Committee Reports on South African Police Service, Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Civilian Secretariat for Police & Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority Budget

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07 May 2015
Chairperson: Mr F Beukman (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Police Portfolio Committee met to consider the draft report on the Police budget vote 23 and the budgets, annual performance plans and strategic plans of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and the Civilian Secretariat of Police (CSP).

The Chairperson quickly took Members through the reports stopping only when there was a point raised by Members or when a change had to be made. Many of the amendments were minor including re-wording and typos. Bigger changes included:

The Crime Intelligence Division’s urgent early warnings of a possible threat be taken seriously by the Police.

Alongside IPID having to report how many firearms it had, it also had to report and how many had been lost or stolen and who was responsibility.

The Committee also noted that the PSIRA Amendment Bill had been with the Presidency for months. The Committee would write to the Presidency to find out the status of this legislation.

The main point of contention was the wording of the police report in the conclusion. The DA and the EFF insisted that their parties would not support the adoption of the report if the wording that they supported the budget was not removed. They would support the report but not the budget. That had to be debated in the House. The Chairperson asked the Committee Section to look at the wording and advise the Committee. The Chairperson reminded Members that the Police Budget Vote would be on 15 May.

Meeting report

Committee Report on Police

The Chairperson tabled the report for consideration. He took Members through the document and invited them to make comments where necessary.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) referred to Programme 4: Crime Intelligence, and suggested that under the subheading corruption, there should also be a separate piece on criminality as criminality was broader.

Under budget recommendations a) Members had a lengthy debate about the inclusion of the word “equitable”. The sentence in the draft report read: The Committee recommends that the SAPS should ensure quality of services with an equitable spread of resources (budget allocation) to police stations countrywide, with a particular focus on poor, rural and high crime areas.

Mr J Maake (ANC) said that perhaps equitable should be replaced by proportionate.

Mr Z Mbhele (DA) suggested that maybe it could be replaced with the word irrational.

Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) said there were more detectives in Seapoint but the caseload was smaller than Khayelitsha. The word to replace equitable had to take that in to account.

Mr Maake suggested the following wording “according to priorities” as an alternative.

A Committee staff member explained that equitable had been used as it meant unbiased and impartial.

Mr Beukman said they would look for a better synonym.

Ms Kohler-Barnard also raised a concern about Performance Recommendations (w) which read: The Committee recommends that the Crime Intelligence Division be an early warning component in order to deal with threats in a proactive manner.

She said that that Crime Intelligence had warned of the recent xenophobic attacks but the police had done nothing about that. Perhaps it should be included that police should respond with urgency to early warnings.

She also queried why the point had to be there, as it merely stipulated what Crime Intelligence was meant to be doing already. The Committee should not have to recommend that they do it.

Mr D Twala (EFF) said he could not fathom what transpired in the head of SAPS. Crime Intelligence did its job.

Mr Ramatlakane said perhaps w) could be modified to say SAPS should employ resources based on information from Crime Intelligence.

Under Performance recommendations (x), Ms Kohler-Barnard queried why the Police Commissioner Ms Riah Phiyega was not mentioned. The sentence read: The Committee recommends that the disciplinary case of Gen Mdluli should be fast-tracked and brought to conclusion as soon as possible.

Mr Twala raised another issue around service delivery protests. When there was information that indicated a high potential for service delivery protests this filtered up the management of SAPS. However, some protests were triggered by other sources or disputes and could be managed by other bodies.

Ms Kohler-Barnard also said there was no mention of rural safety in the report.

Mr Ramatlakane moved to adopt the report.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said the DA would reserve its vote. She re-iterated that there was no mention of rural safety in the document.

She further said the Committee could adopt the report but she was not willing to adopt the budget of the SAPS. To say the DA supported the budget would be a lie. She would be asked by her party what the hell she was doing. The report was excellent but it was not her place to support the budget without caucusing with her party.

Mr Twala said the EFF would also reserve its right based on the same principle as the DA.

Mr Beukman asked parliamentary staff to find out how other Committees worded their adoptions of reports related to the budget.

He was presented with three different options.

The DA and the EFF were adamant that they were happy with the report but wanted the word “budget” removed in the conclusion. They also wanted it to be included that the DA and EFF reserved their right to vote on the “budget allocation”.

Mr Ramatlakane said the minutes of that meeting would reflect that the DA distanced itself. He would have thought the DA supported the process. Ms Kohler-Barnard was in the meetings. The Committee should not include the line to say the DA reserved its right to support the budget allocation.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that she would not lie. She was not asking for the Committee to move mountains she just wanted the report to reflect the truth.

The report was adopted with objections from the DA and the EFF.

Committee Report on Civilian Secretariat for Police

The Chairperson tabled the report for consideration. He took Members through the document and invited them to make comments where necessary.

Under Programme 1, subheading Chief Financial Officer, the Committee agreed that the wording in one sentence should change. It read: “In light of thereof, the Committee requested the CSP to report when the CFO post became vacant and the steps taken to fill the position.” Members decided to remove “became vacant”.  

The report was unanimously adopted after this amendment.

Committee Report on Independent Police Investigative Directorate

The Chairperson tabled the report for consideration. He took Members through the document and invited them to make comments where necessary.

Mr Mbhele referred to Programme 2: Investigative and Information Management subheading firearms control, and said increased firearms control was needed.

The Committee staff replied that the paragraph would be expanded upon. This would include that the Committee requested IPID to indicate the number of firearms it owned, as well as how many were lost and who was responsible.

Mr Beukman agreed that that should be the case.

On the last page of the report Mr Maake asked if there had not been a suggestion that the IPID should have its own pathologists. At the last meeting the Committee definitely recommended they have their own, but the entity said it did not have timeframes.

Mr Beukman said IPID was discussing this issue and had advertised for a consultant.

The report was approved with no objections.

Committee Report on Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority  

The Chairperson tabled the report for consideration. He took Members through the document and invited them to make comments where necessary.

The Chairperson reminded Members that PSIRA did not have any funds from National Treasury therefore the report would not go to the House for debate. It was purely an oversight report.

Under Committee Observations, General, Mr Maake asked what the status of the PSIRA Amendment Bill, 2013 was. Did PSIRA come out with a Bill of its own?

Mr Beukman replied the Bill had been with the Presidency for months. The Committee would write to the Presidency to enquire about its status.

Mr Beukman reminded Members that the report did not entail the adoption of the budget.

Mr Maake asked if the entity had a CFO.

Mr Beukman said they would deal with it.

The report was unanimously adopted.

Outstanding Matters

Mr Beukman said he had been reminded that the Police report had not actually been adopted.

Mr Ramatlakane said he had to apologise to Ms Kohler-Barnard. There had been a question posed earlier on and he had tried to explain how he understood the process of the budget and how it was adopted. Ms Kohler-Barnard had waved the document. Having closer looked at it, he wanted to concede and to apologise. Frankly there was only one word that was problematic and that was the word budget in the final paragraph of the report. He wanted to concede that the Members were adopting the committee report. The budget would still be debated.

Mr Ramatlakane leaned forward and shook hands with Ms Kohler-Barnard in a light-hearted moment.

Mr Beukman said it was good that the Committee would close on a positive note. He had been reminded that the Police report had not actually been adopted so the one word, “budget” could be removed.

Mr Twala said if that was the case then the EFF would support the report.

Mr Maake said he was slow and was not quite sure what Members were talking about

He recalled that the Committee had the same debate last year. How was the report supposed to be? What was the format and template?

A Committee staff member said she was not certain about how other Committees did their reports. By tabling the report the Committee we ask the House to adopt it. Her suggestion was to delete the whole sentence.

Mr Beukman said he did not support that.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said if the word was removed then she was good to go.

Mr Beukman asked the Committee Secretary and Acting Content Advisor to get a template of other Committees’ reports.

He received three differently written reports.

He said maybe the report should say that the Committee adopted the report.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said the Committee should add that the Vote was to be adopted. She emphasised that she could not adopt a budget without going to caucus. She would be fired.

Mr Mbhele asked if the Committee recommended the Vote; was that the only way it could be debated.

Mr Beukman proposed that a sentence be added that the DA and EFF reserved their rights.

He reminded Members that the Budget vote was at 10am on 15 May in the National Assembly.

Before the meeting was adjourned, Mr Maake asked for clarity on the final sentence.

The Secretariat said the sentence that the DA and EFF reserved their rights should be in the minutes of the meeting, not in the report.

Mr Maake said he thought that was the case. He suggested that the Committee get a confirmed written view or opinion from the Committee Section.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said the DA loved the report but she would not support it unless the wording was changed. She would not stand on the podium and lie. It was absurd. It happened last year and should never have done so.

Mr Beukman said the Committee would ask for guidance from Committee Section.

Ms Kohler-Barnard objected. Why did Members have to listen to officials and be told what they had to say? Then they should be Members.

Mr Maake said it was not the officials who were telling Members anything. He was the one who was opening the can of worms.

Ms Kohler-Barnard laughed and said that it was. It should be a matter of Members telling officials what should be done. She added that the sentence had been snuck in the year before.

Mr Beukman said the Police reports had always been excellent and they had to be sure this one was 110%.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said she was being put on the “eight ball”. The DA’s acceptance was hinged on it.

Mr Ramatlakane said he was a brand new Member of the Committee who was still learning the process. The report had kept him awake all night but he was impressed by the quality of the work done. The officials should be thanked because they had produced a quality report in a short time.

Mr Maake said they should be taken out to lunch.

Ms M Molebatsi concurred with the quality of the report.

Mr Beukman said it was his 12th year in Parliament and he was lucky to have such exemplary staff.

The meeting was adjourned.



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