The Committee adopted its Terms of Reference (ToR) into the National Assembly Rules Section 201 Inquiry into the statements released by senior management of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and provincial commissioners in support of National Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, following the release of the report of the Farlam Commission into the Marikana Massacre. The Inquiry would be looking into the issuing of these statements with specific reference to a meeting of the Board of Commissioners (BOC) on 15 and 16 July 2015. The ToRs covered what the Inquiry would look at, consider and establish and the documents to consider the established facts and make recommendations.
The Committee was then briefed by SAPS into measures implemented to ensure the safety of SAPS members and to address unnatural deaths. The submission covered current statistics of unnatural deaths for 2012/13 – 2014/15 for members on and off duty, analysis of incidents, the police safety strategy, police safety plans and tactical response plan in terms of strategies adopted to police safety. The submission then discussed special actions to support the tactical response plan in terms of command and control and internal communication, safety gear and equipment, training interventions and employee health and wellness before moving onto investigations, convictions and sentences, hot spot police stations for 2014/15 – 2015/16 (where more than one member was killed) and the way forward.
Members engaged in comprehensive discussion on the need for SAPS to stay ahead of changing environments and to stay in the lead with new technology, especially for frontline officers, like body cameras. They discussed inaccessibility of the 10111 call centre, reported lack of availability of bullet proof vests, how de-briefing sessions were conducted and why more killings were experienced when SAPS had a police safety strategy. Members questioned the monitoring of members using pocket safety guides, mobilising communities and civil society to fight this crime. They spoke about environmental design factors and addressing the plight of the officer’s family and children when the member was killed. Members made it clear that the killing of a police was a crime against the state and should be treated as such and so there was a need for harsher consequences. Further discussion was held on preventive and proactive measures, whether there was a sufficient overarching structure to protect those on the frontline and sufficient backup for immediate reaction, causal reasons between the high involvement of firearm-related incidents and killings and attacks, analysis between general national vehicle accident statistics and those of SAPS and gender dimensions between on and off duty killings.
The Committee was then briefed by the Civilian Secretariat for Police on the White Paper on Safety and Security. The submission addressed the Paper’s vision and objectives, the rationale for the Paper and its understanding of safety, crime and violence provision, risk and resilience, poverty, inequality and crime, primary, secondary and tertiary prevention and vulnerable groups. The submission then covered policy architecture, policy context of the National Development Plan (NDP), community safety forums, approaches, key themes, roles and responsibilities of the three spheres of government, location, technical support and the consultation process before concluding with issues of implementation. The Committee heard this initial briefing and it was noted that further engagement would occur as the process progressed.
The Committee then met with Lt. Gen. Solomon Makgale, Head of Communication, SAPS, to engage on a statement that was issued by the senior management and members of the Board of Commissioners (BOC) on 12 August 2015. The statement was issued on 1 August 2015 and was the subject of the Committee’s Rule 201 Inquiry. The Committee was not pleased with this initial statement being issued and instructed that apologies be made for this overt political involvement and that it be retracted. The same individuals then released another statement after the meeting with the Committee saying the initial statement had unintended consequences when this was definitely not the view of the Committee as expressed in the meeting.
The Committee then engaged in lengthy discussion with Lt. Gen. Makgale on why the statement had been issued given the Committee’s strong displeasure with the initial statement. Members found the statement undermined and disrespected the Committee, that it went contrary to what the Committee expected and that it grossly misrepresented the engagement with the Committee.
They also discussed in detail the communication protocol, who had authorised the statement and who was consulted and present during the decision-making. Other questions asked were whether Lt. Gen. Makgale was under pressure to release the statement or if he was protecting someone. Members were shocked to hear that the National Commissioner was part and parcel of the meeting given what was said at the engagement with the Committee on the initial statement. The Committee questioned the sequence of events around one provincial commissioner expressing his discomfort with the statement.
Members found the issue spoke to the dire and desperate need for the implementation of the NDP to professionalise SAPS. They reinforced that the senior management of SAPS was compromised to the core and was systemically dysfunctional as the Committee experienced on the ground during oversight visits. The major challenge in SAPS came from the top.
In conclusion, the Committee was concerned about corporate governance and people in certain positions. It was critical to have confidence in those who led the organisation. The Committee would not accept its instructions not being followed or taken seriously and it had an oversight duty to ensure leadership was in line with principles of good governance. The engagement demonstrated that the President had been correct in initiating an inquiry into the fitness of the National Commissioner to hold office and the Committee would be engaging the executive authority based on today’s engagement.
The last item on the Committee’s agenda was a briefing by the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) on policy guidelines for national priority offences. The presentation began with the introduction and background to the briefing before delving into the mandate of the DPCI and policy guidelines for (a) selection of national priority offences by the national head of the Directorate, (b) referral of any offence or category of offences to the Directorate and (c) operational approach.
Members then questioned the status of the vetting of top management, whether the Constitutional Court judgement (which found that the sole judgement for making calls on investigations lied squarely with the DPCI and no longer with the National Commissioner) was fully operational, crime threat assessments and how they impacted on the selection of offences, protocols established, the gender ratio of the staff establishment, provincial capacity and intelligence capacity of specialised units, especially in terms of cracking syndicates, reliance of the DPCI on SAPS crime intelligence and the status of the DPCI becoming a separate programme in SAPS.
The Chairperson said that there had been a statement issued by the Presidency on the decision to institute an Inquiry into the fitness of the National Commissioner of Police to hold office – the Committee welcomed this announcement by the President as a significant step. The outcome of the process would be awaited.
There was also an outcome to a court case against eight police officers and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) had recently arrested 10 members of the Thembisa Tactical Response Team (TRT) with regard to torture and alleged misconduct. These were concerning allegations but the Committee believed that SAPS management would ensure that these members were disciplined and the necessary steps were taken. One of the outcomes of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework was that criminality within the justice cluster had to be dealt with effectively. It was also important in terms of oversight that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) played its role effectively.
Apologies were noted from Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA), Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) and Mr P Groenewald (FF+). The Committee would meet with the Minister of Police the following week for a briefing on the recommendations of the Farlam Commission and other matters of public interest.
National Assembly Rule 201 Inquiry
The Chairperson noted that in the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Inquiry , the Committee would not go further than adoption today. The KZN Provincial Police Commissioner still needed to come before the Committee and there were still some documents outstanding from the side of SAPS. The Committee would schedule sittings on this issue into the Inquiry in October – it would require additional meeting days in the programme of the Committee.
The Chairperson then read through the ToRs which resolved the Committee to institute the National Assembly Rule 201 Inquiry:
- Annexure A
1) Statements issued by Senior Management members of the SAPS and Provincial Commissioners during July and August 2015 in support of the National Commissioner, General R Phiyega;
2) The process leading up to the issuing of the statements with specific reference to the meeting of the SAPS Board of Commissioners (BOC) that was held at Magoebaskloof on 15 and 16 July 2015;
3) Statements made by Senior Management and Provincial Commissioners during the Portfolio Committee meetings of 12, 18 and 19 August 2015;
4) A statement issued by Lt. General. S. Makgale on 13 August 2015; and
5) Individual statements issued by senior commissioners in support of the National Commissioner.
B. The Inquiry will, among others;
1) Establish and consider whether the respective officers were truthful with their testimony in presenting the facts leading up to the issuing of the said statements.
2) Establish and consider whether the documents and electronic material made available to the Committee verify the statements made during the said Committee meetings.
3) Establish and consider whether the relevant statements were made in compliance with the Standing Order 156.
4) Establish and consider whether the relevant conduct by the officers was in line with good governance principles.
5) Establish and consider whether the relevant conduct prejudiced, embarrassed and discredited the SAPS.
6) Establish and consider whether the said statements were aimed at influencing the process by the President in response to the recommendations of the Farlam Commission in relation to the National Police Commissioner.
C. Documents to be considered
In establishing the facts and making recommendation, the following documents will be utilised as source documents:
C. 1 Legislation:
1. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996
2. The South African Police Service Act, 68 of 1995
3. Public Service Act, 1994, as amended Act 30 of 2007
4. The Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislature Act 2004
5. The National Assembly Rules, 8th edition
C. 2. South African Police Service (SAPS) Documents
1. Agenda of Magoebaskloof meeting.
2. Hard copy of the minutes of the meeting.
3. Electronic copy of the minutes of the meeting.
4. Attendance register of the meeting.
5. Electronic recording of the meeting.
6. Standing Order 156.
7. Copies of all statements issued by the Senior Management members and Provincial Commissioners.
8. Job Descriptions and Performance Agreements of provincial Commissioners and senior managers.
9. SAPS Disciplinary Code of 2006.
10. SAPS Code of Conduct.
11. Hard copy of the minutes of the Gauteng SAPS Provincial meeting.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) questioned the timeframe for when the outstanding documents were required from SAPS and when they would then be available. He also wanted to know exactly when the KwaZulu Natal (KZN) Provincial Commissioner would be available to meet with the Committee.
The Chairperson indicated that the documents were required the next Monday but there were a number of individual statements issued outstanding – SAPS was asked to provide this without delay. The minutes of the Gauteng meeting were also outstanding. He was informed that the KZN Provincial Commissioner was on a course until 17 September so the Committee would meet with her in October.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) was happy to support and adopt the draft ToRs. He raised the outstanding issue of organisational protocols in SAPS around the issuing of media statements. He had raised it before in the initial engagement on the matter that the National Commissioner was the direct line manager and reporting line for Lt. Gen. Makgale therefore, any media statement issued by him was taken as being in the name of the National Commissioner. There was then a paradox of issuing a statement on behalf of the Board of Commissioners (BOC) when the National Commissioner allegedly had nothing to do with it. He suggested this issue of SAPS communications protocols also be captured in the ToRs to inquire into whether any protocols were violated.
The Chairperson responded that there was a point in the ToRs which could encapsulate this request but it would be considered as the Committee progressed on the matter.
Mr A Shaik Emam (NFP) was satisfied with the ToRs. His only challenge was whether the Committee should additionally look at whether the provincial commissioners could have been coerced, intimidated or harassed into supporting the statement. Another issue to look at was whether Lt. Gen. Makgale was acting on direct instruction of the National Commissioner.
The Chairperson said that if need be, the issue could be looked at as the Committee moved on with the process.
Ms M Mmola (ANC) moved for adoption of the Section 201 Inquiry Terms of Reference and this was seconded by Mr Mbhele.
Measures implemented to ensure safety of SAPS members and address unnatural deaths
The Chairperson commented that earlier that year, the Committee had raised the issue of the safety of police officers as a major priority and concern. A comprehensive letter was received from the National Commissioner in March and again in June, indicating steps undertaken and policies. Currently, 57 police officers had been killed in the line of duty since the beginning of the year – this was a major concern to Members. It was a national crisis if officers were killed and the Committee needed to interrogate whether more could be done from a tactical and technological point of view. SAPS would now provide Members with an update on this matter and Members could then provide input to ensure there was a firm plan going forward to deal with this very sensitive and complex issue.
Lt. Gen. KJ Sitole, Deputy National Commissioner: Visible Policing, SAPS, appreciated the discussion into this emotional subject – it showed the concern of the Committee. The plan to fight against the killing of members had been intensified from a tactical and community level. It was also important to get to the root cause of the problem.
Maj. Gen. Susan Pienaar, Head of Crime Prevention: Visible Policing, SAPS, noted that attacks on and the unnatural deaths of members of SAPS had a negative impact on various aspects of South African society. During 2011 a Summit was hosted by the former Minister of Police and a Ten-Point Plan was adopted. It was against this background that a comprehensive and multidisciplinary Police Safety Strategy and National Police Safety Plan were developed for implementation to strengthen and operationalise the Ten-Point Plan of the Minister in SAPS. An unacceptably high level of unnatural deaths of members had been experienced lately especially in respect of the killing or murder of a member by a third party. This was of grave concern to the Minister and National Commissioner of SAPS and an immediate Tactical Response Plan as a special initiative was implemented involving all law enforcement agencies, such as Metropolitan Police Departments, traffic and private security companies.
Members were then presented with the numbers for the comparison of unnatural death of members, on and off duty for the years 2012/13 – 2014/15. Unnatural deaths were those occurring through murder, vehicle accidents or other incidents. There was a decrease of 32 police members or 14.1% during the 2014/2015 financial year in comparison to the 2013/2014 financial year. There was a decrease of 42 police members or 15.7% during the 2013/2014 financial year in comparison to the 2012/2013 financial year and a decrease of 74 police members or 27.6% during the 2014/2015 financial year in comparison to the 2012/2013 financial year.
Most police members were killed, on and off duty, during the 2012/2013, 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 financial years as a result of motor vehicle accidents, followed by members murdered and lastly members killed as a result of other accidents. However, vehicle accidents had indicated a significant decrease over the last three years.
A comparison of the numbers of the number of police members killed on and off duty was also provided per province for the years 2005/06 – 2014/15. With the members killed on duty, the highest number of incidents of police members murdered/killed on duty, as well as an increase was experienced in Gauteng (4), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (2), Free State (1) and Eastern Cape (1). However, during the 2012/2013 in comparison to the 2013/2014 financial year, a decrease was experienced in Gauteng and Western Cape.
In terms of the status of members killed on and off duty per province for the current financial year to date (1 April – 24 August 2015), there was an increase of one (7.1%) members being killed on duty and a decrease of two (9.5%) members being killed off duty during the 2015/2016 financial year period in comparison to the 2014/2015 financial year, and an overall decrease of one (2.9%) member on/off duty. For the calendar year (1 January – 24 August 2015), there was an increase of four (17.4%) members being killed on duty and a decrease of three (8.8%) members being killed off duty during the 2015 calendar year in comparison to the 2014 calendar year, and an overall increase of one (1.8%) member on/off duty.
An analysis of the incidents indicated that most members killed by a third party were attached to Visible Policing as first responders. Most members were killed on duty when responding to complaints or performing typical policing functions, such as searches and arrest (evading arrests and retaliation), most members killed were between the age of 30 – 40 with an average of 3- 6 years service. Most members killed off duty were victims of crime, most arrests of suspects were executed within one week to a month after the incident, more members were killed in vehicle accidents than as were as a result of violence/murder, most members killed sustained injuries to the head, face and neck areas, most members killed in incidents of violence were killed by the suspect being shot with a firearm, a decrease in the loss of firearms was noted during incidents where members were killed during the 2015/2016 financial year in comparison to 2014/2015 and more members were killed off duty than on duty.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar then explained the strategic approach adopted to address police safety which was a integrated multi-disciplinary approach to ensure synergy on the strategic level (police safety strategy), tactical level (police safety implementation plan) and operational level (tactical response plan). The comprehensive strategy was intended to ensure the safety of all members and was based on the following five pillars. The five pillars of the strategy represented the fundamental issues that had to be addressed in order to minimise incidents of attacks and the unnatural deaths of police members (including reservists while they were on duty):
– Governance to establish a standardised regulatory environment to ensure police safety as a priority
– Proactive interventions to reduce attacks and non-natural deaths of police members
– Reactive interventions to ensure arrest and conviction of offenders, restore confidence in the criminal justice system (CJS) and serve as a deterrent
– Address non compliance and employee health and wellness support interventions for members and families
– Monitoring and evaluation to inform prevention, responses, redress and support interventions and to determine whether the strategy was effective in reducing unnatural deaths of police members
A National Police Safety Plan was developed to strengthen the implementation of the Police Safety Strategy in an effort to eradicate or reduce attacks and unnatural death of police members. Divisions and Provinces operationalised the National Police Safety Plan through the implementation of Divisional and Provincial Safety Plans. Implementation actions for police safety included:
1. situational analysis and awareness
- skills development and maintenance
- raising awareness
- contingency planning
- investigations and convictions
- hosting of multi-disciplinary police safety committee meetings
- risk management
- reporting of incidents of unnatural deaths on and off duty
- police safety assessments
After going into each action in the plan, Maj. Gen. Pienaar moved on to discuss the pocket safety guide which provided for the use of basic safety principles in the police’s day-to-day operational tasks. The principles covered the following seven fields:
– Operational readiness and alertness. Police members had to adopt a culture of awareness, anticipation and action planning
– Safety procedures when approaching, searching or arresting suspects
– Ensuring the correct and effective use of appropriate equipment
– The use of tactical communication to avoid the need to opt for using physical force
– Exercising caution when approaching dangerous situations, incidents or persons
– Always working as a team and never working in isolation
– Using the appropriate tactics and techniques when approaching any situation
– Maintaining high levels of mental and physical fitness
With the tactical response plan and its strategic objectives, the plan was developed and implemented as an immediate reaction to the situation and included:
– Addressing the immediate reduction and prevention of firearm related offences and murders of law enforcement officials
– Conducting of proper investigation and review of prioritised serious and violent case dockets
– Enhance compliance to National Instructions, Directives and Standards to ensure police safety
– Enhance internal and external communication and awareness on police safety
– Enhance employee health and wellness
The plan was aligned to Operation Fiela and involved the establishment of a multi-disciplinary dedicated Task Teams on national and provincial level to respond, trace, arrest and investigate all incidents as priority. Deployment of members was in accordance with the Crime Pattern and Threat Analysis to support intelligence driven operations. The plan included ongoing disruptive operations profiling and detection of suspects, on-site assessment and analysis of incidents, contingency planning to support rapid response to incidents, conducting docket analysis of all reported cases, centralisation of prioritised dockets at provincial and national levels and engagement with the National Prosecution Authority regarding priority prosecution and opposing of bail.
Compliance inspections were conducted to ensure compliance to National Instructions, Directives and Standing Orders. There was prioritised skills development of all operational members deployed in affected areas, strengthening of employee health and wellness by providing immediate support to affected members and families, enhanced awareness and communication internally and externally, community mobilisation against firearm related as well as serious and violent crime and rewards for information which led to arrests and conviction. In terms of reporting, all cases involving the attacks (murder) of a police member had to immediately be reported to the Provincial Command Centre (PCC) by the relevant authorities. The PCC would activate the dedicated Task Team, which would attend the scene and take over investigation. The Task Team would report to the National and Provincial Heads DPCI in terms of command and control. All incidents relating to attacks of this nature on SAPS officials, as well as on colleagues within the criminal justice system, such as Metro and Traffic officials, would also immediately be reported to the National Joint Operations Centre (NATJOC).
In terms of command and control of the plan, Station and Relief Commanders were further instructed to ensure compliance to Standing Order (G) 28 and to Directives and Standing Orders, which had a direct influence on the safety and well-being of every member in SAPS. This would involve conducting on and off-duty parades in terms of SO (G) 256 during which the following had to receive attention:
– Inspecting of members to ensure that members were properly equipped with the necessary safety gear and equipment, including the wearing of a bullet resistant vest as prescribed in National Directive 3/34/1 dated 29 July 2011
– Briefing of members in respect of dangerous suspects or expected situations when reporting for duty
– Inspection of firearms to ensure that firearms were clean, in working condition and well maintained
– Sharing of national safety hints, guidelines, directives and contingency planning to enhance awareness amongst operational members
– Conducting of regular visits to operational members during the performance of their duties during the respective shifts
– Bi-annual certification of firearms and bullet proof vests was conducted
Maj. Gen. Pienaar then spoke to enhanced awareness in terms of internal communication.
Brig. PP Prinsloo, Section Head, Demand and Asset Management, Movable Government Property and Services, Division: Supply Chain Management, SAPS, outlined that with the availability of safety gear and equipment for the protection of members, members were issued with the following gear to ensure their safety:
– Bullet Resistant Vests
– Retention cords
– Pepper spray
– Additional magazines
– Additional ammunition
– Holster with safety clip
Members were informed of the number of active firearms, and Bullet Resistant Vests (BRVs) per province as of 31 July 2015. With the BRVs, these were ballistic requirements to protect members against potential threats relevant in SA. Problems identified with the vest such as the weight per size and excessive heat experienced with the outer material, were being attended to on a continuous basis by the Division Supply Chain Management by researching new solutions and materials to improve the current SAPS vest. Based on the above, the original scope of the research had changed to a modular type of vest in terms of operational requirements and research was now conducted by SAPS in cooperation with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Testing was being done at the Division Criminal Record and Forensic Science Services, Ballistic Section. All test reports and findings were forwarded for evaluation and determination of the way forward. Samples of ballistic packs from different companies locally and internationally were tested, not only against current ballistic threats experienced in SA, but also to revolutionise outer material for better moist management/comfortability and outer vest patterns for better protection. The safety of members remained a priority and members were urged to ensure that they had the correct size of BRV and always wore the BRV when on duty.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar then took the Committee through the progress on training interventions by looking at the numbers of members who attended tactical training for 2014/15 and 2015/16 per training programme. All Tactical Response Team (TRT) members will be undergoing weapon refresher courses. 2 968 Public Order Police (POP) and TRT members would undergo a POP refresher course.
Col. (Rev) SJ Chomane, Section Commander: Police Safety, Division: VISPOL, SAPS, then went through the progress on Employee Health and Wellness (EHW) support by looking at the number of employees reached during proactive EHW programmes for June 2015. The number of debriefings and requests for April – June 2015 were also highlighted.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar finally took the Committee through the progress on investigations for April 2014 – August 2015, arrests and convictions and sentences for the same period. In terms of the way forward, implementation of special training measures would focus on refresher training of operational members in affected Provinces. Unannounced assessments were to be conducted at all police stations in affected provinces where incidents occurred to assess compliance to National Instructions and Standing Orders as well as to identify challenges relating to the safety of police members. National Police Safety Workshops would target the Commanders of the most affected provinces as a priority. Road shows would address all operational members in affected provinces. Community outreach programmes and interventions would enhance awareness on police safety. There was the implementation of Police Safety Month during September and awareness campaigns to be hosted in affected provinces. Spiritual services interventions were to address the moral fibre in communities. Police station security assessments were to determine security needs and threats. There would be regular docket and threat analysis and introduction of harsh sentences for police killings as a deterrent.
Lt. Gen. Sitole, after the presentation, added that the third pillar of the strategy was a current response with a special national instruction. Multi-disciplinary task teams were put together in all nine provinces under the direct control of a provincial commissioner. DPCI and detectives worked in the task teams to conduct joint investigations. The special national instruction came into action for 72 hours as soon as a police member was attacked until the suspect was found. There was also hotspot policing around the country where interventions were now being intensified. Modus operandi analysis was also being conducted with dedicated task teams – it was found that criminals ambushed the police at scenes of crimes. This created awareness among members. Ex-employees were also being profiled especially those that left the service in an unsavoury manner. All nine chairpersons of the community policing forums were called this week for community-based interventions in all nine provinces ranging from road shows to outreach programmes. A compliance board had also been convened to deal with disciplinary issues and enforce members wearing bullet proof vests.
The Chairperson questioned the use of body cameras for VISPOL members and if management was looking into this technology. It was important SAPS adapted to the changing environment. On communication, there were various reports over the last few months about the inaccessibility of the 10111 call centre – what additional communication technology was available to frontline officials? Were new solutions being looked at for the new environment? With the bullet proof vests, on the Committee visit to Mamelodi West, a student constable indicated that these vests were not available – was the monitoring of the stock of vests the responsibility of the provincial commissioner or how was this managed to ensure frontline officers, especially VISPOL, had the necessary tools?
Lt. Gen. Sitole replied that SAPS engaged a number of technological entrepreneurs for body cameras and there was a structured intervention with the SAPS technological division – they were currently working on technological interventions relating to policing. The Deputy Minister also brought in a new approach to communication to consider and there was also engagement on the possible use of satellites especially in the rural areas. Provincial commissioners had the responsibility to endorse the use of bullet proof vests and monitor it. This was also the task of commanders in the realm of command and control – with parades, members needed to be instructed to wear the vests and commanders needed to inspect members on duty. It was also the duty of each and every SAPS officer to wear the vests.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar added that with the vests, there was a new system currently in place by which when students went to training colleges, they were issued with the vests as part of their personal equipment. This meant that when students left the college, they already had bullet proof vests so no one should not have a vest unless it was damaged, maybe as a result of a shooting or loss, then it would have to be accounted for and issued with a new one. She would follow up if there were any specific incidents with Mamelodi West but particularly students should have vests as they left the colleges with them.
Ms Mmola asked how and who conducted the de-briefing sessions – were they conducted individually or in a group? What kind of data was used to inform proactive, preventive steps? She asked who the risk manager was and what the rank was of this official as well as responsibilities and duties associated with the post.
Col. Chomane explained employee wellness was comprised of quality of work life, psychological services, social service and spiritual services. Whenever there was the unnatural killing of an officer, for example, the three functionaries in the section did the initial de-briefing to the colleagues of the member. There was also a formal de-briefing that everyone was taken through.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar said the national risk manager was a brigadier in her office who was responsible for police safety, drawing up the national risk plan and risk measures to provide for specific intervention measures. This brigadier worked with a programme manager who was only responsible for police safety.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) did not understand why there were more killings when the Department had a police safety strategy that was being implemented nationally to reduce or prevent unnatural death and attacks of members – was the safety plan effective? She asked if there was somebody monitoring whether SAPS members were using the pocket safety guides – if the guides were used, she did not understand why there were more killings. Since being in Parliament, she experienced plans and strategies cogently presented but they were not effectively implemented.
Lt. Gen. Sitole indicated that SAPS was also dealing with other areas which were part and parcel of the root causes for the killing of members – of these were corruption which the Service was dealing with aggressively between investigations, DPCI and Crime Intelligence. At some level it was found that corrupt members infiltrated levels and this put the lives of other dedicated members and investigators at risk but SAPS were going for them and they were arrested. Yesterday a former Captain and Colonel were sentenced to over 20 years for working in organised crime.
Mr Ramatlakane thought SAPS needed all necessary support to address and neutralise this particular threat against the Service. Killing of police officials was actually a crime against the state and it should be treated as such. He asked to what extent legislation had been re-looked at to give the expression of killing a member being a crime against the state. This was particularly in terms of harsh punishment – what aspect of legislation required some degree of review as an enabling mechanism to achieve this result? Mobilising communities and civil society was a critical area in the fight against this particular crime because the community remained the best repository of information of such crimes but if the community was not sufficiently mobilised and empowered, this information would be lacking.
To what extent had SAPS picked up on environmental design as another problem which hampered the work of neutralising this particular threat – each area had a problem of environmental design whether it be in terms of lighting or lack of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras for example. Such areas required attention. To what level did SAPS address the plight of a police officer’s family and children if he or she was killed? In the analysis, three provinces were problems in terms of the number of member killings – these provinces needed to be zoomed into with other complementary plans and strategies to neutralise the threat and secure arrests.
Lt. Gen. Sitole agreed with the importance of working with communities and looking into environmental design which were contributing to these killings. For example, putting automated teller machines (ATMs) in a risky or informal area where criminals could launch an ambush. Another example were the various unused buildings in the country which were under nobody’s control and if there was a crime scene nearby, police were targeted and shot from the top of the building. For environmental design, it was important for SAPS to work with municipalities and other government departments to dispose of unused buildings. Engagement was also part of the national crime prevention strategy. Legal services were tasked to look at and analyse legislation – criminals were even studying legislation as part of modus operandi and it was known that police could never shoot first.
For each and every case of police killing, Employee Health and Wellness came in with the SAPS Education Trust Fund, which was introduced by the National Commissioner, to take care of children. There was also the death grant. Members of slain officer’s remained part of parcel of the SAPS family. With problematic provinces, SAPS was following hotspot policing across provinces where police members were killed and Gauteng was a hotspot province. Hotspot interventions had already begun in Gauteng – the top hotspot areas were Honeydew and Booysens in Gauteng. The intention was to stabilise Gauteng.
Mr Shaik Emam found the presentation informative but he was concerned that the emphasis was put on bullet proof vests although it was said most murders targeted the neck or the head – what effort was put toward addressing this challenge? He thought that consequences were not serious enough and he asked for statistics on convictions. How many had been released and were these criminals repeat offenders? Perhaps SAPS and the Department of Justice needed to meet to address this because one officer dying was one too many and this affected the country.
He felt there was a lot of emphasis on what happened after police officers were shot or killed and he wanted to know what more could be done to prevent this, for example, interaction with the community to identify potential suspects who wanted to kill police officers. Firearms were a serious problem and he wanted more information on why police officers were attacked – was it for criminals to acquire firearms? What processes were taken to address health and fitness – it was a problem if officers were not fit enough to be fast or apprehend criminals swiftly. When he spoke to police officers, especially investigating officers, their workloads were tremendous and this caused stress. Further suicides were also caused by information – suspects often had tabs on officers but were officers being trained to be confidential with that they knew? Leaked information threatened the lives of officers. He emphasised the need for a proactive approach to avoid losing officers.
Lt. Gen. Sitole answered that officers were instructed not to be on cellphones in the vans as this meant they were not on the alert and then made them vulnerable to criminals. SAPS was also addressing corruption and intensifying inspections in terms of how members were doing their work. The submission only reported on the members killed but did not report on the stats of those shot at but where they survived. In the latter, the bullet proof vests were working well – there were instances of officers being shot straight on the chest but then protected by the vest. The compliance board was looking at consequential management for members and the role of the commander. Community involvement was important and the positive community response was appreciated. There were special training programmes for health and fitness along with operational readiness assessments for deployed members. Members were also trained on confidentially but this was also addressed in the vetting and gap analysis.
Mr R Mavunda (ANC) condemned the killing of SAPS members as an attack on the state. He noted reference made to safety month but asked if it was enough to target one month for campaigning. How effective were these campaigns? Were community members involved? Did SAPS members attend personnel workshops organised and were they yielding positive results? How were these workshops assessed? He questioned the types of businesses officers had outside of the working environment – if members had businesses outside the working environment, the likelihood was that the business was not allowed to be run in terms of the law and it could mushroom. This could also be an nfluence for killing of officers.
Lt. Gen. Sitole outlined that there were workshops, lectures and parades – at the parades, members were spoken to and briefed about how they should conduct themselves in operations. Members were lectured and educated in the lectures on safety measures and how they should conduct themselves. Workshops involved training interventions at a higher level. The workshops were working but as they were doing it, the criminals were doing their own research to intensify their infiltration. SAPS were equal to the task and research and training was continually being conducted. As new modus operandi was known, it was also escalated in terms of training.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar indicated that with police safety month, there were certain aspects of the communication strategy which happened throughout the year such as on and off duty parades, briefings, workshops and working with community policing forums (CPFs). Campaigns were heightened and intensified during the month of September in terms of national focus on police safety issues and also to honour those who were slain during the year. Every incident was shared and it was analysed throughout the year and members were made aware of what was happening to be prepared. Commanders would also be briefed along with the work-shopping or training of the whole cluster to be aware of new modus operandi. Internal and external awareness formed a big part of preventive measures.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) asked if SAPS had a sufficient overarching structure in the Service over the uniform structure of police like the United States of America (USA) had the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to protect those on the frontline. He was thinking here of senior or top-ranking officials involved in crime endangering the lives of those on the frontline. He was shocked to hear of top ranking officers involved with gangs and drugs in KZN and sharing in the profits. As Members of Parliament, it was the duty of the Committee to ensure government could put such a structure in place. Was it a standard rule that no officers could go to a crime scene alone? Most of these officers were very young and inexperienced as statistics also showed this. Was there sufficient back up for immediate reaction? Had the communities where officers had been executed been analysed? Did it include areas where there were shebeens, squatter camps or townships? Or was it a suburban area? Much of these officers killed were bread winners and the way they were killed left much to be desired.
Mr Mbhele thought it was quite clear that there were two main aspects to this issue – on duty and off duty killings. In terms of on duty, the picture in theory of the police safety plan looked quite good and fairly comprehensive but there was still a question of whether the implementation was optimal particularly on a systemic level. These plans needed to be implemented on a critical mass in order to have effect. Was the implementation of the plan optimal on a systemic level so that when an officer was in a dangerous situation and needed to call for back up that there was no failure of the hotline or radio equipment?
With off duty killings and the analysis of the incidents, were there causal reasons behind the high involvement of firearm related incidents and killings or attacks? Had the analysis compared vehicle accident rates to general national statistics and trends? He wanted to know if it was a microcosm of the general picture or if there was a particular reason behind SAPS members being involved in accidents when off duty. With the profiling of killings, he asked if there was a gender dimension in terms of whether most of the off duty members were victims of crimes when compared to the general crime statistics – were male or female members more vulnerable as victims of crime compared to the general population. This was important to know for targeted interventions.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar explained there was more information around on duty killing as opposed to off duty killing, where the information was not always immediately received. A day-to-day analysis could be done of on duty killings to assess what kind of work the member was doing, what they were responding to and so on, but with off duty killings, some of the information would only come out of further investigations.
There were specific task teams set up, as part of the National Safety Plan, to do docket analysis and assess if there were trends – she did not have all this information with her at the time. Providing this information to members regularly was part of the communication strategy. With the causal factors of firearms, with murder in general, there had been fluctuating use of firearms. Currently, it was more common that criminals who attacked police would do so with a firearm possibly because the member himself was armed. She agreed that it was important to roll measures out at critical mass and this explained the emphasis on compliance inspections to ensure everyone was making use of measures. Analysis of vehicle incidents was not conducted vis-a-vis the general population – it was something to possibly take up with the Department of Transport. Analysis was done of police accidents and specific risk factors were identified – this often spoke to driver training and maintenance of vehicles. With the gender dimensions, compared to men, very few female officers were killed on duty but it was difficult to make too much of this – it could be that there were simply less female SAPS members. Off duty, there was a higher dimension of female officers killed but this comparison was not done with the general crime statistics – it was something which could be looked at.
Mr Mbhele asked about the higher firearm related incidents of killed members and asked if this was specifically in terms of on duty officials because they would be wearing uniforms or were off duty members also known to be armed which implied a degree of intelligence gathering on the part of the criminals.
Maj. Gen. Pienaar highlighted that she was referring specifically to on duty killings and it was not necessarily the case with off duty members.
The Chairperson thought there should be much more emphasis on technology and the Committee should follow up on this. The Committee heard about advances being looked into at a discussion earlier in the year but body cameras were needed for those on the frontline and effective communication in the form of modern technology and GPS etc so that the environment was competitive. The Committee would needed to critically look at this and specific follow up on what was needed on technological improvements and discussion underway. The Committee needed a clearer indication, especially in terms of budget, of what was going to be done to ensure the frontline VISPOL members had the necessary technological equipment.
Mr Mavunda asked if there was any declaration of interest or information by the police. He added that SAPS should participate in the municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDPs), for instance, in terms of where ATMs were located and where dilapidated or vacant buildings were.
Mr Shaik Emam agreed that technology was a major concern – when a crime took place, and someone called the station, calls were not coordinated to all policing levels in the area, making the call ineffective. An integrated system was needed throughout the police when incidents of crime occurring were reported to allow for coordinated action. This could also include cellphone companies to allow for immediate action.
The Chairperson said it was also critical for SAPS to present on the status of the 10111 call centre as there were too many complaints. This affected the safety of officers and the public.
Civilian Secretariat of Police: White Paper on Safety and Security
The Chairperson said the purpose was to have the presentation on record and to brief the Committee on the current status of the process not necessarily to engage in a big discussion. Engagement would ensue as the process progressed. The Committee had already been briefed on the White Paper on Police.
Ms Bilkees Omar, after noting the apologies of the Acting CSP Secretary, took the Committee through the presentation beginning with visions of the Paper and its objectives. The presentation further looked at the rationale for the White Paper before delving into further issues relating to the understanding of safety, crime and violence provision, risk and resilience, poverty, inequality and crime, primary secondary and tertiary prevention and vulnerable groups.
The presentation also addressed policy architecture, the policy context for the NDP and Community Safety Forums, before dealing with the approach of the Paper, key themes, roles and responsibilities of the three spheres of government, location, and technical support. The presentation was concluded by looking at the consultation process and issues of implementation.
The Chairperson thought it was quite clear what the White Paper consisted of and it was now on record. There would be future engagement and Committee researchers would also look into it.
Mr Mbhele picked up on an omission with regard to the oversight role of provinces and thought it should be mentioned, since it was a Constitutional mandate of provinces in terms of safety and security.
Engagement with SAPS National Spokesperson
The Chairperson provided the background to the issue which stemmed from 1 August 2015 statement by the SAPS BOC that it supported Nat. Comm. Phiyega. On 12 August, the Committee dealt with the statement in the presence of the BOC and Lt. Gen. Makgale and the Committee expressed its displeasure with the BOC in respect to the statement. In the meeting, the Committee asked SAPS to apologise to the President with respect to the process initiated by the Farlam Commission’s recommendations, apologise to the Committee and retract the statement issued on 1 August and make available the minutes of the BOC meeting held at Magoebaskloof and the Gauteng provincial management meeting.
A further statement was then issued by Lt. Gen. Makgale on behalf of the Board. The Committee took issue with the statement making reference to the fact that “the Committee was of the view that the statement had unintended consequences in that it created the impression that the Board was pre-empting the process that the President has initiated following the release of the Marikana Commission’s Report”. The Chairperson said this was definitely not the view of the Committee and so the statement should be retracted.
Lt. Gen. Solomon Makgale, Head of Communications, SAPS, said that he was not sure what he was expected to say as he had not been asked any specific questions.
The Chairperson indicated that the previous meeting held instructed that the first statement should be retracted. Instead, a further statement was issued giving the incorrect impression that the Committee had a certain view.
Mr Mbhele was curious to find out the rationale for the statement being issued, especially given that the Committee expressed its strong displeasure with the initial statement – one would have thought the BOC would read the mood and not try to keep pushing the envelope. He still wanted to understand how communication came from the spokesperson in terms of protocols and the need for the National Commissioner to sign off on them. If statements were not signed off by the National Commissioner as protocol would dictate, why were they not?
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to know if Lt. Gen. Makgale believed the reference in the statement - “the Committee was of the view that the statement had unintended consequences in that it created the impression that the Board was pre-empting the process that the President has initiated following the release of the Marikana Commission’s Report” – represented the discussion with the Committee on that day. Did the BOC convene after the meeting with the Committee? When did this meeting take place? Who gave Lt. Gen. Makgale the mandate to release a statement on what the Committee expressed? He was sure that as a General, Lt. Gen. Makgale had been around in the police and so should understand how the organisation operated. He wanted to know when Lt. Gen. Makgale started in SAPS and when he acquired his rank.
Mr Shaik Emam found the statement clearly undermined the Committee and was contrary to what was expected. It appeared due respect was not afforded to the Committee – why was this? Who issued the instruction to release the statement? Who approved the statement? Was this particular meeting scheduled? Did Lt. Gen. Makgale make the decision to issue the statement unilaterally? Did he normally just send statements to the media in this way or was there consultation before a decision was reached? It sounded like this was not the case. He asked exactly who was issuing the specific instruction to send out these media statements. Why was it that despite the Committee meeting and spelling out exactly what it wanted, why was there this distancing from what the Committee said? Was Lt. Gen. Makgale under pressure to release these statements?
Ms Mmola found the statement issued disrespected the Committee. She asked for clarity on the paragraph of the statement saying that the Committee was of the view that the statement created the impression that the Board was pre-empting the process following the release of the Marikana Commission’s Report. Who gave Lt. Gen. Makgale the mandate to write this statement because five of the provincial commissioners said they did not know about the statement. Did the National Commissioner instruct the statement be issued?
Mr Mavunda wanted to understand certain points in the statement. He found that statement to be incomplete.
Ms Mabija thought Lt. Gen. Makgale should be aware that the Committee was not on a witch-hunt in any way but sought to get to the truth of the matter as public representatives and a solid, constructive response was needed in return. This was a serious matter which needed to be discussed and closed. She cautioned against ducking and diving as it wasted time and did not take the nation anywhere.
Mr Mhlongo suggested the statement be discussed as part and process of the Committee’s Terms of Reference for the National Assembly Rule 201 Inquiry .
Mr Mavunda did not know whose interests this suggestion served. The Committee needed to understand the statement and whether there was a need for it at all given all the interactions which took place.
The Chairperson thought an opportunity should be allowed for today's process to go ahead and an evaluation could be made from there depending on the response. It was a serious issue as the National Spokesperson spoke on behalf of the National Commissioner – as the oversight authority, the Committee needed to be sure all was above board as there were many principles involved.
Mr Ramatlakane asked why the statement deviated from the sentiment expressed in the Committee meeting where it was discussed that the initial statement should not have been drafted at all. As Lt. Gen. Makgale spoke on behalf of the Commissioner, the country needed to believe what he was saying as factual – with his experience of the previous engagement with the Committee, should the statement be believed? He found the statement to be grossly misrepresentative and did not suggest that Lt. Gen. Makgale could be believed. How could this be corrected?
Mr Mhlongo felt the Committee was clear in its resolutions and such discussion was better placed for more detailed probing in the section 201 Inquiry.
The Chairperson appreciated this view but the majority feeling was that the engagement should proceed for consideration.
Ms Mabija thought that because Mr Mhlongo was not present at the 12 August engagement that he had a different idea of how to proceed.
Mr Shaik Emam asked Lt. Gen. Makgale if he interacted with each and every one of the provincial commissioners before releasing the statement as he was issuing it on their behalf as the BOC. Were all the provincial commissioners in agreement with the statement?
Lt. Gen. Makgale acknowledged his respect for the Committee, he understood the seriousness of the process and he was certainly not there to waste the time of the Committee. As indicated when he last met with the Committee, he was not a member of the BOC – he attended meetings on invitation and then made statements as directed by the BOC. The statement issued was not his but that of the BOC – he did not know if this made a material difference in terms of the process. In terms of the rationale for the issuing of the statement, after the meeting with the Committee on 12 August, he left to attend a media briefing. After the briefing, he found members of the BOC discussing what they wanted to say in response to what transpired in the meeting with the Committee. The BOC understood that it was a requirement of the Committee that they issue a statement of some kind.
The Chairperson interjected to clarify that the directive of the Committee was for the BOC to retract the initial statement.
Lt. Gen. Makgale continued and explained that he was busy fielding calls on other matters but that he informed the BOC that they should call him if they required his assistance once they decided what they wanted to say. This happened and a number of drafts were prepared after ongoing discussions. Some of the commissioners needed to leave because of flight arrangements. In the end, a statement was put together and his task was to interact with each of the commissioners as to whether they agreed with the statement or not. All the provincial commissioners indicated to him in writing that they agreed with the statement with the exception of the Provincial Commissioner of the Free State after initially agreeing with the statement. There was then email correspondence with the BOC to provide directive on the situation but he did not receive any directive.
The Chairperson asked who the current chairperson of the BOC was.
Lt. Gen. Makgale replied that all BOC meetings were chaired by the National Commissioner.
The Chairperson asked if she was part of the process of discussing the statement.
Lt. Gen. Makgale confirmed this. Replying to other questions, he explained the BOC met immediately after the 12 August meeting with the Committee. On the content of the statement, he found it only fair that those questions be posed to the members of the BOC as it was their statement.
Ms Mmola asked who the members of the BOC were and the names of exactly who agreed to the statement.
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to understand why the Committee should ask the members of the BOC on the content of the statement as he was under the impression that Lt. Gen. Makgale drafted and issued the statement. Did Lt. Gen. Makgale not draft the statement? Did he just issue the statement to the media?
Mr Shaik Emam wanted to know exactly which members departed early and who was left when the statement was finally drafted – he wanted to get a full picture of who was present and who was not. Knowing that some of the commissioners were unhappy, why was the statement issued anyway? He was shocked that once again the National Commissioner was part and parcel of the discussion – it was thought this would not continue after the last engagement but it did. It seemed as if it did not matter which provincial commissioners were present, as long as the National Commissioner was there, the statement could be issued. Unless Lt. Gen. Makgale could indicate who exactly gave him the instruction to issue the statement, nothing else he said would satisfy the Committee.
Mr Mbhele wanted to check what happened after the Free State Provincial Commissioner expressed his discomfort – was the discomfort noted and the statement issued anyway? How was this discomfort addressed? Did the Free State Provincial Commissioner provide assent at the end to the statement?
Mr Mhlongo found many contradictions in the statement – in the last engagement on 12 August, the Committee simply wanted the initial statement retracted but if someone who did not know this read this current statement, it would seem as if the initial statement was justified.
Lt. Gen. Makgale responded that he brought the discomfort of the Provincial Commissioner for the Free State to the attention of all BOC members via email. He hastened to add that when the discomfort was brought to his attention and that of the BOC, the statement had already been issued. To date, he had not received feedback from the BOC on how to deal with this discomfort. He was not aware if the BOC subsequently discussed it or how they dealt with it. He noted that he did not make contact with the KZN Provincial Commissioner because she was not part of the 12 August meeting.
The Chairperson then asked if Lt. Gen. Makgale drafted the statement.
Lt. Gen. Makgale explained that he was involved but there was a lot of back and forth. The BOC was in a board room and they all provided ideas on what the statement should say. Inputs on pieces of paper were given to the secretariat where in the end, it was a collective effort to say this was the statement of the BOC. His job was to ensure all members of the BOC were 100 percent comfortable with the content of the statement – all members with the exception of the Free State Provincial Commissioner confirmed their comfort with the statement.
Ms Mmola did not what to say but she was sure there had to be one person instructing the statement be issued. There might have been collective discussion but one individual had to have instructed Lt. Gen. Makgale on what to draft – she sought the name of this person.
Ms Mabija asked who was chairing the meeting at the time the statement was drafted and discussed.
Mr Ramatlakane asked for generalisations to stop – Lt. Gen. Makgale worked for the National Commissioner as the spokesperson for her office. He wanted each commissioner named who instructed him to issue the statement inclusive of the commissioner who disagreed – lying to Parliament was an offence so he appealed for straight talking.
Lt. Gen. Makgale indicated those present included:
-National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega
-Lt. Gen. Mbekela
-Lt. Gen. Tsumane (Acting Provincial Commissioner: North West)
-Lt. Gen. Basson (Provincial Commissioner: Northern Cape)
-Lt. Gen. Masemola (Provincial Commissioner: Limpopo)
-Lt. Gen. Mothiba (Provincial Commissioner: Gauteng)
-Lt. Gen. Mpembe (Provincial Commissioner: Free State)
He was not sure if anyone was left out but the point was that in the process of getting the statement approved, all provincial commissioners, with the exception of Lt. Gen. Mpembe, said they were happy with the statement – he had this in writing.
The Chairperson asked that confirmation emails also be forwarded to Committee.
Mr Mbhele questioned the sequence of events because he picked up on contradictions – the initial explanation was that there was complete consensus on the statement and Lt. Gen. Mpembe only expressed discomfort later in a SMS. Now he heard the discomfort was expressed as early as when the draft was completed in the meeting before the statement was issued. He sought clarity on this.
Lt. Gen. Makgale explained the statement had already been compiled when the discomfort and questions of Lt. Gen. Mpembe was raised over the phone after he was initially comfortable with the statement. Lt. Gen. Makgale asked that Lt. Gen. Mpembe rather discuss his concerns with the other members of the BOC and then he could provide a directive if he wished after discussion so that Lt. Gen. Makgale knew what to do. He did not receive directive in this regard.
Mr Shaik Emam wanted to know about the input provided and role played by Nat. Comm. Phiyega in the whole exercise of the statement. How would the directive of Lt. Gen. Mpembe have helped if the statement was already drafted, issued and of which the Provincial Commissioner was already part of. Having observed that the entire Committee and everyone concerned was unhappy that the BOC meeting, where the initial statement was discussed, was originally chaired by the National Commissioner, why was this meeting once again chaired by Phiyega? Was it thought that it was appropriate for her to be chairing knowing that the entire Committee already expressed its displeasure about this? Or was Lt. Gen. Makgale in a position that he had no choice but to do what his boss instructed.
Mr Mavunda assured Lt. Gen. Makgale that what the Committee was doing was to assist the Department. What was Lt. Gen. Mpembe’s discomfort about? What input did he provide? In the discussion of the meeting, was Lt. Gen. Makgale told of what the statement sought to address?
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to know if the acting Provincial Commissioner for Western Cape was present. He found that a group of people could not draft a statement – only one person drafted a statement from a discussion so who drafted the statement by hand? If the National Commissioner was chairing the meeting, she had the responsibility to sum up the meeting and outline what was agreed to. His conclusion then was that the statement was finalised by the chair of the meeting which was the National Commissioner – could this be confirmed? This was what he believed happened given the description provided today by Lt. Gen. Makgale.
Ms Mmola asked how the Nat. Comm. could chair a meeting talking about the statement of support for her – if the Nat. Comm. was present, how could it be expected that the provincial commissioners would say they did not support her? This amounted to intimidation because the Nat. Comm. was not supposed to be there.
Ms Mabija asked if Lt. Gen. Makgale’s job description was also to give advice to the Nat. Comm. or was it just to dish out statements.
Mr Shaik Emam asked if Lt. Gen. Makgale at any time made it known that he was not happy issuing this statement, or its contents, given that he was in the meeting where the expectations and requirements of the Committee was clearly expressed, or did he not have a choice?
Lt. Gen. Makgale reiterated the list of provincial commissioners present:
- Lt. Gen. Tsumane (Acting Provincial Commissioner: North West)
- Lt. Gen. Basson (Provincial Commissioner: Northern Cape)
- Lt. Gen. Masemola (Provincial Commissioner: Limpopo)
- Lt. Gen. Mothiba (Provincial Commissioner: Gauteng)
- Lt. Gen. Mpembe (Provincial Commissioner: Free State)
- Maj. Gen. Patekile (Acting Provincial Commissioner: Western Cape)
- Lt. Gen. Magadlela (Provincial Commissioner: Mpumalanga)
- Lt. Gen. Binta (Provincial Commissioner: Eastern Cape)
He stated that he was giving information to the Committee as he had and based on what he could remember because, as he indicated, he was busy with other things. At no point did he say the Nat. Comm. chaired the meeting – she was present during the discussions and just like everyone else she also provided her thoughts.
The Chairperson interjected to note that his concern over the last few weeks was corporate governance in SAPS. To say that a statement was issued on behalf of the BOC but no one was chairing the meeting made it rudderless – this was what was actually being said to the Committee and it could not be accepted.
Lt. Gen. Makgale clarified this was not a formal meeting with a strict agenda. The Nat. Comm. was not even in the meeting when some of the discussions were taking place. When the provincial commissioners left the meeting with the Committee, they went straight into another room for discussions and the Nat. Comm. joined them at a later stage because of a media briefing. Other people may have a particular view on who was or not chairing the meeting, but his response was truthful.
Mr Mavunda thought Lt. Gen. Makgale was changing direction. He thought the attitude was that an injury to one was an injury to all so if a colleague was affected it was felt it had to be affected. It was now a merry-go-round with no direct answers given to the questions Members were asking. If Lt. Gen. Makgale did not have an answer to a question he should just say so instead of speculating.
Mr Shaik Emam said someone would need to take the lead of a meeting whether it was formal or informal in nature. Lt. Gen. Makgale could not have just pitched up at the meeting – someone had to have given him the time and location. How was this meeting initiated? Who initiated it? Who was the specific person who gave Lt. Gen. Makgale the information for the statement? He thought Lt. Gen. Makgale was seriously challenged in keeping details away from the Committee. Whether he liked it or not, the matter was going to be interrogated, decisions would be made and those responsible would be identified. The Committee would go to great lengths to do so, so it would not help if Lt. Gen. Makgale delayed it by not being forthcoming about actual events. He asked Lt. Gen. Makgale to be more open and transparent with the Committee to get to the bottom and conclude on this matter.
Mr Ramatlakane thought a serious problem was now emerging – the Committee heard the meeting was informal but the statement outlined decisions of the Board – was this a statement from the Board or was it a statement he wrote on the instruction of the National Commissioner and this was why he said there was no formally chaired meeting? This discussion had implications and cut deep.
Ms Mmola questioned whether the meeting was formal or informal, what the agenda of the meeting was, who called the meeting and who chaired it. If the meeting was informal, why were all the provincial commissioners present? She requested the attendance register and minutes of the meeting. She asked for the truth.
Lt. Gen. Makgale was disturbed to be accused of lying but said he would answer the questions as he was asked even though the questions were repetitive.
Mr Shaik Emam objected to this – the questions were repeated because he was not giving Members the answers.
Lt. Gen. Makgale continued with his responses and noted that after the last engagement with the Committee, the BOC went into a boardroom – he did not know who called them or informed them of the meeting. He did not see anyone taking minutes. He recalled at some point Lt. Gen. Binta and Lt. Gen. Mbekela taking hand written notes. These handwritten notes were then taken to the secretariat who compiled a printed version. It was then taken back into the room for further discussion and changes. Another print out was done by the secretariat so there was this back and forth. He emphasised the statement was emailed out by the secretariat after the described back and forth. He then forwarded it to the individual provincial commissioners – some emailed him back if there was an instance of discomfort.
The long and short of it was that a statement was prepared, it was given to him and he then took care to ensure that each and every member of the BOC confirmed the statement and their satisfaction with it. He did not appoint himself in SAPS – there was an advert which he applied for. The advert was for head of communication, which inter alia, was at the rank of Lt. Gen. He was sure he was not the only person who joined SAPS laterally. He was under no pressure to release the statement whatsoever. He found it fair that questions around the content of the statement be posed to members of the BOC themselves. He had been in the job of communications for over 15 years now, he was a principled person and he took his work extremely seriously – given the information that he provided, he did not have a reason as to why the Committee should not believe him. He had told the truth. Part of his job description was indeed to give communication advice to the National Commissioner.
Mr Mbhele was absolutely nowhere clearer on matters. He found this familiar because the National Commissioner herself was an expert in saying a lot without really saying much at all so there was good skills transfer here. Ultimately he found the situation spoke to the desperate, dire need for the implementation of the NDP to professionalise the SAPS and reinforced that senior management of SAPS was compromised to the core and systemically dysfunctional, as the Committee had seen during oversight visits. He had exhausted his stamina on this point but the issue at hand clarified the major challenges SAPS had which all came from the top.
Mr Ramatlakane thought that the more explanation there was, the more questions arose. He questioned processes around getting consensus on the statements. He asked who the secretariat was – was it a machine or a human being? He wanted names so Members understood what was being referred to.
Mr Shaik Emam noted the question on who invited Lt. Gen. Makgale had still not been answered. He asked if the National Commissioner was consulted with on the finalised statement. He also questioned the purpose of the back and fro processes in the issuing of the final statement. He wanted to know the time and venue for the meeting. He was sure that when the provincial commissioners came before the Committee, they would distance themselves from the statement as had been done before. He reiterated that he wanted to know what the input of the Nat. Comm. was and her comments in terms of the content of the statement.
Mr Mavunda imagined that such a meeting as being discussed would be held in a shebeen where there was no order or chairperson. He requested a print out of the SMSs and emails which Lt. Gen. Makgale had with the provincial commissioners. He found that attitude determined altitude – the manner in which the issue was presented to the Committee indicated there was an attitude. He did not think the 15 years experience in communication did not mean he had nothing to learn from others, accommodate other views or see the positive side to the discussions. He asked Lt. Gen. Makgale to try to understand the frustrations of Members.
Ms Mmola asked Lt. Gen. Makgale who he was protecting. She asked if the meeting was scheduled and from which venue the statement was issued. She also wanted to know who invited the BOC members to the meeting. She pleaded with Lt. Gen. Makgale to change his attitude.
Lt. Gen. Makgale would not respond to personal attacks – he did not think it was the purpose of the meeting and he would instead just deal with the factual questions before him. He could not provide an answer at which exact time the meeting took place – he again explained that there was a lot of activity which took place. He did not know who invited the members of the BOC but he knew they were in the boardroom so he went to listen to the discussion after the media briefing. He came to assist the Committee and provide information at his disposal and it was unfair to expect that he recall word for word discussion.
Mr Mavunda interjected – he thought the Committee was being misled as to how Lt. Gen. Makgale was invited to the meeting. The Committee needed to be clarified on this.
Lt. Gen. Makgale said he was a senior member of the management team of SAPS. When everyone retreated to the boardroom after the meeting with the Committee, he was not aware that he was not allowed to join them.
Mr Ramatlakane interjected as he thought sarcasm was not helpful. The Committee operated based on what Lt. Gen. Makgale told them. He asked that Lt. Gen. Makgale retract his sarcasm.
Ms Mabija thought the Committee did not get anything out of Lt. Gen. Makgale. In reference to his 15 years experience in SAPS communication, she found it difficult to “teach an old dog new tricks” so time was being wasted. This was his modus operandi for 15 years and the Committee could not suck information from him.
The Chairperson noted that Lt. Gen. Makgale was invited to the Committee and an opportunity should be given for him to play open cards – this was the purpose of the meeting.
Ms Mmola asked Lt. Gen. Makgale to respect the Committee. She could not understand how no one organised the meeting and instead everyone just walked to the boardroom for discussion. The Committee was not here to fight but to find out what transpired on that day.
Lt. Gen. Makgale, to the best of his knowledge, said there was no BOC meeting planned for that day – all the members met with the Committee and, as was always done, there would be a meeting in a boardroom to have a discussion – this was the context under which he joined the session and did not necessarily wait for an invitation.
The Chairperson thought that this session showed the instituting of an Inquiry by the President into the fitness of Nat. Comm. Phiyega’s fitness to hold office was absolutely correct. A different approach by SAPS was needed. In the meeting of the Committee from 12 August 2015, it made clear that the original statement needed to be retracted but there was a concerted effort not to follow this instruction. This raised serious questions about corporate governance and maybe people in certain positions. Today’s proceedings warranted the Committee to enter into discussions with the executive authority on Wednesday, to indicate that there were serious problems with corporate governance in SAPS. This was really disturbing and there would have to be change – the Committee would not accept a situation where its recommendations were not taken seriously. Stability was needed in the leadership of SAPS and alignment to have confidence in the people that led the organisation – this was critical and it would not be compromised. The Committee had a duty to oversee the SAPS budget of R72 billion and so it needed to be assured that the people in charge of the organisation, at provincial and national level, would act in accordance with good governance principles – this was critical. The Committee would consider the testimony by Lt. Gen. Makgale offered today and the points would be raised with the executive authority on Wednesday. A professional SAPS was needed in terms of the NDP and Parliament would not compromise on this. Relevant documentation would also be considered.
DPCI Briefing on the Guidelines for National Priority Offences
Col. R Matthews, DPCI Strategic Manager, said the purpose of the submission was to brief the Committee about the Policy Guidelines for national priority offences. In 2008 a process was embarked upon to establish the DPCI to enhance the capacity of the SAPS to prevent, combat and investigate national priority offences. It also allowed for transfer of the powers, investigations and resources from the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO) to the SAPS. The South Africa Police Service Amendment Act, 2008 (Act No. 57 of 2008) and the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 2008 (Act No. 56 of 2008) which were assented to on the 27th of January 2009 and 30th of January 2009 respectively, gave legislative effect and content to the process supra by amending the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No. 68 of 1995). In response to the SAPS Amendment Act the DPCI was established as a Directorate in the Service and comprised the Office of the National Head at National Level, Office of the Provincial Directorate at each Province and the Deputy National Head of the Directorate at National Level.
The first policy guideline was the selection of the NPO by the National Head of the Directorate. The National Head of the Directorate should give due consideration to the offences and set criteria in order to ensure that serious organised crime, commercial crime and corruption were being attended to by the Directorate. The Directorate had to focus on crimes of a considerable extent and scope, in other words “serious, complex or high level crimes”. In respect of the selection of national priority offences by the National Head of the Directorate, such selection should be informed by crime threat assessments.
The National Head of the Directorate could conclude operational Protocol(s) with relevant Provincial and Divisional Commissioners in order to identify matters that will be addressed by the Directorate. The National Head of the Directorate could conclude Memoranda of Understanding with relevant government departments, law enforcement agencies and external stakeholders in order to identify matters that would be addressed by the Directorate. Any offence selected by the National Head of the Directorate had to be a “national priority offence” as defined in section 17A of the Act, and the selection had to be aligned with SAPS and had to comply with at least one of the following criteria:
– The offence was committed by a person, group of persons or syndicate acting in an organised fashion or a manner which could result in substantial financial gain for the person, group of persons or syndicate involved and had to comply with the requirements set out in section 16(2A ) of the Act;
– The offence was committed or planned in more than one province or outside the borders of the Republic by the same perpetrators;
– The offence had an impact on the revenue or expenditure of the national government;
– The offence had an impact on the national economy or the integrity of currencies;
– An offence in respect of which the investigation in the Republic by the Service was requested by an international police agency or the police of a foreign country;
– An offence that involved mutual legal assistance and/or extradition proceedings or;
– An offence in respect of which the prevention or investigation required the application of specialised skills and knowledge which were only available in the Directorate or can be sourced by the Directorate
Regarding the selection criteria for offences that may be addressed by the directorate, any other national priority offence set out in the schedule to the Act (section16(2)(ia)) or which a provincial commissioner requested the national head of the directorate to prevent or investigate, may be addressed by the directorate, depending on the following factors:
– monetary value [the amount / potential amount of money involved or associated with the criminal activity];
– complexity of the case [the skills required to solve the crime in terms of knowledge, skill sophistication, equipment etc.];
– extent of the case [the range and focus area of the criminal activity, single province, more than one province or across national boundaries];
Public interest [Relates to the way in which the public interest was jeopardised];
– Urgency [Importance to address the threat immediately or in the short term]; and
– Organised fashion [Included the planned, ongoing, continuous or repeated participation, involvement or engagement in at least two incidents of criminal or unlawful conduct that had the same or similar intense, results, accomplices, victims or methods of commission, or otherwise was related by distinguishing characteristics.
Whereas the Act provided for a multi-disciplinary approach in achieving the objectives of the Directorate and whereas the national head of the Directorate could select national priority offences, protocols between the national head and relevant provincial and divisional commissioners could be concluded, to ensure that offences not selected by the national head were sufficiently addressed by a specific province or division of the SAPS, other than the directorate. In addition, memoranda of understanding between the national head and relevant government departments, law enforcement agencies and external stakeholders had to be concluded, to ensure that offences not selected by the national head were sufficiently addressed by those stakeholders, other than the directorate.
Col. Mathews then took the Committee through the referral of any offence or category of offence to the Directorate. Any offence or category of offences, other than national priority offences, referred to the Directorate had to comply with the following minimum criteria:
- the prioritisation of the offence had to be aligned with the declared strategic priorities of the Department of Police and the National Commissioner of the SAPS
- the referral to the Directorate had to be in writing and had to be accompanied, where possible, by an affidavit and supporting documents that contain prima facie evidence of the commission of a crime;
- in respect of any offence referred to the Directorate, due consideration had to be given in order to ensure that serious organised crime, commercial crime and corruption were being attended to by the directorate.
The Directorate was required to operate at a strategic level which had a national and international scope. This required a strategic response through the adoption of a threat based project driven, multi-disciplinary case planning and management investigative approach. Those individuals (threat generators) operating within an Organised Criminal Entity focused on the higher levels (3-5) of the criminal value chain. This approach informed the deployment of dedicated multi-disciplinary capabilities focusing on the criminal business system with the outcome of disruption, dismantling and neutralisation of these organised criminal entities.
The Directorate would therefore adopt the following operational approach:
– embrace an intelligence-led policing model;
– apply a multi-disciplinary and integrated approach to prevent, combat and investigate national priority offences, which required proper contracting with all relevant stakeholders;
– request by the National Head for secondment of official(s) with specific capabilities from other departments or institutions to enhance the functioning of the Directorate;
– target the criminal business system and value chain of organised crime by optimally utilising the operational support and following specialised investigation capabilities embedded in the Directorate:
o Digital Forensic Laboratory
o Financial and Asset Forfeiture Investigations
o Integrity Management Unit
o Priority Crime Management Centre
o Tactical Operations Management Section
– disrupt, dismantle and neutralise threats through major case and project driven investigations;
– ensure specific focus in countering cyber-crime and serious corruption capabilities functioning across all levels of organised criminal groups;
– implement and optimise all legislative instruments to gather court-directed evidence in investigating national priority offences;
– ensure that all investigations and processes within the Directorate are dealt with by individuals whose integrity was beyond reproach;
– conduct an impact assessment to determine the Directorate’s effectiveness in addressing national priority offences;
– conduct project driven investigations in accordance with the approved Divisional Instruction 1 of 2013 (DPCI Project Driven Investigation);
– fund all approved project driven/major investigations at national level;
– obtain authorisation for all undercover operations and police traps which the Directorate undertakes or participates in, in terms of section 252A of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977). It was the responsibility of the investigating officer to ensure that section 252A authority was granted or the Director for Public Prosecutions (DPP) was consulted prior to the operation taking place.
In terms of the transnational focus for regional and international cooperation, the nature of national priority offences dealt with by the Directorate had a transnational dimension. The Directorate frequently encountered criminals that operated transnationally and it was imperative that the Directorate developed operational cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies. South Africa was a signatory and had ratified several regional and international conventions, protocols, and multi-lateral and bi-lateral agreements to perpetuate closer cooperation in addressing transnational crime.
Any request for evidence in criminal matters received from a foreign law enforcement agency or made by the Directorate had to be in accordance with the International Cooperation in Criminal Matters Act, 1996 (Act No. 75 of 1996). Any requests for extradition and mutual legal assistance had to be dealt with in conjunction with Interpol National Central Bureau Pretoria (Interpol). Any requests received for controlled deliveries and operational cooperation between the Directorate and foreign law enforcement agencies had to be addressed to the relevant Component Heads within the Directorate for further coordination. Component and Provincial Heads had to maintain a capacity to coordinate requests for Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) and operational cooperation. Any requests for operational cooperation to the SAPS liaison officers’ network had to be referred to Interpol. Any requests for cooperation within the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) member countries had to be referred to Interpol for coordinating operational assistance.
The Directorate’s members had to be cautious not to be over zealous or act contrary to the accepted procedures. The Directorate had to participate in regional and international forums to address national priority offences impacting South Africa. The arrest of foreign nationals had to immediately be reported to Interpol, which would notify the relevant embassies. When undertaking any official journeys abroad concerning training, workshops, conferences and investigation, Interpol and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation had to be informed. Feedback had to be provided after the journey had been undertaken, according to the prescribed directives.
The Chairperson asked if top management, including provincial heads, were vetted. In terms of the 2014 judgement, the sole judgement for making calls on investigations laid squarely with the DPCI and no longer with the National Commissioner – was this actually in operation? In terms of recruitment, how did the DPCI ensure it weeded out potential employees bringing in criminal elements which could be detrimental to the Directorate?
Maj. Gen. B M Ntlemeza, Acting Head, DPCI, indicated that he had been vetted on a top secret level and received the clearance in October 2014. It would expire in 2019. When he took over the post in December, he found some members had started the process of vetting and already filled in the forms. He was expediting those forms. While he was awaiting the outcomes from crime intelligence, there was polygraph testing zooming in on hotspot areas where corruption was high. This helped the backlog but he was sure that by the beginning of the next financial year, vetting would be updated. Some of the top officials were vetted on top secret while the certificates of others expired or would be expiring soon. The issue of the arrest of DPCI members in Welkom was painful – it was important to be exemplary so the Directorate could not just arrest corrupt criminals outside, but members who were criminal inside the organisation too. The DPCI was managed by example.
Maj. Gen. T Mpomane, Legal Services, DPCI, said DPCI enjoyed operational independence to the fullest as envisaged in the Constitutional Court judgement.
Ms Mmola asked what was meant by crime threat assessment, how it was done and how it impacted on the selection of offences. On what basis were offences selected in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act and which offences would not be selected? When would the protocols be established – as and when the need arose?
Maj. Gen. Ntlemeza said that if, in terms of the crime trends, he could see that a particular kind of crime, for example hijacking, was tampering with the security of the state or the economy of the country, as the Acting Head of the Hawks, he had to take the decision to get dockets if there were elements of organised crime threatening the security or economy of the country – this was how cases were determined by the DPCI. On the selection of cases, those cases which were not part and parcel of the DPCI in terms of section 17F, would be dealt with in a multi-disciplinary approach. There needed to be protocols between the DPCI and provincial commissioners and divisional commissioners – he had already started formulating these protocols and they would all be signed before the end of the year to prevent omissions or cases not attended to. Protocols between the NPA and IPID were also being formulated.
Mr Mavunda asked about the gender ratio of the staff establishment as it looked as if it was male dominated.
Maj. Gen. Ntlemeza indicated that he only brought a small team with him to the meeting due to issues of budget but gender within the DPCI was becoming open. The General in charge of anti corruption in the DPCI was a woman – this alone was indication that DPCI was moving in the correct direction. He could provide the stats on the full gender establishment to the Committee and next time he came before the Committee he would ensure the team was fully representative in terms of gender.
The Chairperson agreed that money should not be wasted so delegations should be kept small.
Mr Ramatlakane asked if there was some review or assessment of the Act. Was there a need to relook at the legislation in terms of police killings? He sought insight into provincial capacity currently. He also asked about the intelligence capacity of specialised units which needed to be at a higher level. He highlighted recent reports of a syndicate operating in the taxi industry assassinating people in their homes. The police was unable to crack this syndicate – given the DPCI mandate, how should this particular issue be addressed? Was the current capacity of DPCI at the level to tackle such crimes? How would it be addressed in terms of the current mandate?
Maj. Gen. Ntlemeza said such cases did not fall under the mandate of the DPCI but it would sit with SAPS and stakeholders to form a conclusive multi-disciplinary approach in line with the Act to deal with these issues. DPCI could not rely on the mandate when the country was burning. The killing of police officers was a problem of government and DPCI needed to lead. Management had taken a decision for all provinces to have a multi disciplinary task team led by DPCI investigators – this task team would report to the provincial commissioners and no other person. DPCI had the skills to ensure those involved in police killings received tough sentences. These criminals posed a threat to the country as killing a police officer was undermining the government.
Mr Mbhele questioned if DPCI was currently primarily reliant on cooperation with SAPS crime intelligence division or was majority of the work self reliant in terms of this aspect? He sought an update on the DPCI becoming a separate programme in SAPS.
Maj. Gen. Ntlemeza affirmed that DPCI was working closely with crime intelligence and state security. Presently, within DPCI, there was no capacity for intelligence but he said that members of the DPCI had to have active informers for building internal intelligence and not be dependent on crime intelligence. In terms of DPCI being a separate programme, Treasury did not give a satisfactory response even though he did everything from his side. There were many meetings and the National Commissioner signed off on the document. He suggested a meeting between DPCI, Treasury and the Committee. He found the situation frustrating as he wanted the DPCI to be properly independent – DPCI was supposed to have its own budget and not one within SAPS so that that independence was visible to South Africans.
The Chairperson said the Committee would call Treasury and SAPS on this issue in October as it was very important.
Mr Ramatlakane added that there should be discussion with the Appropriations Committee to deal with this issue. He questioned the testing and counter-testing of active informants. He was pleased to hear the DPCI was functioning according to the Constitutional Court judgement but he still wanted to know if there was a need to review the Act. He was pleased to hear the multi-disciplinary approach was in place to deal with police killings and the taxi syndicate. It sounded as if the DPCI was the initiator in this approach and he was pleased to hear that because SAPS struggled to crack this syndicate through station-based investigations. If the problem was not nipped in the bud it would be a ticking time bomb.
Mr Mhlongo wanted to know if the issue of the unit in KZN had been resolved. He questioned the reliance of DPCI on SAPS crime intelligence.
Maj. Gen. Ntlemeza answered that since he started in December, there were many projects assisted by SAPS crime intelligence and he had no issue with the way it provided information to the DPCI. For example, things were moving slowly with the projects on the rhinos in Mpumalanga and there was some sort of reduction in poaching. DPCI was busy with the Cato Manor issue in KZN.
In closing, the Chairperson thought the information presented was valuable. It was also clear from analysis that guidelines were in order. Issues of budget and structure were critical for the independence of the DPCI and that it was in line with the Constitutional Court judgement. It was important to interact with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of SAPS, the Appropriations Committee and Treasury to deal with the issue. The Hawks were doing important work and he was pleased it was dealing with its own errant members – the Hawks was a vital mechanism to deal with organised crime and its performance would be monitored.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Police Committee adopts Terms of Reference for Inquiry into Circumstances Surrounding Issuing of Statements of Support for Riah Phiyega
- Briefing the Portfolio Committee on Police: Policy Guidelines for National Priority Offences
- Measures Implemented to Ensure Safety of SAPS Members & Address Unnatural Deaths
- Civilian Secretariat of Police: White Paper on Safety and Security