Meeting SummaryAuditor-General South Africa briefed the Committee on the lease agreement for the PSIRA building. Its conclusion after investigation was: “As PSIRA had used the emergency route, and we cannot factually prove beyond reasonable doubt that immediate action was not necessary or there was sufficient time available for a bidding process, the lease of the building is not irregular and the finding was closed”. Members were dismayed with the extravagance of the lease deal and questioned how this was acceptable. AGSA clarified that it had conducted a compliance audit, which only looked for irregularities. A performance audit would look at whether the decision was economical, effective and efficient. The Committee requested that a performance audit be done.
The Secretary of Police at the Civilian Secretariat for Police briefed the Committee on its quarterly performance for January to March 2012. The Secretariat had overspent by 57% in this quarter. Monitoring and evaluations had under-spent by only 13%, as had partnerships, with 12%. However, corporate services had spent 49% of its budget in the fourth quarter, and policy and research had spent 52%. The Committee was very concerned with the over-expenditure in the last quarter, which made them suspect fiscal dumping. They were also concerned about the under-expenditure for the rest of the year which suggested that the Secretariat had been under-performing. They felt that the presentation did not provide enough detail for a thorough enough explanation of the suspicious spending patterns. In light of this the Committee decided not to proceed with the briefing on the quarterly expenditure for the first quarter of 2012/13, and asked the Secretariat to consult with National Treasury, prepare a better presentation and present it when they came to Parliament to present their Annual Report.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) briefed the Committee on the quarterly expenditure for the 4th quarter of 2011/12 and 1st quarter of 2012/13. The IPID had under-spent in the first, second and third quarters. By the end of the fourth quarter, however, they had spent 99.9% of their budget. In the first quarter of 2012/13 they had spent only 17% of the budget. The Committee again expressed concern that this pattern of spending suggested fiscal dumping. They were concerned that the IPID was not functioning optimally in the first, second and third quarters. The Committee was particularly upset that the Investigations Unit was under-spending, as this was the IPID’s core function. In addition, there were often complaints of a lack of capacity and of cases being handled slowly and ineffectively by the investigators. Members were concerned that too much money was being spent at Head Office and too little in the provinces where it was needed most.
IPID also spoke about the contingency plan for cancelling their Headquarters lease. They had given notice to the Department of Public Works, who were the lessors, that they would be vacating the building in 18 months’ time as it was more space than they needed and they could not afford the lease. Members said they were “shattered” by the news, as the Committee had warned them that the property was too big and too expensive at the time the lease was signed. They were dismayed by the waste of taxpayers’ money spent on the move and the rent. They asked that a needs assessment of the organisation be performed and that the report be given to the Committee.
Auditor-General on lease agreement for Private Security Industry Regulatory Agency building
Ms Surette Taljaard, Senior Manager at AGSA, and signatory to the report, briefed the Committee on the lease agreement for the PSIRA building. She began by explaining the applicable requirements and the process that was followed. The legislative requirements in cases of an emergency or sole provider were laid out in Treasury Regulation 16A6.4, which stated that if in a specific case it was impractical to invite competitive bids, the accounting officer may procure the required goods or services by other means, provided that the reason for deviating from inviting competitive bids must be recorded and approved by the accounting officer. The process flowed as follows. The decision was taken to opt to use TR16A6.4 by PSIRA. A report on this had to be provided within ten days after procurement to the National Treasury and the AGSA. The relevant treasury and the Auditor-General would consider the report and take appropriate actions if and when necessary. This would include evaluating the risk associated with this specific procurement and if applicable include this process in the sample.
The process in this case was that all relevant information was obtained, which included, but was not limited to, the engineer’s report, management explanations, a round robin provided to council for approval, and the lease contract. All information was then audited and evaluated. An in-house technical consultation was obtained, and a finding was provided to management for their formal response.
The AGSA’s findings were that the time frame in which the contract for Eco Glades 2 was procured did not indicate that the emergency deviation was appropriately used. The engineer’s report was submitted in November 2012, a meeting was held on 4 February 2011, the contract was signed on 15 April 2011, and the occupation date was 1 August 2011. Although management received the engineer’s report only in December 2010, the period between December 2010 and the Council meeting could not be considered as part of the process of securing the building as the decision to procure was not yet made.
In addition, the period between 15 April 2011 and occupation involved preparing the building for occupation. This phase included partitioning offices and setting up IT infrastructure and telecommunication. Irrespective of whether they followed the closed bidding process or the emergency process, the same time frames would have applied.
In consultation with National Treasury, AGSA had compiled a list of examples of deviations that would result in irregular expenditure. Deviations from competitive bidding were approved on the basis of it being an emergency, even though immediate action was not necessary and/or sufficient time was available for the bidding process. Expenditure was classed as irregular if it could be factually proven beyond reasonable doubt that immediate action was not necessary or there was sufficient time available for the bidding process.
The AGSA’s conclusion after comments had been received was that the AGSA did understand the indication of the emergency of the project. In light of this fact PSIRA did comply. The National Treasury was the standard setter for recognition of “irregular expenditure”, and no indication of any concerns were raised by the Treasury when PSIRA reported the deviation indicating that the implications would be R61. 2 million. The National Treasury acknowledged the notification on 1 July 2011. As PSIRA used the emergency route, and AGSA could not factually prove beyond reasonable doubt that immediate action was not necessary or there was sufficient time available for the bidding process, the lease of the building was not irregular and the matter was closed.
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) found the presentation contradictory. If there was sufficient time for a bidding process, why had the AGSA found the use of the emergency route acceptable?
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) agreed with Mr Lekgetho that there had been ample time. Irregular property deals had come to light repeatedly with SAPS, and she would have thought that PSIRA would err on the side of caution because of their desperate financial situation and their severely limited capacity. It was a step too far for the Committee to find themselves dealing with another murky property deal.
The Chairperson also agreed that the time frame would have allowed for the proper processes. The escalating cost of the contract was also of serious concern.
Ms Taljaard responded that the escalating costs had concerned the AGSA which was why they had asked management for an explanation. However, a regularity audit only looked at compliance. If they wanted to look at the economical side, which was the issue, they would need to request a performance audit. It was very difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the emergency was not necessary. What had swung the decision was that at the final meeting PSIRA had provided the AGSA with a National Treasury document approving the matter.
The Chairperson pointed out that the PSIRA Amendment Bill was coming to the Committee, and part of the Bill was that PSIRA was requesting to be funded by the state. She could not believe that Treasury had not objected to this contract, especially considering the number of staff relevant to the size of the building and the luxurious standard of the building.
The Chairperson asked if AGSA had at any point looked at the Council meeting minutes, and whether there was a quorum at the time of taking that decision.
Ms Taljaard could not remember if they had looked at those minutes.
The Chairperson noted that PSIRA was paying for air conditioning over and above the rental amount. Did this not concern AGSA?
Ms Taljaard responded that the problem with the air conditioning was that it was part of the big contract. Again, it went back to economical questions, and at the end of the day these were management decisions. While AGSA had interrogated these decisions, they did not affect the compliance outcome.
The Chairperson asked what the Committee should do if they wanted to find out if this was an economically sensible decision, because the move to the building alone had cost R4.3 million.
Ms Taljaard responded that they would need to request a performance audit, because that would look at whether the decision was economical, effective and efficient.
Mr Lekgetho was not impressed with the responses given. The Auditor General’s office was meant to deal with these issues and not shift the blame by claiming that it a management decision, or a decision of the National Treasury. If a term was going to appear regularly in law then there should be a clear definition of it, and yet it seemed unclear what constituted an ‘emergency’.
Ms Kohler-Barnard was astounded to see what was signed for in the contract. The lessee was still responsible for air conditioning, carpeting, and a number of other things that one would assume would be part of the contract. The lessor had the right to withhold payments from the lessee if the workmanship was not up to their standard. It was shocking that PSIRA would take on a massive triple A building and then have to spend a fortune upgrading it to the necessary standard. She believed the Committee should ask for further investigation.
Mr Meshoe (ACDP) argued that it was the responsibility of the Auditor General to protect the government and taxpayers’ money and to say that the amount could not be justified.
Ms Taljaard emphasised that her goal was to determine whether or not the financial statements were fairly stated. AGSA was not mandated to comment any further.
The Chairperson said that she understood AGSA’s response, and requested that they do a performance audit on the building, looking at the acquisition, the sale of the existing building that belonged to PSIRA, and the total cost of moving to the new building. She would provide this request in writing. She asked how long this audit would take.
Ms Corne Myburgh, AGSA Business Executive, responded that it would be conducted by a separate institution but that she believed it usually took three to six months.
The Chairperson asked her to communicate the urgency of the matter to those who would be conducting the audit, because the Committee needed to pass legislation on this in an informed manner.
Civilian Secretariat for Police fourth quarter of 2011/12 & first quarter of 2012/13 performance
Ms Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane, Secretary of Police in the Civilian Secretariat for Police, said the Secretariat was for the first time looking at proper planning process and budget spending. A lack of staff capacity in terms of training before monitoring and evaluation visits, had meant that its operational expenditure had been spent only in the last quarter. The result was slow capacitating of the Secretariat related to the approved organogram, which had led to new staff being trained, reorganisation and streamlining of programmes. The under spending that had been witnessed over the last two years had been reduced significantly. Overspending in Corporate Services was mainly related to posts advertised. Under spending in Monitoring and Evaluation was due to the delayed tender process of the database. Despite this, the Secretariat was still able to spend the total budget evenly.
The key programmes in the organisation were Administration, Police and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Partnerships.
The 2011/12 budget allocation was R41 556 in total. This was divided into R27 565 in personnel, and R13 991 in operational budget. They had in fact been given R14 206 for their operational budget, but this was money they had not requested and they had asked that it be taken back.
Monthly expenditure had increased significantly from January to March. In January, for example, the most spent was R78, 000 on partnerships. In March however, the Office of the Secretary was the biggest spender, with R1 735 000. During this period R1 903 000 of the total allocated R3 315 000 was spent, amounting to 57% of the budget.
Ms Irish-Qhobosheane explained the reasons for the over spending in the fourth quarter. Funds budgeted for planning were only spent in the last quarter, as was the budget for legislation related to the enactment of the Secretariat Bill in December 2011. Charges for a forensics trip had arrived late, and finally the Office of the Secretary had been restructured.
The partnerships programme had spent 12% of its allocated budget. This was because the stock theft strategy had been replaced by the macro rural safety strategy, which meant that there was a change in planning and project execution. The Community Policing Forum (CPF) workshop to prepare CPF Guidelines took place in the second and third quarters. The Community Safety Forum (CSF) training programme procurement process had been delayed, and targets for public participation engagements were exceeded during the third quarter.
The policy and research programme had spent R8 25 000, 52% of its allocated budget. The reason for the overspend was that budget funds were spent on the legislation process, and also on the Small Business Robbery Strategy, which was transferred from the Partnerships Programme to the Policy Unit. Money was also spent on fieldwork for basic training. Capacitating of the Policy Unit only started to take effect from the third quarter onwards. A book detection system and accessories for the Resource Centre had been purchased in the third quarter, but payment was only made in the last quarter.
The Monitoring and Evaluation programme had spent only R418 000, just 13% of the budget. This was because the Chief Directorate had underspent due to State Information Technology Agency (SITA) not developing the database because of capacity constraints within SITA. The terms of reference for an open tender process in the 2012/13 financial year had been developed.
Corporate Services had spent 49% of their budget: R1 894 000. This over-expenditure was caused by advertisements going out for the bulk of the posts that were for the new organogram, training that took place in the third quarter and fourth quarter, and the appointment of new staff.
Ms Kohler-Barnard found the presentation lacking because there were no specific details about each of the programmes. She asked what the forensics trip was about, what the reasons for it were and how it related to the trip that the Committee had already done.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane responded that this had been a Joint Secretariat visit with the forensic laboratories, which they had linked to a G8 summit on drug trafficking. The trip had been extended to include a tour of French labs and an examination of their work on DNA. They had picked up some very useful indications from the French with regard to how training took place and also on cost-effective DNA packs.
Ms Kohler-Barnard noted that technical improvements had been made, such as the stock theft strategy being replaced. She asked if this strategy had been implemented yet.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane replied that the rural safety plan was launched in 2011 at the end of the third quarter.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked what the status of the training programme was. The Chairperson interjected to ask that the focus be on the finances, and other questions be reserved for future briefings.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane responded that they had developed a tailor-made course for CSF training in collaboration with Wits University. Problems then arose related to the fact that it was a single supplier, even though no other university offered that course. The course was developed specifically for them, and carried with it a certificate equivalent to a diploma. To try and get other universities involved would delay the process. Instead, they were looking at the participants paying per participant instead of the Secretariat paying a lump sum.
Mr Groenewald noted that 57% of the budget was spent in the last quarter, mainly in the month of March, which looked like fiscal dumping. He requested a breakdown of the last three months.
Mr Meshoe asked for clarity of the overspending of budget funds on legislation processes.
Mr Meshoe asked why payment had not been made immediately on purchasing the book detection system, and if this purchase was budgeted for.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane responded that they had started the procurement processes in the second quarter, but these were only finalised and the system delivered in the fourth quarter, which was why it was paid for in the fourth quarter. This had made up a significant percentage of the overspend.
Mr Lekgetho commented that the overspending in the last quarter was very suspicious, and that it was a common trend amongst a number of departments. He would have wanted a more detailed breakdown.
Mr Lekgetho asked about the replacement of the stock theft strategy with the macro rural safety strategy, saying that he would like to see the new strategy elaborated on at a later stage.
Ms Molebatsi (ANC) asked if a legal person had been appointed.
Ms Nomkhosi Shange, the Chief Director of Corporate Services, responded that they had advertised for the legislation posts. They had shortlisted and interviewed candidates and were unable to find a suitable person. They were therefore in the process of headhunting at the time. Other personnel had not been appointed because they felt the Director should be appointed first. It was a long process, but they had engaged employment agencies where it was appropriate and where it was felt that they would understand what they were looking for.
Ms Molebatsi said that she would like a closer explanation of the 52% spent on policy and research and more detail on monitoring and evaluation.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane undertook to give Members a more detailed breakdown. The monitoring and evaluation process had been a difficult two-year process and complications had arisen on whether they should put out a tender or whether SITA would be able to do it. This was the reason for the under spending.
Ms Molebatsi asked what had caused the delay in the procurement of the Community Safety Forum training programme.
The Chairperson said that the presentation was not assisting the Committee in having a clear picture of the Secretariat’s finances. The immediate question, besides that of fiscal dumping, was what was spent in other quarters and what were they doing. She suggested that the Secretariat have a discussion with Treasury about how presentations such as this were supposed to be done. The presentation was not speaking to programmes or performance plans, she asked that this be rectified. The Committee was concerned and suffered as a result of underperformance of the Secretariat. If legislation was not produced on time then the Committee ended up being faced with a lot of work at the end of the year.
The Chairperson urged the Secretariat to fulfil their role. They were supposed to provide critiques of the police but these were not forthcoming. They had missed every single deadline in terms of legislation, to the extent that if any more legislation was brought that year there would not be enough time to process it.
Monitoring and evaluation had been part of the programme for a very long time. She asked at what point the Secretariat had realised that SITA was not going to be able to perform this role and how long it took to put out a tender.
The underspending was concerning, but it was also concerning that the expenditure had been double what it was supposed to be in the last quarter. Sufficient reasons had not been given for this. The Chairperson believed that the Secretariat owed the Committee more of an explanation. They should be provided with a full picture per programme, but with the information provided, oversight was virtually impossible. She was considering asking the Secretariat to come back once they had improved on their presentation.
Ms Irish-Quobosheane said that they were meeting with National Treasury and would bring up these issues. By Monday the new CFO would be on board and would be consulted on how reports should be presented. They recognised that the reports needed to entail more detail, and that it would be helpful to consult with Treasury. They were willing to return and present again once this had been done. They were finding that spending patterns in the new financial year were more even. Some programmes had overspent in the first quarter because of intensive work happening there. It did show a more even breakdown across the board. The report indicated that a significant amount had been spent in the last quarter but they had been gradually capacitating - which took time.
Ms Shange responded that in terms of the development of the database, the first step was to review the national monitoring and evaluation tool, which would take about a month. This was aligned to the Portfolio Committee and the Minister’s priorities. After having been signed by the Secretary it still had to be authorised by six or seven Generals. This was the same with all the steps that had been taken in terms of development. By the December they had realised that they could not proceed with the SITA process, and in the last quarter they had embarked on the process of opening a tender. However they still had to follow the processes within SAPS which were often slow and frustrating. They had tried to engage with them to speed this up but had had little response. SAPS members were needed for the bid adjudication committee, but they were struggling to get them. As soon as the tender was awarded they would be able to expedite the process.
The Chairperson pointed out that part of the Civilian Secretariat’s role was to ensure that these systems were sharpened, so it was ironic to hear them complain about the inefficiencies in SAPS. She asked whether it was worth continuing with the presentation on the first quarter of 2012/2013, given that there were a number of inconsistencies in the presentation.
Ms Irish-Qhobosheane requested that they present on the first quarter when they returned to the Committee to present the Annual Report. The new CFO started on Monday, and they would speak to the Treasury about the structure of the presentation.
The Chairperson allowed this but stressed that the Committee was disgusted with the waste of time and money involved in rescheduling the meeting. The calculations in the 2012/13 presentation were seriously wrong, but this did not take away from the fact that it was the same programmes that were under spending, which was a serious concern.
Mr Lekgetho noted that this was becoming a trend and that the Police were doing the same thing. He requested that the Chairperson meet with the Department and plead with them that presenters must be prepared. If they were not ready they should ask to delay the meeting rather than waste the Committee’s time.
The Chairperson said that she was not going to plead with anyone but that she would write a letter to the heads of the different departments to say that they were not satisfied with the quality of presentations being brought to the Committee.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) 4th quarter 2011/12 performance
Ms Koekie Mbeki, Acting Executive Director of the IPID, thanked the Committee for the opportunity to present and introduced her team.
The Chairperson asked for an explanation on why the presentation was late, as Members had not had a chance to go through the presentation in advance and prepare.
Ms Mbeki said she had not been made aware of the invitation to present in time. She would not have intentionally disregarded the request from the Committee, in this case there was a communication breakdown. There was instability in the organisation as the electronic communications system had been experiencing problems. This had been rectified and would not happen again.
She handed over to the CFO, who presented the quarterly expenditure.
The ICD received a budget allocation of R 131 435 000 in the 2010/11 financial year. In 2011/12 they received R 153 534 000, which was an increase of 19%. Programme One had been allocated R73.4 million, which covered the compensation of employees, goods and services, departmental agency, and machinery and equipment. Programme Two came to R78.4 million, and programme Three came to R1.6 million.
By the fourth quarter of 2011/12, 99.9% of the budget had been spent. Only R2 000 of the total budget allocation was reported as under spending, and the Department was making efforts to ensure 100% spending. Administration and Investigation and Information Management had both spent 99.9%, with under spending of R1000 each. Legal Services had spent 100% of its budget.
In the first quarter of 2011/12, administration had spent 21%; investigation and information management had spent 19%; and legal services had spent 15%. This was out of a total of 25% expected of each programme. The under spending was attributed to the awaiting of the finalisation of job evaluations for new posts as well as delays in the billing for computer services and g-Fleet expenditure.
In the second quarter of 2011/12, administration had spent 44%; investigation and information management had spent 42%; and legal services had spent 29%. This was out of a total of 50% expected of each programme. The under-spending was attributed to the awaiting of the finalisation of job evaluations for new posts, the delayed finalisation of performance evaluations as well as the unavailability of the BAS system which effected the capturing of payments.
In the third quarter of 2011/12 administration had spent 62%; investigation and information management had spent 61%; and legal services had spent 60%. This was out of a total of 75% expected of each programme. The under-spending was attributed to the awaiting of the finalisation of job evaluations for new posts, the delayed finalisation of performance evaluations as well as the unavailability of the BAS system which effected the capturing of payments. In addition, the invoices received from the Department of Public Works were disputed and therefore not processed.
By the fourth quarter of 2011/12 99.9% of the budget had been spent. This was only R2 000 of the total budget allocation, and the Department was making efforts to ensure 100% spending. Administration and investigation and information management had both spent 99.9%, while legal services had spent 100% in this quarter.
Mr Groenwald said that the presentation mentioned a dispute on the invoices, what was the dispute?
The CFO responded that there was a dispute over what type of rates the Department should pay. Treasury had advised on this and the issue was resolved.
Mr Molebatsi noted that under-spending had been attributed to the non-implementation of the call centre. She asked how close it was to implementation.
The CFO responded that the call centres were not implemented because of the decision by management that the Presidential Hotline would cover this.
Mr Lekgetho pointed out that the bulk of the expenditure was in the 4th quarter, and asked what had happened in the last quarter?
The CFO acknowledged that this was a challenge that the IPID was facing. In terms of the delivery and payment of machines and equipment including IT equipment, staff tended to initiate the processes late and then it would only arrive in the fourth quarter. With the finalisation of the upgrade of the case management system, it was thought that it would be appropriated throughout the financial year but it only arrived at the end. This was being monitored and funds were being reprioritised. It was a huge concern that the Department was only spending its money at the last minute. From now on, money would be reprioritised if it was not spent.
The Chairperson said that this not only suggested fiscal dumping, but that for three quarters of the year they were not optimally spending, which led the Committee to believe they were not optimally doing their job. For nine months the reason for underfunding was specified as “awaiting finalisation of job evaluations for new posts.” She asked how long it took to finalise job evaluations.
The CFO responded that this was a problem encountered in the previous financial year. Strict processes had been applied since. Delays had been caused by staff not understanding the cycles, so the guidelines had outlined these processes.
The Chairperson said that IPID complained that they had limited capacity, and yet the programme that consistently underspent was Investigations. They could not say there were no resources, if there was under spending in this area, which should be the key focus.
The CFO responded that the concern was noted, and that management was aware of it. They were implementing controls to ensure that people were spending and performing. The tone of management had changed in terms of accommodating under expenditure and this was now being monitored and addressed.
Mr Lekgetho was worried about this answer. Investigation was the core of this entity. He had expected that they explain what had been done, instead of just taking note. The answer was not satisfactory. More money should be spent in this area, it should have been a focus. The person in charge of Investigations should explain what had happened.
The Chairperson agreed that it was wrong for the CFO to answer on specific programmes. For years the Committee had been saying that money was not being spent on Investigations. All the Committee Members had problems arising in their constituencies with regard to Investigations. Responses to Investigations were taking far too long. The programme where they wanted to see results the most was not showing results and was under spending.
The head of Investigations responded that there was a post which had to go through job evaluation, this post was never filled. There was also supposed to be a tender that was going to go out for development and training which never happened. However, during the last quarter of the financial year the tender went through and there was a part expenditure on that training manual which in this current financial year they still continued paying for the training manual and the associated training. In addition the posts which were vacant had been filled. Most of the under spending had happened at Head Office, and not necessarily where the operations were happening.
The Chairperson said that when they came to the Annual Report they would further interrogate this. They had discussed before that a disproportionate amount of the budget was spent at Head Office when it should be in the provinces.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) 1st quarter 2012/13 performance
For the period 2012/13, IPID was allocated R196 961 000, which was an increase of 28% from the previous year. This was allocated as R92 850 000 for administration; R98 755 000 for investigation and information management; and R5 356 000 for legal services.
17% of the budget was spent in the first quarter, instead of the required 25%. This was because of a change in budget structure, and because IPID was awaiting an update of BAS and addressing the capturing of payments. Administration spent 16%; investigation and information management spent 18 %, and legal services 10%.
Projects had been launched to address the under-expenditure; these included the capturing of payments at SITA and the monthly tracking of expenditure.
The Chairperson noted that again there was a 7% under-spend on Investigations. It also spoke to poor planning that there was a transfer of systems at the beginning of a new financial year. Why could one system not run while the other was being set up?
The CFO responded that in future they would make back-up plans in the case of transfers.
Mr Groenewald asked if the increase in personnel expenditure was due to new staff, and how many new staff had been hired.
The Chairperson asked where those people had been employed, in what programme?
Ms Nomkhosi Shange, Chief Director, Corporate Services, responded that the under-spending was due to the fact that positions were still vacant for provincial heads. Capacity in the Executive Director’s Office had been created, as well as capacity for corporate governance.
Mr Lekgetho asked why provincial heads had not been employed. How did they expect the provinces to do the job if they were not employing provincial heads? There was a culture in the Department of accepting vacancies.
Ms Mbeki said that there was a problem with the pattern of spending when she started the job, and she had started a task team to look into this. A clean-up of the IPID’s finances had been launched. There were 337 positions at IPID but some of these had been left vacant because it was thought that they were not funded. The clean-up uncovered that they were in fact funded, and had been left empty through the misallocation of funds.
She agreed that there was a high vacancy rate in the establishment. There had been a high staff turnover in the last two months which explained the vacancies.
Ms Shange said that they were currently sitting at a 13.5% vacancy rate. It was not that bad in the provincial offices if one excluded provincial heads.
The Chairperson asked what the actual number was.
Ms Shange said it was about 42 or 43, she was not sure of the exact number.
Mr Groenewald asked for a breakdown of how many people there were in each programme.
The Chairperson said that it formed part of the Annual Report, so IPID should easily be able to send the Committee that information.
Mr Mathews Sesoko, Acting Head of Investigations, said that due to budget allocations they were not able to employ more investigators. From tomorrow, he would get the right figures and would advertise more posts.
The Chairperson said it was alarming that there was confusion around which posts were funded and which were not. She asked for an explanation in writing on this issue, together with a breakdown on staff.
In summary, the Chairperson said that the Committee’s concerns remained the same year after year. They had received a 28% increase and still were not able to spend the money. The money should be spent on investigators.
IPID on contingency plan for cancellation of its Headquarters lease
Ms Mbeki gave a brief background on the relationship with the Department of Public Works. There was a contract between DPW and “Majestic”, the lessor, which was the lease agreement. Then there was a service level agreement with IPID and DPW. IPID was not party to the lease agreement, but was a sub-lessee.
On 1 June IPID served a notice on DPW of their intention to vacate the building in 18 months as they were unable to afford the rent and were not using all the space. DPW was in an agreement for ten years, but had agreed to try and find them alternative accommodation. DPW would try to find another government department to occupy the building.
They were not aware of the findings of the SIU, these had been given directly to DPW.
The Chairperson was upset that they had entered into the lease agreement. At the time Members had asked questions about funding, and whether the space was too big. It was not an acceptable excuse that they were a sub-lessor, as there was nothing forcing them to sign a lease unless they were satisfied with what the sub-lessor was offering. All of these issues had been raised when IPID was initially entering into the contract. The size of the building was twice what they needed. It cost money to move, and had cost money to move from the previous building. This was a waste of taxpayers’ money. The Committee did not accept that the Department could shunt the blame onto DPW. This was regulated and signed on.
Mr Groenewald said that there must be a needs assessment done before the 18 months notice had expired. The Committee wanted to see this and assess if it was realistic.
Mr Meshoe was “shattered” by this news. The Committee had tried to advise on this issue and now they were being brought the same problem that they had advised against. It was common with the police to blame the DPW, but at the end of the day the DPW did not have the final say.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked if there was any oversight at all over such a contract. Was there a team within DPW that looked at this in relation to the IPID budget. She could not understand why they would get themselves into a situation where they could not afford their rent.
The Chairperson said that the problem was that the people who had signed the contract were no longer with the entity. It was not the CFO’s issue. Nonetheless, they were essentially saying there was no contingency plan. The situation was particularly frustrating because the Committee was treated with contempt at the time that they had asked these questions. She suggested the issue be discussed with DPW.
Mr Groenewald supported this suggestion, but asked for the needs assessment before the time, so that the Committee members had the knowledge of what was needed.
The Chairperson said that the irony was that they had had a needs assessment initially, but despite that, when DPW offered them a building twice the size and twice the price of what they needed, they had signed off on it.
Ms Mbeki said that they had discovered that a lot of things had gone wrong with the lease agreement. They needed to partner with DPW on these issues, and should not be dictated to by DPW. In the past they had not worked together but had left it in DPW’s hands. The contract with the landlord was in fact entered into long before engagements had begun with IPID. It had initially been engaged for the Department of Human Settlements, when they turned it down, it had come to IPID. Unfortunately, it was only now that they were taking a stand.
Ms Mbeki said that a needs assessment had been done for up to 2015. IPID would go to DPW and then send out procurement instructions and confirm the availability of funds. They were looking for 3 020 square metres, which was more than they currently needed, but they were trying to accommodate future needs and growth, so as to avoid having to move again.
The Chairperson and Mr Groenewald both objected to this, saying that the National Office should not be growing. As mentioned previously, too much money was being spent at the National Office and not enough in the provinces.
- Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Jan-June 2012 performance & lease cancellation
- Civilian Secretariat for Police: Fourth Quarter 2011/12 performance
- Parliament Research: Civilian Secretariat for Police Jan-March 2012 performance
- Auditor-General South Africa Private Security Industry Regulatory Agency (PSIRA) lease of the building
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
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