The Committee met to be briefed on a number of issues including by the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) on the report of the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA), the CSP and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on vetting of their senior management and the National Community Policing Board on their activities and grievances.
The first item on the agenda was the CSP on the DVA report. Just after completing the introduction, the presenters were stopped because the Committee took issues with the sampling methodology made use of because it was not representative enough. The Committee was even more displeased because the matter was already raised during a previous engagement on the DVA reports on 5 November 2015. Members said that a proper overview of the full national picture could not be achieved using the current sampling method did not allow for this. The Committee decided that the CSP was to return with the SA Police Service (SAPS) after the sampling method was improved and for SAPS to account for station compliance because browsing through the report only one station was in KZN was fully compliant. This was concerning when domestic violence was an apex priority of government. Furthermore, provinces should be brought on for non-compliance as the Western Cape and Gauteng could not be the only provinces taking steps against errant officers.
The Committee was then briefed by the National Community Policing Board, which was the first time the Board had been before a Committee of Parliament since 1994, discussing the background to the Community Policing Forums (CPFs) and their numbers, development, resourcing, concerns of policy involvement, interim regulations and SAPS data and statistics, recommendations and achievements.
Members then engaged in discussion on the location of CPFs and whether it was better for them to be located within or outside police stations, resourcing of the CPFs, SAPS interface between national and provincial CPFs, regulations, blurring of lines between the different roles played in the policing environment and if patrollers were properly screened. Members noted the frustration and anger coming through in the presentation, some felt that the CPFs should be driven conscientiously instead of through incentives and there were then questions around the numbers of non-functioning CPFs and certain recommendations.
The Committee then heard from IPID and the CSP on the vetting of their senior management. The matter of vetting for both institutions came up sharply during the Committee’s hearings on the budget votes of the entities, Members then recommended in their report to call in the State Security Agency (SSA) which was done last week. At the meeting last week, the Committee was told by the SSA of which senior officials did not have valid clearance and problems of communication and follow-up to get the necessary documentation to process the clearance certificates. Members now wanted to hear the story from IPID and the CSP. The Committee needed clear indication of the situation and assurance that senior staff, investigators and officials in the supply chain were vetted because it was imperative for them to be cleared. IPID then informed the Committee of the current status of the number of officials who had valid clearance, those who had applied for clearance and those who had just submitted documents because they were new staff – the dates were also provided for this information. The Directorate informed Members of their action plan going forward to sort out the vetting issue which included the establishment of a Vetting Fieldwork Unit. The CSP also informed Members of the current status of their vetting situation. Members felt the information contradicted what was presented by the SSA last week so it was best to get everyone under the same roof to discuss the issues. This meeting would take place on 24 June 2015.
Chairperson’s Introductory Comments
The Chairperson indicated that on the agenda for today’s meeting was a briefing by the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) on the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) Reports, a briefing by the CSP and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on vetting of their senior management (following a briefing by the State Security Agency last week) and the Board of the Community Policing Forums (CPFs) – their first briefing to Parliament since 1994 so this was a historic meeting. It was important for the Committee to interact with all sectors and the CPFs played a huge role especially with the White Paper process and the new SA Police Service (SAPS) Act so the role of the CPFs were major. The briefing was for Members to get an idea of what the CPFs were doing, challenges experienced, hopes for the future and recommendations. The idea was to get an overall sense of the issues faced by CPFs and they could interact with the Committee again later in the year.
Domestic Violence Act (DVA) Implementation Report 5 (April – September 2014)
The Chairperson noted that one report was outstanding - August to April and he asked where this report was. This report needed to be tabled. He noted there were minor mistakes of spelling in the report and said it was important that quality control be adhered to at all times.
Ms Ayanda Xongwana, Deputy Director: CSP, indicated that on the previous engagement with the Committee on this matter last year, two reports were presented – one from October to March and another from April to September.
The Chairperson asked if this meant the October to April 2015 report was with Parliament?
Ms Xongwana said it was still being prepared as information was still being consolidated from the provinces.
The Chairperson then asked when it was envisaged that this report would be tabled.
Ms Xongwana responded that it was finalised and should be tabled before the end of this quarter. The challenge was that the CSP was reporting six months behind the current date to consolidate information from provinces.
The Chairperson noted the interaction with the CSP on 5 November 2014 where the Committee raised issues, sharply, around the representiveness of the sample of the provinces. The presentation today showed that only one station, in KZN, was reflected as compliant. This raised questions of validity of the sample. It was not good enough to say the issues were being addressed with Stats SA when it was already six months into the year. This was simply not good enough and he hoped there was a better explanation for this. For there to be a proper overview of what was happening the country there needed to be a proper sample – an analysis or recommendations could not be made if one station in KZN, which comprised 25% of the country’s population, was deemed to be compliant. This approach really needed to be re-thought.
Mr Luyanda Qhomfo, CSP Acting Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation, began the introduction to the presentation noting that the SA government was committed to regional, domestic and international treaties and legislation that promoted robust interventions against domestic violence. Central to the Constitution was the Bill of Rights which promoted the right to equality, freedom and the security of people. The DVA, CSP and IPID Act served as pillars to ensure that DVA matters were taken seriously. Amendments were needed to the DVA and interactions with SAPS had proven meaningful and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) had been signed between the CSP and SAPS to deal with the DVA and SAPS committed to support the compliance forum – it was trusted that this would institutionalise DVA interventions across the country. DVA matters were now part of the consultative forum between IPID and the CSP. Amongst others, it was the responsibility of this forum to identify any policy and strategic matters which require the attention of the Minister.
Ms Xongwana then proceeded to take the Committee through the presentation noting that gender-based violence was recognised both within SA and internationally as a profound violation of human rights and a major barrier to social and economic development. The DVA 116 of 1998, was introduced with the purpose of attempting to provide victims of domestic violence with an accessible legal instrument with which to prevent further abuses taking place within their domestic relationships.
The CSP was mandated to monitor and evaluate SAPS’ compliance with the DVA, make recommendations to the police service on disciplinary procedures and measures with regard to non-compliance to the DVA and provide the Minister with regular reports with regard to implementation of and compliance with policy directives issued or instructions made by the Minister.
The Act further empowered the CSP to take over the responsibilities, relating to monitoring implementation of DVA, that were previously carried out by the former Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), currently known as the IPID. As a result of this transition, Section 18 of the DVA had been repealed in terms of IPID Act, (Act No. 1 of 2011). All matters in this section of DVA that referred to the role of the ICD were substituted by the Secretariat.
In terms of the methodology and sampling, as part of its monitoring role, the CSP, including the Provincial Secretariats, conducted a total of 160 police station audits between 01 April and 30 September 2014. The number of audits per province was outlined. The audits were conducted utilising a DVA monitoring tool implemented through interviewing various officials within a police station. Provinces were expected to audit a minimum of eight police stations during a six monthly period as agreed upon by the CSP Heads of Department (HOD) Forum. Due to limited capacity, the CSP also carried out eight station audits during a six months period. The CSP was not prescriptive in terms of maximum number of audits to be conducted as that was dependent on the capacity and resources of each province. This had led to the number of audits conducted per province to vary considerably. It should be noted that despite the minimum of 04 audits, there were provinces that were unable to meet the minimum target set and reasons were provided to this effect and they included lack of capacity. Based on the above then, the findings on this report were not an extrapolation of the entire SAPS population in the country and therefore cannot be generalized for the whole country - these findings were only applicable for the police stations visited. However further analysis can be done for stations with the same attributes. In order to improve the sampling method, CSP was currently in talks with STATS SA.
The Chairperson said this was precisely the point raised by the Committee on the last interaction with the CSP on the DVA reports on 5 November 2014. At that time it was difficult to rely on the report because of problems of representivity but now it was even more skewed to take KZN, which housed 25% of the country’s population and where only one station was compliant. He was concerned what value this then presented. What had been done with Stats SA between November and now to finalise problems with the sample – would the same story be heard in August? The Committee needed some real clarification because this was unacceptable.
Ms Xongwana said the CSP had met with Stats SA and they had discussed what would be the representative sample nationally and provincially. This would be discussed with the HODs for implementation and it was hoped there would then be compliance.
Mr L Twala (EFF) said the Committee could not form an informed view based on what was currently being presented for what the actual status was on the ground. He suggested the CSP went back, did proper research and then come back to the Committee to make a proper presentation. Nothing could be deducted or deduced from the current presentation.
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) noted that on 5 November 2014, the Acting Secretary agreed with Members that the sampling method needed to be reviewed. The Committee needed to be told how far this review was.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) noted that the Committee’s programme was so onerous so to waste time doing something which was supposed to have been done six months ago frankly seemed like a waste of the Committee’s time. Unless the CSP could provide an adequate explanation it might be best to follow the suggestion that the Secretariat returned.
Mr J Maake (ANC) noted that in the methodology and sampling, the presentation made reference to the lack of capacity. If the Committee sent the CSP back and there was this problem of capacity, were they solving the problem? Would the CSP manage to alter the report and sampling with the capacity they had now? He was concerned about moving in circles. If there was a problem of capacity, it was no use sending the CSP back because they would arrive at the same conclusions using the same sample.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) thought that if the CSP experienced any challenges, like with capacity, it should have been relayed to the Committee to be assisted especially as they were receiving funds every month and value for money was one of the Batho Pele principles. Therefore, she asked that the Committee agreed to send the CSP back and satisfy the Committee. Money was being dealt with so discussion could not go round in circles.
The Chairperson heard the Minister of Women in the Presidency, in the Presidency’s budget vote debate in the National Assembly yesterday; say the fight against domestic violence was a apex priority of the government. To have only one DVA inspection in one province in six months clearly indicated a big problem and it should be addressed as a matter of urgency. He tended to agree with Members that the sampling methodology must be sorted out.
Mr Qhomfo noted the concerns raised by Members around the representivity of the sample. There were challenges of resources and then having to convince provinces of the issue. However, engagements have started and the matter was on the agenda of the HODs. Whilst this was not a representative sample, it did give insight as to some of the challenges faced and some of the successes. The CSP took the matter seriously given the limitations faced in terms of the Act – initially the provinces agreed that a minimum of eight police stations would be audited but the matter was under discussion.
Ms Reneva Fourie, Acting CSP Secretary, felt a lot of the comments raised by Members were for noting and she did not want to sound defensive. She took the comments of the Committee very seriously and the meeting of the HODs would be expedited so that progress in respect of engagements with Stats SA could be implemented. She had an appreciation that the stats presented were not a representation of the population but instead was an accrual of statistical methodology. Ideally, CSP wanted to visit every single police station in the country so a representative sampling methodology would not be optimal. At the same time, the number of stations visited was not optimal and representative, the content that arose from the outcome of the visit could not be dismissed. Just because the sample was representative did not mean that for example, if non-compliance was discovered and SAPS was engaged on it to try to intervene in the station, could not be dismissed. The concern was where the media took the report and generalised it to mean the state of all police stations in the country. The other concern was service delivery and to be able to inform SAPS of where the short-comings were and for SAPS, importantly, to act on those recommendations. Nonetheless, the comments of the Committee were noted.
Mr Twala noted that the SAPS were supposed to assist the CSP in giving them access to these police stations and to create an enabling environment to achieve objectives. Would the CSP attribute some of the challenges, relating to the sampling, as perhaps emanating from SAPS and their cooperation in providing access to stations to audit? If this was the case, how should the Committee intervene to assist the CSP?
Ms Fourie responded that the challenge was more with human capacity and not with SAPS assistance – the reality was that one person was facilitating the audits and the provincial secretariats were very understaffed but they were doing their best within constraints. Relatively good cooperation was experienced from SAPS and this was consolidated by the signing of the SOP.
The Chairperson said the Committee would take the report as tabled but the CSP would be asked to return with SAPS. Going through the report, only the Brooklyn police station was complying so there needed to be answers around this and how seriously the DVA was taken. The issue of sampling would need to be discussed when the CSP returned along with status of negotiations with Stats SA and the outcome as raised by the Committee six months ago on 5 November 2014. Without this there would be no national picture and the problem of the sample not being representative enough would be raised again. The fight against domestic violence was an apex priority of government. He also urged the CSP that MINMEC must be used so that provinces who were not complying came on board because there could not be a situation where the Act was not implemented as envisaged. The report tabled today could not be accepted – it was just unacceptable that only one station was complying so there must be a problem of sampling. Also it could not only be the Western Cape and Gauteng that were taking steps against errant police officers – why were the other seven provinces not coming on board? Answers were needed. A game plan was needed because the process was now where it was six months ago so it was urgent to see results.
Ms Molebatsi added that Brooklyn was one of the upper urban suburbs in Waterkloof, Pretoria and this made her question the sample.
National and Provincial Community Police Boards
The Chairperson noted this was the first time the Board was before a Committee since 1994 and it was important for the Committee to interact with all these institutions to understand their role broadly especially with the importance of CPFs going forward.
The Chairperson of the National Community Police Board was elated to be before the Committee for the first time to vent their frustration.
Ms Mabija noted the delegation was almost a boy’s choir with only one female present and nine males – why was this so?
An official from the Board explained that members of the CPFs were comprised of elected ordinary community members. In most cases people were elected because they were thought to have the capability to lead. The issue of gender at provincial board level was dependent on being voted into office. The board was very sensitive to the issue of gender but unfortunately someone else could not take the place of whoever was voted for. Becoming a member of the national policing board was by virtue of being a provincial chairperson. Work was happening to ensure the next level of leadership was properly structured not only in terms of gender but race and all other government proprieties.
The Deputy Chairperson of the Board went straight into the submission to the Committee noting that the CPFs were a legally recognised entity that represented the policing interests of communities nationally. In legislation, the community, through the CPFs, had the power to monitor, evaluate and advise the SAPS and inquire into policing matters. The numbers of functional and non-functional CPFs in the provinces were then outlined along with the numbers of police stations and clusters. In total there were 1 134 stations, 176 clusters and 1 131 functional CPFs and 3 non-functional CPFs, nationally. If the 57 030 subscribed members to the CPFs or boards were functionally used, SA would be a better place as far as transformation was concerned.
The development of CPFs were uneven with some functioning more effectively, often in more affluent areas were police resources were not a challenge and some not. How best to involve citizens in government decision making was an issue government and activists were grappling with especially in policy-making processes. This effort gave practical meaning to accessible and accountable government and gave practical relevance to saying “SA belonged to all in it; united in diversity”. In the past, the CSP opened up avenues for CPFs to give input on policies with the sole purpose of seeking support for pre-planned initiatives. Similarly, it sought legitimacy in such processes by increasing ownership of support for predetermined objectives. Input in policy then became simply an instrument for managed intervention and the process was just cosmetic in nature. The CPFs were given little or no leverage and they felt conned and betrayed before the arrival of the present Minister of Police and appointment of a new Acting CSP Secretary. The CPFs felt excluded from an inner circle of decision-makers. There was a tendency by the CSP to call for the input of CPFs only in the advanced stages of policy formulation largely done to score political buy-in instead of inclusion at the outset when problems were identified.
Since the CPF legislation in 1995, CPFs were not resourced either through budgeting of programmes or provision of infrastructure, for example, office accommodation or transport to carry out prescribed functions as outlined in Chapter Seven of the SAPS Act. Due to the lack of support to CPFs, community support was doing poorly and communities were losing interest in working with the police. This could result in greater privatisation of policing in the wealthier areas or more self-policing or vigilantism in poorer areas. The Green or White Paper on Safety and Security outlined CPFs as a tool to operationalise community policing. The CPFs could not find a platform due to the absence of a strategy and it was highly questionable why this was so. Policy outputs, in terms of policy, were not clearly defined or translated. There was a lack of clear relative policies and a legislative framework and this was worsened by the absence of a strategic design and non-cooperation or support of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster and primary stakeholders to the tool. It had always been the contention by the national police board that the CSP was clutching at straws over the past years concerning themselves with baseless issues that bordered on semantics rather than substance – the contention that the CPFs blurred the lines between organisation and forum was baseless and moot – whether the cat was black or white was immaterial as long as it could catch the mice.
There was a concern around the flagrant disregard by the policy unit for community involvement and participation. Community policing was the current strategy for SA but this strategy was being resisted and not optimally utilised. Where the CPFs came from brought history and elements for effecting changes which would have far-reaching consequences within the CPF regime. It should be noted that most of the initiatives were introduced before the establishment of the CSP as a fully-fledged department. It should be reviewed whether it was correct that the CPFs were located within the police as opposed to within the CSP. This relocation was the urgent but humble submission to the Committee as an extension of the oversight mandate.
The Deputy Chairperson said that although the interim regulations had the authority of law, it did not engage with explicit direction provided by the Minister or the CPFs in the White Paper. The regulations directed CPFs to fulfil the ambitious and contradictory objectives in the Act to focus mainly on the procedural establishment of CPFs and their boards. The regulations directly downplayed state support for CPFs and even outlawed some practices of the CPFs which facilitated some support for their activities. At issue here was the contested status of CPFs and whether they were considered formal organs of the state or not and then whether or not the state had an obligation to sustain or support the Forums. The CPFs were created by legislation and the Constitution obliged the state to ensure the structures were able to meet their intended purpose. This obligation had not been recognised in any practical or systematic manner. In the absence of clear direction and support, how plausible was it that these Forums would be able to make public safety and policing everybody’s business?
SAPS had extensive data and statistics on a variety of problems but unfortunately the information was gathered for reasons other than problem-solving. This information was kept to, inter alia, respond to negative criticism when it was received, give answers to politicians when SAPS was supposed to justify itself and announce the success of police efforts. Community policing called for a more sophisticated approach to evaluate and look at how feedback information was used.
In terms of recommendations, within the scope of the current legislation, the following should be considered for short to medium implementation:
- Vigorous profiling of the ministry of police and CSP
- Review of the interim CPF regulations so as to ensure it responded to the objects of community policing as outlined in Chapter Seven of the SAPS Act
- Review of the CSP Act so as to ensure it responded to the letter and spirit of the Constitution in accordance with CPFs as an integral part of the CSP.
- National instructions to the Visible Policing (VISPOL) Division to start a process of relocating some of the CPF responsibilities to the CSP
- National and provincial community police boards be immediately relocated to the CSP and provincial CSPs
- SAPS VISPOL and CSP must budget for all CPF programmes
- Immediate process of signing Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) by the Minister with Ministers of other government departments
- CSP to lead a process of implementation of payment of stipends to CPF structures and formalise the Extended Public Works Programmes (EPWP)
- Develop a funding model to be inclusive of non-state organs in the fight against crime
- Focus must be given to the development of portable skills to the CPFs by building safer communities
- National instruction issued on improving quality of SAPS participation
- CSP to develop guidelines for the establishment of street or village committees which must be accountable to the CPFs
- Strategic planning session held for the national community police board
- CSP to develop concept to engage CPFs on oversight of SAPS at station level which would assist the CPS considering that there were 1 137 police stations and this would allow a footprint at each station
- Drafting of national CPFs constitution
- Urgent development of national patroller strategy and an evaluation tool for functionality of CPFs
The presentation was concluded by looking at some of the achievements of the national board which included:
- Approval of the CPF logo and patent
- Development of donation policy for CPFs
- Training manual on introduction to CPFs and orientation of the board on the training manual
- Development of the M-Plan and establishment of peoples structures
- Evaluation tool for functionality of CPFs and boards
- Patrollers policy
- Pilot programme and trainer workshop completed
- Development of community policing strategy
Lt. Gen. Khehla John Sitole, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Visible Policing, confirmed the absence of a community policing strategy as outlined in the challenges in the CPFs presentation. According to legislation promulgated, this strategy was supposed to have been worked on and informed by the White Paper on Transforming the Public Service. SAPS had taken stock of all subsequent legislation noting that at a stage, there was confusion between CPFs and community policing – the one was a policing concept and the other was a tool to implement. A strategy would allow the two to work together and complement each other – unlocking this strategy was key. He asked the National Commissioner to allow for a session to develop the strategy and this occurred and the particular strategy was finalised – at the moment it was in a final draft. The document was presented to the National Commissioner a few days ago and she had okayed it. It was important to finalise this strategy and for it to be taken through the right processes of being presented to the Minister and then it could be presented to the Committee. The strategy depicted community policing as it was defined in terms of the democratic policing concept. Whether the CPFs was located within SAPS or the CSP would not matter much to SAPS but constitutionally, the National Commissioner was responsible for implementing community policing which was different to CPFs as the tool. The current legislation governing community policing did not develop to a point where it clearly outlined community policing. This might point to the need for certain legislative amendments and adjustments especially in terms of a funded mandate. This explained why the CPFs were not resourced because there was no link with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) – without this link there would be unauthorised expenditure.
Maj, Gen. Susan Pienaar, SAPS Component Head: Crime Prevention, Visible Policing, spoke to the legislation saying that the current legislation that applied to the community policing structures spoke to community policing as the mandate of SAPS or the National Commissioner in terms of the Constitution while the SAPS Act spoke specifically to the structures. Sections 18 to 23 spoke specially to the objectives of community policing and provisions for structures at specific level and area boards and provincial boards. The provisions for the area boards were applied to the clusters given the change since the regulations were implemented. There were also specific provisions for community policing in the White Paper for Safety and Security (1998) in reference to local government but some of the provisions were never implemented so the expectation of the changing regulations was something to deal with now to ensure what was currently envisaged in the White Paper was also carried out to the SAPS Act and regulation. The SAPS Act also needed to define more clearly certain roles vis-a-vis CPFs. She agreed with the recommendation in the presentation to look more closely at definitions. The Act outlined the importance of CPFs as a link in the relationship between communities and the Service, promoting communication between the Service and the community, promoting cooperation between the Service and the community in fulfilling the needs of the community regarding policing, improving the rendering of policing to communities at national, provincial and local levels, improving transparency in the Service and improving accountability of the Service to the community and promoting joint problem identification and solving by the Service and the community. Currently the interim regulations (2001) were the only directive that spoke to the establishment of CPFs and their functioning. There was a policy process in place to develop a community policing policy, prior to the Acting Secretary of the CSP, which spoke to the establishment of community safety forums together with the community policing strategy. The intent was for these tools to work together. The national chairpersons participated to ensure the processes were aligned and for the intention to establish community safety forums and CPFs once the policies were finalised for co-existence towards community safety. Essentially, specific clauses of the Act needed to be updated in line with some of the recommendations outlined today.
Ms Fourie said the CSP deemed the CPFs as very important structures and she had met formally and informally with the CPF Board for at least a minimum of five times to date since she became Acting Secretary – this demonstrated how seriously the CSP took the CPFs. With the public policy participation process, the input of the CPFs were invaluable and this explained why the Secretariat availed resources to conduct workshops in which the CPF played a leadership role to particular discuss the White Papers currently being processed by the CSP. She noted the comments and perception that the input of the CPFs were just needed for rubberstamping but she took her responsibility as a public servant very seriously and she took the effective use of government resources very seriously so she would not be spending lots of government money for the CPFs to participate in the public policy process purely as a rubberstamping exercise. The CSP would continue to engage the CPFs on the development of policy. With location, the CPFs were quite correct to say ideally, they should be located in the CSP and the Act should be amended accordingly. This was contained in the White Paper for Police and once this Paper was formally adopted, formalising of the amendments of the SAPS Act and regulations would begin. The Minister also encouraged this. The funding model was raised as a concern – the CSP was looking at how best to formalise interim resourcing mechanisms until legislative amendments were concluded and National Treasury could be negotiated in the next Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period for CPFs to be located in the CSP. She welcomed the input by the CPFs because there was simply not enough capacity to reach every police station on the ground and she would look into how best to utilise the human resource capacity in the CPFs to better conduct the CSP mandate of oversight.
The Chairperson noted that this engagement was the first step and not the last. The issues raised by SAPS and the CSP were valuable in understanding the issues.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) questioned the issue of location and what informed this debate – was it purely frustrations experienced? He could pick up the frustration in the input where it was close to throwing arms in the air and walking away from SAPS because of all of these problems. The most resourced institution to fight crime today and in the future will always remain SAPS. He could understand where the CPFs frustration was coming from because the SAPS could see them as irritations so it was easier to just walk away. To SAPS, he asked about the resourcing of CPFs and the stations which was a long running matter – what was the actual problem that resourcing had not been happening? Why had it taken 21 years to get here and deal with the issue of regulation and giving direction? He asked who interfaced between the national and provincial board and SAPS management because he heard something of a junior SAPS official sent to interface. This could cause problems of sharing of information. It took long before a Constable to report to a General in terms of SAPS protocols. It was clear there was a realisation from management and the board that it was important to work together and that there was progress going forward. The National Commissioner also needed to deal with the regulations which dealt with protection in the event of being injured on duty. There was a draft regulation on this some time back but how far were these regulations?
A delegate from the CPF Board explained that oversight was misconstrued and it was not easy for CPFs to conduct – to say a policeman did not fulfil his duties when summoned to attend to a complaint, which was the kind of oversight CPFs played, how was it expected for that very individual to give the Forum support? The purpose of locating CPFs in stations was for transformation purposes and agenda so that SAPS members started to realise in terms of the community policing strategy, that smart policing was the order of the day and not reactionary policing. The transformation of police in terms of the strategy had not completely changed at the level of the stations. The coordination of CPFs at provincial level needed to be established through a structure as it could not be expected that CPFs at cluster level should hand over frustration to SAPS members – the very same members who were frustrating them.
Mr Twala noted that CPFs were primarily created with a view to assist SAPS in reducing crime in communities and basically serve as source of intelligence for SAPS to execute their mandate. It was the responsibility of every citizen to report crime. There was a culture in SA of creating convoluted structures and protocols when there were simple problems not to mention the money issue. Simply put, all citizens needed to contribute toward combating crime. Government was growing by the day just looking at the huge fiscal spend and he was concerned of an extra mandate being created to take care of citizens when SAPS already had this mandate - this was a problem. Communities were served not to gain benefit – this should be the basis to enhance the quality of life of people. If benefit was derived, it began to defeat the very intention of the exercise. He hoped a thinking paradigm shift could be influenced in terms of the role of members of society in relation to fighting crime. The Western Cape had a big problem of drugs where the dealers lived in communities – it was the responsibility of citizens to inform the police. He appreciated that everyone wanted to play a role but one needed to be conscientiously driven instead of incentive driven.
A delegate from the CPF responded that he had volunteered his services to the CPF for almost 20 years without a cent, as had other members on the board. They risked their lives on behalf of the country but it was frustrating that this was not even recognised or appreciated. No mention was made of the statistics of CPF members killed on a daily basis but everyday there was a story of policemen killed. Even the arrests and efforts effected by the CPFs were not documented.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) was very concerned about the of tenor of the input given and identified some examples of the phrased used, such as, “government ambivalence”, “superficial/cosmetic” work of the policy unit, that the CPFs felt “conned” – there also seemed to be a blaming of the previous Secretary for Police who was not here to defend herself, scathing comments against the CSP and that SAPS top management displayed sheer “ignorance” etc. She wanted to understand what “vigorous profiling of the ministry of police” meant as contained in the recommendations. Instructions were given that SAPS and the CSP “must” carry out. The presentation came across, whether intentionally or not she could not say, as a bid to take over various entities like the neighbourhood watches, education etc while the Act stated the role of the CPF was to establish and maintain a partnership between the community and SAPS and improve the rendering of police services – nowhere did it say that CPFs were to take over or undertake SAPS activities or imply that CPFs were a level of SAPS or were there to take over the job of reservists in fighting crime. There was intense anger in this presentation and this showed her the CPFs wanted something they were not getting and she feared there might be a blurring of lines. She thought the legislation was quite clear on the different roles but asked if the policy would flesh this out further in terms of the CPFs status in SAPS as a volunteer entity, a means to disseminate information to the communities and gather information from the communities to bring before SAPS. She thought there was a massive blurring of lines and asked what SAPS was going to do to refocus these lines and deal with intense anger coming through the presentation.
A delegate from the CPF Board explained the frustration and this came through the presentation – members were angry to see crime being used as a political tool. For a CPF to be assisted by a constable who did not have decision making powers added insult to injury. If CPFs were appreciated at station level, they should be assisted by commissioned officers who could take decisions but this was not experienced. This was also where functionality came into play because if the CPFs were not given the support needed by members at station level they were rendered dysfunctional. CPF members were transported at the back of vans to go and attend meetings. He could not see why words should be used in compiling a report which was acceptable to some and not acceptable to others. The CPF Board did not come before the Committee with a cap in hand but wanted to raise that legislation provided CPFs to get the necessary support from government which they were entitled to and this was what they were asking for. Being a member for 20 years, he had never seen support given to a CPF for a project in a station – CPFs were seen as just there to play a supporting role for those who were leading the projects.
Ms Molebatsi questioned the location of CPF and if they thought it was better to be located in or outside stations. She asked this because she saw a CPF located in a police station where the chairperson ended up colluding with all the wrong-doers until he was arrested. Were patrollers properly screened? She asked this because known criminals were patrollers and this brought the question of if they were being properly screened. Mention was made of SAPS statistics being used for other reasons and sought elaboration on what this meant.
A delegate from the CPF board outlined the patrollers were screened in communities – there were some gaps where people fell through the cracks but the principle was that if there was a gap, the individuals would be cleaned out of the system.
Mr Maake noted it was said that the National Commissioner assumed some powers in reference to regulations supposed to be done by the Minister – which powers were these? He also wanted to understand what “vigorous profiling of the ministry of police and CSP” meant under recommendations. He wanted to understand the distinction between policies falling under the CSP while SAPS was in charge of operations.
A delegate from the CPF explained “vigorous profiling” was to highlight the very important role the CSP played in the public in the oversight role played. Sufficient marketing and canvassing of the CSP was very imperative. This also applied to the ministry. Government’s Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) could be used at patrol-level and for people to guard cars and schools etc. CPFs felt the ministry should come to the party in this regard because other departments made great use of the EPWP and for it to be profiled to the benefit of the community. It could also be used to get community buy-in for crime fighting by offering incentives which were not a burden on the fiscus.
The Chairperson did not believe only three CPFs in the country were non-functional and had not been established. The Committees’ oversight visits to stations showed that meetings with CPFs did not occur and chairs were not established and from this, he could not see that only three CPFs were non-functioning. Was this an issue of the definition of functioning? Functioning met there were annual meetings and regular interactions. He wanted a true indication of how many CPFs were functional. He wanted every province to indicate how many CPFs were functional in each province.
A delegate from the Board agreed that this could not be the correct figure. There were six non-functional CPFs in the Northern Cape.
The Chairperson asked that the slide then be withdrawn and the correct information be provided to the Committee. One could not come to Parliament and say everything was correct when the Committee knew, through constituency work, what was really going on.
A delegate from the CPF Board said functionality criteria needed to be agreed to and maybe that criteria needed to be debated. Currently, CPFs were functional but not effective according to the criteria developed. The lack of resources did not allow the CPFs to put their fingers on the functionality side of CPFs in the station. There was also a high degree of turnover of CPF members and this presented a number of challenges.
Lt. Gen. Sitole noted there were problems but now there were solutions in the community policing strategy – in future this strategy should be presented to the Committee. On the location debate, in terms of current legislation i.e. the SAPS Act, CPFs were located in SAPS and there was no problem with this location or the National Commissioner exercising this particular function. There was a role for the CSP in community policing and SAPS was open to a discussion with the Secretariat. He did not want to raise frustrations because the strategy defined the structured approach. If the CPS wished to house the CPFs, SAPS was not necessarily against this. The tool (the CPFs themselves) would be located in the CSP while community policing would remain with SAPS as a constitutional mandate. With the resourcing of CPFs, SAPS were resourcing and funding community policing initiatives, programmes and projects through crime prevention located within VISPOL– this was not to be confused with CPFs as the tool. This funding had also not stopped. All community activities were informed by crime combating processes where there were national, provincial and cluster forums which conducted crime pattern analysis, root causes analysis of certain crimes and the identification of hotspots. This allowed for there to be narrowed focus on one problem. Crime intelligence had also been instructed to develop community base intelligence products to know the intelligence at hand and what was needed to fight crime collectively. This went with national instructions from the national crime combating forum. On the draft regulations, there were interim regulations on the side of community policing and draft regulations on the side of the reservists. The interim regulations were promulgated by the ministry and up until this point, there were no real issues of non-compliance with the regulations because it was linked to key legislation i.e. the SAPS Act – the Act was currently undergoing a review which would also impact on the regulations. On the issue of protocol and engagement between SAPS and CPFs, presently in terms of current legislation, three structures of community policing was recognised in the legislation – (1) local community policing forum (2) cluster community policing forum (previously area boards) (3) provincial board. Now there was a national community police board which was not provided for yet in the current legislation so protocols were not yet aligned to the national community police board because of it not being recognised by the legislation as yet. All provincial commissioners were responsible to service ad engage with the boards at provincial board level. Deputy provincial commissioners for VISPOL were responsible for ensuring that provincial boards were supported. Any problems in provinces would be taken up through his office as was outlined in the community policing strategy. There was still the issue of the national policing boards which was currently not assigned to the Minister in terms of functions currently outlined in the legislation. If it was reported that SAPS was funding activities of the national policing board, Treasury would pick it up and SAPS would not be able to account for it. If there was anything SAPS wanted to do, the legislation must be first be looked at to ensure there was compliance. Station commanders were meant to sit in on CPF meetings, cluster commanders in the cluster board meetings and deputy commissioner: VISPOL on provincial board meetings. When he was a provincial commissioner in the Free State he sat personally with the provincial board each quarter. Everything that was voiced today had been confronted before and the idea was to provide solutions and factor everything into the strategy in terms of all protocols for implementation to follow. Community policing was an operational matter and must comply with basic policing principles. As community policing was developmental, the ideal situation was for CPFs to have semi- independence. If the station had a conducive situation where there would be no tampering between the members and the CPF, this could be provided for. With the screening of patrollers, there was a neighbourhood watch national instruction which governed community patrol – one of the instructions was for there to be ongoing exercise of screening everyone but it was important to go check-up on this that all who patrolled were continuously screened because if screened now, the individual could go and commit a crime six months down the line – the moment this was picked up, they would be removed.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Status on Vetting of Senior Employees
The Chairperson reminded Members that the Committee met last week with the State Security Agency (SSA) where certain issues came to the fore and it was felt important for the IPID and CSP to brief the Committee on these issues. By way of background, the Committee Report, tabled in Parliament, spoke to vetting in IPID where the Committee asked where the senior management of IPID were vetted and had valid security clearance certificates. IPID stated the entire senior management had submitted completed documents to the SSA for processing. The Acting Executive Director of IPID had a valid security clearance certificate as of 1997 and IPID committed itself to ensuring its senior management had the required security clearance. With the Committee Report on the CSP, the Committee asked whether personnel, especially in the senior management level, were vetted and had valid security clearance. The CSP responded that personnel were not vetted and this had implications on the functionality of the CSP for example the drafting of the White Paper on Safety and Security was contracted to an outside service provider due to security concerns in addition to capacity constraints. The Committee was seriously concerned by this and flagged it as a recommendation. The recommended was that all staff be vetted as a matter of urgency especially in senior management. The Committee said it would invite the DG of the SSA to discuss the prioritisation of security clearance to CSP personnel. This briefing was held last week and there were further issues to take up which would be done so now. The Committee was concerned that with IPID, there was a long list of current officials who had not submitted certificates to the SSA and the Committee felt this should be addressed along with the communication management between the Directorate and the SSA. It was imperative, from the Committee’s perspective, that all senior management and instigative staff and supply chain must be vetted and for there to be clear blue water between SAPS and IPID. It was critical that the Committee got this assurance along with the public who submitted complaints for IPID to investigate to ensure issues were dealt with confidentially and there were no links with SAPS. With the CSP, the Acting Secretary told the Committee the necessary documentation was submitted in September but there were problems with getting feedback from the SSA while the SSA relayed the opposite story to the Committee last week. The Committee needed a clear indication of what the situation was because assurance was needed that there was progress and that both institutions were run by people who were vetted.
Mr Ramatlakane asked whether the presentations of both institutions were short circuited because Members had the documents and with the briefing by the SSA last week, there were direct questions. These issues should be zoomed into instead of going into a long presentation relaying the same story.
The Chairperson said the Committee knew the legislative framework, the Act and the processing but the most important questions were around delays and lack of follow-up.
Mr Israel Kgamanyane, Acting IPID Executive Director, went into the current vetting status of the IPID senior management noting that there were 33 senior managers in the department where 15 members applications were in process, there were 9 valid clearances, as opposed to the 12 presented by SSA, 8 members did not submit the documentation and 1 member reapplied. For the applications in process and re-applied, an agreement was reached with SSA to fast track these applications as they were currently with SSA. With the applications not submitted, the respective managers were issued with the Z204 forms and were instructed to submit on 29 May 2015. An arrangement was made with SSA to receive the applications on 02 June 2015 and in the interim the identified managers had signed the Secrecy Clause. These 8 applications not submitted were new appointees since October 2014 and March/April 2015 however these officials were pre-screened by SSA prior to appointment and had the certificate. No one was taken into the system without first undergoing pre-screening.
Mr Kgamanyane then outlined the names of the 33 senior management officials and the current vetting status of each member. He, as the Acting Executive Director, had valid clearance so he was concerned that the SSA labeled him as an official with no valid clearance. His clearance expired 31 May 2020 but, as mentioned to the Committee before, he had undergone three rounds of clearances in 1999, 2009 and the next would take place in 2020. He re-submitted the Z204 forms February last year because his clearance expired in September 2014. The process was done with a polygraph test in June 2014 and then it was finalised. He could provide a copy of this clearance to the Committee if it was needed. He also highlighted the names of the individuals whose applications were in progress and those who had still to submit documents, the newly appointed senior management officials but had been pre-screened. For some officials their applications had been in progress for a while.
The new IPID Deputy Director: Vetting, turned to the current progress noting that the SSA advised IPID of the requirements to establishing a Vetting Fieldwork Unit (VFU) and to distribute a draft MoU for comments/inputs. This process was completed on 12 May 2015. The IPID provided comments and inputs to the draft MoU as provided by the SSA which was due 29 May 2015. The SSA was to peruse and consider the comments and inputs by the IPID to the draft MoU. The SSA will then send the consolidated MoU to the IPID for approval and signature and forward the signed MoU to the SSA for reciprocal approval and signature – this would be done mid-June. Procurement of required resources, including the acquisition of systems to conduct pre-employment screening was being discussed with the Private Security Industry Regulating Authority (PSIRA) in terms of benchmarking which was an ongoing process. There would be training of VFU personnel was to determined by SSA within one year of signing the MoU, installation and training on Security Vetting Information System (SVIS) was to be determined by the SSA, prioritisation of vetting investigation in IPID was in process and commencement of vetting investigation by the VFU within six months.
Mr Kgamanyane noted that one of the newly appointed officials, Mr Glen Andrew Angus, had apparently submitted the Z204 forms many times but SSA and head office did not have the records as far as this was concerned. It was requested that the official re-submit the documents.
Ms Fourie noted that the director at CSP responsible for vetting in corporate services was not present as he was writing exams. She then took the Committee through the CSP’s current vetting situation saying that all the staff filled in the Z204 forms and submitted them to SSA in December 2014. Following the meeting of the Committee last week, Mr Victor Dlodlo, General Manager: Vetting, SSA, came to see her. The delay in meetings was because of her unavailability but it was a possibility that her unavailability was a perception created because her dairy was not managed by herself personally but she was pleased to eventually have a meeting. A process was agreed to to prioritise senior management in the CSP to get first attention by SSA. There was communication between the Mr Dlodlo and herself in writing as to the concerns and who the two individuals were who did not hand in their Z204 forms because according to the records of the CSP, all forms were submitted so it would not be a problem to re-submit them. She had been informed by her staff that the vetting process had started because the staff references had been contacted by SSA. She was very appreciative of this movement.
Mr Ramatlakane noted that anyone who came before the Committee communicated factually and in truth no matter how difficult it was but Members expected to hear the truth from all state officials - this was the basis on which the Committee functioned. He noted the inconsistencies between the report by SSA, presented to the Committee last week, and what was presented by the entities now. It felt as if the Committee was mediated and negotiating between the two groups to try to find agreement. The SSSA said vetting could be done in two weeks but now he saw there was outstanding clearance from 2013/14 – somebody was not telling the truth. The Committee needed to find the truth to ensure things were done according to the Act. What had IPID and CSP done when documents were submitted and nothing happened. The entities needed to ensure their officials were vetted because they dealt with sensitive information – what action had they taken to ensure there was compliance? A lot of the responsibility lied on individuals to complete and submit, sometimes, intimidating, forms. Management needed to ensure things happened. The SSA said that the entities were not complying or following-up with processes for compliance. Somehow the Committee needed to hear all the parties on one room – he wanted to know if he should take the entities on their word as correct or to take it with a pinch of salt? He felt this was a problem because there were huge discrepancies between what everyone was saying. He was of the opinion that another engagement was needed to sort out the discrepancies with everyone in the same room.
Ms Mabija wanted to know how it took to issue a pre-screened appointee a Z204 form.
Mr Twala questioned the MOU which was in the process of being agreed to with IPID and the SSA which had to do with the mandate of vetting of state officials – where did this mandate lie? There seemed to be a difficulty by SSA in recognising the vetting unit training capabilities of IPID. How would this situation be obviated?
Ms Kohler Barnard was quite gobsmacked. Mr Dlodlo categorically stated who the individuals were who did not have clearance, that the CSP was simply not available, that clearance could be provided in two weeks and he could provide evidence for what he was saying. He also said that IPID and the CSP were not his responsibility for vetting. He basically took no blame and placed it on everybody else. She wished SSA was present because then everyone could face each other to talk. She was concerned that time was being wasted with all the conflicting reports. The Committee was in a bizarre situation but she was happy to accept the bone fides of what was presented today because the documents contained dates etc. she could not imagine what the way forward would be.
Mr M Mncwango (IFP) did not want to belabour the points made around the dismay around the discrepancies of the information presented before and currently. He agreed that there should be engagement between all the relevant parties under one roof at the same time so Members could assess for themselves where all the discrepancies were because it was very concerning.
Ms Molebatsi commended IPID for establishing a vetting unit – it showed they were serious about vetting. She asked why the presentation said Mr Sesoko “reapplied”.
Mr Maake asked why SSA did not recognise the vetting done by SAPS. SSA told the Committee last week that a Cabinet decision was taken 10 years ago for them to be allowed access to criminal records, fingerprints etc but SSA said there was reluctance by SAPS to do so was not implemented. If this was true he wanted to understand what the problem was.
The Chairperson thought there was general agreement that everyone needed to meet together and the only time the Committee had for this was 24 June. It would also be helpful if the CSP developed an action plan to discuss the way forward as was presented by IPID to deal with the issue once and for all.
Mr Kgamanyane noted he had his clearance certificate with him which expired in 2020. Whatever was presented to the Committee by IPID could be back upped if the Committee so wished – all documents and records of IPID were very up to date. The SSA acknowledged their own capacity constraints and that they were strained – this explanation was given to IPID as well each time a follow-up was made for clearance for their members. It was also said that IPID was not a priority department. This led to IPID establishing its vetting unit. Pre-screening was done for all staff members before they were employed and it took about a week or two – no appointment letter was signed without this pre-screening. Immediately after coming on board, employees were issued with Z204 forms for vetting to start. The MOU would address some of these problems and facilitate monthly meetings between IPID and the SSA. Some of the issues raised by Members could be addressed on 24 June. He reiterated that IPID could back-up whatever was presented in a report and with evidence.
Ms Fourie echoed that pre-screening was standard in the public service before appointment was made. The Z204 was issued on the very first day the individual started in the position. She reiterated that CSP had met with SSA and SSA had started the implementation of the process. She hoped the Committee could give SSA some time to implement what they had committed to but if the Committee felt it was best to met on 24 June, she thought this was a fair decision.
The Chairperson said the meeting would take place on 24 June 2015 and he hoped a lot of vetting was done between now and that date. The Committee looked forward to that interaction. Next week the Committee would be meeting with the Central Firearm Registry along with four organisations. Before then the Committee would adopt two reports on the Firearms Summit.
The meeting was adjourned.
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