PC Police: Outstanding Committee Minutes

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21 November 2011
Chairperson: Ms LS Chikunga (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Chairperson outlined the outstanding matters which had to be addressed by the Portfolio Committee before the Parliamentary year end. She highlighted the importance for the Committee to be formally introduced to the Acting National Commissioner of Police by the Minister, as it would be a serious omission if it was not briefed on the safety and security plans for the upcoming festive season period. This meeting was scheduled for the 8 December 2011 and it was decided that all outstanding reports and minutes would be adopted at that meeting. These included the Report on the Civilian Secretariat for Police Annual Report for 2010/2011 and the Committee's Mpumalanga Oversight Report.

The Committee considered and approved outstanding minutes from 3 March 2011 to 1 November 2011. Members sought clarity and changed the content of the minutes. Members briefly discussed the format of minutes and considered whether all questions raised by Members should be reflected. It was decided that the minutes should summarise the questions asked and not duplicate similar questions posed. The amended minutes were duly adopted with the exception of the minutes of the 8 March 2011 and 30 August 2011.

A COPE Member noted that the recently released Report of the National Planning Commission had alluded to the demilitarisation of the South African Police Service and queried whether they would no longer be regarded as the police 'Force'. The Chairperson clarified that, constitutionally SAPS had always been a service and that had not been changed at any stage as that required an amendment to the Constitution. It was decided that the Committee would be briefed by the National Planning Commission on the implication of their report for the Police Service in the New Year.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks
The Chairperson noted that the Mpumalanga Oversight Report was not ready for adoption. Members who had undertaken the trip were requested to make input as the report was not substantial enough. It would be completed and adopted before the parliamentary term ended. The Chairperson informed Members that confirmation had been received from the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) and the Department of Public Works (DPW) and National Treasury for their attendance at the meeting scheduled for the following day.

Members were reminded about the planned oversight visit to Port Elizabeth in the following week in connection with the TETRA radio communications system. The Committee would be accompanied by the senior management and a document had been prepared by the researchers on TETRA. The Chairperson commented that it would be proper for the Committee to meet the recently appointed Acting National Commissioner as the crime rate was high during the busy festive season. He had to be introduced by the Minister of Police, but finding a suitable date had been a challenge.

Adoption of Minutes
Minutes of 3 March 2011
The Chairperson referred to page two of the minutes and asked for clarity on what had been implied by the reference to the 'situation at the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira)'.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) said it referred to the mismanagement at Psira at that time.

Mr G Schneemann (ANC) noted that there had been financial concerns with Psira as well.

The Chairperson noted that Psira's presentation had addressed the financial situation and outlined their bad debt collection strategy and that they had aimed to raise R1 million per month.

The Chairperson noted that the minutes stated that Psira was cautiously optimistic and suggested that the wording ' with their turnaround strategy' should be inserted where appropriate.

The minutes of the 3 March 2011 were adopted with amendments.

Minutes of 20 September 2011
The Chairperson noted that a decision had been taken to hold joint meetings with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and the Technology Management Service (TMS) of the South African Police Services (SAPS). She referred to the statement on the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and stated that the section beginning with 'according' should be deleted.

Mr Schneemann noted that he had questioned SAPS and SITA concerning contract 569 but he did not see it reflected there. He could not remember off hand what the questions were and he asked if the minutes recorded all the questions raised accurately. He observed that in other meetings they had not recorded questions raised as had been done in the minutes under consideration. There was the possibility that questions could be missed out. Were the minutes supposed to reflect proceedings word per word or should it reflect discussions as not all of the minutes reflected questions asked by members separately?

The Chairperson said they should reflect the questions raised but not necessarily word for word. The presentations did not have to be reflected but should be referred to but the discussions that followed had to be minuted. If all the questions raised by members had to be minuted, then they would need a recording of the meeting. She was not sure if it was possible for the Committee Secretary to capture all the Members questions as they had been asked.

Mr M George (COPE) advised that the system they were presently using was better, as it captured all issues that had been raised. Questions were often similar and a summary of the questions raised would prevent the minutes being too bulky.

The Chairperson agreed with this and said that questions could be categorised into the issues raised rather than reflecting each and every question raised separately, for example on SLAs.

Mr Schneemann corrected grammatical errors and added an omitted word on page five.

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) agreed with Mr Schneemann's correction.

The minutes of the 20 September 2011 were adopted with amendments.

The minutes of the 13 September 2011
The Chairperson referred to page three and noted that there was a repetition of questions relating to the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC). The inclusion of CASAC in the question on the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) should be deleted.

The Chairperson was not comfortable with the way issues of bribery and corruption were reflected in the minutes in relation to CASAC's responses to the concerns raised by Members. It was stated that CASAC had stated that the giver and receiver were guilty.

Mr George agreed that the briber being defined as the giver did not seem appropriate.

Ms Kohler- Barnard said because it referred to bribery it was used in the sense of giving a bribe. Although the receiver took the bribe both parties were equally guilty.

The Chairperson commented that the focus was always on one side the corruptor or the corruptee and the question wanted to reflect this and also alluded to the relationship between the public and private sector. The emphasis was that both the corruptor and corruptee were equally guilty and this had to be reflected in the minutes.

Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) said he was battling to understand what the problem was with the sentence as it could be understood in the context.

The Chairperson conceded this and no amendments were made on this point.

The Chairperson moved on to the following point on corruption on page five which was on corruption in the private sector and the statement that big business looked for weaknesses in the system. She said the gist of the discussion had been on the involvement of the private sector in corruption, for instance in the case of tendering where a private person would approach officials or Members of Parliament and bribed them. Both of these parties played a role as corruptor and corruptee.

Mr Schneemann stated that he had not been at the meeting and observed that it was a broad generalisation to say 'big business' and it would be better to refer to 'elements of big business within the private sector that looked for weaknesses within the public sector'.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said she was not sure whether the Committee could change what CASAC had said in their presentation.

The Chairperson said that the matter emanated from their discussion and Mr Schneemann's suggestion could be valid but they had to be sure that this was what CASAC had stated.

Mr P Swathe (DA) agreed with Mr Schneemann that they could not generalise as it was not all big business that was corrupt and even small business could be guilty of corruption.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that it was not the Committee generalising but CASAC, and no matter what the Committee thought they could not change it.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) said he agreed with Mr Swathe and Mr Schneemann that they could not generalise.

Ms Kohler-Barnard reiterated that the Committee was not generalising but CASAC was.

The Chairperson agreed with Ms Kohler-Barnard and that it was not a reflection of the Committee's opinion but it was CASAC's answer. The Committee had to be sure that it was what they had said or as close as possible to what they had said.

Mr George agreed that it was not the opinion of the Committee but that they had to understand how the language was being used. A generalisation could be made in some circumstances that corruption was rampant. Unless someone could say that this was not what they said, it did not have to be changed.

The Chairperson asked if everyone agreed and it was decided to leave it as it was.

Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) proposed that the on the same item dealing with CASAC the Committee change the word 'say' to 'imply' with reference to the Glenister case. Members agreed to this suggestion.

The Chairperson referred to page 5 and queried the phrase ' the Committee resolved to recommend' under resolutions taken and asked if it should not be 'the Committee recommended'.

Mr George felt that they should use ' the Committee resolved'

Ms Kohler-Barnard felt they should use 'the Committee recommended'

Mr Schneemann queried the entire sentence which stated that "The Committee resolved to recommend that the following steps should be taken" and stated that it should not be a resolution and that asking for steps to be taken was misleading as they were actually asking for information from SAPS.

Ms Kohler-Barnard agreed that they were not resolutions.

Mr Schneemann suggested that they use ' requested additional information'

The Chairperson and meeting decided to use "requested the following information that would provide the committee with a breakdown of corruption cases per province".

The minutes of the 13 September 2011 were adopted with amendments.

The minutes of the 25 October 2011
The Chairperson read the minuted details on the suspension of the National Commissioner, General Bheki Cele, and the appointment of the Acting National Commissioner, and proposed the Committee delete the statements which followed after 'his experience and qualifications made him suitable for the job'.

The Chairperson referred to the statement 'Psira briefed the Portfolio Committee' and proposed that they insert ' on their annual report' to follow on that.

Ms Kohler-Barnard clarified what the statement should be.

The Minutes of the 25 October were adopted with amendments.

The minutes of the 26 October 2011
The Chairperson corrected the grammar in a sentence relating to the South African Revenue Services (SARS)

The Chairperson queried whether the adoption of the minutes should be reflected as a resolution.

The members agreed that it was not a resolution but part of the proceedings of the meeting and proposed that it be amended to reflect that.

The minutes of the 26 October 2011 were adopted with amendments.

The minutes of the 28 October 2011
The minutes of the 28 October were adopted without any changes.

The Minutes of the 1 November 2011
Ms Kohler-Barnard said the word 'the' had to be inserted in the sentence dealing with the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) on page two.

Mr George asked whether the word 'resolution' was to be replaced by the word 'proceedings'

The Chairperson agreed.

Mr Swathe asked whether the Committee should put the actual year instead of referring to 'last year' and the 'previous year'.

The Chairperson agreed that the actual years should be reflected.

The Minutes of the 1 November 2011 were adopted with amendments.

The Minutes of the 19 October 2011
Ms Kohler-Barnard proposed the Committee use the word 'administer 'in the last paragraph of page two

The minutes of the 19 October 2011 were adopted with amendments.

The minutes of the 18 October 2011
Ms Kohler-Barnard proposed they the Committee use 'had reduced' instead of 'dealt with' in connection with the backlogs in the Department on page three.

The minutes of the 18 October were adopted with amendments.

Other Minutes
The Chairperson commented that only the minutes of the 30 August 2011 had not been adopted. They would also be receiving the Civilian Secretariat of Polices' Report on their Annual Report for 2010/11.

The Chairperson noted that all outstanding minutes and the reports would be adopted at their final meeting of the year. She further reminded Members to make their contribution to the oversight visit report to Mpumalanga, especially in respect of their findings at the Mayflower and Nelspruit Police Stations, as there had been serious issues there.

Mr George commented that in the briefing on the Report of the National Planning Commission by the Minister in the Presidency, Mr Trevor Manual, mention had been made of the demilitarisation of the Police and removing the use of the term 'Force'. Parliamentary members had been approached by the media for comment and asked what the state of affairs was and he asked whether the Committee could be briefed on this before the Parliamentary year end.

The Chairperson noted that the SAPS had never changed and it remained a Service. It would be very difficult to change this as it was defined as the Police 'Service' in the Constitution and the Constitution would have to be amended to effect any change. It was never a force but may have been referred to informally, as such by people. When military ranks had been introduced, it had been stated that it would remain a service and not become a force. She observed that there were, however, issues that had been raised by the report as they had diagnosed various problems and had proposed remedies for the challenges they had identified. It would be interesting to hear from them, how they had derived their diagnosis and how it reflected what was being done presently and how this impacted on the way forward. The Chairperson was not sure if they could arrange a meeting before the end of 2011 but it could be attempted to do so, if Members agreed. She noted that the Committee still had to be formally introduced to the Acting National Commissioner and there was the possibility of meeting him on the 8 December 2011.

Mr George commented that SAPS was generally referred to as a force and the ranks were military and his understanding from the Report was that this would change. He agreed that there might not be time to arrange a meeting before the end of the year but proposed that the Committee should receive a report at some stage.

The Chairperson agreed that it would be in the interest of all Portfolio Committees to be briefed on the work of the Planning Commission. The Committee had been briefed previously, that SAPS was a service even though people referred to it as a force.

The Chairperson reiterated that it would be an abnormality, if the Committee did not meet the Acting National Commissioner and not know what his strategic plans were for the festive season, especially if there were fatalities. The available date was for the 8 December 2011 and it would be a serious omission if Members went on leave before meeting him.

The Chairperson referred to the planned oversight visit to the Eastern Cape on 30 November 2011 and noted that the Committee would be visiting police stations that were using the TETRA radio communications systems.

Mr George proposed that the Committee adopt the outstanding minutes and reports on the meeting of the 8 December 2011 and that the meeting of the 29 November 2011 be cancelled.

Ms Kohler-Barnard (DA) agreed to this proposal and was supported by the other Members.

The Chairperson ascertained that this proposal accommodated the travelling arrangements for all Members.

Mr G Schneemann (ANC) queried whether the minutes of the 8 March 2011 had been amended as had been decided at a previous meeting. If not, then it should be adopted at the meeting of 8 December 2011.

The Chairperson said that all outstanding minutes would be circulated to members for adoption on the 8 December 2011.

The meeting was adjourned.


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