The Provincial Commissioners of South African Police Service (SAPS) in each province gave presentations on their provinces’ performance over the last financial year, outlining the profile of the province, and giving specific indicators, with comparisons to the previous financial year, of the crime figures. They concentrated on trends, and named the particular areas in which there appeared to be problems, noting what interventions had been put in place, and how station management was being assisted to focus on those crimes and address them. All provinces dealt with the prevalence of the “Trio” crimes (car and truck hijackings, robbery from residences and from business premises), crimes against persons and property, listed the trends for crimes that were dependent entirely on police action for detection, such as illegal trade or use of weapons or drugs, and also mentioned that stock theft continued to be a province. Each province also outlined the specific circumstances that led to prevalence of certain crimes, or noted the form that crime in these provinces took.
Several members questioned the figures presented, noting that these differed from the figures and trends outlined in the Annual Report, and it was explained that the latter figures were aggregated per 100 000 of population, whereas the figures presented by the provinces were “raw” statistics. Several Members also expressed their dissatisfaction with some of the assurances given, questioning whether they were a true reflection of what was happening in the provinces, in light of comments and questions directed to the Committee, and what the Committee had experienced for itself during its many visits, both planned and unannounced, to police stations. Members were concerned about the serious problem of stock theft, asked for more information on vehicle deliveries and allocations for both categories, and asked what specific strategies were in place to address problems that were named as particularly prevalent in the different provinces. They agreed that the question of late and staggered delivery of vehicles would need to be taken up with the national department. Members were still critical about the targets and results for detection rates and successful prosecutions, pointing out that only a very small percentage of cases reached finality. They questioned whether this was due to poor evidence, including poor management of crime scenes, and commented that although 2011 was supposed to be the year in which there was a focus on detective training, this still did not seem to have happened, and many detectives had never received any training beyond the basics, and that neither detectives nor station commanders appeared to be fully aware of the resources that were available to them and how to use them properly, nor of new legislation that required new practices. Instances were cited of problems seen during the Committee’s visits, including rape kits never sent to laboratories, registers not filled out, questionnaires and standard templates not completed properly and general lack of good management. In some areas this was exacerbated by poor conditions of certain stations, and questions were also directed as to what was being done about specific stations. Provinces were asked to comment whether sector policing was working, and members commented that although this was difficult because of environmental factors in some areas, more attention needed to be paid to implementing this successfully. The influx of foreigners, the targeting of foreign-owned spaza shops and the growth of informal settlements were named by most provinces as challenges, but Members urged SAPS to formulate strategies to deal with these factors, which would certainly be prevalent over the next years. Members wanted to know more about cases of corruption, and sanctions imposed, and most provinces said they would send detailed information through to the Committee.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson reported back briefly on the Committee’s visits to provinces, and the celebrations for National Police Day. A report on these would be adopted shortly. She noted that Mr M Swathe (DA) was no longer serving on the Committee, but expressed thanks for the contribution he had made in the past.
She urged all provincial commissioners to report fully on what they were currently doing. She thanked the South African Police Service (SAPS) for its work during the festive season, and the dedication of the SAPS members to safety and protection of the citizens, noting that police officials must lead the fight against crime, although it was not their sole responsibility. She referred to the crime statistics released in the previous September, noting that some crime rates had dropped, but urged that more attention had to be paid to house and business robberies and car-jacking, often linked with violence. She hoped that those provinces who had had worked “harder, smarter and faster”, as the President required, would share their experiences and strategies and those who had not achieved to the full would indicate what they intended to do to improve.
She added that the Portfolio Committee had already visited stations in
Lieut-Gen Christina Mgwenya, Chief Operations Officer, NATCOM, SAPS, thanked the Chairperson, and indicated that the SAPS appreciated the input and oversight by the Committee.
Free State Provincial Commissioner’s presentation
Lieut-Gen Kehla Sithole, Provincial Commissioner, Free State, outlined the provincial profile, noting that there were 110 police stations, with 27 satellite offices, staffed by about 9 700 SAPS members. The crime statistics, by category for 2009/10 and 2010/11 were outlined, and he indicated the differences between those years (see attached presentation). There were decreases in all broad categories. A more detailed table, however, indicated that murder was on the increase, as well as rape and sexual assault. In general, more murders were now being committed with knives than firearms. The statistics of crime for each station were outlined. Some stations reported high numbers of contact crimes. In relation to property related crimes, some stations had met the target for reducing these crimes. There were some problems in meeting targets for crimes dependent on police action for detection, such as drug-related crime and illegal firearms. Bloemspruit was a particularly problematic area. In relation to property crimes, four stations showed increases. Commercial crime showed a 35.22% increase, but other serious crimes showed a 3.25% decrease. Robbery at residential premises showed a 19.07% increase, and robbery at business premises a 17.3% increase. Incidents of carjacking were decreasing. Most of the business robberies were directed against tuckshops and spaza shops, most of which were owned by foreigners, and SAPS was aware that it would have to strengthen its interventions in these areas. Meloding showed a 126% increase in robbery, largely attributed to gangs operating in the areas, Parys showed a 200% increase, and Botshabelo a 162.5% increase. A report on detective performance indicated that all targets had been met for detection, cases for court and conviction rates.
Contributing factors to crime were listed as environmental design, including poor infrastructure, emergence of shacks, lack of street lighting and open spaces, as well as large numbers of vacant or disused buildings. Many complainants tended to withdraw cases, stating that they did not have time to go to court. The influx of foreigners, and lack of by-laws around the opening of businesses by foreigners or illegal immigrants was also a problem. Foreigners tended to be targeted or attacked during service delivery actions. The ever-expanding informal settlements population placed a strain on policing and resources. There was an increase in reporting rates for rape. There was illegal mining activity in Goldfields, and cross border crime, and a map showing the border policing hot-spots was tabled. There were an increased number of rapes at Phuthaditjhaba, as a result of a serial rapist, who had now been arrested and charged with 13 rapes and robberies. There were also increases in Trio crimes (car and truck hijacking, business robberies and house robberies).
The interventions included the implementation of a turnaround strategy, and re-alignment of accountability sessions between provincial command and the stations. There was sustained visibility on the major routes, and sector policing projects in some areas. Provincial Heads visited Clusters and stations on a weekly basis to implement performance based interventions. Docket analysis was being done through the Organised Crime Analysis system. Project orientated task teams were focusing on Trio and priority crimes. A Resource Management Committee was addressing capacity. A multi-agency Provincial Crime Prevention Strategy had been set up, to include all players. A project to address by-laws had been introduced, in conjunction with the relevant local governments, as well as other projects to address stock theft. There were problems still with getting cooperation from the
North West Provincial Commissioner’s Presentation
Lieut-Gen Zukiswa Mbombo, Provincial Commissioner,
Most contact crimes occurred in the Rustenberg cluster, and this was largely because of the influx of people to the mines, and influx of foreigners. Many people came in to the area seeking work, or to start their own businesses. Many of the tuckshops did not install the proper security needed to protect their property. SAPS had established a Foreign Leaders Forum. It would be conducting regular raids at the hostels, to try to prevent situations that would lead to assaults. The Brits Cluster also showed similar problems. The breakdown of contact crimes, and property crimes, per station, were listed (see attached presentation).
Some of the interventions put in place to try to correct problems included focused support, crime prevention strategies and increased crime investigation. Although SAPS in this province was not at the desired capacity, attempts had been made at least to reach 80% or 90% capacity in most stations. There were still infrastructure problems at some of the stations. Office space was also a problem, although the national office and Department of Public Works (DPW) were trying to assist. There was progression with detective training, and this was particularly important to reduce crime by repeat offenders. Station commanders were being trained to use resources more effectively. There were attempts to improve crime intelligence. The communications strategy had been revised, both in order to communicate successes and challenges to the communities, and to motivate SAPS members by giving recognition to their work. Social crime intervention strategies were being conducted, with other stakeholders. A turnaround strategy had been put in place to ensure that whenever case dockets were taken to court, they were indeed case-ready. A data integrity project had also been established. Supervisors and line personnel had been trained to ensure correctness of data. Vehicles were being monitored during operations and whenever they were called out, and SAPS members were being made fully accountable. The turnaround strategy plan for detectives was attempting to ensure consistently good service. Another slide was shown of the numbers of detectives in place, and the vacancies. There were attempts to put sustainable strategies in place to ensure continuous good delivery. A Cluster Operational Coordination Centre had been set up, and SAPS members were being capacitated through training.
Particular challenges in this provinces included stock theft, which was receiving priority, although this was also hindered by the lack of provincial pounds. Other challenges were listed as the lack of liquor legislation, unregulated initiation schools, sporadic service delivery protects, violent labour disputes in the mining sector and the vast borderline with
Western Cape Provincial Commissioner’s presentation
Lt-Gen Arno Lamoer, Provincial Commissioner,
The areas and stations that reported the highest numbers of crimes were outlined, many of them outside the major metropolitan areas. Like other provinces, the
Northern Cape Provincial Commissioner’s presentation
Lieut-Gen Janet Basson, Provincial Commissioner, Northern Cape, reported that there were about 7 004 SAPS employees in this province, policing a population of 1.1 million, resulting in a police: population ratio of 1:203. There were 91 stations. This province reported an overall decrease of 8.2% in all reported crimes, of which 40% were contact crimes. The main contributor to crime was substance abuse. Sexual offences had increased by 1.2%, but all other contact crimes had decreased. The stations with the highest crime incidents were noted. Contributing factors to contact crime were alcohol abuse, relationships between victims and suspects and ill discipline and alcohol abuse by the youth.
Arson had increased by 6%, but she noted that these cases may result also from negligence rather than specific intent to commit arson, such as lack of care in extinguishing stoves properly. There was a decrease in burglary from residential and business premises, but an increase in theft out of, as well as of motor vehicles. Contributing factors to this were listed as high unemployment, recurrent crime, and insufficient safeguarding of property by owners. The illegal possession of firearms had risen by 22%, and drug-related crimes by 2%, and most of the latter related to illegal use of drugs. As a result of an intensive campaign, both by roadblocks and by confiscation of illegal liquor, the number of cases of drivers driving under the influence of alcohol had decreased. It had been found that the Trio crimes, of carjacking, house robbery and business robbery, were now involving more organised crime syndicates. Most of the business robberies were from small and unregistered business and most of the property stolen was cash and cellphones. In the kidnapping cases, most of the victims were known or related to the suspects, and the same applied to the rape cases. All but one of the kidnapped victims had been found.
Particular strategies to improve response to crime included community policing, and implementation of various programmes, including cross-border operations, high density operations, train and car stop and search, youth programmes and offender reintegration programmes, as well as domestic violence programmes. Managerial interventions included enforcing and improving an integrated approach within the SAPS, as well as better cooperation between SAPS and its external stakeholders. SAPS was trying to make optimal use of the governance measures already in place, and enhance its monitoring and evaluation capability. Because it had been found that many of the business robberies were conducted using explosives from mines, it was found that interventions were needed with the mines, to try to prevent the explosives falling into the wrong hands. In addition, there was better inter- provincial cooperation.
Lieut-Gen Celiwe Binta, Provincial Commissioner,
The comparison of the statistics showed increases in assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH), sexual offences, aggravated robbery, common robbery, burglary from residential premises and theft out of motor vehicles. The clusters that contributed significantly to the crime figures included
There had been challenges in the
13 police stations contributed more than 50% of the crime figures in the province, and there was therefore a focus on these stations. SAPS had intensified its intelligence analysis and collection capacity, and was focusing on priority crimes. It had intensified visible policing, was using specialised units and implementing a Base Camp deployment (placing members at areas where incident reporting was high, to ensure better response time). The detective services were operating through integrated task teams that focused on priority crimes, better tracing of suspects, better collaboration with Department of Correctional Services around parolees, and continuous training and skills development of detectives. There was improved accountability at all levels. A special Task Team had been put in place to deal with the Gelvandale gang-related crimes. There were intensified cross-border operations with neighbouring provinces, and there had been a particular clamping down on unlicensed firearms, drugs and stolen vehicles.
From October to December 2011, there had been a drastic decrease in crime in the province. Challenges still remained with the large number of spaza shops that were operating, and the tendency of their owners not to bank their money, but keep it in the shops. The influx of trading foreigners also posed problems with trying to prosecute cases successfully, as there were language barriers. In
Mpumalanga Provincial Commissioner’s presentation
Lieut-Gen Thulani Ntobela, Provincial Commissioner,
A table of crime statistics (see attached presentation) showed reductions in contract crime, property crime and other serious crime. There were increases in crimes dependent on police action for detection. Some stations had managed to reduce their murder statistics, by figures ranging between 3% and 54.5%. They had mostly managed to reduce attempted murder, except for Kabokweni, where there was civil action. Robberies with aggravating circumstances showed decreases of up to 14.8%, except for
The identification of the seven problematic stations, channelling of resources there, and deployment of senior officers after hours at clusters to oversee service delivery had all assisted. Trio crime task teams were established. There were now bi-weekly visits to station management at clusters that were not doing well. The fact that vehicles were made available for the 2010 Soccer World Cup had created higher visibility. The Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units (FCS) had been reinstituted. 50 women were identified an incorporated into the Female Detective Development Programme.
Challenges peculiar to this province included the mushrooming of informal businesses. This province also experienced problems in getting very late delivery of vehicles that it had ordered, and this had an impact because the police were not as visible as they should be. Gravel roads were often not maintained and could not be driven on at all. There was no high court and no forensic laboratory in the province. There were also problems with cross-border crime into
Limpopo Provincial Commissioner’s presentation
Lieut General Simon Mpembe, Provincial Commissioner,
ICT equipment distributed to provincial components was listed, and it was noted that, given the rural nature of this province, this might not be sufficient. The province had 3 810 vehicles, and 403 more had been ordered and received. Budget and resource management expenditure trends were outlined. Five police stations needed to be repaired or upgraded. Five satellite police stations were also being established, necessitated by the huge distances between stations. Establishment of a second police station for Polokwane had been discussed with the national department.
The provincial department had challenges around escapes from custody, as well as provision of victim friendly facilities. There was, as the Committee had seen during its visit, a challenge around the management of firearms. Figures were given for operational response services. Graphs showing a comparison of crime statistics with the previous year were then tabled (see attached presentation), in relation to various types of crimes, and it was hoped that the decreases in crime seen from the figures could be maintained. Better detection was needed for crimes dependent on police action. Commercial crimes also needed to be addressed.
Particular challenges included the increase in absenteeism, coupled with insufficient allocation of staff to stations, which meant that if one or two members were absent, the station effectively ceased to function. The low detection and conviction rates were a concern, but the province was working on this. Trio crimes had increased. The strategies for sustaining and increasing performance included personnel initiatives. An increase in the number of posts was requested, Detectives would be developed, and there would be integrated approaches to particular types of crime.
KwaZulu Provincial Commissioner’s presentation
Lieut-Gen B Ngobeni, Provincial Commissioner, KwaZulu Natal, noted that the population of the province was 10.4 million, spread across about 94 782 square kilometres. There were 185 stations and 24 026 SAPS personnel. This province shared borders with
In relation to sexual offences, SAPS was running community education campaigns aimed at social crime prevention, and there was engagement with other departments and NGOs. The concept of community policing was being maintained. There was sustained implementation of the anti-rape strategy. 25 FCS Units were being maintained. The threat of human trafficking had been noted. Assaults tended to take place by those known to each other, and there was a link to consumption of alcohol and drugs. The numbers of robberies had been reduced. SAPS maintained its engagement with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, as well as community involvement. One of the strong points in relation to addressing carjacking and business robberies was a focus of attention on suspects and crime scenes, identification of perpetrators and rapid arrest. There was focus also on internal corruption. There were challenges around residential premise burglaries, but SAPS was trying to sensitise communities to improve their own security. In relation to theft of, and out of motor vehicles, there had been a study in certain areas, and a number of syndicates had been found. Overall, there was now better deployment of security and CCTV cameras.
Lieut-Gen Ngobeni added that the concept of “Rent-a-cop” had been put in place, so that a station with good practices would deploy some of its staff to other areas, to share good practices. Detectives were encouraged to concentrate on investigative skills. Basic policing, by way of road blocks and stop-and-search, was a priority. Within a short space of time, this province had managed to effect improvements.
Gauteng Provincial Commissioner’s presentation
Lieut-Gen Mzwandile Petros, Provincial Commissioner,
Of the 2 million crimes reported each year, about 1 million were committed in
He concluded that there had been reduction of all categories of crime in the province. This province had a five-year strategy, and the short-term interventions would be sustained, whilst the medium and long-term strategies were being addressed.
Members asked a wide variety of questions, some of which were responded to generally by all the provinces, whilst others focused specifically on the questions relating to their own provinces. During some of the responses, Members also interjected to ask further questions of clarity and raise points for discussion.
Mr G Schneemann (ANC) raised the issue of stock-theft, which was still very high in many provinces. He wanted to know the specific interventions taken to address this, and whether there were sufficient people, training and equipment to address this problem.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) asked which provinces had functional stock-theft units. There was little real support given to the people who were losing their livelihoods. When animals were driven over the border, there was little ground support, so helicopter support was needed, and she enquired if it was used.
Ms P Mocumi (ANC) asked if there was any relationship between SAPS and the Department of Agriculture, in regard to improving fencing.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) noted the comment that the
Ms A van Wyk (ANC) thought that not enough was being done about stock theft, which affected both subsistence and commercial farmers.
Mr Schneemann noted that murder rates remained high in some provinces, particularly in
Mr Schneemann commented on the high numbers of spaza shops and liquor outlets. Although it was the job of the police to respond to crime, there were also other government departments who should be dealing with the by-laws and granting of licenses. He asked how SAPS were working with other departments, and how it was educating the community on safekeeping of money. If there were challenges in improper enforcement by other departments, the Committee needed to be told of this.
Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) also commented that the influx of foreigners, and their particular targeting, posed a challenge, quite apart from other issues of xenophobia. He asked what this Committee could do to assist with the problem, in conjunction with other committees.
Ms Kohler-Barnard said she had commented a few years ago about the effect of the influx of illegal migrants on delivery of services. Not only was xenophobia a real problem, but detection of undocumented people who may have committed crimes was a problem. She asked if there had been any major change in the influx figures, now that Department of Defence had taken over responsibility for border policing.
Mr M George (COPE) understood many of the problems associated with the foreigners, but felt that too much, and possibly incorrect emphasis, was placed on foreign nationals.
Ms Mocumi asked if SAPS did spot-checks on whether businesses were operating legally, and the parameters of its investigations in this regard.
Mr Ndlovu asked if there was any communication with the
Mr Ndlovu asked the Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner to elaborate on the comment that people in this province tended to lack proper understanding of judicial and correctional systems. This was also linked to questions of accountability and reporting.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) noted that only the
Ms Kohler-Barnard read out reports about high-level corruption in KwaZulu Natal. She asked how proactive SAPS would be, in response to these reports, or if it would simply wait for individuals to lay charges.
Ms Kohler-Barnard noted that the provincial visits by the Committee were intended to highlight and report on problems in the provinces, and she urged that “clean-up operations” should not be conducted just before the Committee’s visit, as this would not serve the purpose of giving a true indication of what was happening on the ground.
The Chairperson said that if management was aware that the station was to be visited, she could appreciate that it would probably want to do a “pre-inspection” to address any problems. This was not so much of a problem as the case where issues may be found and highlighted in reports, yet no improvements were effected year after year. She asked if the provincial inspectorate results were being analysed effectively, in order to improve the performance of stations. She was particularly concerned about lack of performance by specific stations. She asked if the management of those police stations, where high crime rates were reported, were assessed, and whether there was any specific training or intervention to address the problems.
Mr Schneemann asked about the role of clusters and their commanders. Some commanders seemed surprised at what they actually found at the stations, and he was not sure that the clusters were being used effectively enough.
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) referred to the
Ms Molebatsi asked the North West Commissioner to indicate where the police officials stayed in areas where there were no barracks.
Ms Molebatsi asked SAPS were allocated vehicles suitable for travel on poor roads, and how allocations of vehicles were done, as this was a major contributor to effective reduction of crime.
Ms Mocumi asked provinces to report further on how many cases were opened as a result of police action. She wondered if there were standard instructions around destruction of illegal firearms and drugs.
Ms Mocumi was pleased to note some reductions in the number of sexual offences reported, but felt that SAPS should be doing more to eradicate this kind of crime.
Rev Meshoe noted that the increase in rape cases in
Rev Meshoe asked if Eastern Cape SAPS had appealed to the authorities to stop issuing more liquor licences.
Rev Meshoe asked why, in the Western Cape, organised crime syndicates were not involved in theft of vehicles.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) asked how the long waiting time to process renewals of firearm licences could be improved. He found some of the statistics to be contradictory, and wanted elaboration on them.
Mr Lekgetho asked the North West SAPS to comment on complaints from the SAPS unions that some police station infrastructure had not improved, and asked what was being done to address the problems, specifically Ledwang.
Mr Lekgetho asked the Free State SAPS to explain what was meant by “zama zama”
Mr Lekgetho was pleased to hear that more detectives were being employed, but wanted details of their ages and how they were recruited.
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) commended the way in which SAPS had addressed recent cases of civil violence.
Mr Groenewald noted that crime statistics had been used to measure performance in the provinces. However, a comparison of these statistics with those contained in the Annual Report (which were aggregated as a ratio per 100 000 population) showed discrepancies. For instance, North West had reported a 0% increase in the murder rate, although the SAPS Annual Report reported an increase of 7.9%. North West had reported a decrease of 1% of sexual offences, but the SAPS Annual Report reported a 6% increase. He noted that this impacted on the credibility of at least one of the presentations.
Ms A van Wyk (ANC) agreed with his points. This was an issue raised frequently in the past, and SAPS had been asked not to “manipulate” statistics, because the Committee received its own independent information from the ground. She noted that in some cases, there had been glossing over the increases in statistics, and this served no purpose either for SAPS or for the Committee.
Mr M George (COPE) reiterated that the Committee’s investigations were directed to attempting to assist the SAPS.
The Chairperson asked Gen De Kock to comment on the crime statistics in the Annual Report, given the difficulty in assessing the true situation.
Maj Gen CP De Kock, Head: Crime Research and Statistics, SAPS, explained the apparent discrepancy in the figures presented. He explained that the Annual Report now included ratios per capita as well as “raw figures”, and these could be found on the website. The use of ratios allowed for a better comparison over time because they equalised with population growth. Murder, based on ratios, declined by 6.5% on ratio use, but by 5% if the raw figures were used. He directed Members to Annexure A of the Annual Report, containing information on crimes. The statistics drawn from the system were also put into individual tables, which could be found on the SAPS website, for each province. Although it was international practice to use ratios alone, SAPS would publish both presentations of the data. He noted that when actual figures were small (for instance, the number of carjackings, or bank robberies, in Northern Cape), and when less than 100 cases were involved, no percentage increase or decrease would be used in the comparative tables. He emphasised that the figures contained in the Annual Report were correct.
Mr Groenewald still queried how it was possible, even when applying the ratio formula, to explain the figures presented. He said that the national statistics may show an increase of 7.9%, yet the provincial statistics, based on raw figures, indicated that there was no increase. Those raw figures must form the basis of what was in the Annual Report. Although he conceded that there might be a difference, there should not be such a large discrepancy as had been shown in the North West figures. For instance, the national statistics for Assault GBH showed an increase of about 4%, but the province’s statistics for the same crime indicated a drop of 3.3%.
Maj Gen de Kock said that he would look at the individual cases, and would furnish a written response giving a comparison of the figures that were compiled in September. He agreed with the figures in the example given by Mr Groenewald.
Mr Groenewald asked why, if the physical count was lower as well as the population in North West decreasing, the ratios could possibly show an increase.
The Chairperson said that it would have been helpful if all the provincial commissioners had reported consistently. The Committee must base its report on the Annual Report figures.
Mr Groenewald wanted to know the reasons for, and costs of relocation, of the police station in North West.
Mr Groenewald asked how the SAPS in Free State was investigating stock theft. Reports had been given that there was in fact no feedback to the complainants. A statement was also made that part of this problem was due to employment of illegal immigrants by farmers. This was a serious allegation, and he wanted to know if there was proof of this, and how many might be involved.
Mr Groenewald noted that there were about 240 vacancies in SAPS in North West, and asked what was being done about this.
Mr Groenewald asked all commissioners to comment on what was done to update all their service personnel on new legislation. There were some high profile cases in which the police had acted incorrectly, including cases involving juvenile offenders.
Ms van Wyk said that the training of detectives was supposed to be prioritised in 2011, and this Committee’s Chairperson had stressed that this was needed. Conviction rates, however, indicated that there was still a problem with the quality of detective services. In addition, the Committee’s visits to police stations had isolated some more serious problems. Many junior detectives had only the basic training, some had received no updated training for several years, and there were also problems with branch commanders not managing their detectives properly. Unless these problems were addressed properly, there could be no real improvements. It was also worrisome that detectives were unable to interpret their own statistics.
The Chairperson asked what assistance was given to those trained, and what strategy was used for placement of detectives.
Mr George emphasised that this problem had been ongoing for years.
Ms van Wyk asked how many registered informants were registered in each province. Sometimes, only family members of the station commanders were “registered” and receiving money.
Ms van Wyk was also worried about the discrepancy in the ratios of police officers to public served. Some provinces were clearly under-staffed, and this must impact on the services provided to the community. She questioned whether the figures given represented the actual number of employees, or funded posts, and wanted to know the numbers of vacancies in each province.
Ms van Wyk again touched on the issue that the presentations did not always reflect the situation on the ground. For instance, she had received complaints from Barkly-East about stock theft of sheep, noting that although all cases were reported to SAPS, nothing was being done. She asked the Eastern Cape Commissioner why there were no proper controls put in place. There seemed to be a widespread challenge of station managers not knowing how to use their resources properly, and if this was so, then they surely did not deserve to be station managers. She also wanted to know if, and how, they were being trained.
Ms van Wyk said that Beaufort West needed to be re-prioritised as a major station, as it was on a significant smuggling route.
Ms van Wyk heard the comment of the Western Cape Commissioner that the questionnaire provided by this Committee was being used, but she was not sure that this was really so. She had recently paid an unannounced visit to Paarl police station, where she had found four rape kits, lying in a drawer, related to rape of children. These had never been sent to the laboratory. In addition to that, there were three other rape kits in relation to adult rapes that were also never sent on. If there were regular visits and checking by management, this situation should never happen. She felt that although report formats were available, they were probably not being used, and the basics were not being addressed.
Ms van Wyk noted that none of the Commissioners had spoken about e-dockets and asked if this was helping in the provinces. She, following up on earlier comments, was concerned that some station and cluster commanders often did not even appear to be aware of what was already available for their use, let alone knowing about the new legislation passed.
Mr George said that sector policing was of serious concern. In some stations in Eastern Cape, there were apparently still no vehicles, or all vehicles were in a workshop for repairs simultaneously, which meant that the police work on the ground was not being done. Response times, especially in his own province, were far too slow. He also thought that some of the targets were too low.
Mr George noted that all provincial commissioners had cited the mushrooming of informal settlements as a problem, but noted that they would never disappear and proactive steps must be taken to address the problem and contain crime within those areas.
The Chairperson noted that some provincial commissioners had listed interventions, but there was nothing said about improving management at station level. These stations were the nucleus of crime-fighting. She asked how the managers were appointed, trained, and actually equipped to manage their stations effectively.
The Chairperson was concerned about the comment that sick leave was being abused.
The Chairperson asked if the provincial offices were receiving what they had ordered from the national office, particularly in relation to vehicles.
The Chairperson asked who was to implement the turnaround strategies. She also reiterated concerns of other Members that the real issues, as seen by the Committee, had not been outlined, and many of the problems had not been cited or addressed during the presentations.
Mr Groenewald suggested that the Committee should compile a standard format for reporting by the provinces. There had been very different information given, and it was sometimes difficult to compare one province with another.
Mr George agreed, noting that some provinces had given more comprehensive information than others.
The Chairperson said that the provincial commissioners had been told what the Committee expected, but they were also given discretion as to what else to include, in recognition of the individual differences.
Mr Groenewald asked the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner whether there were vehicles available, given the number of complaints about this, particularly in this province. It was even worse when police members were using the police vehicles for personal use.
Ms Mocumi asked a general question about what criteria were used for the promotion process.
Mr Schneemann said that although detectives had been mentioned in the last four presentations, very little was said specifically about their training of detectives. The Committee had found a number of detectives who had received no training at all, during its visits to different stations. He asked what focus was being placed on detective training, and how long it was likely to take to rectify the lack of training.
Mr Schneemann noted that there was a shortage of vehicles in Mpumalanga, yet the same presentation spoke to the high visibility of vehicles made available for the World Cup in 2010, and he asked why the visibility in 2010 was not maintained. In general, he commented that the Committee was never given a full breakdown of what vehicles were being allocated to each province, what type of vehicles these were, exactly when they would be delivered, and what the budget was for each province. The national office needed to give information on that.
Ms Molebatsi said that the Committee had been told, during its visits, that several vehicles were not suitable, and she asked what plans were put in place to deal with this. There were also problems around vehicle monitoring and she wanted to know if this had improved.
Mr Ndlovu had similar concerns around the reliability of information around the vehicles.
Mr Schneemann asked if the research by the Parliamentary researchers to the effect that KwaZulu Natal seemed to have the highest number of drug users in South Africa was correct, and, if so, what steps were being taken to address the problem, as well as what strategies had been put in place to address other high levels of certain crimes.
Ms Molebatsi asked the Mpumalanga Provincial Commissioner what had been done to improve the Mayflower station.
Mr Ndlovu addressed the issue of corruption, mentioned by several of the commissioners. He asked to what extent it had really affected SAPS.
Mr Ndlovu asked if the problems in the taxi industry in KwaZulu Natal had been solved, and how many officials may have been involved in the problems.
The Chairperson asked what was being implemented to assess the effectiveness of the strategies in achieving a reduction of crime.
Responses from Provincial Commissioners:
Lieut-Gen Sitole reported, in relation to stock theft, that his province had been involved in a national project on stock-theft. R4 million had been allocated for purchase of all equipment needed to address stock-theft, including vehicles. There was air support, and the air-equipment was used also for other projects. Members had been recruited to the unit, and there were currently 87 members concentrating on this crime, although even this was not sufficient capacity.
The Chairperson asked whether the equipment was always made available to those stations who needed it.
Lieut-Gen Sitole conceded that the large distances were problematic, but wherever possible, equipment was placed permanently in some stations.
Ms van Wyk asked when the R4 million was allocated, and whether, and how, it was spent.
Lieut-Gen Sitole noted that the allocation was announced in about July 2011. 4x4 vehicles had been purchased, as well as other investigative aids, and money had been put to investigation support. Funds had been committed also for other equipment not yet received. More vehicles were needed. A decrease in the number of incidents had been noted already in some areas.
Ms van Wyk commented that this was almost the end of the financial year, but not all funds had been fully utilised.
Lieut-Gen Sitole assured her that the funds were all committed.
In reply to the question about lack of cooperation from Lesotho, he noted that this country’s intelligence capacity was limited. There was communication with Botswana. There were bilateral agreements with Botswana police, as well as Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal provinces. SAPO was attempting to get all policing agencies to cooperate.
In response to questions about the increased murder rate, he noted that patrols had been intensified, and, because more murders were now committed using knives, SAPS was trying to ensure that by-laws were in place to cover the carrying of dangerous weapons, and was also running a “knife-free” campaign. Lack of by-laws was also a major problem in relation to the setting up of spaza shops although SAPS had requested municipalities to work with SAPS to try to address their location. SAPS was also closing down liquor outlets, and this had resulted in improvements.
Lieut-Gen Sitole addressed the question of Mr Schneemann about the clusters by saying that they were responsible for monitoring crime and giving support to stations, by evaluating crime. This province did hold the cluster commanders accountable. Provincial management, which included cluster commanders, would go to the stations, and this was linked to performance assessment, and actions would be taken if necessary to address lack of management.
Lieut-Gen Sitole conceded that perhaps some targets were too low. He agreed that detective services had been declared a national priority and noted that this province also was prioritising their improvement. IN relation to the questions about improvement of border security, he noted that although the takeover of border responsibilities by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) had resulted in more police being deployed to the streets, there remained challenges on the borders.
In relation to questions about vehicles, he noted that environmental factors required that more 4x4 vehicles be allocated, but whenever vehicles were received, they were allocated in the most effective way. Vehicles with high mileage would be reassigned for use in urban areas.
He noted that SAPS in Free State had a good relationship with other government departments.
Lieut-Gen Sitole reiterated that the influx of foreigners was a problem and joint interventions were in place with the DHA, to investigate where there were concentrations of foreign migrants. Investigations were done as to where the foreigners were concentrated. He noted that he had mentioned the employment of illegal migrants by farmers as a possible contributory factor, and he would note particulars of cases and call for feedback. He would also provide statistics on employment of illegal migrants to the Committee. He confirmed, for Mr George, that “zama zama” was related to the illegal mining, and there were full scale investigations ongoing into this.
Lieut-Gen Sitole noted that sick leave had been abused in his provinces, and the province had moved to a “return to work” and “leave without pay” strategy.
Lieut Gen Mbombo said that SAPS held quarterly cross border meetings with Botswana to discuss relevant issues. It would also assist if some issues were taken out to other clusters of government. Stock theft and vehicle theft were creating particular problems.
She agreed that some older stations did not have barracks, although many of the newer stations did. Many members of SAPS chose not to occupy the barracks, but would rent accommodation nearby. The national department was looking at some other options. She also confirmed that some of the stations were dilapidated, but were listed in the top ten priority programmes of government for upgrading. There would be continuous monitoring. One of the stations was very isolated from the communities, and she conceded that here, there had been problems with theft of confiscated firearms. There were plans to move the stations, to improve safety issues. She noted that the provincial office was to be moved, because Mafikeng was the capital of North West. The national department was assisting with the process. It would be difficult to quantify the costs at this stage.
The Chairperson interjected to ask how SAPS could embark on this exercise without knowing what the cost would be, and asked if studies had not been conducted.
Mr George also noted that half of the crimes were committed in the Rustenburg area, and it therefore made little sense to shift the head office from that area.
Mr Groenewald asked Lieut-Gen Mbombo was suggesting that the real reason was a political one based solely on the fact that the provincial legislature was based in Mafikeng. Mr Groenewald asked who had made this “political decision”. There were two large nodal points in North West. The move to Mafikeng did not make sense, from the point of view of the distances.
Lieut-Gen Mbombo said that at the time she was appointed, her predecessor had done a broad cost analysis, but that was now outdated. A new process had been started, and there was still not agreement on how many units would move. It was correct that the political heads had placed pressure on SAPS to move.
Mr Schneemann was still not happy with this response. SAPS was given an annual budget, and that must determine the activities to be carried out. He asked whether any amounts were allocated, in this financial year, for the re-location of the provincial headquarters, and said that if there were plans to effect a move, without a budgetary process, then this must be raised with the Minister.
The Chairperson asked who would pay for the move, the national or provincial department.
Lieut-Gen Mbombo explained that this was all still at the research stage. The national department had been told of the request to move the office, but no budget had been allocated, even for the next financial year, as it still required approval. The current exercise was looking into whether it was indeed feasible to move the office.
In answer to questions by Ms van Wyk about vacancies, Lieut-Gen Mbombo said that advertisements had been placed to fill about 200 detective posts in this province. 313 recruits had been sent to the training college, but they would only graduate in two years. She was hoping that the application to advertise management posts would be approved by the national department.
The Chairperson asked that outstanding questions must be responded to in writing.
Lieut-Gen Lamoer answered questions about interaction with provincial licensing authorities by noting that there was cooperation, in the Western Cape, between SAPS and other departments, but the provincial legislation around licensing, and especially re-zoning, had not been approved, which would result in some townships not being able to get liquor licenses. In relation to foreign migrants, there was a greater influx of foreign nationals to Western Cape than to other provinces, particularly Somali citizens, who could not be deported because their homeland was at war. The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) had been told of a particular problem that local citizens were starting to rent out their RDP houses, illegally, to foreign nationals for opening of spaza shops, and DHS was cautioned that it would have to address this problem, to avoid xenophobic attacks.
Lieut-Gen Lamoer then responded to Ms van Wyk’s comments on her visit to Paarl. Station commanders were sensitised to new legislation and were specifically instructed what they must do, in line with the template of requirements. He noted the comment on the rape kits and said that a similar situation was found in Delft, where, although the investigator had since passed away, the station commander was charged with disciplinary misconduct. He assured her that stations were checked on a regular basis, and action was taken where station commanders were not complying. Every station had field officers, and there were lectures offered on new legislation by Legal Services and Field Training Officers, on a regular basis. All station commanders were required to attend quarterly meetings to account for their performance, and this meeting was coupled with an information session.
In answer to the questions on car-jacking, Lieut-Gen Lamoer indicated that this tended not to be perpetrated by organised crime syndicates, and this information was gleaned by comparison with other provinces, where the vehicles would be removed from the province and country. In Western Cape, there were few “chop-shops” stripping stolen vehicles, and much higher recovery rates.
Lieut-Gen Lamoer amplified his comments on firearm confiscation, noting again that the use of firearms to commit murders had dropped, which showed that the confiscation had had an effect. However, the use of other weapons was noted. Many people who had lost firearms would not report them as stolen. The effect of alcohol consumption on stabbings was high; in one night 18 of 22 murders were committed under the influence of alcohol. Other dangerous weapons were continuously confiscated and destroyed. He noted that in some stations, firearms confiscated were not checked every single month, but the confiscated items would be destroyed every three months.
Lieut-Gen Lamoer said he would provide information on detective services in writing. However, in relation to the comments on rates of success, he noted that crime scene management was not the responsibility of detectives alone. The first respondents to a call were usually uniformed personnel, and there were attempts to train all staff on how to secure a crime scene.
Lieut-Gen Lamoer did not have the statistics on informers with him, but thought that about R4.4 million was paid to informers over the last financial year, and assured them that this was a budget item.
In this financial year, 543 vehicles had been ordered and 296 delivered to the Western Cape, with the others due for delivery by end of February. Further requests would be made during the financial year.
In relation to rural safety structures, as announced by the Minister, there would be meetings held on 15 and 16 February with the Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders. He noted that stock theft unit budget figures, and a report on the spending, would be provided. This unit was understaffed by 63 members. A feasibility study had been done, and approval given, for two additional stock theft units in the province.
Lieut-Gen Basson confirmed that in her province, there had been an allocation to equip stock theft units. Most of the funding had been used, apart from about R547 000.
In relation to the security of crime scenes and detection and conviction rates, she reported that there had been specific instructions given on labelling and dealing with crime exhibits, as well as workshops and training to cluster commanders. Station commanders were trained according to a set programme. 31 detective commanders had been trained.
There were currently 802 detectives in the province. 486 had been trained, ranging from basic investigation courses to a number of other listed specialised interventions. Detective trainees would still complete a portfolio of evidence training. She would submit the levels and patterns of those allocated to various regions. Two forensic crime scene management units had been introduced.
This province was also in discussion with the Department of Agriculture and agricultural organisations to improve rural safety. She outlined the allocation of personnel to the units. Her province was in the process of establishing three new stock theft units. 33 members of the unit were to be trained and 32 members were trained already. Five of the seven unit commanders were to undergo other training. There were limited provincial pounds, and SAPS was negotiating for additional pounds to be installed in other areas.
There had been investigations into sick leave and possible retirement options for staff, and action on specific cases was taken where necessary.
196 vehicles had been ordered, of which 166 were delivered already.
She reiterated that in her province, the police population ratio was 1:242. The province was actually overstaffed by the end of the year. In relation to corruption, in the current financial year, 21 cases were reported, and four were outstanding. This referred both to disciplinary and criminal cases.
Lieut-Gen Basson also gave some inaudible responses in relation to strategies that SAPS was running with other organisations.
Lieut-Gen Binta noted that there were particular problems around stock theft and so this province had received R12.5 million during this year, of which R9 million was intended to build detective capacity for stock theft. In the Tsolo area, the whole amount was used for vehicles, building infrastructure and improving capacity. There had been successes. The remaining money was intended for prevention of stock theft, and was used largely to create awareness and improve resources. In Maluti, which bordered with Lesotho, specific crime intelligence teams were operating to detect stock thieves along the border.
The total detective capacity was 3 444 but not all posts were filled. 81 SAPS members had been redeployed back to the detective branch and there was recruitment of new detectives. The investigators were continuously exposed to training programmes. 359 of the 3 444 detectives had not yet been trained.
As well as creating awareness on stock theft, this province was trying to increase awareness of crimes against women and children, largely using imbizos. She claimed that sector policing was functioning in the rural areas.
The Chairperson interjected that the Committee had not seen sector policing working during its visits. The rural areas were vast, the vehicles were not suitable for the terrain, and a host of other factors militated against successful implementation of these policies. She asked that day-to-day problems must be specifically outlined. This information today contradicted the complaints voiced on the ground. She also pointed out that the Committee wanted to hear exactly when the vehicles were being delivered, as the national department claimed to use its budget to the full, yet provinces complained that they did not get the vehicles on time. The department claimed not to have any rollovers, and there was no explanation given.
Mr Lekgetho asked that Lieut-Gen Binta exactly what she meant by “sector policing is working”.
Lieut-Gen Binta said that her province did not always receive the type of vehicles ordered, but this was to some extent dependent on what the manufacturers could deliver. The province tried its hardest to implement sector policies as well as it could, and although not all sectors were necessarily functioning fully, there were concerted attempts to run sector policing properly. 178 of the 500-odd vehicles ordered were still awaited. Nissans were delivered, but were not durable on the Eastern Cape roads and a lot was spent on repairs. The province tried to order 4x4 vehicles.
Lieut-Gen Binta reiterated that taverns posed a problem, and gave some figures on the number of legalised taverns and spaza shops. In relation to her comment that the public tended to take the law into their own hands, she noted that this happened when the public did not understand legal processes, but the magistrates and legal community were involved in education and were helping to reduce mob justice.
In relation to training and development, R1.2 million was allocated and the whole amount was utilised, with positive feedback. 40 members were charged with corruption, and 21 were found guilty. 7 cases were withdrawn and 3 were dismissed. In the current year, 16 had already been charged and a number were still ongoing.
Lieut-Gen Binta said that for the most part, she believed that the turnaround strategy in problematic stations was working, although the garages were not functioning well. Supervisors had been redeployed back to ensure close supervision in the workshops. Shortages and delays in providing parts for vehicles were being addressed. There was a management problem in the Humewood garage but it was being addressed.
Lieut-Gen Ntobela said that he did not believe any commissioner could answer the question as to exactly what criteria were used for promotions, because the provinces would be told by Head Office who had been promoted.
In his province, there had also been problems with late delivery of vehicles, and this made it difficult to make optimal allocations to specific stations in order to have a positive impact on service delivery. In relation to personnel, he said there had been progress in a addressing shortages of personnel and filling of vacant posts. In this province, 150 police officials had been arrested for criminal cases (not only involving corruption) including transporting dagga in police vans.
Ms Kohler Barnard asked what had happened to those officials.
Lieut-Gen Ntobela said that most of the cases were pending in court, but disciplinary action had been completed and most had been dismissed.
Lieut-Gen Mpembe reported, in relation to vehicles, that some vehicles sent to this province were not suitable for the terrain, which required 4x4 vehicles. The additional requirements had to be discussed. The ADL tracking of vehicles was being monitored.
(Some of the responses following this were inaudible).
In relation to corruption he noted that 56 members had been arrested. The turnaround strategy was working but the long distances between stations still posed a problem. The rural safety strategy was working, but there were limitations. In relation to stock theft, he agreed that this posed a problem in the province. Although R7.4 million was allocated for stock theft, Limpopo had not been able to run a special project, such as the one in Free State, in conjunction with the national department.
Lieut-Gen Ngobeni reported that in KZN there were 16 units handling stock theft, including units in rural areas. In some rural areas, there were attempts to establish new stations, and one of the criteria determining where they should be opened was the prevalence of stock theft in those areas. In the meantime, satellite situations would also be used. Some SAPS members were reluctant to move to these areas, and this was being discussed with the HR sections. There were good relations with Agri-Forum in several areas, but farmers always saw the stock theft as a major priority. SAPS was trying to address concerns to the best of its ability. In relation to vehicles, she reported that 767 had been allocated in this financial year, and 599 had already been received. In answer to the Chairperson’s question of whether this was one delivery batch, she confirmed that the deliveries were staggered.
Lieut-Gen Ngobeni admitted that before KZN could fight crime effectively, it was necessary to improve recruitment of detectives. In this year, the province had managed to recruit more than 70 detectives and would be doing with more recruitment drives, but there was also a need to focus on training. Until now, limited training of detectives had posed a challenge but this had been prioritised. The posts that were listed were funded posts, but authorisation from the national office was required before they could be advertised.
Challenges in human and physical resources hampered sector policing, and KZN comprised vastly differing areas. She was unable to claim that sector policing was working fully.
Initiatives had been taken, including rollout of training sensitising all government employees to the fight against corruption, and KZN had a very effective Hawks Unit, which was dealing with corruption not only in SAPS, but all government departments. Good working relationships with the Hawks and the JCPS cluster had shown good results. 18 members in this province had been dismissed and three were fines. Although she did not have all details of cases with her, she would send these through in writing, as well as written responses to other questions, in view of the shortage of time.
Lieut-Gen Petros said that in Gauteng, R2.9 million was allocated to the two stock theft, and this money was used to purchase vehicles. 892 vehicles were ordered but were still outstanding in this province. He conceded that there had been discussions around the types of vehicles needed, and one of the orders was placed late. There was, however, a problem if vehicles were ordered in one year, but delivered only in the next, because their cost would be taken off the later year’s budget. This had been raised with Supply Chain Management and the National Commissioner. He agreed with his colleagues that ideally the vehicles should all be delivered simultaneously. Maintenance of police vehicles was also a problem in Gauteng, and there were huge delays in repairs although it was trying to copy the systems in Western Cape, which were better.
He commented that although there were sometimes perceptions that police vehicles were found at shopping malls because the SAPS personnel were using those vehicles to go shopping, this was not always true. The police maintained a visible presence at malls to deter crime. If anybody felt that vehicles were being misused, they should first find out, from the Community Policing Forum, why the vehicle was at a particular place at a particular time. Vehicles were actually allocated not to the stations, but to the Forums. Sector managers, however, should also ensure that vehicles were used properly. All vehicles had cellphones and he himself would make random spot-check calls to find out where the vehicles were at any time. If something happened on a street that should be patrolled, then those assigned to the patrol must be accountable for what happened, and recourse would be taken in the case of wrongdoing.
Mr Groenewald asked whether the detectives had enough vehicles to do their work.
Lieut-Gen Petros said that 300 000 detectives had not originally had cars, but 60% of those vehicles bought this year would be allocated to the detective branch. The serious shortage of vehicles was a contributory factor to their poor performance.
Lieut-Gen Petros then referred to figures for crime and noted that whichever figures were used, aggravated robbery had been reduced by over 6 000 actual incidents, indicating that the strategies were working.
Mr Schneemann clarified that he was not discounting the effect of the strategies, but commented that certain types of crime were still very prevalent, and wanted to know how this would be addressed.
Lieut-Gen Petros said that the strategies would be continued, to try to reach an acceptable ratio, but stressed again that reductions had already occurred.
Chairperson’s closing comments
The Chairperson thanked all Commissioners for their presentations. Some good practices had been outlined. Huge resources were directed to this Department, and this Committee was expecting to see positive results. Certain matters that were raised would be taken up with the national management. She noted particular concerns with stock-theft, which impacted on everyone. Many people regarded their stock as their investment and source of income to educate their children, so there was a need to focus on this area. In addition, the Committee was adamant that more attention must be paid to training, so that those responsible for crime would be successfully prosecuted. She noted that some members of SAPS themselves were causing problems with foreigners, and she was not sure that enough was being done at the border posts. Although there were areas where sector policing was working, she noted that in the previous year the National Commissioner had agreed that more resources were needed. Trained and competent people must be in position. In relation to promotions, the Committee would call for comment from national department management. The Chairperson commented that each province had its own dynamic and was contributing in its own way to fighting crime.
The meeting was adjourned.
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