The Committee met with the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) and some civil society organisations to be briefed on the process and public comments on the White Paper on Police and to hear submissions from three of the organisations.
The Chairperson first read out a statement from the Committee on the calling of senior SA Police Service (SAPS) officials to account due to a statement of support these officials sent out for the National Commissioner of Police. The Committee statement made known the displeasure of the Committee in the statement issued by t. Gen. Solomon Makgale saying tat the SAPS Board of Commissioners fully supported the National Commissioner. The Committee found the statement unfortunate and inappropriate in that management should not be involved in overtly public discourse or indirectly lobby on behalf of parties subject to an official process – this was not in line with the role of civil servants or police officers. Hence the Committee called the offending officials to appear before the Committee on Wednesday 12 August 2015.
The political parties present, including the ANC, DA and FF+ fully supported the statement of the Chairperson finding the statement issued by Lt. Gen. Makgale uncalled for and should be withdrawn. Some Members were astounded at the blatant attempt to influence the process by getting involved in politics instead of focusing on crime prevention.
The Committee was then briefed by the CSP who provided an overview of key comments from public submissions on the White Paper on Police. This included comments on key thematic areas such as the single police service, demilitarisation, integrity and corruption, community centered policing, use of force, approaches to policing, professional police service and institutional arrangements.
Members then engaged in discussion on the status of matters of litigation relating to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI), plans to mitigate against the release of incorrect crime statistics, implementation of the 2011 plan to protect police against assassination, consideration of mandatory debriefing of officers in light of increased SAPS suicides and family killings and the need to review the way in which senior appointments in SPS were made including that of the National Commissioner. Other engagement was had on the conceptualisation of the use of certain terms in the presentation, the possible gap in the White Paper not looking at saturation deployment in terms of visible policing as the big issue was that there was not enough officers patrolling on the ground. There were concerns about the instability of policing in the country and this not being addressed in the Paper holistically, control of firearms and corruption in SAPS itself and intensifying awareness campaigns. Members were concerned about the welfare of SAPS officials asking if the Paper included early warning systems if members felt frustrated to prevent suicides and the commitment of violent crimes or were receiving counselling. Members questioned the if the excessive use of force would include lethal force, whether the Paper would focus on technology as an improvement vehicle moving forward, if the Paper looked at the observations of the Farlam Commission and the need for a action plan instead o just speaking to theory. It was noted the discussion on the regular release of crime stats and the definition for demilitarisation of the police needed to be more explicit in the Paper.
The Committee was then briefed by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) on their input on the White Paper. The presentation covered recommendations in terms of strengthening and improving of police leadership, protecting police leadership and operational independence, tackling police corruption and promoting professional police conduct. The submission also looked at training for impact, police officer safety, use of force and building partnerships.
Members then engaged the speaker on addressing implications of fewer cases being reported to SAPS or withdrawn, to which extent the showing of videos of police brutality fuelled the killing of officers, intelligent tactical awareness and a nationalised, centralised structure vs. a decentralised, localised system in terms of functions, authority and powers. Discussion was also held on the idea of a national police board and suggested method for rightful appointment of senior SAPS management and whether it was best to have the National Commissioner be a seasoned SAPS officer having come through the ranks.
The Committee then heard from the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) where the organisation presented what the White Paper should look at and having its vision aligned to the imperatives of the NDP. This included democratic policing, a national police board, a review of the code of conduct, a review of the disciplinary process and competency testing. Other imperatives included the definition and strategy for demilitarisation, appointment of the National Commissioner, vetting of officers, especially senior officers and a system to develop high calibre police through two-tier management and core police. The presentation also discussed policing approaches, namely, community centred policing, gender based violence and gun violence, inefficiencies within resource allocation, prevention and combating of human rights violations and strengthening oversight.
The Right to Know (R2K) presentation looked at the White Paper specifically from the public order policing perspective by speaking to shifts in policing, policing being under threat, how this threat manifested itself, experience of the R2K on the ground, the misdirected narrative of “violent protest” and appropriate intelligence-led approaches before concluding with recommendations.
Members engaged the organisations on resource allocation in the White Paper to ensure all communities received the same kind of resources, best approaches to social crime prevention, unprotected gatherings as well as expressing concerns about the stance of R2K against intelligence as it led policing as the primary ways SAPS solved crime.
Chairperson's Introductory Comments
The Chairperson welcomed Members back from recess as this was the first Committee meeting for the third term. Today’s meeting was a combination of all meetings held so far on the White Paper on Police and to get feedback from the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) on the process and comments. The Committee thought it prudent to invite civil society to the meeting so the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the African Policing Civilian Oversight Authority (APCOF) and the Right to Know (R2K) would be making submissions.
In terms of the programme for the rest of the term, there were a couple of changes but the Committee Secretary would make this known to the Members. Next week the Committee would deal with the Domestic Violence Act and be briefed by the Women’s Legal Centre and Legal Resources Centre as well as receive input from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI/Hawks) on the policy guidelines.
The Committee would meet next Tuesday from 10h00 to 13h00 due to the request from the CSP to deal with the White Paper on Safety and Security.
The Committee would be undertaking an oversight visit to the Free State during the fourth and last week of September (21 – 24) due to logistical issues. There would be a public holiday during this week.
Statement Calling Senior SAPS Officials to Account for Statement of Support
The Chairperson read out a statement noting that the Portfolio Committee on Police issued a statement last month on 25 July 2015 in which it welcomed the release by President Jacob Zuma of the Farlam Commission Report on the Marikana tragedy that occurred in Marikana in August 2012.
The Portfolio Committee had indicated it would study the report and make follow-ups on the technical and operational recommendations to ensure that improvements were made in the terms of required controls and command protocols. The Committee will receive a briefing by Parliamentary researchers on Wednesday, 19 August 2015. The Minister of Police will then brief the Committee on 26 August 2015 on the implementation of the Farlam Commission recommendations. On the matter involving concerns about the leadership of the police and its decision-making, the Committee said that the importance of having credible and effective police leadership could not be overemphasised.
The Committee indicated it would await the outcomes of the processes announced by the President. The Committee therefore wanted to record its displeasure in relation to the statement that was issued by Lt. Gen. Solomon Makgale on 1 August 2015 with the heading ‘The SAPS Board of Commissioners fully supports General Ria Phiyega’. The Committee’s observation was that the issuing of the statement was unfortunate and not appropriate in the current set of circumstances.
While the Office of the President was to consider the representations made by the relevant party with regards to the recommendations made by the Farlam Commission, it was not up to certain members of SAPS management to become involved in an overtly public discourse or to indirectly engage in lobbying on behalf of a party or parties who were the subject of an official process. The process initiated by the President should be respected.
The Committee would like to remind all SAPS members of the Code of Conduct that stated:
“I commit myself to creating a safe and secure environment for all people in South Africa by-
- Participating in all endeavours aimed at addressing the root causes of crime;
- Preventing all acts that may threaten the safety or security of any community;
- Investigating criminal conduct that endangers the safety or security of the community;
- Bringing the perpetrators to justice;
In carrying out this commitment, I shall at all times-
- Uphold the Constitution and the law;
- Take into account the needs of the community;
- Recognise the needs of the South African Police Service as my employer, and
- Cooperate with all interested parties in the community and the government at every level.”
Therefore, the Committee was of the firm view that the statement of the said officers blurred the line between the role of civil servants/police officers and the executive consisting of elected representatives.
The role of the Police was defined in Section 205 (2) (3) of the Constitution. The objects of the police service were to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property and to uphold and enforce the law. The political responsibility for the police according to Section 206 (1) of the Constitution was with a Cabinet member responsible for policing, and Section 207 with the President as head of the national executive in terms of appointment of the National Commissioner.
The Constitution and NDP envisaged a professional police service that was subject to civilian control and oversight. The Committee will not support a situation where this principle was compromised or watered down. Hence, the Committee will call on the said officers mentioned in the press release to appear before the Committee on Wednesday (12 August 2015) at 09h00.
The Chairperson then opened the floor to comments from the political parties represented on the Committee.
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) fully supported the statement made by the Chairperson on behalf of the ANC and the ANC study group in the National Assembly. The statement released by Lt. Gen. Makgale was uncalled for and clearly aimed to influence the process initiated by the President. The statement should be withdrawn. The ANC welcomed and embraced vision 2030 and the NDP as a critical base for united action for all South Africans to build a truly united non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous country. The ANC was committed to taking steps to restore faith of the people in the police leadership. The ANC supported the process by the President in this regard.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) agreed 100% with the Chairperson's statement. She was astounded at the blatant attempt to influence the process by the provincial commissioners, nearly all of whom had been appointed by the current National Commissioner. It was well known in police culture that when a senior officer said “jump”, one asked “how high”? Lt. Gen. Makgale had on two occasions, behaved in a very partisan manner against her personally – he ran across a room and literally snatched paperwork from in front of her at the release of the crime stats two years ago and last year he threw her out of the room. She found this behaviour a very crude way to protect Riah Phiyega and Lt. Gen. Makgale did not work for the SAPS but for the National Commissioner. She, with her colleagues, put together a substantial document to go before the President and she hoped to hear that he would soon appoint the legally mandated commissioner to look into the fitness of the National Commissioner to hold office. She absolutely wholeheartedly welcomed the hauling in of the provincial commissioners who signed the document to ask what they were doing playing politics when they should be fighting crime.
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) fully supported the declaration by the Chairperson. This action by the provincial commissioners was further proof that the National Commissioner was not suitable for the position. This was part of the big problem of the police service in that where they have to focus on the prevention and fighting of crime, they were getting involved in politics – this was the core problem. He thanked the Chairperson for taking the initiative.
The Chairperson thanked Members for their comments. The meeting on the matter would take place next Wednesday at 09h00 with the relevant officials.
Civilian Secretariat for Police: Draft White Paper on the Police
Mr Mark Rodgers, Director: Policy Development, CSP, took the Committee through an overview of the key comments arising from the public submissions. On the issue of a single police service, the implication of integration of the Municipal Police Service (MPS) into the SAPS may lead to increased levels of crime and lawlessness in municipal spaces, law enforcement with regard to by-laws will be repaired, there was a need to clearly define what was meant/intended by a Single Police Service and that there will be no incorporation of MPS personnel into the SAPS. The other input was that the MPS and traffic police should be placed under the command and control of the National Commissioner as a force multiplier.
On demilitarisation, changing the rank structure will have a negative impact on morale and discipline. Demilitarisation must be defined and contextualised within the current challenges and the Paper must explain how demilitarisation will address these challenges and for the Paper must be clearly spelt out.
With integrity and corruption, the Paper must provide an integrated approach towards addressing the good governance and accountability of the police and for the Paper to deal with the issue of police corruption and provide specific steps/approaches for promoting and enhancing integrity. Other comments were that the White Paper must incorporate the anti-corruption strategies envisaged in Chapter 14 of the NDP, the White Paper needed to ensure that the internal inspectorate had clear and defined rules of engagement and operation and for the Paper to emphasise that the inspectorate must be capacitated to conduct regular unannounced inspections and not only officers of the highest ethical standards and expertise were deployed to this component.
Mr Rodgers spoke to community-centred policing noting that the concept must be defined and the policy must articulate how this was to be achieved and for the White Paper to clearly articulate the role of Community Policing Forums (CPFs).
With the use of force, comments were that the policy should reflect on the nature and extent of police use of excessive force and firearm, and provide a policy framework for a right-based use of force policy. The White Paper should provide a policy direction on the regulation of the use of force by the police, a framework for the proportionate use of force and promote accountability measures when excessive force was used. The White Paper also propose a policy framework for strengthening the authority provided to police for use of their firearms and to limit such use to specific situations that were consistent with the law and policy standing orders.
In terms of information sharing, comments were that the White Paper should consider the establishment of a police information sharing structure to ensure access to non-classified information held by the police to those undertaking research into addressing crime and policing challenges. There was also a call for the regular release of crime statistics.
Mr Rodgers then turned to comments on an approach to policing stating that 21st century policing required a professional, well-resourced and highly skilled police service as stated in the NDP. Demilitarisation of the police service should return policing to the ideals of the Constitution and in line with the recommendations of the NDP. A demilitarised police service emphasised a display a firm commitment to carrying out its constitutional mandate and embracing a human rights based approach. A civilian police service must be responsive to diverse communities and display an approach to policing that was fair and accountable. Emphasis must be placed on ensuring the proper control and management of firearms as a key driver of violent crime.SA must adopt a holistic approach to rooting illegal firearms while recognising the potential of legal firearms becoming a source for criminal activity. Community-centred policing built sustained community support and participation and was responsive to the vulnerabilities and policing needs of all at local level, including disparate communities and an active citizenry was vital for sustainable safety deliver. There was also a need for regular communication and information-sharing between SAPS, civil society, research institutions and CPFs. Accountability was essential and police conduct must be subject to regular, independent review and oversight aimed at building legitimacy and trust. The organisational culture must instil the type of mindset needed for delivering citizen-centred policing. The ability of the police to effectively maintain public order necessitated a shift in approach to maintaining and restoring public order. Giving effect to this “changed” mandate will require that the police be properly structured, trained and capacitated.
In building a professional police service, policing must be based on high standards of integrity, knowledge about the law and understanding the duty to serve communities. Effectively dealing with and rooting out corruption was a key element of building a professional police service which required a coherent organisational response based on an enhanced capacity to investigate corruption – this spoke to the role of the inspectorate. Disciplinary matters must be dealt with timeously with an emphasis on appropriate sanctions being meted out where necessary. Leadership and management must implement a multifaceted approach to integrity management. A professional police service must reflect the diversity of the South African context and have the necessary skills, knowledge and sensitivities to police communities with its own unique policing challenges. Regular exchange of and access to quality and timely information formed the basis of joint problem identification and problem solving for sustainable safety delivery and ultimately should allow communities to play a more active role in resolving policing challenge. 21st century must be modernised, information driven and analytically sound. Systems and processes created for generating and sharing information must integrate seamlessly with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) e.g. e-docket and the Case Management Systems. Capacity development was essential – a new philosophy of policing required transformed curricula and teaching methodologies and to instil a culture of continuous training and learning. Regulatory enablers for professional policing included effective communications of Standard Operating Procedures, National Instructions, Operational Policies and Protocols, uncompromised adherence to a professional Code of Conduct and efficient and effective use of resources.
In terms of a framework for a professional police service, Mr Rodgers explain attaining the goals of Vision of 2030 required optimal coordination and programmatic alignment across the three spheres of government – this was best achieved through a single national police service. The objective remained to maximise capacity and resources for effective, accountable and democratic policing. 21st century professional policing required the specialisation of:
- crime detection capacity supported by dedicated crime and intelligence analysis to allow for proper collection, collation and presentation of evidence to secure the prosecution of offenders
- A dedicated capacity to identify, counter and deal with selected organised and transnational crime and corruption within the Detective Services and the DPCI
- A dedicated capability to provide quality of crime analysis and analytical products that will allow for an intelligence driven approach to the detection and deterring of crime
With institutional arrangements, institutional mechanisms across three spheres of government must allow for developing and overseeing the effective implementation of policing policy. These mechanisms included the Minister, National Commissioner, CSP and IPID. With maintaining the momentum for delivery, this included a phased approach to implementation of the Paper, an audit of the nature and extent of crime and trends challenges, an audit of senior managers to ensure appropriate placement of managers, review and align the SAPS Act (1995) and its regulations, activating a task team to coordinate integration towards a single police service, monitoring and evaluation of implementation and for this to be supported by the White Paper on Safety and Security.
Ms Kohler-Barnard only saw one reference to the DPCI when there were still huge issues surrounding the court cases and implementation of judgements etc. She asked to be filled in on the status of these matters. She found it was difficult that the National Commissioner was the accounting officer and yet the DPCI was only supposed to answer to the Minister while all monies and other operations, like staffing, occurred through the National Commissioner. She recalled that, about two years ago, issue was made of incorrect crime stats being released in some provinces which were then hastily corrected a day or two later on the website – were there any plans in mind in this regard? She thought the 2011 plan for protecting police against assassination should be referred to in light of the deaths of a number of officers recently. Where was this plan and was it being implemented? She asked if consideration was being given to mandatory psychological de-briefing after shooting a firearm or dealing with death-related or injury-related situations as was done in many police services across the world. This was in light of increased SAPS suicides and frequent family killings. She asked if the CSP was looking into the means and manner of appointments of, for example, provincial commissioners where the appointments became increasingly secretive and seemed to be awarded to friends and political supporters when the interviews should be open and transparent and for appointments to be made by non-partisan people – this included the position of the National Commissioner. She asked if there was a means in the Paper to reverse, what she saw as, the “dumbing down” of certain jobs, for example, provincial crime intelligence which simply came down to having a Matric for a R1 million a year.
Ms Bilkis Omar, Chief Director: Policy and Research, CSP, highlighted that with the DPCI, the House approved an amendment to the SAPS Act on the ring-fencing of the budget of the DPCI and the line of reporting was to the Minister – this status quo still remained. SAPS worked with Stats SA in releasing the crime stats but it also had MOUs with a number of universities including UNISA, the University of Pretoria and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) so experts were being engaged in this area.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) sought clarity on the use of the term “driver” as, conceptually, he thought this term should be changed to “factor” to maintain correct logic and understanding. Causally, firearms were a concomitant factor of violent crimes and not a driver. He was pleased to see that the presentation noted that a single national police service did not advocate the wholesale integration of MPS into SAPS – he always understood that the notion of a single police service spoke more to minimum and uniform norms and standards in terms of training and operating procedures etc. a possible gap in the White Paper was the very important notion of saturation deployment in the arena of Visible Policing. He thought this might be covered, initially, when the White Paper spoke to maintaining and restoring public order. The big issue was that there was not enough officers on the ground visibly patrolling – in many areas, people were lucky if they saw a patrol vehicle in their area once a month never mind cops on the beat or on bicycles. It was important to highlight the salience of saturation deployment as a key pillar of VISPOL in order to deter and prevent crime. He provided an anecdote of his time spent on Tokyo, as part of the parliamentary delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference at the end of May, he saw a police officer every 500m. This contributed to the feeling of safety and ensuring rapid response should something happen.
Ms Omar took the Members point on the use of the term “driver” and would look into it. The points on saturation deployment were also very good and would be worked on in the Paper.
Mr Groenewald asked for clarity on exactly which White Paper was being referred to – 2014 or 2015? He asked if the political parties could provide written submissions to the CSP on the White Paper.
Ms Omar replied that it was the 2015 Paper.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) was concerned about the instability of policing in the country. He was not sure of the White Paper had taken into account, holistically; all elements which had given rise to this instability. He thought the White Paper would address how to create command structures to be able to get early warning for those officers who might be frustrated before they committed suicide or committing serious violent crime. Ordinary members faced high levels of frustrations either because their voices were not heard or top command structures did not have a mechanism of picking up stress within the chain of command early enough to uplift the morale of members. The Paper also did not address how to avoid the imposition of non-professional police members over professional members. many professional police found they spent years in the Service but members who were recently appointed would be made commissioners or top-ranking positions when they did not even know what policing was all about. He felt the White Paper did not spell out these multifaceted problems or to clearly outline where the buck stopped.
Mr R Mavunda (ANC) was concerned about how often police personnel received counselling. Members were attacked by criminals and when they retaliated they were attacked by some political leaders and community members as well who believed police members benefited from crime. He was concerned about the control of firearms where it seemed everyone had a firearm. When police took action, they were perceived as killing people even if they were defending themselves. There was also corruption within the institution itself – ordinary people on the ground had information but they also owned firearms either because they were poor or wanted money. At some point he even heard of police members renting firearms out. How best could the country work together to disarm people and political parties and leaders needed to assist the police instead of condemning them as if they did nothing good. Perhaps awareness campaigns should be intensified in the communities – even if there were differences in political ideologies, everyone needed to come together on one day to deal with criminals once and for all and to speak with one voice and ensure government moved forward.
Ms Omar outlined that SAPS had a comprehensive employee health and wellness programme which also spoke to suicides and frustrations. The National Instructions did speak to the fact that if a member was in a violent situation or used a weapon, members were to receive psychological treatment from counsellors and religious leaders within the SAPS organisation. She could not say if this was being implemented because it depended on the member him/herself. There was a very big project underway together with Wits University looking at the management of firearms and the impact of the 2001 legislation. The project was being finalised, hopefully in the next few weeks. There was also a big project under the auspices of the Ministry looking at firearms management so a lot of work was being done in the arena of the responsible use and management of legal and illegal firearms. This would also be worked into the White Paper. Corruption was also addressed in the Paper in speaking to integrity. There was also an anti-corruption task team under the auspices of the DPCI. She noted the point on intensifying public awareness.
Ms M Mmola (ANC) questioned if professionalising of SAPS would include the changing of ranks.
Ms Molebatsi asked if the use of excessive force included lethal force and issuing of firearms to SAPS members who were not supposed to be in possession of them. She also questioned the regular release of crime stats which she found very vague – did it mean the crime stats would be released weekly, monthly or what?
Ms Omar said the CSP just finalised a very good paper on the use of force and the responsibility of SAPS in using force which could be presented to the Committee after it was presented to the Minister. The use of lethal force should be the last resort for SAPS.
The Chairperson thought the working definition of demilitarisation was still a bit thin – what exactly was the definition of demilitarisation? What elements should be present in such a Service and what should not? He thought the Paper should be much more explicit on this concept of demilitarisation. He questioned leadership of SAPS – the NDP proposed appointment through panel interviews but the question was if there was possibly a role for the legislature in this regard as seen, for example, in the case of the Hawks and IPID. He asked if the CSP looked at the observations of the Farlam Commission especially when it came to POP and IPID. The Commission also spoke to technology but he did not get anything that the White Paper was focused on technology as an improvement vehicle in terms of moving forward. The same went for the issue of research
Ms Omar replied that the CSP was working on a paper on what was actually meant by the demilitarisation of the police – it was hoped the paper would be ready by September. This included mindset, approaches and if the ranks should be changed. The CSP was also working on a paper on professionalisation also to speak to an audit of membership in SAPS in terms of professionalisation but it would have to be a cautious process should there be labour issues involved. In terms of appointments, this was a project flagged for the next financial year to look at requirements and if members were appropriately placed. The CSP had looked at the outcomes of the Farlam Commission.
Ms Reneva Fourie, Acting Secretary, CSP, thought the input from Members were helpful and would assist the CSP in enhancing the White Paper. She agreed the Paper was silent on aspects relating to employee health and wellness and it would be useful if the policy broadly outlined this issue in its approach to policing. The two elements, which were controversial and so deliberately kept vague, was the national board as defined in the NDP and issues related to the appointment of senior management, including the National Commissioner. The CSP did not find a way to capture this need without undermining the constitutional obligations conferred to the President but the CSP was open to ideas to explore this area further. She took the point on including a role for Parliament – this could be considered. The element of information was also kept vague because it involved political decisions – there was a general appreciation for stats to be released more timeously but the position on the annual release was taken by Cabinet so the CSP was constrained in making definitive recommendations except to say the stats should be released timeously for optimal crime prevention and safety and to optimise intelligence- driven policing. Absolute timelines would have to be determined by Cabinet. An analysis was conducted on the outcomes of the Farlam Commission and responses to some of the issues were addressed in the two White Papers and the use of force policy. A recommendation was also submitted to the Minister on the task team as the CSP was volunteering to drive the process and design the terms of reference.
Ms Molebatsi asked if it was timeous or regular release of crime stats.
Ms Fourie replied that the CSP would like the release to be both regular and timeous. Currently the stats were received regularly on an annual basis but others argued it was not timeous enough because by the time it was released it did not always allow for rapid intervention while it was good for trends analysis so this was an advantage of receiving the stats regularly but not necessarily timeously.
Mr Mavunda thought a lot of the discussion was dominated by theory and there needed to be an action plan outlining what would be done to remedy matters before they became a mountain. This action plan was important for outlining exactly what would occur and when.
The Chairperson noted chapter six did speak to this but it was dependent on the finalisation of legislation.
Ms Fourie agreed there was a need for an action plan but this explained the difference between the CSP and SAPS – the former did the broad policy while the latter worked on the strategy and operationalisation. The two entities worked closely and she would engage the National Commissioner on a copy of the SAPS plan for the implementation of the White Paper.
Ms Kohler Barnard, looking at the actual draft White Paper, saw reference was made to the division of the Municipal and Traffic Police must be established within SAPS. She thought this had massive financial implications for municipalities because speeding and parking fines etc went into municipal coffers but now this suggestion was that it simply be removed. She did not know why this was even being contemplated.
Ms Fourie explained this spoke more to regulation and uniformity, coordination and standardisation of specific operations and not revenue collection etc. so the finances of the municipalities would be not be adversely affected.
ISS: Input on the Draft White Paper on Police
Mr Gareth Newham, Head: ISS, began by noting that the ISS supported the overall vision and aspirations for the police as contained in the White Paper. In particular, it welcomed the acknowledgements regarding the importance of ethical police leadership and professional police officers who were orientated to serving their communities within a Human Rights framework.
The general concern of the ISS was that the draft White Paper contained very little detail as to how the various objectives contained therein will be achieved. Moreover, while the paper referred to some of the recommendations contained in the NDP, it did not provide further details as to how these will/ should be implemented and achieved. Moreover, a number of practical recommendations contained in the NDP were left out altogether.
In addition, while the paper was implicit on a number of challenges facing the police, it failed to clearly highlight, diagnose and definitively respond to a number of what it considered substantial policy issues facing the SAPS and other policing agencies in SA. The ISS believed that the White Paper would be substantially strengthened if it had engaged with the findings and practical recommendations contained in inter alia:
- The SAPS Policy Advisory Council Reports (2006/7 & 2007/8)
- Parliament’s Detective Dialogue (2012)
- The National Development Plan (NDP) 2030: Our future – Make it work (2012)
- The Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry (2014)
- The SAPS National Inspectorate Report of January 2015
- The report of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry (2015)
In particular, the recent findings of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry related to the integrity, approach to decision-making and politicisation by the Senior Leadership of the SAPS were of particular concern. The White Paper should ensure that it addressed these issues in detail.
Mr Newham then went on to discuss key submissions and recommendations of the ISS as pertaining to strengthening and improving police leadership, protecting police leadership and operational independence, tackling police corruption, promoting professional police conduct and training for impact. The submission then moved on to police officer safety, in numbers, looking at the number of police officers killed per year and the national murder rate before making recommendations on addressing officer safety and firearm violence, police use of force and officer safety and building partnerships.
Ms Molebatsi noted that in a prior presentation, the ISS made reference to the fact that the public were reporting fewer cases to SAPS – did the ISS think the White Paper was addressing this? To what extent did the showing videos of police brutality fuel the killing of police officers?
Mr Newham said there was a reduction of the number of cases reported to SAPS in virtually every crime category except car hijacking. The most worrying indicator was the decrease in reporting on sexual assault. This was worrying because it was a proxy indicator for trust – when people trusted the police one would probably see more reporting of cases. The irony with the crime stats was that they in and of themselves could not be seen as a measurement of police performance – they were a measurement of the number of people reporting cases to the police. Nevertheless, stats were important for intelligence and looking at trends and patterns for analysis. If the White Paper was implemented, one could actually see increased trust in the police which would then result in some categories of crime actually going up. It was important to communicate that numbers went up because of increased trust and so reporting of cases. Looking at the work done on people who attacked police and were interviewed in prisons, these were hardened criminals involved in violent crime for a long time and not typically watching Carte Blache. Most officers were killed in the line of duty when being called to the scene of a crime and were engaging with criminals. These were criminals who wanted to escape or wanted a firearm not really affected by the showing of videos too much.
Mr Mavunda also questioned the reporting of cases to SAPS, specifically, how SAPS was affected by this withdrawal.
Mr Newham responded that withdrawals were a challenge for police services all over the world – citizens withdrew cases for various reasons and it was difficult for the police to do anything about it. Withdrawals could be an interesting and useful study in looking at rates in different categories etc.
Mr Mhlongo thought the presentation covered aspects of greater importance – if most of these highlighted were captured in the White Paper he thought there could be some kind of exist to the current quagmire. An example was the policing board which he thought would have far reaching impacts such as advising the Minister even up to the level of the Presidency in terms of the rightful appointment of individuals rather than the consideration political appointees which he thought robbed policing thus far and degraded morale and trust among members themselves.
Mr Groenewald thought the presentation provided a very good detailed overview of the issues. He strongly supported the suggestion of a national policing board. He asked for the opinion of the ISS on the fact that the National Commissioner should be a person coming through the ranks of the police services. He thought if the National Commissioner was experienced and had come through the ranks, Marikana could have been prevented.
Ms Kohler Barnard noted that for eight years she pushed to have a National Commissioner that had served unbroken time and came through the ranks before applying for the job. This could be something for all officers to ultimately aspire to as a goal. She sought the view of the ISS on the method of appointing the National Commissioner. She though the ideal would be an open, transparent interview process as was done with boards of other entities. Should the final say sit with the President or the Minister ideally? Should the appointment of provincial commissioners rely on the National Commissioner as it would influence ultimately who one was accountable to for their position.
Mr Newham stated that he thought there were enough senior commanders in SAPS who had over 20 years experience, postgraduate degrees and integrity but there needed to be a process in place where those people felt like they could apply. Legislation did not necessarily need to change – the President could make the appointment following the establishment of a national policing board, as contained in the NDP. There could be very basic minimum criteria and from there could be a short-list of candidates to be interviewed in a public process by the Board followed by clear vetting. Kenya, for example, showed interviews on live TV for the public to witness. Such a process built legitimacy and the successful candidate did not only want to start building trust once appointed. It was also unfair to think any one person could fix all the problems in SAPS – the best officer could be made National Commissioner but if the support system was not changed in terms of divisional and deputy national commissioners or the top 70 people who made up this team to ensure there was integrity, there was very little the National Commissioner could do without succumbing to factionalism and back-stabbing. Renewal and revitalisation of the top management echelon was crucial to look at instead of looking at one officer to make all the difference.
Mr Mbhele questioned if the ISS thought the current structure of SAPS was geared toward enabling the implementation of detailed crime specific, sometimes areas specific, customised strategies or was there a need for structural reform which would see more localisation of functions, authority and powers etc across the board whether in procurement or decision making. He was concerned of what seemed to be the pathological fear of enabling spots of excellence where things did work to be modelled and replicated elsewhere so that areas could learn from each other instead of dragging everyone down to the lowest common denominator and everyone languished in sub-optimal mediocrity. Was the current structure set up to enable this kind of customised, innovative strategies to provide some examples to be replicated across the system or did it need fundamental structural reform to delegating powers, authority and functions locally.
Mr Newham answered that the general trend over the last few decades, dating back to the 80s, has been towards the decentralisation of policing simply because the factors contributed to crime in any community were local and so were subject to change from place to place depending on various social factors. Sometimes police could do something about a certain kind of crime, for example gang violence, but not about another, for example, interpersonal violence. The challenge with national organisation and centralisation was that it could not always provide that localised responsiveness. There might be a need to look at the structure and how it could possibly be improved.
The Chairperson noted again the sincere condolences of the Committee to the families of the police officers killed recently over the last two weeks. He asked if the ISS thought intelligence and tactical awareness needed to be further emboldened in the White Paper. What more could be done from an institutional perspective looking at the White Paper.
Mr Newham thought these factors should be emboldened. In 1998 there was a specific national structure looking at police officer safety using seven different studies from various universities and academics looking at police dockets, interviewing people who had attacked the police in prisons etc through a multifaceted approach of police and non-police experts working together to develop a clear strategy. A number of outcomes arose for implementation. Given that an increase in the death of police officials could be seen given the increase in armed robbers, it would be good to ensure there was a greater partnership approach through a formal structure and provide officers with some peace of mind that something was being done. One could not always want for the officers to be killed – there were a lot of attacks on members which did not result in death so this should be a permanent structure.
Ms Kohler Barnard highlighted the new proposed Liquor Act where the issue of liquor went hand in hand with illegal shebeens and illegal outlets and the argument about who had the right to shut them down. She thought this spoke to the decentralisation of certain powers to perform such functions.
Mr Newham said this was a very complex social issue where in many cases it was seen as job creation. There was a definite link between alcohol and violence but it was a difficult issue to get on top of but he agreed there needed to be a local, multifaceted response with different departments working together.
The Chairperson raised the issue of gun violence in society in relation to the recent killing of police officers. Moving to the legislative process, the Committee would need to reflect very deeply on this issue looking at what could be done, from a legislative point of view, to limit access to illegal firearms as a societal problem. Perhaps the CSP could look into the killing of SAPS officials through a position paper looking at tactical responses, intelligence, awareness and training. This issue needed to be addressed and the figure could not escalate.
APCOF Presentation on the White Paper on Policing
Ms Melanie Lue Dugmore, Technical Director, APCOF, began the presentation stating that the White Paper on Policing must:
- Provide clear policy statement based on a clear, thorough policy analysis of the challenges faced by the institution.
- Provide a clear roadmap on interventions (including establishment of new mechanisms) required to achieve this vision and address challenges identified.
- Indicate areas where legislative amendments may be necessary and guiding content to these.
The vision of the White Paper should align with the NDP and specifically a police service that was:
- Well resourced
- Staffed by skilled officers
- Served without discrimination
- Respected rights equality and justice of all
Ms Lue Dugmore then said that, for a democratic policing agenda, APCOF proposed this vision be linked to the notion of democratic policing. This translated into:
- Protection of democratic rights including freedom of speech movement and political participation in the country;
- Providing safety and security to citizens;
- Governance and management structures of the police that met the standards associated with an organisation supporting democracy, including adherence to principles of accountability and transparency;
- The manner in which police conduct themselves; and
- The extent to which the members of the organisation enjoy the rights and privileges ordinary members of society enjoy
Democratic Policing indicators can underpin and inform a comprehensive monitoring evaluation and reporting template for policing in SA.
Imperatives identified by the NDP included:
- National Police Board
- A Review of Code of Conduct
- A Review of the Disciplinary process
- Definition and strategy on demilitarisation
- Appointment of National Commissioner
- Vetting of officers and specifically senior offices
- Competency testing
- System to develop high calibre police through two tier management and core police
Ms Lue Dugmore then went into detail on each of the above points beginning with the national police board noting that such a board should be established, with multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary expertise. It should set standards for recruiting, selecting, appointing and promoting police officials and police officers. The board should also develop a code of ethics and analyse the professional standing of policing, based on international norms and standards. The recommendation was that the White Paper should clearly articulate the establishment, role and function of the Police Board and provide framework for necessary legislative amendments to the SAPS Act.
With a code of conduct, a professional police service was essential for a strong criminal justice system. The police code of conduct and a code of professional police practice must be aligned to promotion and disciplinary regulations. The recommendation was for a review and development of a code of conduct with clear disaggregated indicators and measures to enable meaningful alignment with the performance agreements and professional standards must be clearly articulated in the White Paper.
In terms of demilitarization, the police should be demilitarised and that the institutional culture of the police should be reviewed to instill the best possible discipline and ethos associated with a professional police service. The recommendation was for the White Paper to contain clear policy directive on requirements for demilitarisaiton.
Ms Lue Dugmore then discussed policing approaches stating that achieving long term, sustainable safety required tackling the fundamental causes of criminality. This would mean mobilising state and non-state capacities and resources at all levels, and citizen involvement and co-responsibility. The White Paper must support policing approaches which provided effective responses to and prevention of crime. Additional information was required and should include the following:
- Community Centred Policing: Community centered policing was central to the democratic policing agenda in SA. There was inadequate attention to promoting partnership and community centered policing approaches. This needed to be defined and the White Paper must articulate how this was to be achieved. Attention must be paid to issues of procedural justice as articulated in Batho Pele principles. The roles of CPFs and CSFs needed to be clarified and augmented from both a policy, regulatory and funding perspective. Station management was at the point of service and should be equipped to respond to challenges and build meaningful stakeholder partnerships around a consensus on priority areas, strategies and joint problem solving. The White Paper should address these challenges and propose mechanisms i.e. review of station performance tools. Roles and functions of CPFs and CSFs need to be clearly articulated in policy and cross referenced i.e. the role the CPFs can play as lay station visitors to monitor conditions of custody. Community-centred policing required police training that had a focus on developing service delivery skills including:
- facilitating requests for assistance and
- Responding to the community;
- Handling witnesses and victims;
- Working with community groups;
- Problem solving;
- Ethical conduct;
- Equality of treatment; and
- Human rights standards.
- Gendered Based Violence (GBV): The White Paper on Policing must develop a clear policy position and prioritize the need to address challenges in dealing with gender-based violence. The Problem Statement must accurately reflect challenges faced in 'policing' gender-based violence and acknowledge the gendered nature of violence and impact on policing approaches. Clarification and institutionalisation of roles and responsibilities of the police. The need for inter sectoral cooperation between different government departments and service providers and proposed solutions to improve mechanisms required to facilitate greater integration of services. Capacity constraints. Training needs. Accountability and Compliance. Improving oversight and performance management and a victim-centred approach, which sought expressly to prioritise, gauge and learn from the way victims experienced police service delivery. Barriers to reporting of sexual offences and domestic violence; and challenges in investigation of these offences. With capacity, FCS Units must be strengthened to police GBV and rolled out beyond just one FCS Unit per cluster. Special attention should be given to the relationships between officers and survivors, and officers and prosecutors, and the bearing these have on successful prosecutions. SAPS forensic social workers were a key skill to effectively policing gender-based violence. SAPS management should embark on a cost-analysis and provide a plan on how they plan to roll out forensic social workers to all police stations. With integrated service delivery, SAPS reliance on other service providers impacted on its ability to render effective response and assistance to complainants. Services provided by Department of Health and Social Development, Department of Human Settlement/Local Municipalities (in the form of access to shelter/ alternative housing etc.) were critical to effective support to victims and survivors, and their families. Effective mechanisms for engagement with other service providers must be addressed.
- Gun Violence: The White Paper must provide clear principles governing the use of firearms by the police including the requirement that the CSP and policing agencies updated existing policies and instructions on firearms and the use of lethal force. These policies and instructions must address:
- Competency requirements for police officers carrying firearms including background checks, training requirements, accreditation and removal of firearms due to negligence or abuse, and disciplinary action.
- Appropriate use of firearms in different operational contexts including the type of firearm to be used in different situations i.e. the exclusion of R5 military assault rifles in crowd control
- Principles governing the use of firearms and lethal force must be subject to requirements of proportionality, necessity and reasonableness.
- Capacitating and supporting members through ongoing accredited training in firearm use, as well as alternative tactics and strategies to lethal force.
- Principles related to the safe carriage of firearms and ammunition when officers were on/off duty and safe storage;
- Establishment of review processes for all shooting incidents involving officers and requirement for independent investigation thereof.
Ms Lue Dugmore then outlined inefficiencies with resource allocation as seen with the challenges highlighted in the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry which indicated weaknesses of current police resource allocation. The recommendation was for the White Paper to address the review of SAPS methods for determining human resource allocation and Human Resource Allocations should be submitted to the Committee and provinces. This should include breakdowns of operational and administrative personnel at all levels including stations/ specialised units/ headquarters.
In terms of the prevention and combating of human rights violations, the White Paper must address integration of legislation (Prevention of Torture Act and international obligations) into policing policy frameworks and institutional arrangements, specifically:
- Human rights of persons in policy custody;
- Prompt investigations of torture;
- Administrative measures to ensure safe custody;
- Effective and regular oversight
For strengthening oversight, in the interest of fostering the independence of the IPID, it should be removed from the realm of the Police Ministry and afforded status as other independent statutory bodies reporting directly to Parliament, such as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation. The calibre and capacity (training and equipping) of IPID investigators should be urgently addressed. The CSP must develop a clear and comprehensive monitoring evaluation and reporting template to discharge its oversight mandate in respect of the police. The CSP must report regularly to Parliament on this framework. The White Paper clearly articulate responsibilities and role of the provinces in respect of policing, and established clear policy parameters on the obligations of SAPS in respect of reporting and cooperation with provinces
R2K on the Frontlines: Reaching Out to Engage Policing
Mr Ghalib Galant, Provincial Coordinator, R2K, began by discussing the 2015 White Paper on Policing noting R2K welcomed the timely release of the White Paper on Policing. The last 20 years had seen a move away from Apartheid-style kragdadigheid in policing to a more collaborative approach to policing which was community-driven. This was also seen in the shift from a Police Force to a Police Service. The overarching policy framework to capture a democratic approach to policing had been absent. This was the gap that the WP sought to fill.
The White Paper itself, on pages 8 – 9 stated: “The current philosophy that informs policing however, is under threat. As our fledgling democracy experiences challenges based on both genuine frustrations related to service delivery as well as more orchestrated efforts to create domestic instability, policing is less willing to be subjected to civilian oversight”. From inside there were service delivery frustrations and while outside the country there were plans to destabilise the country. Policing was less willing to subject itself to civilian oversight. The White Paper reaffirmed a policing system that was in line with the Constitution and required by a democratic SA as seen in calls for demilitarisation, community participation in safety and an integrated safety approach.
The response to this threat manifested itself in increased militarisation, implementation of an ideology that stressed the use of force and threats of violence to solve problems, use of military power as a problem-solving tool, weaponry, the type of language that was used, how the SAPS was organised, how operations were modelled, increasing use of military to sweep away internal security issues and paramilitary elite police units and increasingly “zero tolerance” approach to fighting crime. Other indicators were increased use of (crime) intelligence-led policing which was punted as a way of moving away from a militarised policing model, the use of intrusive and disruptive surveillance can be equally violent or lead to more targeted forms of violence – harassment of “troublemakers” or worse and characterising / profiling legitimate protest actions as criminal. Furthermore there was consistent messaging around protests that they prone to violence and there was therefore a need contingency planning for an outbreak of violence, breaches of the Regulation of Gatherings Act (RGA) – unlawful banning, political interference, preparations for policing of gatherings and protests that anticipated violence or instigate violence and one-size-fits-all definition of “violence”.
Ms Karabo Rajuili, Member of the R2K National Working Group, then took the Committee through a number of graphs displaying how the experience of R2K on the ground was different. The graphs also showed comparatives figures for peaceful vs. unrest-related protests. She said there was a misdirected narrative of the “violent protest” as an essential element of life in a democratic space was the right to protest. There was exaggeration of the scale of protests and potential for violence. Service delivery protests become recast as an “upsurge against state authority”. This criminalised legitimate, legal and lawful action and undermined lawful protests and fundamental human rights to peaceful protest, assembly and expression and set up the community as the potential criminals, needing a crime-response where no crime had been committed. This “justified” an increasingly violent response. This was seen in the number of complaints of police violence in crowd control situations increasing from 5 in 2006 to 59 to 2009. These were mostly for assault Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) charges. There was a culture of impunity as seen in the acquittal of police officers who used lethal force in contravention of standing orders (as in the case of Andries Tatane). There were also low prosecution levels from complaints to IPID - (1 prosecution out of 204 cases). Yet, in September 2014 SAPS sought more than R3bn to double Public Oder Policing (POP) personnel nationally, to invest in its arsenal of lethal and non-lethal weaponry and beef up intelligence-gathering capacity. Additionally the use of deadly/excessive force was up with 87/204 cases referred to IPID Assault GBH. There were paramilitary training and operations, Tactical Response Teams and a National Intervention Unit.
Mr Galant then spoke to the use of artificial intelligence when applied to the right to freedom of expression and to peaceful protest, assumed lawful protests were criminal in nature. Uninvited surveillance can intimidate protesters exercising their lawful rights and served to silence voices that were critical of power-holders or in SAPS’s words in “an upsurge against state authority”.
National instruction 4 made provision to:
- “make an attempt to gather information pertaining to the proposed gathering”
- POP unit information network (and crime intelligence network where appropriate)
- Threat Assessment (based on available operational information, including past experience with the parties)
- Assess likelihood of violence
This National Instruction 4 was:
- Vague and overly broad mandate
- No requirement of choosing the least invasive method
- No guidelines for storing or discarding information
- “necessary and proportionate” in line with international human rights law
- “pre-policing” and profiling protesters as potential criminals with no evidence of wrongdoing
The recommendations of R2K were to:
- Bring an end to police violence against protesters
- Strengthen the legal protections for protesters
- Develop a path to genuine demilitarisation of policing
- Curtail intelligence-led methods in public-order policing
- Address the failure of the oversight structures to bring perpetrators of police brutality to book
The Chairperson questioned if the White Paper would focus specifically on resource allocation to ensure all relevant communities received the same kind of resources.
Mr Mbhele asked APCOF about community centered policing and the need for an approach focused on gender based violence, as contained in the presentation, especially through integrated service delivery. What was the best approach to social crime prevention? The NDP spoke to community safety centres – would this been seen as plugging the gap for shelters etc for victims of domestic violence? He was concerned to hear about the permission for gatherings as highlighted by R2K essentially being denied. He always understood that, constitutionally, there was no such thing as an illegal gathering – only protected or unprotected gatherings. This meant that if there was an unprotected gathering, without SAPS and municipal permits, merely doing it was not illegal but if SAPS instructed the crowd to disperse it should. He did not know if this was the correct understanding.
Ms Lue Dugmore said the challenge was that the discourse was largely centred on the role of the CPFs when APCOF felt this should be expanded to include other forms of community participation and for communities to inform policing priorities and not only acting in a stakeholder engagement sort of way. There was the notion of developing community safety audits not just for SAPS but for government as a whole. This would ensure policing priorities were informed by communities. More detail was needed on the role of the station commissioner and mechanisms which could be implemented at station level for early adherence to improving access and being more responsive in planning and engagement etc. for evidence-led approaches. While the White Paper on Safety and Security addressed some of these issues, it was felt the White Paper on Policing needed to speak to the role of the police in this space. There were challenges around the inter-sectoral approach to gender-based violence and the police needed to understand its role better
Ms Kohler Barnard was concerned about the stance of R2K against intelligence-led policing in that there had been issues where police, which she knew of in KZN, literally drove into a protest – they did not know it was happening because of zero crime intelligence. The cars were attacked and the police were being threatened with their lives. The police then defended themselves and shot into the crowd and two girls died. If there had been crime intelligence, police would have known about the protest but they did not. In many cases intelligence was a life saver and how SAPS solved crime and prevented so she was a bit weary and nervous of the stance against crime-intelligence being seen as the enemy, as it came across to her. Under the correct management, crime intelligence was essential and not the boogie-man as the presentation painted it out to be.
Mr Galant responded that R2K was not against intelligence-led policing but there needed to be a clear guidelines and a definite framework for this intelligence to occur in – these parameters were currently missing and from the White Paper as well. Presently, activists on the ground experienced unregulated and intrusive intelligence activity bordering on harassment even. The value of intelligence was acknowledged but needed to happen in the constitutional and legal framework. If there was true community-policing, the knowledge of marches would in fact be there and the police would be part of the community. Intelligence related to seeing protests as driven by crime was problematic.
Mr Mavunda thought the aspect of criminality of protests needed to be thought through carefully. Municipalities should be encouraged to have its own by-laws in terms of protests.
Mr Galant cautioned against the use of the terms “protected” and “unprotected” as these were not the concepts used in the legislation unlike in reference to strikes. The RGA was quite clear on how gatherings must be managed. R2K believed this Act needed to be strengthened because it was found SAPS, municipalities etc deviated from the provisions in the legislation by creating by-laws which actually went much wider than what the legislation provided for or made decisions, such as the banning of protest action, which was actually illegal.
Ms Molebatsi asked what the view of R2K was on the existing recruitment criteria of SAPS.
Ms Rajuili said that recruitment was beyond the scope of the current R2K submission but she could provide a written submission to the Committee on the views of R2K in this regard if it was needed.
Ms Fourie said she would incorporate what had been said by the organisation and she welcomed the input as well as the broadening of the scope of the debate on some issues, for example, demilitarisation. The Resource Allocation Guide (RAG) had been an issue of discussion within the Ministry for the past two months. SAPS had come a far way in reviewing the RAG, now referred to as the fixed establishment.
The Chairperson said any additional info could be sent by Members to the CSP. The Committee would be meeting next Wednesday.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Submission Paper on the Draft White Paper on the Police
- Police Committee Calls Senior SAPS Officials to Account for Statement of Support
- Civilian Secretariat for Police: Draft White Paper on the Police
- Presentation by African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) on White Paper on Policing
- Right to Know: On the Frontlines – Reaching Out to Engage Policing
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
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