SAPS, Police Secretariat, Independent Police Investigative Directorate Budget Review & Recommendations Report; Oversight Report on Nyanga and Phillipi visit

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31 October 2014
Chairperson: Mr F Beukman (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee tabled, discussed and adopted the draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Reports, for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, the South African Police Service, and the Civilian Secretariat for Police. It also adopted the draft report on the Committee's oversight visits to Nyanga and Phillippi police stations. The process was that Members read the documents silently and raised hands where they thought amendments needed to be made, therefore editing the reports as a collective. Many of the amendments were technical or grammatical in nature, but the Committee also requested a few sentences to be re-written for better clarity (the changes being reflected in italics in this report). Members briefly discussed the nature of the recommendations being made, whether the Committee could put anything stronger than a recommendation to the Minister and whether the recommendations were regarded as binding, noting how the doctrine of separation of powers affected the final wording.

Meeting report

Draft Budgetary Review and Recommendations Reports of Portfolio Committee on Police
The Committee attended to the adoption of the draft Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (the Report) on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, the South African Police Service, and the Civilian Secretariat for Police.

The Chairperson had suggested that, rather than going through the Reports word by word in the meeting, the Members should read through the documents for themselves, silently, and raise their hand if they wished to suggest any amendments.

This procedure was followed, so that the Committee was editing the draft reports as a collective.

2013/14 Annual Report on Independent Police Investigative Directorate
Mr J Maake (ANC) said it seemed strange to put a figure as large as 175 000 in words, and suggested that figures be used.

The Chairperson said it was important that the acronym SPD4 be explained.

Mr Maake asked what a contingency liability referred to, as the word was used several times in the report.

The Chairperson explained that it was expenditure for future liabilities, and the accounting statements would make provision for such expenses that may arise in future. This was prudent in terms of conservative financial accounting.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) further explained this by exemplifying that the police may predict that there was a possibility that the South African Police Service (SAPS) might, during the year, be involved in incidents where 20 citizens might be injured. If that happened, and if all sued the SAPS and won their cases, then SAPS would have to pay damages, and it was this figure that was in the contingent liabilities.

Mr Maake said even though the explanation was clear, the dictionary meaning of contingency and liability did not seem to correlate to that.

Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said the word "not" was missing from a sentence, which should read: “They should perform background checks to ensure that the directors of companies are not employed in government”. He also said that the word "by" should be added, so that the relevant sentence read:  "activities of the system controllers were reviewed by an independent person”

Ms Kohler-Barnard suggested that the two words "time frame" be written as one word "timeframe".

Other suggestions were made in regard to punctuation..

Mr Mbhele said "which" was missing, from one sentence, and proposed a revision to read "The target was 50% reduction of such cases which was exceeded by 2%”

Mr Mbhele said the sentence that IPID received 5 745 cases and carried over 549 cases  resulting in a work load of 7 277 was problematic, in that the two numbers did not add up.

Ms M Mothapo (ANC) said that the acronym MPS must be explained as "Municipal Police Service" before using the acronym. However, it was later suggested that the acronym not be used at as it also referred to Metro Police Service.

Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) suggested that the word “a” be removed and “s” be added to the sentence that referred to 133 suspects being shot, as the present construction implied that all were shot by one firearm. She similarly suggested that the word "a" be removed from the reference to 121 cases of rapes by police officers, for clarity.

Ms Mothapo suggested that the sentence also include a reference to "allegedly", because as presently worded, it implied that there had already been a finding of guilt. After further discussions, and a comparison with later notes in relation to the alleged rape of a mentally ill person, the Committee decided upon suitable wording that would distinguish that it was the individuals, and not SAPS, responsible.

Mr Mbhele suggested that the province with the highest number of disciplinary recommendations be written first; so that the listing was Western Cape with 220 cases, Eastern Cape 218, Free State 100.

Mr D Twala (EFF) suggested that “a” would be more correct than "an", in the sentence referring to the Legal Services Department's targets and success rates.

Mr Mbhele suggested that the 2012/13 in that sentence be replaced with the correct reference to 2013/14. He suggested that “its” be removed from the sentence expressing concerns by the Committee about the underspending of the Department budget.

Ms Molebatsi suggested further grammatical corrections of the verb in the sentence referring to the achievements against targets.

Ms L Mabija (ANC) suggested that “it” be removed from the sentence “The Committee noted a number of areas from the IPID report that (it) need attention”.

Ms Kohler-Barnard suggested that the secondary verb in the sentence “There was serious material omissions from the annual financial statements which showed there were skills gap in IPID” be put in the past tense.

Ms Kohler-Barnard also suggested that the sentence “There was no indicator that speaks to the relationship with the DPW” be reworded to “Neither indicator showed relationship with DPW”

Mr Maake said the sentence “the Committee was of the opinion that the shifting targets for investigators …” did not make any sense. He further suggested that the Committee should specify that the legal services programme did not achieve its target as a result of the lack of capacity in the unit.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said the sentence “It requested that that the IPID makes further details available to the further details” was repetitive and did not make sense.

Mr Maake said the statement that “.types of corruption would constitute systemic corruption and that IPID must produce such policy” made it sound as if IPID was presently hiding the policy away.

The Chairperson said the sentence stating that the Committee recommended additional funding for IPID in 2015/16 must be removed, as IPID did not make such request to the Committee.

Mr Mbhele suggested that a reference to "consultative forum" be substituted for "management forum" in the sentence “The Committee recommended that the consultative forum between IPID and the Civilian Secretariat be held before end of November 2014”,

Mr Maake asked what the Committee meant by "recommends".

Ms Mabija said recommendations were  simple suggestions which were not binding.

The Chairperson said the debate on recommendations, and whether they were binding, was an academic debate into which Members should not venture at this point.

Ms Mothapo said the sentence that “The Committee encourages the Directorate to improve the gender equity within its senior management structure and bring it to 50% female representation” was repetitive. She suggested that it be worded simply to reflect that the Directorate must improve gender parity in its management, in line with government policy.

The Chairperson said the recommendation that the legal unit fast tracks legislative imperatives such as White Paper on Police, review of SAPS Act and the White Paper on Policing should be stated in relation to the Civilian Secretariat on Police (the Secretariat) and not IPID.

Report on the South African Police Service and the Civilian Secretariat
Suggestions made by Members were mostly directed to adding full stops, changing commas to semi-colons, changing words into plural or changing into past tense, or substituting British for American spellings, capitalising, or changing numbers below 10 to words.

The Chairperson noted a correction was needed to the dates in the heading "Medium Term Strategic Framework (2014-1019)".

Ms Mabija said the indicator on the percentage of persons that reported crime of those who were victims of crime was vague.

Mr Irvin Kinnes, Content Advisor, explained that this wording was used because not all victims of crime reported the crimes.

Mr Mbhele said "SAPS" must be substituted with "Committee" in the sentence referring to a status report on promotions of staff members to the ranks of Colonel and Captain, which was to be made available to the Committee

Mr Mbhele suggested that "2010" replace the mis-spelt "200" in the sentence referring to the need to conduct a criminality audit into SAPS members.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said it was surprising that SAPS reported that it shifted R1 000 from the goods and services programme into non profit institutions.

Mr Maake said the indicator of the quantity of drugs confiscated by the police of 275 million kilograms was surely too much.

Mr Kinnes replied that it was true that SAPS managed to confiscate such amount.

Mr Maake asked what "mixed success" meant.

Mr Kinnes replied that he was going to rephrase that sentence.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked why SAPS put an indicator that it achieved 99,99% static security protection provided without security breaches, when it had reported six security breaches during its presentation on the annual report.

Mr Kinnes replied that the six contributed to the 0,006% and was explained on the next page.

Ms Molebatsi said the word "charge office" was no longer politically correct and should be replaced with "community service centre" wherever it was found in the draft document.

Ms Kohler-Barnard wanted clarity on what was meant when the Report said that SAPS was well managed in comparison with other large government departments.

Mr Kinnes replied that SAPS was amongst the top large departments, with over 175 000 employees, like Education and Health 

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that the recommendation by the Committee on the quality of service delivery, particularly in rural areas, should reflect that the Committee was concerned about "the lack of delivery of quality services".

Mr Maake asked if SAPS had not come with a request for additional funds in the 2014/15 financial year. It had always traditionally complained that it did not achieve certain programmes because of lack of funding.

Mr Kinnes replied that the Police made a request for funding, but not during the budget hearings.

The Civilian Secretariat for Police
Mr Maake asked if the phrase the Secretariat “has not managed to spend” a significant portion of its budget was appropriate. 

Mr Kinnes replied that he would rephrase it to "did not spend".

Ms Mabija said the “is " must be removed from the sentence noting that the Secretariat had been unable to implement all the provisions of the Act and needed to fast track the implementation of the provisions of the Act.

Mr Mbhele asked if "policy making" was not one word.

Mr Maake suggested that the sentence referring to the filling of vacancies should be rephrased to state that the Secretariat did not fill all the vacancies.

Mr Maake said the following sentence was vague “While there was no fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure in the year under review, the Secretariat incurred irregular expenditure of R15 590”.

Mr Kinnes replied that the second "irregular" in the above sentence was to be replaced by "unauthorised".

Ms Nicolette Van Zyl-Gous, Committee Researcher, said noted the omission of the word “was” from the sentence on the failure to finalise the policy on community police forums and the funding model.

Mr Maake said “be” was omitted, and suggested that the appropriate sentence must read: "a report on filling of outstanding vacancies be provided to the Committee by the end of November”.

Mr Mbhele said the numbering was repetitive and suggested that it be corrected.

Mr Twala said a correction should be made to the sentence “It received a clean audit and improve its stands and MPAT scores”

Mr Kinnes replied that "stance" would be substituted for "stands" in that sentence.

Members suggested other technical amendments such as the addition of commas, full-stops or changing tenses.

Mr Maake made the point that the phrasing of the Committee's recommendations to the Minister must be looked at, to ensure that the Committee did not appear to be making demands of the Minister.

Ms Mabija said the word "recommend" was vague, as sometimes the Committee expected its recommendations to be carried out. Using "recommendations" sounded as if the Department had the option whether to abide by them or not, as it chose.

Mr Kinnes said the Committee could only recommend, since if it were to "instruct" a Department to do certain things, it would be overstepping its mandate, contrary to the principles of separation of powers.

Ms Mabija asked if the Committee ”recommends to instruct”.

Mr Maake asked what a "police community forum" was.

Mr Kinnes replied that a police community forum advised on the priorities of the police. A community safety forum was a response to the needs of a community. If, for instance, people were being robbed in a bush, a community safety forum would encourage the clearing of that bush so that it became safe for the community.  The proper working of the community safety forum was a priority of the development committee in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster.

Committee Oversight Report on Nyanga and Phillipi visit
The Committee adopted the draft Committee Oversight Report, following the same process as it had used above. Only technical amendments were made.

Other business
Ms van Zyl-Gous said Parliament published a report into gender based violence issues discussed in the previous Parliament, and urged Members to look into it.

The meeting was adjourned.


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