The Committee met with the National Commissioner of Police and senior management of the SA Police Service (SAPS) to consider a number of important agenda items, the first of which was an update on efforts to combat rhino poaching. The SAPS Detective Services provided information on the task team in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in terms of personnel, equipment and the vehicles allocated in Mpumalanga and Limpopo, as well as the vehicle accessories and equipment ordered and awaited. The briefing also described the efforts in Mpumalanga and Limpopo in terms of scenes attended, the number of arrests in and outside the KNP, the number of seizures and cases on the court roll, and a summary of convictions.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) explained the strategic direction taken to neutralise the threat to rhinos, providing statistics of the number of rhinos poached, the poachers’ modus operandi and the value chain nationally and internationally. Export and trafficking routes were also discussed, along with the information and assistance needed from neighbouring countries, investigative strategies, enhancement of the database, vulnerable areas and challenges.
Members engaged in a thorough discussion on arrests and convictions, including the issues of corrupt officials in the parks and SAPS, the vetting of staff in the units, and whether there were sufficient numbers of personnel in crime intelligence. The Committee was concerned that the presentations did not provide concrete information on coordination or interventions, especially with Mozambique, which was a fundamental basis for all plans. Members asked if every province had an anti-rhino poaching unit, as per the national instruction. Were there customised, targeted interventions in different areas of the Park in terms of strategies, personnel allocation, equipment and coordination, public awareness and working with communities adjacent to the KNP? Was SAPS’ equipment suitable to meet requirements of the terrain, especially when poachers had sophisticated equipment? Were legal or illegal foreign elements involved?
Members discussed the push and pull factors which were possibly attracting syndicates to SA, and the need to regulate privately-owned landing strips. The Committee was concerned that key equipment, such as night-vision goggles, had still not been procured, even after the Committee had highlighted it on an oversight visit at the beginning of the year. It was felt that SAPS should be looking at advanced technology like drones, and investigate what their counterparts in Kenya had been doing to reduce the number of rhinos poached. A meeting would be arranged in November to follow up on this issue with SA National Parks (SANParks) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) with the emphasis on an integrated plan and technology.
The Committee was updated on measures implemented to ensure the safety of SAPS members and to address unnatural deaths. The briefing looked at the responsibilities of the 10111 call centres, information to be obtained from a complainant contacting the 10111 call centre or police station, the processing of complaints, the total number of established 10111 call centres, the number of police station areas served by these call centres and the resources at the call centres. The presentation also dealt with the medium and high risk response capacity, proactive assistance, and Technology Management Services’ support in terms of application software, radio communications and radio-based panic alarms, analogue radio, body-worn and dashboard cameras, and network infrastructure.
Members were concerned about rural stations not linked to 10111 call centres and questioned if there was a possible rulebook for commanders to outline requirements for deployment of members, especially junior officials, to the frontline. The links between crime operation rooms and the 10111 call centres were discussed, and the number of police stations linked to the call centres. Members raised the issue of the vacant post of head of Visible Policing (VISPOL), police not being safe in stations anymore, possible equivocation about the use of body-worn cameras, and the role of intelligence, given the upsurge of violent service delivery protests. The Committee emphasised the need for proactive approaches, as the SAPS had the budget to accommodate them, and the killing of police officers was a national crisis.
SAPS briefed the Committee on its first quarter performance for the 2015/16 financial year by looking at the outcome of the budget process for 2015/16, the expenditure analysis for the first quarter and total spending (as of 30 June 2015) compared to 2014/15.
Members were concerned about the spending outside of Treasury regulations for the seven-point plan of the Criminal Justice System (CJS), the need for prioritisation, the capacity of crime intelligence to foresee and deal with potential criminal activities. They drew attention to expenditure patterns out of line with previous years, and the excessive expenditure on consultants. Members were not pleased that the critical position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the head of VISPOL and the Divisional Commissioner for Protection and Security Services had still not been filled. They expressed fears about possible fiscal dumping in the fourth quarter. They questioned when the service level agreement with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) would be finalised, and asked about the under-spending on the forensic science laboratory and capital works and buildings in the administration programme, especially as there were many buildings requiring maintenance. Members asked how the recent turnaround strategy for SAPS, as outlined by the Minister to the Committee last week, which required financing of R76 million, would be accommodated strategically.
Chairperson's Introductory Comments
After outlining the agenda for the day, the Chairperson said he still awaited approval from the House Chair for the Committee’s oversight visit to the Free State. The draft fourth term programme had been adopted yesterday by Management Committee (MANCO) – the Committee would be sitting on Fridays so Members should plan their travel arrangements accordingly. The focus for the first two weeks of the next term would be on the annual reports and the Rule 201 Inquiry. There would be interactions with the SA Police Service (SAPS) towards the end of November on specific topics, but the programme would be distributed to Members later today.
Rhino Task Team, Kruger National Park Division: Status Update
Lt Gen Vinesh Moonoo, SAPS Divisional Commissioner: Detective Services, took the Committee through the presentation, beginning by looking at the personnel, equipment and vehicles allocated in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. A number of vehicle accessories had been ordered and were awaited, included canopies, tow bars, sirens/blue lights and replacement bumpers. Equipment ordered and awaited were metal detectors, insect repellent, vehicle emergency recovery kits and tie-down straps. Outstanding equipment included trailers, tape measures, digital cameras, trajectory rods, knife sharpeners, bone saws, Stanley utility knives with spare blades, rechargeable drills and cool boxes for DNA.
The Chairperson said that night vision equipment was deemed a priority on the Committee’s oversight visit. This went along with communication – SAPS had indicated it did not have the capability to communicate effectively due to the terrain – what was the status here?
Lt Gen Moonoo replied that detectives had been furnished with satellite phones which could be utilised anywhere in the Park, even if it was close to the Mozambican border. Hand-held radios had also been acquired and these had been allocated to the teams two weeks ago for purposes of communication. Both means of communication could also be used while flying. The night vision goggles were part of the procurement process and Operational Response Services was busy with this.
The Chairperson found the fact that night vision goggles were still being procured was unacceptable – the visit had been seven months ago. There had been reports of an increase in rhino poaching and now the Committee heard no steps had been taken since the oversight visit to attain this specific capability.
Maj Gen Charl Annandale, SAPS Acting Divisional Commissioner: Operational Response Services (ORS), said that within ORS there was night- sight capability in the special task force, as well as in the national intervention unit environment. Both units were deployed in the Park. Some latest generation night-sight goggles were in the process of being procured.
The Chairperson was concerned from the perspective of detective services. When the Committee had spoken to members in Skukuza and officials from the Park, it had been said that this was a big issue. He wanted to know what the procurement plans were.
Lt Gen Moonoo admitted he would have to go back and see how best this equipment could be procured urgently – it was one of the issues he had not yet followed up on to ensure detectives had their own capability. He would provide a written submission to the Committee as soon as he had procured the equipment.
Continuing with the presentation, Members were informed the Kruger National Park (KNP) task team was located in Skukuza, Mpumalanga, south of the Olifants River. From July 2014 to July 2015, 882 crime scenes had been attended and there had been four elephant carcasses. In the same time period, there had been 193 arrests in the KNP and 49 outside the Park. 117 firearms had been seized in the same time period in the Park, along with 581 rounds of ammunition, 11 vehicles, 122 axes and knives and 57 rhino horns. Outside the KNP, 25 firearms had been seized, along with 165 rounds of ammunition, 22 axes and knives and six rhino horns.
The presentation then looked at the cases on the court roll and a summary of convictions.
The Chairperson asked about the issue with the court in Skukuza.
Lt Gen Moonoo said there had been an issue where they wanted the court closed but he was in communication with the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).
Lt Gen Moonoo then turned to the KNP rhino task team in Phalaborwa, Limpopo, north of the Olifants River. From December 2014 to July 2015, 26 crime scenes had been attended inside the KNP, 60 crime scenes outside the Park, with four elephant carcasses. In the same time period, in the KNP there had been 15 arrests and 64 outside the KNP. Also at the same time, nine firearms had been seized in the KNP along with 49 ammunition, one vehicle, 10 axes and knives and one rhino horn. Outside the KNP, 19 firearms had been seized along with 162 ammunition, 10 vehicles, 34 axes and knives and 49 rhino horns. Members were then informed of the cases on the court roll and a summary of convictions.
Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Presentation on Rhino Threat
Maj Gen Benny Ntlemeza, Acting Head: Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), took the Committee through the briefing, beginning by explaining the strategic direction of the DPCI-National Joint Operations and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) priority committee, which had been established and activated on 27 January 2011 to address the situation on a national and international level with immediate effect. All Provincial Joint Operations and Intelligence Structure (PROVJOINTS) had then been instructed to establish and activate a priority committee at provincial level to manage, implement and coordinate all joint integrated actions, and efforts to curb rhino poaching and illegal hunting in their respective provinces, with immediate effect. Dedicated investigative teams had also been established.
Members were informed of the numbers of rhino poaching incidents in the KNP for 2013, 2014 and 2015. Statistics for SANParks were also provided for 2015 in terms of cases reported, rhinos killed, suspects fatally wounded during operations, and arrests both for poaching and other crimes.
In terms of the value chain, the DPCI was involved in levels three and four – level three consisted of national front companies or national exporters operating from SA, while level four consisted of international front companies and exporters. With the exports and trafficking routes, the methods of smuggling rhino horn out of South Africa (SA) had to date not been exposed sufficiently. Most of the poaching incidents occurred in the KNP and the rhino horn syndicates used air services to transport goods from Maputo through Air Kenya, Air Ethiopia and then Air Qatar to Thailand, Hong Kong and Vietnam. Information and assistance was needed from neighbouring countries to assist with personal information on suspects, cellular phone information and information on firearms and ammunition when arrests had been made, as well as DNA on exhibits confiscated.
Maj Gen Ntlemeza then looked at investigative strategies and the International Criminal Court (ICC) objectives. SAPS was a member of the ICC through crime intelligence and the DPCI. Other members of the ICC included the State Security Agency (SSA), SANParks, Mpumalanga Parks, the Tourism Agency and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). The Committee was then informed of members of the Joint Operations Committee (JOCOM), an analysts’ committee and a disruptive group. Further discussion then turned to the role of crime intelligence, the priority crime management centre and the investigation/disruptive group.
Enhancement of the database was to occur through it being updated and linked for sharing information on the database with all stakeholders. The database compiled prioritised lists of suspects, tasking investigators to obtain more information, prioritised suspects and gave tasking to the disruptive team.
Illegal hunters entered South Africa’s national and provincial parks to hunt and kill rhino for their horns. There was a market for these horns in the Far Eastern countries, like China and Vietnam. There was a high probability that at the current trend, rhinos were on the brink of extinction. Illegal hunters did not care if there was a loss of life as long as they could kill a rhino, get the horns and sell them. There were syndicates and people with money behind these killings.
The following account was based on the research covering some different economic aspects and analysis of the rhino horn market:
- It had become easy to access and illegally hunt, kill and dehorn rhinos in the Kruger National Park, provincial parks, private reserves and farms which were bordering on Mozambique and the Kruger National Park.
- It was not easy to trace whether a person or vehicle was still in the park once the latter had accessed it.
- Access control at the gates leading into Kruger National Park had not been strengthened.
- The size of the Kruger National Park made it difficult to police, despite the deployment of the SANDF.
- There was a lack of, or limited, tactical intelligence to prevent the poachers from entering the Kruger National Park.
- There was limited utilisation of technology.
- There was the involvement of officials charged with the fight against rhino poaching
- The increased price of a rhino horn compared to the risk of being killed by the rangers or wild animals.
- The risk of loss of life by officials charged with combating rhino poaching
Maj Gen Ntlemeza concluded by noting that the challenges included cumbersome court proceedings and slow conviction rates, multiple armed incursions into state-owned reserves\parks and private land, the provincial permitting system and implementation, and different legislation in different provinces, the non-vetting of all involved in the operation/line function, the screening of applicants for hunting permits, public awareness here and abroad, lack of proper records for accessing and leaving the parks, including security, and uncoordinated approaches to foreign liaison.
The Chairperson thought the last sides of the presentation actually confirmed the findings of the Committee with regard to limited utilisation of technology and the lack of, or limited, tactical intelligence to prevent poaching in the KNP. He had not heard about progress in these fields, and he was concerned by this.
Ms Riah Phiyega, National Commissioner of Police, asked that the Committee move on to discussion to avoid sensitive intelligence presentations getting into the public domain. There had been criticism previously for publicly discussing intelligence tactics.
The Chairperson agreed, and thought highlights that were in the public domain could be provided to Members.
Maj Gen J Lekalakala, SAPS Head: Covert Intelligence Collection, Division Crime Intelligence, said that in all efforts put in place by law enforcement, there was crime intelligence capacity supporting those initiatives. The whole of the KNP had intelligence support capacity to assist in the park. This capacity, and operational units in the space, was supplemented by clusters. Work was happening with Interpol to coordinate efforts across countries, including those bordering the KNP, namely Mozambique, and those in the Far East. This was supplemented by bilateral agreements. Crime intelligence efforts were more focused on organised criminal groupings involved in various levels, but particularly those operating at the very top. Last year in September there had been a group arrested through the DPCI, supported by crime intelligence. There had been many interceptions of individuals on their way to poach rhinos, so there a lot of effort had been made, with crime intelligence-supported initiatives.
The Chairperson found that when the presentations were analysed, the one from DPCI had been very good in the sense that it had picked through the issues the Committee had highlighted earlier in the year. He was concerned, however, that there no concrete information had been presented on what cooperation or intervention there had been to liaise with Mozambique to deal with the levels four and five – had any of these levels been arrested? He did not get this from any of the presentations and without it, the issue went back to square one. He asked if the detectives’ team in KNP had been vetted. He asked if the staff levels of crime intelligence were sufficient in the Park, and if there was cooperation.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) wanted an update on the correct figures for rhino poached to date. She asked if every province had instituted an anti-rhino poaching unit as per the national instruction. There had been media reports of a crack poaching team from the USA – had they been training the SA teams, or working with them? She asked how many corrupt officials had been arrested and jailed from the parks -- from the SAPS and from the SANDF – where was the biggest problem? What was the status of the suspects outlined in the presentations? How was it that people found in the park had been convicted of trespassing, when everyone knew what they had been doing?
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said that during the Committee oversight visit, Members had been informed by SA National Parks (SANParks) that there was a not a uniform picture in the KNP – it was the southernmost part of the KNP (the intensive protection zone) where 60% of the rhino population was found. This meant that different sectors of the Park would require customised strategies, given the relevant risk factor in each one. Had personnel allocation, equipment, intelligence strategies and coordination within and across borders, been aligned to the understanding of the need for customised, targeted interventions in different parts of the Park? Was the allocation of scarce resources similarly aligned to the above understanding of the landscape? Had the syndicates and ground-level handlers been working on the basis of being closest to where the rhino were, or did they come in from further out and then work their way down into the Park? He was worried about disproportionate monitoring.
Nat Comm Phiyega indicated there was cooperation among the police chiefs, and there had been bilaterals between the provinces bordering countries. There had been some challenges -- for example, there were different points of departure between SA and Mozambique, where Mozambique had said SA was killing its citizens in a trans-national park. This presented a fundamental disjuncture at times in terms of how the issues had been approached. Environmental crime was prioritised, but it needed more impetus to iron out disjunctures and ensure cooperation. Community involvement was being focused on, but the criminals had counter strategies to line the pockets of some of the members of the communities, and this in itself disrupted the free flow of cooperation. A number of outreach initiatives were being planned to involve stakeholders in and around the area through visible policing (VISPOL) to win some partnerships.
Lt Gen Moonoo added that good strides had been made with Mozambique, but they often changed heads of Crime Investigation. He agreed that the Mozambicans had accused SA of killing its citizens and that the rhino had been viewed as more valuable than their citizens. The issue was not about killing citizens but reacting if the lives of rangers had been at risk. Every case was investigated so it was not as if people were being killed just for the sake of killing. There was an agreement, via the regional bureau, where if there were horns (exhibits) found in the country, that DNA must be provided for sampling and to establish if any links could be made. Mozambique would not allow its citizens to be tried in another country, so SA witnesses would have to be taken to Mozambique for them to be tried, and witnesses objected to this, so it was one of the stumbling blocks. However interaction was ongoing.
Maj Gen Lekalakala said there was dedicated capacity with Interpol dealing with wildlife and environmental crimes with the affected countries, either along the route or if their nationals were involved. This capacity ensured information was shared.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) questioned what percentage of the DPCI team working in the KNP was now vetted, as this had been said to be a challenge. How was the lack of public awareness being addressed?
Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked when detective services had placed the order for equipment needed, and how long they would have to wait for delivery. She said that DPCI had made reference to arrests, but none to convictions.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) said that when the Committee last met on this matter, SAPS had raised the issue of compatibility of equipment, which did not necessarily mean the requirements of the terrain, and there had been the problem that the poachers had better equipment – he had not heard whether this gap had been filled. According to the SAPS analysis, were the foreign elements involved in this crime here legally or illegally? He asked what was inhibiting complete cooperation. He asked how many of the cases had already been in court. The statistics displayed in the DPCI presentation had been quite frightening – what else was needed to neutralise this threat? Was there a problem with internal intelligence leakages, perhaps through those who had been kicked out and were now participating with criminals or the poachers? If this was so, what was being done about it? He asked what problems had been experienced with the coordination between detectives and the justice system in Limpopo. He found that there were gaps when it came to equipment and skills to naturalise this threat, along with the footprint in communities.
Lt Gen Moonoo said the equipment had been ordered and delivery was awaited. What was needed to be purchased had been utilised in the past financial year and orders had been placed with the new budget allocated. Processes needed to be followed to get the correct equipment. For example, the metal detectors ordered had not been correct for the terrain so he had refused the purchase – this was the same in the case of the knives ordered. There had been a problem with getting the correct equipment for the Park, but it was in the process of delivery.
The Chairperson had a huge problem with this. Bid committees were there to ensure there were bid specifications.
Nat Com Phiyega said bid committees had to get the demands and specifications from those who wanted to buy. Its duty was to go out into the market for what was needed at the right price – ordering the incorrect equipment needed to be avoided. Maybe the specification had been incorrect, because the bid committee would not just go out and purchase incorrect equipment.
Mr Ramatlakane found the responses were not directly answering the questions. The question had been about when the order had been placed and when it was being received. He did not think this difficult to answer. He was frustrated by hearing lots of words but no direct answers about when and where.
Nat Comm Phiyega responded that there had been a delivery, but it had not been the equipment required. The goods had been returned, the processes for advertising and assessing had been completed and the new equipment was being delivered. Lt Gen Moonoo would write to the Committee when the delivery took place.
Lt Gen Stefanus Schutte, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Resource Management, added that much of the equipment could be bought off the shelf, so this meant it was based on quotations, while for items over R500 000 it went to advertisement for bids. Each and every unit had a support office consisting of finance, resource management and human resources to deal with such issues for procurement through quotations for items under R500 000. For the bid, the users formed part of the specifications, and with the scanners, it could be determined of the specifications had been incorrect or if the tender had caved in. If the latter had been the case, this was a complex issue but with the former, one would sit with the users to reassess the specifications. In all of these units, there had been specific allocations for purchases in terms of delivery arrangements. He did not foresee a quotation aspect being a problem, except if the supplier did not have the goods available.
Maj Gen Annandale said the whole issue of countering rhino poaching was a complex issue. The KNP covered a vast area frequented by 1.7 million tourists every year. In terms of the poachers, they were desperate and had counter-techniques – if a poacher was spotted, the area would be under observation and for three days this individual poacher would not be found. There had been more than 1 000 spoors and sightings of poachers operating in the Park, so it was a challenge, but SAPS had been actively involved since 2012. This financial year, R36 million had been dedicated towards additional deployment of personnel in the Park. Currently, 71 members were deployed in the Park.
It was the belief that the Park should be cleared from the outside and the focus should be on the adjacent areas. To this extent, a number of national intervention and tactical response team members had been deployed. Desktop research had been done in terms of drones, and the next level would be to analyse this through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). There were, however, limitations with drones, so it was important find the correct one. One also needed to operate within the Civil Aviation Standard Operating Practice.
Four Land Cruisers had been procured for use by the special task force. At a cost of just over R80 000 per Land Cruiser, they had been converted with inverters, fridges, canopies, bush bars and strengthening of the suspension, with the intention of moving into the Park and operating away from the base for at least seven days. SAPS had been working with the CSIR on testing digital and analogue radio integration systems. The surveillance battalion of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) was assisting SAPS. Night-time and thermal imagining had been procured for the Public Order Policing environment in the previous financial year for just under R1 million. This financial year, the same equipment had been procured for the special task force, in addition to the old-generation equipment they already had.
The Chairperson asked if this was for the KNP.
Maj Gen Annandale said that the equipment went with the teams wherever they were deployed. Some of the equipment could be made available to detectives while they awaited the delivery of their equipment. There had been huge efforts to focus on the communities, the adjacent parks and private hotels and lodges, because ultimately it should be emphasised that a rhino was more valuable alive than dead. Law enforcement processes would continue, but the fight would ultimately be won through community involvement. Some of the drones had been tested in the Park with hot air balloons and shot-spotter systems, etc, but there were severe limitations to these systems. For instance, with drones there needed to be sufficient personnel to monitor them and it was not simple to spot something from the air unless one had a specific coordinate to focus on.
Ms Molebatsi asked if the detectives had been leaderless while Lt Gen Moonoo was in the Park.
Lt Gen Moonoo said he had appointed a Commander from his office who was permanently based at the Park and in charge of investigations.
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to know if all the challenges and sensitivities had been escalated to the executive level.
Nat Comm Phiyega said there had been engagements in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster, and the matter had been escalated. Ministers were aware of the challenges and engagement continued.
Mr Mbhele commented on the fact that Mozambicans could not be tried in other countries and that SA witnesses had to go to Mozambique. In light of the nationality breakdown of the accused persons in the various cases on the court roll -- where majority had been Mozambicans - did this effectively mean there had been no convictions of Mozambicans implicated in these cases?
Lt Gen Moonoo clarified that if the suspect was arrested in SA, he/she would be tried here. Once the suspect was arrested in Mozambique, the problem was with extradition to SA. Mozambique did not want to extradite its citizens, and would prefer the witnesses to come to them. There had been convictions in a lot of the cases on the court roll in SA.
Mr R Mavunda (ANC) wanted to know how much effort had been given to the involvement of community members, especially those alongside the national parks. Sometimes it was not about sophisticated poachers -- sometimes these communities had their own intelligence and knew exactly who was doing what at what time. This was why it was important to involve the community at large.
Mr J Maake (ANC) sought clarity on whether reference to “scenes attended” was for carcasses, or other scenes. If it was in reference to carcasses, then this was very frightening. He was surprised to hear about the prosecutors in Limpopo and that in a unitary state like SA, prosecutors in Limpopo were different to those in Mpumalanga in terms of sentences meted out. The figures had been very frightening. With so many rhinos killed, was the current strategy the right one? What was there was seemingly ineffective. What was actually needed to stop this scourge once and for all? With reference to “fatally wounded” – did this mean someone was dead?
Lt Gen Moonoo explained the crime scenes were those where there were carcasses or a rhino had already been poached. “Fatally wounded” was in reference to a suspect killed either by police or by the rangers during interaction. With regard to the Limpopo and Mpumalanga prosecutors, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had located two prosecutors solely for looking at rhino cases in Mpumalanga, while in Limpopo the prosecutors had changed. He had had a meeting with the Director of Public Prosecutions to identify prosecutors in Limpopo to focus solely on rhino cases. At times, the presiding officer would use his/her discretion in terms of sentencing. Via the justice cluster, he was trying to take them to crime scenes to show them the impact, which would not be felt while they were sitting in an office. Prosecutors in Mpumalanga had gone to crime scenes, so they knew the difficulties in this environment. This explained why a charge of murder could successfully be put forward. He was trying to get the prosecutors from Limpopo out to these scenes so they became familiar with the issues on the ground.
Nat Comm Phiyega indicated SAPS may have to go back to the drawing board, because the plan and strategy was clearly more reactive and less proactive – nominal decreases had been achieved as opposed to major. Other departments in this space needed to sit down and talk seriously about what was needed in an integrated fashion, across the various clusters affected, to accentuate and give more body to what was currently being done. This was a challenge, but heads needed to be put together to look at what else could be done to achieve a significant impact.
The Chairperson thought this was the part missing from the briefing. SAPS had a budget of R76 billion and programmes to spend it on. With the night sight vision goggles, for example, there had really been no progress. It appeared to the Committee that there seemed to be no urgency. It needed to be made known what SAPS was doing in terms of expenditure to make technology available -- for example, that of drones. The issue of technology had been raised by the Committee in February, but there did not seem to have been progress.
Nat Comm Phiyega responded that vehicles had been bought which had been adapted and the plan was now to look at how this could be rolled out further. With drones, a pilot project had been carried out with SANParks, and SAPS now needed to look at procurement. The concerns of the Committee had been heard.
The Chairperson, using the example of the night vision goggles again, said this was not a complex procurement so why had progress not been made? This was his concern. If the area was a priority, why had there been no spending or procurement?
Nat Comm Phiyega replied that with the night vision goggles, it was an issue of integration and whether they should be procured for detectives, the DPCI or Operational Response Services (ORS), or whether it should be shared in the environment. Currently the capability sat with ORS, but perhaps availability needed to be increased – this was more an issue of sufficiency across the units, because the equipment was there and SAPS would indeed look at this.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) thought it would be important for the Committee to be briefed on the push and pull factors which had been identified as possibly attracting the syndicates to SA. There had been a cross-border crime summit a few years ago where serious gaps had been identified, key among which had been the privately owned landing strips in SA which did not seem to be controlled by the security agencies. Perhaps the Committee could look into some legislation or regulatory framework in this regard. These strips could not be a law unto themselves, where criminal activity could take place. He had seen the use of hand-launched drones, as used by the Israeli defence force. If such technology was used in SA, ground forces could be reinforced with aerial technology to scan the overall security of the national parks.
Nat Comm Phiyega said the issue of drones was high on the agenda, and there was a Memorandum of Understanding with Denel. A pilot programme had been run with SANParks using the same technology, and the value thereof for the vast area had been seen. On the private landing strips, SAPS needed the active participation of the Department of Transport to look at how these landing strips were being dealt with. It was indeed a problem, as were the smaller ports. It was an area to address, and be given priority in the NATJOINTS, to get a full audit of the activity at these privately owned strips and to develop a profile.
Maj Gen Lekalakala said that there were several push and pull factors, and the privately owned landing strips were something being looked into. During 2010, there had been extensive profiling of these strips because they had been identified as a risk to be addressed and continuously monitored. More focus would be given to these privately owned landing strips as a possible gap used by criminals to traffic rhino horns and other contraband. Corruption was another element undermining law enforcement in this space, including internal collusion by employees employed within the KNP environment. There were efforts to address this matter, together with SANParks and the Department of Environmental Affairs. There were also risks with the non-government organisations (NGOs), involved in this space but there was a focus on these identified risks. SAPS had also been looking at border security management to tighten and enhance intelligence, to complement other SAPS capacity in this space. Access to firearms was also a challenge contributing toward promoting this particular crime threat, but it was being addressed and firearms had been seized.
Mr Mbhele sought clarity on the NGOs as a “risk factor” – what did this mean?
Maj Gen Lekalakala explained there had been research organisations and other NGOs in this space, and the bona fides of these role players were being looked into. He did not think it was appropriate to elaborate, but all dynamics in this space were being attended to, so no potential risk was excluded.
The Chairperson said all other responses must be provided to the Committee in writing. While progress had been noted in the KNP, a follow-up meeting would be arranged for 11 November, along with SANParks and the NPA, to look at what additionally should be done. The focus should be on an integrated plan and technology. For example, Kenya was now using drones in all its national parks – SAPS should liaise with their Kenyan counterparts to note their experiences and if there had been a reduction in poaching.
Measures to ensure safety of SAPS members
The Chairperson introduced the briefing by indicating it was a follow up focusing on the very important issues of technology and what other jurisdictions were used, and how they could be addressed proactively.
Maj Gen Michael Motlhala, SAPS Acting Divisional Commissioner: Visible Policing, began the presentation by looking at the responsibilities of 10111 call centres. These included receiving complaints and dispatching, recording all complaints attended on the Global Emergency Management, Command and Control Centre (GEMC3) / Mobile Data System (MDS) / Case Administration System (CAS) system -- the date and time reported, transmitted and attended, as well as the result of the complaint and Case Administration System (CAS) number, where applicable. Other responsibilities including rendering a 24-hour professional emergency service by receiving and processing complaints through the 10111 emergency number, providing assistance to all SAPS units and police stations by activating the relevant units -- detectives, Air Wing, Special Task Force, Explosives Unit and other Emergency Services -- to attend to high risk emergency situations and to provide advice and assistance to the community on police service related matters. The 10111 call centres also served as an early warning centre during major incidents or disasters by alerting and activating all the various role players and co-ordinating activities, and received and processed radio enquiries from response vehicles. Complaints were prioritised as follows:
- Alpha: Complaint in progress -- all serious crimes requiring immediate police action;
- Bravo: Crime already occurred, with no immediate threat to life or property;
- Charlie: Less serious crimes, such as drunkenness and loitering.
The 10111 call centres recorded the personal data of the complainant/caller, such as their name, address and most importantly, their contact details, preferably a cell phone number, obtained a general idea of the situation to which a response was required. If possible, other data recorded were the number of suspects involved, if the suspects were armed, how many firearms, the type of weapons the suspects had in their possession, the position or whereabouts of the suspect, a description of the suspects to enable identification, whether the suspects were on foot or in a vehicle, to determine a possible escape response, the number of persons injured or killed and a detailed description of the vehicles involved, such as make, model, colour and registration number of the vehicle/s the suspects were using.
Maj Gen Motlhala then discussed the processing of complaints. The 10111 emergency number contacted within a policing area was linked to a 10111 Call Centre. The ring would automatically trigger the 10111 Call Centre, or the nearest police station not linked to a 10111 call centre. The number of the police station contacted (linked to a 10111 Call Centre) would allow for the complaint to be captured on CAS by the police station and transferred to the 10111 Call Centre for dispatching response vehicles (police stations’ and Flying Squad vehicles) and finalised. If the station was not linked to a 10111 call centre, the complaint would be captured on CAS by the police station and dispatched to response vehicles of the police station and finalised. A total of 411 of 1 138 police stations had been linked to 10111 Call Centres via the Mobile Data System (MDS) that provided an interface between the CAS and Global Emergency Management, Command and Control Centre (GEMC3) utilised at the 10111 Call Centre. Data captured on the CAS would thus be visible on the GEMC3 and vice versa. Radio communication between the 10111 Call Centre and the police station was required by means of radio towers (high-sites) to enable a 10111 Call Centre to communicate with response vehicles attending to complaints.
The Chairperson asked if the 411 police stations linked to the 10111 call centres were located in urban areas. His concern was about the stations which were not linked.
Maj Gen Motlhala responded that more urban police stations were linked to the call centre than rural police stations.
Lt Gen Adeline Shezi, SAPS Divisional Commissioner: Technology Management Services, added that most of the stations (80%) were in the urban areas.
The Chairperson asked what the game plan was for the rural provinces, where the majority of the people were.
Lt Gen Shezi said this would be dealt with in the presentation.
Maj Gen Motlhala continued with the presentation ,still looking at the process flow, and said that the call taker at the 10111 Call Centre received, analysed, prioritised and captured the complaint on GEMC3. The complainant was provided with a system generated Incident Register (IR) number. The call taker transferred the complaint to a dispatcher electronically. The dispatcher transmitted the complaint to a response vehicle, booked on air at the Centre on commencement of shift via radio, and monitored the complaint on the GEMC3. The complaint was attended to by the response vehicle and provided the dispatcher with the stand-off time and result of the complaint. The dispatcher updated the complaint on the system with the following results:
- Positive (P) – crime occurred;
- Negative (N) – no trace of crime, suspects or complainant, false call or address;
- No Prosecution (G) – positive complaint, but complainant did not wish to open a case;
- Accident (B) – no case registered/accident report completed;
- If the result was “positive”, the CAS number must be linked on the system with the IR number to finalise the complaint.
The Chairperson asked how many people living in rural areas, where stations were not covered by the 10111 call centre, had the police station number at hand if they were in distress – this was the underbelly of this argument. A lot of the country was effectively not covered by the 10111 call centre.
Nat Comm Phiyega said this would be dealt with after the presentation.
Members were then taken through the established 10111 call centres per province, the total number of police stations per province and the number of police station areas served by 10111 call centres.
Col F Saayman, SAPS Division: Technology Management Services, described the resources at the 10111 call centres. For support, there was the Global Access Control System (GACS), Geographical Information System (GIS), Business Intelligence (BI) and the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system to monitor and track vehicles. There was also the circulation system for vehicles and firearms, the enhanced firearm registration system and Electronic National Administration Traffic Information System (ENATIS). This was coupled with the voice loggers and call scanners, digital Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) system and the digital Private Automatic Branch Exchange (PABX). For monitoring, there was the efficiency index system for police reaction times and the GEMC3 for positive incident register numbers not linked with the CAS by centre.
Lt Gen Shezi elaborated that the CSIR was investigating the overall command centres to look at how to effectively reduce the number-rolled systems into the command centre, to have broad coverage. These exercises were costly to run, so the aim was to consolidate systems.
Brig S Korabie, SAPS Division: Operational Response Services, continued with the presentation, and said that in terms of medium and high risk response capacity, the specialised tactical emergency response to crisis situations lay within the domain of Operational Response Services – specifically the Specialised Operations Component. The Specialised Operations Component currently had the following tactical policing entities which would assist the visible policing sector when high risk environments were encountered:
- Tactical Response Teams (TRTs), widely distributed throughout the provinces, having a national footprint as tactical first responders and to address medium risk threats;
- National Intervention Units (NIU), located in four provinces to provide a tactical solution for medium to high risk threats;
- Special Task Force (STF), located in three provinces to provide a tactical solution to high risk and strategic threats posed by terrorism.
Regarding proactive assistance, a Station Commander, or the commander of a unit who planned to conduct an operation in which specialised skills and equipment would be required, could do so by contacting the closest TRT, NIU or STF Unit and submitting a letter of request, outlining the requirement. The application would be assessed to determine whether the request had been channelled correctly according to threat perception and mandate, in order to ensure an effective and efficient result was achieved. The objective was to utilise specially trained police officials to better deal with high risk circumstances in order to de-escalate the threat level, instead of exposing lesser trained police officials to the threat. Some examples of such operations were:
- Cash in transit robberies and robberies of other valuable assets in transit;
- Counteracting business/bank robberies;
- Counteracting ATM bombings;
- Execution of high risk warrants of arrest and/or complex/high risk search warrants;
- Apprehension of suspects in dangerous environments, such as hostels, areas experiencing hostile acts of public violence, or violence against foreign nationals.
The Chairperson provided a recent example of an officer killed in the Eastern Cape, where the suspects took his vehicle and weapon as well. According to the SAPS analysis provided to Members a few weeks ago, mostly members of VISPOL were killed, and the Committee needed to establish the link of proactive management and ensuring that there was a safety plan for each officer.
Lt Gen Khela Sithole, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Policing, said there had been engagements with Technology Management Services (TMS) to look at a panic button activation system, according to the classification of complaints. There were complaints which were high risk, and in such a category of complaint, the panic button should immediately reach a task force and TRT. If a police station was attacked by criminals, all resources should be activated, irrespective of the unit, and the panic button would call for this.
The Chairperson referred to the satellite station gutted the previous day in Limpopo. As a case study, what was the protocol in this case? Given the above explanation, units should have been activated.
Maj Gen Motlhala said the TRT was deployed at the cluster level. The TRT must be available immediately if anything happened in the cluster. In the 10111 call centre, there was an activation plan if particular units were needed. In this respect, the call centre was more like an activation base.
The Chairperson asked why this then had not occurred with the example in Limpopo.
Nat Comm Phiyega said the recapacitation of Public Order Policing (POP) was needed, because there were a number of dormant units which needed to be reactivated. This meant there was a gap in some areas, because the TRT might not be optimally capacitated in numbers to deal with a particular situation in a particular area. The proximity of the POP unit then became crucial to provide support. There was also additional and refresher training for TRT members, and SAPS was looking at training some of the VISPOL members in the stations to also act as first responders. This was also extended to municipal policing.
Mr Maake asked how protesters burning down stations were classified in terms of Alpha, Bravo and Charlie. As a civilian, he wanted to understand what was done if there was a protesting mass approaching to burn the police station and maybe life was threatened – when was the TRT called in? When was live ammunition used?
The Chairperson said this was a complex question, so maybe for today the emphasis should be on the escalation of response.
Mr Mhlongo wanted to know what happened if an officer on duty wrongly or mistakenly pressed the panic button while there was an officer in real distress who pressed the panic button. Was there a way of immediately cancelling a wrongful alert so that the officer in real distress was not left unsecured? He raised this question because corruption might be involved, and officers might betray their own colleagues
The Chairperson suggested the presentation be completed before questions were responded to, and then more questions could be raised in the discussion.
Lt Gen Shezi then spoke about technology management support which, in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), planned deliverables for 10111 call centres and operational SAPS members. Specific responsibilities for business areas included application software, network services, radio technical services, hosting services, telecommunication services and end user equipment.
The Committee was then taken through descriptions of the application software and radio communications. Radio was the primary form of operational communications. Radio communications allowed the most rapid method for a police official raise an alert about an emergency. SAPS was migrating to modern digital radio communications with advanced police specific features. Modern digital radio included panic alarm facilities that allowed a member to take priority in communications when life threatening circumstances occurred.
Turning to the radio-based panic alarm, a digital radio-based panic alarm facility was being deployed included GPS location delivery to the control room. The panic alarm was delivered simultaneously to all police officials active in the operational group, as well as the control centre, within a ½ second from panic function activation. Digital radio was currently confined to Gauteng only, but was under consideration for wider deployment. Analogue radio did provide for talk group operation, where all members were alerted simultaneously of emergencies. This provided immediate ability to transmit an emergency if the channel was not occupied. The system was vulnerable to eavesdropping, and did not provide priority for emergency transmission.
With body-worn and dashboard-mounted cameras, SAPS was looking into a range of mobile surveillance requirements. Joint SAPS / CSIR research was in the planning stage to evaluate the techniques, technology and systems implications, and to determine SAPS potential deployment standards and technical specifications. The primary advantage of body camera deployment would be enforcement of police conduct. It was not expected that body cameras would deter attacks on police where attackers were violent to the degree that murder was committed. Body cameras were, however, under consideration for other reasons. The use of this technology would have implications for the resourcing of SAPS control centres, both in terms of systems capacity and human resources and skills. SAPS operational divisions (Visible Policing, Operational Response Service, Protection and Security Service, Detective Service, DPCI) had engaged with some examples of the technology that had been demonstrated, and had provided input in terms of the scope of operational application. Engagement had also taken place with Denel to learn from defence applications in this regard. The joint SAPS and CSIR research would also provide for further engagement with operational divisions to assess options and develop specifications.
Finally, with network infrastructure, the National Network Upgrade Programme was in progress in spite of the procurement challenges. Sites had been prioritised to ensure effective systems performance during the upgrade. A Quality of Service analysis was under way to review and determine systems that must be prioritised. A unified communication framework was being considered for holistic communications and a task team had been established to address broadband infrastructure in conjunction with Telkom.
Lt Gen Sithole added that the community was also being mobilised. The TMS was dealing with social media activation to look at further activation outside of SAPS. The extension of the TETRA provision from Gauteng to hotspot policing was feasible where serious and violent crimes took place, as there was a likelihood that members could be shot or ambushed if attending to these hotspots.
Nat. Comm. Phiyega said progress was being made with the social media issue through WhatsApp and Twitter. The emphasis was on extending this platform further and connecting the dots if there were gaps. There was also CrimeLine and CrimeStop.
Mr Mhlongo said that most of the officers doing fieldwork were junior-level. Had a rulebook been established for commanders to outline the requirements for deployment of members, in order to ensure their maximum safety? If such a rulebook existed, did it have punitive measures if it was found that there was deliberate non-compliance by a commander who might have a hidden agenda? It was important to protect those who might be voiceless.
Mr Maake wanted to understand the process of responses in terms of the order of units on the scene. He described a traumatic scene, where a metro police officer had been shot a meter away from him.
Mr Mavunda asked how effective the “ear on the ground” was. For instance, if a strike was going to take place, was this advance knowledge in place or was the SAPS as surprised as everyone else when such incidents occurred? Issues became violent easily and public roads were often used by protestors. How closely did SAPS work with the Department of Transport on such issues to get information about these protests even before they took place, and to establish who were the instigators of these protests, which were not always service-delivery related? What was the intelligence capacity to know about incidents even before they took place?
Mr Ramatlakane questioned the 10111 call centre, and requirements from callers. The challenge was with the reporting and the fact that whoever reported the crime, or tipped the police off, was exposed. Was this aspect being managed? This often made people reluctant to come forward to report crimes. Not much had been said of links between the crime operation rooms and the 10111 centres in various clusters. He asked for more information on these linkages.
Ms Mabija questioned the number of stations linked to 10111 call centres.
Ms Mmola said that when one called 10111 at times, one would be told all the vehicles had been were not available because they were picking up members for duty. She asked if all the SAPS vehicles had AVL, because sometimes a police vehicle would stand outside a shebeen for three hours.
Ms Molebatsi highlighted a SAPS tow truck shown on TV, which had been used in Benoni to tow cars in return for payment. She was astonished that it had taken the SABC to uncover this, and not SAPS. The post of head of VISPOL had been vacant for almost two years now. When would it be filled?
Ms Kohler Barnard wanted to know about the national tactical response plan to police killings, as announced by the President on the Commemoration Day on Sunday. She wanted to see a copy of this plan. She had expected the presentation to be proactive, yet about 93% of it was reactive and she found this disappointing. Was the national tactical response plan based on the ten-point plan? Police were not safe in stations anymore. She had not heard the presentation address the issue that a policeman in SA was five times more likely to get killed here than their counterparts in the USA, or the fact that Canada had only three police deaths a year -- and SA was currently heading for 60. This was not a new problem, but she did not see research into why this was happening. Her expectations of the briefing had not been met.
Mr Mbhele wanted to know about the ratio between police stations in the country and the link to 10111 call centres. It sounded like there was a bit of equivocation in the SAPS around the merits and the need for body-worn cameras and he asked for elaboration on this equivocation, as the Committee had always been clear that this was needed.
Mr M Mncwango (IFP) found the role of intelligence to be conspicuously absent. He asked what role they played in this issue. There seemed to have been an upsurge of violent service delivery protests, where public property had been destroyed and burnt down, and he asked why crime intelligence was failing to detect these incidents before they happened. He thought the police killings were a well-orchestrated plan, and he did not understand why crime intelligence was not able to detect these plans.
The Chairperson said that because of the lack of time, responses would be provided to the Committee within the next week. He was concerned about the fact that proactive approaches seemed to be limited. The number of police killed so far was a national crisis and this stressed the need for being proactive. It was important to look at other jurisdictions in terms of what they were bringing to the table, and SAPS needed to take the lead. There was also a big budget to accommodate proactive approaches.
Nat Comm Phiyega recalled that the number of police killed years ago was above 200, so a lot had been done to reduce it to below 100. It was important to contextualise the figures, because some members died in the line of duty while others died under other circumstances while off duty.
The Chairperson said that this distinction between on and off duty killings had been provided in a previous presentation to the Committee by VISPOL.
Ms Mabija said that death was death, whether on or off duty.
SAPS First Quarter Financial Report 2015/16
Lt Gen Schutte said that context was important when dealing with the first quarter, especially where big items of expenditure would follow later in the financial year as part of the cash-flow scenario. It was also important to look at comparisons with previous years and to consider unexpected events.
Maj Gen J Nelson, SAPS Acting Divisional Commissioner: Financial Management, said that In terms of the outcome of the budget process for 2015/16, the police had received R 76.377 billion for the 2015/16 financial year. Cabinet had approved reductions to the baseline of the Department over the medium term period of R517.1 million in 2015/16, R1.24 billion in 2016/17 and R802 million in 2017/18. These reductions had been effected from goods and services, comprising R366.3 million in 2015/16, R586.4 million in 2016/17 and R634.9 million in 2017/18. Furthermore, R150.8 million in 2015/16, R653.2 million in 2016/17 and R167.1 million had been removed from payments for capital assets (buildings and other fixed structures and transport equipment). Of these amounts, R352.9 million in 2015/16, R372.3 million in 2016/17 and R790.9 million in 2017/18 had been reallocated to provide for higher personnel remuneration costs in each of the three years than the main budget had provided for, and the replacement of transport equipment in 2017/18.
Maj Gen Nelson indicated the total spending for 2015/16 as at 30 June 2015 was at 22.8%, and there was 77.2% of the budget remaining for 2015/16. This was then compared to total spending for 2014/15 per quarter and monthly for previous financial years.
Members were informed of monthly spending compared to estimates and programme spending as of 30 June 2015 for administration, visible policing, detective services, crime intelligence and protection and security services. Overall spending performance showed that, although indicative of nature, the expenditures of each quarter in a financial year would not be precisely equal caused by reasons such as delivery of vehicles and other equipment, payment of pay progression, etc. The procurement of critical items, such as uniform, ammunition and weapons, was on track. Vehicle procurement of R1 billion was also in the process of delivery starting to take place. Personnel employment and enlistment continued. Salary increases as negotiated in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) had been paid in June 2015. Increased benefits in terms of government contributions to the medical fund and housing allowance had not yet been implemented by the end of the first quarter. Additional funds would be required in the Adjustments Estimate. Expenditure resulting from policing of the World Economic Forum and the African Union Summit had also been incurred. Spending on goods and services had comprised 20% of allocated budget. -- the Criminal Justice system revamp spending was below the linear benchmark, and spending on network upgrades and State Information Technology Agency (SITA) Service Level Agreements (SLAs) had been lower than anticipated
Transfers and subsidies had been in line with the linear benchmark, and payments for capital assets had comprised 6,6 % of the allocated budget, with expenditure on buildings and infrastructure lower than expected. Machinery and equipment’s historical spending tendencies reflected increased spending during the latter part of the financial year.
Maj Gen Nelson took the Committee through the spending performance for each programme for the first quarter. The following broad remarks were made per programme:
1. Administration. Although this was somewhat below the linear benchmark of 25%, the percentages had been within a reasonable parameter. Spending levels had been informed by orders placed and delivery awaited on clothing and ammunition in progress, and lower spending on capital works in the building environment, the Integrated Justice System (IJS) and network upgrades and SITA SLA’s.
2. VISPOL. This had been fairly in line with the linear benchmark, discounting the spending in the facilities environment in respect of leases, with only two claims received from the Department of Public Works (DPW) for April and May 2015, while June’s claim was paid in July. Accommodation charges were in line. The enhanced deployment baseline for POPS was in place. Resourcing for the National Intervention Units, Tactical Response Teams and Special Task Force was in process. Vehicle deliveries, as usual, would be realised mainly in the latter part of the financial year.
3. Detective Services. Expenditure was marginally below the linear benchmark, mainly as the result of the lower spending on the CJS impacting on the Forensic Science Laboratory and the Criminal Record Centre.
Other sub-programmes were on course. Vehicle deliveries would be realised mainly in the latter part of the financial year.
4. Crime Intelligence. This was relatively in line with the linear benchmark, but vehicle deliveries would be realised mainly in the latter part of the financial year.
5. Protection and Security Services. The total programme was in line with the linear benchmark.
The Chairperson referred to the spending in the seven-point plan of the criminal justice system (CJS). SAPS was only authorised to spend, in terms of the Treasury allocation, a maximum of R43.7 million. The actual spending, however, was indeed much more. This raised serious questions regarding adherence to Treasury regulations and financial management, and he wanted an explanation for this over expenditure.
Mr Mhlongo wanted to know if prioritisation had been done. He questioned the capacity of crime intelligence to deal with obstacles before they occurred, bringing about effective service delivery.
Ms Molebatsi asked if the post of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) had been advertised, and what the status of the position was. Was Maj Gen Nelson one of the two short-listed candidates? Had he beenpromoted from Brigadier to Major General specifically for this acting post? She also wanted a response to her question on the SAPS tow trucks posed earlier. She said that as this discussion was occurring, a policeman had been killed. The unfortunate part was that the suspects had been wearing police uniforms and had two-way radios. This was a test against everything that had been mentioned this morning.
Nat Comm Phiyega requested a status report from the procurement environment on the tow truck issue. She was informed that the employee concerned had been identified and a disciplinary process was under way. She requested the environment to look into this incident and a report would be produced on whether this had been an isolated incident.
Ms Mmola said the last time the Committee met, it had been promised that the critical post of CFO would be filled, and she was concerned there was still an individual acting in that capacity. She asked for clarity on this.
Ms Mabija said that the National Commissioner had committed herself to filling the CFO post in August. She questioned how Maj Gen Nelson had rocketed from the post of Brigadier to Major General. This made her think that Maj Gen Nelson was the favourite and toeing the line, and had therefore been rocketed in rank to meet the criteria for selection. Why had Gen Manamela been removed as the previous Acting CFO? The Committee did not want the post to be juggled around, but for it to be filled. She asked the National Commissioner to come back to mother earth and to help her, as a layman, to understand what was going on. She highlighted that National Instruction Four of 2010 had indicated that a panel must compile a short list of not more than eight candidates and preferably not fewer than three candidates, but now she heard there were two shortlisted candidates out of 37. This made her question if a favourable atmosphere had been created for an internal application for the post. She wanted to know if she understood this correctly.
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to understand the expenditure pattern. The linear expenditure for this first quarter of the financial year was 25%, but compared to previous years it had been approximately 22%. Did the vehicles being procured later in the financial year cause the decreased expenditure for this quarter? How would the Department catch up with expenditure in the second quarter? He was concerned about fiscal dumping, should there be an expenditure spike in the fourth quarter. He asked what the problem was with the service level agreement with SITA, and if it would be finalised. He also asked about the expenditure on consultants.
Lt Gen Schutte responded to the issue of fiscal dumping, saying that at this point in time he would prefer to be a little bit behind in terms of expenditure than too far ahead, because it was easier to increase expenditure than to slow it down. 3 058 vehicles had already been ordered, so expenditure in this area was already above 50%. There was nothing that led him to believe the Department would not get the full allocation of vehicles to reach 100% of spending, based on past trends. The service level agreement had been negotiated and signed by the National Commissioner, and a lot of the expenditure in this regard would now begin. There were some risk factors which would have to be managed project by project, but it was important to have confidence.
Mr Mbhele sought clarity on under-spending on the forensic science laboratory. If he heard correctly, the reason for the low benchmark expenditure was a prolonged procurement process for specialised equipment as part of the IJS plan. In the light of the longstanding shortages in relation to the forensic laboratories, were these also reflected in the delays with procurement, or were those equipment needs being met because of the roll-over from year to year?
Lt Gen Shutte said the under spending on the forensic science laboratory was as a result of the CJS/IJS.
Maj Gen Nelson added that 500 posts had been advertised in the forensic environment, so compensation expenditure was expected to increase towards the latter part of the financial year.
Mr Mncwango said that under Programme One: Administration, lower spending was recorded on capital works and the building environment. This reminded him of the Committee’s oversight visits to stations -- for example, in Mpumalanga -- where Members had found buildings literally falling apart. He wondered if capital works included the maintenance of buildings. He referred to cases of very old holding cells, where there were leaks, and awaiting trial prisoners would have to be taken to neighbouring areas. He asked if the Nyalas were included in the vehicles to be delivered or if they were in a special category of vehicles. If the Nyalas were part of the vehicle fleet, he had questions around servicing and the turnaround time thereof.
Maj Gen Nelson answered that maintenance came from accommodation charges in terms of devolved funding. Some did come from capital works when there was major repair and maintenance (more than 5% of the asset value). There was no provision to buy any new Nyalas, but R15 million had been provided for maintenance for the current year for the Nyala fleet.
Ms Kohler Barnard questioned the higher than planned expenditure for Programme Five: Protection and Security Services, compared to other programmes. The issue of expenditure on consultants always seemed to come up, and with excessive expenditure of 32.2% against the projected expenditure of 16.5%, this needed an explanation. What had these consultants been doing? Why was this capacity not internal to the Department? She asked about the devolved funds and the CJS seven-point plan expenditure, where there could be non-compliance with Treasury regulations.
Maj Gen Nelson said that the issue with Treasury was very technical. Treasury had given SAPS the earmarked allocation for the CJS/IJS, and had then requested the Department to submit new plans over the multi-year period indicating the projects to be executed. In addition, Treasury had requested the estimated cash outflows to emanate from these projects. Theses had been submitted, but Treasury had not taken into account the compensation element, so this portion had not been added to the imposed conditions. SAPS had had several interactions with Treasury where these issues had been reflected. With consultancy fees, these related only to legal services and fees from the State Attorney, partially from a roll-over from the Department of Justice, where the outflow had been partially dependent on the Department of Justice producing the invoices. SAPS had been aware of this spending trend and it was not a concern at this time, especially in terms of a comparative analysis.
The Chairperson said that two weeks ago, the Minister had announced a turnaround strategy for SAPS where he had indicated that, in terms of financing the plan, an amount of R76 million was needed. In terms of strategic planning, was SAPS looking at savings to assist with this? He asked how long the post of head of VISPOL had been vacant, and what steps had been taken to deal with it. For how long had the post of Divisional Commissioner: Protection and Security Services, been vacant? What steps had been taken to deal with this? He asked if there had been any legal services procured by SAPS (private counsel) that was not through the State Attorney’s office and if so, he wanted to know the details. This could be provided at a later stage if it was not immediately available.
Nat Comm Phiyega raised her concern about being accused of favouritism. She did not know the basis for this, and being the accounting officer, she found this accusation disturbing.
The Chairperson said this was a comment by a Member. The National Commissioner did not have to agree with it, as the accounting officer, but could provide her version.
Nat Comm Phiyega wanted to ensure her concerns were registered. Those accounting to the Committee were also human beings, and some of the remarks hurt. She respected the Members as her superiors, but she had not come to the Committee to be harassed. On the issue of the CFO, interviews had been scheduled for the post after more than seven candidates had been found suitable from the re-advertising process. On 1 September 2014, Lt Gen Schutte had been appointed Deputy National Commissioner: Resource Management, and this had opened the gap of CFO. There had been two Major Generals -- Manamela and another one who had retired. Two Major Generals were needed in this environment and so Maj Gen Nelson had been considered to replace the one who had retired. The acting arrangements for the post rotated between Maj Gen Manamela and Nelson. At no point was there any favouritism. The advertising and interview process for the post of head of VISPOL and Divisional Commissioner for Protection and Security Services was complete, but the vetting process still needed to go ahead.
On the private counsel fees, Lt Gen Schutte said the economic classification of consultants was so wide that it included legal practitioners, so this was not the traditional view of consultants as a service provider. Consultants also included contractors which SAPS used to repair its vehicles. The Department usually procured legal services via the State Attorney, but it had happened that SAPS generally procured directly from counsel, and the State Attorney would usually be asked if this could be done. It was important to keep in mind that there might be follow up consultations. All in all, the Department did at times procure private counsel, although not on a large scale. With the turnaround plan with the Minister, there was a plan in place for the panel, although it had not yet been fully discussed or approved by the Accounting Officer or Minister.
Nat Comm Phiyega added there would be a meeting with the Minister soon regarding the plan, because it had not as yet been discussed with management, or the financial ramifications thereof.
Ms Mabija, responding to the comment by the National Commissioner, said that everyone present was made up of different characteristics, which made everyone unique. She therefore did not understand why the National Commissioner felt she was being harassed, as she had no reason to harass the National Commissioner. She needed a clear understanding of precisely what was going on and she would not be barred from speaking out about how she perceived issues. She advised the National Commissioner to make an introspection to find the answer about why Members harassed her, and she too would make an ntrospection.
Nat Comm Phiyega said that when she came to the Committee she was highly respectful and highly compliant, and this showed on the record.
The Chairperson said the next meeting of the Committee would be on Tuesday 13 October, with a briefing by the Auditor-General, and the Committee would be working through Programmes One and Two of SAPS.
The meeting was adjourned.
- SAPS briefing to Portfolio Committee on Police: 2014/15, 4th Term and 2015/16, 1st Term Expenditure Reports: Attendance List
- Use of Technology with Regard to Safety of Police Officers & Status of 10111 Centres: Attendance List
- SAPS Follow-Up briefing to Portfolio Committee on Police: Attendance List
- Measures Implemented to Ensure Safety of SAPS Members & Address Unnatural Deaths
- SAPS 1st Quarter 2015/16 performance
- Rhino Threat: SAPS briefing
- Kruger National Park: progress reports: SAPS briefing
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