South Africa Police Service Annual Report 2011/12: Administration & Detective Services

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17 October 2012
Chairperson: Ms A Van Wyk (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee discussed Programme One: Administration challenges after SAPS briefing on it the day before. The problem of re-hiring unreliable contractors resulting in delays in expenditure and service delivery was discussed. Concerns were raised over increases in the number of sick days being taken. It emerged that the Department of Public Works was responsible for entering into the majority of contracts involving leases, and sometimes did not consult with SAPS even when SAPS was meant to provide clearance. On the topic of recovering legal costs from SAPS members, this was subject to policy that examined all the circumstances, especially the capability of member to repay the amount. In terms of loss of firearms, the reasons for the loss were taken into account when deciding whether to charge for misconduct.

Programme Three: Detective Services showed encouraging progress and the Committee congratulated SAPS, as most targets had been met. Forensic and specialised crime units were developing well and producing positive results. However, the Committee observed that the detection rate was not as high as it could be and therefore that the ultimate rate of conviction was below desirable. It was suggested that some targets were not high enough.

Meeting report

Discussion on Programme One
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) repeated her question on contractors that were unreliable but were nevertheless re-hired, and asked who was responsible for that. She asked about the intake figures for SAPS and whether there would still be police officers lost through natural attrition rather being fired. She asked about SAPS members who failed to pass their driving licence tests and whether this was a condition of their employment. Finally she asked whether officers under suspension were entitled to retain their firearms.

Mr M George (COPE) asked if sick leave was still being abused by SAPS members or if the police service was genuinely prone to illness.

Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) asked who had selected the lease location, period and terms for SAPS.

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) wanted to know if discipline was equal for all members of SAPS regardless of rank. He asked about the legal effects of an SAPS member meeting an accident when not wearing a bullet proof vest.

The Chairperson observed that the level of incapacity for senior management seemed very high for only 18 people. It was estimated to cost R3 million. It appeared that the higher skill level employees were enjoying longer periods of incapacity leave. She asked if there were psychiatric issues with higher level employees or if they were exploiting the system.

General Mangwashi Phiyega, National Commissioner of SAPS, affirmed that there was an internal audit structure at both national and provincial level and that she was committed to strengthening that structure. In terms of sick leave there were declining numbers from 2010/11. The choice to enter into SAPS leases was usually taken by the Department of Public Works, and she questioned the validity of many of these decisions given the state of some facilities. She said that the perception that senior management were being suspended with pay whilst lower ranking members were not, was not an issue that she was aware of and that such disparity of treatment was contrary to the SAPS ethos. In terms of incapacity leave, she suggested that a qualitative element be added to the statistics so that the validity of claims could be assessed. However, she pointed out that police work was extremely stressful and that it would not surprise her to find that many senior members legitimately required incapacity leave. Senior members were likely to be senior in age and therefore more sensitive to psychological factors. She reiterated that SAPS’ main assets were its members and that a reduction in human resource costs would amount to a reduction in the quality of the service.

Lieutenant General Nkayishane Mazibuko, Acting Deputy National Commissioner for Human Resource Management, began by dealing with the intake of new officers. He said that the established target was 197 000 members and that this had been mildly exceeded. The budget allocation showed that the target for the following year could not be met and had to be reduced. The replacement of members lost through natural attrition would amount to 1 200. The 16 000 members without driving licences included those members with disabilities, and some other, able-bodied applicants. They met all the other requirements and were not dismissed, as SAPS had the capacity to rather train them to use vehicles.

Major General Kaine Monyepao, Acting Divisional Commissioner of Human Resource Utilisation for SAPS, explained that the perception of senior members receiving pay while on suspension and junior members not, was simply that, a perception. This was neither policy nor practice in SAPS. Each suspension was looked at in its own light and with regard for the possible criminal ramifications. He noted that the decision to withhold pay was taken with consideration for whether or not the matter would be finalised within 90 days. In terms of sick leave and capacity leave, these were concerning to SAPS but he believed that progress was being made. He emphasised the importance of accurate data-gathering in this regard.

Lieutenant General Christabel Mbekela, Divisional Commissioner of Human Resource Development for SAPS, said that of the members not yet declared competent, many merely had outstanding modules such as firearms training. Trainees were exposed to driving instruction and did undertake licence tests. Although they were given ample opportunity to get their licences, if they ultimately were unable to, SAPS tried to accommodate them in a role where it was not required. If they were found not competent overall, then SAPS gave remedial training and, depending on policy, they may or may not be let go.

Lieutenant General Stephan Schutte, Divisional Commissioner of Financial and Administration Services, revealed that the higher costs for sick leave were due to higher salaries even though absolute numbers had decreased.

General Leah Mofomme, Deputy National Commissioner of Physical Resources Management, referred to non performing contractors being rehired, saying this was often in terms of the Department of Public Works. All non-performing contractors were blacklisted for all departments. After evaluation, the supply chain practitioners cross referenced them with that list. However, the process of cancelling a contract was lengthy and expensive, creating delays. Lease of facilities was not a devolved function and SAPS was only involved in utilising state owned facilities. All other leases were undertaken by the Department of Public Works.

General Phiyega went on record saying that maintenance was in need of review. Channels for repairing vehicles should not necessarily be outsourced as the yields had failed to meet expectations. Cleaning services were not always adequate. Day to day maintenance was poor and SAPS should have its own handyman capacity.

Mr George said that he was not satisfied with many answers. He pointed out that there was discretion to suspend without pay so it seemed as if this discretion was being exercised in favour of senior officers. The increase in salary was not as large as the rise in sick leave costs. He asked if the training was adequate, given that ill-discipline seemed rife.

Ms Molebatsi asked when officers were legally deemed to be off duty and at what stage would they not be covered by SAPS for harm done to him? She asked for clarity on leasing facilities and whether or not SAPS had any say in accepting facilities that were not fit for purpose.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked about the training backlog and if there was a national fitness training regime. She said that the dot preen marking of firearms was crucial to holding individual members accountable for use and possession of firearms and asked when it would be completed. She wanted to know exactly how many stations did not have basic water, electricity and sanitation facilities. She asked what criteria were used to determine if a station should be upgraded to satellite facilities. In terms of drivers’ licences, this was listed as a requirement for membership at SAPS and she wanted to know why so many exceptions were being made for this. She said that non-performing contractors should not have been hired in the first place, regardless of whether or not they were on a black list.

Mr Ndlovu asked who had received performance rewards in senior management.

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) asked what measures were in place to make sure that the asset management list remained current.

Mr P Groenewald (FF) asked what the prescribed disciplinary action was against an officer who lost his firearm.

The Chairperson said that there were repeat offenders claiming leave. She wanted to know if SAPS examined leave pattern, such as just before or after a weekend. SAPS was only gathering information for reporting purposes rather than using it as a means to an end, the end being improving policing services. In terms of promotions, she asked who and why had they been promoted, as well as the cost to the Department. Firearm training was a recurring issue, but there were no reports on shooting range standards. She asked if all performance agreement had been signed at all stations. She reiterated that training should not be reduced to number of passes and failures. There should be qualitative measurements that can accurately reflect the outcome to SAPS and to the public. She raised the complaint from the unions that there were SAPS members doing administrative work rather than performing functions under the Police Act. She demanded figure of this in writing. She said that the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) testing was even more important than the dot peen marking. If firearms were used in the commission of a crime, it was crucial that they be registered at IBIS, and yet no progress was being made.

General Phiyega reiterated that SAPS’ dependence on Public Works was mitigating their ability to make decisions regarding assets.

General Mbekela said that some stations used private shooting ranges rather than SAPS ranges but these still had to meet government standards. Monitoring and evaluation of training was to be discussed within the Department so as to ensure that training was not just happening but was happening at a satisfactory standard. SAPS would always strive to improve the quality of training and especially the discipline being instilled in trainees. Driver licence training was emphasised and trainees were assisted as much as possible in attaining this qualification.

General Mofomme explained that the lease process was run by the Department for Public Works but that it was meant to confirm such contracts with SAPS before finalising them. However, in many instances this did not occur and SAPS had reported such instances for investigation. The User Asset Management Plan served to highlight renovation or maintenance requirements and this was used as the basis for allocation of funding.

Water provision was meant to be done at station level in collaboration with local municipalities, but often in the case of rural station, SAPS members would simply use rivers or other informal sources. In terms of the dot peen marking of firearms, this was scheduled to be done by the end of March 2013.

General Julius Molefe, Executive Legal Officer for SAPS, addressed the legal implications of police indiscipline and negligence, saying that there would always be certain costs attached to policing. However, he emphasised that the decision to prosecute or not were not within the SAPS mandate and should be taken up with the Department of Justice instead.

General Phiyega said that she was seeking to restructure the Legal Services department to limit SAPS liability in the future.

Ms Kohler-Barnard demanded to know what the process was for recovering legal costs from SAPS members found guilty in the courts especially when they were in the millions.

General Phiyega said that there were clear protocols on this but that each case had to be considered on its own merits, taking into account the prospects of appeal and the ability of the individual to pay.

General Molefe supported this by saying that state assistance was only given to members for actions that were performed in the course and scope of their duty. Members signed agreements to repay the money and if they refused to pay, they would have to give convincing reasons for doing so. Serious indigence was one example of this.

General Husselman, SAPS Head of Vehicle Fleet Management, continued the discussion on expenditure increases by saying that towing costs had gone up as a result of outsourcing. Towing could not be viably done by SAPS and outsourcing was the best way of achieving this, but it had been budgeted for.

General Mofomme mentioned that the loss of any firearm was recorded on the supply chain asset management database, but that the completion of the dot peen marking capture would greatly assist with this.

General Monyepao added that in the previous year, 400 members had been charged for losing their firearms. These charges did not always result in disciplinary action, as many losses were instances of theft. There were a number of categories of loss. Members would be charged following an investigation, and if the firearm was lost under a particular set of circumstances, they would be dismissed from service.

The Chairperson summarised the Programme discussion by saying that asset management was underperforming and that in the following year under expenditure would not be accepted, especially in conjunction with poor performance. She requested details on a number of Human Resource and supply chain matters.

Programme Three: Detective Services
General Godfrey Lebeya, Deputy National Commissioner for Crime Detection, introduced the programme by saying that it consisted of four sub-programmes: crime investigations, specialised investigations, criminal record centre and the forensic science laboratory. The purpose of this section was to enable the investigative work of the South African Police Service and contribute to the successful prosecution of crime. He noted gradual improvement in investigation and prosecution figures.

General Schutte discussed the financial aspects of Programme Three, showing that spending performance had increased 14.6%, number of personnel had increased by 1 568, general detective capacity had increased and more personnel were appointed to the Forensic Science Laboratory and Criminal Record Centre. Other prominent spending priorities in the area of specialised and crime investigations were accomplished, and the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences and Stock Theft units received discernable emphasis in terms of funding and hence expenditure.

General Vineshkumar Moonoo, Divisional Commissioner of Detective Services, began by saying that detection rates were no longer determined using a range but instead relied on specific targets. The objective of this sub programme was to contribute to the successful prosecution of offenders by investigating, gathering and analysing evidence relating to detection and court ready dockets. A series of indicators was discussed with reference to targets and actual performance. Detection rate for contact crimes, contact-related crimes, property-related crimes, crimes dependent on police action and other serious crimes was 53.41%, an improvement on 51.84% achieved in 2010/11. The percentage of court ready case dockets for the above crimes was 48.17%, in excess of the target of a 3% increase on the 2010/11 baseline of 30.84%. The remaining targets were shown to have been achieved and in many cases exceeded.

Detective capacity was determined using a head count and established detective numbers were at 23 701. This figure was broken down according to specialisation and department.139 Detective Court Case Officers were placed at 109 courts in all provinces and 18 posts at Head Office were granted to Provinces to aid in this. Detective Service Centres were established at 338 stations. 338 vehicles were purchased for the centres, as well as 21 900 laptops (for typing of statement and completion of docket in electronic format). 503 vehicles were procured for general use by detectives and 479 detectives were re-deployed back to the Detective Services environment.

Performance highlights were the improvement of court ready case dockets from 30.84% to 48.17% and improvements in conviction rates for serious crimes, contact crimes and trio crimes. In terms of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences, the conviction rates improved for crimes against women and children by 79% each. There was a marked increase in numbers of FCS detectives and 363 life sentences were secured. Vehicles and laptops were purchased to provide resources to detectives. Accommodation remained a problem as most units were housed in park homes and old buildings. This was being addressed with supply chain management and the Provincial Commissioners. A provincial breakdown of the FCS units was given. Eastern Cape had the most at 27 and North West had the fewest with eight. 44 416 stolen livestock were recovered and 9 553 subsequent arrests made. Success stories regarding missing children and other persons were displayed. It was noted that not all people found wanted to be returned to their families and that SAPS had to respect this.

In order to improve effectiveness and efficiency of detectives, SAPS had taken a number of steps. A manual on crime investigation was developed, as well as another manual for crime scene investigation. Both manuals were available on the SAPS intranet. 206 Head Office inspections were held at identified stations. Commanders were trained in the Detective Commanders Learning Programme (DCLP) course, in-service-training sessions were held with Commanders at stations being inspected and mentorship relationships were created for inexperienced Commanders.

All lost or stolen dockets were reconstructed and properly investigated. 10 500 lockable steel filing cabinets were being purchased. In 2011/12, 748 life sentences were secured. 1434 sentences of 20 years or more were handed down. South Africa received three awards at the Crime Stoppers International Conference in Jamaica for most arrests, best media campaign and best community mobilisation advertisement. Operations successes were named in terms of Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) Cross Border Operations Successes in collaboration with Swaziland, Mozambique, Lesotho, Mamelodi, Soshanuve, Bloemfontein, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. Disruptive operations held in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West yielded the seizure of numerous motor vehicles, bikes, trailers and engines. Operation Kwaicha held in Tanzania was very successful.

Specialised Investigations
General Anwa Dramat, Head of the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI), said the purpose of this sub programme was to ensure effective and efficient prevention and investigation of national priority offences. These included serious organised crime, commercial crime and corruption. The percentage of registered Serious Organised Crime investigations successfully terminated was 52.27%, an improvement on the target of 31%. Organised Crime made 2 820 arrests and secured 884 convictions. Enormous amounts of drugs were confiscated. 16 clandestine drug laboratories were detected and dismantled, leading to 30 arrests. 314 persons were arrested for the illegal purchase, theft and possession of uncut diamonds and unwrought precious metals. DPCI units succeeded in arresting 220 suspects for crimes relating to the theft andpossession of non-ferrous metals, leading to 46 convictions.

Quantities of abalone amounting to R28 million was seized in the Western Cape from seven separate police operations. The White River investigation led to the seizure of 4 rhino horns, two large trunks containing R5 069 800 and weapons. DNA technology was used to establish criminal activity in this regard.

In the detection of serious commercial crimes, detection rates and percentage of court ready case dockets exceeded targets. 8 309 individuals were arrested and 5 561 convictions were secured. Cyber Crime dealt with the matter of a well organised syndicate who conducted a series of fraudulent transfers through the Post Bank totalling almost R43 million. This was achieved with the help of a Post Bank employee who was arrested following an extensive investigation. He was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Three other members of the syndicate had since been arrested.

In terms of serious corruption, only 24 court ready cases were achieved, short of the target of 25. However, the value of assets restrained or seized in serious corruption cases was R588 822 438, far in excess of the goal of R125 million. During Operation Clean Audit there was an emphasis on local government. As part of this operation, 76 cases were received for investigation. 26 public officials and 26 members of the public were arrested on charges of fraud, corruption and theft. 163 persons had to date been convicted on corruption charges.

Criminal Record Centre and Forensic Science Laboratory
Lieutenant-General Joe Phahlane first dealt with earlier questions about firearms testing. He confirmed that 141 189 firearms had been tested and entered into the IBIS database. On average 25 000 were done per quarter. The remaining firearms should be completed over the next six quarters.

General Phahlane discussed areas of key performance in the sub-programme such as accreditation of laboratories, effective management and support functions and effective record management. In terms of performance indicators, the annual target for conviction reports generated within 20 days was 80% and actual performance was 93.88%. This was illustrated graphically per quarter and in contrast to previous years. Impacts on individual aspects of the criminal record centre were shown in terms of progress from the previous year. Shoe-print Investigations and Positive Shoe Print Investigations increased by 64% and 63% respectively. Manual Fingerprint identifications dropped by 11% due to the increases in AFIS Fingerprint Identifications, which went up by 83%. The performance indicator for case exhibits processed within 28 working days was not realised. 77.39% were done as opposed to the target of 92%. Although this seemed low compared to previous years, the target period had changed from 35 days to 28 days.

The value of DNA analysis in the investigation of crime was illustrated using several examples. The first was the Durban Axe Murderer in which DNA was able to link the culprit to a series of crimes. The Vredendal Serial Murderer saw a previously convicted individual apprehended as the suspect. In the Springs Serial Murderer investigation, murder and rape cases were again linked using DNA. Others were named. In terms of the Victim Identification Centre, prominent cases of unidentified victims were solved using the assistance of DNA resources.

The Chairperson congratulated the Department on the successes reached in the Detective Programme but noted that in some aspects performance targets could have been higher. She expressed hope that similar success would be pursued in all areas of SAPS.

Mr D Stubbe (DA) asked for clarification on the detection rate of trio crimes. He asked how many vehicles were allocated per unit in provinces as this had been a problem in the past. In terms of missing adults, he asked if there were investigations into those missing adults who chose to remain missing and why they had abandoned their families.

Mr Groenewald asked if the conviction rate for serious crimes was only for those cases that had court ready dockets or of all investigations. In the context of the number of investigations that actually made it to court the target was actually quite low. He queried the role of SAPS in rhino poaching, asking why it had been prioritised and farm murders had not. Finally he asked how far back the Forensic Crime Lab backlog went.

Ms Molebatsi asked if the discrepancy between vehicles purchased and delivered was not a case of fiscal dumping. She asked what measures were taken to avoid lost dockets and records, aside from the purchase of lockers. Finally she wanted to know if conviction rates for crimes against women and children would increase and hypothesised that the targets in this area were too low.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that out of 100 crimes, 51 would be detected, 24 would be court ready and 18 would be convicted. She said that although the target was met, the target was therefore too low. She expressed concern over rhino poaching and whether there were adequate resources. A similar concern existed over cyber crimes, given the disproportionate nature of this crime. She asked for details of the cyber crime department’s capacity. She asked how serious the one breach in Protection Services was.

Mr George said that one of the Committee’s biggest challenges historically had been Detective Services and wished to note how pleased he was with its improvements.

Mr Ndlovu asked if Detective Services was satisfied with the budget or not.

The Chairperson reiterated that there should be an increase in the detection rate. The target in this aspect was too wide. She asked why it was necessary to have detectives at courts if dockets were being properly prepared at stations. She asked if SAPS was looking into the possibility of reintroducing a uniformed detective branch for minor issues. She asked if the 176 FCS units established was exhaustive or if SAPS was aiming for more units and if so, how many? She agreed that stock theft needed to be more closely targeted as it was a major problem in rural areas. She said that missing persons who were found but did not want to be returned to their families, should surely be included in the category of persons who were found rather than outstanding cases. She asked how it could be ensured that evidence was handled properly at all stages of investigation and was processed with a sense of urgency. The Auditor General had referred specifically to improper handling of drugs. She noted that there were no figures for individuals charged following missing or lost dockets.

General Phiyega said on the issue of rhino poaching as opposed to farm murders, that the SAPS was naturally very serious about combating murders. However, murders were being targeted as a greater part of the SAPS process whereas poaching was a particular area of Detective Services that required specialist attention. She appreciated the Committee’s sentiment that targets should be higher. In terms of resourcing, she believed that it was the Committee’s prerogative to increase or decrease the budget but that she would always strive to allocate amongst departments efficiently. There had been a call to re-establish previous specialist units and that the proposal to re-introduce uniformed detectives would be looked at in the same light. She confirmed that when missing persons were found but wished to remain missing, their families were in fact informed.

General Schutte said that there had been pressures in capital assets and employee compensation that had led to over expenditure in the Programme.However, she

General Dramat said that the capacity of the rhino poaching team was bolstered through collaboration with other departments. On the issue of cyber crime, this was a relatively new phenomenon but a quickly growing one. SAPS at this point did not have sufficient expert capacity but was building relationships with industry such as the CSIR, through which progress was being made. An effective cyber crime strategy for law enforcement was in its second draft.

General Moonoo said that there were two stock theft investigators allocated per vehicle. The question of missing persons absconding their social responsibilities did not enter into investigations. The conviction rate was based on those cases that came before the court. In terms of dockets lost or stolen from which no charges resulted, in Kwa Zulu Natal the Station had in fact burnt down which was why there were no charges resulting. In another case a Commander’s wife had burnt dockets as a form of revenge. Part of the reason for having detectives at court level was to ensure that dockets were not misplaced or ignored in the court systems and this was unfortunately often necessitated by detective commanders not performing properly.

General Dramat said that there was generally a deficiency in specialised areas such as fighting corruption and that this was a problem that would take time, not just money to correct.

Mr George said he was worried about the admission that there was a deficiency of anti-corruption experts. This was something that needed to be looked at urgently.

The Chairperson requested a number of details from the delegation including Stock Theft specialised unit locations and the breakdown of the lost dockets and subsequent disciplinary actions. She asked what was happening with the Inspectorate as it often appeared to be incompetent. She wanted to know if it was being fully utilised.

General Phiyega said that it was not being used to its full potential but that this was a transitional issue that she was seeking to address.

The Chairperson adjourned the session for the day.


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