Independent Complaints Directorate Annual Report 2012, & closing issues in 2012/13 year

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10 October 2012
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Meeting Summary

At the outset, Members were told that a report that was due to be presented to the Committee on certain functions of the former Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), which were in part taken over by the Independent Complaints investigative Directorate (IPID), and the closing Report of the ICD, had not been finalised. The Committee granted an extension of time for submission of this information to 12 October 2012.

The 2011/12 Annual Report of the ICD was then presented, detailing the issues and numbers in relation to programmes 2 and 3 in particular. Members raised immediate concerns that this was not a particularly useful presentation, because many of the issues overlapped in that they related to queries around investigations. ICD managed to exceed its target for public awareness, holding 279 community outreach initiatives, giving 58 media statements and publishing four media advice articles on the website. Proactive research was done only by desktop research, as a result of the former Executive Director deciding to cut back on this area, and only two of the intended three reports were published. Some of the initiatives to establish efficient information systems were described. In relation to complaints, it was noted that 4 923 cases were received, a decrease on the previous year, and deaths in police custody and as result of police action declined by 10%. There was a 7% decrease in criminal offence complaints. In relation to the Investigations programme, a breakdown of the complaints was given, as well as the breakdown by province. It was noted that completion rate was relatively high. The Committee, however, disputed this, saying that the prosecution rate, and the follow-up on the recommendations made by ICD, was very poor. Whilst targets for finalisation of investigations may have been reached, that was not enough if the impact of those investigations was not tracked. Members asked if every case was individually investigated, asked for a report, by 12 October, of which communities were visited, and when, as well as a full explanation on the purpose and outcomes of the two Research Reports. They wanted to know about the feedback mechanisms and what was being done to bring down increased misconduct in Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape. Of particular concern to Members was how ICD measured the impact of this data. Members felt that the mere presentation of statistics, whose accuracy was questionable, did not assist the nation and suggested that IPID now needed to employ statisticians to properly measure and interpret this data. The function of ICD was to change police behaviour, and they were concerned that the human rights aspects of the work seemed to be discounted. They felt that value for the spending was not seen. They were also very concerned, from the number of responses on specifics that were deferred, that top management was not fully acquainted with what was going on in the programmes, nor managing the budgets effectively.  A complete breakdown of budget allocations and spending was required by close of business. Overall, the point was reiterated, several times, that there was insufficient focus on the human rights aspects, and a closer analysis of SAPS was needed about abuse of power by police officials and the allegations of criminality. Of particular concern was the increase of numbers of deaths as a result of police action in KwaZulu Natal. The poor quality of investigations seemed to contribute to low final conviction rates. A DA Member suggested that all complaints should be referred immediately to the National Prosecuting Authority as in principle it was incorrect for SAPS officials to investigate each other, and another Member questioned why provinces with the highest workloads had the lowest numbers of recommendations. There was some doubt as to whether all cases were captured on the system, and IPID was asked for a breakdown of what was done after recommendations were made, since it did not appear to follow through or evaluate the feedback. The Chairperson expressed her disquiet that vague explanations of “capacity constraints” were proffered instead of real results and called for a full breakdown by 12 October.

The final presentation concerned the budget, both for the 2012/13 financial year, and an examination of the spending and comparison against the targets in the previous year. The IPID was asked to provide a list of all the issues around the compilation of the 2012/13 budget. The need to align the budget and organisational structure was noted. IPID currently had 349 staff members, and had filled 291 posts at the end of August 2012, leaving 58 posts vacant. However, the current budget was insufficient to cover this and National Treasury had been asked to approve a re-allocation. It had been found more cost effective to use subsidised vehicles and the policy would be changed. Current spending in provinces was not in line with the expected budget spending. 42% of the budget for goods and services was allocated to provinces, in the last financial year, but only 19.5% of that budget allocation was spent. Arising from past experiences, suggestions were made for overtime reduction and limitations, shifting of funding, and prioritisation of personnel procurement. It was agreed that a later meeting, which would also include internal audit members, would be arranged to debate these issues.

Meeting report

Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson noted that the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) was due to present its Annual Report for 2011/12. The ICD had effectively ceased to function now and had handed over some functions to the Police Secretariat and others to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). Due to the problems around submission of certain elements, she asked that they should give feedback to the Committee on what the problems were, so that the Committee could assess what issues were still unclear, and decide whether a date for resubmission should be arranged.

Independent Complaints Directorate Annual Report 2011/12
Ms Koekie Mbeki, Acting Executive Director, IPID, suggested that it would be useful for the financial reports to be presented first. She drew attention to the fact that some elements of the report were missing from the document handed to Members, because the organisation had experienced technical difficulties, but they would be handed to the Members at a later stage.

Ms Lindo Cwele, Chief Financial Officer, IPID, noted that a detailed pack on the issue of disposals, as mentioned in Section 27.2 of the Annual Report of 2011/12 (AR) has been compiled by IPID for the presentation. She reiterated that IPID had experienced some technical problems. The report was too bulky to print and electronic copies would be circulated.

The issues that the report dealt with included disposables and the lists of payments to the relevant staff and entities. However, she noted that the detailed report on consultants, contractors and agencies had not yet been finalised. 

The Chairperson extended the deadline for the submissions of these documents and the final report to 12 October 2012.

The Chairperson then asked the IPID team to address Programme 1 issues
Ms Nomkhosi Shange, Chief Director: Corporate Services, IPID, noted that she too had some documents to circulate, which would be done at a later stage. She said that a document was due for submission at the present meeting, but it had not yet been finalised, and reiterated that this was too large a document to print. Some of the issues, such as the training report, had not yet been finalised. She had managed to print individual handouts covering issues such as the transport policy, subsidies analysis, and the proposed draft guidelines to synchronize transport, staff leave, misconduct and grievances, as well as an outline of the bonuses for all staff levels for the current financial year.

The Chairperson asked IPID to speak to the beneficiaries of the donated computers, the disposed vehicles and whether the policy pertaining to vacant posts has been finalised. It was noted that the CFO would be answering those questions.

The Chairperson raised a concern about the comment that the document was too large to copy, and expressed her concerns that this made her wonder how many people inside the organisation knew about the policies contained in that document. To her mind, this kind of document should ideally be simple and easy to access.

She also noted the deadline for the submission of the final report of the ICD to 12 October 2012.

Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD): Annual Report 2011/12 briefing
Mr Moses Dlamini, National Spokesperson, IPID, tabled the Annual Report of the ICD for the 2011/12 financial year. He outlined the strategic objectives that shaped the organisation, as well as the measurable indicators.

His presentation focused on Programme 3, which dealt with raising public awareness on ICD (later IPID), as well as its role and services. The ICD had managed to exceed the target of 260 activities to raise awareness, by having 279 community outreach activities. He also noted that during this period, 58 media statements were given, and four media advice articles were posted on the website.

The second objective was to conduct proactive research. He explained that performance was measured according to the number of research projects and recommendation reports compiled. The set target of three reports was not met, due to capacity constraints. Mr Dlamini said that the research unit did not have enough researchers, because the previous Executive Director of ICD had decided to scale down on research work, and as a result, the unit focused on desktop research, where no fieldwork was required. It had managed to complete two out of the three reports. He also noted that some members of the Research Unit were transferred to other components such as Knowledge Management, a new unit which reported to Programme 2.

The final objective was to establish efficient information systems to support strategic business. Performance in this regard would be measured by the development of effective and efficient information and communication technology (ICT) systems. A nationwide programme to implement local area networks was set and met, and in addition, software operating systems (OS) were also upgraded from Windows 2007 to Windows 2010. He noted that the Programme Manager had left the organisation.

Mr Dlamini then moved on to present the complaints and notifications received by ICD, noting that the total number of cases received was 4 923. He highlighted the fact that between the 2010/11 and 2011/12 period, the numbers for deaths, cases of domestic violence, criminal cases and misconduct cases also went down by 16%. The provinces with the highest number of complaints received were Gauteng, with 938, the Western Cape, with 857 and the Free-State, with 562 cases.

Mr Dlamini also noted that deaths in police custody and as a result of police action also decreased by 10% compared to the previous financial year. Over the reporting periods, there had been yearly changes of 34% in these numbers of cases. Other causes of deaths in custody included natural deaths (45%), and death as a result of injuries sustained prior to custody (21%).

Mr Dlamini stated that, across all the provinces, there was a 7% decrease in the intake of criminal offences, with most provinces showing improvements, except for Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape. In Mpumalanga misconduct cases increased by about 50% in comparison to the previous annual cycle.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) wanted to find out whether of all the 4 923 cases of IPID were individually investigated, under separate files.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) stated that the visibility of IPID/ ICD in communities was of utmost importance. He then asked which communities were visited as part of IPID’s community outreach programme, and on which days these communities were visited.

Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) also wanted to comment on the community and public awareness programmes, asking for more information about the feedback mechanisms that were in place to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of these programmes.

Mr Lekgetho had concerns about the reported increases in misconduct in Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape, and asked what IPID was doing to bring down and address these increased numbers.

Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) asked what was the primary cause of injuries sustained in custody.

The Chairperson stated that it was frustrating to deal with issues and statistics of Programmes 2 and 3 separately. She therefore suggested that, in future, the Annual Reports for these two programmes should be dealt with under one presentation, detailing everything under the Investigations Programme, because most of the pertinent questions and concerns that members related to investigations.

The Chairperson asked how ICD / IPID measured the impact of the gathered data and the communities which they sought to empower. She also queried the reliability of these statistics, pointing out her concern that the website was not updated on a regular basis.

The Chairperson also commented that the explanation of capacity constraint was not sufficient to explain exactly why the Research Unit had failed to achieve its target for the research reports. She asked for more detail on the purpose and the outcomes of the two reports that were produced, and asked that a complete written breakdown in this regard should be furnished by 12 October.

The Chairperson also spoke about the inefficiency of ICT and the fact that it was in fact not achieving its objective. She felt that IPID needed to employ a good statistician, as it was important to have accurate statistics, and to be able to interpret them, as a management tool that added value and information to the relevant stakeholders. The Chairperson also suggested that IPID needed at least two more researchers to explain and analyse the outcome of these statistics in the future. Finally, she commented that ICD had not added particular value to the nation as a whole. Out of the R19.4 million budget allocation, only two research reports were compiled, and she commented again that even these were not of good quality.

Mr Dlamini responded to the earlier questions. In response to Ms Kohler-Barnard, he noted that it was not possible to investigate every one of the 4 923 cases individually.

Mr Dlamini noted, in answer to Mr Lekgetho, that a detailed list of the communities visited would be provided.

Mr Dlamini agreed that the increased numbers of misconduct cases in Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape were not acceptable, but pointed out that there were other factors that influenced these outcomes, such as service delivery protests and the increase in vigilante cases.

Mr Dlamini answered Ms Molebatsi’s question by saying that in relation to the injuries sustained in custody, police officers also had to investigate these matters. South African Police Service (SAPS) officials had been known to assault detainees.

Mrs Molebatsi (ANC) asked who exactly had been inflicting injuries on detainees.

Mr Dlamini said that both police officials and fellow inmates had been known to assault detainees.

The Chairperson commented at this point that the statistics provided were not useful, a follow-up to her earlier comment. The statistics here did not give the breakdown of police action, police negligence or other inmate assault. She pointed out that the function of ICD (now IPID) was to change the way SAPS operated in the long term. She again commented that it was not useful for the Committee to get figures of case loads, but instead an analysis was needed to ensure that the information provided was actually of use.

Mr Dlamini continued with his responses by saying that feedback on outreach activities was not systematic. Instead, when community outreach activities were conducted, a template checklist was used to make sure that all the relevant issues and concerns were addressed.

Mr Dlamini answered the Chairperson’s concerns by saying that the research conducted by the Research Unit had been an assessment of the deaths in custody over a two year trend.

Mr Dlamini noted the comment about the necessity for appointment of a statistician.

The Chairperson asked what was the amounts were that were spent on ICT.

Mr Dlamini responded that the budget allocations for ICT included equipments such as laptops, that case management systems were improved, and the OS was also upgraded. However, he did not have the exact budget allocations to hand.

The Chairperson commented that it seemed as if the top management was not entirely sure of what was going on in the programme, if senior management was not aware of what the budget allocations were, and this seemed to be an indication that senior management was not managing the budget. She also noted that the Chief Financial Officer also did not seem to have the information readily available. She gave Mr Dlamini time until the close of business on that day (10 October) to provide a complete breakdown of the budget allocations and spending.

Continuation of AR presentation
Mr Matthews Sesoko, Acting Complaints Director: Investigations, IPID, presented the results of Programme 2 to the Committee. He began by outlining the service delivery objectives and indicators, which included the registration and allocations of new cases, investigations into deaths as a result of police action, criminality, misconduct, as well as police stations audited for compliance with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA). About 4 923 cases were received. The provinces with the highest workload were the Western Cape and Gauteng. In terms of the case breakdown, most related to criminal cases (2 912), followed by cases of misconduct (2 027). The total for all the provinces of cases being handled was 6 026 cases. The completion rate for all the provinces was relatively high, particularly in the North West and the Northern Cape, which showed, respectively, a 98% and 96% completion rate. Those provinces which were struggling to meet their objectives were given assistance from other provinces. The target of 95% completion of investigations was met with regards to deaths in police custody, with Gauteng having the lowest deaths in custody rate.

The Chairperson asked for the exact breakdown of the provinces with the highest rates of deaths in custody. She stated that there was concern around the human rights aspect of the investigations, and the compilation of data was again lacking. The Chairperson questioned, once again, the value that ICD / IPID was bringing to SAPS and to the rest of the country.

Mr Sesoko responded that the total workload for ICD in the 2011/12 financial year was 6 026 cases. He further stated, in regard to the spread of these cases, that  Gauteng had the highest number of reports, with 217 cases, while all the other provinces had relatively low case loads. With regards to criminal matters, the two provinces with the highest case loads reported were Gauteng, with 572 cases, and the Western Cape, with 501 cases. The Western Cape had the highest recordal of misconduct cases, standing at 548 cases, while the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape had the two lowest case numbers, at 90 and 97 respectively. The total number of reported criminal cases was 2 912, the total for misconduct cases was 2 072, all death cases totalled 932, and there were, in total 110 cases around non-compliance with the DVA.

Mr Sesoko further outlined that the completion rate for all provinces was high. The Free-State reached 100% of its target for finalisation of investigations, followed by Northern West and the Northern Cape at 98%. Kwa Zulu Natal (KZN) had a 88% completion rate, and Gauteng had the lowest completion rate at 76%.

He noted that the numbers of recommendations made by the ICD / IPID to the SAPS were highest in Western Cape, with 263 cases, followed by the Free-State with 252, and KZN with 185 cases. The province with the least recommendations to SAPS was Limpopo, with 48 cases.

He then outlined the numbers of convictions following these recommendations. The total convictions across all provinces was 36; with the Northern Cape having the highest conviction rate, at 11 cases, while the Eastern Cape had zero. The total number of acquittals was recorded to be 38 and here the Eastern Cape had the highest number with 13 acquittals.

The Chairperson raised a concern to the Acting Executive Director of IPID, that IPID management needed to seriously question whether it was focused on the human rights issues behind its work. So far, the presentation had been focused on presenting the statistics and noting whether set targets had been achieved. She noted that a closer analysis was needed of SAPS, that looked into issues of abuse of power by police officials, as well as the alleged criminality of police officials. She was concerned that in this financial year there had actually been an increase in the numbers of deaths as a result of police action in KZN. Furthermore, she commented that the conviction rates of SAPS members who were found to have acted badly were unacceptably low. She said that this was no doubt due to the poor quality of investigations in all underperforming provinces.

Ms Kohler-Barnard felt that deaths in police custody should be directed to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for investigation, and that SAPS members should not be investigating each other. She further raised a concern that of the 2 912 cases and 608 criminal cases recommended to SAPS for investigation, only 23 were in fact successfully investigated and prosecuted. She questioned if ICD’s recommendations to SAPS were being fully implemented.

Ms Molebatsi (ANC) asked for the provincial breakdown of IPID’s investigators and asked what IPID was doing in relation to the low performance levels in the Western Cape and Gauteng, and what the explanation was for these low levels. She also asked why the provinces with the highest workloads had the lowest numbers of recommendations.

The Chairperson asked what the capacity problems in Gauteng and the Western Cape were, and how those capacity challenges were being dealt with in these provinces. She asked for an indication as to how many of the cases referred to SAPS had been investigated, and how many went through to the National Prosecuting Authority. She too commented that there was a serious problem with the quality of the investigations being conducted, more specifically in relation to the numbers of acquittals when compared to the convictions, and inquired what was being done to correct this.

The Chairperson thought that ICD / IPID had to look again at its targets, to increase the conviction rate of the offending SAPS officials.

The Chairperson wondered how many cases were not being captured on the database because there were no systems of point of registration. She also wanted to know about the quality control measures at these satellite stations.

Mr Sesoko responded that the SAPS Act had provided for the establishment of the ICD. There were standard operating procedures indicating how the ICD’s investigations had to be conducted. Section 53(2) of the SAPS Act provided for some discretion in the investigation of criminal cases. It was possible for ICD / IPID to refer cases back for further investigation, including to the Provincial Commissioner.

The Chairperson asked what the percentage of the criminal cases was, arising out of complaints, that were referred to SAPS by the ICD.
Mr Sesoko responded that this information was not readily available at the moment, and requested the opportunity to provide it later.

Ms Kohler-Barnard stated that there were 2 912 cases brought forward. The result of 23 convictions from these cases was not sufficient, and there was an unacceptably large gap.

The Chairperson wanted to know the breakdown of the cases referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), how many cases were investigated, and what the outcome was. She further stated that the problem with investigations was that there was no follow-through from ICD and that there were no quality control measures in place to evaluate feedback.

Mr Sesoko conceded that follow-ups from IPID with regard to SAPS investigations needed to be done, and more immediate attention would be given to this. He reminded Members that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were adopted in 2009, then re-adopted in March 2012, and these were in place provincially. Cases that lay fallow at police stations, without being investigated, were in themselves a violation of the SOPs. IPID would look into what had happened, and what processes were involved.  un-investigated are a violation of these SOP’s and IPID will look into that, to ascertain what happened and what are the processes involved.

Mr Sesoko noted that the SOP set out that once a complaint was received, the person laying a charge must be consulted, and a case must be opened and registered on the system. The system would inform about the number of cases. Control measures had been put in place, as provincial heads must sign off, at the end of every month, the number of cases received, and the results. They also had to verify, by signature, the accuracy of the information they received. The breakdown of staff in each province was not readily available, and once again he requested an opportunity to collate the information and provide it in detail at a later date.

The Chairperson stated again that programme heads did not appear to be aware of what was happening in their respective programmes. She noted that the Western Cape and Gauteng were under performing. However, instead of the programme heads giving reasonable explanations, the vague and unclear excuse of “capacity constraints” was proffered for these shortcomings. She further stated that no effort had been made by senior management to drive the compilation of the Annual Report and that the programmes did not appear to be working together as a team.

The Chairperson gave Mr Sesoko a deadline of Friday 12 October to provide the missing information.

Budget and financial issues
The Chairperson asked the Acting Executive Director to provide the Committee with a list of the issues faced by the IPID in regard to the compilation of the 2012/13 budget, saying that some of these issues were raised in the previous day’s meeting.

Ms Mbeki responded by stating that the Director of Finance would be going through the entire budget document, giving a complete breakdown. She then stated that there was no alignment between the budget structure and the organisational structure, and the two needed to be aligned. Alignment was also needed in regard to performance reporting and financial reporting, to ensure that budget allocations were informed by the priorities and spending pressures of the organisation.

Mr Patrick Setshedi, Director: Finance, IPID, began his presentation of the IPID’s annual budget by talking about personnel costs for the 2012/13 financial year. He highlighted that the IPID currently had 349 staff members, and that 291 posts were filled at the end of August 2012, leaving 58 posts vacant. However, he stated that the current approved budget for IPID staff salaries could not cover 349 posts.
Additional costs for goods and materials were also estimated, by comparing existing estimates with those of previous financial years. In regard to personnel management, a head count was done to determine personnel costs. Of the R59 million budget allocation, he noted that by the end of August 2012, R36.8 million had been used for salaries. If the remaining 58 posts were to be filled within three months, then an additional R5.8 million would be required for salaries.

He added that the 2012/13 financial budget had increased by 28%, in comparison to previous financial years, but 48% of the budget was allocated to salaries, while 49% was allocated to goods and services. The remaining 1% was for transfers. 2.9% was allocated to machinery. R26.6 million of the budget was allocated to meeting contractual obligations, such as cleaning and security services. The surplus that was anticipated would be redistributed throughout the organisation.

Mr Setshedi highlighted that from 2010 to 2012, the budget allocation for goods and services had been substantially higher than the allocations for staff. Compensation of employees had increased by 10%, 14% and 17% in the financial years 2010/11, 2011/12, and 2012/13 respectively. The allocation for goods and services had shown a continuous growth, from 46% in 2010/11 to 47% in 2011/12.

Mr Setshedi said that a cost comparison had been done on the projected costs of using government garage or subsidised vehicles, which found that subsidised vehicles were more cost effective.

Mr Setshedi went through the spending, saying that the Administration programme was not spending as expected. Most of the budget allocation, at about R55 million, was related to this programme. R40 million was for the inventory and information management, while R436 000 was allocated for legal services.

He set out the goods and services budget, and expenditure allocations per province. The current spending in provinces was not in line with the expected budget spending. 42% of the budget for goods and services was allocated to provinces, in the last financial year, but only 19.5% of that budget allocation was spent, a quite substantial under-spending.

Mr Setshedi concluded by outlining proposals for the future. Firstly, he suggested that internal control measures be put in place for overtime claims, by introducing monthly requests and by reviewing overtime policies. Secondly, he proposed overtime moratoriums on Programmes 1 and 3, by shifting overtime budgets to salaries, as too much was being spent on investigators. He also proposed that funding from goods and services should be shifted, to compensate for the shortfalls in compensation of employees, keeping in mind the spending trends of the previous financial years. The 58 vacant posts would also need to be filled. Lastly, he proposed that minimum performance bonuses be allocated to staff, and that the procurement of employees should be prioritised.

Ms Mbeki added that National Treasury had already been approached by IPID on the request for shifting funds from goods and services to employee compensation, to deal with the deficiency of staff and the under spending in the budget allocations for goods and services. She agreed that the Government Garage component of the fleet needed to be reduced and lease agreements needed to be renegotiated.

The Chairperson proposed that the Acting Executive Director, the CFO, the Director of Finance and the Director for Programme 1 should meet at a later stage to deal with the issues raised during the annual budget presentations. She also suggested that an audit of IPID staff members be conducted.

The Chairperson asked whether IPID had an internal audit team.

Ms Mbeki responded that IPID did have an internal audit team, but in the past it was not part of the management team. At present, that team would sit in on all management meetings to engage with their audit reports and recommendations. She also outlined that the problem had been that most of the management did not engage with the audit reports.

The Chairperson stated that the Auditor-General had suggested that provision be made to allow internal audit teams of various programmes to sit-in during annual financial report discussions. For this reason, for the proposed upcoming meeting, the auditing teams needed to be invited. A date for the meeting would be given at a later stage.

The Chairperson summarised the outstanding matters to be discussed. The statistical presentations and details must be provided within the deadlines already stated. The Committee had noted that he meeting was not satisfactory, and serious concerns had been raised around IPID’s commitment to its broader function and objectives, as well as its commitment to human rights concerns. An investigation should be conducted to find out what is happening in the provinces on which queries were raised. Disciplinary action should be taken where necessary, within three weeks. Finally, a full report was needed setting out a turnaround plan on the issues identified.

The meeting was adjourned.


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