SA Police Services Annual Report 2010/11: Detective Branch Services

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13 October 2011
Chairperson: Ms L Chikunga (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

SAPS gave a presentation on the Annual Report findings for Programme 3: Detective Services of the South African Police Service. Detective Services was divided into four sub-programmes of Crime Investigations (CI), Criminal Record Centre (CRC), Specialised Investigations (SI) and Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL). Expenditure was R8.9 billion for 2010/11. The staff complement was 37 402. The Family Violence and Child Protection Units had been re-established as FSC units, and there was one unit per cluster and 176 in total. This unit had 1 864 police personnel and 218 support staff. SAPS outlined its targets, and performance against those targets, and indicated that in all cases the achievement had been within the target range. For contact crime and crime that depended on police action for detection, it achieved 51.84%, and it noted 30.84% achievement of court ready case dockets for contact-related crime, property related crimes, crimes dependent on police action for detection and other serious crime. The detection rate for crimes against women, murder, attempted murder, all sexual offences, common assault and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm was 71.20%, whilst 34.85% of dockets were court-ready. Crimes against children recorded an achievement of 77.42% and 21.66% court-ready cases. There were 4 182 female detectives in the service, and 147 564 cases, including 7 890 high profile cases, were assigned to them. In a total of 196 cases, a total of 258 life sentences were obtained.
There were 116 court case officers at 104 courts country-wide. There were 176 Family violence, Child protection and Sexual offences Units (FCS units) countrywide, and the staff complement and gender breakdown were given. These units produced 284 cases involving 278 accused which resulted in 306 life sentences. There were 700 posts allocated for criminal justice positions, and all posts were filled. 183 posts were allocated to the Forensic Science laboratory and 517 were allocated to the CRC. There were 10 service points established to service outlying rural areas.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) had 1 828 males and 432 females in the operational staff complement, and 184 males and 391 females in the support PSA component. An Integrity Management Unit had been established, which provided for the security screening of and integrity measures for personnel of the Hawks. The Organised Crime Unit had made 38 arrests for cash-in-transit heists, 31 for ATM Bombings, 6 for bank robberies, 34 for Rhino poaching, and 31 for Human Trafficking and 32 clandestine laboratories had been detected and dismantled. Sentences ranged from 5 to 12 years. Drugs had been intercepted at Durban Harbour and Knysna, resulting in 15 arrests.

Members were pleased to note the improvement in backlogs but noted that this was not universal, thanked the SAPS for allowing it to participate on a study tour into DNA services, and said that the numbers of life sentences awarded was an achievement. However, a number of Members were concerned about detection rates, and criticised them as too low, with targets that were too wide-ranging, asked if they were correct, and pointed out that the Committee had previously requested that the targets be raised. They wanted actual conviction rates. They urged that full details be provided on training, with timeframes, and reminded SAPS that all detectives should undergo training. Members noted the lack of apparent progress on crimes against women and children, did not believe the claims that sexual offences had decreased, asked if SAPS was working with other non-government organisations to acquire reliable statistics, and wondered why victim-friendly interview rooms were not set up. Members asked about the relationship between SAPS and Interpol, cross-border organised crime. Several questions were posed about the forensic science laboratories, particularly those visited in earlier oversight visits, and assurances were sought as to what exactly had been done to address the problems, including problems around drug storage. They also questioned why insufficient personnel were assigned to crime scenes, and where experts were located. 

They asked about ring-fenced funding, whether funding had been available and what it was used for, from the Criminal Justice System Review, and asked that projected costs of and state of laboratories be provided in writing. Further questions, which could not be answered due to the shortage of time, related to the stock theft unit, what the Hawks were doing about illegally-operating training institutions, why repeated errors in financial statements were still not rectified, after four years, why there were complaints about communication, despite the opportunities for this, and vetting of suppliers and Hawks staff. Members asked how many detectives were ideally required, cited several instances of inadequate station and cluster command and asked why requirements were not in performance contracts and were not monitored, urged that levels of detectives had to be improved and asked for figures on lost dockets. They pointed out that lack  information on the operational monitoring at the stations probably meant that there was no guarantee that certain operations might actually be in place. Members asked for explanations on the steps to combat commercial crime, the reason for the rise in the figures for drunken driving and drug-related crime, asked why conviction rates were not included in the Annual Report, and the functioning of the Hawks, including staffing, how people were assessed for suitability as detectives, how many cases went through courts and how many cases would be returned. A FF+ Member was vociferous in his condemnation of the likely success rates on convictions, and noted that the public could not be criticised for having little confidence in SAPS, urging that SAPS fulfil its Constitutional obligations to look again at its targets and consider how to regain trust. The Committee also asked about installation of cameras, called for a report on new technology, on individuals involved in maladministration, training on fingerprinting, and for comment on the alleged decentralisation of CRC to provinces.


Meeting report

SA Police Services Annual Report 2010/11: Detective Branch Services (Programme 3)
The Chairperson noted that the budget for South African Police Service (SAPS), for Programme 3: Detective Services, was R8.8 billion for the Financial Year (FY) 2010/11.

Major General Stefan Schutte, Departmental Head, SAPS, referred Members to pages 132 to 136 of the Annual Report 2010/11, for more details on the performance of Detective Services. He noted that the findings of the Auditor-General (AG) related to performance information, as well as to the procurement environment and supply chain.

Major General
George Moorcroft, Head of Strategic Management, South African Police Service, said that there were three findings on performance information. The first was that the completeness of reported targets could not be verified. He would report the findings and controls that had been put in place in order to address these findings in future. He noted that thirteen police stations were audited throughout the country. Later the auditors went to others, as well as the provincial office in Gauteng. The AG found that the Operational And Monitoring system (OPAM) was used to report on, amongst others, the number of crime prevention actions conducted at police station, and it was found that the OPAM system was not sufficient to verify the completeness of crime prevention actions. Some crime operational plans at station level had not been registered on the system.

Secondly, the AG found that completeness and reliability of reported targets could not be verified. This related to the percentage of registered organised crime projects investigations (OCPI ) successfully terminated. The records of Programme 3: Detective Services were inaccurate as the status of some terminated projects still reflected on the OCPI system as active. This was done at unit level.

Thirdly, the AG had found that reported indicators were not always reliable. The validity, accuracy and completeness of the performance indicator for Specialised Interventions (which indicated the number of medium to high risk incidents stabilised under Programme 2: Visible Policing) could not be established as the information captured in the monthly success reports differed from the consolidated quarterly reports used for reporting on this indicator.

Maj-Gen Moorcroft said that there was a process flow for each indicator within the Annual Performance Plan (APP). Currently, there were 32 indicators in the APP. For each of these there was a process flow, starting at generation of the information, whether at station or unit level, up to the recording of that information in monthly or quarterly reports, and up to national level. This indicated what happened in each of the clusters until they were consolidated. Statistics were compiled for the National Commissioner. These process flows were refined to indicate on what system the information had been captured and how it arrived at the top level, but this had not been properly communicated to the stations and through the levels.

Furthermore, the AG indicated, on page 135 of the Annual Report, that commanders at station level responsible for visible policing did not exercise leadership, oversight and responsibility adequately, to make sure that reported information was complete.

Maj-Gen Schutte reported on compliance with regulations. He reiterated that the AG had given an audit opinion of unqualified, with matters of emphasis. He would highlight some of those points. He noted that the first noted that the building in Pretoria was regarded as a contingent liability because of significant uncertainty. He explained that a “contingent liability” was something that represented the risk of possible obligations for the Department, deriving from past events, whose existence could only be confirmed once certain other events had either occurred or not occurred, and these events were not wholly in the control of SAPS. The uncertain event, in this case, was the possible settlement of such a claim, or a decision by the Court that the Department was liable. Not all claims resulted in settlements or payment obligations. The time and amount of settlement was also uncertain.

Another emphasis of matter was linked to Note 19 on the financial statements, and there would be a response on this later in writing

He noted that paragraph 19 noted that the financial statements submitted for auditing did not comply with Section 41(c) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). The opening and closing balances remained the same. He explained that the reason was that bullet resistant vests were not serialised previously, although in this financial year they had been, and their entry changed. The AG felt it was not handled correctly technically. He noted, in respect of the “minor assets” that these were worth under R5000 a piece like chairs or desks.

Gen Gary Kruser, Head: Training Division, SAPS, reported on the remedial actions on findings in the AG’s report. He noted that the Accounting Officer had to take effective steps to prevent irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. Remedial steps had been put in place. SAPS would implement the new instruction note from Treasury on improving transparency and accountability in the supply chain environment. SAPS would now make submission, for procurement of items exceeding R5 000, to Treasury. It would be publishing the bidder name for bids above R500 000. Contracts above R10 million would only be awarded on concurrence with Treasury.

He noted that the Internal Audit Unit and Bid committee would make sure that all measures were implemented and ensure compliance to remedial measures. He added that a computerised system was introduced so that the Bid Committee could make better decisions. A Project Management Office had been established to make sure that projects remained on track.

In regard to general management of contracts, he said that in future a computer would generate suppliers on a rotation basis. This would be done at Cluster level. He would also submit a written report on all irregular expenditure the following week.

Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya,
Deputy National Commissioner: Crime Detection, SAPS, delivered the presentation on Programme 3: Detective Services .It was divided into four sub-programmes, and, listed from largest to smallest these were:  Crime Investigations (CI), Criminal Record Centre (CRC), Specialised Investigations (SI) and Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL). He noted that the spending had been R8.9 billion, compared with R7.5 billion in the previous year. It had 37 402 staff.

The Family Violence and Child Protection Units had been re-established as Family and Child Services (FSC) after being disbanded by former National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi. There was one unit per cluster and 176 in total. These were staffed by 1 864 police personnel and 218 support staff.

Stock Theft Units would also receive similar attention in the foreseeable future.
For contact crime and crime that depended on police action for detection, SAPS had set the detection rate target between 43% and 60%. It achieved 51.84% detection, so it had marked the target as achieved. The percentage of court-ready case dockets for contact-related crime, property related crimes, crimes dependent on police action for detection and other serious crimes was 30.84%. The detection rate for crimes against women, murder, attempted murder, all sexual offences, common assault and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH) was 71.20%, thus meeting the target of between 68% and 75%. 34.83% of court-ready case dockets were achieved in this category. The target rate for detection or crimes against children was 77.42%, within the targets of 76%-80%. 21.66% of dockets were court-ready.

He reported that there were 4 182 female detectives in the service. The number of cases allocated to female detectives were 147 564, of which 7 890 were high profile. The Baby Jordan case was a high profile case successfully managed by a female detective based at the Lansdowne Police station. Over 196 such cases, a total of 258 life sentences were obtained.

There were 116 court case officers at a total of 104 courts country wide.

There were 176 FCS units countrywide and amongst them they had access to 951 vehicles. In the FCS units, there were 744 females and 1 120 male police personnel. There were 189 female and 29 male administrative staff members. The total staff complement was 2 082. These units produced 284 cases involving 278 accused, which resulted in 306 life sentences.

Lieut-Gen Lebeya reported that there were 700 posts allocated for Criminal Justice and all posts were filled. 183 posts were allocated to the Forensic Science Laboratories, and 517 were allocated to the CRC. There were 10 service points established to service outlying rural areas in the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West. The central database of the SAPS had its capacity increased to keep records on eight million people. The stability and speed of the system had been upgraded, with the result that the system was more efficient, and turnaround times had been reduced.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) consisted of 1 828 males, 432 females in the operational staff complement, 184 males and 391 females in the support PSA complement, with a total of 2 012 males and 823 females, totalling 2 835. Prominent cases had been managed by female officers like the “Boeremag” Case, Ntaka Investments, Mosselbay Investment Fraud, and Ghost Key (Cyber Crime).

An Integrity Management Unit had been established. It was staffed by personnel whose integrity was beyond reproach. It provided for the security screening of and integrity measures for personnel of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation. 603 Members had been trained through eight courses. The Investigation Organised Crime Unit made 38 arrests for cash-in-transit heists, 31 for ATM Bombings, 6 for bank robberies, 34 for Rhino poaching, and 31 for Human Trafficking and 32 clandestine laboratories had been detected and dismantled. Five arrests made in rhino poaching cases, and the recovery of illegal trade items. Sentences ranged from five to twelve years. Drugs had been intercepted at Durban Harbour and Knysna resulting in 15 arrests.

The Chairperson said that the resignation/retirement of former Divisional Head of Forensic Services, followed by appointment of Gen Mpahlane, brought some fresh air into that environment. The notion that backlogs at forensic laboratories were unavoidable had, within a short space of time, been overcome, and she congratulated those responsible for effecting the change.
The Committee wished to thank the Department for allowing the Committee to attend the educational tour to Canada to and the United Kingdom to learn about DNA services. The Committee was dealing with an unfamiliar area, but this trip had assisted Members in understanding the scientific concepts and how South Africa compared to other countries.

The Chairperson noted the reference to 258 life sentences, which she said was a positive step. However, there were 638 469 contact crimes, but the detection rate was reported as 57%, which meant that SAPS only detected 363 927 crimes. If the court ready dockets were 32.24% of the detection rate, this meant that only about 117 000 were court ready, leaving about 521 000 of alleged crimes not court ready. She asked for clarity on those figures. She noted that the same reasoning could be used for other crimes, including property-related crime and matters such as driving under the influence of alcohol. She asked if the numbers were correct.

Ms A van Wyk (ANC) asked who the Divisional head for detectives was, and said that, even as a matter of courtesy, the Committee should be informed of staff changes at this level.

She said that the Committee had made it clear that the targets were not acceptable, yet still the same targets were being reported. She said that there was far too large a difference between minimum and maximum targets, which should be less than 17%.

Ms van Wyk had a problem with the lack of conviction rates. She knew that stations and provinces kept records, but these had been incorrect even under the Scorpions. At least there was now a “court-ready” category. The Scorpions had only reported on the conviction as a percentage of the cases that went to court. She asked for the conviction rates for priority crimes, at the very least. She thought that “court-ready” in fact did not mean much, as such cases could still not succeed.

Mr G Schneeman (ANC) noted that the detection rate, other than for crimes dependent on police action for detection, the percentages were not that high. The minor increases in other categories were welcomed. Detection rates were probably related to the types of training that detectives received. The Committee had picked up, at many police stations, that a large number of detectives had not gone through the basic detective training course. The Committee had at many occasions raised the need to speed up the training, but it could never get an answer regarding timeframes and targets for training from SAPS. The Committee wanted a report on how many detectives had not gone through the basic detective training course, what other courses were outstanding and how many detectives were involved, and the plan to address the backlogs, including targets and timeframes.

Lt Gen Lebeya referred to page 86 in the Annual Report (AR). This set out how the calculations were done and the figures were arrived at. There were folders with figures that were used to do the calculations, but it was a challenge to do so without these folders. SAPS worked with detection rates, charges referred to court, charges withdrawn, and charges closed as unfounded. The formula also looked at the total crimes reported in a particular year and the total crimes carried over from the previous years. All of these were put into formula and a figure was produced.

The Chairperson asked whether Lt Gen Lebeya was suggesting that the figure included the figures carried over from the previous years.

Lt Gen Lebeya replied that the financial year under review would not necessarily be the only year looked at. Unresolved cases from previous years influenced the statistics of the year under review. He acknowledged that there was a need to re-look at the way in which statistics were compiled. This could be one of the reasons why SAPS was not getting the desired conviction rates.

The Chairperson said that it did not matter whether the detection rate was a percentage of a total that included or excluded cases from other years. There was still a poor reflection, whichever figures were included.

Lt Gen Lebeya said that SAPS set its targets based on past history. It did not want to set the targets so high as to make them unachievable. Targets were not scientifically informed, but based on historical trends. Whilst SAPS would like targets to be at 70%, it must be realistic.

The Chairperson said that this division had only achieved a detection rate of 57% for contact crimes. Of that figure, court-ready cases would be 32%. The conviction rates would even be less. Over time this situation would need attention and resources, in order to change. She reiterated that, taking these figures, it appeared that 522 011 of 638 468 court-ready cases would not go to court. Whilst she understood what Lt Gen Lebeya was saying, this did not improve the situation. She noted that there had been increases in some areas, including murders of women, although the murder statistic was below 16 000 for this year.

The Chairperson said that in the case of crimes that depended on police action for detection, like drunken driving, the detection rate was 98%, but questioned why court ready dockets were at 28%. She agreed that SAPS would have to explain what it intended to do about the poor detection rates. She noted that at Bloemspruit police station, two-year old rape dockets were lying around with nothing been done.

Ms van Wyk said that crimes against women and children had been a priority, according to the State of the Nation Address, for a few successive years, yet there was no progress. It must be seen as a very serious societal issue when men raped their own daughters, but there had been no impact. There was a reference to partnerships with other departments, and the FCS was but one step, although the Committee had been told that SAPS had lost expertise on this.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (ACDP) referred to the claim that there had been a decrease in sexual offences, and said she did not think that this could be believed. During a presentation by the Tshwanang Legal Advocacy Centre on the previous day, a conservative claim was made that only one out of nine women raped reported the crime, with some estimates being that only one in thirty reported it. This would seem to suggest that were about 700 000 rapes a year, so she was irritated to hear claims that this had dropped. She asked if SAPS worked with non-government organisations (NGOs). NGOs tended to offer clean and calm rooms for taking statements from victims, and cases coming through these facilities resulted in higher conviction rates. She asked why SAPS had not set up units like that throughout Gauteng.

Gen Bheki Cele, National Commissioner, SAPS, responded that several NGOs availed themselves to work with the SAPS, but he was worried about the instances when they refused to engage. The SAPS had its opinions, and the NGOs had theirs, and some NGOs wanted to spread untested opinions about the SAPS without engaging with it. Both SAPS and NGOs could learn from each other, yet sometimes the NGOs seemed to cast SAPS in the role of a “schoolboy that had to be taught” and could not answer back.

Com Cele said that the FCS was a major focus, and SAPS was very much concerned about the abuse of women and children. The SAPS objected to suggested figures and many different statistics. He hoped that the stakeholders could work together to have one official and reliable universally-accepted source of statistics on violence and abuse of women and children.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked about the nature of the relationship between the SAPS and Interpol.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked if SAPS was returning stolen vehicles to owners, noting that she had dealt with some cases where cars were deteriorating for three years in parking lots, while owners tried to get them back. She noted that if South Africa allowed foreigners to enter without controls, it had the responsibility to handle the fall-out.

Com Cele said that the SAPS did work with Interpol but mostly with the Southern African Police Chiefs Coordination Organisations (SARPCCO). Some countries cooperated and some did not.  Zimbabwe was highly cooperative. South Africa and Zimbabwe shared a very high number of professional criminals from both countries who were doing cash heists and bank robberies, sometimes operating in one country, sometimes in another. Zimbabwe had increased cash heists since the currency had changed to American dollars.

Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked whether the gender composition for administrators in the FCS suggested that women were better administrators.
Lt Gen Lebeya said that it did not mean this, and the imbalance would be addressed.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that there were claims that the backlog at the forensic science laboratories had been cleared. She asked if the turnaround times were quicker, and if the backlogs were completely eradicated

Gen Mpahlane said that the claim that the backlog at the forensic laboratories was cleared was a fact. He said that on 1 April 2010, the backlog was over 40 000, but was reduced to 16 000 on 31 March 2011, and 3 278 at end September 2011. He had never said, however, that it was completely eradicated in all areas; there was no further ballistics backlog but there was still a challenge with biology (402 cases), chemistry-related testing (2064 cases) questions into documents (490 cases) and  Scientific analysis (340 cases). The drunken-driving related cases were a Department of Health issue.

Mr Schneeman said that on page 101 of the AR, there was mention of “unassigned entries on hand”, although they were not considered as a backlog, because they were still within the acceptable period allowed for processing. He asked what period was allowed for processing.

Gen Mpahlane noted that in 2010/11, the laboratories were working on finalising 92% of exhibits with the analysts within 35 days. Forensic Services was on record stating that those timelines had been revised. Currently, 92% of exhibits would go from the day of presentation to the final outcome within 28 days.

Ms P Mocumi (ANC) noted that during the presentation she had noted that some information in the slide presentation was not in the AR – such as the numbers of FCS units and breakdown per province. She pointed out that the public would surely not be happy with abridged reports, and asked for clarity. She noted that there was information on page 93, but was not happy with the lack of breakdown.

Lt-Gen Lebeya said that this was additional information that he had indicated was not in the AR.

Ms Molebatsi said that Mr Lebeya said that he had no performance indicators for 2009/10, and asked how, in that case, progress was measured.

Lt-Gen Lebeya said that there were no historical targets that could be picked up, and this year would be used as a benchmark.

Ms Mocumi asked for further clarity on crime scene management and providing evidence on crime history. She noted that recently, a child was knocked down by a car, but lay in the heat for three years, whilst the crime scene managers waited for a cameraman to take photographs. She asked if this would not compromise the quality of information. This was put down to shortage of personnel, since the photographer had been called away elsewhere, and she questioned why there were not more technical personnel.

Gen Mpahlane would like more specific information on this alleged incident, since technical personnel were supposed to be on the scene within one hour of notification. He conceded that sometimes there was a problem if they were not notified in time, and to address this, the clusters needed to be capacitated with crime scene management experts. These were the “service points” referred to in the report. Previously disadvantaged communities had to be prioritised, and several service points had been established in rural and disadvantaged communities.

He noted that 700 posts were those intended to capacitate the crime scene management environments. 100 Forensic analysts and 356 constables had been appointed to ensure sufficient capacity.

The Chairperson asked where the experts were located, although she knew their location in Mpumalanga.

Gen Mpahlane said that there would not be a large number of people based at that service point, but there would be expertise available so that it should not be necessary to wait for somebody from Nelspruit. Malalane was established at the end of the 2010/11 FY.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had visited the forensic laboratories in Silverton, and had found its conditions poor in relation to the services it provided. She asked what had been done to upgrade. There was also a problem with storage of drugs, and she asked what was done to correct this. Finally, she asked what had been done to ensure accreditation of Silverton Laboratories.

Gen Mpahlane said that there were issues relating to an air conditioning machine worth over R20 million, that was not fully functional. There were fume cabinets that had been procured that were not operational. The contractor was brought back on site to finalise the work. He agreed that there had been problems with the gold laboratory. The majority of issues had been addressed. The Pretoria laboratory premises, which had been used to store stolen drugs, were being refurbished, and, although it was not yet accredited, the process was on track.

The Chairperson asked whether the Committee, should it visit Silverton now, would see a different situation. She asked if any Criminal Justice System (CJS) allocations of budget had been made for that laboratory, and how much was spent.

Gen Mpahlane said that the laboratory was the same, physically, but conditions were improved. Drugs were still in the part that had burned, and there were still some unfinished projects, but the air-conditioning machine and fume cabinets, which did not work before, were now functioning. He could not say that the laboratory was ideal, but some problems had been addressed whilst some had not. No CJS money went into this, as it was a capital works project, initiated before the CJS project.

The Chairperson asked whether the ring-fenced money was used for the correct purpose. She asked when Pretoria would have a good laboratory.

Gen Mpahlane said that in the current Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) there was no provision for the rebuilding of the laboratories, but only for maintenance and repair, so nothing could be expected to upgrade in the current MTEF, nor was it a priority. However, the building of a storage facility was a priority, although he would have to revert on whether there was an allocation for that.

The Chairperson asked whether there had been any allocation from the CJS, and also sought clarity on what the CJS allocation was for, and how much it was.

Gen Mpahlane referred to slide 32 of the presentation, and said that the CJS allocation was spent on IT, consumables and compensation related to the employment of people. In terms of the distribution, for goods and services, R87 million had been allocated. R553 522 was used for buildings and fixtures.

The Chairperson asked what was built.

Gen Mpahlane replied that minor renovations were done, not restricted to the Silverton lab. A breakdown was available. The next slide showed that it was used to build amongst others, eye wash stations.

The Chairperson wanted to know the status of the other laboratories, especially the Plattekloof Laboratory.

Gen Mpahlane noted that the Plattekloof laboratories were nearing completion, were due to be handed over by the contractors in November, and by December would be occupied. It would be operational in January. The network infrastructure was currently being built in.

The Chairperson asked what the projected cost and the actual costs were, and why this laboratory was prioritised over the national one.

Gen Mpahlane said that the Divisional Commissioner: Criminal Records and Forensic Science Laboratories would have tendered this project to management who would have approved it, resulting in the building of the laboratories, and it would have featured for years on the priority list. Gen Kruser would be able to retrieve the figures of the initial and actual cost. It cost more than R500 million.

The Chairperson asked Gen Kruser to also to provide the addresses for the laboratory, and for the dog unit in Pretoria.

Gen Mpahlane reported on the status of the laboratory in KZN. It was accommodated in two rented buildings in Amanzimtoti. It was leasing an additional two floors for the DNA capacity, since currently DNA-related cases were sent away to Pretoria. In the MTEF to 2014 there was provision for a new laboratory to be built at Pinetown. On completion, the KZN laboratory would relocate from its current space to the new laboratories.

Gen Mpahlane said that the forensic laboratories in PE were occupying the same building as the Department of Public Works. In time they would get new premises. In Pretoria the laboratory was scattered between Silverton and the mid-City.

The Chairperson asked how many leased buildings there were in the environment of forensics, and how much money was spent on infrastructure development.

Gen Mpahlane requested that Gen Kruser could provide the figures at a later stage.

The Chairperson agreed, asking for this information on the following Tuesday.

The Chairperson said that there was a question on stock theft, and asked how many units SAPS aimed to have, and by when, and asked how these were being monitored.

The Chairperson noted that in South Africa there were numerous fly-by-night training institutions, such as nursing schools that were not approved by the Nursing Council, false matric certificates and unregistered colleges. She asked about the role of the Hawks in that regard.

Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) wanted to ask a series of questions, starting with the AG’s report. She noted that in each of the financial years 2007 to 2009, SAPS reported that measures had been put in place to rectify the matters pointed out by the AG, yet the same matters re-appeared in the findings, year after year.   She was not convinced that the Committee was being told the truth today.

Ms van Wyk said that there was a complaint that communication was not being done properly, noting that this was unacceptable, given that opportunities were offered through SAPS TV, training opportunities, and management meetings.

Ms van Wyk asked Comm Dramat of the Hawks to explain the issue of the person who was on record as having had his services terminated, but who was found to be still active.

Ms van Wyk asked how SAPS vetted its 17 000 registered suppliers.

Ms van Wyk asked General Schutte to deal with the matter of emphasis, saying that she understood the technical issues about legal liabilities, but pointing out that the court might decide that the contract was valid for the full period for which it was signed. She asked what amount could be involved, and what impact this would have on SAPS finances in future.

Ms van Wyk asked how many detectives, on a scientific determination, were needed by the SAPS.

Ms van Wyk said that what had been presented by SAPS regarding detectives at station level differed from what the Committee had found on its visits to stations. It had found forensic science kits at stores, ten used rape kits, more than two years old, lying in an office in a station, which had never been sent to the laboratories. The police officers here were clearly obstructing the ends of justice. At Yellow Bridge Police Station, the Committee found that detectives were not sending fingerprints through to the forensic labs. She asked where the command and control were at detective level in such instances. She enquired what was being done about detective commanders who had not been trained, and, if they were trained, what was in their performance agreements, and where the performance agreements of the station commanders were. These performance areas should have been included in the performance agreement of the station and cluster commanders. If indeed they were included, then she took serious issue with the fact that they were still in their posts.

Ms van Wyk then referred to the rule that no-one should be kept for more than 48 hours in custody unless s/he was charged. On one oversight visit to a station, the Committee found that someone had been held in a police cell for two years, although cells were supposed to be inspected daily and hourly.

Ms van Wyk urged that just as forensics had been improved, the detective level required to be improved. These matters had been raised over the last ten to twelve years at Committee level.

Ms van Wyk thought that SAPS were not giving the correct conviction rates.

Ms van Wyk asked whether the SAPS could give the Committee a figure on lost dockets, saying that filing of dockets was an incredible mess. The Committee had, at Yellowbridge Police Station, found some dockets, which should have been archived, lying in a basin in the kitchen.

Ms van Wyk referred to the AG’s findings that there was no information on the operational monitoring at the stations, and asked how, in this case, figures could be trusted. She asked Gen de Beer how he could be assured that operations reported upon were actually taking place, and pointed out that this was not the first time this was reported.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that there was an increase in commercial crimes due to the recession, and asked what strategies SAPS had developed to deal with this, and with which experts it was collaborating. 

Ms Kohler- Barnard asked if the increase in the drunken driving and drug related crime figures could be ascribed to an increase in police action, or an increase in the offences themselves.

Ms Kohler-Barnard was a Members of this Committee when it instructed SAPS to put the conviction rates into the AR, and asked who had given the instruction that these could be removed from the AR.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked about the overall perception of how various sections of the Hawks functioned, whether the difficulties in assimilating former Scorpion-members and new staff were overcome, and whether the rumours of ongoing discontent were true. She asked if the Hawks was doing the job it should. She asked what happened to the incomplete cases carried over from the Scorpions. She noted that the Hawks now had a staff complement of 2 835, and asked how many more positions needed to be filled, whether people had been vetted, and if there were some who should have been appointed, but could not work because they had not been vetted.

Ms van Wyk pointed out to Ms Kohler-Barnard that it was not SAPS who had “shut down” the Scorpions, but Parliament.

The Chairperson asked if the Hawks had lost staff, due to vetting.

Ms Molebatsi referred to a statement that caused her concern about instructions not properly communicated, and about a commander who failed to exercise proper command, and she asked for clarity.

Mr Schneeman asked where the project management office referred to by the AG was established, who staffed it and how it operated.

Mr Schneeman asked how the SAPS decided who was suitable to be a detective, pointing out that one detective at Honeydew Police Station alleged that he was “forced” into this role. If a person was unwilling, s/he would not perform properly.

Mr Schneeman said that court case officers worked out to roughly one per court, but he asked how many cases, on average, went through each court, how many cases would be returned, and whether court case officers would return cases to the detectives if the information in the files was inadequate.

Mr Schneeman asked if the FCS units were fully functional, and had the resources to function.

Mr Schneeman said that he was pleased at the successes against rhino poaching, but wondered how large the problem was, and with whom the Hawks were working to address it.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) said that he was impressed with the zero vacancy rate in respect of the forensic laboratories and the CRC.

Mr Lekgetho was pleased to note the life skills audit in order to deal with corruption in SAPs.

Mr P Groenewald (FF+) said that this was a very important presentation, as it provided a “bigger picture” of police services to the people. He pointed out that the National Commissioner could only be as successful as were his top managers. He pointed out that SAPS had a Constitutional obligation to ensure that the main pillars of democracy were upheld. The detection rate and the percentage of court-ready case dockets were the essence of the success of the SAPS. The public had to have trust in SAPS. If the detection rate was only 51% and the percentage of court-ready dockets was only 32%, then only 15% of criminal incidents went through the courts, and this translated to a criminal having an 85% chance of getting away with crime in South Africa. If one then took into account that there might be a conviction rate of only 10% of cases that went to court, then this raised the criminal’s chances of getting away with crime to 90%. If these were the statistics, then the public could not be criticised for having little trust in SAPS.
He reminded the committee that a docket could only be prepared once a crime was detected. The whole reason for setting targets was to try to ensure performance. He was concerned that SAPS seemed to be satisfied with a detection rate of 51%, but said that he was certainly not satisfied with this.

Mr Groenewald said that the Members, as politicians, were accountable to the people. SAPS had an even bigger obligation. The public would only gain trust in the SAPS if they knew that criminals would be caught and successfully convicted. He urged SAPS to look at its own figures again. The reality on the streets was that the public had no trust in the SAPS. The National Commissioner and management must think seriously about the targets and how they would achieve trust in the SAPS again.

The Chairperson noted that in the last year it had been mentioned that the target for Hawks personnel was about 3 000, yet it had 2 835, and she asked if more personnel were needed, or whether Comm Dramat was happy with the current expertise and resources.

The Chairperson said that the Committee needed specific and detailed progress reports on a number of cases. These were: OR Tambo Case 41/11/2007; Silverton Case 403/12/2007; Midrand Case 997/02/2007; Silverton Case 203/12/2010; Alexandra Case 42/12/2009; Silverton Case 141/11/29.

The Chairperson asked what was done about installation of cameras to combat problems in Pretoria at Silverton, regarding access control at the storage site, where some drugs were found in bins.

The Chairperson said that when the Committee met Gen Mpahlane earlier in 2011, he informed the Committee about new technologies being tested. She asked which company was contracted to provide the technology, and what was the result of the testing of the technology.

The Chairperson asked what the status of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster currently.

The Chairperson asked an inaudible question about individuals involved in maladministration.

The Chairperson said that when the Committee visited the forensic science laboratories, it found equipment in boxes, and she asked if the Department had compiled a report on unused equipment, and what had happened to it.

The Chairperson asked whether the equipment replacement strategy had been finalised, and, if so, whether it could be shared with the Committee.

The Chairperson said that Parliament had passed legislation on fingerprinting and asked what had been done to empower SAPS with training, whether it planned awareness campaigns, and whether SAPS would be working with NGOs in this regard.

The Chairperson said that according to the information in the Annual Report, there was an increase in the number of personnel in the forensic environment. She asked how the work accommodation was increased, and noted that on its oversight visits, they had already noted cramped workspaces.

The Chairperson asked whether any person had been dismissed due to drug losses in the forensic environment.

The Chairperson said that, according to the presentation, SAPS had established 10 service points. The Committee had heard that SAPS planned to decentralise the CRC to provinces. If this was true, then she asked what steps management had put in place before it made this decision, how it would ensure uniformity and quality control, what the role would be of the national office, and how it would run. The Committee would monitor this area closely, and when things fell apart, people had to be able to account.

The only answer that could be given before the Committee ran out of time was that the list of areas, people and units of CRC was on page 93 of the Annual Report.

The meeting was adjourned.


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