Parliamentary researchers briefed the Committee on the 2010/11 Annual Report of the South African Police Service. Virtually all its budget had been spent but there had been some questionable transfers of funds. In most cases targets had been met, but the performance in building victim support rooms and new stations had been disappointing. The researchers were concerned about the number of escapes from police custody and losses of firearms even though the numbers had reduced from the previous year. Over 90% of recruits had completed their training successfully and the same was the case for management training. The number of occurrences of most categories of crime had reduced except for the murder of women and sexual offences against children. The researchers noted that some funds had been moved between programmes and questioned whether this had been properly condoned. Less revenue had been raised from the sale of surplus police vehicles. No money had accrued to the police from asset forfeiture. Donor funding had been under-utilised. Performance bonuses had only been paid to the Secretariat as the funds for police members had been used to pay for special allowances during the World Cup. There had been an increase in irregular expenditure. The lease fees for the Middestad Mall building in Pretoria had been recorded as a contingent liability. The backlog in settling claims against the Department had increased during the year.
Members questioned the status of reservists. Although there was no written reference to a moratorium on recruiting reservists, many volunteers were being turned away. Members were told that driving training was included in initial training. No information was available on which police stations had been audited. There was a lack of clarity on how the values related to incapacity leave days were calculated.
The Office of the Auditor-General briefed the Committee on its findings. Its role was to verify the correctness of financial statements, but it was not its responsibility to take action in cases of incorrect use of funds. The various entities under the Department of Police had been allowed to make corrections to their original submission of financial statements. The leases of buildings in Durban and Pretoria had been seen in a different light as there had been no contract on the former case. The Auditor-General made use of sampling to verify expenditure. The Police Day celebrations had been approved and organised at short notice, leading to irregular tendering procedures. There had been overruns in expenditure for activities related to the World Cup.
Members had unanswered questions about Police Day. They were concerned about the amount of wasteful expenditure across all Departments. Policy on virements had to be considered. The provisions were determined on a percentage basis, but given the huge size of the Police budget, Members felt that a monetary limit might be more appropriate. Members questioned the honesty of the Police in their financial reporting. There was concern that condonements were granted internally without reference to National Treasury.
The Institute of Security Studies discussed its findings with the Committee. It had no information on what was done with SAPS members found to be incompetent during their training. Poor writing skills could impact on successful prosecutions. The effectiveness of firearm training was questioned. Too few detectives were employed by the Police in comparison to international norms. There had been an increase in the number of cases of fraud and corruption, but it was not clear if this was due to an increased number of offences or the result of better detection. There had been an increase in police activities due to the World Cup. The number of arrests for priority crimes had increased. There were different trends in the provinces regarding the crime figures compared to the national figures.
The Institute for Security Studies was concerned about the apparent poor control over firearms. There had been a decrease in the number of escapes from police custody in most provinces. It was not clear to what degree police members were complicit. Fewer organised and commercial crime cases had been solved. There had been a sharp increase in the number of disciplinary hearings.
Members noted that the call for more detectives had been rejected at a high level. The training of detectives was poor. Another deficiency was in the lack of crime intelligence officers. The standard of marksmanship was questioned, and this had been confirmed in interviews with criminals. There were increased delays in forensic services due to these being transferred to the Department of Health. In some cases, cases were being dismissed as a result. Members regretted that conviction rates were no longer included in the report. Some measurement should be in place to record the success rate of convictions, even though the police could not influence the success of a prosecution once it went to court.
The Chairperson welcomed Members back from their constituency period and noted the Committee had visited the Free State and had observed the poor conditions at some South African Police Service (SAPS) stations. Members would be advised on the rescheduled date for the meeting with the Department of Public Works (DPW).
Briefing by Parliamentary Research Unit
Ms Patricia Whittle, Parliamentary Researcher, noted SAPS had received an unqualified audit report with one emphasis of matter concerning the lease of the new headquarters building in Pretoria. Close to 100% of the budget had been spent. There had been some overruns in the fourth quarter due to increased spending in visible policing. Most crime reduction targets had been achieved. There had been a decrease of 2.4% in serious crimes. Targets for reducing attempted murder and robbery had been exceeded.
Ms Whittle said that some of the backlogs at the Forensic Science Laboratories had been reduced. There had been an increase in the processing of firearm licences. Two additional Deputy National Commissioners had been appointed. Three of their number were now females. Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units had been re-established at 176 stations across all nine provinces. Ten of 79 victim support rooms (VSRs) had been established across the country. SAPS had contributed to the successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup. The number of detectives had increased by 11%. Total personnel strength was 193 892.
Ms Whittle said that concerns were the number of escapes from police custody, although this had decreased by 20%. The number of SAPS members murdered was 93, a decrease of 8%, but still unacceptably high. Some 1 335 SAPS firearms had been stolen, of which only 167 had been recovered. Of 33 projects for SAPS facilities, only 19 had been completed.
Ms Whittle said that many of the targets for court ready case dockets had not yet been determined. Targets for conviction rates and some other areas had been removed. The target for conviction reports for the Criminal Record Centre had been decreased to 76%. On the matter of training, 92% of learners were declared competent. The target for bullet resistant vests had been exceeded, with 105% of the planned number being distributed. The number of members to vehicles ratio had come down to 3.93:1. There was some confusion over the interpretation of the ratio. 75% of information systems projects had been completed. In total, 178 870 had attended training of which 90.2% had completed their programmes. No information was provided on forensic training. 3 948 Members had completed management training programmes of a total of 4 108 students. There was a programme to alleviate illiteracy. This part of the report was a bit unclear. 1 307 SAPS members had attended Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) courses. The report noted that corruption and fraud prevention initiatives had been implemented but it was not clear if these were related to local areas only.
Ms Whittle said that 476 SAPS Members had been charged for various offences. Of the reported 669 escapes from custody there was no indication in the report how many of these had been aided by SAPS members. 869 members had been given precautionary suspensions. Of these, 50 suspensions were for periods of longer than 90 days. The cost of the precautionary suspensions was R8 055 million. There were 1 084 grievances registered of which 94 were not resolved. The nature of these grievances was not specified in the report. The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) was investigating over 5 000 cases of alleged misconduct. Of these, 501 cases had been referred to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP). It did not state in how many cases the ICD recommendations had been followed.
Ms Whittle said that the 70% target of information systems projects had been exceeded, with 75% achieved. The target of 95% completion of 33 building projects had not been achieved. The figure was only 19 (57%). In some cases the work was being done by SAPS itself while in others there had been problems with the contractors. The latest date for the completion of projects was July 2011.
Ms A van Wyk (ANC) asked why SAPS had not reported on these projects since July. Members had questioned SAPS on this and requested this.
Ms Whittle continued with Human Resources (HR) management. There had been no additional staff appointed. The overall vacancy rate was 0.7%, a decrease from the previous year. The highest vacancy rate was in the crime intelligence programme at 19.5%, an increase from 3.8% in the previous year. The staff turnover rate was 1.4%. The highest vacancy figure was at senior management and highly skilled supervision levels. There had been a high number of promotions, but this had not been reported as a contributing factor in the turnover rate.
Ms Whittle said that 74% of members were African, 11% Coloured, 3% Indian and 12% White. SAPS consisted of 67% male members. Ten of 33 top management positions were filled by females. The number of people with disabilities was 0.6%, an increase on the previous year.
Ms Whittle said that there was an average number of ten sick days for the year. This was an increase from eight days in the previous year and had a cost factor of R663 391 million. The number of days of incapacity leave had increased to 57, up from 34. There was some confusion over the reported number or 106 retirements due to ill health. There had been an increase in the number of injuries on duty.
Ms Whittle moved on to Programme 2: Visible Policing. The target of establishing 79 VSRs had not been met due to a lack of funding. The target of reducing the number of escapes was 50%, but had not been met. Most had occurred at Community Service Centres (111). The Department had to investigate why this was happening so easily. A partnership was needed with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJCD).
Ms Whittle said that 261 policing activities for borderline policing had been undertaken, which was below the target of 350. The target of stabilising 95% of incidents had been exceeded. One of the reasons for failure to achieve the former target was the withdrawal of members from this sector for World Cup duties. The overrun in expenditure on Visible Policing was not explained. The number of arrests had increased by 6.7%.
Ms Whittle said that the baseline for the targets on reaction time were set at provincial level. The rationale had to be explained by the Department. Sector policing had been rolled out at 208 of 209 provincial priority stations. The one failure was at Tarlton in Gauteng. In the year there were 64 360 reservists, but only 26 259 were active. Of the reservists, 1 245 had been permanently appointed to SAPS.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) said there was no reference to a moratorium on the recruiting of reservists. The Minister had denied that there was such a moratorium, and yet she was continually hearing from volunteers who were being turned away.
Ms Whittle said that nothing was on record about a moratorium. Regarding Community Police Forums (CPFs), 1 118 had been established across the country. There were no details in the report. There had been something in the reports of previous years. She had queried if the Department would set targets in the future.
Ms Whittle said that there had been an increase in the number of new firearm licence awards and competency certificates. A number of testing stations had been accredited. There was still concern about the low number of recovered SAPS firearms. 42 SAPS members had left the service but failed to return their service firearms.
Ms Whittle said the budgetary allocation for Programme 3: Detective Services had increased to R1.9 billion. Targets for conviction rates had been removed. The number for detection rates for crimes against children had increased. Detection rate numbers for crimes against women had decreased despite a decrease in reported cases. The target for producing court-ready dockets had not been met. Only two of the contact crime categories had met the targets for case reduction. The target of 50% for organised crime projects had not been met. There had been an increase in the number of women murdered and in the number of sexual offences against children. There had been a sharp increase of 40% in the number of cases of fraud with counterfeit cards. There had been fewer convictions in respect of non-ferrous metals. The targets for eliminating backlogs at forensic laboratories had been reduced. Semi-automated equipment had been obtained and evidence collection kits had been introduced. The fingerprinting system had been upgraded resulting in doubled processing rates.
Ms Whittle said Programme 4: Crime Intelligence targets had all been achieved, but there was no information on security intelligence-related crime such as counter-terrorism. Programme 5: Protection and Security Services had been given an adjusted appropriation of R3.1 billion, almost all of which had been spent. There was some underspending relating to goods and services. There had been one security breach related to Very Important Person (VIP) services, the details of which were not reported.
Ms Whittle then analysed the Auditor General's report. The report was unqualified, but there were some concerns. Some of the information for Programmes 2 and 3 was not deemed reliable. The financial statements were not compliant with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). There had been a lack of oversight and management over reporting responsibilities. Some station commanders had not overseen performance management.
Summary and Analysis of SAPS 2010/11 Financial Statements
Ms Nadia Dollie, Senior Parliamentary Researcher, said that the overall figures looked very good. Of a final appropriation of R53.5 billion, only R40 million had not been spent. However, R40 million had been reallocated illegally to compensating employees. There had been an interim meeting where SAPS had stated that under-utilised funding would be spent. This had been done, but not for the budgeted purposes.
Ms Dollie said that the underspending was on funds budgeted for goods and services. This was R595 million. However, R534 million had been spent on machinery and equipment. Virements and shifts had been made in the final quarter of the financial year. Detailed reasons must be given for shifting funds between programmes. When this happens in the final quarter, one had to look for the reasoning. It was not clear whether National Treasury had approved the shifts. The amounts were relatively small. Parliament should consider this issue with a possible change to the legislation. Under Administration, R194 million was not spent. Part of this had been due to underspending in the Eastern Cape. The money was moved into Visible Policing and Detective Services, which were priority areas.
Ms Dollie said that less revenue had been received than in previous years: R287 million had been received. Some of this was from surplus vehicle sales. Less had been recouped than in the previous year. Fewer vehicles had been written off, but Treasury was concerned about under recovery of funds in this way. In terms of donor funding, there had been an indication that more attention was needed to this aspect. R7.5 million had been received in the form of donor funding. Of this, R4.3 million had been spent. Close to R1 million had been surrendered to the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). She could not explain this. The Criminal Assets Recovery Account (CARA) had seen SAPS receiving funding but SAPS did not receive anything in the year under review. This could have been used for the VSRs. One of the relevant departments had said this would be done in 2011.
Ms Dollie said that R38.4 billion had gone towards compensation of employees. The number of performance awards had reduced from R191 million in the previous year to R9.8 million, all of which went to members of the Secretariat. The explanation was that funds budgeted for allowances paid to SAPS members had been reallocated towards special allowances during the World Cup. She did not think this was ethical.
Ms van Wyk was not clear on how this money had gone towards allowances. There should have been a budget for allowances as the date of the World Cup was know for some time. She did not know why money put aside for performance bonuses for SAPS members should have been used for allowances. In the third quarter there was already major overspending on management, and yet at year-end it was within budget.
Ms Kohler-Barnard had received reports of members still waiting for payment of their overtime allowances. It was more than a year later. Many SAPS members were aggrieved.
Ms Dollie said that there had been an increase in medical aid spending and an increase in spending on goods and services from R10.6 to R11.3 billion. There had been a reduction on payments to consultants, particularly in the field of infrastructure planning. There had been a big increase in consultants in business advice and laboratory services. Legal costs had increased. Spending on contractors was stable. The question to be asked was about how consultancy funding had decreased due to the new policy on buildings.
Ms Dollie said that SAPS had spent more on computer services. Less had gone to State Information Technology Agency (SITA) but more had been paid to commercial companies. Operating leases had increased. Cleaning and gardening services had increased. There was a question over the merits of outsourcing in these areas. Informer fees had been reduced from R39 million to R35 million.
Ms Kohler-Barnard said that some stations had told Members that they were no longer allowed to hire cleaning services. She asked if this was a policy.
Ms van Wyk said that the issue related to contracted cleaners.
Ms Dollie said that a question had been put to the Minister. Money was budgeted and the figures for contracted cleaning services as opposed to employing cleaners were much the same.
Ms Dollie said that the costs for buildings had increased from R1.1 to R1.2 billion. R63 million had been moved to this budget during the fourth quarter. 103% of allocated funds had been spent in the third quarter, but only 19 of 33 planned stations had been completed. The allocation should have covered all 33 of these projects. There was a lot of concern on this issue. The strategic plan targets did not seem to be well thought out. Targets should rather be based on the available budget. There was underspending on computer assets.
In response to Ms Kohler-Barnard asking what was meant by biological assets, Ms Dollie explained that that spending on horses had halved.
Ms Dollie said that there was a huge increase in irregular expenditure from R2.5 million to R76 million. Much of this was on accommodation and meals, transport and renovation of buildings. Much of this had been condoned. She would be interested to known how much had been condoned by Treasury. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure had increased from R647 000 to R771 000.
Ms Dollie said that R611 million had been allocated as a contingent liability for the Sanlam Middestad building. She assumed this was pending the outcome of the court case. She wondered why this only merited a matter of emphasis while the DPW received a disclaimer for the same issue. Claims against the Department had increased from R7.5 to R11 billion. Only R85 million had been paid out. Claims to the amount of R660 million were cancelled or reduced. There had been less claimed against the Department in the previous year. The tendency in the previous year was to reduce the amount of claims. In the year under discussion the opposite was happening and the total value of claims was increasing.
Ms van Wyk said this issue was also dependent on other authorities. Members must not make too much of this issue. What one should ask was how many of the claims were under the control of SAPS, such as reckless driving or wrongful arrest.
Ms Dollie said that the amount of receivables had increased from R31.9 to R117.9 million. The Department of Minerals and Energy owed R82 million and she could only speculate that the reason might be security related.
Ms P Mocumi (ANC) asked about the Auditor-General's opinion on irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure increasing. She asked what the Department was doing to prevent recurrences. She asked who was responsible for the renovation of buildings, whether it was DPW or the Department of Police. The Department did not seem to be doing well regarding the employment of women in particular. This had to be addressed. She asked about the introduction of the ranks of Lieutenant and Major. She asked why they had been introduced if they could not be filled. She asked about staff retention. A lot of turnover was due to resignations.
The Chairperson said that some of these questions would have to be held over until the Committee met with SAPS.
Ms van Wyk thanked the researchers for their informative work. She asked for clarification on cases referred by the ICD. Gang violence was not actually a crime and was therefore not reported. It really fell under organised crime.
Ms Whittle had taken her figures from the report.
Mr P Swathe (DA) asked what considerations were taken in recruiting SAPS members. He asked if the number of fatalities included those killed when off duty.
Mr H Chauke (ANC) asked what the criteria were for suspending members with or without pay. The number of 93 SAPS members killed was a big number. Members might eventually refuse to work given this high rate of crime.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) said that the Tweefontein Police Station was actually in Mpumalanga.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) asked how figures could be quantified when there were no targets.
Ms Dollie said that actual performance was measured where there were no targets. Although there was no assessment if the target was achieved or not, there was a form of performance measurement.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked how many members were being recruited without driving licences. Chances of promotion were low. She asked how the chances for promotion could be compared to an organisation like the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). She was still waiting for a list of audited SAPS stations.
Ms Whittle said that the ranks were new, and they would come into effect in time. Driving training was part of the training programme. She would try to compare the figures to the SANDF.
Ms Dollie said that there was no mention of an audited list of stations in the report.
Ms van Wyk asked if the issue of Police Day was reflected anywhere.
Ms Dollie had seen no mention in the Annual Report.
Mr L Ramatlakane (COPE) said that insufficient money had been allocated to the VSRs.
Ms Dollie said that there was no budget allocation.
The Chairperson asked about the average number of incapacity days and how the monetary values were calculated. There were fewer average days but the costs had increased.
Ms Whittle said that incapacity leave was regarded as leave due to illness as opposed to injury.
Ms Dollie added that one had to look at the number of employees making use of incapacity leave. In 2009, 9 300 employees had taken leave for this purpose. The number of employees using the benefit had halved, but the periods had been longer.
Auditor-General (AG) submission
Ms Corne Myburgh, Business Executive in the Office of the Auditor-General, said that the main responsibility of the AG was to verify the correctness of the financial statements. If funds were correctly reported but incorrectly used it was up to other arms of government to take that organisation to task.
Ms Surette Taljaard, AG Senior Manager, said that all the auditing was done at the AG. The goal was to have a totally unqualified report. The reports for the Department, ICD and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) were not totally acceptable. Many material corrections had to be made before the reports could be submitted. The AG gave bodies the opportunity to correct errors in the financial statements before accepting them for assessment. SAPS, ICD and PSIRA had all gone through this process.
Ms Taljaard explained that the contract for the building in Durban had not been signed, and therefore there was no contract. The one in Pretoria had only been reported as a contingent liability in July. If it had not been shown as such, the AG might have qualified the report.
Ms Taljaard said that ICD had non-compliance in the previous year but this had been corrected.
Ms Taljaard noted that a separate report had been compiled to explain which SAPS stations had been audited. Opinions were only provided on SAPS statements as a whole. The findings were based on stations/units and supporting documentation. Process flows might not be done at station level, or might be done in a different format. In an attempt to empower station commanders to understand the importance of the AG Report, the AG would visit all the provinces and try to address as many station commanders as possible. This would go towards increasing the validity of the report.
Ms Taljaard said that PSIRA had a number of non-compliance issues. The AG was satisfied that the new management would turn this situation around. The ICD also had areas of non-compliance regarding financial management. There had been problems with supply chain management. R70 million was seen as irregular expenditure after the audit. The audit was still on a sample basis. There were cases of quotations not being obtained, suppliers not declaring an interest, approval without all the required information and poor planning relating to Police Day. Planning for Police Day was only started in October. The National Commissioner had only approved the celebrations in December, and the programme had been held in January. It was not possible for a proper tender process to have been followed. This resulted in irregular expenditure of R24 million. This had prompted the AG to look at the previous year and similar problems had been detected. The AG had provided the Minister with a report. SAPS had taken corrective measures when requested to do so, obviating a qualified report.
Ms Taljaard said that there had been an issue regarding accommodation for the World Cup. This could not be done way in advance due to security matters. There had been some changes in the AG's procedures. If there was a register of suspected irregular expenditure it would be easier to monitor. Inadequate monitoring of contract performance related to the poor progress in the building of SAPS stations. There were no site or progress meetings. Requirements were not being met. Price quotations always came from the same places instead of being on a rotation basis. This should be resolved in the future.
Ms Taljaard said that there were no findings on Human Resources (HR) Management focus areas and public entities. There were some focus areas in terms of integrated technology (IT), but these were regarded as operational areas.
Ms Kohler-Barnard had written to the AG for a list of audited stations in 2007 but had never seen this list. This related to the downgrading of crime statistics amongst other things. She was grateful that it had been done but would like to see the evidence. She did not recall any mention of the R13 million wasteful expenditure for Police Day in the previous financial year. She had asked questions in the House without receiving satisfactory answers. She asked if the AG had the chance to look into the matter. There were allegations of nepotism given the short time lines. Some people had made huge profits. The accommodation scam in Durban needed to be investigated. There was a figure of R60 million attached to this. She had seen a figure of only R48 million in the AG Report.
Mr M Mncwango (IFP) said it was left to the Department to act on the recommendations of the AG. There were so many Departments in the country and the total for irregular expenditure was huge. He asked if the AG would investigate disclosed expenditure to see if this was a true reflection of what was happening. He asked if the AG was able to attach a value to the poorly monitored contracts. He asked how the sampling was done. The sample size was important.
Ms van Wyk said that the AG was also an oversight body. Sometimes Parliament was frustrated by seeing the same things going wrong year after year. The SAPS strategic plan did not speak to its financial statements. There was no budget for the VSRs. Parliament had asked the AG to be strict with SAPS. Every cent had to be spent wisely. Members needed to be guided on what to do. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) had been there for a long time even though it had recently changed its name and leadership. Supply chain management had been a problem for at least three years. The Committee was very focussed on this issue. The Police Day matter had not been treated as a priority. It was not part of the strategic plan. The money could have spent on VSRs rather. Women and children were the main beneficiaries of the VSRs and were the victims of increased crime levels. Virements were an issue given the huge SAPS budget compared to other departments. The AG had a responsibility to government. Treasury procedures could be reviewed. Performance management without targets was difficult. She asked how the sampling was determined. Another question was which part of the supply chain would be sampled. There should be closer co-operation between the Committee and AG before auditing started. There was no quality control of the e-docket system.
Rev Meshoe was as frustrated as Ms van Wyk. The Committee had questioned the honesty of SAPS on a number of occasions. Members needed help to put SAPS on the spot. He could still not understand the rationale behind the decision to qualify a report or not. He asked if disclosure should result in wrongs being written off. Parliament's researchers had identified a big discrepancy in the value of claims against SAPS.
Mr Ramatlakane asked about the materiality of what was meant by a breach. The Pretoria building was now under a contingency liability. It had happened in the 2009/10 FY. He had a problem with the term as it seemed to cover incorrect accounting. Qualification also reflected the confidence the auditors had in the financial statements. He asked if the AG would take responsibility for the findings. He argued that the number could not be determined. SAPS had only made the statement on the advice of the AG to disclose the information. The figure of R615 million might only cover one year but there was a nine year liability. He asked if the AG had been convinced of the figure by SAPS and how it had been calculated. He could not accept that the AG had been so accepting of SAPS explanation of World Cup related expenses. Irregular expenditure was being condoned. The World Cup was not an emergency. Police Day was on government's calendar. It was not correct to allow for a deviation in this regard. There was an issue of the accounting officer condoning irregular expenditure of R70 million. He could not understand this. It could not be done in-house.
The Chairperson said that some correspondence might have gone missing due to a change of the Committee's secretarial staff. If the AG had sent any documentation they should send it again.
Ms Taljaard said that the AG selected 25 SAPS stations and units. For the past two years, the AG had identified these stations beforehand. The stations were advised beforehand and supplied with the necessary documentation. There should be no excuse with such advance notice. However, she would like to visit five randomly selected stations on a surprise basis and compare the figures to the other stations. It might be a problem getting the information together without prior notice. She agreed that the ISM had always been there, but a new team had been established with new procedures. The R29 000 sample on quotations was a case of irregular expenditure. The supply chain environment was difficult to audit. There were different points of view. Police Day had not been a part of the sampling process in the past. The AG's resources were also limited. The AG took information from CIPRO. They followed up on the individuals concerned. There were limits on how much they could do to investigate nepotism. The AG looked at a tender process to the point where it was adjudicated. From there it became an issue of non-compliance.
Ms Taljaard said that the problem worked on a modified cash basis. Other accounting standards had now been brought into play. It was disclosed as a possible expenditure.
Ms Myburgh said that the AG process was to send information out to the parliamentary secretary. The AG did not condone irregular expenditure if it was disclosed. The role of the AG was to express confidence that the information in the financial statements could be used reliably. The AG shared the information with the relevant Portfolio Committee and Minister, and left it to those bodies to use the information. The AG could not prosecute, but only advise. The Money Bill had been promulgated and made provision for allocated funding to be reduced in the event of the Department having misused funding. The AG could not make any input into the strategic plan. The AG could also not form financial policy such as the allowable virements.
Institute for Security Studies (ISS) submission
Dr Johan Burger, ISS Senior Researcher, said the SAPS Annual Report was becoming more comprehensive and thorough over the years and was now a very informative document. He wished to raise some resulting issues.
Dr Burger said that there had been some changes to the layout. The first section covered SAPS predetermined objectives. These concentrated on visible policing and the detective services. The crime reports had been moved out of the report and instead had been included as an Annexure. The Annual Report of the Secretariat of Police had also been included. The Department of Police comprised four parts, of which SAPS was one. The other components were the Secretariat, the ICD and PSIRA.
Dr Burger said that the report mentioned 178 000 personnel. A percentage had been attached to competency. In total, the number of members found to be competent was 90%. This led to some questions of clarification. The first was what happened to the trainees who did not pass training courses. It was not known if such people went through the training cycle again. Detectives needed specific skills, one of which was the ability to write proper statements. Poor writing skills could impact on the success of court cases.
Dr Burger said there was no mention of firearms training. All SAPS officers should undergo training during their initial training, and had to be declared competent to be issued with a firearm. This information was absent from the report.
The standard of detectives had improved. It was important to know what the target was. A number was indicated which might include some 37 000 administrative workers. The target of trained detectives should be clear, excluding support staff. International figures were approximately 25% of the police force being detectives. It might be that SAPS was approaching this target but it needed to be made clear.
Dr Burger said that a fraud and corruption plan had been introduced in the 2009/10 FY. In almost all categories of such offences by SAPS members, the numbers had increased. It was important to understand the reason for this. It might be that detection of such offences was now better, or it could indicate that corruption amongst SAPS members was increasing. The ISS had suggested in the previous year that more information should be provided. The number of SAPS members facing criminal charges should be made known with a breakdown of the offences concerned, and the number of convictions. Measurable indicators were needed. The current plan did not supply the required information.
Dr Burger said that the purpose of visible policing was to reduce crime and provide skilled interventions. About 30 000 interventions had resulted in 1.5 million arrests, an increase on the previous year. This might be attributed to World Cup related initiatives. The most obvious increase was in the number of vehicles searched. This might be due to security measures for the World Cup. There had been a significant dip in the previous year. The figures were impressive and expected in the World Cup period. It was important to determine how these operations had impacted on crime. Many crimes, such as inter-personal violence, could not be combated by measures such as searching cars.
Dr Burger said that this raised the question of how a patrol or a search could be defined. The numbers might refer to SAPS members checking suspect persons, or might only be for planned operations.
Dr Burger indicated the number of arrests for specific crimes. There had been substantial increases in the numbers. This might be due to World Cup operations or to an increase in crime. The exception was property related crimes had resulted in slightly fewer arrests, possibly due to a small decrease in the number of these offences. Of the arrests, 47.4 % were for priority crimes, a slight increase. Serious crimes had represented only a third of arrests at the start of the millennium.
He noted there were substantial increases in certain types of crime in certain provinces, in contrast to the national trends. It should be possible to determine a correlation between the figures. It might indicate different ways in which the provinces deployed their resources.
Dr Burger said that improved control over SAPS firearms was needed. It was still worrying that 1 335 weapons had found their way into mainly criminal hands. An answer was needed as to the proportion of firearms lost due to negligence, theft or even criminal action by SAPS members. He also wanted to know how many were recovered.
There had been a decrease in the number of escapes from SAPS custody. The figures had in fact increased in the Northern Cape and Free State, remained stable in KwaZulu-Natal, and decreased in the other six provinces. It would be useful to know why these six provinces were improving in this area. It would be important to know what measures were taken and to what extent SAPS members were complicit.
Dr Burger said that the most obvious omission in the report was the conviction rates except in the commercial crimes sector. Convictions were not solely dependent on police work. The performance was measured on the number of cases ready to go to court. In the absence of conviction rates, SAPS had used the court readiness of cases as their baseline. There was no way to compare the performance to previous years. There was a high percentage, close to 100%, in crimes dependent on police action being detected, but only 28% were ready for court. This might reflect on the quality of detection amongst other things.
Dr Burger saw disturbing trends emanating from the figures for commercial crime. There was a constant decline in the preceding years. While the number of crimes was increasing, the numbers of arrests and convictions was decreasing.
There had been some improvements regarding organised crime. In spite of huge improvements in terms of projects initiated and successfully terminated, there was a huge decline in the number of syndicate members arrested. The number of projects had increased by 48%. The number of arrests included a significant number of arrests not related to SAPS projects. Convictions showed the same trend. This questioned the value of project-type investigations.
Dr Burger looked at the number of disciplinary hearings. These were on the increase, and might be correlated to the increasing number of members. However, the number of SAPS members increased by 2% but the increase in hearings was over 30%. This raised a number of questions. It might reflect more efficient control and detection of transgressions, but might also indicate a decrease in the quality of new recruits. There had been a call for quantity rather than quality in recruiting policemen.
Dr Burger thanked SAPS for its Annual Report and hoped that it would accept the comments made by ISS.
Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked if he thought the increase in corruption was the result of better detection.
Ms van Wyk said that there was a study indicating SAPS should have about 30 000 detectives. This had been rejected by the Minister. Given the current numbers, some 40 000 detectives would be needed to match international norms. Another element lacking was the number of crime intelligence officers. There might be 22 000 detectives at present, but their standard of training was questionable. She asked when SAPS could be expected to reach this target. She felt that there were enough SAPS officers, but it was now time to concentrate on quality.
Dr Burger said that only 135 000 of SAPS staff complement were in fact trained officers. He agreed that the lack of crime intelligence officers was a serious problem. He had argued this point with the previous National Commissioner. Information was needed. Visible policing was a deterrent, but had to be backed up by good police work. Some stations lacked this ability. The crime intelligence officer should brief shifts coming on duty and then debrief the members at the end of the shift. Operational intelligence was not being provided to the stations. The international norm was two police officers per 1000 of the population. The situation in South Africa was 2.5:1000, without even counting metropolitan police forces.
Mr Chauke was concerned that Dr Burger was a single employee working on this project. He was happy that only 78 SAPS members had been arrested. This was a positive sign for him as the numbers tended towards zero. He asked if it was a sign that SAPS was doing its work, of if it meant that syndicates had gone into hiding.
Dr Burger said that ISS had three senior researchers and one junior researcher.
Mr Swathe asked if the ISS was questioning the standard of marksmanship in SAPS.
Dr Burger replied there had been discussions with criminals. They were not afraid of the police as their marksmanship was poor. The issue of certificates of competency was a problem. He did not believe all SAPS members were at the same standard required for civilians.
Ms Kohler-Barnard said that since some forensic functions had been passed to the Department of Health (DoH), blood tests and autopsies were now taking excessively long periods to being completed. Cases of drunk driving were being dismissed by magistrates because of the delays.
Dr Burger agreed that the backlog lay with the DoH. The SAPS laboratory did not have the capacity. There was a high staff turnover, with salary a major consideration. There was a three-year waiting period. In some high profile cases, tests might be prioritised.
Mr Ndlovu said that private citizens would be prosecuted if they lost a firearm. He asked if SAPS members were subjected to the same standards. He asked where the line was being drawn.
Ms van Wyk commented that the Committee had not been happy with the number of prosecutions being deleted from the report.
Mr Mncwango could not understand how so many firearms could go missing. This was criminal negligence. He asked what the situation was like in other countries.
Dr Burger said that some information was not provided. SAPS members were trained to use and safeguard firearms. He could not give comparative figures. The public needed to see that action was taken against negligent police members.
The Chairperson was not surprised. In fact, she thought the figure would be worse based on her experience of the carelessness of SAPS members with firearm control. She agreed that the conviction rate was needed in the report. It was a valuable indicator. Many “court ready” cases were dismissed by the presiding officers.
Dr Burger said that many of the issues raised by Members were symptoms of what was wrong with SAPS. He had recently written a magazine article on this subject. If the underlying issues were solved many problems would go away. He agreed that conviction rates should be quoted. However, he understood that once the case went to court the influence of SAPS would be considerably less and the case might not even get past the prosecutor's desk. It would be unfair for SAPS to be measured based on the result of something beyond their control.
Ms van Wyk agreed with Dr Burger. An alternative was to indicate the number of cases closed as unsolved compared to those going to court.
Dr Burger agreed. The situation with firearms was completely unacceptable. Many were lost through negligence or theft, but in some cases SAPS members sold firearms and then claimed that they had been lost or stolen. This was criminal. There was often no consequences and so this type of conduct would continue.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Summary & Analysis of the 2010/11 Annual Report of the South African Police Service (SAPS)
- Annual Report of the Saps 2010/11: Summary & Analysis of the Financial Statements & Notes for 2010/11
- South African Police Service (SAPS) 2010/11 Annual Report – Overview of Programme Performance
- Annual Report of Independent Complaints Directorate 2010/11: Summary and Analysis
- Annual Report of PSIRA 2010/11: Summary and Analysis
- Summary and Analysis of SAPS 2010/11 Financial Statements
- Institute for Security Studies submission on South African Police Service Annual Report for 2010/11
- Portfolio Committee of Police: PFMA Outcomes 2010/11
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
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