SAPS on its 2012 Strategic Plan: Detectives

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19 April 2012
Chairperson: Ms L Chikunga (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Members were informed that the Detective Services in the South African Police Services had been allocated R13.2 billion for the 2012/13 financial year.  The four sub-programmes were crime investigation, which was the major component, the Criminal Records Centre, forensic laboratories and specialised programmes.  Funds had also been allocated for the revamp of the Criminal Justice System.  Officers presented the budget allocation to the different sub-programmes, strategic and operational priorities, performance indicators and targets for 2012/13.

The South African Police Services reported that operational priorities included enhanced collection of evidence at crime sites. The processing of exhibits at Crime Scene Laboratories would be fast-tracked. Criminal history and related information would be provided. Results of Trial would be updated. The wanted database would be updated and purified. The Criminal Record Centre and crime scene management would be capacitated. Investigative psychology support would be provided. There would be compliance with elements of the Explosives Act.

The South African Police Services presented a table of budgeted expenditure under the Criminal Justice System. R1.1 billion was allocated for integrated technology for use at Forensic Science Laboratories and Criminal Record Centre. R542 million had been apportioned for Forensic Science Laboratories and Criminal Record Centre. An allocation of R300 million for compensation had been shifted to general expenses under the detectives programme for goods and services. R800 million had been allocated for additional personnel, of which R253 million was for Forensic Science Laboratories and R547 million for Criminal Record Centre.

Members questioned under-spending in this Programme. Concerns raised included the assertion that some new recruits were forced to become detectives. More assurance was needed on efforts to combat stock-theft as it had a devastating effect on farmers. The detection rates were unacceptably low, especially for crimes against women and children. The appropriateness of training for detectives and detective commanders was questioned.

Members discussed career path options with Police management.  Allowances were seen as one incentive to retain detectives in the service, but the lack of a full career path often led detectives to furthering their career in other branches.  Members questioned the administration of SAPS13 evidence stores, and asked what impact this had on investigations.  Detectives had a high workload.  Members wanted to know if this was a reason for the high number of dockets referred back to detectives by the courts.

Members were told that staff numbers would be reduced due to an instruction from National Treasury.  The matter was discussed at length.  Members were concerned about wasteful expenditure by the Police in general.  Members were also concerned with the practice of allowing members under suspicion of serious misconduct and corruption to go on early pension with a huge payout.  They were assured that while departmental action might have been finalised, criminal investigations were still pending against a number of such people.

Members, despite the concerns raised, had a more positive opinion on the Police budget than after the presentations made in the previous two days.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed the delegation from the South African Police Services (SAPS). The Detective service in the South African Police Service (SAPS) was of special concern to Members and the whole day had been allocated to this Programme.

Presentation by SAPS: Detectives
Lt-Gen Stefan Schutte, Divisional Commissioner (DC): Finance and Administration, SAPS, said that Programme 3 was Detective Services.  The estimated expenditure for the 2012/13 financial year (FY) was R13.2 billion.  There were four sub-programmes. Crime investigations would be allocated 65% and the Criminal Record Centre (CRC) would be allocated 11%. The Forensic Society Laboratory (FSL) sub-programme would receive 14%, and Specialised Programmes would take 10%. The Criminal Justice System (CJS) revamp made specific allocations for Crime Investigations (R300 million), FSLs (R225 million) and CRC (R317 million).

Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya, Deputy National Commissioner (DNC), SAPS, presented the priorities, performance indicators and targets in the sub-programme Crime Investigations. In all cases, the target was determined against the background of the 2010/11 baseline and estimate for 2011/12. The first priority was effective detection and investigation of serious crimes, contact related crimes, crimes against women and children, property related crimes and crimes dependent on Police action for detection. The target for the detection rate of serious crimes was to increase by 2% to 55%. The number of court ready case dockets would be increased by 3% to 36.84%. The conviction rate for serious crimes would increase by 0.30% to 88.50%.

Gen Lebeya said that in terms of contact crimes, the detection rate would be maintained at 60%.  The percentage of court ready case documents would be increased by 2% to 37.24%.  The number of convictions would be increased by 1% to 75.34%.

Gen Lebeya presented the targets in relation to trio crimes.  The detection rate would be increased by 5% to 23%.  The number of court ready dockets would be increased by 3% to 43.74%.  The conviction rate would be increased by 0.5% to 71.02%.

Gen Lebeya told Members that the next set of targets related to serious crimes against women above the age of 18. Such crimes were murder and attempted murder, all sexual offences, common assault and assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm (GBH).  The detection rate would be increased by 0.5% to 72.05%.  The number of court ready dockets would be increased by 2% to 39.85%.  The conviction rate would be increased by 0.5% to 73.51%

Gen Lebeya said that the final set of targets related to the same offences committed against women under the age of eighteen.  The detection rate would be maintained at 77.42%. The number of court ready dockets would be increased by 1% to 25.66%. The conviction rate would be increased by 0.50% to 70.54%.

Gen Lebeya said that development capabilities would be enhanced by the review of the manuals for the Detective Commander's Learning Programme (DCLP) and Resolving of Crime (ROC) course. Assessment criteria had been developed for learners.  The Family, Children and Sexual Offences (FCS) Learning Programme had been aligned with legislation.  Detective Commanders at certain stations were being trained in commercial crime investigation.

Gen Lebeya reported that performance in respect of the targets would be monitored, and interventions would be made at poorly performing stations.  The wanted person’s database would be purified.  There would be a focus on tracing known suspects.

Gen Lebeya informed the meeting that a crime scene investigation manual had been compiled and circulated.  The crime investigation manual was being finalised.  Detective court case officers would be strengthened in their task of preparing dockets to go to court.  Detective service centres would be rolled out.  Quarterly performance reviews would be held with provincial heads to assess performance.  Investigation of cases would be linked with DNA links and IBIS hits.

Gen Lebeya said that capacity would be strengthened with a focus on FCS and stock theft units. The FCS units would be made functional by being re-established while their recruitment and mandate would be reviewed.  Stock theft units had been re-aligned geographically and new units had been established.  Detectives were returning to the detective service from other SAPS branches. Recruitment was being intensified. The activities and successes of these units was being publicised. There was a special focus on emerging farmers on issues such as legislation and branding. Cross-border operations would be conducted in conjunction with neighbouring countries.

Gen Lebeya stated that cross-border operations would be conducted in conjunction with SARPCCO members to take action regarding stolen vehicles and combating illegal trade in drugs and weapons.  Stolen vehicles would be recovered and repatriated.  Criminal groups would be identified.  The Section Cross Border Operations would gather intelligence in order to prevent stolen vehicles from crossing the border.

Gen Lebeya noted that the capacity of the Crime Stop initiative would be increased to handle the information reported on the crime line.  More use would be made of the media to publicise suspects.  There would be an enhanced capability at provincial level to deal with investigation of case dockets.

Maj-Gen Charles Johnson, SAPS Detective Service, said that the first strategic priority in the sub-programme Specialised Investigations was specialised investigation of serious organised crime, commercial crime and corruption.  The first performance indicator was the percentage of case-ready dockets for fraud and corruption for individuals within the JCPS cluster.  This had been a new indicator in 2011/12.  The target would be to increase the baseline performance in 2011/12 by 3%.  The target for detection rate for serious commercial crime-related charges would be 50%.  The target for court-ready case dockets for serious commercial crime-related charges would be 30%. The percentage of registered serious organised crime project investigations was targeted to be 31% of successfully registered projects.

Gen Johnson said that the second priority was the investigation of serious commercial crime-related cases where government officials are involved in procurement fraud and corruption-related cases.  There were three targets related to this priority. Firstly, 50 would be investigated. Secondly, there would be 25 court ready cases. Thirdly, assets to the value of R125 million would be restrained or seized.

Gen Johnson said that in order to prevent, combat and investigate national priority offences, a Priority Crime Management Centre (PCMC) would be established in each province.  A threat-based investigative approach would be followed. Investigative teams would be multi-disciplinary.  Investigation would be on a project basis. Priority crimes on which the focus would fall included illegal mining, rhino poaching, narcotics, illegal cigarettes, non-ferrous metals, serious violent crime, banking offences such as skimming, human trafficking and vehicle related offences.

Gen Johnson said that investigation into commercial crimes would be assisted by collaboration with partners such as the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) and the mobile networks to fast-track Section 205 subpoenas.  Multi-disciplinary task teams would be formed.  The SAPS was lobbying for dedicated courts and prosecutors.

Gen Johnson told Members that money laundering and financial links would be investigated.  Financial and Asset Forfeiture Investigation (FAFI) would be enhanced at both national and provincial level. Multi-disciplinary task teams would be formed. There would be better collaboration with companies rendering cash-in-transit services. A strategy to deal with commercial crime would be introduced.

Gen Johnson outlined measures to enhance the fight against organised crime. Multi-disciplinary task teams would be formed. The PCMC would enhance a threat-based investigative approach. Inter-departmental collaboration was needed. Organised crime units would be capacitated with special knowledge in precious metals and diamonds. SAPS would work closely with commodity champions. Specialist training would be provided. A National Instruction would be developed for project management. Units needed to be instilled with a project investigation culture. The organised crime course would be reviewed.  Second hand goods dealers would be investigated.

Gen Johnson said that the CAS would be modified in order to isolate corruption cases within the JCPS cluster.  The SAPS Anti-Corruption Plan would be implemented at the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI).  Whistle blower channels would be publicised. Integrity management would be practices.  Identified risks would be prioritised in a high risk environment.

Gen Johnson said that a cyber crime capability would be established.  SAPS would participate in the National Banking Crime Task Team (NBCTT).  Co-operation between investigating teams would be enhanced.  A hi-tech response team would be established to deal with skimming at automatic teller machines (ATM).  There would be a focus on international links.

Gen Vineshkumar Moonoo, DC: Detective Service, SAPS, led the presentation on the CRC sub-programme.  The only strategic property under this sub-programme was improving the procedures for updating the records of offenders.  The performance indicator was the percentage of original previous conviction reports for formally charged individuals generated within twenty days.  The target was 82%.

Gen Moonoo said that operational priorities included enhanced collection of evidence at crime sites.  The processing of exhibits at Crime Scene Laboratories (CSL) would be fast-tracked. Criminal history and related information would be provided.  Results of Trial (ROT) would be updated. The wanted database would be updated and purified. Criminal records and crime scene management (CSM) services would be standardised. CRC and CSM would be capacitated. Investigative psychology support would be provided. There would be compliance with elements of the Explosives Act.

Gen Moonoo said that there was one strategic priority under the sub-programme Forensics Laboratories. This was improving the collection and processing of crime scene evidence. The performance indicator was the percentage of exhibits processed within 28 working days. The target was 92%.

Gen Moonoo said that the operational priorities were the processing and utilisation of forensic evidence. Forensic laboratories would be capacitated. Forensic services would be standardised. A victim identification centre would be established to identify missing persons and unidentified remains.

Gen Moonoo said that forensic processes would be aligned to ISO standards. Forensic databases would be established. Technical management expertise would be provided, including equipment. All analysts, examiners and other staff would be competent in their duties. Strategic directions would be provided in terms of accreditation of forensic laboratories. Forensic awareness would be created both inside and outside the forensic community.

Gen Moonoo said that the objectives of the CJS revamp were ensuring the forensic human resource (HR) capacity. Support would be given to the criminal individual and judicial process through effective CSM. Reliable and timely forensic findings should be made. Business performance should be improved at accredited laboratories. Systems would be modernised. Forensic awareness would be created.

Gen Moonoo presented a table of budgeted expenditure under the CJS. R1.1 billion was allocated for integrated technology (IT) for use at FSL and CRC. R542 million had been apportioned for FSL and CRC. An allocation of R300 million for compensation had been shifted to general expenses under the detectives programme for goods and services. R800 million had been allocated for additional personnel, of which R253 million was for FSL and R547 million for CRC.

The Chairperson noted that there had been significant under-spending in this Programme in the recent past.

Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked how detectives were selected. She had encountered some who had been forced into the role and did not want to do the job. She wanted to know who decided on when detectives would attend training and asked if there were backlogs at the forensic laboratories.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) said that stock theft was devastating to farmers in the border areas. Emerging farmers were being bankrupted but there did not seem to be serious attention to this form of crime. She asked if there was any co-ordination with the Air Wing. The forensic laboratories had huge backlogs. It took a huge amount of time to process blood samples and this compromised investigations. After former National Commissioner (NC) Jackie Selebi had closed the specialised units for crimes against children, the rate of this kind of crime had soared while the conviction rate plummeted. The detection rates for these crimes were unacceptably low. When visiting stations, some had detection and conviction rates in single digits. The training was inadequate or non-existent. It was a smokescreen to claim there was a high number of detectives when many had no training. This compromised the detection rate.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) asked for details of detective training. 

Ms P Mocumi (ANC) asked about the standard of equipment supplied to detectives.

Ms A van Wyk (ANC) thanked the Generals for publishing the detection and conviction rates. It would encourage the public if targets were set and reached. It showed that there could be detailed targets rather than delete them because it was difficult to measure achievements. She wanted to know how many detectives were needed, and what the level was training. Success in the fight against crime was often linked to the quality of leadership given by the branch managers. She asked why the figures for crimes against women and children were so low. She understood the difficulty in obtaining evidence. 

Ms van Wyk said that the lack of a career path was a problem. She doubted that any newly qualified recruits considered this. One could not force a person to be a detective. She commended the quarterly reviews of the targets. Early intervention was needed throughout the SAPS. There was a lot of talk about enhancing systems, but it was not explained how this would be achieved.

Ms van Wyk needed more detail regarding the family violence units. Corruption within SAPS was present, especially in the supply chain management (SCM) environment. She asked why targets had been left unadjusted for some indicators. She asked about the SAPS13 stores and how the issue would be addressed.  It might be necessary to move these stores to a different environment. Many of those in charge did not realise the importance of the evidence being stored there. One person had recently been arrested in relation to the disappearance of evidence. It was worrisome that the importance of the stores was not realised. She granted that there had been some improvement. Drug stashes were kept in the stores for months or years whereas they should be disposed of within 48 hours. Conflicting entries were found in the register. She was concerned that confiscated and recovered stolen firearms disappeared from the stores and found their way back onto the streets. She asked what was being done to address the problem.

Ms van Wyk asked if SAPS had held discussions with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJCD) about the processing of blood samples. The security of samples in storage was questionable. There seemed to be a lack of understanding of the document distribution system at some stations. Commanders did not seem to understand how to share the case load between the detectives. Another factor here was the different qualification levels between detectives. She asked why the fingerprint legislation had been passed. It had been a laborious process. Detectives did not know that fingerprints could be drawn from the databases of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), eNatis and other sources. She had seen 80 suspects being eliminated in an hour as the DHA database proved they were deceased.

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked how long detectives stayed with a case. He asked about the control of stolen goods.  He referred to the case of the magistrate who had driven a stolen vehicle for three months. In addition, he asked how many detectives had been convicted for engaging in criminal acts. Thereafter, he asked how many dockets were allocated to each detective. There were high stress levels. Many cases were dismissed because of incomplete investigation. 

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that the DoJCD had returned a high number of dockets to SAPS because they were incomplete. That would make nonsense of the figures supplied to Members. The number ran into hundreds of thousands.

The Chairperson was aware that in 2011 a question had been asked about the ELA. A report had been tabled. She asked what the way forward would be. Members were told that closed circuit security cameras were to be installed in forensic laboratories. There had been cases of irregular expenditure. Equipment had been procured at outrageously inflated prices. She wanted to know about the training of detectives. A situation had been allowed where new recruits had been allocated to the detective service. More staff would be recruited after the changes to the Criminal Procedures Act. She asked if there was accommodation for extra staff.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked if the target rates for detection and conviction rates differed between the provinces. She had been advised that there was a difference.

Ms van Wyk said detectives were lost. At some point, if they wanted to advance their career, they would become station commanders or staff officers and would have to leave the detective branch. She asked if there was any way of reorganising the rank structure within the branch.

Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, Acting NC, SAPS, said one had to consider if promotion was merely to increase salary. A number of detectives might not be promoted. SAPS was discussing allowances for detectives as an incentive. It did happen that a docket was returned from the court due to inadequate evidence.  Other powers decided on convictions, not just SAPS.

Ms van Wyk said that out-of-the-box thinking was needed on the question of detectives. A flat or straight structure might be better than the current pyramid structure. Promotion should be available within the branch. Allowances would not retain detectives. They needed to be able to grow financially within the branch.

Gen Schutte said that 81% of the funds allocated for CJS had been spent.  There was some money allocated for recruitment.

Ms Kohler-Barnard had been told that the intake in January 2013 would be the last, and that vacated posts would not be filled. However, there was an allocation of R800 million.  She could not understand this.

The Chairperson asked if National Treasury (NT) had made the decision on the curtailment of funding.  There were so many challenges to address.

Gen Schutte said that about 5 000 SAPS members resigned or left the service for other reasons annually. The cut implied that there would still be the opportunity to appoint 1 200 recruits. There would thus still be a reduction. The cut was an instruction from NT. R300 million could be transferred to detectives and the criminal justice administration (CJA) branch. The R800 million would require further assessment.

Ms van Wyk asked if the pattern of recruiting below the attrition rate would continue in the future.

The Chairperson said that a new Act had to be implemented. This would change the strategic priorities.  She disagreed completely with the route being taken to redistribute the allocations. Plans had been put forward to utilise funds but were being changed in the middle of the year.

Gen Mkhwanazi said the decision of NT would lead to enormous challenges. There would be ongoing negotiations with NT. The impact would be felt in the SAPS plans and everyday operations.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that NT could not determine the SAPS priorities. It was outrageous that NT was denying SAPS the opportunity to recruit the experts it needed to implement the new legislation that Parliament had worked long and hard to implement. The Committee needed to call NT to explain themselves. The SAPS was being hamstrung by an autocratic decision.

Lt-Gen JK Phahlane, SAPS Forensic Services, said that the numbers put forward were what SAPS had to work with. There had been an increased volume of samples being sent to the forensic laboratories, which were already overstretched. There was a limit to the amount of overtime worked. A lot of money had been invested in training, but already forensic experts were leaving due to the working conditions. He had planned to hire more experts, but had been told this would no longer be possible because of the budget cut.

The Chairperson said that forensic services must have the correct capacity.

Gen Moonoo said that a team had been put together.  A proposal would be tabled as to how the skills of detectives could be retained. Various issues were under scrutiny, including career paths and incentives. The team would look at what needed to be done. It had been argued that the organisational structure used in the Visible Policing programme was not appropriate to the detective branch. The team would finalise its recommendations by July 2012.

Gen Moonoo said that some detectives had accepted posts outside the branch. A project had been put in place to encourage some of them to return to the detective branch. At the same time they did not want to paralyse the Visible Policing programme as some of the former detectives were good station commanders. There was a strategy to increase detection rates. Detection was one of the ten pillars in the fight against crime. Publication of lists of wanted persons would assist in tracing suspects. The lower courts had returned 47% of case documents. Court Case Officers had been placed at the courts to ensure that any shortcomings in the dockets could be addressed early. Dockets should be ready at least two days before the trial. Within 48 hours of arrest a suspect had to appear in court. It was not possible that a docket could be finalised before the first appearance. This was why cases in the lower courts were often postponed, and the dockets returned to the detective for further investigation. 

The Chairperson thanked him for his comprehensive response. Some of the issues had been raised at a previous meeting, and it was pleasing to see that the SAPS had taken the recommendations made forward.

Gen Johnson said it was true that some recruits were directed to detective training. Most were reluctant to become detectives. Recruits now went through psychometric tests to determine their aptitude. There was a reluctance due to the perceived limited career path.  Becoming a detective should be a matter of choice.  There was a rural strategy in place with stock theft as a priority. The Air Wing was called in when needed and he was not aware of any cases when it had not been able to assist. The conviction rate for FCS was above 73% for victims above eighteen years of age, and 70% for those below eighteen. There were 176 clusters and there was a specialist unit in each. There were over 2 000 members involved in FCS. SAPS had held numerous meetings with the Department of Health (DoH) on the use of laboratories. To prevent cases being withdrawn on the first appearance, a decision had been made that the first appearance on drunken driving charge would be within six months of arrest. Blood analysis had to be complete by then.

Gen Johnson said that 1 700 trained detectives were involved with FCS. The plan was to train 250 in the current FY with a backlog of 178. This last number might increase as capacity increased. Units with a lower workload might be able to redirect some of their resources to assist. He listed a number of courses that were planned which related to investigation and organised crime.  Detectives were also trained at station level. Courses were also planned for interview techniques.

Gen Johnson said there were approximately 21 000 detectives at station level, excluding specialist units. SAPS had trained 17 000 detectives. This number only referred to those that had received training beyond the two basic courses. The ideal number was 26 000. SAPS had trained over a thousand station and branch commanders.  This included specialist unit commanders. SAPS planned to train 305 commanders in the 2012/13 FY.

Ms van Wyk asked if detectives were being promoted to command positions without the necessary training.

Gen Johnson said this was true. The policy did not mandate training. Some could be very good investigators but poor commanders. At a meeting the previous week, it had been decided that his office would nominate the course attendees rather than provincial commissioners. This would also apply to general detective training. His office would compile a database and study performance to guide their decisions.

Ms van Wyk welcomed the information given. It was generally a fault in SAPS that persons were appointed without qualifications.

Mr Ndlovu asked if persons were being appointed without qualification.

Gen Mkhwanazi said that appointments at senior level were done by committees who looked at more than qualifications. Once appointments were made, the curriculum vitae (CV) was not included with the notification. Management had to accept that the committee had chosen the best person for the job and had the required skills.

Ms van Wyk concluded that there was no policy in this regard. This should be corrected.

Gen Johnson said that the capacity of SCS had been increased, as had the number of stock theft units. There were plans to boost the resources of these specialist units and the detective branch in general. He could use the R300 million.

Ms van Wyk had sympathy for both SAPS and NT. There was wasteful expenditure within SAPS.  The Department was reported to have excessive expenditure on entertainment. Any wasteful expenditure was unacceptable. Parliament had told SAPS not to take increases for granted. Many other Departments also had pressing needs for more finance. The money should be used where it was best needed. There was a limit to the available funds. Her sympathy was running thin. SAPS must not waste money. Her comments were not specifically addressed to the detectives. Building programmes and inefficient SCM had eroded resources over the years.

The Chairperson said that the plan must talk to the budget. The Committee had been misled in the past. The internal distribution of the SAPS budget could be reconsidered. The Department had presented an implementation plan for the new Act. 

Gen Phahlane said that a report had been requested on emergency spending. This had been completed. It had been acknowledged in October 2011. The investigation had been concluded. The report had requested the two systems in question. At that point, the components of the Marshall system could not be traced. The person responsible for the dismantling of the Marshall system had been identified.

The Chairperson asked why there had been no criminal case opened. There had been wrongdoing in the process.

Gen Phahlane said that the removal of the Brigadier accused had been to prevent further embarrassment. The equipment procured before had never been used. Part of the study was into criminal charges.

The Chairperson said that criminal charges had to be laid where appropriate without fear of favour. Corruption had to be challenged. There were continuous suspicions. More needed to be uncovered.

Mr Ndlovu wanted to know when Members could see the docket.

Ms van Wyk asked how it was possible that criminal acts could happen on SAPS facilities. Members had seen boxes of equipment standing idle. There were clear indications of corruption but no charges had been laid. The Minister of Finance had declared that persons guilty of corruption should go to jail.  Corrupt members were retired in terms of Section 35 with a golden handshake or transferred, but there were no criminal prosecutions. The SAPS had the authority to act. She was experiencing a lack of will to act. She asked if it was a case that investigating one person would open up a whole network of wrongdoing. If SAPS did not want to lay charges then the Committee should be empowered to do so. An officer just a year older than her had gone on early retirement with a huge payout. Members knew that this person was corrupt. Nothing was done to stop this situation. As a final insult such persons were then rehired as consultants at considerable cost.

Mr Ndlovu asked where the problem laid. He asked if people were scared to lay charges because of who else might be implicated. If the policemen were breaking the law, he asked how SAPS could be repositioned to show its commitment to upholding the law. Selective prosecution could not be done on a racial basis. The reasons for not laying charges had to made public. Parliament and SAPS should work together and not create a divide between themselves.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked about the Section 35 provisions.  In the previous year some 20 retirements had been granted.  More than half of these persons were under suspicion of criminal activity. The person who approved the package for such dubious individuals may well be equally liable. Even if convicted of an offence subsequently, the pension could not be reclaimed. She asked who was investigating.

Gen Mkhwanazi said that any case involving more than a certain amount would be referred to the Hawks.  There was possible corruption in the IT environment. It had been reported to him that there had been serious over-expenditure in this field. He had opened a case. There was an instruction to internal audit to investigate the irregular procurement of equipment for the 2010 World Cup, as had been raised the previous day. There had been a lot of expenditure at the time but an investigation was needed.  This enquiry should be concluded within a month.

Gen Anwa Dramat, DNC, SAPS, said that all allegations of corruption were registered. Not all cases were reported. There was a process. Allegations made in the media would also be investigated. There was a process of prioritisation. These investigations were time-consuming. Factors in deciding which agency would investigate depended on the amount involved and the number of people under suspicion.

Mr Ndlovu wanted more assurance. A person had resigned but was under suspicion. He asked how this could be allowed. The name had been mentioned during the meeting. He wanted assurance of what immediate action would be taken.

Gen Dramat said that cases involving the Section 35 members were being investigated. If there was any evidence of criminal activity then that person would be arrested.

Gen Mkhwanazi stressed that not all of the Section 35 members were suspected of crime.

Ms van Wyk asked if the Minister had insisted on the enforcement of Section 35.

Gen Mkhwanazi confirmed what Ms van Wyk had said.

Gen Dramat said that there had been enquiries already into the activities of SAPS members.

Gen Phahlane said that a number of other issues in the procurement field needed to be investigated.  The dismissal of a member was simply the end of a Departmental process and would not have any influence on criminal investigations. While the dismissal had been finalised in 2010 the criminal matter was still under investigation.

The Chairperson reminded Gen Phahlane that SAPS had a mission to prevent crime.

Gen Phahlane said that there was engagement with the DoH. This would assist in reducing backlogs. The ability to assist would be influenced by capacity. In the 2010/11 FY, there had been 226 000 items submitted. This number had increased by 27% to 331 000 items. As of 1 April 2011 the backlog was 16 200.  A year later, despite the increased number of items, the backlog had decreased by 37% to 11 000. There were problems with the chemistry and human biology departments. The backlog had decreased there to 769 in April 2011.  It had gone down in the second quarter, but had increased again in the third quarter. A new system of allocating cases had been introduced. The current target was now to process items within 28 days. The Western Cape laboratory was still reporting on the 35 day period. This had to be purified to be in line with the new reporting system. When the new database system was introduced a number of analysts had to be withdrawn. The current laboratories could not cope with the increased number of exhibits. More experts were needed. The current backlog was 4 000. Operations were more focused on the supplier. This led to huge amounts of narcotics coming for testing at once. Good progress was being made.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked if there was a policy document for serial rapists. Links were made between cases due to DNA analysis. She felt that rape victims were the last to be considered.

Gen Phahlane said that there was a joint task between DNA and psychological analysis to investigate serial rape cases. A task team was more appropriate to investigate such cases.  Co-ordinators had been trained as part of a sustainable approach.

The meeting was adjourned while Members attended a workshop.

Gen Phahlane said a procedure was in process to procure consumables. This was on the point of validation. Once a contract for the supply of consumables was awarded the validation process could be started. The system would be implemented at the Pretoria office. If performance was satisfactory it would be extended to other laboratories.  The validation report would be forwarded to the Committee. Once SCM had signed the contract a full roll-out could take place. Research and Development was not included in the first phase.

Maj-Gen Adeline Shezi, SAPS Forensic Services, said procedures would be the same. They wanted to see that the system was working properly before the final roll-out.

Gen Phahlane said that the Genetic Sample Processing System (GSPS) would be phased out. It was too costly to maintain. It was reaching the end of its useful lifespan. It was installed in 2005. Implementation costs had been R79 million, but the total cost to date was R158 million. There was a heavy dependence on consultants. There had been some internal training. There had been a focus on training and development of members. Part of the reason for backlogs was that analysts had been used to increase performance. 3078 members had been trained. R1.8 million had been spent on training in all areas, including newly recruited analysts. They came with the required qualifications but did need some institutional training.

Gen Phahlane said that current capacity should allow for the initial implementing of the fingerprint legislation as from 1 August. It was mandatory for fingerprints to be taken for Schedule 1 offences and optional for Schedule 2. Their system was not totally integrated with those of other Departments, but there was an exchange of information. Several thousand suspects had been identified as a result of this information. The eNatis system could be accessed. The National Instruction on the expectation of members should be signed off by the end of May.

Ms van Wyk said that it had never been the intention to have full integration of the respective databases.  There was a human rights issue.

Gen Phahlane said that SAPS had full custody over criminal records. Compliance with the Fingerprint Act should be achieved by August. Forensic services continued to do verification.

Gen Shezi said that the division was setting itself up to comply with the Accreditation Act of 2007. It was compulsory for forensic laboratories to be accredited. SAPS had succeeded in all tests in which it had participated. The members were competent. A quality management component had been introduced. Priority areas had been identified.  The same questions were asked when cases went to court. It was a massive exercise to accredit 68 laboratories in the country. The issue had arisen from a case heard in Ramsgate in 2011 where the Judge had called the result of the forensic tests into doubt because of a lack of accreditation. There was a project under way to ensure that forensic results would be acceptable in court. She could not give a confidence level.

The Chairperson was still not sure how close the SAPS laboratories were to being accredited.

Gen Phahlane said with confidence that the SAPS facilities were 50% of the way to achieving accreditation. There was once again a centralised structure. This was one step towards accreditation as there would be standardised procedures. The product was now independent of the line functions. Forensics was now a stand alone component. With the centralised system there was shielding from certain influences. The issue of accommodation had been tabled at a forum meeting. A fully fledged laboratory was needed in Gauteng.

The Chairperson asked for a written response on what the criteria were for accreditation, and where the SAPS laboratories were in the process.

Ms van Wyk wanted a time estimate to reach compliance.

Gen Phahlane would respond at later meeting. He had taken note on the comments on cannabis. The policy for destruction was noted. It was not necessary to conduct tests except in isolated cases.  Cannabis could generally be destroyed once it had been recorded. Security would be compromised if drugs were stored in volume. He hoped to update the Committee at a later date.

Ms van Wyk asked what the current policy was regarding cannabis.  There seemed to be different policies between the provinces and even between stations.  There were sometimes large amounts in the SAPS13 stores.

Gen Shezi said that in most cases cannabis was destroyed once the weight had been recorded. A small sample should be kept while the case proceeded. The weight was different depending on whether it was wet or dry at the time of measurement.

Gen Phahlane concurred on the issue of closed circuit cameras. This had not happened yet as he relied solely on correct procurement procedures. The tender had not yet been published. The estimated cost to cover all environments was R41 million. Cameras had been installed in critical areas at the facility at Silverton. Some cameras had been installed at a facility in the Eastern Cape where the facility was shared with DPW. There had been a break-in there. Some cameras were also installed in KZN.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked if the forensic services had a cordial relationship with DPW.

The Chairperson asked how much confiscated narcotics had been lost. In same cases drugs had been found in waste bins.

Gen Phahlane said that the Eastern Cape facility was on the fifth and sixth floors of the DPW building. This had necessitated the installation of cameras. Former reservists were used to perform guard duties. Security guards were being phased out. He assured the Chairperson that she would no longer find drugs in the dustbins. The forensic service had been reprimanded by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP).  It had taken action where evidence was available. Lifestyle audits had been conducted.

Gen Phahlane said that he was seeing problems with the Property Control and Exhibit Management (PCAM) system. The positive rate was increasing as was the identification rate due to some of the sophisticated equipment. Members had been trained in the use of equipment. Some ground still had to be covered. Positive identification rate had improved by about 30%. There was an 83% improvement in identifying fingerprints. There was a 44% increase in palm print identification. Positive shoe print investigations had improved by 33%. The results were available. There was not such a marked improvement with PCAM.

The Chairperson would have fired the person who had decided to go ahead with PCAM.

Gen Johnson said that there was a system for even distribution of dockets. There were three groupings at stations: serious, economic and general crimes.  A court room took over all cases that were already fully investigated.  Higher numbers of documents were allocated there, but no further investigation was required and it was mainly a question of preparing witnesses for the trial.

Gen Johnson said that a docket should stay with the same investigator until the case was finalised. Re-allocation only took place where an investigator left the service or was due to be absent for a minimum of seven days.  Dockets should not be left on a detective's desk while he was away on leave or course.

Gen Johnson said that the CAS system was linked to the system which tracked stolen goods. This should happen immediately. All available information should be circulated immediately. The main reason for the magistrate's stolen car going undetected for so long was that although the details were circulated immediately, a false number plate had been put on the car.

Gen Johnson said that 20 detectives had been prosecuted for drug dealing. As at 4 October 2010, there was an average of 80 dockets per investigating where the ideal should be 45. Each province might have a different detection rate. Targets were set on the basis of prior performance. This meant that there would be different targets at national, provincial and station level. 

Gen Johnson said that every effort was being made to provide all stations with computers so that they could link to the CAS. Wireless technology would be used where landlines had inadequate data transfer rates.

Gen Dramat said that where targets were static there would be some improvement expected in later years. SAPS did investigate any cases reported of corruption through whatever means had been used to distribute the information. 

Ms van Wyk repeated her question on SAPS13 stores. This was an administration issue, but she wanted to know how this affected the work of detectives. A properly run store was the exception rather than the rule. There was one, in an area with a very high housebreaking rate, which could not account for 87 confiscated firearms. The situation was a mess. A lot was said about detectives losing dockets, but more needed to be said about lost and compromised evidence. Samples were not sent to the forensic laboratories nor were firearms sent for ballistic testing.

Gen Mkhwanazi said it was the responsibility of the station commander to safeguard evidence in the stores. Inspections would be held. Commanders might lose their jobs if there was not proper control at stations under their leadership. Loss of evidence did affect detectives, and there had even been cases where a two week search was needed to locate an item.

Ms van Wyk appreciated the commitment to inspections. It was disturbing that there was no improvement when faults were reported.

Gen Phahlane gave figures for firearms testing. Some 82 000 had been tested in recent years.

The Chairperson closed the discussion on detectives. However, there will still some outstanding issues.

Ms van Wyk asked why there was such a high percentage of cases being closed undetected.

Gen Mkhwanazi said that the procedure was to draw up a plan, cost it, and then request the budget. The Committee would not instruct the SAPS to change any element of the plan. Police officers were not lawmakers. Therefore SAPS would not tell the Committee on how to do its work. Police were expected to carry out a number of roles. SAPS faced challenges and needed help from the Committee to achieve its objectives. Violent protests resulted in injury and damage to property. These could be over service delivery or an unpopular church leader.  He appreciated the comments made by Members. The SAPS would continue to work towards a peaceful society. Some useful suggestions had been made and would be taken to heart. The inputs Members made as a result of their visits to SAPS stations were valuable.

The Chairperson said that the President had met all station commanders in the Pretoria area in September 2009. Public servants were at the coalface of service delivery. The name of the Department of Safety and Security had been changed to Department of Police to emphasise the role of SAPS. Non-performance should be punished. It was the first appearance for the Acting NC. She thanked him for the leadership he had displayed.  The Committee had expected a presentation on what had been agreed to in 2011.  On some programmes there was no relationship with what had been agreed at that meeting.  Members were dismayed at the way the issue of promotions had been handled. This issue had still not been discussed and the feeling was that some officers were not capable of performing the management positions they occupied.  She did not understand how the SAPS management could produce a document that did not present targets in certain crucial areas. Some aspects, such as the victim support centres, had been legislated but SAPS was not in compliance. SAPS would be given time to consider the outcomes of the meeting. Some aspects of legislation were not being implemented at station level.  The Committee could not condone the transfer of funding as ordered by NT. She could only hope that money allocated for the building programme would be spent properly.  Human resources should not be reduced.  Force levels should not be reduced. The crime intelligence programme was dysfunctional, especially at station level.  Mismanagement was the reason. The Committee would follow up on this matter.

The Chairperson thanked the Provincial Commissioners for their presence. It was these men and women that always cooperated when challenging situations arose. It was important that they had attended this meeting, even if they had made no inputs.

The Chairperson encouraged the Acting NC not to be office bound. It was important to get out and visit SAPS personnel at ground level. She had come to the day's meeting disillusioned but had been encouraged by the quality of the presentation on the detective service. There were targets that did not appear in the Annual Performance Plan. These should be included in an addendum. Written answers should be submitted by 26 April 2012. This information was needed for the Committee to compile its report. The debate in the National Assembly would be on 9 May 2012. SAPS needed to say what it had done, what it was doing, and what it would do in the future.  She thanked Members for their contributions.  The work done by the researchers assisted the Members in preparing for the meeting.

Ms van Wyk thanked the Chairperson for the way she had chaired the meeting. Members were given the space they needed to ask questions.


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