National Police Commissioner on restructuring of SAPS; SAPS briefing on 4th quarter 2012/13 and 1st quarter 2013/14 expenditures

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17 September 2013
Chairperson: Ms A van Wyk (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The South African Police Services (SAPS) delegation, headed by the National Commissioner, presented its financial report on the 4th quarter of the 2012/13 financial year and the 1st quarter of the 2013/14 financial year.  At the end of the 2012/13 financial year, SAPS had spent 99.6% of its R63.3 billion allocated budget, which was an increase from the previous year.  Despite this, a concern was that only 99.7% of funds had been spent in Programme 1 (Administration).  It was stated that this was due to unspent funds on buildings and other infrastructure.  Spending on capital works was low at 96.3%.  This was blamed on the funds being earmarked, and that working with the Department of Public Works (DPW) on projects had proven to be difficult.  Funding for the Criminal Justice System (CJS) revamp was only at 89.2% of target, and this was also due to the funds being earmarked and thus unable to be shifted to other areas.  Funding for each programme was broken down into sub-programmes, and explanations provided for over-spending and under-spending (see presentation).

Members expressed concern over the number of civil claims and asked for statistics on how many claims had been filed and how much they had cost.  Many Members were worried about SAPS’s working relationship with the DPW, as Public Works had been a difficult department to work with in the past.  Members gave the example of the DPW neglecting its duties in respect of police station leases, resulting in SAPS officers being locked out of their own stations.  The Committee also believed that the under-spending on the CJS was understated, and was a much more serious issue than SAPS or the figures had demonstrated.  Furthermore this under-spending was a recurring trend, and over R500m in earmarked funds had been returned to the Treasury.  Clarification was also needed on why so much had been spent on catering and on consultants, as both categories had been overspent considerably.

Members asked if the e-docket system would ever be implemented in stations, as SAPS had started this project 12 years earlier.  The devolution of power from the DPW to SAPS in order for SAPS to build their own structures was also of concern, as this was not a SAPS core business and similar projects run by SAPS had proven costly and taken long to implement.  The issue of spending on compensation of employees was raised, as funds had been reallocated to increase the amount for compensation, despite the fact that many vacancies remained in SAPS.

The presentation on 1st quarter spending for the 2013/14 was then given, and it was determined that spending was at an overall rate of 23.8%, with a benchmark of 25%.  A detailed breakdown by programme and economic classification was provided (see presentation).  Spending on compensation of employees was again high, at 25.7%, and was the biggest expenditure.   Spending on buildings and fixed structures was only at 10.8%, and although SAPS had expressed concern, it was noted that capital spending usually had lower percentages in the first quarter and then met its targets in the following three. Spending on the Integrated Justice System (IJS) and CJS revamp were very low once again, and SAPS said that one of the reasons was that the Treasury had introduced conditions for the utilisation of funding in 2013/14.  Overall, SAPS was happy with their spending, as they had achieved better percentages than in previous years.

The Committee asked whether funds would again be shifted from somewhere to provide for the compensation of employees, as had been the case the year before. Once again, spending on catering and consultants was revealed as a serious concern, specifically in laboratory services, where spending on consultants was at 238.6%. Concern over the pattern of declining spending on IJS and CJS, was also raised.  The Committee asked for clarification on the under-spending for capital works projects.

Members accused SAPS of poor planning, and commented that due to SAPS having one of the biggest budgets in the country, amounts that seemed small to them were not small at all.  It was the duty of the Committee to require accountability for these funds.  The strain on SAPS funding would be further felt once the DNA Bill was fully implemented. 

SAPS then presented their restructuring plan, which was intended to change the way SAPS functioned and to adapt to the changes that had occurred over time.  The responsibilities and objectives of SAPS had changed and their structure had to reflect that.  The presentation described the legal framework that set out the mandate of SAPS and the National Commissioner. 

Under the old structure at the executive level, there had been a National Commissioner, five Deputy National Commissioners (DNC), one DNC for Priority Crime Investigations, an Executive Legal Officer, and merged crime intelligence and protection services.  There were 13 divisional commissioners, nine provincial commissioners, 54 deputy provincial commissioners (six per province) and 176 cluster commanders.

The Committee was shown how the new structure was broken down and aspects were reorganised (see presentation, slide 8).   By creating a more operationally-aligned structure of functions, SAPS was able to cut down on the total number of DNCs, and for all the functions of a section to fall under one place and one director.  The number of DNCs would be cut from six to three, with one DNC being responsible for each of the following divisions: Policing, Physical Resource Management and Corporate Services.  The establishment of a research institute would also take place under the functions of the National Commissioner.  Crime Intelligence and Protection Services would also be separated into independent divisions.  New divisions and establishments would be created by the restructuring, such as facility management, strategy, research and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and the research institute.  These changes were being made to respond to emerging service trends and demands, as well as to integrate operations vertically for efficiency.

At a provincial level, the restructuring would unbundle some roles and responsibilities and lessen the top-heavy structure of SAPS.  The roles and responsibilities of clusters and station commanders would also be redefined, as would the front line service delivery at stations.  An integrity unit was also to be established, with a focus on internal corruption and malpractices.

The overall advantages were the streamlining of the head office structures, which would refine delegations and encourage co-operative governance, as well as place an emphasis on committee structures.  Synergy would also be improved due to the vertical and horizontal integrated service offerings.  At a provincial level, the redeployment of resources to cluster stations where possible, and the implementation principles of fixed establishment, were noted as being key advantages.

Members liked the concept of the more streamlined and professional structure, but thought that this was less a case of relieving the top-heavy structure, and more about spreading it horizontally.  The recent appointment of the Commissioner in Gauteng was also noted as a concern, as it had soon been discovered that he had a criminal record and was promptly dismissed.  The Committee called this an embarrassment to SAPS and to the Commissioner, and asked how they could be assured that this would not recur.   Background check processes had to be tightened and refined.

The Committee told the delegation that they were not the first to attempt to redefine SAPS, and that although they supported their objectives, SAPS needed to be wary of the process. Many people who had made previous attempts and failed were still working with SAPS.  How would the changes affect SAPS positively on a day to day basis?

Members further asked how many high level positions were still to be filled, and whether SAPS had the capacity to accomplish all that was set out before them. Further clarity was sought in regard to the roles and responsibilities of clusters and cluster commanders, as well as the role of the deputy station commander.  It was stated that crime intelligence should be at the centre of policing, and that integrated crime intelligence was a necessary approach.  The Committee asked SAPS to provide them with a detailed chart of all the positions, what their duties would entail, and who would be filling the positions.

Meeting report

Briefing by Parliamentary Research Unit
The meeting commenced with a presentation from the Parliamentary Research Unit to the Committee on the quarterly expenditures of SAPS for the 4th quarter of the 2012/13 financial year and the 1st quarter of the 2013/14 financial year.  The presenters began by noting that the main appropriation budget of SAPS had increased by R903.3 million, to R63.3 billion. This was in comparison to the 2011/12 budget of R62.4 billion.  Overall, transfers and subsidies increased by R1.67 billion and current payments increased by R1.25 billion, while payments for financial assets decreased by R349.4 million.  The researchers noted the many virements that had occurred in the budget, including a shift of R236.3 million in Programme 1 to pay for the permanent appointment of security guards, and a R250 million shift from buildings and other fixed structures, to compensation of employees.  There was a declared saving of R300 million on buildings and other fixed structures which, combined with the R250 million shift, meant that there was a total of R550 million unspent on buildings and other structures in 2012/13.

In Programme 3, Detective Services, R130 million had been reprioritised from the Criminal Justice Sector (CJS) Revamp; Goods and Services account, to compensation of employees.  The research unit stated that this shift violated regulations set out in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), as the funds allocated to CJS were earmarked, thus an explanation was needed from SAPS for this virement.

Overall spending for the 2012/13 financial year finished at 99.6%, compared to 98.9% spending in 2011/12.  In terms of economic classification, overspending was found in transfers and subsidies and payments for capital assets.  The research unit expressed concern with spending in the sub-programme of Programme 1, entitled Ministry, which was at 86.6%. This was raised as an issue, as it was a historical occurrence and under-spending had occurred in this sub-programme across many years.

For the statistics on the fourth quarter of 2012/13, the research unit concluded that the Committee should focus on the Department’s effective spending of earmarked funds, with specific focus on the implementation of Integrated Justice System (IJS) and Criminal Justice System (CJS) projects. Expenditures related to goods and services, and buildings and other fixed structures accounts, must be improved, as there were areas that needed to be addressed.  The year’s expenditures in Programme 1: (Administration) should be examined, as there was overspending and under-spending present.

For the 2013/14 financial year, SAPS had an appropriation of R67.9 billion, and through the first quarter had spent R16.1 billion, which accounted for 23.8% of the budget against a baseline of 25%. Once again, the sub-programme Ministry was down in spending, at only 17.8%.  Overall, Programme 1 had spent only 21.2% of its budget, which was a cause of concern for the research unit.  Programme 2: Visible Policing had spent 25% of its budget.   Programme 3: Detective Services had spent 24.1%.   Programme 4: Crime Intelligence had spent 24.4%, and Programme 5: Protection and Security Services had spent 25.8%.  It was noted that compensation of employees had spent 1.1% above the approved drawings.  The most troublesome areas were under goods and services, where over-spending was being committed on consultants, especially on laboratory services and legal consultants.

A further concern of the research unit was the under-spending on the CJS revamp and modernisation programme, where only 14.8% of the earmarked funds were spent.  This was even lower than the previous year, which had failed to achieve its targets.  The research unit concluded that the spending in the first quarter of 2013/14 had fallen into the same trends as the spending of the previous years.  They recommended that the Committee interrogate SAPS on their spending on consultants, as they were overspending in this regard.

The Chairperson thanked the research unit for their work and invited the SAPS delegation into the room to commence their presentations. She thanked them for coming, especially the Commissioner, who was appearing before the Committee for the first time.  The Chairperson congratulated the Commissioner on some of the recent positives steps forward, such as the arrest of some corrupt officers.  She then took the time to acknowledge and condemn the killing of an officer in Limpopo.  It was a major concern for the Committee and for all South Africans, and she called upon the courts to act swiftly and decisively on this matter.

Ms Riah Phiyega, National Commissioner, South African Police Services, assured the Committee that she was always available to account for the actions of SAPS.  She introduced the large delegation and stated that the size of the group she brought was because she wanted to ensure the Committee that all questions would be answered.  She then handed over the presentation to Lieutenant General Stefan Schutte, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of SAPS.

Briefing by SAPS on 4th Quarter Financial Report 2012/13
Lt Gen Schutte began with the presentation on the 4th quarter finances for the 2012/13 financial year.  He began by breaking down the spending by Programme (see presentation).

Programme 1 (administration) had been underspent by 2,3% the amount allocated for buildings and other infrastructure.  Programme 2 (visible policing) had been overspent by a small amount, owing to the increase in the fuel and oil price.  In the sub-category of goods and services in Programme 2, there had been overspending. Programme 3 (detective services) had been overspent by 1.1%, and this was due to the increase in the amount needed for compensation and capital purchases.   In Programme 4 (crime intelligence) under-spending was caused by SAPS making fewer capital purchases then initially expected. under-spending in Programme 5 (protection and security services) was due to lower than expected spending on the compensation of employees.

A detailed breakdown of spending, sorted by economic classification, showed that goods and services had used 94.7% of the budget.   This under-spending was attributed to CJS spending and network and hosting services. Transfers and subsidies was a major overspending area (114.6%), and this was due to an increase in payments in the civil claims environment. When looking at month by month spending over the previous four years, they all followed a similar pattern and hovered around the same percentage marks.

The presentation then touched on spending related to capital works and devolved funds from Public Works.  It was noted that spending was at 96.3% overall, and the R683.2 million that was earmarked specifically for capital works had been spent in full.  The under-spending was of concern to SAPS, who claimed that working with Public Works had proved to be difficult.  Many meetings had been held with Public Works, and increased monitoring, evaluation and interaction on projects had been initiated.  Personal involvement by the Accounting Officer and senior management had also taken place to try and assure proper spending.

Lt Gen Schutte then touched on spending on the CJS Revamp and the IJS spending.  Spending on IJS was at 100%, but spending on the CJS Revamp was only at 89.2%.   This was because they did not have the ability to shift the funds allocated to CJS, as they had been earmarked.

Lt Gen Schutte then gave a detailed breakdown of each Programme’s spending divided by sub-programmes (see presentation).  

Mr P Groenewald (FF) asked what the three main concerns were in terms of the information presented, and how did the SAPS plan to address them?

Mr MGeorge (COPE) was interested in the statistics given for civil claims.  How many had been filed and how much had they all cost?  The SAPS working relationship with Public Works was of concern to him as well.  Programmes had been in existence for two decades, but it appeared that there was no initiative to make them work.  Was working with Public Works the only route SAPS had taken?  Because it was not working, what was SAPS doing to ensure that they had decent infrastructure?

Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) noted that under-spending was more common then overspending, and asked how SAPS intended to correct this?

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked what was happening with police station leases.  He noted that employees were being locked out of stations.  What was being done to discipline officers who had violations against their names?

The Chairperson then reminded Members that the questions being asked should be about the financial presentations, as there would be an opportunity for other topics to be brought up later.  She noted that the under-spending in the CJS was more significant than the slides were showing.   The DNA Bill was not the only thing that would change CJS spending.  Some had said that it would take four years to spend the full allocation.  What was the money being spent on, and why had there been consistent under-spending despite these high allocations?  More than R500m had been returned to the Treasury.   SAPS needed to be accountable for this.  The Auditor General had reported that many problems existed within SAPS management which was of great concern to the Committee.

Commissioner Phiyega said that when she took over in 2012, expenditure had been at 98.6% and she had realised the need for proper spending and use of resources.  The 2012/13 figure of 99.6% was much better, but still not optimal.   Issues with IJS and CJS spending were still of concern.  More financial accountability would be achieved through participative financial planning and management.  Leaders needed to take more initiative in ensuring that accountability was a priority in spending.   A finance committee had been introduced to inform commanders on fiscal responsibility and where they stood on spending.

She touched on the implementation of E-dockets in stations, and said that SAPS had a goal of finishing the implementation process within two years. The tender for cabling was out at the time.

Lt Gen Schutte then stated that a certain budget had been provided for capital works, for which a threshold was set by the Treasury.  This threshold had not been met, which was why there had been under-spending in Programme 1.  In terms of civil claims, SAPS had spent R204 million on settlements, the majority of which had come from court rulings.

On the subject of civil claims, the Commissioner said she had instigated a monthly litigation report which broke down all claims by station and province.  This was to be used as a management information tool, with the information provided being analysed to assess where the majority of problems were originating.

Property leases were an issue that the Department had been dealing with for two decades.  SAPS had taken a proactive role in reaching out to Public Works to try and resolve some of the issues they had, but since it was issue that was legislated, it was difficult to change and created many legislative restraints.  SAPS was in negotiation with Public Works in an attempt to commence some devolution of powers.  Until Public Works began to work proactively with SAPS, these issues would still exist.  With devolution, SAPS would be able to be more self-sufficient in maintaining their stations, as under the current agreement they were unable to obtain simple things such as paint.

Under-spending on CJS was of major concern to her, as it was to the Committee.  She agreed with the Chairperson that the DNA Bill had not been the only factor in their under-spending.  SAPS had been working hard to try and close the spending gap.  E-policing was at the top of the Commissioner’s agenda. E-policing would create better information sharing and results.  Projects in this area had been prioritised and every penny saved was being redirected to cabling the stations, as it was the basis upon which CJS would thrive. 

Lt Gen Schutte stated that the use of consultants was being given a great deal of attentions, as SAPS wanted to ensure that no one was abusing the system.  He referred to the variety of subcategories related to this issue, including legal cost paid to the Department of Justice.  There was a direct correlation between the increased amount of civil cases and consultant costs.  Under-spending on the CJS was due to many things, including the IT environment, the operational environment, the Criminal Record Centre (CRC), delivery arrangements and operational aspects.

The Chairperson asked for more concise answers from SAPS during the next round of questions and opened the floor to the Members.

Mr George asked a follow-up question about civil claims.  He had received information that some people were owed money from SAPS for their claims, but had yet to receive it.  He requested the list of claims, so that this could be verified.  He questioned the spending on bursaries, which was at 162.2% to budget, andd the spending on catering, which was at 135.2%.  These figures seemed excessive.

Mr Groenewald said that upon receiving the litigation report, the Minister of Police had said that no disciplinary steps had been taken against members of the police force who had been found guilty.  Why was this the case?  These situations tarnished the public perception and reputation of SAPS.  Were the legal costs of some cases written off?

Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked what the difference was between catering and food supply, as both were present in the report.

Mr Ndlovu asked for clarification on the current situation in regard to the e-dockets.  What were consultants being used for?

Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) said that she had spoken to the brother of the taxi driver from Mozambique who had been killed, and he had stated that he was under pressure from the Mozambique government not to file a civil claim against SAPS.   Was pressure coming from the South African government as well?

The Chairperson asked for clarification on the overspending on VIP protection services.  She had heard many answers as to why SAPS was struggling with their capital projects, such as they did not have the authority to do certain things due to legislation giving the authority to Public Works.   Although SAPS had managed to gain permission to build some of their own stations, when they did, they took three times longer to complete and were three times more expensive than those built by Public Works.  Despite this area not being SAPS’s core business, how would they ensure that the buildings were built efficiently and on time?  She reiterated the Members’ concern with expenses on catering, and also expressed worry over the report saying that 100% of funds allocated to compensation had been spent.   How was this possible, given that there were many vacancies within SAPS?

Commissioner Phiyega, addressing the spending on catering, said SAPS used their own facilities extensively, but sometimes the requirements for a meeting called for the use of another venue.  She did not believe that within SAPS there was an abuse in the use of facilities.  External factors often dictated that another venue must be used, but these decisions were made through a clear process.

The Chairperson interrupted and asked the Commissioner to answer the questions in the order they had been asked.

The Commissioner apologised and spoke to the questions about civil claims.  She said that SAPS was willing to share the civil claims report. 

Lt Gen Schutte stated that to determine the allocation for bursaries, SAPS looked at the numbers from the previous year.  In doing this, there were sometimes unforeseen circumstances which added to the final number that were awarded.  Due to the increase in training within SAPS, there was a higher demand for bursaries, and this included training for detectives and analysts.  These factors were difficult to predict, so the increased amount spent was necessary.

Catering was a very important aspect of SAPS, as they had many events and conferences.  In previous years catering and entertainment had fallen under one category, but had since been divided.  The budget for catering had been cut while the entertainment budget had been increased, but when combined they were almost equal to previous years.  The overspending on catering could be attributed to a conference of the top stations in the country, as well as HIV and Disability awareness campaigns that had cut into the budget.  Nevertheless they would look into this issue and address it in the next budget.  The difference between catering and food supplies was that food supplies was completely separate from catering, and accounted for the mobile packets of food that officers used.

Lt Gen Schutte noted that consultants, in the sense of the way SAPS used the word, referred primarily to legal practitioners.

Mr George said he felt as though the answers they were being given seemed to be generalising issues.  He requested more specific answers.

The Commissioner addressed the concerns around disciplinary steps and the litigation report, and said that it was a very intricate situation.  A lot of legal touting had taken place and many people were looking to get money from SAPS.   Part of the litigation process was to see what lawyers were being used repeatedly, and where. The report had opened their eyes, and SAPS realised that more in-depth investigation and exploration was needed.   Prior to her arrival there had never been much internal discussion on disciplinary actions, but but this had now started. They intended to revamp the entire disciplinary system, and commanders were now required to follow certain steps within their station in the case of a violation.

Major General EN Mavundla, SAPS, then spoke about the e-dockets and stated that partial implementation was underway.  The integrations that were needed had been identified.

The Chairperson interjected and stated that Ms Mavundla had stated absolutely nothing new.   The Committee had heard all this vague information before, and wanted to know where SAPS really stood in terms of implementation.

Maj Gen Mavundla responded that there were 185 stations where the e-dockets had been partially implemented, and two test stations where they had been installed.

The Chairperson said that after 12 years and billions of rands spent, SAPS had only two operational stations.  She did not want to spend much more time on this subject.  A workshop about the e-dockets was going to be held with all the relevant entities present.   They would address what was being done with the money that had been allocated for the past 12 years.

The Commissioner told the Committee that cabling the stations was on her priority list, as without it the entire process was pointless.   The Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) had finalised the tender for rollout, and the only issue that would delay the process was acquiring the proper funds at one time.  SAPS was also in conversation with Telkom to ensure that they had the bandwidth capacity to proceed.  They were getting the basics right and it was better late than never.

The Chairperson told the Commissioner that she needed to be clear on what the concerns of the Committee was.  They appreciated that SAPS were getting the basics right, but it had taken 12 years.  SAPS were at the point where results were necessary, as they had been wasting money.  The Committee was not blaming her, but there was no way that it should have taken 12 years.

Commissioner Phiyega appreciated the Committee’s concern, and assured them that they were working hard to make it happen.  She reiterated Lt Gen Schutte’s point about consultant spending revolving around legal costs and use of lawyers.

She then addressed Ms Kohler Barnard’s question, and said she was not aware of the Mozambique situation.  She no information about it, or whether any pressure had been exerted on the deceased’s family to not file a claim.

Devolution was a concern of SAPS, and had to be looked at from multiple angles.  There was some formal devolution present and SAPS was in the process of negotiating in order to obtain further devolution so they would have the right to do certain tasks.  Although it was agreed that the building of stations was not the core business of SAPS, it was difficult for SAPS to sit back and wait for progress.  It was better for them to work with their own capacity, which was why devolution was needed.

Lt Gen Schutte spoke on the concerns about employee compensation, and said many things were taken into account, including basic salary, pension, cost of living, pay progression, overtime and others.  With so many factors in play, despite their best planning, adjustments had to be made during the year.  SAPS were already working on the compensation plan for 2014/15, and were monitoring spending very carefully to see what the progressions were.

The Chairperson said she wished to start the next presentation, although the Committee still had many questions.   She then summarised the first portion of the meeting and gave the delegation a list of the information they wanted from them.  These were a breakdown of consultants, including the time and amount, the prioritised list for capital building projects with start and finish dates, and the list of civil claims, with the costs broken down into payouts vs. legal costs.   In terms of catering and entertainment, the Committee had listened carefully to the answers, but still needed more clarification on what was spent, and on what.  She noted that confusion over the amounts spent on bursaries still existed and needed to be clarified.  The Committee also wanted the statistics on e-dockets, including the project plan, delivery dates, completion of the system and a list of all 185 stations.  She recommended that the Committee visit one of the pilot stations to see the system at first hand.  The Committee requested a more concise breakdown of the devolution they were seeking.

An internal report done by SAPS had been circulating amongst the media, and the Chairperson told SAPS that soon enough they would have it.  She wanted month to month financial statements from the previous year, as well as the number of funded posts and vacancies and the monetary value for both.

Ms Phiyega noted that some of these issues would be touched on in the next presentation.

The Chairperson still requested a report with the above information.  The question had been raised of personnel receiving compensation that would normally have gone to other members of SAPS.  She asked the delegation to start the presentation and to keep it short.  She also requested the Members not to go into such detail with some questions as there were time constraints, and she wished to get to the last presentation.

Briefing by SAPS on 1st Quarter Financial Report 2013/14
Lt Gen Schutte commenced the presentation by giving an overview of spending,per programme.  Overall spending was at 23.8%, with a quarterly target of 25%.  Under-spending had occurred in Detective Services at 24.1%, Crime Intelligence at 24.4%, and Administration at 21.2%.  Spending in Visible Policing was on target at 25%, and Protection and Security Services had overspent at 25.8%.  Of the allocated budget of R67.9 billion, R16.1 billion had been spent.

In terms of economic classification, compensation of employees was the biggest expenditure, and 25.7% of its R50.4 billion allocation had been spent.  SAPS was on track to meet the required spending targets.  Lt Gen Schutte noted the concern that had arisen over spending on transfers and subsidies, where 31.2% of the allocation had been spent in the first quarter, and with buildings and fixed structures, where only 10.8% of the allocated funds had been used, which was much lower than expected.

Although capital spending seemed to be very low at 11%, it was following the trends of previous years, which dictated that the first quarter was significantly lower than the rest.  During the other three quarters, delivery arrangements improve substantially and should enable SAPS to hit their spending goals in this regard.  Overall spending in the first quarter was above that of the previous three financial years and SAPS felt that this bode well for the rest of the year. Devolved funds from Public Works were being spent at a rate of 21.3%, with property leases achieving only 16.8% of its budget spending.  This low spending was attributed to leases being paid in July, rather than June and not being reflected in the first quarter statistics.  Only 10.7% of a R1.03 billion capital works allocation had been spent.  This was of concern to SAPS and they had established a project task team to investigate.  They also promised more oversight on projects, as well as a higher level of communication with Public Works.

Spending on IJS and CJS Revamp was at 14.8% overall -- 3.8% and 16.8% respectively.  It was noted that the Treasury had introduced conditions for the utilisation of funding for the 2013/14 year, such as SAPS being required to give reports detailing projects, funding allocations, project plans and timelines, quarterly spending reports on expenditure and project implementation.   Spending was allowed only once the Treasury notice was received, and the funds from spending progresses that were lacking at the time of adjustment estimates, would be declared as savings.

Lt Gen Schutte then gave a brief breakdown of each programme’s sub-programmes.  In Programme 1 the sub-programme with the lowest spending was Ministry, at 17.8% of 25%.  Programme 2 was in line with a linear benchmark and the sub-programmes had little variance. Programme 3 was under-spending and the biggest issues were related to the Criminal Record Centre and the Forensic Science Laboratory.  The CJS was impacting spending in these two areas.  Programmes 4 and 5 were in line with the linear benchmark.

Mr Groenewald said the statistics presented on Programme 3 were confusing, as he would have thought that the Criminal Records Centre and Forensic Science Laboratories would be overspending.

Ms Kohler Barnard noted that in the previous year, many funding shifts to compensation had been made during the year and she wondered whether this would occur again in 2013/14.  The Committee had heard reports of Public Works not paying the bills at stations, which had caused police officers to be locked out when arriving for work.  Had this been addressed?

Mr Ndlovu expressed concern with the Integrated Justice System spending, as it was on a downward trend.  Was there a problem causing this?  The Committee needed to know.

The Chairperson believed that the spending on goods and services in the first quarter was problematic, as was the spending on consultants.  She asked again why there was overspending on catering.

Lt Gen Schutte began by addressing under-spending on the Forensic Science Laboratory.  This was due to complications in the CJS revamp.  SAPS had been unable to spend some of the allocation due to the conditions that had been set by the Treasury.  Many of the programmes were interconnected and since one was being under-spendint some others that were tied in had also been underspent.

In terms of compensation, pressure was applied to SAPS throughout the financial year and they were constantly monitoring the situation.  SAPS believed that they would be able to manage the situation successfully.  As at the end of the first quarter, SAPS felt as though they had managed the compensation situation quite well.

When dealing with Public Works and the leases they held, there were many interactions and interventions that proved to be difficult.  SAPS reimbursed Public Works for the cost of the leases, and committees had been established to create a better working relationship with Public Works. Since the establishment of these committees, things had become better and leases had become more of a priority.

Maj Gen Mavundla then touched on the IJS under-spending and said it had been caused by the consultants being out of sight.  She did not see this as a future problem.

Mr Ndlovu said he did not understand her answer.

Commissioner Phiyega then attempted to clarify.    SAPS as an organisation had taken a serious look at what they had to do to implement the IJS.  The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster had also made IJS a prioritised issue and was responding to the need to be mindful and recognise the issues.  They were mindful that this Committee and many others were asking for cohesive and coordinated feedback on what was happening with the IJS.  This issue was a standing item within the JCPS cluster, and updates from the various departments were being sent in to better track progress and allow the project coordinator to create valuable and informative progress reports.

Lt Gen Schutte noted that the situation with catering and entertainment had been discussed during the last round of questions, and reiterated that their budgets, although separate, must be looked at as intertwined budgets.

The Chairperson said that she wished to move on, but SAPS was not making this possible as they were combing over the details.  The Committee had made it clear that they wanted the whole story.  She continued that the use of lawyers was not just a financial issue, but also an issue of officer conduct.

Mr Ndlovu said the 25% spending benchmark set for the first quarter had been set because it was stable.  Catering was spending at 20.8% which, despite being lower than the benchmark, was still much higher than their projected figure of 12.1%.

Mr Lekgetho expressed his continued concern at the explanation given for under-spending on capital works projects.

Mr Groenewald pointed out that spending on laboratory services consultants was at 238.6%, against a projection of 21.2%.  This was extremely high and he wondered if the funds for this would have to come from somewhere else.

Lt Gen Schutte stated that as a line item, there was over-spending on consultants, but when compared to the whole of the forensic science laboratory budget, it would not affect too much.

The Chairperson interjected, and said it just sounded like a case of bad planning.

Lt Gen Schutte responded that it was not bad planning, just changing circumstances.

The Chairperson expressed her frustration, and said that issues like this were a serious problem with SAPS.   Their budget was so big that amounts like R650 000 were not viewed as significant, but the Committee did, and believed that at some point it would catch up to them.  She did not want the situation where the Committee were surprised to find a large amount of money being shifted around the budget, to happen again.

Mr Groenewald said he understood that some figures seemed like small amounts in the grand scheme of things, but why bother budgeting if they were going to overspend in these areas anyway?

Lt Gen Schutte responded that no budget was perfectly spent.  Sometimes shifts had to be made to address unavoidable aspects.  It was required that SAPS look at all the lines and determine where the least amount of damage would be done by making shifts.

Mr George expressed concern that the more explanations the Committee were given, the more concern he had.  The DNA bill had just been passed and was directly related to the forensic science lab.  The details on spending related to the lab was concerning in the light of this.

The Chairperson asked about proficiency tests for lab workers, and what the problem was with them.

Lt Gen Schutte responded that the proficiency testing was done by an external service provider.

The Chairperson interrupted and said that this was another case of bad planning.

Commissioner Phiyega stated that the budget was a difficult process and one that was taken very seriously, SAPS could not spend money they did not have.  When compiling the budget, they did a lot of planning to try and ensure that everything was in its right place, but some of the issues dealt with were not a direct science.  However, as they sliced through their finances to produce a budget, they ensured that they stuck to the resources they had been given.

The Chairperson said the Committee did not question their commitment, but the Auditor General and Treasury also told them to look out for these types of things.  The Committee had looked at only one issue right now and were sure that if they were to go through the presentation line by line, many more would have came forward.  It was the responsibility of the Committee to ensure that spending was being done properly.  Slight variances in percentages might look small on paper, but in reality represented large sums of money.  The DNA Bill had just been passed, and it was the resources that SAPS had to provide for implementation that caused the problems, and this is why they were concerned with SAPS spending.  The amounts SAPS considered to be small still had to come from somewhere, and it was where they were coming from that was concerning.

The Chairperson then began to summarise the previous presentation and the Committee’s thoughts on it.  She noted that every year Parliament produced a Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) which was a time consuming affair.  Over the years, the Committee had made it clear to SAPS that they should take notes from what was discovered in the BRRR.  She wanted to reconfirm this stance and make SAPS aware of this, because in the following year Parliament would gain the power to be able to change budgets.   In 2011, the BRRR had recommended that SAPS communicate all organisational changes to the Committee, yet it was the Committee who had had to take the initiative and plan all meetings.  SAPS needed to take some initiative and reach out the Committee, as they were senior partners together.  The Committee took their responsibility very seriously and wished to support the Department, but SAPS needed to empower them in the future to do so.

Commissioner Phiyega noted that at no point did the Department or herself disregard the importance of the Committee, or their public duty to act accountably. She assured the Committee that under her leadership, SAPS would be fully committed to the suggestions given.

Restructuring of the South African Police Service
Commissioner Phiyega said that since she had taken on the position of Commissioner in 2012, her views on policing had been confirmed, in that it was a tough and thankless job.  Policing was made much more difficult by its complexity and the risks involved.  Some of her colleagues had paid the highest price, possibly for their belief in the police service.  She expressed her appreciation for how Parliament went out of its way to provide resources and support the Department.   The presentation touched on how the Department planned to use these resources more effectively. The Commissioner took a deep personal interest in the direction that SAPS was heading and how they could grow as an organisation under her leadership.

The Constitution and the flux of social change of the past two decades had changed the atmosphere of South Africa significantly. There had been an escalation in the volume and seriousness of crime that corresponded with a growing population.  As the threats to public order grew, so did the problems within the police system.  With the rise in crime, the police force had expanded considerably and the duties, responsibilities and objectives of SAPS had greatly expanded.  The expectation of the Commissioner was that with this information, the police would need to become more effective and efficient, and that restructuring was needed to achieve this.

It was believed that the structure of SAPS was too top heavy, and need to be changed.  In this respect, the managing roles at national, provincial and local levels would all be streamlined and local levels would be provided with more operational leadership autonomy.  With these changes, it was hoped that reputational and integrity management would become engrained in the SAPS philosophy.

The Chairperson interjected, and said that no one had the same presentation documents as what was being presented. It was found that the Secretary had been sent the wrong file.   The Chairperson showed frustration, but asked the Commissioner to continue nevertheless.

The presentation then focused on the legal and regulatory framework, such as Section 195(1) of the Constitution, which required SAPS to promote the efficient, effective and economic use of resources.  Section 38(1) (B) and 45(B) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) required that the Accounting Officer and each official in SAPS were to use the financial and other resources of the SAPS in an effective, efficient, economical and transparent manner.  Section 11 of the SAPS Act stipulated that the National Commissioner was responsible for determining the fixed establishment of the SAPS and the number grading of posts, determining the distribution of the numerical strength of the SAPS and organising or reorganising the Service at a national level into various components, units or groups.  The responsibilities of the Commissioner were elaborated upon, in that the Commissioner had to determine the organisational structure of SAPS at its core and support functions, as well as define the posts necessary to perform the relevant functions while remaining within the budget and medium-term expenditure framework of the Service.  It was within this legal framework that the Commissioner intended to change the structure of SAPS.

Under the old structure at the executive level, there had been a National Commissioner, five Deputy National Commissioners (DNC), one DNC for Priority Crime Investigations, an Executive Legal Officer, and merged crime intelligence and protection services.  There were 13 divisional commissioners, nine provincial commissioners, 54 deputy provincial commissioners (six per province) and 176 cluster commanders.

The Committee was shown how the new structure was broken down and aspects were reorganised (see presentation, slide 8).   By creating a more operationally-aligned structure of functions, SAPS was able to cut down on the total number of DNCs, and for all the functions of a section to fall under one place and one director.  The number of DNCs would be cut from six to three, with one DNC being responsible for each of the following divisions: Policing, Physical Resource Management and Corporate Services.  The establishment of a research institute would also take place under the functions of the National Commissioner.  Crime Intelligence and Protection Services would also be separated into independent divisions.  New divisions and establishments would be created by the restructuring, such as facility management, strategy, research and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and the research institute.  These changes were being made to respond to emerging service trends and demands, as well as to integrate operations vertically for efficiency.

At a provincial level, the restructuring would unbundle some roles and responsibilities and lessen the top-heavy structure of SAPS.  The roles and responsibilities of clusters and station commanders would also be redefined, as would the front line service delivery at stations.  An integrity unit was also to be established, with a focus on internal corruption and malpractices.

The overall advantages were the streamlining of the head office structures, which would refine delegations and encourage co-operative governance, as well as place an emphasis on committee structures.  Synergy would also be improved due to the vertical and horizontal integrated service offerings.  At a provincial level, the redeployment of resources to cluster stations where possible, and the implementation principles of fixed establishment, were noted as being key advantages.

The Chairperson thanked the Commissioner for the presentation and opened the floor for questions.

Ms Molebatsi said these changes had been brought up for years, and were only being changed now.  She asked about the three DNC’s who were being removed -- what were their positions in the organisation upon being removed?

Mr Groenewald said the new structure looked good and was more streamlined and professional.   However, he noted that when the Commissioner starting appointing new members, mistakes were made immediately.  He was referring to the appointment of a new commissioner in Gauteng, who had been appointed without the realisation that he was under investigation for criminal charges.  How could such a mistake be made at such a high level?  The Commissioner had spoken on the new image and professionalism of the police service, but had then gone out and embarrassed herself and the entire service.  What steps had been taken to ensure that mistakes like this did not happen again?

Ms Kohler-Barnard noted that with the restructuring, crime intelligence was now directly under the office of the National Commissioner.  Why this centralisation?   She added to Mr Groenewald’s sentiments by asking what SAPS was doing to ensure that thorough background checks were conducted on new hires, and what had been done to fortify these checks?  There were still many convicted criminals within the service -- why had they not been fired?

Mr Lekgetho noted that it was the duty of the Commissioner to define functions and hire and fire people. This entailed a great deal of power. He reiterated Ms Molebatsi’s question about where the three removed generals were relocated to in the system.

The Chairperson informed the Members that there was no need to repeat questions.

Mr George said that this road had been travelled before.  In 1999, the entire SAPS structure had been changed dramatically and the Commissioner who had brought about these changes was now in jail.  He did not wish to discourage the Commissioner from making changes, but instead was worried if she -- like many other Commissioners -- believed they were the first people to try to legitimise SAPS.   There were so many factors that were damaging the integrity and legitimacy of SAPS.

Mr Ndlovu asked what the function of Integrity Management was, and what the difference was between it and the anti-corruption component.  He also asked if the crime intelligence and the protection unit would be working on its own.

The Chairperson said that when one embarked on restructuring, the aim was to make the organisation better.   What had SAPS done in their restructuring that would positively affect the day to day functioning of the police?   Many things that the Commissioner had proposed were not new ideas, and others had been tried and failed.  The people sitting around the Commissioner had been around for a while and were responsible for leading SAPS to the point where it needed these major changes.  How was it going to be done, if this was the case?  It had been asserted that the new structure was less top heavy -- was that really going to be the case, or would it be a matter of rearranging those at the top for the sake of appearances?

The Commissioner said that strategies and resolutions for policing in rural areas had to be looked at again, as many of the strategies designed for urban areas would not work in the rural areas.  As SAPS moved forward, they intended to bring in new and innovative approaches to solve the problems in rural areas.

She addressed the issue of the appointment and subsequent displacement of Mr Bethuel Zuma in Gauteng by stating that he had been in service for close on 20 years, and had been promoted through the ranks, but that had not made her complacent.  He had worked well in the organisation and had delivered on his mandates in all previous positions, and his credentials were unquestionable.  When the process for filling the positions commenced many consultations had taken place. When looking at candidates, the first system they used was designed to bring up the history of the candidate and how they had progressed during their service, as well as their disciplinary record.  But nothing had come up when checking Mr Zuma.

The Commissioner spoke about the instructions that had been issued on 28 May, which called for all members of SAPS who had committed any crimes to come forward and disclose any pending criminal cases.  It had been done after the internal criminal audit had taken place and was a reaction to the number of people who were found to have had criminal records from this audit.  When Mr Zuma came forward, the Commissioner had been very disappointed and it was what had led to his dismissal.

On the issue of specialised units, the Act said that specialised units could be used to addressed issues and aspects of crime as a management tool.  This was why the FCS had been revitalised.   There was a need for it, so the management had decided to use it.  The FCS and other specialised units fell under policing as a sub-function.

The issue of Mr M Nkosi, a former PR consultant of the Commissioner, who had been accused of running a brothel out of a building that also housed his offices, did not have anything to do with her.  There were over 15 000 suppliers in the SAPS supply management chain, and they did not pick and choose who was offered a tender.  It was based on the skills that the business had displayed in its past work.  Mr Nkosi was just a supplier, and competed with all the others who had applied.   The claims in the media of him being a “fixer” for the Commissioner and SAPS were false.  Applicants were not asked whether they ran brothels, as it had nothing to do with the work tendered.  It was an unfortunate situation.

Through the internal audit, 1 448 criminals within SAPS had been discovered and the situation provided a serious challenge.  In some cases, a lot of time had lapsed and labour lawyers had told them there were issues of legitimate expectations arising from this.   SAPS were looking at different options available through legislation, and wanted to ensure that they maintained legally sound labour practices.  SAPS had appointed a board of fitness which looked at creating opportunities for the accused members to present their cases, and would give advice on what route should be taken in addressing these people.

Commissioner Phiyega then briefly addressed the issue of vacant posts, saying that SAPS were very busy with the standardisation and harmonisation initiatives in order to ensure that the posts they looked for were real and relevant, and fitted the proper mould of the restructuring.   They wanted to clean up this area and improve the advertising and filling of these posts, as they were critical.

The issue of the leadership in SAPS having failed time and time again was then addressed.  The Commissioner said that leadership was a game changer.  With good and sound leadership at all levels, it was her strong belief that SAPS can be changed for the better.  Determining the proper positions for leaders was essential and only committed leaders would be brought in.  The changes in leadership and organisational structure would deliver synergy and prove that SAPS was bigger than its component parts.  The logic behind many of the decisions made was economical, and she intended giving her own ideas to the leadership to be explored and improve the organisation.

SAPS was an extremely large organisation, employing over 200 000 people and was home to over 50 000 vehicles.  They had significant resources that could not be overlooked.   SAPS was essential to the stability of the nation and they were at the front line of this battle.  If SAPS failed to protect the nation and bring stability it would result in a failed state.   Despite the lack of praise, the men and woman in blue were doing their best to protect the people, and to ensure that the people of the nation could go about their business.  The leadership of the organisation was critical to the success of SAPS, and with reorganisation it would be rejuvenated and effective.

She went on record in stating that she had the concurrence of the Minister in her appointments, and had followed all the necessary steps.

Ms P Mocumi (ANC) asked how many managers still needed to be placed.  Was the Commissioner confident in the capacity of SAPS to implement all that had been alluded to efficiently and effectively?

Ms Molebatsi noted that in most police stations, the role and functions of the cluster commander was not clear and the station did not perform optimally.  Could some clarity be provided?

Mr George stated that the report that had been presented gave rise to scepticism over the positions created. He asked what the function of the SAPS research institute would be.

Mr Groenewald asked for a more defined breakdown of positional structures and what senior positions were vacant.

Mr Lekgetho asked about the appointment of deputy station commanders, who they were and where they were based.

The Chairperson then expressed her concern about the claims that the new structure was less top-heavy. She wondered whether it was actually just a rearrangement. No functions had been lessened and power still remained mostly at the top.   Nevertheless, she gave the Commissioner the benefit of the doubt.  She said that crime intelligence should be the centre of policing, but in this structure it was not.  How was SAPS going to ensure that there would be an integrated crime intelligence approach and no disjuncture between programmes?  She asked for a rundown of all the special projects that were being worked on and were to be commenced in the future.

The Chairperson reiterated Mr Groenewald’s request for a clearer depiction of the structure of positions and requested a flow chart demonstrating the structure.  She brought up the issue of a union that was marching against SAPS around the issue of public service employees within SAPS receiving the same compensation as SAPS officers, and requested some clarity on the matter.  The Committee agreed with the Commissioner’s stance and passion about the police service, which was why time after time they had said SAPS should get rid of the bad apples who were giving SAPS a bad name.

The Commissioner replied that they would create a flow chart depicting the leadership position ladder within SAPS, and send it to the Committee. She believed that SAPS had the capacity to implement all the changes they had spoken about.

She then touched on the roles of the cluster commanders and said that the establishment of clusters and cluster commanders would strengthen local leadership.  The model was similar to the Department of Education’s regional offices.  The cluster commanders would have an area to look after and ensure that everything was running properly in their district.  It would help SAPS refine the specific needs of areas as the cluster commander would be able to report the needs of a specific area.

She went on to explain the role of the deputy station commander, which would be to provide leadership at the stations on a frontline basis.  This included ensuring that all proper protocols were followed and that data was properly collected.  This position took off some of the work from the station commander and allowed for them to concentrate on the most important issues and strengthened local leadership.  The hiring process for this would occur internally.

In terms of the crime intelligence section, the Commissioner said it was an ailing division and she wanted to give it her special attention.  She wanted to make sure that crime intelligence played the role it was supposed to play and to contribute meaningfully to the organisation.  What was occurring in crime intelligence was that there was a focus on people politics, rather than the objectives, and this needed to stop.

On the issue of policy, SAPS were consumers of the policy produced by the secretariat, but they also worked with their own operational policies.  This meant that they had to lead in their own operations but ensure that they were not overlapping with the policies set forth by the secretariat.  The legal department ensured this.

The issue of the strike against SAPS had been raised and the Commissioner noted its complexity.  One of the issues was that SAPS was dealing with claims set against old agreements on labour structures.  These agreements had been agreed upon in 2011 and created confusion.  When the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) had made some of these decisions, they had left each department to deal with the Treasury on their own to obtain funding for compensation.  They had looked at options and were working hard to find methods of resolving the conflict.  The challenges ahead of them had been prioritised.

The Chairperson said they were supposed to look at other issues, such as what SAPS had done with the recommendations of the Committee from the past year, but time constraints would not allow this.  She suggested rescheduling the meeting and recommended that the Commissioner try to be present for that meeting as well.  Members were in agreement.

The Chairperson then summarised the meeting and told the SAPS delegation that they welcomed the changes they had brought forth.  Even with the concerns raised, the Committee would give them the benefit of the doubt and wait to see the results of these changes.  She requested that the Committee get the structure of the SAPS management, including the names and functions of each position.  Once the appointments for the vacant positions were made, it was requested that the Committee be informed immediately.  SAPS should advise the Committee on where the people who had been displaced from their usual positions due to restructuring would end up, and what their functions would be.  The review of the cluster commanders’ roles and responsibilities was also requested, and the financial implications of the aforementioned strike, as it seemed they would be costly and lasting.  This included any agreements signed.  

She thanked the Members for attending as it had been a long session but it was important because it was the first time the Committee had had the chance to sit down with the Commissioner.  She thanked the National Commissioner and her team for their attendance and presentation.  The Committee wanted to see the changes that the Commissioner had spoken about, and wanted to be assured that they were not the same type of changes that had been attempted in the past that had failed.   The changes should benefit the people of South Africa, and not those within the organisation.  The Committee would keep a close eye on ensuring that this was the case.  Many issues remained to be discussed, but they would have to wait until the engagements surrounding the annual report were scheduled.

The meeting was adjourned.



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