Police Performance systems; South Africa Police Service Amendment Bill [B7-2012]: Civilian Secretariat of Police briefing

This premium content has been made freely available


07 March 2012
Chairperson: Ms L Chikunga (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

Meeting report

Chairperson's opening remarks
The Chairperson read out a letter that had been forwarded to the Committee, complaining about recent promotions in the South African Police Service (SAPS), and alleging that those promoted did not have the necessary qualifications. Many such letters had been received recently. This would be taken up with the Commissioner. She stressed that all promotions should be based on merit and the necessary experience, and not on some arbitrary decision.

South African Police Service Performance assessments
Gen Anwar Dramat, Head, Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), SAPS, delivered a presentation that was handed out the previous day, but not completed, and said it outlined the assessment methods within the Police Service (SAPS) to reflect the process to grade stations.

Brigadier Leon Rabie, Human Resources, SAPS, noted that SAPS had developed a performance measurement system to reflect the achievement of the SAPS in its mission, called the “Performance Chart”. This was a web-based application, and was designed to assist management in the analysis of identified key performance areas on a strategic and operational level. It would help to identify areas of good or poor performance, initiate corrective action if required, including assistance to poorly performing entities, and would allow for continuous monitoring of progress and the impact of corrective action.

The Performance Chart was informed by availability of performance related data, consultation with stakeholders, the Department’s strategic plan for 2010 to 2014, and Annual Performance Plans. It currently covered 1 311 entities, including Clusters, stations and individuals. The assessment was focused on specific outcomes and achievement of targeted results, was systems-based and done remotely. It was limited to data available of SAPS source systems. He stressed that there were not physical inspections done to gather the data, but there were set dates by which that data must be delivered.

He outlined the key performance areas, noting that different assessments were done for operational, information, and human resource matters, and that the system also checked community perceptions. There was continuous monitoring of progress. Data was captured daily on source systems such as CAS, PERSAL, and then uploaded to the performance chart.

Brigadier Rabie outlined, with illustrative charts, how the system worked in each of the areas. Prevention of crime figures were based on the assessment or reported crime, per crime category. The assessments would monitor the progress against the baselines and targets, crime fluctuations, comparative crime statistics, crime per category, and the contributing province or cluster or station. The crime/population ratio was in the process of being finalised. Based on all this information, an effectiveness rating could be drawn. He showed that  these statistics could be used to track how the province, as well as the station, had progressed in achieving reduction in certain types of crime, as set out in the Annual Performance Plans.

Similar methods were used for reduction of crime statistics. The issues were broken down, to determine where problems lay, and there were five-year comparison statistics. The system allowed for identification of the highest-contributing province, cluster and stations, to specific types of crime.

Brig Rabie noted that reaction time was also evaluated, from the moment of filing of the complaint to the time the vehicle reached the crime scene. Again, this was monitored against baselines and targets. He tabled a chart that illustrated how this worked against “alpha complaints” – serious crimes that were in the process of being committed. He stressed that average reaction times were recorded. The system allowed for isolation of specific categories of crime and specific incidents, and was then used to help the stations assess where their problems lay, with a view to helping them improve.

There were four key performance areas in respect of crime investigation, and an analysis of the investigation cycle was done. Another system, the docket process system, illustrated the number of cases reported, and then tracked how many of those were sent to court, how many were closed prior to reaching the court, and the reasons. If the matter reached court, it was then tracked separately to finalization. Details such as case numbers and investigating officers’ identity, could be given. This particular analysis went way beyond what had been provided in the past, and similar details could be extracted in respect of individual inspectors. He noted that it was the effectiveness that was being monitored, and measured against particular organizational standards.

Brig Rabie then tabled illustrative charts on information data, and noted that informational data integrity did require a physical inspection and then comparison with the systems. Mechanisms were, however, developed to check where integrity problems may be apparent. He said that management of leave and sick leave had been cited as problematic and stressed that it was necessary to have the leave records checked immediately to give an accurate picture, so SAPS required that this be done within 14 days. He also noted that SAPS set certain “tolerance” levels, incrementally improved every year, for compliance, although it did not require that every form should be correctly captured. Detailed information was available in respect of identified integrity problems. The chart showed the types of matters that were evaluated, and also showed the total number of errors, the total number of records, and worked out a fault index, which was then used to inform the station that its integrity of data was not acceptable in respect of specific areas. SAPS management would then offer solutions.

Human resource management charts contained four indicators for absenteeism, sick leave, personnel allocation to a station (which was compared to station requirements) and staffing levels, and again ratings would be given. The national norm was to maintain a 95% staffing level. He used the charts to illustrate how the system was able to show that, in one station, in one month, 105 members had taken sick leave, and the system allowed for a breakdown of who those employees were.

SAPS had what it called the EUPolsa Index, which then graded the entities (stations, clusters, provinces) on the basis of all these areas, and explained how stations had been rated over the last five years.

Ms A van Wyk (ANC) noted that the slides were illustrative of some of the Committee’s own experiences when conducting oversight. It seemed to be a good tool, but she questioned what the interaction was after the tool had been used, and how this, and physical inspections, were interlinked.

Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) questioned how the accuracy of the data received was measured and verified, without physical inspections.

The Chairperson asked whether this tool enabled SAPS management to see if there had been manipulation of statistics. She thought that if a survey was conducted, for instance, across two provinces and then comparisons were made, this might help to assess the validity and reliability of the system. One useful indicator might be to measure public satisfaction against crime levels.

The Chairperson noted that this system allowed for an assessment of the performance of each station. However, she made reference to the letter read out earlier, and said another concern about promotions was that those promoted often seemed to be those who had taken huge amounts of sick leave, calling into question their ability still to perform if they were so ill, as well as the possibility that they were abusing the system. The same people who were providing the information did not appear to be using it properly. She asked why, for instance, SAPS did not set a target of 100% compliance in capturing of sick leave. She noted that during oversight visits, she would often call upon staff to show her exactly what work they had done that morning, and often they could produce nothing for inspection. Some stations had virtually collapsed. She wondered how, if these statistics were correctly provided, if was still possible for SAPS not to realise that there were stations at which the police themselves could not be trusted, or no police business was being done, as there were stations that she described as “sheer chaos”. Management did not appear to be using the information it was gathering.

Gen Dramat noted that the system was a web-based tool, but agreed that it must be coupled with physical inspections conducted by crime intelligence, other divisions and inspectorates. It was, however, for the system to detect some anomalies, by comparing performance in specific areas across periods of time, which could show up manipulation of statistics.

The Chairperson interjected to point out that where there had been manipulation, it had happened that the very people responsible had had been removed and placed at provincial level, with the perception that they had been promoted. The Committee could not understand why this was done.

Gen Dramat conceded that there was still work to be done,  and it would be necessary to impose appropriate consequences. This information system was available at all levels within SAPS, including the station and clusters, so it allowed for challenges to be addressed at operational level.

Gen Dramat agreed that surveys on public perceptions were made, and the suggestion to make comparisons was useful.

Brig Rabie said that SAPS had developed a Performance Chart Learning Programme, a one-week long training initiative, that was offered throughout the year. Management at station level would receive this training, and it was then cascaded down to the station officers. Capacity had been provided at national and provincial level, and there was daily interaction with stations and clusters to identify any problems, and visits would then be made to try to assist any stations who were struggling, so there was follow up on the statistics, and support structures were in place to assist and improve levels of performance.

In regard to verification through inspections, he said that a number of instances had been detected where there had been manipulation, and disciplinary and criminal steps had been taken.

Brig Rabie noted that he served on a task team to try to improve crime statistics, and there would be dedicated capacity set up to focus on integrity of crime data. He agreed that surveys and comparisons across the province would be useful. He also agreed that ideally the target for data integrity should be 100% and he would raise this issue for management to take a decision on it.

Gen Dramat said that information was available on promotions,.

The Chairperson cited the increase of crimes against women, and thought that perhaps the assessments should be focused on those crimes to investigate whether SAPS was making sufficient inroads in this area.

South African Police Service Amendment Bill, [B7-2012]: Civilian Secretariat of Police briefing
The Chairperson noted that the South African Police Service Amendment Bill (the Bill) had been tabled already and public hearings would be held from 23 April to 25 April. The Committee would then deliberate on the Bill, which could be a long process.

Ms Jenny Irish Qhobosheane, Secretary of Police, noted that the drafting of the Bill had been a joint process between the Civilian Secretariat of Police (the Secretariat), which was now responsible for policy and legislation, the DPCI and SAPS Legal Division.

By way of background, she reminded the Committee that on 17 March 2011 the Constitutional Court, in the Glenister matter, had declared Chapter 6 of the South African Police Service Act (the portion relating to the DPCI) to be inconsistent with the Constitution, as it failed to secure an adequate degree of independence for the DPCI. Parliament was given a period of 18 months to rectify the situation, and that period would expire in September 2012.

She stressed that the disbanding of the Directorate for Special Operations (DSO or Scorpions) was not found to be unconstitutional in itself. The main issue was that any body had to have adequate independence.  The Court also posed two questions as to the mandate of the State and concluded that the State had an obligation to set up, and maintain, an independent body that would deal with anti-corruption, with the necessary independence. The Court was not expecting that this must be a Chapter 9 institution, nor that it have quasi-judicial independence. This Bill now sought to give effect to the judgment and Court order, and to align the provisions dealing with DPCI in the SAPS Act (the Act) with that judgment.

She then outlined the amendments proposed (see attached presentation for full details). Clause 1 would amend section 6 of the Act, which dealt with the appointment of the National Commission and Provincial Commissioners, since the section still made reference to the Interim Constitution. It was necessary to amend this since the DPCI sections referred to them. Clause 2 sought to amend section 11 of the Act in a similar way. The Act did not currently spell out that the National Commissioner was responsible for organised crime, and that reference needed to be inserted.

Clause 3 would amend section 11 of the Act, and provide that the DPCI Head must decide what matters to investigate, in accordance with the approved policy guidelines. The reference to policy meant that there would not be complete or unfettered discretion. Should there be a dispute between a Provincial Commissioner and DPCI Head, the decision of the DPCI Head must prevail. Currently, the National Commissioner would make the determination as to whether something was an organised crime or corruption case.

Clause 4 provided for amendment of section 17B of the Act, by providing for establishment of DPCI as a Directorate in SAPS, (as opposed to a division of SAPS) to prevent, combat and investigate national priority offences.  At the moment, the DPCI operated as a division within SAPS, and fell under the Detective Services Programme. When it became a separate directorate, it would form the sixth programme of SAPS operations and would be a stand-alone directorate, with the DPCI Head alone being responsible for that programme.

Clause 5 would amend section 17C of the Act. It provided for the composition and establishment of the DPCI. The Bill mentioned both head and provincial offices.

A new section 17CA would provide for appointment, remuneration and conditions of service of DPCI officials. This addressed the Constitutional Court concerns around tenure and salary scales.

Clause 7 of the Bill amended section 17D of the Act by providing for the functions of the DPCI. It was stressed that the DPCI Head’s decision must be based on policy guidelines. The Minister of Police had the function to determine policy. In the past, the SAPS policy guidelines had to be tabled to Parliament but did not require approval by Parliament. This Bill now provided that Parliament would have to approve the guidelines, and the DPCI Head must then ensure that they were adhered to.

Clause 8 inserted sections 17DA and 17DB, which provided that the DPCI Head may not be removed by the Minister unless certain procedures were followed, as spelt out in the Act, and the Minister had then to establish an Inquiry. Until the inquiry was held, a provisional suspension may be effected. The reasons for removal of the DPCI Head, together with representations, must be referred to Parliament.  The Minister would have to report to Parliament within specified time limits.

The Minister could also allow the DPCI Head to leave office, based on grounds in the Bill, but six months notice should be given, unless the Minister agreed upon a shorter period, dependent on logistics.

The DPCI Head must determine the fixed establishment of the Directorate and the number of posts. SAPS would not be able to determine this structure. Ms Irish Qhobosheane noted that this was similar to the position of the Secretariat, whose structure must be approved by the Department of Public Service and Administration and the Minister. The DPCI Head must appoint staff. However, there was a provision that if a member of SAPS was to be appointed, there should be prior consultation with the National Commissioner of Police. She explained that this was for operational reasons; the DPCI Head may wish to appoint a Provincial Commissioner and SAPS would clearly need to know of this to make other arrangements in SAPS.

Clause 9 provided for security clearance by an intelligence structure. In the past, Crime Intelligence had vetted the DPCI staff, but State Security could do the vetting in future, as determined by the Minister. All Members would have to take an oath of affirmation, which dealt with how they should conduct themselves.

Clause 10 amended section 17F of the Act and the DPCI Head may request secondment, making the request directly to the department from whom that secondment was requested. In the past, the National Commissioner had performed this function. The other department must accede to the request. However, the seconded person would not acquire any police powers when seconded to an investigation.

Clause 11 provided that the National Commissioner of SAPS would prepared estimates of revenue and expenditure. This meant that there would still be a singe SAPS budget, and the National Commissioner was the Accounting Officer in respect of the funds. Monies appropriated by Parliament for the DPCI were to be ringfenced only for the DPCI.

Clause 12 amended section 17I, and provided that the Ministerial Committee may determine procedures for the activities of the DPCI. The National Commissioner and DPCI Head would provide performance and implementation reports. Although the Constitutional Court had raised some concerns about the Ministerial Committee, the drafters still felt that there was a need for that Committee, and the concerns of the Court did not relate to this function. Parliament could call for performance information. The policy determination and general functioning of DPCI was no longer under the purview of that Ministerial Committee.

Clause 13 amended section 17J of the Act, and provided for the Operational Committee. The Operational Committee was an intergovernmental committee involving all other departments that needed to assist DPCI. Currently, it was called by the National Commissioner, but the Bill now provided that it would be chaired by the DPCI Head, with the DPCI Deputy Head being the Deputy Head of the Operational Committee. She explained that SAPS would have to provide a member from Crime Intelligence for that Committee, because SAPS would now be regarded as one of the separate departments that would need to serve on the Committee, for coordination purposes.

Clause 14 amended section 17K of the Act. Because DPCI would in future be a Directorate, there would have to be a separate section in the Annual Report that dealt specifically with the DPCI’s separate programmes.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane repeated that the Bill provided that in future the Minister, with the concurrence of Parliament, must determine national priority offences and policy guidelines. Currently, it was the Ministerial Committee who determined that, and Parliamentary approval was not required. The fact that the Minister now had to table the guidelines for Parliamentary approval meant that Parliament would have more extensive powers. The Minister must also report to Parliament on the appointment of the DPCI Head.

Clause 15 amended section 17L of the Act, by providing that a retired judge may request and obtain information from the National Director of Public Prosecutions. She reminded Members that the retired judge was appointed to look at abuses in the DPCI, but in the past that person had been unable to get information on criminal matters from the National Prosecution Authority.

Clause 16 inserted a new 17M into the Act, providing that DPCI officials would be members of the SAPS. This was done in order for them to retain their policing powers, including investigation, search and seizure.

Clause 17 of the Bill sought to provide for transitional arrangements. Conditions of service changed significantly, and therefore it was necessary to have DPCI staff properly appointed under the SAPS Act.

Clause 18 of the Bill sought to amend the preamble and clause 19 provided for repeal and amendment of laws.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane said that other government departments were consulted in the drafting process, particularly National Treasury and Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). Any additional funding requirements could be accommodated under the current SAPS budget vote, but in future the DPCI funding would be ringfenced. DPSA must assist in the establishment of the Directorate and the structure must be approved and tabled in Parliament. Both the remuneration and packages must be tabled and approved, and could not then be changed without Parliamentary approval. This was similar to the Secretariat’s structural arrangements.  The Civilian Secretariat had participated in round table discussions, but the full consultation process, including public hearings, was left to Parliament.

Mr M George (COPE) expressed satisfaction with this Bill, as it spoke to some concerns of the opposition parties when the DSO was disbanded. There were important issues around the budget, but these could be discussed at another time.

Mr P Groenewald (FF+) said it was necessary to follow the right principles when embarking on any process. He wished to express thanks to Mr Glenister for taking this matter to the Constitutional Court, on his own. It was important to understand what the main reason was (although he did not want to go into the debate) for the disbandment of the DSO. He urged Members to bear in mind that an argument had been raised that the Constitution did not allow for a special investigating unit outside the police services, but the Constitutional Court judgment indicated that this was possible – especially in relation to corruption. Mr Groenewald did not think the amendments went far enough to establish the independence required by the Constitutional Court. There was a difference between priority crimes and corruption, and he did not think that sufficient independence was provided for investigations into corruption.

Ms van Wyk interrupted to ask the Chairperson to rule on whether Members could go into the specifics of the Bill at this point, or whether it was intended that they merely ask questions of clarity.

Mr Groenewald replied that he was seeking clarity on clauses 12 and 14. Clause 12(2)(b) said the Ministerial Committee may determine the policy guidelines, but clause 14 said that the Minister must determine this, with the concurrence of Parliament. He asked for an explanation of the difference.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane explained that the Ministerial Committee would no longer be determining policy, so the section in the Act that had provided for that was to be deleted and substituted with new wording (contained in clause 14) stating that the Minister, with the concurrence of Parliament, was to determine that policy. The Ministerial Committee no longer had oversight over this function but would merely receive reports. She said that there were square brackets, indicating deletions, after “determine” at the start of clause 12, until the end of “(2)(d)”.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane noted that there was a symbiotic relationship between organised crime and corruption, and if two entities were trying to deal with those separately, they would overlap. Organised crime required corruption to survive.

The Chairperson responded to Ms van Wyk’s point by reminding the Committee that there would be an opportunity to debate every clause of the Bill in depth, so current questions should be confined to seeking clarity.

Rev Meshoe sought clarity on what mechanism would be followed in resolving a dispute, should there be one, between a provincial office of DPCI, and Provincial Commissioner. He asked whether the Ministerial Committee would also play any role.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane said that the Act currently said that the decision of the National Commissioner would prevail, but in future it would be the determination of the DPCI Head on the issue that would prevail. However, that determination would have to be guided on the policy guidelines approved by Parliament, as that would determine what the DPCI investigated.

Ms van Wyk said that nothing had been said in the presentation about the transitional period, and asked if there were arrangements for current cases, what would happen during the period of appointment, and similar issues.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane agreed that there was not time to go into every detail of the Bill, but there were transitional provisions. All cases would be taken over, once the amendments were passed, in a similar way to what had happened on disbandment of the DSO. Anything that was being investigated would continue to be investigated. The DPCI Head and Provincial Head would remain in office until the new heads were appointed, after a proper appointment process, and all staff would remain in place pending new appointments.

The Chairperson referred to clause 11, and asked why the words “after consultation” were used instead of “in consultation”.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane said that the drafters had looked at a range of models and options, including the position at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), because of the relationship between the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the NPA in regard to the budgeting. The NPA Act referred to “after consultation”. However, the Secretariat would not oppose a change of wording to “in consultation”. The National Commissioner would not determine the budget without approval of the DPCI Head.

The Chairperson noted that this Bill established the DPCI in terms of the 1996 Constitution, yet the SAPS Act was still based on the Interim Constitution. She asked whether this would have any impact on the main SAPS Act.

Ms van Wyk added that the existing Act made provision that the Minister could come back to Parliament, within 18 months of establishment of the DPCI, to suggest amendments. She asked if the Secretariat and SAPS had taken into account any operational issues that might have become apparent in the meantime, and had tried to address those in this Bill, rather than merely reacting to the specific issues raised by the Constitutional Court.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane said that the drafters had taken account of that, which explained why certain provisions were being changed. The review of the SAPS Act in its entirety should come to the Committee before the end of the year, but the appointment processes had to be changed in the meantime. The provisions around the judges were less to do with the Constitutional court judgments and more with what the judges had raised. The appointments processes were also raised and discussed separately; many of the issues addressed by the Constitutional Court were matters that the Secretariat already had concerns and other issues were put on hold, in order to be incorporated into this process.

Ms van Wyk asked about the appointment and dismissal procedures, asking if processes similar to those of the NPA were to be used for hiring and firing.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane confirmed that these processes were taken into account. The NPA Head was appointed for 10 years, but the drafters felt that seven years tenure was sufficient for the DPCI Head.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) asked how the Secretariat had dealt with the fact that DPCI staff would be SAPS trained and would therefore follow instructions. The fact that there were no civilian staff may be a problem. The DPCI was still answerable to the Minister and did not have the independence that the NPA did. This Bill still did not address the fear that they may be interference of a senior politicians. In addition, she questioned why he appointments were still the responsibility of a senior politician, in concurrence with Cabinet.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane noted that all DPCI officials were required to take an oath of office, and that said how they must do their work, and that was legally binding. That concerned how they could conduct themselves. Civilian staff were included in the Act.

Ms Kohler Barnard asked if a SAPS member who had taken the oath could still disregard a direct instruction – such as one to cease investigations – that might be given by a senior officer.

Ms van Wyk thought that an official would not have to answer to an unlawful order.

Gen Dramat said this was a partial answer. Irrespective of the rank of the person giving an order, another official could ignore any illegal instruction. In addition, he noted that the judges were not only in place to investigate abuses by DPCI, but DPCI members themselves could report any political interferences.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane confirmed that any member of DPCI would and should report any abuses or pressure to the judge. The drafters had attempted to strengthen the powers of the judge.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane then commented on the appointment processes, and said that they were not to be seen as “secret” processes because Parliament was involved. The DPCI could make representations to Parliament on the removal. Those provisions were the same as the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) provisions.

Ms Kohler Barnard noted that the Head of the ICD came to the Committee, but this merely said “report” and did not give the right to Parliament to interrogate the curriculum vitas.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane thought that this was an issue that needed to be debated when the Committee went through clause by clause.
Ms Kohler-Barnard was also concerned about the blurring of lines between the Provincial Head of SAPS and the DPCI Head. There might be a situation where the DPCI Head was investigating the Head of SAPS in that province. In the past, there had been problems around the physical housing of the two bodies together. She feared that these amendments still did not guarantee that there would be investigation of corruption in the top ranks of SAPS.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane thought that the Bill made it abundantly clear that the final decision rested with the Head of the DPCI. It would not be possible for a Provincial Head of SAPS who was being investigated to insist that the matter revert to SAPS. She noted that reference was made to the national Head of DPCI, so if there was a dispute in the provinces, the national DPCI Head would still make the call. She did not think that there was a blurring of lines. The DPCI Head must, of course, be guided by policy.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) agreed that the Head of the DPCI, in consultation with the Minister, should set the fixed establishment.

Mr Lekgetho questioned whether there was anything in the Bill about remuneration and conditions of service; it was important that the Head, Deputy Head and provincial staff must be adequately remunerated, but no figures were quoted.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane responded that this was spelt out in the Bill. Parliament may decide to alter the details, but the drafters believed that in principle, this should be spelt out. The figures in the Bill were based on the NPA remuneration packages. However, in principle it was believed that the remuneration levels of the Head, Deputy Head and Provincial Heads should be spelt out. The drafters believed strongly that the Head should not receive less than the most senior Provincial Commissioner. When it came to the 75% and 65% figures, this was based on the NPA Act as an example, but those could be altered.

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) again raised a query as to whether this meeting was merely seeking questions of clarity, or if Members could go into the provisions in more detail.

Ms van Wyk noted that Parliament would have to agree the policy guidelines, which strengthened transparency and oversight. However, she wondered whether Parliament should have a role in measuring the success of the DPCI. For instance, she wondered if reports should be tabled to Parliament if cases had been with DPCI for a number of years without any apparent movement or development. This could address the concerns about political interference since all political parties were represented.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane responded that there had been discussion around this. The DPCI must report to Parliament on its performance, and Parliament played a role in approval of policy. However, Parliament could at any time call upon any official at any time to appear before it, and that existed whether or not stated in the Bill. However, the drafters did want to spell out the matters that could not be decided without Parliamentary concurrence. When SAPS reported, the DPCI must report separately, in the Annual Report.

Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) asked about the provisions for removal of the DPCI Head, noting that reports must be made to Parliament. She asked for clarity on the provisions around the Parliamentary recess.

Ms Irish-Qhobosheane explained that if the DPCI Head was removed, reasons for this must be presented to Parliament, within 14 days if Parliament was in session, or within 14 days of Parliament returning from recess. She explained that if, for instance, an inquiry was held in December that showed that the DPCI Head should be removed, the removal process clearly could not wait until Parliament resumed its session, but in this case, the Minister would have to report to Parliament within 14 days of Parliament resuming. This was a fairly standard term across a number of pieces of legislation.

Mr Groenewald questioned whether the drafters were satisfied that the provisions included in the Bill would address the concerns of the Constitutional Court, and whether they believed, and why, that the Bill complied with the Constitutional Court finding, and that the DPCI would be independence, especially from political interference.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane said that the drafters had given Parliament had a much greater role, as set out previously. Parliament would determine key issues around the functioning of the Directorate. Several issues had been removed from the inter-Ministerial Committee – on which the Constitutional Court raised concerns, and that Committee would then be limited to coordination functions. The Constitutional Court also had serious misgiving around security and tenure issues, and the drafters believed that this had now been spelt out in the Bill. Another issue was the role of the National Commissioner in regard to appointment, decisions around cases, and once again that role had been removed, and transferred to the DPCI Head, who would have a greater say in future on staffing and case issues. The oath also placed a greater obligation on officials. The judge had something by which he could measure the performance of members. The powers of the judge had been increased. For these reasons, although there was still work for Parliament to do, the drafters believed that they had addressed the issues in that judgment.

Mr Groenewald asked to follow up but the Chairperson ruled that the last round of questions would be taken instead.

Mr Groenewald said he was trying to play devil’s advocate and asked if Parliament was not a political institution.

Mr George wondered if the drafters had looked at any other funding models, including the DPCI having its own, completely separate budget, with the Head of the DPCI being the Accounting Officer.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane responded that there had been consideration of a number of models, which was why National Treasury and DPSA had been involved. The drafters wanted a model that was most appropriate and workable, and in fact that process of engagement had led to some of the delays.

Ms Kohler Barnard recognised a number of legal experts who had drawn up the legislation to disband the DSO. The Constitutional Court had declared the provisions of the amendments that they had drafted to the SAPS Act in relation to the DPCI as unconstitutional, yet the very same people who had drafted that Bill, and assured Parliament of its constitutionality, were now commenting again on the constitutionality of the new provisions. She asked whether there was any guarantee that the Committee would not be embarrassed again, and found to be in contempt of the Constitutional Court.

The Chairperson pointed out that this was a Parliamentary process and they must make the final decision on the Act.

Ms van Wyk thought this was an unfortunate comment, given that officials were not normally allowed to defend themselves. Apart from that, none of those present here today, from the DPCI or Secretariat, had been in office at the time that the original provisions around the DPCI were drafted.

Ms Kohler Barnard reminded Ms van Wyk that the two of them had been part of the previous process, and had exchanged many words over it. Mr Groenewald also raised a point of order, noting that it was up to Parliament to ensure that any legislation it passed was in compliance with the Constitution.

Ms Kohler Barnard interjected that “we failed”.

Mr Groenewald said that he was supporting her statements, but he explained that this went to the heart of his question as to whether Parliament was not to be considered a political institution.

Ms Irish Qhobosheane said that the Constitutional Court had seen Parliament as an important accountability structure, as it was a multi-party structure.

The Chairperson reminded Members to show respect for meeting processes.

Ms van Wyk said that this brought her back to the issue raised. She was worried if Parliament questioned its own integrity. She stressed again that none of the drafters of this Bill had been involved in the previous DSO process. Parliament . must be satisfied that the legislation it passed would stand the test. She wondered if Parliament should not have a greater role in oversight – she had heard the comment about Parliament being able to call anyone in, but was not altogether convinced on this point – and this perhaps had to be attended.

Ms Kohler-Barnard raised that the legislation that shut down the DSO came to this Committee and was bludgeoned through, despite objections, was then thrown out by the Constitutional Court. She did not wish to be a part of something that would humiliate the Committee again. She hoped that this would not happen again.

The Chairperson stopped Members from further debate at this point. This had been a comment, not a point of order. She noted that everyone had had a chance to answer questions. The issues being raised were bordering on political statements and it was quite difficult to draw the line between issues of clarity and debate. The Bill was before the Committee, and there may be many changes.

Other business
The Chairperson set out some of the obligations remaining to this Committee in respect of the budget and strategic plans, and said that Parliament would be asked to give permission for this Committee to sit also on a Monday, to get through the work.

Mr Groenewald wanted his objections noted. SAPS had had over a year’s notice that amendments to the Act were required. The Committee was now being pressurized and was in a time-warp as it was faced with a situation where it must spend a considerable amount of time on budgets and strategic plans, which was made no easier by public holidays in this period, and the Committee was simultaneously being placed under tremendous pressure to pass this Bill. This was disrespectful to the institution of Parliament.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee had to interact thoroughly with the budget, quite apart from the Bill. There was nothing to be done about the public holidays, and she believed that Committee had to ensure that sufficient time was allocated to the budget process, which would, in her view, require at least three days. There was a need for the Committee to focus on Detective Services, where there had been challenges. That was why a full day had been allocated to that branch as well. The ICD and Secretariat also had to be heard. This Committee must ensure that it produced quality work.

Mr George said that he would like to know specifically why the budget was to be increased.

Ms Kohler Barnard asked when the DNA legislation was likely to be introduced again. She noted that it was more than a year since the Committee’s overseas trip, and the first half had been passed. 

The Chairperson noted that these matters would be discussed during the Committee’s Workshop in the next week.

The meeting was adjourned.


  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: