The Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) described the establishment of a Compliance Forum that developed a set of Standard Operating Procedures, seeking to provide guidance in reporting and ensure coordination with the South African Police Service (SAPS). Members of the police had however failed to attend the Compliance Forum meetings in certain cases. Domestic Violence Act implementation was addressed through various provincial initiatives. The recommendation was that provinces should hold these meetings on a monthly basis.CSP highlighted the necessity to improve sampling and methodology, and to develop greater consistency in the visiting of police stations. The CSP detailed a partnership with Statistics South Africa addressing its sampling methodology.
SAPS underscored the importance of reporting to Parliament and explained that cases of DVA non-compliance by SAPS members were now referred to CSP, which bore the key role of oversight of the police. It emphasised the relevance of relying on the Standard Operating Procedures. The figures of police member non compliance were characterised by the hegemony of Western Cape’s capacity to report these incidents, for other provinces had hardly reported any cases. The seizure of firearms from SAPS members with domestic violence cases reported against them similarly displayed an overwhelming proportionality of cases in Western Cape. SAPS referred to the implementation of various training courses that ought to enhance member’s ability to address domestic violence as well as conducting several awareness raising campaigns with the public. A tight cooperation was described with provincial governments as well as with other Departments, improving the police’s capacity building. Visiting police station was praised as a mean of evaluation of the Act’s implementation. Accountability was pinpointed as of core importance.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) described the transition from the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) to the present IPID, underlined by a modification of the mandate and allocation of monitoring role to the CSP. It extensively described the different forms of non compliance by a SAPS member that a member of the public could rely on. It addressed the different forms and procedural material underlying the reporting process. It pinpointed a certain lack of understanding of the Act by police officers.
Questions from Members included: Why was the absence of data for the financial year 2013/14 claimed although data from this period was displayed? Why did certain gender violence-related statistics display figures of a value of 0? What DVA tool was provided to officers on the ground? Why is Western Cape the only province, with a few marginal exceptions, that succeeds in reporting cases of non compliance? Was the police aware of the reality of SAPS members regularly refusing to protect women? Does the DVA include mechanisms to follow up its interventions and ensure checking up of victims in the long term? Why are firearms not confiscated earlier? Is greater compliance from the police increasingly observed? Why is alcohol abuse separated from DVA?
Additional concerns included the non attendance of Compliance Forum meetings by certain SAPS branches and individuals, the non-dismissal of non compliant police members, the existence of ongoing investigations, the lack of emphasis placed on DVA as a crime, the implementation of awareness campaigns and the heterogeneity of provincial performance.
The Committee addressed the SAPS apology with regards to a statement issued about support for the National Commissioner. Provincial Commissioners stood by the apology, yet did not all formulate this alignment with the same clarity. Members assessed the initial statement as highly disrespectful and criticised its author.
The minutes of the Magoebaskloof meeting were handed in to the Committee, a week after they had been formally requested.
Additional debate surrounded the controversy created by an alleged message sent by the National Police Commissioner to an opposition Member, and the Committee ordered confirmation and authentication of the message’s content and origin to be investigated in the upcoming days.
The Chairperson noted the apologies of the National Secretary for Police, who was unable to attend. He indicated that presentations would first take place, allowing the Committee to discuss the police’s input as a whole and to address extraordinary matters, including the case of an inappropriate SMS.
Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) on Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA)
Mr Luyanda Qhomfo, CSP Acting Chief Director, outlined the various platforms that exist to support the implementation of the DVA. He then pinpointed the policy, legislative and operational impediments to implementation. He noted that not less than 915 police stations had been visited by the CSP, which had embraced a multidisciplinary approach in order to minimise violence against women.
Ms Ayanda Xongwana, CSP Deputy Director, explained that in order to strengthen communication between the CSP and SAPS about DVA implementation, a Compliance Forum was established in 2012 as a platform to share findings and recommendations as well as discuss non-compliance. One of the challenges identified by the Compliance Forum was the non-amendment of section 18 of the DVA and the SAPS National Instruction to reflect the changes in reporting obligations. Since the implementation of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Act and the CSP Act, all the obligations that were formerly given to the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) in terms of sec 18 of the DVA had been moved to the CSP.
Having identified this gap, the Compliance Forum developed a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), which were not meant to replace the National Instruction, but rather were formal tools to ensure that the obligations between the two entities were implemented whilst awaiting the finalisation of amendment to the DVA and the National Instruction
The Standard Operating Procedures were developed to provide guidance in reporting, to formalise and strengthen the working relationship between the SAPS and the CSP at both national and provincial level with regard to DVA implementation and monitoring, to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the SAPS and the CSP outlined in the DVA and the National Instruction.
The likely benefits of the SOPS was the proper coordination of DVA monitoring between the CSP and SAPS as the Compliance Forum would also be replicated at provincial level, the handling of non-compliance complaints will be enhanced as CSP will be able to receive accurate information from SAPS, and application for exemptions will be better managed, proper and co-ordinated interventions within SAPS where members were offenders or victims of domestic violence, an enhanced cooperation in public education and awareness raising campaigns between SAPS and the CSP, and reporting to Parliament will be made more efficient.
Ms Xongwana identified DVA monitoring challenges:
- SAPS at provincial level did not report to the provincial secretariats as expected in terms of the DVA and National Instruction, as a result of the lack of an internal directive from SAPS compelling its members to do so in the absence of the amended National Instruction.
- Some units within SAPS national office were not attending the Compliance Forum meeting, while the CSP was only able to access non-compliance cases through station audits, implying that the actual extent of non-compliance could often not be accurately determined.
CSP’s approaches to address these challenges, were through consultation with all provinces from both the Secretariat and SAPS on the SOP. SAPS had also issued a communiqué to the relevant divisions to ensure maximum attendance at the Compliance Forum. CSP would join SAPS in the provincial work, in order to promote the implementation of the SOP and the replication of the Compliance Forum in all provinces, with the objective of enhanced reporting and consistency in information provided.
An emphasis was placed on the necessity to improve sampling and methodology, as the Department was unable to conduct visits to all police stations within one financial year. Provinces which had not been able to fully cover all police stations in their provinces within the past three years, justified this shortcoming by a lack of capacity, which allegedly resulted from the fact that DVA monitoring was added as an additional mandate to provinces that had not been costed prior to its implementation.
These challenges, associated with the inconsistency in the number of stations visited and weakness in human capacity, were addressed through different initiatives that included a business proposal detailing human capacity requirements to fully implement the mandate, an engagement with Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) on how CSP could improve its sampling methodology, and a discussion with SAPS through the Compliance Forum.
Ms Xongwana detailed the human capacity proposal that underlined the minimum capacity required in relation to the size of provinces, taking into consideration resources utilisation in terms of time, travelling and number of police stations.
The engagement with StatsSA revealed that due to the nature of CSP’s data collection method, a representative sample may not necessarily give the best results, as for instance working at an error margin of 5% and a confidence level of 95%, the national representative sample would be 287 police stations out of 1 138 police stations. StatsSA nonetheless indicated that it could generate the sample at every level, although there were challenges associated with conducting sample surveys instead of census surveys, as a result of weighting, non-response adjustment and estimation which could be rather complex in nature. StatsSA recommended that it would work on a possible sample frame and would inform the CSP about progress and provide final feedback.
Ms Xongwana was engaging with SAPS on the collection of information on characteristics of police stations in order to assist the Department in formulating accurate samples.
The CSP thus sought to address its various challenges by ensuring that in each province all police stations would be visited within a 24 months period, at a rate of 25% of stations visited within each six-month reporting period, combining rural and urban police stations. The sample moreover ought to consider the size and management of the station to ensure that all levels were covered during a reporting period. This methodology would ultimately ensure clear definitions of visited police stations’ characteristics.
Once StatsSA provided CSP with the sample frame, its methodology would be reviewed and incorporated into the designed approach. Ms Xongwana emphasised her hope that these relationships would succeed in enhancing the work of the unit by ensuring the implementation of credible data collection methods.
SAPS and Provincial Commissioners on Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA)
Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba, Gauteng Provincial Police Commissioner, introduced the briefing on compliance with the DVA and indicated that his colleague would address the core of the presentation.
Major General Susan Pienaar, SAPS Head of Crime Prevention in the Visible Policing Division (VPD), stated that in terms of section 18(5)(d) of the DVA, the SAPS National Commissioner must, every six months, submit a report to Parliament including: the number and particulars of complaints received against police members in respect of any failure contemplated in section 18(4)(a), the disciplinary proceedings instituted as a result and their decisions, and steps taken as a result of recommendations made by the CSP.
These six-month reports reflected consolidated information from April to September and October to March, as submitted by the different provinces to the National Commissioner, and furthered to the Minister for tabling in Parliament.
Maj Gen Pienaar noted that as a result of the commencement of the IPID Act (No 1 of 2011), the reporting of cases of misconduct by SAPS members in failure to comply with the obligations of the DVA, its Regulations and the National Instruction, had been transferred to the CSP. The semi-annual reporting period provided in section 18 was divided between a first report covering 1 April to 30 September and a second report covering 1 October to 31 March. The CSP monitoring role relied on full police station audits and follow-up police station audits being conducted.
The SOP on the monitoring of implementation and compliance to the Domestic Violence Act had been concluded in May 2015 between the CSP and SAPS. The responsibilities of both parties and the agreed reporting procedure as contained in the SOP would be included in the revision of the National Instruction on Domestic Violence. She described the SOP as a working document that ought to enhance cooperation between the Secretariat and SAPS on domestic violence matters.
Non-compliance by SAPS members as reported by provinces for 1 April 2013 - 30 September 2013 was a total of 249 cases, of which 247 occurred in Western Cape and 2 in Free State, while the following period of 1 October 2013 - 31 March 2014 had a total of 318 cases, of which 312 were located in Western Cape and 6 in Northern Cape. Non-compliance of police officers in 1 April 2014 - 30 September 2014, totalled 196 cases with 175 in the Western Cape, 13 in North West, 7 in Northern Cape and 1 in Gauteng. During 1 October 2014 - 31 March 2015, a total of 91 cases were reported, with 77 in Western Cape, 5 in North West, 8 in Northern Cape and 1 in Mpumalanga.
Disciplinary proceedings against officials reported for non-compliance highlighted a similar hegemony in Western Cape. For 1 April 2013 - 30 September 2013, Western Cape had 247 disciplinary processes out of 249 nationally, the 2 remaining cases were in the Free State. The period of 1 October 2013 - 31 March 2014 had a national total of 318 cases with 312 in Western Cape and 6 in Northern Cape. The period of 1 April 2014 - 30 September 2014 had a total of 196 disciplinary proceedings with 175 in Western Cape, 13 in North West, 7 in Mpumalanga and 1 in Gauteng. In the period of 1 October 2014 - 31 March 2015 there were 91 national cases, with 77 in Western Cape, 5 in North West, 8 in Northern Cape and 1 in Mpumalanga.
Maj Gen Pienaar stressed that the number of incidents and number of stations affected for April 2013 to September 2013 could not be reported, as SAPS forms 1, 2 and 3 were not yet implemented at that time. The national number of reported incidents of domestic violence for the three following periods were 112, 128 and 112 respectively, with an overwhelming statistical representation of Western Cape for each period.
With regards to the seizure of firearms from SAPS members with domestic violence cases reported against them based on provincial submissions from April 2014 to September 2014, indicated that 51 firearms were seized as opposed to 33 firearms for October 2014 - March 2015. The seizure of weapons once again was characterised by Western Cape high figures, with 38 and 20 weapons confiscated respectively.
SAPS was described as having intensified training of police members to improve services rendered to victims of domestic violence and sexual offences. These included a Domestic Violence Train the Trainer Course (DVTTC) 10 days in length, a Domestic Violence Learning Programme (DVLP) and a National Victim Empowerment Training (NVET), which both lasted for 5 days. These programmes had trained 30 331 SAPS members in the two-year period of April 2013 to March 2015, and were integrated parts of the Basic Police Development Learning Programme (BPDLP) that placed an emphasis on victim empowerment, first responder to sexual offences, domestic violence and vulnerable children.
Maj Gen Pienaar said that SAPS was responsible for providing victim-friendly services to all victims of domestic crimes, and according to the information received from all Provincial Commissioners, 1 140 police stations were rendering victim-friendly services to victims of crime, at a rate of 100% at the end of the first quarter 2015/16.
She detailed that the police had conducted awareness raising campaigns in addressing gender based violence and victim empowerment, relying on specific events such as Youth month in June, Women’s month in August, Crime Victim Rights week in September, Trafficking in Persons Awareness month in October and the 16 days of Activism Campaign that occurred in November and December. She referred to SAPS’ internal initiatives to improve services to victims, which included provincial capacity building work sessions and national capacity building work sessions with social crime prevention co-ordinators from all provinces. These initiatives bore certain interdepartmental features, by cooperating with Department of Social Development.
SAPS was currently reviewing the National Instruction on Domestic Violence and had submitted proposals to the Department of Justice and Correctional Services for consideration of amendments to the Act. Maj Gen Pienaar explained that a domestic violence flow chart has been developed to enhance capacity of Community Service Centre (CSC) members and members on patrol to provide a quality service to victims, while a domestic violence 10 point checklist was distributed to all provinces in April 2015 and will be used in police stations as a quality assurance tool by CSC members and Relief Commanders, to enable management at the station to measure and improve the services offered by police officers.
Maj Gen Pienaar described several key functions performed by SAPS in monitoring non-compliance at station level, including conducting station visits for the purpose of assessing compliance to the legislation, and of capacity building work sessions with provinces. She specified that SAPS received quarterly reports from provinces on the number of cases of non-compliance to the DVA for analysis and compilation of the bi-annual report to the Portfolio Committee on Police, while the National Commissioner Circular Ref 1/1/4/1 (1) dated 15 June 2013 was issued with a new reporting template to improve the approach to reporting.
She emphasised that SAPS had undertaken a series of remedial steps during 2014/15 on the basis of provincial capacity building work sessions, which had occurred in all nine provinces. The sessions relied on certain core objectives, including the need to identify solutions and address challenges experienced in the implementation of various pieces of legislation including the Domestic Violence Act and to capacitate the provinces in terms of inter departmental co-operation with the CSP in monitoring the implementation of legislation including the SOP.
The SAPS would continue to visit police stations to ensure compliance to legislation as part of the Combined Assurance programme that included internal audits, inspections by the inspectorate, compliance visits by national and provincial management and supervision and control by Cluster and Station management. The police would continuously participate in the Compliance Forum led by the CSP with the purpose of monitoring and improving SAPS implementation of the DVA.
Maj Gen Pienaar concluded by emphasising the importance of accountability at every level of the management hierarchy, while acknowledging the need to enhance public education and awareness.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on the Implementation of the DVA
Mr Israel Kgamanyane, Acting Executive Director at IPID, indicated that in terms of this Act, SAPS was compelled to comply with its provision of the DVA and National Instruction 7 of 1999, and any failure to do so would constitute misconduct which ought to be reported to the CSP. This mandate previously resided with the former Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD). This had since been repealed by the IPID Act, and the functions were currently carried out by the CSP.
Mr de Bruni, Director of Investigations and Information Management at IPID, addressed the different types of non-compliance pinpointed by the institution’s oversight, which included failure to inform victims on where and how to access counselling services, failure to inform victims on where and how to obtain a protection order, failure to keep a copy of the protection order after it had been obtained from court, failure to locate victims and establish whether they were safe, failure to note reason why no charge or arrest was made, failure to note the incidents in the domestic violence register, and failure to open a docket and refer the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for decision to prosecute. Additional forms of noncompliance by SAPS members included failure to search and seize firearms and ammunition, failure to take a witness statement, failure to inform the victim on where and how to access medical assistance, failure to issue a notice against the alleged transgressor to appear in court, and lastly failure to complete the J88 (medical report) and other relevant information. Mr de Bruni then displayed a copy of the form, in order to provide Members with a visual appraisal of the procedural material.
Ms Mariaan Geerdts, Director of Compliance Monitoring at IPID, provided an overview of the different aspects of SAPS performance covered during the auditing process. Verifications included the availability of a copy of the DVA in any Community Service Centre, as well as updated lists of service providers in each CSC and also in each police vehicle. Additional documents whose availability was assessed as crucial included SAPS form 508(a), SAPS 206 pocket book, the file 39/4/2/3 on DVA and SAPS 10 Occurrence Book. An emphasis was placed on the importance of keeping these documents in good condition, while ensuring their availability without any restriction.
Ms Geerdts explained that IPID would be following the assessment of some of these criteria, send recommendations to the different SAPS units and receive feedback on them. An additional DVA tool was the ability to perform unexpected visits at any police station, where accurate responses were required and the implementation of the Act was assessed. She referred anew to the file that had been displayed to Members.
She concluded by referring to some of the challenges that IPID still faced, including the fact that some of SAPS management neither took disciplinary action against SAPS members nor applied for exemptions. The lack of understanding of the DVA by SAPS members, the existence of a culture of silence around domestic violence and the reality of the lengthy periods taken to discipline SAPS members were also pinpointed as challenges that ought to be addressed by the IPID mandate.
The Chairperson thanked the various police entities for their constructive input. He referred to page 5 of the SAPS presentation, and described how the 1998 legislative framework gave statutory compliance obligations to SAPS. He thus asked the Gauteng Commissioner to deliver the required documents to the Committee, which should be signed and tabled officially.
With regards to the DVA’s statistical approach, the presenters had described the absence of data for the financial year 2013/14, and had yet highlighted certain statistics from this period.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) asked how it was possible that certain violence-related statistics indicated values of 0.
She referred to page 11 of the SAPS presentation and enquired about the deliberate nature of these statistics, whereby every province with the exception of the Western Cape had not recorded any case of non-compliance by police members from October 2014 to 31 March 2015. She urged SAPS to provide Members with a copy of the DVA tool that was provided to officers on the ground.
She asked why SAPS members had never been fired in the case of the present framework. She reminded each official of the reality of police non-compliance with gender criminality, with SAPS members regularly refusing to protect women and sending them back to their husbands in case of abuse, amongst other violations of their rights. She asked what happened to police officers who behaved in such a manner.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) referred to the CSP’s human capacity proposal, and asked for more details on the cost of the proposal and mechanisms for funding, and as to whether it ought to rely on provincial or national bodies of government.
He addressed the SAPS presentation and asked for details on its findings and underlying mechanisms. He asked why the Western Cape figures were so much higher than those of other provinces. He urged SAPS officials to provide explanations for why Western Cape was so much more efficient than other provinces. He suggested that the Western Cape police share its expertise with other provinces in order for others to learn from this effectiveness.
Mr A Shaik Emam (NFP) pinpointed the critical lack of statistics on SAPS members’ convictions. He asked for precise details on police officer suspensions, including the number of officials who had received such sanctions.
He asked whether the DVA included mechanisms to follow up on its interventions. Were the police checking up on victims of abuse in the long term, and whether it was possible to track any form of improvement resulting from the policy’s implementation.
With regards to the confiscation of firearms from non-compliant or criminal police officers, he stated that in most cases weapons were not confiscated early enough, bearing dramatic consequences.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) asked SAPS officials if the disciplinary proceedings against officials reported for non-compliance, as reported on page 12 of the presentation, had proven to be effective and whether greater compliance had been observed.
She failed to understand the tables on non-compliance by SAPS members as reported by provinces, from page 8 to 11 and asked for greater clarity on the matter.
Ms M Mmola (ANC) was confused at the major differences existing between Gauteng and Western Cape on the one hand, and the rest of the provinces on the other hand, with regards to DVA statistics.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) stressed that the figures on page 10 of the SAPS presentation were highly unlikely to be accurate, particularly in the case of the Northern Cape. She asked why were alcohol-related forms of abuse separated from DVA, for there was a tight correlation between the two offences. She asked if citizens actually reported such abuses or not.
She asked IPID to share if they had faced cases where police members were charged more than once.
Mr Qhomfo replied that the human capacity proposal sought to rely on provinces, and involve different provincial chief financial officers (CFO).
Ms Xongwana, on the matter of attendance, replied that neither Human Resources officials nor Personnel Services police members had attended any of the meetings developed by the CSP, with the exception of one HR’s presence once. These meetings occurred on a quarterly basis. Her recommendation was that provinces should hold these meetings on a monthly basis. This was already the case in Western Cape.
Lieut Gen Mothiba indicated that SAPS was complying with the reporting from the National Commissioner. Criminal cases were currently being discussed and investigated by the family or the child abuse sections of SAPS. He invited each Provincial Police Commissioner to provide additional detail on the DVA in their respective provinces.
Lieut Gen Thabethe Simon Mpembe, Free State Provincial Police Commissioner, confirmed that meetings were taking place at the provincial level. He argued that the difference in terms of performance and indicators between the provinces could perhaps be explained by a difference between each province’s monitoring tools.
Lieut Gen Sehlahle Fannie Masemola, Limpopo Provincial Police Commissioner, similarly indicated the existence of meetings involving SAPS members and civilians, where criminal matters were discussed. He however stated that DVA-related matters were never raised at such meetings.
Major General Risimati Shivuri, Northern Cape Deputy Provincial Police Commissioner, stated that SAPS members in the province regularly met with IPID, and also sat often with the Secretariat. He agreed with Ms Molebatsi about the correlation between alcohol and domestic abuse. He emphasised that the situation was currently improving in Northern Cape as the result of the various awareness campaigns implemented in the province, as well as visits to many police stations. He however stated that citizens sometimes failed to report police member non-compliance as a result of the long distances in the province.
Major-General Khombinkosi Jula, Kwazulu-Natal Acting Provincial Police Commissioner, explained that compliance meetings were attended by SAPS members in the province, while their progress was also carefully reported. He stated that figures indicating a value of 0 could perhaps be related to the monitoring mechanism. He nonetheless expressed his acknowledgement of the issues at hand and emphasised that SAPS members in Kwazulu-Natal would strive to enhance their performance.
Lieut Gen Mark Dumisa Magadlela, Mpumalanga Provincial Police Commissioner, indicated that SAPS members met on a regular basis. He did pinpoint that the province was lacking a common systematic measuring tool.
Lieut Gen Cynthia Celiwe Binta, Eastern Cape Provincial Police Commissioner, shared that SAPS members did participate in Compliance Forum meetings, notably on the topic of provincial SAPS management. She indicated the existence of a check list used to assess stations when these were visited. She conceded that Eastern Cape SAPS members were no exception to the rest of the country and were also involved in transgressions. Yet these issues were picked up and followed up in order to seek appropriate sanctions. She highlighted SAPS strived to raise awareness in communities, to strengthen citizens’ ability to address cases of non-compliance by SAPS members. She referred to the figures indicating 0 and said that the monitoring mechanism was in place in the Eastern Cape.
The Chairperson asked whether the Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner conceded that these figures should actually be above 0.
Lieut Gen Binta merely responded that SAPS was monitoring non-compliance in the Eastern Cape.
Major General Thembisile Patekile, Western Cape Acting Provincial Police Commissioner, acknowledged that the situation still required substantial improvements in the province and praised SAPS’ effort.
Major General Jacob Tsumane, North West Acting Provincial Police Commissioner, acknowledged the necessity of addressing statistics that showed 0. He praised the Western Cape SAPS’ performance and emphasised the need for greater cross-provincial interaction.
Lieut Gen Mothiba said certain matters were still under investigation with regards to the fact that no single police officer had been evicted from SAPS. He emphasised that transgressions by SAPS members should be systematically investigated.
Maj Gen Pienaar argued that over the full period, only one case of transgression had resulted in an eviction, occurring in Western Cape.
On the matter of firearms, Maj Gen Pienaar stated that if a SAPS member was accused of being an offender of any kind, his or her firearms should then be seized. She explained to Members that SAPS officials were not always issued firearms. She stated that the broad notion of non-compliance did not necessarily correspond to a case of non-compliance with gender or domestic violence, but rather included all common law criminal cases. She praised SAPS Western Cape’s performance for it had managed to make people aware of their right to complain in cases where police did not deliver appropriate services. On a contrary note, she argued that low figures perhaps reflected an absence of complaints, or alternatively a failure by SAPS members to effectively capture these complaints.
Lieut Gen Masemola claimed, with regards to the 0 figure in Limpopo, her awareness was that the police were failing to comply with the DVA at a rate of 100%. She nonetheless reiterated that not a single complaint of police non-compliance had been reported by the public in the entire province. She shared that 65 social workers were currently assisting the police as well as victims of domestic violence in Limpopo, in order to enhance the implementation of the DVA.
Maj Gen Pienaar explained that the tables displayed on pages 8 to 11 of the SAPS presentation represented the occurrence of citizens referring cases of police non-compliance. Thus the present tables showed that a wide majority of provinces did not receive such cases. She justified this tendency by arguing that members of the public were most likely not aware of these options. Yet, she acknowledged Western Cape’s performance on the matter, and thus urged each province to imitate such capacity to report noncompliant SAPS members.
Lieut Gen Mothiba commented that SAPS as a whole was highly disappointed at and concerned by the low reporting tendencies.
Lieut Gen Binta added that each of the nine provinces had attended the meetings on personnel management.
Ms Molebatsi remarked that the people of the Eastern Cape should be made significantly more aware of their right to report noncompliant members of SAPS.
Ms Mabija asked how it was possible that figures of 0 could be explained away as poor monitoring. She said that such a statement was worrying and defied comprehension.
Mr Shaik Emam described it as a serious failure of the police service in each province. Every DVA meeting was characterised by the same discussion about renewed efforts and striving towards improvement, yet the reality of the situation never changed.
Mr Mbhele said that he was highly dissatisfied and irritated by the responses of the police representatives on the matter of the 0 figures. He described their attempts to justify such poor records as contradictory. He highlighted that over six time periods and throughout a range of 19 categories of police non-compliance, not a single case had been reported. In the light of such inconsistencies he described himself as “boiling”, and stated that SAPS either did not know what to do or perhaps they did not even care.
He referred to the Eastern Province Commissioner’s claim of striving to raise awareness, and assessed this initiative as a total failure for the figure had remained at a value of 0. He again asked why the Western Cape was performing so much better than the other eight provinces of the country. He asked if complaints formulated by Members of the Parliament would fall under this category of police complaints.
Ms Kohler Barnard expressed a similar irritation, and asserted that SAPS members were still reluctant to give domestic violence the consideration that it deserved. This neglect was highlighted by the Limpopo Commissioner’s remark, who stated that at provincial meetings only crimes were being discussed, and not DVA-related incidents. She asked if domestic violence was not considered as a crime.
She also expressed great confusion and consternation at the fact that no SAPS member had been fired. She ironically asked whether abusers were just being recycled into the police structure. She said the police delegations should be ashamed of themselves.
Major General Shivuri acknowledged the vivid discontent of the MPs and said that efforts would be repeated, particularly in order to address the non improvement in certain figures.
Lieut Gen Binta argued that strict monitoring was undertaken in the province and that every submission was supervised with scrutiny. She addressed the issue of the 0 figures by saying that these processes depended on members of the public whose responsibility it was to report cases of non-compliance. She reiterated that SAPS strongly encouraged people to report cases of noncompliance.
Maj Gen Pienaar stressed that the Department would organise an indaba shortly, in order to improve the situation regarding gender violence. The police would enhance the meaningfulness of the information it provided.
Ms Kohler Barnard pointed out that out of 352 police offenders, only 84 firearms had been confiscated.
Ms Mabija argued in a contrary tone to the Members’ pattern of criticism that the Committee should adopt a more positive mindset, for the reality of the situation was often distorted by the impact of the media’s portrayal. She told police delegations that the Committee was primarily here to support their actions rather than to engage in witch-hunting, for the police were the implementer and Members the legislator.
The Chairperson stated that the country was presently 10 years into the implementation of the Act, and that scrutiny would be enhanced in the course of the present year. He highlighted the need to organise an additional engagement with the various police stakeholders in November.
Apology Statement by Provincial Police Commissioners
The Chairperson emphasised the Portfolio Committee’s role of maintaining oversight, while ensuring its own obedience to parliamentary rules, as well as the compliance of the different delegations coming before the Committee. The failure of any executive or legislative actor to follow the existing parliamentary guidelines would ultimately bear consequences.
He indicated that National Spokesperson of the South African Police, Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale, had crafted an apology statement, following the release of a controversially politicised statement several weeks prior the meeting. The media statement had been issued by the Divisional Commissioner for Human Resources Management (HRM), Lieut Gen Lineo Ntshiea. The Chairperson underscored the importance of addressing such a matter, and asked if the Provincial Commissioners stood by this statement of apology.
Lieut Gen Mothiba expressed his alignment to the apology statement, and so did each Provincial Commissioner.
Ms Kohler Barnard argued that before Lieut Gen Ntshiea could apologise, she ought to provide the Committee with a clear explanation of her motives and her statement’s context. She asked if Lieut Gen Makgale had written the statement or if she had acted on her own initiative.
Ms Molebatsi asked to whom this statement was directed.
Lieut Gen Ntshiea replied that she had issued this statement as a result of press releases, notably from the ‘Sunday Times’ as well as from ‘City Press’, which both referred to alleged mutiny within SAPS. She indicated her willingness to distance herself from these rumours of revolt, while she described such media releases as having a demoralising effect on police members. She added that as HRM she had to deal with inappropriate behaviour on a daily basis, and thus wanted to reassure SAPS members and members of the public of the non-existence of the alleged mutiny. She said that although she had praised National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, she could have actually done more than that. She expressed her belief that her initiative was right, as she had followed the protocol. She stressed that SAPS was currently advertising positions in its structure, and that negative press reports would be bad publicity for the South African Police. She expressed her disappointment at dealing with so-called ‘faceless’ members of SAPS who had been in touch with the media and reported this state of internal rebellion in SAPS. She asserted that she had felt the urge to respond to the press statements, while she had not followed any order and had therefore not involved Lieutenant General Makgale in the process.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC), whose arrival was delayed by the attendance of another Portfolio Committee, enquired why SAPS achievements were articulated by individuals. He asked Lieut Gen Ntshiea whether it was the first time ever that she had been affected by a media report. He dismissed her claimed reliance on the protocol, and argued that it was not common for a Police HRM to release public statements.
Ms Mabija asked why Lieut Gen Ntshiea had imposed herself as a spokesperson.
Mr Shaik Emam asked if Lieut Gen Ntshiea had ever released a public statement on behalf of SAPS in the past.
Ms Mmola ironically asked Lieut Gen Ntshiea whether she was the SAPS official spokesperson, and whether Lieut Gen Makgale was not in this position anymore. She blamed her for taking such an initiative, particularly in the presently unsettled context following the Marikana Report’s release.
Ms Molebatsi shared that she had been a Member of this Committee since the 1990s and had never seen such an initiative. She explained that SAPS members usually relied on the issuing of internal memos and thus asked Lieut Gen Ntshiea why she had purposely deviated from the usual procedure.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) apologised for his late arrival, and deplored that he had not been made aware of the present Committee meeting. He had seen the beginning of the meeting on television and had thus rushed to the Parliament in order to attend it. He vividly argued, with regards to the Marikana case, that SAPS did not seem to understand the damage it had done to the nation.
The Chairperson interrupted Mr Mhlongo and said that the topic would only be raised at the 19 August meeting.
Ms Kohler Barnard expressed her belief that at least three of the Provincial Commissioners had been coerced to stand by the apology statement, and that she was aware of the reality of a mutiny within SAPS. She said that Lieut Gen Ntshiea was presently attempting to save her job, yet she was out of line and had failed to respect a hierarchy that everyone was aware of.
Lieut Gen Ntshiea said that SAPS generally communicated about its achievements. She acknowledged that she was not the SAPS spokesperson, while arguing that Lieutenant General Makgale had not signed the statement due to personal reasons.
Ms Molebatsi said that Lieut Gen Ntshiea was driving her mad, and her statement was far from a success.
Lieut Gen Ntshiea explained that her statement was not linked to the Marikana Report. It was highly unfortunate that it had been appraised in such a context. She apologised for the misconception that resulted from her statement.
Mr Ramatlakane ironically argued that one did not have to be a scientist to understand that the breaking of rules necessarily had consequences.
The Chairperson reminded Members about time constraints and asked them to keep their comments short.
Mr Shaik Emam asked Lieut Gen Ntshiea if she understood that she was outside her mandate when releasing such a statement for the exclusive purpose of protecting the National Commissioner.
Ms Mmola urged Lieut Gen Ntshiea to leave politics to the politicians, and warned her not to rely on the media again. Her duty was solely reporting to the Portfolio Committee, and her initiative had severely disrespected Members of Parliament.
Mr Twala similarly criticised Lieut Gen Ntshiea’s action, particularly in the light of the responsibility she bore. He asked what legal action would be taken by the Committee in order to address such deviant behaviour. Every armed force in the country ought to strictly follow the law, and expressed his refusal to fall into the trap of leniency in the face of such actions.
Ms Kohler Barnard claimed that everyone actually knew why this inappropriate statement had been released, and that it had nothing to do with media reports about mutiny. Lieut Gen Ntshiea had insulted the Committee.
The Chairperson indicated that the police had handed in the minutes of the Magoebaskloof police meeting.
Ms Molebatsi described this late submission of the minutes as unacceptable for these minutes had been requested a week ago. This late delivery was an additional sign of disrespect by police members.
The Chairperson explained that the Committee’s researcher would look into the Magoebaskloof minutes, according to parliamentary rule 201 on investigation.
He criticised the SAPS spokesperson for having inaccurately quoted the Committee and shared statements that had never been formulated by members.
Alleged SMS to MP from SAPS National Commissioner
Ms Kohler Barnard shared that she had received a highly compromising text message on her cell phone the previous Thursday at 8.41pm following an interview on television, sent from a phone number beginning with ’08 44 …’. She read the message to the Committee that said ‘I am black, proud and capable and, get it clear, you can take nothing from me. Eat your heart out. I am not made by you and cannot be undone by you. Riah Phiyega’. She said that she had shared the information with a journalist who had phoned the given number, and Riah Phiyega had answered the call.
She expressed her consternation and disturbance in the face of such action by the head of the South African Police, and emphasised the need for change.
Mr Ramatlakane stated that he refused to believe that the National Commissioner could have done that. He said that a message of this kind could never be accepted.
Ms Mabija asked, if the message’s author was confirmed, where Riah Phiyega had found this audacity.
Mr Twala argued that, in the present context of a democracy that had been extensively fought for, such behaviour was unacceptable while Riah Phiyega deserved an immediate suspension. He stressed that if the veracity of the message was confirmed, the National Commissioner should be removed of her function.
The Chairperson urged Lieut Gen Mothiba to seek confirmation and authentication of the message’s content and origin. He indicated that decisions would then be taken in terms of rule 201.
He described the following day’s meeting as addressing the researchers’ findings on the Marikana Report.
The meeting was adjourned.