however the awareness of the public about the ICD was a greater factor. She also said that the issue was not so much that more police were committing offences but that in some instances the offences were unbearably gruesome.
The Chairperson also asked if there was criteria for offering bursaries to staff members of the ICD.
Mr Baloyi agreed that there was a policy for offering bursaries.
The Chairperson asked if the ICD had discussed with the National Commissioner the pervasive suicidal tendencies by police using official firearms.
Adv. McKenzi said that the issue was a difficult one to tackle because while suicide cases were a reality police also need to carry guns to protect themselves and their families.
Rev. Moshoe asked if bursaries given to staff members were offered for specific courses or any other courses.
Mr Baloyi said that the courses were relevant to the work at the ICD.
Rev. Moshoe asked for clarification on the difference between failure to perform duty and neglect to perform duty. What was meant by improper manner of investigation.
Mr Mahlangu said that failure to perform duty meant refusal to perform duty. One the second question Mr Mahlangu said that it usually refers to the investigating if a docket was done with proper standards.
Rev Moshoe asked about the causes of misuse of official firearms.
Adv. McKenzie pointed out at higher stress levels as one main factor. A profile of policemen committing suicide, femicide and homicide tended to have family problems. She suggested that because police were also exposed to violent and fatal situations during their work they needed counselling and some regular break from street environment to office work.
Mr Swart asked about the function of the Security Unit within the ICD. Mr Mahlangu said that the ICD need security that is controlled by the ICD because the nature of their work does need security.
Mr Swart asked if there was any reason to prioritise cases of women over that of children.
Adv. McKenzie said that the reason was that there were more cases that involved women rather than children.
Mr Swart asked what happened to staff who are bursary recipients who fail. Mr Baloyi said that it depended on the reasons for failure. If it was sheer negligence then the recipient would be required to pay back the money, but if not he or she may continue.
Mr Swart asked about the percentage of qualified staff members of the ICD. Mr Baloyi gave an estimate of forty percent. Mr Swart also asked about the percentage of the budget that was used for cases outside the mandate of the ICD.
Mr Mahlangu said that it was minimal.
Adv. McKenzie added that some of such cases were mislodged to the ICD and others happened before the ICD was established.
Ms Bester said that each case would cost less than ten rands because all that the ICD would do was to provide the complainant with a paper giving particulars of the relevant department to take the case to.
Mr Swart (AZAPO) inquired about the causes of the increase in the number of police criminality and if it was related to Section 49 of the SAPS Act. The fact that Mr Swart mentioned Section 49, there was a long debate about when it was appropriate for police to shoot someone. The debate was around rights of a criminal and the safety of a police. While there was no resolution, the ICD commented that at the moment it was investigating cases according to relevant legislation.
Mr Swart asked about the nature of the relationship between the ICD and the Secretariat.
Adv. McKenzie said that there was a healthy working relationship and that they partake in some of each others task teams. The Chairperson interjected and suggested that the relationship should not be on an ad hoc basis but rather closer. Adv. McKenzie responded that such a relationship would be difficult because of different mandates of the two departments.
Mr Swart noted that the ICD briefing mentioned two incidences of racial discrimination. Was racial discrimination decreasing? Mr Mahlangu said that while there were subtle forms of racism, overt racial discrimination in cases "look much more better".
Mr Pheko (PAC) asked if bursaries were given for courses that were relevant to ICD. Mr Baloyi agreed.
Mr Pheko also asked why deaths occurred in police custody. Mr Mahlangu said that preliminary research showed that the reason was lack of effective custody management. He made example such as corpses usually found in the morning because of improper supervision and that police only respond to serious illness rather that observing subtle ones. He also said that police were not trained to identify stress that forces people in custody to commit suicide.
Mr Schippers (NNP)asked the ICD what it was going to do with the fact that the National Commissioner of the SAPS gave orders to refuse access to police stations by ICD staff. Adv. McKenzie said that the Minister had been notified and the matter was pending and urgent.
Mr Booi (ANC) asked how many staff had resigned and also asked for the reasons for resignation. Mr Baloyi said that it was seven and that they all left for higher positions within government.
Mr Booi asked if the community was aware of the ICD. Adv. McKenzie agreed and said that they have reached communities in rural areas, farm areas and have communicated with traditional chiefs too.
One member asked if the police misconduct in KwaZulu Natal was the only one reported. The answer was in the affirmative.
The same member asked what happened to the three staff members that failed but have received bursaries from ICD. Mr Baloyi said that they were still continuing their studies.
The same member asked why the ICD was using the SAPS forensic science laboratory and she alluded to possible corruption and delays. Mr Tshabalala said that they communicate with the laboratory to prioritise their pressing cases. He said they had no capacity for a forensic laboratory because it was too expensive.
Mr Kgauwu gave an example of District Surgeon who refused to treat a patient that was delivered by a police and so he wanted to know if the doctor had the power to do that. Mr. Tshabalala said that the doctor had no such power and Adv. McKenzie that such issues need to be discussed with the Department of Health.
Mr Kgauwu asked if there were any guarantees that that bursary recipients would stay in their jobs. Mr Baloyi said that they were bound to stay for a specified period or repay the money.
One member asked what was meant by "hitsquad" in the SAPS. Adv. McKenzi said that it meant bringing police from other stations to help a commander of one station to solve certain problems. Some members thought that the word had a negative history but ICD said that the word was used by police themselves.
The Chairperson, Mr Booi and the general feeling of the house was that while the briefing was helpful the ICD needed to produce an elaborate and detailed report based on the briefing. The house strongly felt that the statistics and statements from the report should be more detailed so that anyone who read the report could have a better understanding.
The meeting was adjourned.
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