Committee Strategic Plan 2012; Reports on Oversight visits to Limpopo and Port Elizabeth

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29 May 2012
Chairperson: Ms L Chikunga (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee Researchers briefed Members on the Committee’s 2012 strategic plan. The main issues covered were the Committee’s role in implementing the Millennium Development Goals, preparations for its overseas visit next year to study police training methods, concern over discrepancies in the SA Police Service Act, consideration of whether police station monitoring should involve unannounced visits, and a request to the researchers to keep a diary on issues related to police stations so that the Committee could follow up on a quarterly basis. The document was approved with amendments.
The report on the Committee’s oversight visit to the Terrestrial Trunked Radio facility in Port Elizabeth was adopted, with amendments, after issues relating to a lack of planning had been highlighted. 
When the report on the oversight visit to Limpopo was tabled, concern was raised that members of the police who had been involved in theft, were still in the service.  Follow-up action needed to be taken to ensure renovations at police stations were carried out.  The report was adopted, with amendments.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed everyone and handed over to the Committee researchers to take Members through the strategic plan.

National Assembly Portfolio Committee on Police Strategic Plan 2012
Ms Nicolette van Zyl-Hons, Committee Researcher, outlined the mission, mandate, core objectives and aims of the Committee. She also touched on the oversight role of the Committee and the key institutions with which the Committee dealt. The key priorities of the Committee in 2012 involved mainly issues of legislation, regulations, national instructions and proclamations. She outlined general and specific projects for the Committee for 2012.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) questioned outstanding information and recommendations made by the Committee, especially those related to police stations. She noted the researchers were asked to keep a running diary of these issues and requested that they regularly update the Committee so as to follow up on these issues. She suggested this could occur once every quarter so that Members were kept up to date.

The Chairperson noted the Committee would be going through the whole report page by page and would make corrections that way. At the same time, she noted the JCPS (Justice Crime Prevention and Security) cluster committees should be put before other committees when looking at the coordinating responsibilities of the Committee.

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) questioned the tabling of regulations.

The Committee Secretary explained that regulations did not have to be formally tabled to Parliament, but had to be given to Members. She said the regulations of the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) were distributed to the Committee.

The Chairperson requested that copies of these be made available.

Ms Kohler-Barnard raised a point around the regulations of the Second Hand Goods Act made four years ago. She said the Act was passed and implemented but the regulations had still not been received. She said in future, before implementation, regulations should first be provided to the Committee.

The Chairperson added that regulations should be distinguished between those to be adopted and those not.

Mr Ndlovu questioned the role and expectations of the Committee regarding the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Chairperson remarked that this had already been raised in Parliament. She said there was not a specific goal directed at the Committee, but new information from Parliament talked to issues of safety and security and the role of the Committee in this regard.

Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) raised a question around proclamations.

The Chairperson responded and said that when looking at the Glenister judgement, proclamations were very important and were binding to the country, particularly once they were adopted by Parliament. She said that for this reason, the Committee was responsible for taking them seriously.

The Chairperson announced the role of Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) as the convenor and Ms Kohler-Barnard in the task team for the monitoring and assessment of the training academy. She said this would provide a useful tool for the Committee.  

The Chairperson said the Committee researchers needed to have a presentation ready after the constituency break, for next year’s study visit by the task team. She said it was important to give the researchers a timeframe for the research work, as the Committee needed it as soon as possible. She gave them a month.

Mr Mzukhona Buthelezi, Committee Researcher, said the report had been completed and could be presented by next week.

The Chairperson thanked the researchers for this, and said time would be made for the briefing on the report and an application could be made to Parliament for the study trip. She asked them to look at issues especially related to the identification of countries with suitable training for police. She said the best country needed to be chosen for this purpose.

Ms Kohler-Barnard noted the French methodology of public order policing was a basis for many systems, including South Africa. She said countries could be chosen based on the best system used before a tour was looked at.

The Chairperson noted this and said the researchers would deal with it.

Ms Kohler-Barnard did not realise the report was being looked at page by page and repeated her comment made earlier on the running diary to be kept by researchers to update the Members on a quarterly basis, especially on outstanding information and the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations.

The Chairperson said that was in order.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) thanked the researchers on their presentation of the strategic plan and congratulated them on their magnificent work.

Ms Molebatsi questioned whether departmental briefing documents presented were meant to be submitted to the Committee seven or ten days prior to the scheduled meeting.

The Chairperson said the Committee Secretary was, in principle, meant to receive these documents a week before presentation in order for Members to go through them. She did allow consideration for issues of logistics with reports having to be mailed and copied before being distributed.

Ms Kohler-Barnard questioned the monitoring tools collated by the Secretariat. She wondered where these tools and reports where, as they contained a lot of useful information. She noted the previous researcher had drawn up documents based on the monitoring tools.
Mr Lekgetho spoke about the review of police station monitoring tools and wondered why the Committee should conduct unannounced oversight visits. He questioned the sentiments behind this and felt it was not informative, especially if the aim was to educate.

The Chairperson said debate on the matter would not be allowed by the Committee. There was provision for the Committee to conduct both announced and unannounced visits.  People were getting paid for their jobs and were expected to perform their duties whether visits were unannounced or announced.

The Chairperson spoke about the “disaster” of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act, which was based on the Interim Constitution.  Many of the clauses which the Act referred to now were non- existent. She gave an example of police members having the opportunity to be reinstated even after they had been found guilty of illegal deeds.

Ms Kohler-Barnard remarked that the same practice was being conducted in Parliament, where Members were charged and convicted and yet were still allowed to operate and sit as Members, like Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. The Committee was hamstrung on this issue.

The Chairperson noted the points raised and said she did not know the particulars of Parliamentary Members being convicted, but was not asking for a discussion because of the lack of time. The Act needed to be looked at and amended.

Mr Ndolvu said the White Paper needed to come before the Act.

The Chairperson agreed. She then questioned the researchers on issues related to training in the fourth term.

The Committee researcher indicated where this area was covered in the strategic plan.

The Chairperson asked for Members to move on the adoption of the strategic plan, with amendments.

Mr Ndluvo moved for adoption and Mr Meshoe seconded the motion. The strategic plan for 2012/13 was adopted, with amendments.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that this was the best strategic plan she had seen and congratulated the Committee researchers.

Oversight Visit to the Terrestrial Trunked Radio (Tetra) in Port Elizabeth: 29 November 2011
The Chairperson asked Members for their comments but noted this was the second time the report had been before the Committee.  It already had amendments, but further corrections and amendments needed to be made.

Grammatical and spelling errors where highlighted by the Committee.

Ms Kohler-Barnard wanted all officials noted in reports to have their designation and titles attached. This would help the Committee to know what positions people held in relation to the Tetra academy, especially if correspondence were to be made with these officials in future.

Ms Molebatsi questioned use of the word “appeared” in the report.  

The Chairperson answered and noted it was because the point had not been definitely proved by the Committee.

Mr M George (COPE) raised an issue over the lack of proper planning.

The Chairperson felt people higher than the Committee should address the issue of the hiring of people without the proper skills and experience for a position and not undergoing the full process needed.

Mr Meshoe questioned the roll-out plan.

The Chairperson answered that the plan would be presented at a meeting in June. She highlighted the importance of this, because of the huge budget included for these projects. She was alarmed that Tetra projects were hidden in SAPS documents and reports and there was not even a maintenance plan outlined.

Mr Lekgetho said he had been part of the delegation and was shocked at the storerooms piled with assets controlled by the police, instead of Tetra. He felt it was bizarre and questioned who paid the policemen.

The Chairperson agreed that was bizarre and remarked that the Tetra technological equipment lying in a warehouse in France was worth a huge sum of money.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said the drawing up of contracts for the World Cup had been bizarre, and questioned if there had ever been a criminal investigation into the matter, especially for the kickbacks she thought had been involved.

The Chairperson said she was unsure, but it was an important recommendation to be made.

Ms Kohler-Barnard felt something was not right and suspected there was big money involved.

Mr George did not agree, and cautioned against investigating people without information of misconduct or some deviation. He felt the problems of the police did not need to be added to or for new problems to be created.

Mr Ndluvo said he understood where Mr George was coming from.

Mr Ndlovu moved and Ms P Mocumi (ANC) seconded the adoption of the report, with amendments.

Oversight Visit in Limpopo Province from 23-27 January and 2 February 2012.
The Chairperson tabled the report for consideration.

Ms Kohler-Barnard noted issues with the layout.

The Chairperson said Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) had been booked off sick after an operation.

The Members raised grammatical and layout changes that needed to be made.

Ms Mocumi wanted consistency in the report regarding information.

The Chairperson agreed with this.

Ms Kohler-Barnard highlighted concerns that police members involved in theft were not being removed from the force. She used the example of a policewoman writing out cheques in favour of herself. She felt this was a serious matter, and needed to be taken up with the Minister because there was no other recourse.

The Chairperson said this would be included under the special concerns of the Committee.

Ms Kohler-Barnard pointed out that the Committee needed to follow up on police stations needing renovations. She wondered whether the issue could be taken up with the Department of Public Works.

The Chairperson said SAPS would be able to respond to this matter.

Ms Kohler-Barnard felt that the concerns of the Committee should not just sit in the report, but should be taken up with the relevant officials.

The Chairperson highlighted points that needed to be checked to ensure they were correct.

Ms Kohler-Barnard raised issues around the operational tasks of the Minister and noted they should be changed, as they were the responsibility of the Police Commissioner.

Ms Molebatsi moved for the adoption of the motion, and was seconded by Mr Ndovu. The report was adopted, with amendments.
The Chairperson thanked the Committee and said a number of reports still needed adoption and time would be made for this next week.

Ms Kohler-Barnard raised a problem with the time of meetings next week and requested their rescheduling.

The Chairperson said time would have to be found for the adoption of the outstanding reports.

The meeting was adjourned.


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