The Committee was briefed on the status of vetting of individuals in top management of the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) and the Independent Police Investigative Police Directorate (IPID) by the State Security Agency (SSA). The issue of vetting came up sharply when the Committee discussed the budgets of the two entities recently. Members were informed that the Acting Secretary of the CSP requested the SSA to vet top management in December 2014. Follow-up interactions were not good as meetings kept being cancelled and the necessary documentation was not submitted. 11 officials, including the Acting Secretary herself, required vetting. SSA set up a special project to deal with the request even though it faced serious capacity constraints. 12 officials in IPID required vetting including the Acting Executive Director and head of investigations. This process was in place.
Members then engaged in debate around stakeholder and liaison management owning to the clear problem of communication, how long it took to vet someone, appointments made without vetting first as a condition and if this meant the positions were defective, SSA responsibility or role in ensuring people came to the party and capacity constraints. The Committee found the presentation very distressing questioning the challenges of transversal management and communication forums for pro-active follow up, entities deliberately avoiding requesting clearance, how long vetting lasted for, how long before the clearance expired did re-vetting take place, the likelihood of clearance being failed and the appointee being fired, clearance of the SA Police Service (SAPS) National Commissioner and Acting Head of the Hawks, fraudulent fingerprints and the implication of non-vetting in terms of threats against the state.
Members were then briefed by senior officials of SAPS on the implementation of the Child Justice Act (CJA) of 2008 in terms of the minimum requirements for implementation, extent of actual implementation, number of SAPS members trained to date on implementation, quarterly statistics, OPAM system, inter-sectoral committees, communication and awareness programmes and interventions to accelerate training of personnel, total number of charges against children between 2010/11 and 2013/14 in terms of total charges and sexual offence charges and the number of assessments conducted and diversions.
The second half of the briefing covered effort made to decrease crimes against vulnerable groups. The presentation first looked at the relevant legal framework and applicable international obligations and relative SAPS instructions and the three policing approaches, namely, proactive (preventive), reactive (investigation) and multi-disciplinary cooperation. Under the proactive approach, the presentation covered early interventions, victim support services, a national summary of Victim Friendly Rooms (VFRs) for 2014/15, police stations utilising Thuthuzela One Stop Centres (OSCs) and Khuseleka OSCs, implementation of legislation and policies in respect of vulnerable groups including persons with disabilities, older persons child protection, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersex (LGBTI) community and gender-based violence along with awareness programmes for each of these groups. Reactive policing covered investigation of crimes while multi-disciplinary stakeholders concerned various departments and stakeholders.
Members then engaged in robust discussion on the progress made with Operation Fiela and concerns around human rights violations, reporting of figures, the role of contact points, the national task team and rapid response team in dealing with crimes against the LGBTI community, operational cluster numbers in the Western Cape, SAPS instructions vs. legislation, one stop centres, training and the patterns noted with children who came into conflict with the law. Members questioned communiqué between SAPS and the Department of Basic Education, specific inclusions of albinos and witches in vulnerable groups, designated child justice officers, security clearance of members dealing with children and particular economic crimes committed against the elderly. In subsequent discussion, Committee Members enquired what was to be done if stations did not have particular facilities like VFRs and cells for children especially those in the rural areas, forensic social workers, capacity of members to deal with LGBTI persons in a dignified manner to avoid secondary victimization and specific training in this regard, Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit numbers, finalising guidelines and specialised anti-gang and anti-drug units.
Chairperson's Introductory Comments
The Chairperson opened the meeting by noting the items on the agenda for the day. The Committee would, next Wednesday, meet with the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) on the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) reports along with a briefing by the national and provincial community policing boards on their role. On 3 June 2014, the Committee would have a follow-up meeting with the Central Firearms Registry, Gun Free SA, SA Hunters Association and other role-players. On Wednesday 10 June, the Committee would have a follow-up meeting with SAPS and other stakeholders, like the Department of Public Works, on the modernisation programme of the criminal justice system – this was a follow-up from the Committee meeting last week on the matter. On 17 June, the Committee would be briefed by the Border Management Agency and the last meeting for the term would be held 24 June on SAPS proclamations and the adoption of outstanding reports and minutes.
Members would remember the issue of vetting came up sharply during the budget hearings of both the CSP and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). The Committee had asked the CSP whether personnel, especially senior management, were vetted and had valid security clearance certificates. The CSP replied that its personnel were not vetted and this had implications on the functioning of the CSP, for example, the drafting of the White Paper on Safety and Security was outsourced because of security concerns and capacity constraints. Obtaining the vetting and security clearance, as a matter of urgency, was a key recommendation of the Committee. With IPID, there was an indication that the Acting Executive Director was cleared (since 1997) but all others were awaiting clearance certificates after submitting the relevant documentation. Vetting was a concern for the Members especially for the senior management and also because the entities functioned in the security cluster with classified matters ranging from top secret to confidential.
State Security Agency (SSA): Status Report on Vetting of Top Management of the Civilian Secretariat for Police and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate
Mr Victor Dlodlo, General Manager: Vetting, SSA, began by explaining the mandate of the Agency. He explained that the SSA had received a request from the CSP to conduct vetting of its top management (the request did not have the names of the officials) in December 2014. The SSA then started interacting with the CSP with the aim of securing a meeting to determine who and how many officials needed to be vetted. The interactions did not prove successful as the Acting Secretary for the CSP, Ms Reneva Fourie, was not readily available.
The SSA continued to pursue for the meeting and finally a date was agreed upon and the meeting took place on the 11 May 2015. The SSA, represented by Mr Dlodlo, met with the Acting Secretary and after a detailed briefing on the requirements for a security clearance, an agreement on the names of officials to be vetted was agreed upon. A total of 11 officials were identified as requiring immediate security clearance including the Acting Secretary herself, Mr Patrick Mashabini (Chief Directorate: Corporate Services), Ms Dawn Bell (Chief Directorate: Legislative Unit), Ms Bilkis Omar (Chief Directorate: Policy and Research), officials from the partnership unit, office of the Secretary, monitoring and evaluation and Chief Financial Office Unit.
A SSA project team led by Mr B Sekgalabye was subsequently established to prioritise the vetting of the identified officials. The rest of the officials of the CSP will be vetted in due course. The CSP officials needing clearance were required to submit the Z204 forms. The Acting Secretary said some of the forms had been submitted to her office in October/November but so far the SSA had only received two completed Z204 forms.
The vetting of the identified 11 officials would take approximately 4 weeks to finalise (depending on the availability, completion and submission of relevant documentations as required).
It should however be noted that the SSA vetting capacity was seriously overstretched but would nevertheless attempt to complete the task on time.
Vetting status of top management (national as well as provincial) at the IPID was as follows:
Total number of top management officials: 33
- Number of officials with valid security clearances: 9 (including the suspended head Mr Robert McBride and others)
- Number of vetting requests in process: 12 (including Head of Investigations at IPID, Mr Matthews Sesoko and the current Acting Executive Director, Mr Israel Kgamanyane and others)
- Number of officials without valid security clearances: 12 (these individuals had not submitted any documentation requesting the SSA to vet them). Among these officials included four recently recruited from SAPS who had valid SSA security clearance. However, SSA vetted all organs of state except SAPS and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) – if the SSA were requested the vet officials from the departments, there were certain processes to be met in the request. So these four officials were deemed to have invalid clearances.
The Chairperson thought some of the information presented was very problematic – the CSP would be before the Committee next week so it might be best to raise these issues then. At some point it would be necessary to invite the Acting head of IPID as well. Were there stakeholder management and liaison management from the side of SSA to manage relation with the CSP/IPID because clearly there was a problem of communication – what was the status of these relationships because it looked like broken communication? He noticed names of the new provincial heads were not on the request list which also pointed to communication problems.
Mr Dlodlo explained that the SSA had an agreement with IPID served by a security adviser. With the CSP, because it fell under the responsibility of SAPS vetting unit in crime intelligence, it never required assistance of SSA before so no one was assigned or needed to advise on security related issues.
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) found the presentation very distressing. What was meant by the CSP not being available? Mr Sesoko was head of investigations but his vetting was still in progress and this was very worrying for an individual supposed to be key in the entity. How long did it take to vet someone?
Ms P Mmola (ANC) could not understand why the CSP only sent two Z204 forms to the SSA since 11 May 2015 – this needed clarification. How long would take to make the vetting of the Acting Head of IPID valid?
Mr Dlodlo indicated that the clearance of the Acting Executive Director of IPID was still in progress and this could be because field work was still in place, documentation was not submitted or there were problems in accessing SAPS criminal records. In 2006, on Cabinet approval of the national vetting strategy, outlined before, it was instructed that SSA should establish a fingerprint unit in SAPS to service the vetting needs. This would mean SAPS would have to train officials and make space available and engaging SAPS on the matter, for almost ten years now, had proved difficult. He had engaged everyone even the National Commissioner on the matter and promises had been made but nothing had happened and SAPS seemed to not want to accede this Cabinet request. This seriously delayed the vetting of individuals.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) noted that SSA rendered clearance certificates were rendered invalid if not conducted by the SSA – could this mean that some of the officials mentioned in the list may have been vetted by other institutions? He asked this because some officials named had been in the sector for some time with some at the level of Chief Director. He understood that vetting was the final condition for appointment – could this mean the confirmation of appointment excluded vetting? If it did and it was a condition for appointment, what did this mean? He really just wanted to know what this meant. Most investigators on the list were sourced from SAPS and it would be assumed they would come with some degree of vetting. For those not on the list and who were sourced from SAPS, were their positions defective? Vetting was a management tool to see if people could operate at a sensitive level and for some positions, like the CFO, this was critical. What had SSA done to ensure vetting was done and to take responsibility to ensure actors came to the party? CSP was saying the delay was with SSA and SSA said the opposite – the Committee would need to take this up at its meeting with the CSP next week.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) could not understand how appointments were made if the vetting was not in place first.
Mr Dlodlo answered that SSA, when it was still known as the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), around about 2005/06, had experienced challenges in meeting requests for vetting before employment. Cabinet then approved a national vetting strategy in 2006 that, inter alia, spoke to pre-employment screening because the vetting process used to take long. This took the form of personnel suitability checks for organs of state wanting to make appointments. These tests covered the background history of previous employers, education and qualifications. SSA supported this by providing criminal records from SAPS and the citizen status of the candidate from Home Affairs databases and from the SSA‘s own records. It was difficult for organs of state to comply with personnel suitability checks to determine the bona fide status of a potential employee. Full vetting then took place depending on the position occupied. Vetting used to take long but now it had been reviewed and if all documentation was submitted and capacity constraints were considered, the process did not take more than two weeks. Because of the volume of requests, especially from agents, it affected plans for dealing with vetting of officials in organs of state.
Mr L Twala (EFF) questioned the capacity constraints mentioned within the vetting unit of SSA and if it could be the element of hindrance in enabling the unit to carry out its tasks within specific time frames or were there other factors?
Mr Dlodlo admitted that SSA had capacity constraints but it could not take the blame all the time and there was prioritisation. There were many requests which the capacity could not match and this was indicated to the Executive Authority. The emphasis was on prioritisation and special projects were set up for officials deemed to be a priority to manoeuvre within capacity constraints experienced.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) thought the presentation definitely spoke to the challenges of transversal management in government. Having worked in provincial government, he was well aware of inertias and the stop-start nature of processes between different departments and units. To develop a transversal hub or platform would overcome these challenges for all the relevant stakeholders have discussions. Was there a level or forum where all national departments could communicate issues of vetting and for there then to be active follow-up. This was the only way to drive these things forward was through pro-active follow-up instead of waiting for documentation. Did this not happen in the national DGs forum?
Mr Dlodlo responded that there was a counter intelligence coordinating forum which met on a quarterly basis and comprised of the SSA, SAPS, SANDF and other stakeholders in the counter intelligence sector. Issues of concern were raised and discussed in this forum.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) was quite shocked at the presentation because everyone i.e. SAPS, CSP and IPID, at one stage, completely blamed the SSA for non-clearance of key individuals where at once stage even the clearance of the National Commissioner was questioned. Now SSA was blaming the other entities whereas she was certain they would say SSA was not available even after sending all the documentation through. It was a pity that not everyone was in the room together because then the matter could be cleared up in ten minutes. Someone was lying to Parliament and this was an extremely serious offence. Could it be that these entities had been deliberately avoiding requesting that clearance be undertaken and if this could be believed, what possible reason could there be? Was that staff actually did not want to go through the process or felt they would fail and be fired? Once clearance was given by SSA, how long was it valid for and how long before its expiration did re-vetting take place?
Mr Dlodlo explained that SSA was responsible for vetting of all government departments except SAPS and the SANDF because the two were also mandated, by law, to conduct vetting of personnel within their area of responsibility. The SSA must first get a request to assist in vetting officials from SAPS or the SANDF. SSA received a request from IPID, CSP and the SAPS, and to confirm, the National Commissioner did have a valid SSA clearance along with all other top officials in SAPS in 2013/14. Meetings with the Acting Secretary of the CSP kept being cancelled until they met on 11 May 2015 where she was informed of what was required in order to conduct the vetting. Some officials requiring the clearance submitted documentation while others did not. SSA set up a special project to work on this request but only two completed Z204 forms had been submitted even after explaining that completing the project was dependent on the availability and submission of relevant documentation – without this, the process could not begin. Clearance was valid for five years for secret and top secret but if any security issue was picked up by the SSA which could compromise the competence of an individual, that clearance can be withdrawn at any time depending on the available information.
The Chairperson asked if IPID had an adviser and why was there such a long list for the officials who had not submitted the required documentation. He further asked if there were there no monthly bilaterals and what informed the lack of follow-up.
Mr Dlodlo replied that there was follow-up on a regular basis by the security manager in conjunction with the security adviser of SSA. There were capacity constraints with so many requests needing to be juggled. There was communication between the IPID and SSA however.
Ms Kohler Barnard did not understand how “it was difficult for organs of state to comply” when it was obligatory and not an optional extra. Documentation needed to be filled in and submitted. This amounted to treating the law with contempt. The Committee needed a full detailed briefing on who had clearance and who had actually applied for entities which fell within the ambit of the Portfolio. How common was it that appointments were made but clearance was failed and then the appointee was fired? Could a ballpark figure be provided for the number of such cases over the last two years? Was it common or rare? If it only took two weeks to conduct the vetting, why were key officials still being appointed without getting the clearance first? Could it be that people wanted them in the position knowing full well that person could get booted out? When the SAPS clearance of top officials was done in 2013/14, had the National Commissioner only acquired clearance then working for two years without it? What about the vetting of the Acting Head of the Hawks?
Mr Dlodlo reiterated that the SSA was not responsible for vetting SAPS or SANDF unless there were requests for assistance so he could not comment on the status of the National Commissioner prior to 2013/14. It was difficult to answer the question on how many people did not receive clearance and then needed to vacant positions – it required some research but he could return to the Committee on it. SSA had not received a request to vet the Acting Head of the Hawks.
Mr Ramatlakane, looking at the evidence of communication between the CSP and SSA, thought serious discussion was needed between the Committee and the CSP on this matter. As a responsible entity for conducting vetting, what was the implication of non-vetting in terms of threat against the state. What did the legislation say about this? Did the legislation empower the SSA in anyway if there were problems of communication and vetting was on the line? The buck needed to stop somewhere - maybe individuals should cease to be in a position if they failed to comply. Was this a gap in legislation not empowering SSA because if this was so, this was another problem as SSA needed teeth to perform its functions? He could not understand how games were played between SAPS and the SSA when there were instructions on what must be done – had the matter been escalated?
Mr Dlodlo explained that SSA was mandated to ensure all organs of state appointed security managers and so far close to 80% or 90% of organs had made these appointments as per SSA guidelines. There were also forums where all security managers from different areas of government, whether provincial, national or state owned entities, where all issues of concern were raised and to impart necessary knowledge. The role of SSA’s role in non-compliance was to advise the head of an institution or the accounting officer who was ultimately responsible for taking action. On a regular basis, security audits were conducted on heads of state where gaps were identified including people without the necessary security clearance. Reports on the audits were compiled and submitted to the heads of institutions to implement. There were always excuses of budgetary constraints but SSA could only advise organs of state on issues relating to security. Evidence of correspondence between the SSA and CSP could be provided to the Committee.
Mr Ramatlakane asked if the SSA’s role was purely to advise or make recommendations – advice was either taken or it was not. He wanted to understand this role more.
Mr Dlodlo said the advice was given for the accounting officers to act on as it was their responsibility to understand the implications or impact of not abiding by recommendations made.
Ms Molebatsi heard that some officials would use fingerprints from another person, fraudulently, if they had a criminal record when filling in forms – was this really happening?
Mr Dlodlo said if such an issue occurred it was something for SAPS to deal with. So far, SSA had not experienced such situations although there were cases of fraudulent IDs and academic qualifications submitted – when these matters were experienced, SAPS would be alerted to pursue criminal action.
Chairperson’s Closing Comments
The Chairperson said this briefing would assist the Committee with further interactions. The issue would be taken up next week with the CSP and the Acting Executive Director of IPID would also be invited at some stage as it was clear there needed to be more concerted efforts by those departments to ensure SSA had the documentation to conduct the vetting. SSA was urged to prioritise the acting heads as well as SMS level employees as indicated in the Committee’s report. Without clearance some officials in IPID and the CSP could not access information from SAPS so this hampered work. If staff were not submitting documentation and forms, this was unacceptable and disciplinary steps needed to be taken against the officials. People in sensitive roles needed clearance and needed to assist SSA in doing that – this was the bottom line.
Briefing by SAPS with regard to implementation of the Child Justice Act and efforts made to decrease crimes against vulnerable groups
Lt. Gen. Khehla John Sitole, Deputy National Commissioner: Policing, SAPS, tendered the apology for National Commissioner, Ms Riah Phiyega. By way of introduction he explained the Child Justice Act had nine objectives and six of them were directly relevant to the police. The Act cut across a number of stakeholders. The Act was also intertwined with the Sexual Offences Act and the Children’s Act. It was important to be aware of this when implementing along with the National Crime Prevention Strategy and the National Development Plan (NDP) which also spoke to children. Implementation took place at the level of the multidisciplinary implementation plan, involving all stakeholders working with SAPS within the criminal justice process and an integrated SAPS implementation plan to address the objectives where SAPS was directly involved.
Maj. Gen. Susan Pienaar, SAPS Component Head: Crime Prevention, Visible Policing, began the presentation by highlighting the minimum requirements for implementation of the Child Justice Act and extension of implementation. One of the minimum requirements for implementation was the development of national instruction and a national policy framework. National instruction 2/2010 was developed and implemented and there was assistance in developing a national policy framework. Another minimum requirement was training and capacity building of members responsibilities to secure attendance in court including preliminary inquiry (arrest, notice and summons) and to notify the probation officer and responsible adult, release to responsible adult/secure care or detain if appropriate and to conduct investigation including determination of child used by adults. In terms of extent of implementation, a training curriculum was developed, training was conducted and ongoing regarding courses and learning programmes for vulnerable children learning programme in terms of in-service training and this was a five-day course.
With the number of SAPS members trained from the date of implementation of the Act from 2010/11 to 2014/15, the total number of personnel trained was 47 519 with a breakdown of years as follows:
- 2010/11 – 20 683
- 2011/12 – 9 599
- 2012/13 – 5 888
- 2013/14 – 6 927
- 2014/15 – 4 422
SAPS was also required to participate in One Stop Child Justice Centres and it currently participated in all established One Stop Child Justice centres that included Nerina (Eastern Cape), Mangaung (Free State), Joubertson, Rustenburg and Maheking (North West). The service level agreement for the Matlosana One Stop Child Justice Centre was currently being finalised.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar explained that quarterly statistics were provided to the Inter-Sectoral Committee on Child Justice on the number of charges (all crimes and specifically on sexual offences) regarding children, disaggregated by province, age and station. The OPAM System was enhanced to provide for capturing of information pertaining to children under 10 who cannot be charged but must be referred to probation officer. This enhanced system was rolled out nationally during February 2015. SAPS representatives participated in the DGs Inter-Sectoral Committee and operational inter-sectoral child justice meetings.
In terms of communication and awareness, the legislation, National Instructions 2 of 2010 (children in conflict with the law) and 3 of 2010 (children in need of care and protection also applicable to children under 10) was available on the SAPS intranet. Public Education and awareness campaigns were conducted along with radio broadcasts (GCIS) and presentations made to children. Interventions to accelerate training of personnel were conducted on a cumulative basis in order to accommodate large number of personnel and station and cluster lectures and work-sessions were encouraged as sound practices.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar then presented the total number of charges against children (between the ages of 10-18) between 2010/11 and 2013/14 as well as sexual offences charges. Comparative figures were then presented for the number of charges against children, assessments conducted and diversions.
Lt. Gen. Sitole provided some concluding remarks on this section of the presentation noting that monitoring and evaluation of the Act was linked to the Case Administration System (CAS), in terms of correct charging, which had now been graduated to the Integrated Case Docket Management System (ICDMS) which was slightly more advanced than CAS and so would enhance capacity for monitoring and evaluation together with OPAM. Detectives were also monitoring the remand detainees together with Correctional Services. Supplementary orders were also issued to the National Instructions for all stations to follow processes step by step without any omissions. Factory visits were introduced and linked to station visits and there were performance management addendums to the performance contracts of provincial commissioners and cluster commanders right up to station level. National Instructions were issued to the inspectorate along with the introduction of a compliance board to address any issues of non-compliance and for people to appear and account. Feasibility analysis was conducted on the Act to look at issues which required attention.
Efforts Made To Decrease Crimes against Vulnerable Groups
Maj. Gen. Pienaar moved on to this section of the presentation outlining the relevant legal framework was made up of the Constitution, Common Law Offences, Domestic Violence Act, 1998 (Act No 116 of 1998), Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No 32 of 2007), Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No 38 of 2005), Child Justice Act, 75 (Act No 75 of 2008), Films and Publications Act, 1996 (Act No 65 of 1996) and the Older Persons Act, 2006 (Act No 13 of 2008). There were also international obligations applicable, namely, from the United Nations and African Union. These pieces of legislation also informed relative SAPS National Instructions and the standard operating procedure for the reporting of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) - related crimes.
In terms of the policing approach utilised, there were three approaches, namely a proactive one (prevention), reactive (investigation) and a multi-disciplinary one (cooperation). Proactive policing was done in four areas, namely, early interventions, victim support services, implementation of legislation and policies in respect of vulnerable groups and awareness programmes in schools, communities and media. Early interventions consisted of the prevention of commission of further crimes, identification/reporting of crimes, identification and apprehension of the offender, crime analysis at local, cluster, provincial level to inform policing and intervention plans and projects with stakeholders e.g. community safety plans with CPFs and outreach programmes. Victim support services included training of SAPS members, victim friendly facilities at police stations and co-operation with victim service provider.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar then presented a national summary of Victim Friendly Rooms (VFRs) for 2014/15 where services were provided per province. In total, 897 police stations had VFRs, 36 satellite police stations, one contact points, three at international airports, 32 FCS units and 20 at railway police. This presented a total of 989 VFRs. Police stations also utilised Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs) and Khuseleka One Stop Centres (OSCs) where they were available. A breakdown per province was provided but in total, 419 police stations made use of 52 TCCs and 133 police stations made use of six Khuseleka OSCs. With the implementation of legislation and policies in respect of vulnerable groups and the protection of persons with disabilities, SAPS participated in the National Disability Machinery Committee that helped with disability rights, monitoring as well as to ensure improved access to services to persons with disabilities. The guidelines on Policing of Crimes against People with Disability was in the process of being finalised and a task team had been constituted on the 29 April 2015 to work towards the development of a Disability Policing Strategy in order to ensure improved services to persons with disabilities. With the protection of older persons, SAPS participated in the SA Older Persons Forum in order to ensure improved protection services to the elderly. Guidelines on the Protection Older Persons was developed and members will be capacitated on it in this financial year 2015 while national Instruction 2 of 2014 on Protection of Older Persons was developed and rolled out in 2014. For the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community, SAPS collaborated with other role-players to develop the following in an effort to reduce incidents of crimes against the LGBTI community:
- Terms of Reference of the National Task Team
- Terms of Reference of the Rapid Response Team
- National Intervention Strategy
- Information pamphlet on “Frequently asked Questions regarding LGBTI Persons
- The National LGBTI programme was officially launched on 29 April 2015.
- SAPS continued to be part of the National Task Team on LGBTI.
- SAPS members to be capacitated on how to handle LGBTI persons.
- Guidelines with regard to LBGTI to be developed during 2014/15.
With child protection, SAPS had ongoing campaigns aimed at raising the awareness of the public on the consequences of child abuse, neglect and exploitation. This included awareness on issues that impacted on child prostitution, child pornography and child trafficking or the sale of children. In this manner the campaign was applicable as a strategy to prevent other subject-specific child abuse and exploitation issues. There were school-based visits by police officials that were aimed at raising children’s awareness of child abuse matters and the need to report these to a trusted adult and the police. These engagements were also aimed at promoting awareness of positive behaviour that counters issues such as bullying, use of drugs, use of weapons, age-inappropriate sexual engagement and the need to report inappropriate behaviour towards children. These police officials were known as “Adopt a Cop” officials. “Adopt a Cop” officials had over the years also conducted awareness shows at various other places where children were found, such as at shopping malls during weekends, fetes, bazaars, agricultural shows and others. SAPS also used promotional material that focused on placing specific child protection messages on objects, such as rulers, rubbers, colouring books and juice mugs. Pamphlets, brochures and other information and awareness-raising material had been produced and distributed to the public to provide child abuse prevention information and to raise child protection awareness. Public awareness events were conducted on an ongoing basis and peaked during focus periods such as Child Protection Week (end of May, beginning of June) and the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children period (25 November to 10 December).Electronic media engagements also outlined services available from the police for early interventions and processing, should a child be abused. For public awareness in terms of the LGBTI community, SAPS conducted National and Provincial public education and awareness campaigns to inform the public about crimes against vulnerable groups, women, children, the elderly and the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. The purpose was to educate the public, and by doing so, to encourage reporting and prevent ongoing incidents of crimes. In terms of public awareness for gender-based violence, SAPS had distributed the following communication material in the 2014/2015 financial year to enhance public education and awareness in all communities:
• Domestic Violence pamphlets in all 11 official languages
• Sexual Offences Z-Cards in all 11 official languages
• Children’s Rights leaflets
• School Safety booklets
• Banners and posters on school safety, drugs and the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act 38 of 2005).
Maj. Gen. Pienaar then moved on to discuss reactive policing where with the investigation of crimes, the majority of the crimes were sexual offences investigated by the detectives attached to 176 FCS units placed in each cluster area. This environment had 2 529 members (2 242 SAPS Act and 287 Public Service
Act) comprised of detectives investigating cases, and social workers specialising in forensic work placed in areas with the highest prevalence or need and training/development. Generic Courses included Basic Training, Domestic Violence Programme, Resolving of Crime (detective) Programme and Sexual Offences Programmes while specialised Courses consisted of FCS Detective Learning Programme and a Forensic Social Work Programme.
Multi-disciplinary cooperation included government departments, such as, Justice and Constitutional Development, Social Development, Home Affairs, an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Gender Based Violence, Interpol and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Community Based Organisations (CBOs).
Lt. Gen. Sitole highlighted the development of a policy matrix linking all environments in SAPS in terms of the legislation and policies for vertical and horizontal coordination. This would prescribe instructions for all environments to work together and come up with action plans. The role of other disciplines outside of SAPS was also identified and linked to the process to assist in identifying intervention specifications which should be put in place. The national crime prevention strategy also enhanced the multi-disciplinary approach involving the provinces for the development of a provincial crime prevention framework. There were also youth crime prevention frameworks which were also linked to the provinces to enhance further multi-disciplinary cooperation.
The Chairperson noted progress made with Operation Fiela where many illegal firearms were confiscated along with other contraband and the arrest of wanted criminals. However, some organisations raised some concerns regarding the Operation – the Committee needed assurance around the human rights approach and that there were sufficient safety measures when conducting these operations and that people were dealt with in line with the Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Act.
Lt. Gen. Sitole said the Operation ran from a national instruction delivered by the National Joint Operations and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) which outlined exactly the operational concept and how members should present themselves when conducting this particular operation. There were senior officials in SAPS, and other disciplines in the criminal justice cluster, as a monitoring group to ensure the NATJOINTS instruction was implemented to the letter without any violation. Furthermore, a national crime combating instruction was delivered and outlined the combating approach, which legislation governed the operational process and which legislation and other national instructions should be complied with. There was also legal scrutiny to ensure human rights and other processes were observed. For all operations, there were parades which were inspected by senior officers including senior government officials across the criminal justice cluster. Recently, Ministers in the cluster also visited. There was a live jock with a situational report every hour along with de-briefings and post mortems. It would be known immediately if something did not go right in an operation. Technology was also used with videos. Operation Fiela was not business as usual – arrests were effected in buildings and hostels that were illegally occupied and there processes challenging the legal existence of these buildings. The most effective operations conducted on the side of SAPS were felt in the response of community and this was one operation where SAPS made the highest number of arrests. He assured the Committee that, over and above current measures, control would be intensified along with the arrests.
Ms Kohler Barnard questioned the difficulties in the reporting of figures and how one was supposed to work out if children were assessed by a probation officer within 48 hours or how many children under the age of ten were in conflict with the law? Were they sent to probation officers? How many children were sent to the Department of Health for assessment for criminal capacity? How many children were being diverted before the preliminary enquiry? All these numbers were not evident or seemed to be available when there needed to be a determination if fewer or more children were in conflict with the law and going to trial.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar replied that the difficulty of reporting figures was a challenge for SAPS. CAS captured charges and this was what the police counted – charges not offenders. The Department of Social Development assessed the child even if there were multiple charges so this was a challenge for inter-departmental monitoring. SAPS got feedback from the operational committees for instance if the child had not been assessed – the process could not proceed if the child had not been assessed but the challenge remained in reporting the figures. It was being looked into if the system could capture both the amount of charges and children but when a new reporting system was implemented or if new data was extracted, the reliability of the data first needed to be evaluated before it was officially reported on and Technology Management Systems (TMS) were assisting here. Some of the challenges of CAS were trying to be incorporated into the ICDMS as part of the broader Integrated Justice System (IJS) development process. At the moment, there was no information on the number of children but there was reporting on charges per age group, from the age of 10 upwards, per police station and per province – this information could be provided to the Committee. SAPS was currently not recording information on children below the age of 10 on the system but every child must be referred. It was important to emphasise that because children under 10 could not be charged, matters involving them might not be reported to the police and it might be referred directly to a probation officer. Where these children were reported to SAPS, as of this year onwards, information relating to every child under the age of 10 must be captured on the OPAM system although the child could not be charged. This would be per child and the information could be reported on and numbers could then be compared with Social Development. With diversion, decisions were taken at the preliminary enquiry and not before. Children who were sentenced were reported on in the annual reports of the CJA and all alternative sentences were provided. Diversion referred to a case which had not gone to trial. In terms of SAPS stats, there had been a drop in the number of children charged but the figures for the current financial year had not been audited yet so it could not be reported on yet. This did not mean there were fewer children coming in conflict with the law, but there were fewer sentenced.
A SAPS official present added that, with the number of children under the age of ten who had been assessed by probation officers and social workers, there were 254 in the previous financial year.
Mr Mbhele asked for clarity on the role of contact points referred to in the discussion on the VFRs – he was interested in what this point was, what its role was and the implication of there only being one in the country. In terms of the efforts to reduce crime in the LGBTI community, mention was made about SAPS role in the terms of reference for the national task team and rapid response team but this role was terribly vague and he sought elaboration on this. It was quite distressing that with the protection of persons with disabilities and the LGBTI community, a task team was constituted on 29 April 2015 and the LGBTI national programme was officially launched also in April 2015. He believed that when the SAPS received the request from the Committee to brief it on these matters, there was a massive scramble to cobble something together so that it could be said a process was initiated hence the very recent starting dates – he sought clarity on this. The national task team to respond to hate crimes against LGBTI people started in March 2011 as mandated by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development but now it was only officially launched four years later – what was the reason for this four year gap in making the initiative official? When the provincial breakdown of the operational clusters for SAPS was outlined, this information could not be correct because just earlier on this year, the Western Cape’s clusters, according to his information, had been reduced recently from 25 to 16 as reported on in the local community media of his constituency. Residents associations were very unhappy with the reduction and they wondered what it would mean for policing services delivery. This information presented was thus inaccurate and outdated at least as far as the clusters of the Western Cape were concerned – what had been the reason for the reduction of clusters? Why was this approach taken? He needed to take this information to his constituents.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar explained a fully fledged police station was one which functioned 24 hours and basically rendered a full scope of services. A satellite police station was usually linked to a fully fledge police one and usually rendered all services except for detective work. A contact point was linked to an existing police station but did not operate 24/7 but with a community service provider at the physical building between certain hours maybe between 8 and 5. The reference to one contact point in SA meant there was only one contact point which had its own VFR – it did not mean there was only one contact point. A number of contact points were maintained in SA. With the role of SAPS in policing crimes against the LGBTI community and persons with disabilities, essentially these were the generic SAPS functions where crimes were registered, statements were taken, investigate, ensure the case went to court and ensure the victim got support. The task team and response team would be based on the generic responsibilities of SAPS along with the sensitivity to the needs of vulnerable communities. SAPS worked closely with a number of organisations in this environment and they articulated specific needs to address. With the response team, advocacy groups could inform SAPS of particular events or cases for it to intervene. It was not a separate set of policing responsibilities but the emphasis was on addressing the specific needs of the community.
Lt. Gen. Sitole explained with the number of clusters, the number reflected in the presentation, was of FCS units within the clusters so while the number of clusters had been reduced, the number of units had not been affected and would remain. SAPS conducted a work study on the number of clusters under the direction of the National Commissioner and the national management forum then took the resolution. There was consultation within and broadly and a decision was taken to implement a new cluster management framework. The cluster management framework was a broad one but it did not affect the number of FCS units. With contact points, he added they were linked to sector policing especially if that sector was a hotspot. From time to time, certain contact points graduated to satellite stations as the profile grew while certain satellites graduated to stations.
A SAPS official clarified that the LGBTI programme was launched on 29 April 2014 so the date in the presentation was incorrect. The lead department was Justice and Constitutional Development.
Mr J Maake (ANC) wanted to know what the difference was between SAPS instructions and legislation. What were the sexual offences Z cards?
Lt. Gen. Sitole explained national instructions were part of implementation/operationalisation of new legislation. Implementation needed to be simplified at an operational level to reduce interpretation and for even a constable to understand steps taken to implement the act. Leading divisions sat with legal services when new legislation came and a simplified process was drafted to show step by step implementation – this was called a national instruction. In drafting the instructions, the emphasis was on it never being in conflict with the legislation. The process was monitored and the point was that each piece of legislation had an accompanying national instruction.
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to understand if a vacuum was created in victim support if there were no one stop centres and what was the national footprint of these centres generally. He was happy to see the amount of police officers already trained but sometimes it was unsustainable because the members moved from the centre of training elsewhere – could the Committee get the assurance that these were officers with specialisation for a lack of better term with the implementation of the Child Justice Act. It might be useful to get a picture of the type of children in conflict with the Act and what kind of offences was involved. He found a gap of understanding in his constituency of police and the education department – schools would not want to see police frequenting because it was a place of learning so the police would shy away and only attend if there was a conflict. Was there joint communiqué between the Department of Basic Education and SAPS which spoke to modus operandi because this might go a long way? Investigation numbers looked fairly small – did the volume or pattern determine the deployment in provinces in the event there were no OSCs. What constituted diversion programmes? Was SAPS the lead agent in looking at patterns of crimes committed by children for instance in what time of the day they occurred etc – he saw something in Brazil were programmes of sport were used to occupy children for long periods of time after school and this aided in decreasing crime.
Lt. Gen. Sitole said the formal training programme for members was led by HRD and there was refresher training while the member was working, or on the job, at an in-service level. There were also mentorships of certain identified groups. With the gap in education, there was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SAPS and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) relating to the implementation of school safety. The MOU followed an integrated approach between DBE and SAPS and was seen in community outreach and that groups or teams of police “adopting” a school. With crime analysis, whenever a school was a hotspot, surprise operational concepts were in place where SAPS could enter into any school at any given time as long as there was intelligence. There was then sharing of information through the MOU platform – so far, no hassles were experienced with DBE.
Maj. Gen.Pienaar outlined that there was a myriad of OSCs where some were very localised based on service providers in a particular area like a faith-based organisation or business sponsorship so there were different models of OSCs in place. The OSC brought essentially a range of different services under one roof. The Thuthuzela centres were often based in a hospital but counselling was included as a service and usually the police came to the centre to take statements. If there was no OSC, the services would be provided separately and the police would deal with their responsibility in the VFR in terms of making the rights of the victim known, take the statement and make referrals and, depending on the victims needs, take the victim to the hospital for the forensic medical exam and counselling. There might be volunteers at the station to assist and enhance services provided to the victim. At times organisations could provide counselling at police stations but this did not happen in all victim support rooms. In some provinces, community safety and SAPS worked together to mobilise volunteers and train them to ensure a more comprehensive service was provided at the station. This was happening in the Western Cape and Gauteng. With the specialisation of training, there was an ongoing need to ensure trained people were on shifts. As people moved on, there would be identification of the gap and need to train people and have knowledgeable staff for any members who might come into contact with the Child Justice Act. There would always be a need to train operational members and new recruits. The in-service training would thus continue for members working both outside and inside the stations. There was no analysis on the profile of children who came into conflict with the law but it was something to look it and identify patterns and trends to tackle prevention better. There was no other joint communication between SAPS and the DBE except the MOU but there was cooperation to develop a schools-based crime prevention guideline for police which was informed by education specific policies like for dealing with drugs in school. SAPS was not the lead agency on diversion but diversion programmes were registered by the Department of Social Development and it included different aspects like managing conflict and violence, family conferencing, treatment for substance addictions etc. all tailored to the specific needs of the child. There were some examples of police initiated programmes, for example, in Cape Town, working with community organisations, Community Policing Forums (CPFs) and officers who dealt with children, identifying places where children converged and the times and then engage the children to try to get them into programmes, for instance involving football. SAPS picked up certain patterns as the crime was analysed but programmes were not undertaken on a national level.
Ms Molebatsi asked if albinos were considered part of vulnerable groups – she did not see them mentioned in the presentation. Since 2010/11, three reports were tabled but the fourth one for 2013/14, excluded SAPS information – why was this? What other tasks would designated child justice officers at local police stations be doing? People who dealt with children in different organisations, first obtained security clearance – was this also the case with SAPS members?
Maj. Gen. Pienaar indicated that there was a lack of child justice officers. Stations were to ensure that on every shift there were members who were trained but they were not dedicated members but ordinary members on the shift. Albinos were definitely included in people with disabilities, because of eyesight vulnerabilities. As mentioned, there were no dedicated members dealing with child justice but all police officers had to be cleared and one could not hold a criminal record and be a police officer. The “adopt a cop” officers were specifically vetted. There was an interim report which excluded police information but it was added in the final 2013/14 report tabled in Parliament.
The Chairperson asked detective services, as they were present, if any studies were looked into in terms of the swindling of elderly people or if there were any stats on this issue or trends. The elderly was an especially vulnerable group particularly in terms of economic crimes.
Maj. Gen. Charles Johnson, Component Head: General Crime Investigations, Detective Service, SAPS, responded that in the past, with pension pay points, the elderly would borrow money from money lenders or loan sharks and excessive interest would be charged. Or the elderly would be provided with excessively charged food. Their IDs would be taken and only on the day of the payout would the pensioner get the ID back to withdraw the pension. This was easy to police and arrest and charge these loan sharks. The mere act of lending money was not a crime but the excessive charging of interest was charged in terms of the Reserve Bank Act and there were successes in this regard. Now, with the SASSA card, the elderly could withdraw the pension anywhere with the loan shark following or even taking the elderly to these places – this was more challenging to police but pay points were constantly under observation. The other challenge and concern was that bus and taxi loads of elderly people, on the day of the pension payout, were taken to casinos where they spent their money. It was uncertain if taking the elderly to the casino was an organised thing and who was organising it or if they were merely enjoying a movie, but it seemed more that it was exploitation of the elderly to pay on the slot machines and lose their money. SAPS should engage stakeholders in this space especially on the days when the SASSA payout was made. SAPS did not have specific information relating to the swindling of the elderly but he reported to the DEFCON meeting of the JCPS cluster on a quarterly basis relating to crimes committed against the elderly in terms of the Older Persons Act. There was a decline in crimes in general being committed against the elderly, most of the crimes committed were done so by relatives and people near to the elderly – stealing their money to buy drugs or assault them if they did not hand over the money. This was a challenge.
Ms Molebatsi was very worried about the lack of security clearance by police officers working with children. Before people working in the Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) set foot on the premises, they must be security cleared. What did it mean for a SAPS member, previously convicted of rape - would the member still be working with children? When visiting police stations, it was found some did not have juvenile cells and as a result, the youth were put into cells with adults – what should be done in terms of Act in this regard?
Lt. Gen. Sitole outlined that there were three levels of security clearance – the first was the gaps analysis. The National Commissioner instructed that all SAPS members were to undergo gaps analysis so that all criminal and departmental convictions could be identified along with lifestyle audits. Then there secret security clearance linked to crime intelligence analysis and SSA. Then came top-secret which was the third level of clearance. At the foundation, all members underwent gaps analysis. With the juvenile cells, since the inception of the Act, the cut and dry instruction issued to all members was that juveniles could not be detained with adults – this was seriously and strongly monitored. If a police station did not have juvenile detention facilities, one would look at a nearby area and alternative arrangement maybe to arrange custody with the parents for the duration of the investigation. Children and adults could not be detained anymore.
Ms Mmola asked what happened in the event of a particular police station not having a VFR when the need arose.
Lt. Gen. Sitole said the first alternative was the nearest hospital or health facility to work with the station and provide the victim friendly service. The second option was to actually establish the VFR.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar added specific provision was made, as part of a station order, to use a room in the police station like an office or conference room to take the statement in private. This could be a designated space when the need arose.
Mr Twala observed mention made of the employment of forensic social workers – had the numbers employed been increased and what was their impact? Policemen were by nature crime fighters but was there a significant change in attitude in the ability of SAPS to address petty offences in terms of training provided. Often these were minors committing acts during stages of development.
Lt. Gen Sitole confirmed there were forensic social workers and up to this point, there impact was very high.
A SAPS official added SA had 85 forensic social workers and there were individuals to monitor social workers to ensure they were complying. Last year, there were 75 social workers. Their role was to ensure children who were victims of crime and provide expert testimony in court and compile quality reports. An impact was seen in the quick response in the assessment of children and compilation of reports.
Mr Mbhele questioned the capacity of SAPS members dealing with LGBTI persons when reporting hate crimes. Secondary victimisation was a concern of many LGBTI people and a violation to their dignity so this kind of education and awareness raising was crucial. Were there any numbers on how many officers had gone through this kind of sensitisation training and the provincial spread thereof, it was available. Who conducted this training as a service provider? He was aware of some LGBTI groups who had approached SAPS with the offer to run these seminars especially where there were problematic hotspots.
Lt. Gen. Sitole replied that the change of mindset of members lied within the national crime prevention strategy which brought a new approach to crime prevention and dealing with crime at the level of the police station. Members were orientated in terms of the strategy and the National Commissioner always emphasised the professionalisation of SAPS. The transformation programme also targeted the change of mindset. Modus operandi analysis also informed the approach and training in this regard. The training was focused on broad human rights and to be victim friendly but there was research by training and development to find a new curriculum to shape and focus specifically on this matter.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar added in engagement with stations and members over the years, she observed there was a greater extent of awareness around what was required and there signs up highlighting the rules applicable especially with the retention of children. LGBTI issues were dealt with specifically in the human rights in policing training to inculcate respect for the human rights of all individuals. There was no specific LGBTI course but sometimes there were unaccredited training course conducted by organisations.
Another SAPS official said with secondary victimisation, members were sensitised during stations lectures to make them aware of how to treat victims. Members were also briefed with the duty-on, duty-off parades and through change management training. Cameras were placed in client visit centres in new stations for complaints to be followed-up on.
Ms Kohler Barnard sought an indication of how many FCS units there were before the former Commissioner Selebi shut them down and how many staff were allocated to them in relation to the current picture – were there more or less? This must be one of the most difficult units to work in dealing with raped babies etc. and it needed highly trained and skilled people. Were there more of fewer children coming into conflict with the law and going to trial and sentenced to imprisonment then previously? Were there more children in prison serving their sentences? Why was there a nearly 16% drop in preliminary enquiries and a nearly 9% decrease in assessments when figures seemed to show an increase in criminality? The number of children awaiting trial was increasing while the numbers of children held in child and youth centres was dropping – why was this so? There seemed to be an enormous of amount of children arrested and then acquitted – what did this speak to? Was it because of a lack of evidence or witnesses or was SAPS really bad in court? Was there any indication of what the reservastism rates were in terms of children – how many were in remand, detention or serving sentences in correctional services? Was there an increase or decrease in the amount of children in correctional services? Had the Act done what it was meant to do?
A SAPS official outlined that before the re-establishment of the FCS and migration to police stations, there were 66 units around the country but now there were 176. There were 2242 investigating officers thus far.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar could provide this detailed information and also some of the answers were needed from other departments.
Mr Ramatlakane asked what was meant by the guidelines finalised on people with disabilities. When would these guidelines be completed? Why was it taking so long when it had been around for some time? There was this debate about the shutting down of units by Selebi but the shutting down of the FCS unit had always been a myth – it had never happened. He had practical experience in this environment and he knew these units were there, functioning and being rolled out – this was a statement of fact. He cautioned against using the name of the late National Commissioner of Police, Jackie Selebi, as a political football – it was insensitive and bordered on serious insult in his culture.
Ms Kohler Barnard called for a point of order. She called for the protection of the Chairperson. Selebi was arrested and jailed for shutting down units and dealing with drug people – he was a criminal who had brought the greatest insult SAPS ever had. She had to raise his name in the Committee because he shut these units down and she wanted to know what happened subsequently. She would not be insulted by playing the traditional card.
Ms Molebatsi said Jackie Selebi was not arrested for shutting down units.
Ms Kohler Barnard then said Selebi shut these units down – full stop and everyone knew why.
The Chairperson called for order and for Members to please go back to the core business and stop the name-calling and other issues. He took note of the point raised by Mr Ramatlakane.
Mr Ramatlakane felt it was important to speak facts. Saying units were shut down was being economical with the truth. At the time he was in the Western Cape where these units were in fact being rolled out and not shut down – where were these units shut down? It was a fiction of the imagination.
Ms Kohler Barnard was happy to fill the Member in with the reality of the situation after the meeting – she would forward him all the information.
Members then wanted to know why Ms Kohler Barnard was allowed to speak.
The Chairperson appealed for Members to get back to the issue at hand and the core business.
Ms Mmola asked that Members respect each other and for Members not to interrupt each other.
Mr Ramatlakane did not want to continue with his point because Ms Kohler Barnard constantly interjected and did not want to hear what he had to say. He wanted to unmask the fictitious imagination once and for all and for the truth to be known. He would leave the matter there and respect the ruling of the Chairperson but he would return to this issue again.
Ms Molebatsi asked where the so-called witches fitted in. Were they part of vulnerable groups?
Maj. Gen. Johnson indicated witches were included in the vulnerable groups and SAPS was addressing it. In his office, he had a section dealing with harmful or cult-related crimes. Individuals were trained in the provinces to assist investigating officers to deal with crimes relating to cults. SAPS were not addressing the cult, paganism or witchcraft per se because these were not crimes but the crimes that emanated from the practices relating to these matters. There was a perception that SAPS established units to deal with cults, paganism and witchcraft but this was not true – officers were trained in the investigation of these matters. For example, of the officers in his office was dealing with a matter of Satanism in the University of Limpopo because of concerns there. It was also established recently that there were three illegal circumcision schools in Mpumalanga that SAPS would start addressing with the province.
Mr Maake thought the Chairperson should protect Members because one Member could not undermine the Chairperson by doing what she wished – this was totally unacceptable. Referring to Selebi, it was not in his culture to talk that way of someone who had died. One could not go to a funeral and say the person who had died was a criminal. It was totally unacceptable to rubbish the culture of Members while they were present. He questioned the processes when children were arrested in far rural areas where there were no facilities. In such a case, the processes, to him, seemed very complicated. If he was a police person he would slap the child on the wrist, tell him to go home and to never do that again. These rural stations did not have social workers etc to follow the processes besides locking the child in the cell which was against the law. Maybe the law was a bit complicated to deal with – how would such a problem be solved?
Maj. Gen. Pienaar said not every child that was charged would be detained – the Act and national instructions gave specific guidelines on this. It was simple in that it provided for all the different eventualities by taking into account whether the parents were able to take care of the child, or if there was another responsible adult to take care of the child, nature of the crime, extent of the crime and if the child was a repeat offender or if there was a substance abuse problem. This would determine detainment or not even before going to the preliminary enquiry. The vast majority of children would not be detained by the police instead being handed to the care of the parents or another responsible adult once the admin of the case was completed. If the child was detained it would only be until such time when they could be moved to a child or youth care centre. The child would really only be detained if he/she was a danger to themselves or others in a cell separately from adults and be monitored. Certain stations had enough cells to have one specifically for children (SAPS tried not to refer to juveniles anymore). The emphasis was on keeping the child away from adults and for he/she to be monitored – sometimes they were kept in the booking cell or in an office under the personnel care of a member or adult. Some stations in the Western Cape had separate cells for women, children and LGBTI persons. The national instructions were detailed to make provision for every eventuality and it was often more difficult for stations in the rural areas where services were far apart. There were good relations in working with probation officers. On the guidelines, these were distinct from national instructions as they were meant to be a resource to assist members in dealing with certain things, for example, international conventions and policies in dealing with people with disabilities but there was no specific Act dealing with specific eventualities. The guidelines were not instructions but discretionary for members to consider the best option in a specific context. Guidelines were based on best practice and suggestions while the national instructions dealt with requirements.
Ms Mabija was worried that Mr Ramatlakane could not even finish his point and now he was sitting like an Egyptian mummy where he could not make the point he wished to because another Member was interjecting. What was the point in being present if one was barred from speaking one’s mind?
The Chairperson clarified the principle of the matter was that freedom of speech was the basis in a parliamentary environment. Mr Ramatlakane was adamant that while he was a MEC in the Western Cape there was not any moratorium, if you will, on the rolling out of the FCS units. This was contested by Ms Kohler Barnard so it was a factual dispute. It could be debated for a long time with no resolution for today. He asked for the meeting to continue and another opportunity could be created where that information could be put before the Committee to look at the facts.
Ms Molebatsi asked that Ms Kohler Barnard be stopped from interjecting when other people were talking.
The Chairperson said the principle was that all Members respect each other and wait for each other to finish their points and then respond through the Chairperson.
Mr Mbhele asked if the National Minister had given any instruction, especially in the recent spate of gang related activity seen in the media, on the re-establishment of specialised anti-gang and anti-drug units. If so, what were the timelines and geographic stipulations because there were unconfirmed rumours, if you will, but no solid information had been forthcoming? There was a difference between something being culturally taboo and it being unparliamentarily – this forum concerned the latter. Many of the Members knew that when he interacted with them interpersonally he upheld cultural conventions but when there was a debate in the House, have no fear, he would pummel as much as he needed to. It was important to be aware of these distinctions around what was appropriate or not.
Lt. Gen. Sitole stated the instruction that came from the Minister concerned the development of a gang combating and prevention strategy. This particular process was in place and spearheaded by National Intelligence Coordinating Committee (NICOC). The strategy first needed to be in place before one could speak of units and a dedicated approach to gangs. Presently, gangs were policed in terms of the current policing strategy
Maj. Gen. Johnson added that the CSP had been tasked to come up with the gangsterism strategy. From an investigative perspective, in the problem provinces, namely, the Western Cape (peninsula mainly), northern Eastern Cape (northern areas of Port Elizabeth mainly) and Free State (Welkom, Botshabelo, Mangaung mainly) and KZN (Wentworth), investigative task teams specifically targeting gangsters had been set up. In the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, inroads were made from an investigative point of view by sending these gangsters to jail. A case n the Western Cape had been coming on for five years and the individual had been convicted on 7 murders and 12 other charges – the sentencing process was in place. In the Eastern Cape there were major successes as well. In KZN, gangsterism flared up recently in the areas related to drugs. In the Free State, there were gangs mainly involving competition among young people with who was the best dressed, best car or had the most beautiful girlfriend and this then escalated to crime. SAPS were addressing this but it was not as prevalent as in the Western and Eastern Cape. The task teams were resourced and their successes were monitored in dealing with gangsters, there were no units but task teams to deal with the investigative process from a multi-disciplinary approach and covert operations.
The Chairperson highlighted the Committee required additional documents, namely, guidelines for the protection of older persons, national instruction 2/2014 for elderly persons, the national convention strategy on LGBTI, frequently asked questions regarding LGBTI and the stats of children per age.
On the matter concerning the closure of FSC units under late National Commissioner Selebi, which was in question earlier in the meeting, Mr Ramatlakane was correct but he would ask the Committee researchers to submit a specific research note on the issue for it to be tabled at the next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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