Independent Complaints Directorate Annual Report

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07 March 2003
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


7 March 2003

Mr M George

Documents handed out:
Independent Complaints Directorate Powerpoint Presentation
Independent Complaints Directorate Statistics [Please note that the graphs do not appear on the internet version, please email for the full document]

ICD Delegation: Executive Director, Adv K McKenzie; Director: Investigations, Mr T Tshabalala; Deputy Manager: Database & Research, Mr M Dlamini; Finance Chief Director, Ms E Verster; Manager: Support Services, Mr E Valoyi; Deputy Manager: Communications and Marketing, Mr S Mabona.

Independent Complaints Directorate website

The Independent Complaints Directorate briefed the Committee regarding their 2002/3 annual report and its programme for 2003/4. It reported a drop in police-actioned deaths or deaths in custody. There was also a drop in police misconduct complaints from the public. The ICD has taken on some corruption complaints as well since the closure of the police anti-corruption unit. The Committee remarked that the ICD had certainly improved and developed since its inception in 1997.

In her opening remarks, Adv McKenzie noted that they would brief the Committee concerning the Complaints Registry, Monitoring and Research Programme, Investigation Programme, Administration Programme and on Budget Information.

Complaints Registry, Monitoring and Research Programme
Mr M Dlamini noted that the one of the aims of this programme is to bring about changes in errant police behaviour by developing pro-active recommendations. He noted that as the result of the unit that had been set up within the police services, there had been a decline in the number of people dying in police custody or as the result of police action during April-Dec 2002. In the same period, police misconduct complaints had declined by 8 percent compared to 2001. (See document for information on the deaths caused by police action, their other offences and misconduct cases).

Mr M Booi (ANC) congratulated the ICD on the progress it has made since its inception. He noted the need to involve communities in the policing process and asked if there are any projects in place involving communities.

Adv McKenzie responded that there are various projects that the ICD had undertaken involving communities. During those projects they noted the importance of the police and locals working together in fighting crime and urge them and the communities to cooperate by reporting crimes that are committed in those areas.

Mr Booi asked how does ICD relate with the Metro Police Services.

Adv McKenzie responded that as with the SAPS, there is always animosity due to the nature of the work. However, there are numerous programmes that ICD undertakes that involve both the MPS and the SAPS. This involves regular training meetings so as to assist with the problems encountered in the performance of their service.

Adv P Swart (DP) asked if ICD monitors police training.

Adv McKenzie responded that the focus of ICD is on human rights and therefore with the assistance of the division commissioners they do monitor all training that relates to human rights.

Mr R Zondo (ANC) noted that the ICD should develop a plan, which would minimize the use of firearms by the police officers when arresting suspects.

Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) asked what ICD could be do to ensure that police capture suspects without firing any shots at them.

Mr Tshabalala responded that the use of force forms an integral part of being a police officer, especially in robbery cases such as heists. This is the reason why most shootings take place at the scene of the crime. Taking into account that the use of force is allowed by Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act in certain circumstances, the question should be about the degree of force used. However this will also largely be determined by the facts of each case balancing the reasonability of the force used and the crime committed.

Adv Swart noted the large number of suicides taking place in police custody and asked how this could be prevented.

Mr Dlamini replied that there is research project being conducted by the ICD in collaboration with the SAPS on the causes of suicide in custody. The research project together with the proposed recommendations would be made available to the Committee in due course.

Mr J Schippers (NNP) requested that ICD provide the Committee with recent statistics on the use of force.

Mr Dlamini responded that ICD would be launching a research project on this issue and thereafter the findings would be made available to the Committee.

Adv Swart asked whether the tactics used are successful in combating police crimes in South Africa, compare to those used in other countries.

Adv McKenzie replied that compared to other developing countries such as Brazil, South Africa is in a favorable position. This is evident from the fact that its death poll involving police actions had dramatically decreased. However it would not be fair to compare SA with developed countries such as UK due to the advanced nature of the technology used in those countries.

Rev Meshoe asked in what common instance would policemen refuse to perform their duties and what ICD has done to ensure performance of duties by those officers.

The Chair noted that police work within paramilitary institutions and any refusal by them to obey orders is dealt with in accordance with paramilitary procedures. Therefore such cases should not have been referred to ICD since they had nothing to do with it.

Mr Dlamini responded that the department believed that police officials have a duty towards the general public and such should perform such duty. Thus when the public complains of the police not wanting to perform their duties, then something had to be done and that is why they investigate misconduct and make recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Investigations Programme
Mr T Tshabalala, Director: Investigations, noted that this programme investigates the deaths resulting from police/metro actions or custody, allegations of criminality or misconduct on the part of SAPS or Metro members. The increase of cases relating to misconduct was largely due to the closure of the SAPS Anti-corruption Unit. The challenge is to effectively deal with the increased corruption referrals to the ICD and to capacitate investigators to deal with the changing face of police crime. Ssee document for full details.

Mr Zondo asked if the ICD sends its investigators for training on how to monitor cases.

Mr Tshabalala responded that both their investigators at national and provincial offices, depending on their levels, have been sent for training on monitoring.

Mr Schippers asked if the ICD has taken over the function of the Anti-corruption Unit and if so what impact has it had in combating police corruption.

Adv McKenzie replied that after the closure of that unit, all case relating to police corruption have been referred to ICD and this immensely increased their scope of operations. Since they are not the traditional custodians of this type of crime, they are not yet in a position to comment on the impact that they have had. However their progress would be reviewed at the end of the financial year.

Mr E Ferreira (IFP) noted that it seemed as if ICD did not handle many corruption cases since the report does not reflect a large volume of police corruption taking place in practice.

Adv McKenzie acknowledged the point. She reiterated the fact that the ICD had originally not been the custodian of corruption cases. The corruption cases they investigated were referred to them by either public members or referral organisations such as the Human Rights Commission. However the Scorpions or the division commissioners investigated most corruption cases, which could not be referred to ICD.

Mr Tshabalala concurred with the Executive Director and restated the fact that ICD relied heavily on complaints referred to them by the general public or by non-governmental organisations.

Adv Swart noted that despite this, the Committee would appreciate it if the ICD were to provide it with statistics regarding police corruption. The Chair concurred noting that someone has to be accountable regarding this matter and the Committee would like to know whether police corruption has decreased, escalated or stabilized.

Administration Programme
Mr E Valoyi noted that at its inception in 1997, the ICD had only 36 employees. There are now 166 funded posts, 133 are filled so only 33 posts are vacant and Inter-Departmental Task Teams (IDTT) had given a go-ahead them to be advertised. The gender margin within the management has been narrowed down from 8:3 to 6:5. There are 23 tertiary students who are currently receiving bursaries from the ICD. (See document for full input.)

The Chair asked what criteria the ICD uses to allocate the bursaries, are they full-time or part0time students and what happened to the bursary holders once they finished their studies.

Adv McKenzie noted that they would submit the statistics relating to bursary allocation and the criteria used to the Committee in due course.

Budget Information
Ms E Verster presented noted that the amount the budget for the 2002/3 financial year was R31 902 000 and projections showed that there would be a 100 percent expenditure of the budget. (See document for full input.)

Ms A Van Wyk (UDM) asked that based on the budget the ICD had received for 2002/3 and the targets it had identified, had it been able to reach those targets.

Mr Tshabalala responded that taking into account the resources available at their disposal and their measurable objects, he is of the view that ICD has achieved its targets for 2002/3.

The Chair thanked the ICD for its presentation and noted that there has indeed been an improvement on the part of the ICD. He noted that there were some important points in the Powerpoint presentation that was not contained in the hard copy document. He requested that the ICD make that available to the Committee as soon as possible.

Adv McKenzie acknowledged that there were parts of the slide presentation not contained in the hard copy document and attributed that failure to a printing error. They would provide this.

The meeting was adjourned.


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