Rule 201 Inquiry: continuation

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28 October 2015
Chairperson: Mr F Beukman (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Transcript SAPS BOC Meeting Magoebaskloof, Limpopo, July 2015 [Not available to public]
Minutes SAPS BOC Meeting Magoebaskloof, Limpopo, July 2015 [Not available to public]


The Committee met to continue deliberations into the National Assembly Rule 201 Inquiry into statements by SA Police Service (SAPS) senior management about their support for the National Commissioner in the wake of the findings by the Farlam Commission. 

The Committee began by considering the transcript of the meeting of the SAPS Board of Commissioner at Magoebaskloof, Limpopo in July 2015. It was clear that the Farlam Commission was discussed at the meeting. There were instances where Members felt the language used by the SAPS commissioners undermined the Farlam Commission and were not indicative of good governance or good leadership when it was needed. There was a running theme of “deafening silence” and need for the commissioners to come out and say something. Members were seeing the ground being laid for the statement and there was an encouragement for SAPS members to come out and say something especially when everyone was coming out except SAPS. Terms were used such as “get out of...cocoon to say something” to somewhat pressurise members into speaking up. The Committee also discussed discrepancies between the transcript and what was reflected in the minutes of that meeting – Members felt the minutes were not a true reflection of events and the Committee needed to investigate the authenticity of the minutes. There were also discrepancies between the transcript and SAPS members' testimonies to the Committee – it was clear there was no collective decision to release the statement – instead there were certain individuals pushing this position.  The motivation for the statement was not as Members had initially heard. SAPS commissioners had said that the statement was issued to boost morale and ensure ordinary SAPS members continue doing their job. It was clear from this transcript that the statement was motivated by a desire to contradict the Farlam Commission Report.

The Committee then considered Standing Order 156, which was the SAPS policy on communication, to assess whether the statements released complied with this Order. The Committee discussed implications of the statements, the fact that there were clear protocols and lines of accountability when interacting with the media, reference to the SAPS Act and its possible contravention, discrediting of the Service and criticism of government policy.

Members, in making general remarks, found it clear that there was no consensus in the decision to issue the statement but that the process was almost stoked by certain individuals. Members said there was an appropriate forum and manner in which to express disagreement and that commissioners were not truthful in presenting facts to the Committee. Discrepancies between documents were noted, there were serious issues with good governance, the statements were not in compliance with the Standing Order 156 and also possibly contravened certain sections of the SAPS Act and the statement embarrassed and discredited the Service.

Moving forward, a draft report would be compiled of considerations so far taking into account, inputs made by Members and from there possible recommendations could be considered.



Meeting report

Committee to Call SAPS Management for briefing on current student protests
The Chairperson pointed out that at the beginning of last week’s meeting, he made introductory comments around the critical need for role-players in the student protests against fee increases, to at all times adhere to the requirements of the law in creating an environment conducive to democratic debate and that the police should only intervene when really required. Subsequent to this meeting, there was a breach of Parliament’s security by protesting students – this was very serious because the SA Police Service (SAPS) was responsible for guarding this facility. The Committee then thought it appropriate and prudent to call SAPS management next week to brief Members on:
- Breach of Parliament and management of subsequent events and events on the day by Visible Policing and Public Order Policing
- Report by SAPS management on handling of student protests in the country to be updated on the number of events and outcomes of any arrests etc.
- Hear from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on any complaints which it may have received in terms of the protests.

Rule 201 Inquiry
The Chairperson said that the Committee would focus on the transcript from the SAPS Board of Commissioner (BOC) meeting in Magoebaskloof. Members were provided with the SAPS Act for their own reference and the Standing Order on the communication policy of SAPS. The Committee received from the Acting National Commissioner a copy of the BOC attendance register for 15 July 2015 (the Committee previously only received a copy for 16 July). The Committee also asked for the computer which was used to compile the minutes for the Magoebaskloof meeting – SAPS provided the Committee with the computer but to access it, the Committee required some technical expertise. The Committee would write to the Executive Authority to provide this support.

The Chairperson previously asked the Committee Content Adviser to look at the transcript and provide identities for the unidentified officials – this had been done as far as possible.

Transcript SAPS BOC Magoebaskloof Meeting 15 – 16 July 2015
The Committee went through the document page by page. It was important for Members to read the document mindful of what was deliberated last week when the Committee went through transcripts of its own meetings with the BOC on the issuing of statements during August 2015.

The Chairperson said it was clear there was a PowerPoint presentation on the Farlam Commission at that meeting.

Mr Irvin Kinnes, Committee Content Adviser, highlighted the National Commissioner (who was the chairperson as reflected in the transcripts) saying they would have to go back to the President giving their take on it and where there were disagreements (in reference to the report of the Farlam Commission).

The Chairperson also saw reference to the fact that some of the issues/things in the report were nonsense, if he interpreted it correctly.

Mr M Redelinghuys (DA) was fairly uncomfortable with the National Commissioner saying the members at the meeting should come with their own interpretation of the Farlam Commission Report – he found it undermined the legitimacy of the Report when it in fact had very clear recommendations.

Mr Z Mbhele (DA) noted the emphasis on continued policing or business as usual when the Farlam Commission Report made it clear there was a need for a paradigm shift. He found this emphasis to be a side sweep of the Farlam Commission.

Ms M Mmola (ANC) highlighted the National Commissioner saying the “silence was deafening”.

Mr Redelinghuys was most uncomfortable with the provocative language, almost inciting insurrection or adding fuel to fire as used by the National Commissioner after she says “silence was deafening”.

The Chairperson agreed – while the National Commissioner said she did not mean they must fight the report but there was a subtle implication. The presumption that the BOC was quiet implied that they should do something. The National Commissioner also raised the fact that she felt conflicted but this raised questions of good governance in terms of feeling conflicted yet staying on as chairperson. This was something for the Committee to consider.

Mr Redelinghuys again outlined provocative language laden with emotion used by the National Commissioner – he was concerned by terms used like “cowering under tables” at a time when she was supposed to provide leadership. He did not think use of such language was indicative of good governance.

Mr P Groenewald (FF+) found at certain times the National Commissioner spoke as if she found the Farlam Commission a waste of time.

Mr Mbhele highlighted the National Commissioner saying “I want the leadership to actually say…we must stand for what we believe” – this was close to an instruction to take a position.

The Chairperson agreed that it was like a clarion call throughout this particular part of the text.

Mr Kinnes noted that he tried as much as possible to identify the unidentified speakers but he may be incorrect.

Mr Groenewald said if the Committee was not 100 per cent sure of the identity of the speaker, it could not be accepted.

The Chairperson said the speaker would remain as unidentified until there was certainty of the identity. He found the following extract quite interesting from the National Commissioner: “I have a lot to say; I'll say it one day”. He questioned what this meant.

Mr Redelinghuys said that the comments made by one unidentified speaker were quite concerning especially if this was a member of the BOC. He found the comments conveyed a general undermining and disdain of the commission process and outcomes. It would be important for the Committee to indentify the individual and ask him/her to confirm or deny these sentiments conveyed.

The Chairperson took note of this.

Mr Groenewald pointed out the National Commissioner stating: “Who out there feels what you are feeling…I am not saying respond to but speak up”. It seemed as if the National Commissioner wanted to excuse herself but at the same time members needed to say something – this was the essence of the issue for him.

Mr Mbhele highlighted the National Commissioner saying “silence….so the outcome of the Commission carries”. He felt the fact that there was silence was immaterial because the outcomes of the Commissioner carried regardless. It also undermined the outcomes of the Commission.

The Chairperson said it added to the subtle communication that the members of the BOC really needed to come to the party. It would be flagged.

Mr Groenewald felt it important because he interpreted the comment as saying: silence meant the Commission’s outcomes carried so speaking out would show the members differed from the findings of the Commission. This had to be linked with the National Commissioner saying “I am not saying respond but speak up” i.e. for the members to speak up and say they differed from the findings of the Commission.

Mr Redelinghuys added the National Commissioner later said “how baffled we are by the outcome” – he assumed this referred to the outcome of the Farlam Commission and not necessarily the outcomes of Marikana.

Mr Groenewald did not understand the National Commissioner saying about the 'operational plan for Marikana and at which policing school one would have done that.

Mr Kinnes explained the Farlam Commission found plans were changed in the National Management Forum (NMF) so what the National Commissioner was saying in the transcript was in reference to this finding.

Mr Groenewald said that this then was serious.

The Chairperson again raised the points relating to silence and not speaking up.

Mr Redelinghuys felt it referred to the general thread of undermining the legitimacy and findings of the Farlam Commission Report.

Mr Groenewald raised the testimony by Lt. Gen. Christabel Mbekela (SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Corporate Service Management) that the National Commissioner was being left to stand on her own – the testimony created the impression that she sympathised with the National Commissioner and that no one sided with her. He felt this laid the ground for the BOC to position itself to stand with the National Commissioner.

The Chairperson said this point would be flagged.

Mr Redelinghuys was seeing the build up to the idea of making a statement for the BOC to have a voice.

Mr Kinnes brought to the Committee’s attention the statement saying “in the NMF we were there and there was never any discussion on the plans for Marikana”.

Mr Redelinghuys added “what is going to stop us then from saying it right away in the papers” was a follow up statement to the one highlighted above. In other words, there would be public differing from the material findings made by the Marikana Commission.

Ms L Mabija (ANC) indicated this was the beginning of responding to the National Commissioner saying the silence was deafening. Lt. Gen. Mbekela, thereafter, began satisfying the needs of the National Commissioner.

Mr Kinnes, listening to the transcripts, got the impression that the commissioners were raising the fact that individuals who had previously spoken to the press were not united with the BOC and did not speak on behalf of SAPS.

The Chairperson asked if this was the NMC meeting where the minutes or transcript mysteriously disappeared. The Farlam Commission Report did refer to the mysterious vanishing of minutes.

Mr Kinnes said the Committee would have to follow up on this for confirmation.

Mr Redelinghuys sought clarity on what was meant by Lt. Gen. Mbekela saying “that was a side meeting”. What side meeting was this?

Mr Kinnes responded that he was not sure what Lt. Gen. Mbekela was referring to.

Mr Groenewald found it important to note what Lt. Gen. Mbekela said: “what I am saying is that as the leadership if we don’t come out, I mean, of the cocoon and we actually say this is our understanding, I mean, of what happened, of what transpired”. This was further to encourage members to get of their cocoon and say something. This could also be linked to other remarks made earlier.

The Chairperson agreed – it formed part of a running theme to come out and say something.

Mr Groenewald again raised what was said by Lt. Gen. Mbekela: “so I think it us up to us now…do we want to take a stand as well…it’s the first meeting, I mean, since the release of the report. We still have an opportunity to say, I mean, from the bigger platform of the BOC. This is what we are saying in terms of what we have got from the report. I mean, the POPCRUs, they come, they comment and then, in terms of that, and they express, I mean, they think they are going to be doing but as management, we keep quiet because we are only thinking of my safety, I mean, that I must not be seen like I’m doing but when you stand for the truth, it stands the test of time”. He thought this was further encouragement to say everyone else was coming out except us. This was relevant as further encouragement for the release of the statement.

The Chairperson said it was further confirmation that the BOC was the vehicle, as the bigger platform, to take these ideas forward. This was the first indication in the text of where the idea for the statement was born.

Mr Redelinghuys felt as if there was an effort to sweep up the BOC to this point. Although he was hesitant to say so, it was almost as if people were planted to get to this point with the National Commissioner confirming as they went along.

Ms Mmola found Lt. Gen. Mmamonnye Ngobeni (SAPS Provincial Commissioner: KZN), at this point, agreeing with Lt. Gen. Mbekela. There was also instance by the two that Lt. Gen. Solomon Makgale (SAPS Head of Communication) should speak on behalf of the BOC. This contradicted the testimony provided to the Committee by Lt. Gen. Makgale that all the members of the BOC collectively decided on the idea of the statement.

The Chairperson said this was critical – the version the Committee heard was that the lunch time session was used to wrap up the issues but here already the ground was being laid for what would be contained in the statement.

Mr Groenewald wanted to ensure the Committee was sure this was Lt. Gen. Ngobeni because previously the individual was referred to as unidentified. It was very important to be accurate with identities.

Mr Kinnes affirmed this. He listened to the tapes twice to ensure this.

Mr Redelinghuys noted the testimony received by the Committee was that the statement was issued to boost morale and ensure ordinary members were doing their jobs. It was however clear from this transcript that the statement was motivated by a desire to contradict what the report of the Farlam Commission had said. This was a different narrative to what the Committee initially heard.

The Chairperson said this was also important because at this time, the BOC was still aware the National Commissioner had to provide her representations to the President and the President still needed to consider this process.

Mr Groenewald highlighted Lt. Gen. Ngobeni saying “we think that…is an opportunity. There will always be leadership. What you do to another person you must know that one way or the other, it will actually come to you…so we need to [stand] together as a team and be able to defend this organisation. If we are not going to be united in defending each other everyone is going to take us for granted and everyone is going to ridicule this organisation”. He interpreted this as a call for everyone to stand together as the leadership by the side of the National Commissioner. Further remarks were made about what was currently in the papers being “crap” while members were very silent. Also no one else was saying anything from the side of SAPS except those who were opportunistic or thought that they could do better. He found these remarks to be rather pressurising and important to note.

The Chairperson agreed.

Mr Mbhele highlighted possible contradictions in acting as part of a team or collective consensus which was the narrative the Committee initially heard. In this transcript however, there were almost threatening allegations of people in the team who were not acting as part of the team almost warning those who went against the idea of a united front – this was expressed by Lt. Gen. Lesetja Mothiba (SAPS Provincial Commissioner: Gauteng).

The Chairperson noted this.

Ms Mabija, reading the text, found the commissioners to be under pressures from the National Commissioner. The commissioners apologised to the Committee for acting under pressure.

Mr Redelinghuys highlighted the National Commissioner saying “I just want to say, defend your own institution if you have the opportunity to. End of story”. This fell short of being an instruction but it encouraged the members of the BOC to stand up.

Mr Groenewald highlighted Maj. Gen. Thembisile Patekile (Acting SAPS Provincial Commissioner: Western Cape) saying: “…I think we need to say, as you were saying, to all agree to have the public confidence out there to say we stand behind you as this management”.

The Chairperson added Maj. Gen. Patekile later said “I am new here but we cannot be so silent”.

Mr Groenewald highlighted text from Lt. Gen. Mbekela indicating she had a problem with the composition of the Commission as she came from Transkei. What did she mean by this? Was she saying everyone in Transkei was black and now the Commissioner was chaired by a white person? The Committee might need to flag this area for further consideration.

The Chairperson said it was difficult to determine what was meant by the text.

Mr Groenewald highlighted text from Lt. Gen. Cynthia Binta (SAPS Provincial Commissioner: Eastern Cape) which provided further confirmation of the encouragement to stand together. After Lt. Gen. Binta spoke, the National Commissioner said she would pause the meeting because members would like to do other things. He understood this to mean she did not want the statement to be done after lunch.

Mr Kinnes found this very ambiguous – Mr Groenewald could be correct but it could also refer to the fact that there were other items on the agenda to get through.

Mr Redelinghuys supported what Mr Groenewald was saying – Lt. Gen. Binta says: “we have to do this now. We have no opportunity...because the next opportunity we have is September”. Lt. Gen. Binta introduced the idea and the National Commissioner applied a pause because she did not want the statement to be done after lunch. In a way, the National Commissioner was trying to bring a close to the discussion – this was the way he saw it.

The Chairperson critically outlined that the Committee was supplied with minutes of the BOC which was referred to in the Committee meeting last week. In the minutes it stated: the provincial commissioners agreed to meet during lunch to discuss the matter further as well as to engage corporate communication to assist. This however was not reflected in the transcript and there was only one deduction to make from this.

Ms Mabija, if she understood, it meant the minutes were cooked and not genuine. There was a clear contradiction between the minutes and the transcript. She already said in a previous meeting that she did not trust the minutes- there was something not correct with SAPS leadership.

Mr Redelinghuys said the purpose of minutes was to provide an accurate reflection of decisions taken during a meeting or discussion held. The way these minutes were phrased did not give an accurate reflection of the lead up to the meeting during lunch.

The Chairperson added getting assistance from corporate communication was also not reflected in the transcript – this was the problem and it was really mind boggling.

Mr Mbhele noted that at least two provincial commissioners had not spoken at this point – Northern Cape and Free State. This was an issue because it was clear there was no consensus as was initially heard by the Committee.

The Chairperson added there was no formal proposal or decision as reflected in the minutes - the idea was just brought up by the three provincial commissioners along with Lt. Gen. Mbekela. He noted the rest of the transcript dealt with Operation Fiela so it was not relevant.

SAPS Standing Order 156: Communication Services
The Chairperson provided Members with an update on where the process was at – the Committee had last week looked at and deliberated on the statements issued during July and August 2015, the Committee dealt with the process leading up to the issuing of the statement specifically by looking at the transcripts of the BOC as well as deliberating on the transcripts of the Committee’s engagements with some SAPS senior management and provincial commissioners. To recap on the Committee Terms of Reference for the inquiry, the Committee wanted to:
-establish and consider whether the relevant officers were truth with their testimony in presenting their case leading up to the issuing of the said statement
-establish and consider whether documents and electronic material made available to the Committee verified the statements made during the said Committee meetings
-establish and consider whether the relevant statements were made in compliance with Standing Order 156.

This Standing Order 156 highlighted that management at all levels must continuously bear in mind media implications of their decisions and consult with media liaison officers in developing proactive communication plans; all media related matters must be dealt with by the office of the National Commissioner or provincial commissioner; cluster stations or units must direct or redirect all media interactions to the national or provincial communication office; members must consult the relevant media liaison official before making on his or her own initiative, official statements to the media to ensure the Service received the maximum benefit of exposure; a media liaison official must evaluate the information they intended to supply to the media to ensure that no sensitive information or information that may expose the Service was communicated to the media and only a member who was designated as an official spokesperson for the National Commissioner, deputy national commissioner, divisional commissioner, provincial commissioner and cluster or station commander may be quoted as the official spokesperson of such office.

The Chairperson said the real issue was whether the statements made by the various commissioners were in line with Standing Order 156.

The Committee then went through the National Instruction page by page.

Mr Groenewald thought the following point was important: “management at all levels must continuously bear in mind the media implications of their decisions and consult with media liaison officers in developing proactive communication plans”. This meant it was important to understand implications and it would not be so easy then to say one did not foresee the implications.

The Chairperson highlighted: “a member must consult the relevant media liaison official before making on his or her own initiative, official statements to the media to ensure the Service received maximum benefit from exposure”.

Mr Groenewald added it was also important to note: “a member must immediately, after having communicated with the media, inform the national or provincial commissioner…of what was communicated to the media to enable the monitoring thereof”. The question then was if there was monitoring of the media after the release of the statement of the provincial commissioners.

The Chairperson reminded Members that some of the testimony received from the Committee's initial interaction was that a commissioner drove past a media board and then decided to issue a statement – this begged the question, in terms of decision making and procedure, was this in line with this media policy? Besides this, questions are raised about the implications of issuing the statement while the President was still considering the recommendations of the Farlam Commission. BOC members were also aware that there were findings about the National Commissioner in the report of the Commission - not withstanding this, the statement was still issued.

Mr Mbhele raised other points of the Standing Order which reinforced the implications.

The Chairperson said this would be flagged.

Mr Groenewald noted the Order made reference to a section 70 of the SAPS Act: “…if such a member wilfully discloses information in which he or she knows, or would reasonably be expected to know, that disclosure will or may prejudicially affect the powers and function of the Service”. As far as he was concerned, the statement of the commissioners was wilful when they were reasonably expected to know what the results were going to be. The statement by the provincial commissioners meant they put themselves into a political field which in essence went against the functions of the Service. He thought the Committee would have to investigate whether the commissioners contravened this section 70 of the SAPS Act and this point of the media policy of SAPS itself.

The Chairperson said this was a finding which the Committee would have to decide to make and recommend to the Executive Authority.

Mr Redelinghuys highlighted the point in the Standing Order which said “no member…may in anyway furnish any information to the media which may defeat or obstruct the course of justice”. There was a judicial commission underway so this was something for the Committee to take into consideration.

The Chairperson said this section would also need to be flagged to establish whether it discredited the Service by blurring the role between politics and public service.

Mr Groenewald noted: “a request for information, statement or interview relating to....a national investigation...must be referred to the office of the National Commissioner, Deputy National Commissioner or Head Corporate Communication”. He suggested this be flagged because if the National Commissioner said she had no involvement then this was a contravention of this Standing Order especially because this particular section made reference to a national investigation so her office would have need to have been alerted.

Mr Redelinghuys supported this by stating reference to the fact that all media related queries should be referred to the National Commissioner’s office or the provincial commissioner’s office. There was a level of accountability at the office of the National Commissioner which the Committee should inquire if it was there in this instance especially because it involved a matter which clearly had national implications – was the National Commissioner supposed to sign off and if not, why not or who did?

The Chairperson agreed this was an important point.

Mr Redelinghuys also highlighted the importance placed on accountability in the Standing Order by noting: “Every member is accountable for statements or comments to the media made by him or her and must give careful consideration to what he or she says and perceptions that may be created by his or her statement or comment”. This meant members who put their name to a statement were individually accountable.

The Chairperson said there was already consensus and it was clear that everybody who signed the statement or willingly associated themselves with the statement, must take collective and individual accountability.

Mr Groenewald noted the reference made to government policy criticism: “A member may not, in his or her official capacity, irresponsibly criticise Government policy at a public gathering or in a publication or in the media”. He thought the statement was irresponsible so this part should be flagged for recommendations and decisions the Committee makes.

Mr Redelinghuys added that the Order also said: “Only the National Commissioner may publicly criticise political parties, the national media in general...” This raised the question of whether it was possible for the BOC to issue a statement that dealt with such an issue when the Standing Order was clear that only the National Commissioner could do so.

The Chairperson reminded Members that the Deputy Minister of Police testified to the Committee that there was no liaison between the BOC and the Ministry in issuing the statement – this was problematic in the sense that the issue should have been taken to a higher authority, because of the nature of the matter, for clarification.

Mr J Maake (ANC) wanted to know if the findings made in the report of the Farlam Commission held the weight of decisions of the court.

Mr Kinnes explained that it depended on the recommendations made by the Commission – in most cases, where there is a government-appointed judicial commission of inquiry, the department/s adhere to the recommendations. It is not an order of the court, as it were, but it is frowned upon if the department does not implement recommendations particularly if the commission was chaired by a judge of the High Court – it would be very difficult for the department to go against those recommendations unless it was challenged in a court of law.

Mr Maake asked this because the Standing Order said: “Only an area, provincial or divisional commissioner, a Deputy National Commissioner or the National Commissioner may comment negatively or make negative statements regarding the outcome of a case in a court” – would this be relevant in this case?

Mr Kinnes responded that he was not sure but this section referred to a court case which the police had investigated while the matter at hand was different and dealt with a commission of inquiry and not a particular case.

The Chairperson said the Committee had effectively dealt with all the material – the outstanding matter was the electronic minutes of the meeting held at Magoebaskloof – the Committee had got the computer from SAPS but needed an IT specialist to assist. There were a few people who contacted the Committee to say they were not present at the Magoebaskloof meeting and did not sign any documents – it was clear at this stage who were present and that many officials were there but did not sign the statement. Not all divisional commissioners or deputy national commissioners were present at the meeting.

The Chairperson opened the floor for Members to make initial general reflections on broad issues with possible findings made so far, given the materials used for the 201 inquiry, in terms of whether the relevant officers were truthful to testimony; whether the documents made available to the Committee verified statements made to the Committee and Standing Order 156 compliance; whether the statements discredited SAPS or influenced processes and bigger issues of oversight and accountability in terms of good governance. At the next meeting there would be a draft report outlining the aim of the investigation, discussion and comments by Members, the time line and evaluations so far.

Mr Mbhele thought the key thing to take away from the process was the very clear understanding that the notion of consensus around the process and the final position that led to the statement was, to put it mildly, fudged by the provincial commissioners and Lt. Gen. Makgale in their testimony. It was a more unstable and, to a degree, managed and stoked process that led some provincial commissioners, who might otherwise have expressed stronger dissenting opinion or at least stronger doubt, going along with the flow of silence – which was a running theme. This explained why there was a BOC statement instead of a statement from the National Commissioner’s office. The statement issued on 13 August, which was subsequent to the Committee’s engagement with the BOC on 12 August, was not issued with consensus and there was not a sense of unity among the provincial commissioners as seen by the doubts expressed by Lt. Gen. Thabethe Mpembe (SAPS Provincial Commissioner: Free State). This gave the sense that there was a bit of cajoling and subtle threatening with a very strong lead taken by Lt. Gen. Mbekela and others who kind of pointed the way forward and that it would not reflect well on anyone who did not go along with this. For him, the idea of consensus was not there and this was what the testimony provided to the Committee hinged on.

Mr Groenewald observed that the Farlam Commission was not just a minor investigation but had big international implications for SAPS and the country at large. When the findings of the Commission came forward and accused some people of certain acts, of course that specific person had the right to make their differences known but in the appropriate forum and in the appropriate manner. He would say the BOC members before the Committee, in presenting facts, were not truthful, especially Lt. Gen. Mbekela. He got the impression that behind closed doors, between the National Commissioner and Lt. Gen. Mbekela, there was some discussion on how to deal with the whole issue. Looking at the material the Committee received, it seemed this was exactly what happened. Looking at the transcripts, the National Commissioner would speak and then Lt. Gen. Mbekela would come in supporting her very strongly, creating the false impression that she was impartial. The Committee would have to sort out discrepancies between some of the documents provided such as between the minutes and transcript. It was quite clear the statement was not made in compliance with the Standing Order – the Committee should investigate contravention of section 70 of the SAPS Act and steps should be taken. He thought the statement embarrassed and discredited SAPS. Furthermore, he thought the statement sort of threatened the President, saying that if he wanted to fire the National Commissioner, he should know, all nine provincial commissioners supported her and in fact they should be fired then too and a crisis would be created in the SAPS – this was the serious nature of the statement in support of the National Commissioner.

Mr Maake thought those party to the statement were wrong in terms of Standing Order 156, especially because it stated: “Management at all levels must continuously bear in mind the media implications of their decisions and consult with media liaison officials in developing pro-active communication plans”. Furthermore: Whenever a member performs a function of the Service in public, such member represents the Service and he or she must conduct himself or herself in such a manner that he or she promotes the image of the Service as a professional Service. Such member must therefore refrain from making ill-considered, irresponsible, discriminatory statements or comments or use foul language”. This was also supported by the fact that: “No member may make comments or statements which can be construed or imply to be an opinion which is shared by another member or the management of the Service unless such member has a mandate to do so”. Unless' ill-considered' or 'irresponsible' were relative, according to the Standing Order, he would think the Standing Order was not followed.

The Chairperson referred to the statement issued four months before the Magoebaskloof meeting where it stated that out of respect for the Farlam Commission, SAPS had taken a decision that no public pronouncements would be made about the report, its findings or recommendations. In the interim, SAPS ensured that public policing would continue as normal. The Committee would have to look at all the different aspects highlighted by Members. It was quite clear, in terms of good governance principles, there were serious problems. After a draft report was compiled, taking into account Member’s input during the duration of the inquiry, recommendations would be deliberated on. In terms of process, Members should look at the SAPS Act to consider roles played and whether that, for the National Commissioner, would also be looked into. The draft report would be circulated and Members could then make recommendations.

The meeting was adjourned.

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