The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) presented its Annual Report for 2010/11, and noted that it had, for the second consecutive year, received an unqualified audit report, although the Auditor General had matters of emphasis, particularly the failure to follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in some cases, with staff closing cases although they did not have the proper authority to do so. The ICD had completed 82% of its investigations of deaths in custody or as a result of police action, and 83% of its investigations into allegations of criminality against members of the SAPS, exceeding targets in both cases. 5 869 new cases were received during the period under review, of which 797 cases related to notification of deaths in police custody or as a result of police action. There was an overall decrease in cases reports, of about 8%. ICD investigators had spent over 1 000 days in courts or tribunals, and 59 criminal convictions were secured, whilst 88 convictions in disciplinary proceedings were obtained. Programmes 1 and 2 had underspent slightly, but Programme 3 (Information management and research) only achieved 88.1 spending, and had made application for a roll over to pay for invoices received late. Two cases of fruitless and wasteful expenditure, totaling R3 000, had been reported and recovered. The vacancy rates and staff composition were outlined, and ICD noted that in the new appointments process, when it moved to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) it would be targeting employment of females. There were currently 8 424 cases under investigation, of which 2 555 were carried over from the previous year. It was still auditing police stations for compliance to the Domestic Violence Act.
Members asked a number of questions about the intentions, work undertaken and status in preparation for the move to the IPID, and were in particular concerned about the human resource elements, how IPID would retain staff, the levels at which the officials would be placed and whether this was comparable to the rest of the public service, and the apparent discrepancy in pay across different departments. They asked specific questions on the concerns of the AG, and how these would be addressed and noted that an Action Plan had been drawn and was being followed. Members also wanted to know why so many people had died in police custody or as a result of police action, why the deaths in the Eastern Cape were so high, especially given that the province was peaceful, and expressed severe concerns as to whether deaths described as occurring due to natural causes, were ever properly investigated. They cited various instances discovered during oversight visits, and noted that some deaths were due to neglect, where police officers might have refused the detainee access to medication, might not have taken the person arrested or held to hospital, and, in some cases, had not even provided a person suffering from TB and Aids with decent conditions. They asked if the number of investigative staff was adequate to handle the workload. Although one of the officials claimed at first that it was, he later said that his colleagues had asked him to retract that statement, as it was clear that some work was neglected when officials had to attend court. Members also wanted to know if the necessary skills were available to undertake forensic or scientific work. Members asked about the staff complement, including the numbers of disabled people employed, and why targets had not been reached. They asked a number of questions about the acting appointments, one of which had arisen because a Head of Department, whom the Committee had questioned as incompetent for some time, had only recently been moved. They questioned why there was any target for vacancy rates, since all posts were filled. In answer, the ICD said that the targets in this financial year were set lower or in a certain way at the instance of the Committee, who had criticized them in the previous year. They also questioned, at some length, the impact of National Treasury not giving full rollovers to the ICD and how this would impact upon its work. They were interested in having a breakdown of the backlogs, noted its concern that although backlogs had been addressed, this was at the expense of current work, and asked what corrective measures were put in place. Although they generally commented that this report was an improvement on that of the last year, there were still concerns, which included the inability of those present at the meeting to answer all the questions in depth. They also raised questions as to what would be done to try to ensure that in future the IPID recommendations were followed by SAPS, in light of the latter’s poor acceptance of ICD recommendations in the past.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson wanted to congratulate the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) on achieving an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor General (AG), but noted that some matters had been highlighted, which she hoped the ICD would explain to the Committee.
She briefly outlined the Committee programme for the following days.
Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD): Annual Report 2010/11 briefing
Mr Francois Beukman, Executive Director, Independent Complaints Directorate, gave an overview of the structure of the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), the strategic objectives that shaped the organization in 2010/11, as well as the report of the Accounting Officer. His report included the financial performance of the organisation as well as the performance of Programmes 1, 2 and 3.
The ICD received an unqualified report from the Auditor-General for the second consecutive year. However the Auditor-General (AG) had raised concerns with regard to the reliability of information, because the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) had not been adhered to and cases were closed either without all the relevant documentation being filed, or by staff who did not have the proper authority to close the cases.
The ICD completed 82% of its investigations of deaths in custody or as a result of police action, exceeding the target of 65%; and 83% of its investigations into allegations of criminality against members of the SAPS, as against the target of 55%. 5 869 cases were reported during 2010/11. 797 cases gave notification of deaths in police custody and deaths as a result of police action. Although criminal offences increased slightly by 1%, from 2 462 to 2 493, there was an overall 8% decrease across the board. From a provincial perspective, all provinces except for Gauteng and Limpopo experienced decreases ranging from 7% to 23%.
501 recommendations for prosecution were made to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP).2 261 recommendations for disciplinary action were made to SAPS management. ICD investigators spent 1 014 days in courts or disciplinary tribunals. 59 convictions were achieved in the courts, with sentences ranging from fines to 20 year jail terms and 88 convictions emanating from disciplinary processes were obtained.
Programmes 1: Administration, and 2: Complaints Processing, Monitoring and Investigation, spent 99.4% and 98.6% of their budgets respectively. The Programme on Information Management and Research spent 88.1%, which qualified as under-spending. Mr Beukman explained that this happened because the ICD was still awaiting invoices for software licences (classified under Goods & Services) and that ICD had applied for a rollover.
There were two cases of fruitless & wasteful expenditure, in the amount of R3 000. This had, however, had been fully recovered from the parties responsible.
Mr Beukman reported that Programme 1 had a vacancy rate of 9.4%, Programme 2 showed vacancies of 6.4% and Programme 3 had a vacancy rate of 6.9%.The gender ratio was 51% female and 49% male. The staff turnover rate was 14%. The ICD had targeted having a 50% female staff complement at top management level and 2% staff complement of people with disabilities employed countrywide.
Programme 2 dealt with investigations. 2 555 cases were carried over from the previous financial year, and 5 869 new cases were added in 2010/11, adding up to a total of 8424.
Programme 3 had a target to conduct 250 events per year to raise awareness of the ICD and its work. It also audited police stations for compliance to the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) and dealt with police members who applied to be exempted from complaints in terms of the DVA. Deaths in police custody were reduced from 860 in 2009/10 to 797 in 2010/11. 109 people died in the Eastern Cape, and there were 248 deaths in KwaZulu Natal, as a result of police action or in custody. In Northern Cape, which recorded the lowest number of deaths in police custody, 20.44% of the deaths in police custody were said to be from natural causes.
Mr Beukman assured the Committee that the ICD had plans in place to address the concerns of the AG. He noted that during the current financial year, the ICD would transform itself to the new Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), which would inevitably bring about radical structural, policy, operational and financial changes.
The Chairperson asked why, if a person was ill, asthmatic or diabetic, or had AIDS, that person was allowed to die in custody and was not taken to hospital. She noted that the breakdown of the numbers of deaths did not specify what the causes of death were. The Committee had received complaints that people suffering from the abovementioned diseases were being refused treatment while in custody. The Chairperson wanted the true conditions behind the “natural causes” reported.
Mr M Swathe (DA) referred to the statistics on deaths as a result of police action and asked why as many as 206 people died during the course of arrest.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked what could cause injuries before arrest.
Mr Tommy Tshabalala, Programme Manager: Complaints Processing, Monitoring and Investigation, ICD, replied that the causes of injuries or deaths were normally shootouts, and suspects could die in the police vans on the way to hospital. Often, in cases of vigilantism, suspects were arrested by the crowds and injured.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) said that death in police custody as a result of police action was contrary to the Constitution, and he criticised the high number of deaths. This could be linked directly to the fact that police officials were being targeted. He asked how the situation could be improved.
Mr M George (COPE) said that 797 people died in police custody while the percentage of alleged criminal offences increased by 1%. Once a certain trend was detected, the ICD had to research it. There were 8 424 cases of alleged criminality and more than 3 000 cases of misconduct under investigation, which was particularly serious in a department that was responsible for enforcing the law, and that was not supposed to commit crime. The image of the police service was damaged. He wondered if the ICD should not approach the Civilian Secretariat for Police to urge it to do something about the apparent increase of criminal activity by South African Police Service (SAPS).
Mr Lekgetho said that the Eastern Cape had had only a few service delivery demonstrations, and wanted to know what had caused so many deaths.
Mr Tshabalala said that the number of deaths had been 797 in 2010/11. While it was a concern, the number had reduced in some provinces where the number of heists, and deaths linked to them, had decreased. The increase in deaths in the Eastern Cape could be attributed to the increase in heists in that province.
Mr Lekgetho said that even hospitals tried not to allow patients to die in hospital, and would send a person home when s/he could not be assisted any more by doctors. He questioned why, in this case, SAPS kept dying people in cells.
Mr Beukman said that the Eastern Cape was the province with the most cases, and this was of huge cause for concern for the ICD.
Mr Tshabalala noted that many of these deaths occurred in hospitals. Suspects were arrested. If they were ill, they were taken to hospital under police guard. For this reason, if they died in hospital, this was recorded as a death in police custody. He stressed that not every death was linked to an assault and said that the medical records showed the cause of death. He added that there were some cases of people being denied medication, but it was difficult to pinpoint which member had refused medication, and in previous cases of this nature, the ICD found it difficult to pinpoint exactly at which point the negligence was committed, and who exactly was responsible.
The Chairperson said that the Committee needed a breakdown of the deaths that occurred in hospital, and the numbers in police cells.
Mr Lekgetho said that a reading of the document without the oral explanation simply created the impression that it was the police who were directly responsible for causing deaths, and this was the reason why questions were raised. He suggested still that more needed to be done to address the situation.
Mr Beukman replied that in the previous year the report contained more detail, but it was too bulky, and the Committee had criticised the ICD for this. Mr Tshabalala could provide background.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) said that on one oversight visit, the Committee found somebody suffering from AIDS and TB, who was lying in a courtyard, because the other occupants of the cell had objected to him spreading his infection. Had the Committee not seen him, he probably would have died in the courtyard. She pointed out that refusing medication amounted to neglect. She asked how deeply the ICD investigated deaths. She also said that it was vital to be given details, no matter how bulky this might make the report.
The Chairperson said that there was lots of irrelevant information in the previous Annual Report. The overall quality of this Annual Report had improved a lot, but relevant information was removed. The Committee wanted information that would assist it. She also reported that on oversight, the Committee found HIV and TB patients who had been refused treatment. The Committee wanted a breakdown of the number that died in police cells and the number that died in hospital, noting that the place of death recorded on a death certificate would indicate hospital deaths. She asked how many people might have been neglected to the point where the hospital could no longer help them.
Mr Tshabalala replied that that 63% of deaths occurred at the crime scene, 29% died in hospital, 14% in police holding cells, 2% died in the police vehicle while in transit. There was a breakdown available that set out age, gender, and the ranks of officers implicated.
Mr Swathe asked whether a person who died through neglect to give him medical attention would be regarded as dying “of natural causes”, and asked if the ICD investigated the actual cause of death.
The Chairperson said that doctors declared the cause of death, and their declaration was accepted by the ICD. In an unnatural death, the post mortem would determine the cause of death, and this would be recorded.
Mr G Schneemann (ANC) commented that the report contained tables with figures, but no background reporting or analysis to make the Committee understand how these incidents occurred.
Mr Beukman agreed that the information in the report had to be more detailed. The ICD would keep this in mind when IPID compiled its future reports.
Ms P Mocumi (ANC) said that the presentation had stated that only 1.5% of the staff were people with disabilities, because no other applications had been received from disabled people. She asked what positions disabled employees occupied, and what factors were taken into consideration when evaluating their performance.
Mr Mathews Sesoko, Acting Head: Programme 1, ICD, said that the ICD had four employees with disabilities. One was the Deputy Director of Internal Audit, two were administrative clerks and the fourth was a case analyst. He noted that one post was evaluated so far, as the other three was still on probation.
Ms Mocumi said the 2010-13 strategic plan said that the ICD would have achieved its target of 25 employment of people with disabilities, and asked what strategies the ICD had in place to make sure that every province employed a disabled person.
Mr Sesoko replied that two disabled employees were in Free State and two in Gauteng. ICD would engage with organisations dealing with people with disabilities to encourage them to apply.
Mr Schneemann said that according to page 15 of the Annual Report, there were still 22 posts vacant at the end of the financial year, and asked for an explanation.
Ms Mocumi asked why the ICD set a target for a vacancy rate. She noticed that all programmes had vacancy rates, and asked when they would be addressed.
Mr Schneemann asked why the target per province was set so low.
The Chairperson noted that even in the current financial year, ICD was not meeting its targets for September, and she asked for an explanation on this, although it fell outside the 2010/11 Annual Report period.
The Chairperson added that meeting of targets by provinces should be monitored by the Programme Manager and by the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee. She asked when the monitoring took place, and whether this was done as part of a continuous process, or whether the ICD would wait until there had been non-performance. She questioned whether the ICD was proactive or reactive, and pointed out that if it was merely reactive, this probably explained why it did not get full approval from National Treasury for rollovers, which in turn contributed towards it not meeting its targets.
Mr Lekgetho said that targets were too low. The ICD was investigating people employed by the State, and he believed that the investigation target should be 100% of all complaints, not 75%. He also questioned why it targeted a vacancy rate of 10%, pointing out that all vacancies were funded and there was no reason why they should not be filled.
Mr Tshabalala said that three or so years ago, the ICD really had struggled to achieve its targets. The Committee had told the ICD that its targets were unreasonably high and suggested that it drop them.
Mr Schneemann asked how many people the awareness programme reached and how successful it was.
Ms Noluthando Mbuli, Programme Manager: Information Management and Research, ICD, replied that in the DVA report, the ICD detailed the places which were visited and the topic that were discussed with the people, and although this report did not include actual numbers, they were available and could be provided.
Mr Lekgetho asked where the ICD satellite offices were situated, as he would like to visit those in his home town.
Mr Beukman said public access to the services of the ICD was an important point. Pages 55 and 56 of the Annual Report indicated the access points. He would also provide a written report on the public events that took place in the various provinces.
Mr Lekgetho said that it seemed the technical aspects of the IPID Act had not been implemented.
Mr Schneemann asked why 50 people had left the ICD in the last year, and if any specific reasons were given.
Ms Kohler-Barnard said when an entity had trouble with staff retention, it would normally be for two reasons. Firstly, she queried if the salaries in the new IPID would be at the same level as other government departments. Secondly, she pointed out that SAPS’s response to recommendations was at an all-time low and this might have destroyed morale in the investigative staff. She asked if the ICD had sufficient expertise to do the scientific and forensic work.
Mr Tshabalala replied that when a person died in the cells, a doctor was called to certify the fact of death and the possible cause. The SOP required ICD staff to attend all post mortems to make sure that there was consistency between what had been found at the scene and the eventual findings. Sometimes the doctors had not been to the crime scene and the ICD staff could give details. When there were doubts an independent post mortem was done.
Mr Beukman replied that historically, the levels of staff in the ICD were quite low. Most resignations happened at the lower levels, where staff at levels 4 and 5 might leave to take up level 5 or 6 posts in other departments. A new development was that senior investigators were poached by new anti-corruption institutions attached to local government, amongst others, who in most cases could pay significantly more. This posed a threat to the ICD and would continue to be a risk for IPID.
He noted that in 2010, the ICD, in cooperation with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) had started a proper programme of job evaluations. In October 2011, 36 jobs had been evaluated, and this evaluation was currently with the executive authority for approval. DPSA did another three job evaluations at the beginning of 2011, which were approved by the Minister. It was necessary to ensure that key positions were upgraded. For the last five years there had been discussions about case analysts and monitors being upgraded to the level of investigator. This was a priority in terms of the IPID implementation, and the ICD was in discussions with National Treasury in that regard. When people with key skills indicated their intention to leave, there was some discretion for ICD to produce counter-offers to induce them to stay. At the lower levels, most resignations tended to happen by young people looking for greener pastures and this would continue. Staff retention was better at the higher levels.
Mr Beukman then addressed the issue of SAPS’ responses to recommendations from the ICD, and said he was confident that, through the structure of the IPID as well as the Liaison Forum with the Civilian Secretariat for Police, the ICD would be able to track the recommendations and ensure that the necessary feedback was communicated. In this way it would be able to deal with the non-implementation of ICD recommendations by SAPS.
Mr Sesoko agreed that most staff left for greener pastures, and said that 21 left to higher level posts in other departments. Because ICD was a small department and people did not specialise, this meant that they developed diverse skills that they were able to use to get jobs elsewhere. The ICD had evaluated the posts, and he repeated that case analysts and monitors would be upgraded from level 5 to level 7 and monitors from level 7 to level 8. Other departments pitched the posts higher, so ICD wanted the posts upgraded in order to try to be competitive.
The Chairperson asked if there was a composite retention strategy instead of a piecemeal approach.
Mr Schneemann asked how the ICD fell into the public service, and whether it went through the same grading procedures, pointing out that if other departments paid a higher salary for the same grading, there was a problem.
Mr Sesoko replied that the establishment of the ICD was not large enough to support several levels, so, for instance, in each province there were only one or two people doing corporate services, and they could not be promoted, because there were no other posts available. It could only counter offer at a higher notch.
Ms A van Wyk (ANC) said that the report declared that no job evaluations had been done over the last financial year, and questioned this, because surely job evaluations would have been part of the preparations for implementing the IPID Act. She asked when the ICD anticipated fully implementing the IPID Act and what preparations it had completed toward this.
Ms van Wyk also questioned the job evaluation programme, because the Annual Report said none were done, but Mr Beukman had now mentioned that 39 were done.
Mr Beukman said that job evaluation was a long process. DPSA was part of the process, and it was finalised only in October 2011. During 2010/11, no job evaluations had been completed.
Ms van Wyk said that the Annual Report had created the impression that nothing was being done towards this, and suggested that it should have stated that the job evaluations were under way, but had not been completed.
Ms van Wyk said that despite the ICD growing, its human resources had not, and asked how this would be addressed.
Mr Sesoko replied that there were provisions made to fill posts of Deputy Director: Labour Relations as well as Assistant Director: Human Resources Department (HRD).
Ms Kohler-Barnard questioned whether the ICD was meeting its objectives to not carry over more than 10% of cases and to escalate crime scene attendance to 90%.
Mr Tshabalala replied that there were challenges, but the ICD managed to attend 61% of crime scenes in 2010/11. There were challenges with timeous reporting, particularly if the ICD received the report after the scene had been cleared. There would be improvements with the move to IPID because the IPID Act set out stricter reporting obligations and protocols, and there were penalties for non-compliance. Ignorance would no longer be an excuse.
Mr Swathe referred to service delivery objectives and indicators, noting that although there was a target of having 50% women in senior manager positions, 29% had been achieved. The reason given was that there were no vacancies at this level.
Mr Beukman said that it was necessary to address the gender balance from top down. In 2010/11, there had been five people in top management, and the gender balance was brought in line with the appointment of a female Chief Financial Officer. Mr Sesoko was acting as Head of Programme1, but it was recommended to the Minister that a woman should be appointed permanently to this post. The position of Chief Director: Legal Services would also be filled by a woman. By the end of 2011, the majority of top managers at the ICD would be women. In addition, the positions for the nine provincial heads of IPID had to be advertised. At least 50% would be filled by women.
Mr Lekgetho referred to the fact that the ICD had failed to comply with National Treasury prescripts to settle accounts within thirty days, pointing out that this caused difficulties to small businesses from communities. This had to improve.
Mr Beukman said that an Action Plan had been submitted to the AG, and this set out that in future, if payment was not made within 30 days, responsibility managers would face disciplinary steps if they failed to provide valid reasons for their failure. Finance Circular 1 of 2011 was circulated on 5 July 2011 to all ICD staff, who must note their receipt of the document, and then enforce it. Every component had to submit the monthly compliance certificate by the 7th of each month, and the provincial officers were complying.
Mr Lekgetho asked whether there was a problem regarding the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) implementation and asked about the DVA audit.
Mr Beukman replied that the ICD did an audit on the implementation of the DVA and had tabled the report in Parliament, as well as to this Committee. He would make sure Mr Lekgetho received a copy.
Ms van Wyk asked how long the two provincial heads had been occupying the posts in acting capacities and how long it would still continue.
Mr Beukman agreed with Ms van Wyk that it was not healthy to have people in acting positions for too long, because it created problems. Mr Sesokwe was currently acting as Head of Programme 1, but the submission to fill the post was with the Minister, and he hoped it would be signed off soon. The Eastern Cape provincial head was suspended because of a matter that was currently in court. The Deputy Head from Gauteng had been moved to Eastern Cape in an acting capacity. He was not happy with the performance of the ICD in Mpumalanga, but noted that he had visited to gauge the situation, and there was a task team working with the provincial head on the ground. In provinces where there was a problem, the ICD top management intervened and assisted, and would monitor the performance on a monthly basis.
The Chairperson said that a provincial head had to have a performance contract, and asked why the ICD would keep on people who did not perform.
Ms van Wyk asked for the impact in the provinces where there were acting heads.
Mr Beukman replied Mr Sesoko had been acting in his position for two months. The Mpumalanga intervention had been going on for three to four months.
Ms van Wyk asked again how this affected their home provinces of Free State and North West.
Mr Beukman replied that these two provinces had been well run and were being well looked after by competent deputy heads in the meantime.
Mr Lekgetho asked whether the provincial heads had deputies.
Mr Beukman replied that there were deputies, but the ICD looked at the experience of the people involved and their ability to run the province effectively.
Ms van Wyk wanted an update on improvements on the ICD’s monitoring of public protests and the police services’ handling of these.
Mr Tshabalala replied that the ICD was tasked with looking at crowd control in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) and Mpumalanga, and was looking also into causes of violence, and this investigation should be finalised in a month.
Ms Molebatsi asked how the R3000 of fruitless and wasteful expenditure was recovered.
Mr Beukman replied that salary deductions were made from the staff responsible.
Ms van Wyk wanted an explanation on the irregular expenditure of R184 000 from previous years, which was still awaiting condonation, querying why it was taking for long and which service was involved. She also wanted an explanation of what was involved in the R891 000 of unauthorised expenditure for which the ICD was apparently ‘awaiting Parliament’s approval’, and why Parliament had a role.
Ms Elize Engelbrecht, Budget Controller, ICD, said that the ICD had referred a request for condonation of the R184 00 to National Treasury, who then referred it to the DPSA.
Ms van Wyk pointed out that the Committee had been told by SAPS that condonation was done by the bid adjudication committee and signed off by the accounting officer.
Ms Engelbrecht replied that because this involved compensation of two employees, it could not be condoned by the bid committee.
Ms van Wyk wanted a breakdown of the performance bonus total amount of R1.087 million, asking how many beneficiaries there were, what percentage they received, and at what staff levels in the organisation they were.
Mr Sesoko replied that 112 people received performance rewards. It averaged out to R9 080 per employee. Employees who performed above average were entitled to a performance bonus of 5% to 18%. All received 5%, excluding the Provincial Head of Mpumalanga.
Ms van Wyk asked why there was such high expenditure on computers and she wanted a breakdown of the amount spent. There was a 382% increase to SITA. She asked if the ICD was developing something or doing large scale replacements.
Ms Engelbrecht replied that in 2009/10 all departments received credit notes from SITA, which acknowledged that SITA had overcharged them. In 2009/10, the invoices were first set off against this credit note. The payments in 2009/10 were not a true reflection of what the ICD actually paid, because of the credit with SITA. The expenditure in 2010/11 was a more realistic expenditure, and it related to the services of the Transversal System, some system development and licences specifically related to SITA.
Ms van Wyk asked why the ICD did not receive any funds for the R482 000 worth of computer equipment disposed of.
Ms Engelbrecht replied that the ICD donated the usable computers to schools and charities. The rest were unusable, and were crushed and disposed of.
Ms van Wyk asked why the spending on consultants more than doubled and asked for a breakdown for the R2.076 million spent.
Ms Engelbrecht replied that the contractors included audit committee members, transcription and translation services, transport providers, staff wellness services providers, and machinery and equipment maintenance providers. The security equipment maintenance accounted for a huge amount.
Mr Beukman added that relocation services also fell under the heading of contractors.
Ms van Wyk asked the reason for the sudden overspending on legal costs.
Ms Engelbrecht replied that the legal cost increase related to obtaining a legal opinion to assist with dispute settlement by employees. This was an internal matter. The accounts came from the Department of Justice and were settled by the ICD.
Ms van Wyk asked for a breakdown of the operating leases, which had increased from R4 million to R15 million. The ICD had problems with a lease for its head office, had indicated its needs, but although the Department of Public Works (DPW) procured the building, the ICD was responsible.
Mr Sesoko replied that head office had requested a building, and this process took about two or three years because the DPW felt that the initial building was not adequate. Head office initially had two buildings, and DPW came up with the current building, which resulted in the increased lease amount.
Ms van Wyk said that DPW merely acted as the agent. ICD did not have to sign for what it did not want.
Mr Sesoko replied that he did not have the figures with him.
Ms van Wyk said that since the budget hearing, the Committee had not received these figures, but they were more than budgeted, and she asked that they be provided.
The Chairperson questioned how the ICD could not have the figures.
Ms Engelbrecht indicated that she also did not have the figures, but in 2010, R8 million was paid.
Mr Beukman promised to provide all the figures requested.
Ms van Wyk asked whether the ICD had capital expenditure costs to get the building to a suitable state for the ICD.
Mr Lekgetho said that the structure was put forward as one reason why the staff turnover rate was high. The structure could not, however, be blamed for lack of a retention policy, and a high turnover to him merely indicated that the organisation was not stable.
Mr Schneemann referred to page 101 in the Annual Report, and asked for a breakdown of the operating leases of R4 million in 2009/10, and R15 million in 2010/11.
Mr Beukman agreed with the members, but explained that the Chief Finance Officer was heavily pregnant and was unable to travel by air. In future, the appropriate staff would be present to answer the questions.
The Chairperson said that, as with the previous Annual Report, and the budget hearing, the top management was not able to respond to questions.
Ms van Wyk asked what contingent liabilities were, and what amounts were involved. She noted that there had been settlements of R18 000, but there were possible claims incurred, of R6.681 million, and a further note that ICD may be liable for possible claims of R9.142 million. There was an opening balance of R2.64 million. She asked why there were so many claims, and why so few were settled. It seemed that the ICD was falling in the same trap as SAPS. She also noticed that part of the consultancy fees were spent on legal consultants.
Ms Engelbrecht replied that the contingent liabilities were understated, according to the AG. The ICD had taken a very prudent approach. The contingencies related to eight cases. One case involved R17 922 by itself. A case from the previous year which had not been finalised related to a Limpopo investigator, for R125 000. There were also cases, respectively, in the North West, of R300 000, in the Eastern Cape of R100 000 and in Gauteng of R76 000. One huge case had caused the jump in contingencies from R2 million to R9 million – and that involved the previous building occupied by the national office, at the time that it was looking for new premises. The Corporate Services component had stayed in that building, under the old lease agreement, but the landlord sued the Minister of Public Works, the Minister of Police and ICD, the tenant. The contingent liability made provision for the possibility that the court might rule against the ICD.
Ms van Wyk asked why investigators were sued.
Ms Engelbrecht said she would revert with more specific information on the cases.
The Chairperson said that although the ICD requested a roll-over of R2.9 million, but the Minister of Finance agreed to R1.4 million, and she asked about the impact of this reduction.
The Chairperson also wanted to know the impact of the underspending in Programme 3, which only spent 81% of its allocated budget. The Chairperson also noted that the ICD said that it was waiting for “Parliament” to approve matters, and asked which Committee was involved.
Ms Engelbrecht replied that the ICD would have to re-prioritise in respect of amounts not approved. Orders were placed but the invoices were not received yet. At least National Treasury met the ICD halfway, as otherwise ICD would not have been able to pay.
The Chairperson said that for an entity like the ICD, R1.4m was a lot of money, and asked again about the impact.
Ms Engelbrecht said that there was no negative impact. Various services were included in the initial requests. National Treasury had only concentrated on the large amounts, and this had included licences over three years. The ICD would still have to find money to pay the rest.
The Chairperson said that, according to the Adjusted Appropriations Report, the ICD had not been performing well between January and September 2011. She asked how it would correct the situation. The ICD might end up with another rollover refused again.
Ms Engelbrecht was aware that the ICD was not performing as targeted. The situation was monitored on a monthly basis, and was discussed with the programme managers. On a quarterly basis, all responsibility managers had to account. The ICD was trying its best to manage this and to get its performance back on track.
Mr Beukman said that the ICD followed the rules applicable in the public service in relation to under-performance.
The Chairperson said that she was not talking about one month of underperformance, but several, and she thought that if a person consistently underperformed, demotion should follow. She noted that the underperformance by the provincial head in Mpumalanga province had been going on for more than a year.
Ms van Wyk asked what was being done, either by provincial managers or by the investigative component, about the backlog. Obviously, managerial tasks were not being done, as if the work had been done properly it would not have been necessary to issue new instructions to solve the problem. The M&E function also went to the provinces, yet this was part of the provincial management functions. She asked why this was not discovered by Mr Tshabalala, but was pointed out by the AG.
Mr Beukman noted that the SOP set out the procedures for an investigation, from the time the complaint was received to completion stage, although there might be some technical issues that had to be corrected. There had to be some form of auditing to ensure compliance. The M&E team raised the same issues that were raised by the AG, and he said that the situation would improve in future. The ICD would
follow the rules of the Public Service Act.
The Chairperson noted that the AG had commented that reported information was not reliable, both in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 financial years. The target for audit reviews was 10, yet only seven were undertaken, with the reason given that the audit unit had to conduct additional ad-hoc committees. Once again, the target of 10 for compliance with Minimum Information Security Standards was not met, as only 6 were done. She asked why the internal audit function was not meeting its targets.
Ms Kohler-Barnard quoted the AG’s report which stated that numerous cases had been closed by officials without the proper delegation of authority. She asked how many were “numerous” and how this happened, and what steps had been taken to prevent recurrence.
The Chairperson asked for comment on the findings on page 80, which reiterated the comment of Ms Kohler-Barnard.
Mr Beukman replied that the AG’s report said that the contingent liability was materially understated. It thus dealt with the correction of financial statements. The understatement happened because there was not a full inclusion of the interest on all amounts. The ICD had taken steps to correct this. In future, contingent liability inputs into the financial statements received from legal services would be signed off by the Director: Legal Services as being complete and accurate. The status of the contingent liability would be reported to the Finance section, by Legal Services, on a quarterly basis, with interim financial statements accurately reflecting that contingent liability.
He added that the reliability of performance information was a big concern for the ICD. It wanted to be sure that its source documents were correct. The Monitoring and Evaluation committee was in the provinces, dealing with an audit of all those processes. Currently, the ICD was doing a daily update of the provincial case registers. Supervisors were verifying the information and data integrity. The AG picked up that the case analyst or monitor should personally sign off of information to ensure accountability, which would heighten validity and accuracy of performance information and ensure a correlation between the investigation case files and the performance information submitted. The new Flowcentric System also provided a tool to verify the accuracy of the performance and the meeting of targets against the predetermined objectives, by drawing reports from the database system. A physical review and count would be done by the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee. Those monthly reports were discussed at the senior management meeting on a monthly basis.
Mr Beukman said that cases that were signed off without case investigation reports, in the provinces, had been addressed. The letters of delegation had to be in those files, and the provincial head must, before approving the closure of files, ensure compliance with SOP. A Quality Control Form in the file must check that all activities were completed. The Flowcentric System would confirm whether all the completed case files contained the case investigative report. Three provinces had been audited already. The appointment of additional internal audit unit staff would also assist to check whether all procedures had been followed.
The SOP now provided that provincial heads must do monthly inspections of the files and submit reports to the programme manager, as an early warning system. Management had been advised of all shortcomings.
Mr Beukman added that the qualifications of all newly appointed staff were, with effect from 1 July, verified by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The Service Level Agreement with Credit Inform undertook criminal clearance as well as citizenship verification checks on all staff, with an additional credit/asset record check of all financial staff. A comprehensive system to report performance information was important, as it would determine whether the ICD audits were qualified. Mr Beukman said that although the ICD was essentially a national department, it had no corporate governance unit, and its internal audit unit was also not fully staffed. It had appointed a compliance officer in December 2011, who was actually the risk officer. A compliance tool had been developed that had to be completed by all the responsibility managers on a monthly basis. The ICD had requested National Treasury for funding for a corporate governance unit in order to have qualified and experienced officials to do the M&E.
Mr Beukman said the 2010/11 Annual Report included an explanation of predetermined quality standards. He explained that the percentage work rate was measured against the overall workload.
The Chairperson said that the ICD had targeted reviewing 70% of all policies, but only achieved 38%, allegedly because of shortages in the HR staff.
Mr Sesoko replied that this was due to staff constraints in the HR division, which had not kept pace with growth of the organisation. During the first quarter, the HR division had been able to meet the objectives. The post of security manager was vacant. The audits had not been done as they should have been. However, this was corrected in the first six months of the financial year.
The Chairperson again raised her concerns about performance in those six months, and said that there had been a backlog carried forward.
Mr Schneemann asked what prohibited the ICD from solving all its cases in a particular year.
Mr Tshabalala conceded that the performance of the ICD for the past six months was not good. It had concentrated on trying to clear the backlog and had neglected current work, achieving only 20% and 30% of targets in April to June, although it had improved in the next quarter. Matters were monitored monthly. The programme manager gave feedback to the provinces and asked them what preventative measures they would take, then took corrective action. He said that Head Office could not always rely on information it received from the provinces, and sometimes it was necessary for top management to travel out to physically monitor compliance with the SOP.
The Chairperson said that the Committee wanted to understand how the backlog was being addressed. One police station, in Bloemfontein, had a backlog of 8 000 cases. It took 869 cases to court per month, but 849 would be closed as unsolved. This did not make sense. The Committee was concerned that only a small number of cases actually went to court and this said nothing about conviction rates. Although, on paper, the station had addressed its backlog, the end process produced nothing.
Mr Tshabalala replied that the ICD did not just get rid of cases, but also tried to find out what caused the backlogs and to dedicate teams to solving it. Some provinces, like the Free State and Northern Cape, did not have any backlogs. The intervention in Mpumalanga was done to address the backlog in that province and it yielded results. He said that this was not reported on, due to an oversight, and he agreed that a breakdown was needed. It was inevitable that some cases would be carried over to the next financial year. The ICD wanted to break from its past insufficient monitoring, and the measures now in place would ensure that the backlog decreased. The number of cases carried over into 2011/12 would be far lower than cases carried over into 2010/11. Management took seriously the comments by the AG about not complying with the SOP.
Ms Kohler-Barnard noted that there were 8 424 cases nationally, and wanted to know how many investigators there were, how many cases each handled, and how long they would take to complete them.
Ms Mocumi added that she wanted to know how many cases were pending in court and how many in disciplinary tribunals.
Mr Tshabalala said that he thought the number of investigators were adequate. He said that completion of investigations was not the end of the matter, as ICD would then make recommendations, and would prosecute where applicable. 516 cases were currently before court, and investigators would accompany witnesses and give evidence, taking them away from their other cases.
Mr Lekgetho pointed out that if this was so, then it contradicted Mr Tshabalala’s earlier assurance that there were enough investigators.
Mr Tshabalala replied that he had been asked by his colleagues to correct his statements, as the ICD did not have enough investigators and would require sufficient hands to deal with the cases.
Ms Molebatsi asked what happened after an investigation.
Mr Tshabalala replied that once an allegation was made, an investigation would follow and, if substantiated by the evidence, the ICD would recommend that steps be taken against a particular member, and, if there was evidence of criminal conduct, would also make recommendations to the National Prosecuting Authority.
Ms Molebatsi asked whether the ICD followed up on the recommendations.
Adv Siphokazi Moleshe, Provincial Head, Gauteng ICD, said that SAPS unfortunately had, historically, not taken the ICD seriously. In Gauteng, there were still outstanding recommendations with the provincial commissioner, despite monthly meetings with him. When ICD became IPID, there would not be too many outstanding matters. He added that the Director of Public Prosecutions made an independent decision on matters and did not have to enforce the recommendation of the ICD.
The Chairperson agreed that the SAPS did not take the ICD seriously, and the Committee had found that nothing was being done to enforce its recommendations, which was why it was asking for detailed information, to be used during oversight visits to police stations.
Mr Schneemann noted a comment that a computer crash meant that ICD had failed to reach its target for case registration, and asked how long the server was out of action and if this had been rectified.
Ms Mbuli said that the ICD did not meet this target because of the migration of cases from the previous database to the new case management system. The system was shut down for a week. Some provinces were unable to use the system and could not register and allocate those cases. 225 cases were not registered on the system, during March 2011, but manual registration was done, and the system was later updated. She explained that server downtime took about two weeks to repair.
Ms van Wyk asked Mr Beukman how far the ICD was with the implementation of the IPID Act.
The Chairperson asked for comments on the way forward for every programme, and whether the allocated funding for each was adequate.
Mr Beukman replied that the answers to all outstanding questions would be made available to the Committee Secretariat. He noted that all documentation regarding the proclamation of the implementation of the IPID Act had been submitted to the executive authority at the requested date, but the regulations still had to come to the Portfolio Committee for scrutiny, after being scrutinised by the executive.
The ICD had held comprehensive discussions with National Treasury and made its submissions on the finances for IPID. Programme 1 would get a new Chief Director. This programme would play a vital role to ensure that the IPID had the HR capacity to fulfil its role. The post for Programme 2 Head would be advertised, and this appointment must ensure that the strategic objective set out in Section 28 of the IPID Act were reached. The current Programme 3 would end on the change over, and would be replaced by the new Programme 3 of Legal Services, which Mr Beukman would still finalise, with recommendations still to go to the Minister. Further appointments were needed to ensure that the skills achieved the strategic objectives. In the months leading up to full implementation, ICD would ensure that the necessary leadership was in place.
Mr Lekgetho noted that the preference for women candidates must be stated up front.
The Chairperson said she had been aware for some time that the Provincial Head of the ICD in Mpumalanga had been underperforming and this could not be allowed to continue. She asked that ICD provide written responses on leases by 4 November. The ICD may have to come back to discuss the drastic increase. She noted her appreciation for the steps taken to improve the Annual Report, as well as the fact that it was tabled on time. The documents complied with National Treasury guidelines. The ICD had met its deadlines and she was pleased to note improvements in the way the ICD was doing its work. She emphasised that the Committee must hold the ICD accountable, because it was using taxpayers’ money, so these Members were asking questions on behalf of the people they represented.
The meeting was adjourned.
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