South African Police Service on their 3rd Quarterly performance & Impact of reprioritisation of the Budget

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09 March 2016
Chairperson: Mr F Beukman (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to work through a very packed agenda for the day with the SA Police Service (SAPS). Before getting into the briefings, the Committee Chairperson reported that there had been a very successful firearms roundtable discussion the previous day with relevant SAPS officials and stakeholders in the firearms industry. The purpose had been to address concerns raised since late last year, such as communication and licensing, and to attempt to deal with them.

The Chairperson also succinctly addressed the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI/Hawks), as the unit had been in the media spotlight over the last few weeks in terms of certain high profile investigations under way. The Chairperson felt it prudent to highlight the relevant constitutional and legislative arrangements governing the functioning of the DPCI, along with the oversight mandate of the Committee. It was critical that citizens had confidence in the law enforcement agency and that they knew the appropriate legislative mechanisms available for citizens in the case of complaints related to the conduct of members of the DPCI. In this respect, the role of the DPCI judge was outlined. The Committee was in agreement with the sentiments expressed by the Chairperson, and further discussions on the financial independence of the Hawks would be discussed by the Committee after the Parliamentary recess.

SAPS then briefed the Committee on its third quarter financial report for 2015/16, beginning with an outline of the budget process and outcome of the budget process for 2015/16. Members were also informed of an expenditure analysis for the third quarter of 2015/16, total spending for the vote in 2015/16 as compared to 2014/15, and a comparison of cumulative monthly spending with the previous financial years. The presentation also highlighted monthly spending compared to estimates as at 31 December 2015 for the Department's five programmes – Administration, Visible Policing (VISPOL), Detective Services, Crime Intelligence and Protection and Security Services.

The Committee engaged in extensive discussion on a number of issues related to the presentation. Some Members bemoaned the fact that some items lacked timeframes, which made it difficult to monitor the SAPS’ performance. Other questions were raised around the reasons for under-spending on buildings and infrastructure, crime prevention, programme three (Detective Services) and the Forensic Service Laboratory and Criminals Records Centre, as part of the Criminal Justice System. The increased spending on VIP protection also raised concern. The Committee discussed salary increases, the spending on the Civilian Secretariat for Police, accommodation charges, spending on Nyala armoured vehicles, and why vehicles were delivered only in the latter half of the year, raising the suspicion that this could constitute fiscal dumping.

Some Members found that the presentation had displayed progressive and impressive spending trends and a positive aggregate picture of financial reporting, where targets were met and irregular expenditure was low. However, they found it difficult to then understand how these big budgets did not translate into a change on the ground, in that the same complaints were repeatedly relayed by communities. The Committee also questioned the status of the Sanlam building lease saga, additional funding for Public Order Policing (POP), outstanding municipal payments/accounts, who was responsible for the maintenance of SAPS buildings and the recruitment process for retired SAPS members – were these individuals headhunted or did they apply, and what were the general prescripts to be re-enlisted into the Service?

A Member of Parliament visited the Committee specifically to relay concerns about the SAPS policy on the use of reservists. He highlighted a specific case in the Eastern Cape, where people had been reservists for over ten years. They did everything a police member did -- wore a uniform, carried a gun and were placed on the roster, yet were not remunerated. The MP wanted to know exactly what was being done in such a situation and how the policy on reservists related to labour relations legislation.

SAPS also briefed the Committee on the impact of the reprioritisation of the budget for the 2016 estimates of National Expenditure. The presentation covered the background to the issue of reprioritisation, baseline reductions, focus areas for budget reductions, programmes affected and the way forward.

Members sought the assurance that frontline services and delivery would not be adversely affected by these budget cuts. Other questions were raised about the effect of the cuts on quarter four, the use of consultants and contrasts in spending particularly in terms of the disproportionate spending on VIP protection. 

Although Members would only be able to engage on the presentation after the parliamentary recess when the SAPS Annual Performance Plan was presented, there was a briefing on the budget of programme four: Crime Intelligence for the 2015/16 financial year. The presentation provided an overview of the 2015/16 operational budget, main cost drivers, total expenditure and actual performance against what was targeted for 2015/16. The presentation also looked at major projects of the 2015/16 financial year, the projected 2016/17 budget allocation and spending priorities for 2016/17.

Meeting report

Firearms roundtable
The Chairperson opened the meeting by indicating that yesterday afternoon, there had been a roundtable discussion with representatives of the firearms group industry, the new head of Visible Policing and the head of the Firearms Liquor and Second Hand Goods Control (FLASH) in the SA Police Service (SAPS). The purpose of the roundtable had been to address concerns raised since December last year and to attempt to deal with them. There was now a communication panel available to the relevant role players in the firearms industry, and constructive discussion which would be monitored. It was important to implement the recommendations made at the firearms summit last year, and there should be commitment to keep the forums of communication open between industry role players and SAPS. Later in the year, the Committee would deal with the Firearms Amendment Act and then also interact with the relevant role players.

Some issues raised in the roundtable yesterday included the licensing process but it had been agreed that this would be taken further in the relevant forums with SAPS in future. A draft report on the roundtable would be made available to Members. 

Media issues regarding Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI)
The Chairperson said the DPCI (the Hawks) had been the subject of intense media debate over the last couple of weeks with regard to certain high profile investigations under way. It was indeed not the first time since 1994 that investigations by law enforcement agencies had been in the spotlight and it would surely not be the last. The Committee, as the Parliamentary oversight body of the SAPS and the DPCI, was of the view that it was important to highlight the relevant constitutional and legislative arrangements that governed the functions of the DPCI, and to ensure that the framework was maintained.

It was critical that SA citizens had confidence in their law enforcement agencies – the unit’s independence and the tenure of its head and staff had been the subject of various court cases and a Constitutional Court judgement. Any undue aspersion on the role of the constitutional or investigative agencies without merit or prosecutional fairness was not in the national interest. SA was a constitutional state. There was also a relevant framework of oversight which was in place – the Committee, since the commencement of the Fifth Parliament in 2014, had executed its oversight in terms of section 42 (3) of the Constitution and the Rules of Parliament over the DPCI. The Committee had had more than 12 engagements with the Directorate since 2014 – three of them focused on the budget, two on annual reports, three on the issue of the suspended previous head, two on specialised investigations, one on the DPCI revised policy guidelines and one on the DPCI mandate and budget.

In terms of section 7 D (1) of the SAPS, functions of the DPCI included investigating national priority offences. The Committee wanted to reiterate the importance of the DPCI as an independent crime fighting institution. Principles had been laid out in the Constitutional Court judgement of 27 November 2014, on the constitutional obligation to create an anti-corruption unit that enjoyed adequate structural and operational independence. There was also the mandate by the national head of the DPCI to decide on the national priority offences which would be investigated by the DPI, outside of legislative prescripts and along with the policy guidelines for the selection of national priority offences which were tabled before the Committee on 28 August 2015. The DPCI should be able to conduct its investigations without fear or favour. This was truly important in light of the need to conduct high profile and all other investigations with professionalism and integrity. The Committee had also raised the issue of vetting of all DPCI investigators and having proper persons in terms of appointments.

It was important to highlight the appropriate legislative mechanisms available to citizens in case of complaints in relation to the conduct of members of the DPCI. In this respect, the role of the DPCI judge should be emphasised, as set out in section 17 L of the SAPS Act, as amended. The current judge of the DPCI was retired Judge Essa Moosa, and his office investigated complaints from the public against the Hawks, and the Hawks itself in respect to investigations. The two categories of complaints included complaints by members of the public in respect of serious and unlawful infringement of their rights caused by an investigation conducted by the Hawks. This was a legislative mechanism, if people felt unhappy about a Hawks investigation. The other category of complaint was from members of the Hawks with respect to any alleged improper influence or interference in an investigation. In the 2014/15 financial year, Parliament had approved an amount of R5.3 million for the effective functioning of the office of the DPCI judge.   

The Chairperson stressed that it was important that the Committee fostered and promoted the confidence of the public in the law enforcement agencies. The strength of the SA public’s safety sector lay in its commitment to the rule of law, the oversight framework to regulate the relevant agencies and the applicable accountability framework for the law enforcement agencies. The public, or any aggrieved party, had access to this authority, namely, the DPCI judge. The Committee believed this was the appropriate channel for any complaints that may arise due to the conduct of the DPCI. The Committee would continue to oversee the relevant agencies as per the constitutional and parliamentary mandate.

Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said that the DA agreed with all the points outlined by the Chairperson in terms of the constitutional and statutory framework governing the mandate of the Hawks, and that they should be maintained. Mechanisms like the role of the DPCI judge had not yet entered the public debate and it was important not to forget these avenues to address any concerns in this regard. It was important to make the specific mandate of the Hawks salient whenever any issues arose around this role in any investigation. Where questions arose of merit, they needed to be clarified to assure the sound professionalism and integrity of Hawks’ investigations. All in all, questions must be answered and issues addressed to gain clarity and endorse the confidence in the Hawks by citizens, institutions and society at large.

Mr M Redelinghuys (DA) added that the independence of the Hawks was critical and was central to the agency doing its work without fear or favour. He was disappointed, and found it illustrative, of how its independence had been compromised by the fact that the press briefing recently had been conducted by the Minister of Police and not the Head of the DPCI. Additionally, the Minister had been joined by the Minister for State Security, and this raised the question of the extent to which the Minister could legitimately speak on operational aspects of the DPCI. This was a debate the Committee should continue to have because of the history of the Hawks and its critical role in combating priority crimes.

Ms M Molebatsi (ANC), on behalf of the ANC, shared the sentiments of the Chairperson. She was also very concerned about the independence of the Hawks as a sub-programme of the SAPS – financial independence of the agency was crucial, as had also been outlined in the judgement of the Constitutional Court.

Mr P Groenewald (FF+) thought the Committee should have a thorough discussion with the DPCI because he did not think the current image the agency portrayed to the public was one which created confidence. There had been a number of questionable cases and media reports. The Committee had also made a number of recommendations to the SAPS regarding their media policies, so it was important to have a thorough discussion likewise with the DPCI on all the surrounding events concerning them in the media.

Mr J Maake (ANC) noted that the duty of Members was not to get into the operational issues of the DPCI. The Committee had an oversight function, but it was not for the Committee to tell them how to conduct their investigations – this would be outside the mandate of the Committee. What was contained in the media was neither here nor there for Members, because the Committee was guided by an oversight framework.

The Chairperson said that the Committee was originally supposed to have discussed the issue of the DPCI being a sub-programme of SAPS, but the Director General (DG) of the National Treasury was not available as he was travelling with the Minister of Finance, so this agenda item would have to be picked up again after the recess. He agreed with the sentiment of Members, and said that the Committee would continue its oversight. Since the beginning of the Fifth Parliament and through its 12 engagements with the DPCI, the Committee had kept the agency accountable. It was important for the Committee to make it known to the public and concerned citizens that there were mechanisms available in the SAPS Act if there were any complaints.      

SAPS Briefing: Third Quarter Financial Report 2015/16
Lt Gen Stefanus Schutte, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Asset and Legal Management, apologised for the absence of the Acting National Commissioner of Police.

Lt Gen Phalaphala Ramikosi, SAPS Divisional Commissioner: Financial and Administration Services, began the presentation by outlining the budget process and noted that in the budget vote, the Police had received a R76,7 billion adjusted budget 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 of 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 was removed from payments for capital assets, such as 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 than the main budget had provided for in each of the three years, and the replacement of transport equipment in 2017/18.

Lt Gen Ramikosi outlined the percentage of budget spent, by programme, by the end of the third quarter. Administration had spent 74.1%, Visible Policing, 72.8%, Detective Services 69.9%, Crime Intelligence 72.6%, and Protection and Security Services, 73.3%. The overall total had stood at 72.5%.

The Committee was then taken through the total spending per quarter for vote 2014/15 and a cumulative comparison of monthly spending with previous financial years, as well as monthly spending against estimates.  Members were also presented with a graphical illustration of programme spending as at 31 December 2015, and it was noted that key spending trends for the vote and per programme were in line, except in programme three, where the Criminal Justice System (CJS) revamp had been below the linear benchmark. 

In an overview of spending performance, although it was indicative, the expenditures for each quarter in a financial year would not be precisely equal because of reasons such as the delivery of vehicles and other equipment, payment of pay progression, etc. The procurement of critical items such as uniforms, ammunition, weapons etc. were on track. Vehicle procurement of R1.1 billion for the Department was also in the final stages of delivery. Personnel employment and enlistments continued to intensify. Total cumulative spending in the vote had comprised 72, 5% of the adjusted allocated budget after nine months, which was similar to previous years. Compensation of employees comprised 72, 9% of the adjusted allocated budget and was fairly on course. Spending on goods and services had comprised 74, 3% of the adjusted allocated budget. The Criminal Justice System revamp spending had been below the linear benchmark, and change control plans had been approved, submitted and were in execution.

Transfers and subsidies were in line with the linear benchmark while payments for capital assets comprised 52, 8% of the allocated budget. This was because buildings and Infrastructure were lower than expected, and machinery and equipment historical spending tendencies reflected increased spending during the latter part of the financial year, such as the delivery of vehicles, which was a major portion of the budget

Lt Gen Ramikosi then looked at spending performance per programme, beginning with programme one (Administration), noting that spending levels were in line with a linear benchmark taking into account:

• Lower spending on capital works in the building environment;
• Lower spending on the Integrated Justice System (IJS);
• The amount for the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) had been earmarked as a transfer payment;
• Corporate Services in total was fairly on track

In programme two: Visible Policing (VISPOL), the programme was fairly in line with a linear benchmark, taking into account the following:

• An enhanced deployment baseline for Public Order Policing (POPS) was in place;
• Resourcing of national intervention units, tactical response teams and the special task force were in process;
• Vehicle deliveries, as usual, would take place mainly in the latter part of the financial year.

Under programme 3: Detective Services, the programme was below the linear benchmark mainly as the result of:

• Lower spending on CJS at the Forensic Science Laboratory and at the Criminal Record Centre
• Vehicle deliveries as usual, would take place mainly in the latter part of the financial year.

Other sub-programmes were on course.

Programme 4: Crime Intelligence, was relatively in line with the linear benchmark, but vehicle deliveries would take place mainly the latter part of the financial year.

In programme 5: Protection and Security Services (PSS) was in line with the linear benchmark, with the same situation regarding vehicle deliveries.

Mr R Mavunda (ANC) found it difficult to understand how the Committee could monitor progress because for some items there were no timeframes -- for example, when the presentation said “the procurement of critical items such as uniform, ammunition, weapons etc. were on track”. The presentation had also made reference to expenditure on buildings and infrastructure being lower than expected, under the payment of capital assets, and wanted to know what the expectation was.

Maj Gen Johan Nelson, SAPS Head: Financial Services: Budget, Expenditure and Accounting Services, said that the Service projected expenditure for buildings and infrastructure to be at 58.3% by the end of the third quarter.

Lt Gen Schutte added that specific amounts had been allocated for the financial year for critical items based on a procurement plan which had been compiled before the financial year. Such critical items were uniforms, bullet-proof vests, vehicles and ammunition. It was important always to maintain focus on critical items and to procure them expeditiously to ensure that the members on the ground could do their jobs. There were detailed performance indicators for these items in the strategic plan of the SAPS, and it could be monitored in this way. The presentation did not make baseless statements – they were derived from detailed figures to ensure that SAPS was on track. The Member could be provided with more information should that be required. On personnel employment and enlistment, there were a number of aspects and items in the compensation environment which happened at different times in the financial year. 

Ms Molebatsi asked what the under-spending, lower than the linear benchmark, was attributed to under programme three: Detective Services. In the programmes, mention had been made of the delivery of vehicles in the latter part of the year, and she asked of this was not equal to fiscal dumping – why were vehicles not delivered at the beginning of the year? She sought more information on the status of the Sanlam building. She also asked if reference to accommodation charges included barracks – she asked this, because most of the time the police did not have a place to stay and were forced to rent shacks, which was not safe when carrying a firearm. These police often stayed close to the people they were investigating and were then forced to be nice. 

Maj Gen Nelson said that with accommodation charges, there were two categories – rates and taxes, and physical repair to infrastructure where the specific infrastructure was devolved to SAPS for physical repair (as opposed to Public Works). 

Lt Gen Schutte added that the slower than planned spending in programme three was due to the forensic service sub-programme, as money for the CJS was also vested in this sub-programme. Years ago, seven principles of the forensic environment had been approved by Cabinet, but SAPS was behind on some of the principles for various reasons. SAPS were fiercely engaged with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to get the network environment working. SITA had to make approvals before SAPS could go ahead with ordering and procuring. He did not believe vehicle deliveries, as intended and procured during the year, amounted to fiscal dumping – orders took place, delivery happened and invoices were paid. Payment in the latter half of the year would always take place in terms of machinery and equipment as an economic item, but this was not fiscal dumping. With the Sanlam building, it had been determined by the court that SAPS was not a respondent but the Department of Public Works (DPW) was. Because SAPS was not a respondent, the building was not a contingent liability anymore. Most of SAPS capital purchases and leases went through the DPW, as they were the title deed holders for government. Until indicated otherwise, SAPS would not be a party to proceedings regarding this civil court case.      

Ms Molebatsi asked if SAPS occupied that building currently and if not, who was there. 

Lt Gen Schutte said that SAPS was definitely not in the building, and he did not know who occupied it.

Ms L Mabija (ANC) saw the spending trends as very progressive, but she asked how this was matched with the end product on the ground where things were happening.

Mr Mbhele said that the aggregate picture of financial reporting by SAPS always looked good. Targets were met and there was always low irregular expenditure etc, but he still did not understand why this did not seem to translate into a tangible reality on the ground in many communities, where all the usual complaints were heard, like vehicle and staff shortages. His issue remained how to translate the big budget at the top to changing the situation on the ground. Mention had been made of salary increases – in a previous Committee engagement, he had highlighted concerns about poor remuneration of police on the ground. On this point, he asked for a breakdown of the salary increases, and how it related to levels 1 to 12. Were there any salary increases for levels 13 to 16? He questioned the spending for the CSP. The Committee had heard that the Secretariat had pretty much spent all its money on unanticipated anti-xenophobia measures by the third quarter. In his budget speech, the Minister of Finance had indicated that just under R600 million had been set aside for enhancement of the capacity of POPS for the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) period. This fell short of what SAPS had requested from Treasury, as had been heard at a previous Committee engagement, and he asked if SAPS could manage with the allocation. What was the plan to work within the constraints applied by Treasury, particularly plans to mitigate any risks that this shortfall brought to the Service?

Lt Gen Schutte said that at the end of the day it boiled down to utilisation of funds – if there were the personnel or equipment, they were utilised. 

Lt Gen Ramikosi said SAPS was looking at the efficient utilisation of the budget to ascertain that it was used correctly. The finance division had embarked on a programme of visiting the provinces to ensure their needs were catered for in terms of requests. The drive was to spend instead of saving costs. The national Department assisted the provincial commissioners with financial responsibilities to ensure they managed costs in terms of running the province. The key concern was that money was utilised effectively. There was also the issue of overtime and the need to achieve savings in this area. 

Maj Gen Nelson explained that the CSP issue involved a transfer payment. At the beginning of the financial year, the Secretary gave an indication of expected spending for the year. According to that, SAPS withdrew funding from the national revenue fund and transferred it to the CSP. The drawings had been amended and additional funding had been received by the CSP in the adjustment estimates last year. This should have solved the cash flow problems of the CSP. SAPS could not transfer more to the CSP than had been approved by Treasury. Additionally, the CSP was its own department as a budget vote in the police, and was responsible for its own management of funds – SAPS merely facilitated the transfer of the amount.

Regarding the POPS, through the MTEF, the police request had been to capacitate it over a five year period. The R600 million awarded covered only the first three years of the plan, but additional funding may come about in the final two years. With compensation, there was the cost of living salary adjustment. Levels 1 to 7 had received 7%, while senior management had received an increase of 5.5%. 

Lt Gen Schutte added that further details around the amounts for POPS would be discussed in April. SAPS would have to be very wise about how the funds would be spent because there were many things to address, such as cameras, helicopters, personnel equipment, video equipment etc. The POPS environment and the Acting National Commissioner were looking further into what the amount could achieve, so it would be premature to speculate around these decisions.

Mr Groenewald thought the display of Lt Gen Kgomotso Phahlane's face on each page of the presentation was very personalised, considering he had not yet been appointed National Commissioner. He personally thought this was overdone. On the payment of capital assets, he asked if all outstanding accounts for municipalities had been paid. He asked what had caused the lower spending on the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) and the Criminal Records Centre, as part of the CJS.

Maj Gen Nelson responded to the question of the municipalities, and said that municipal service accounts were paid by the Department of Public Works, and the invoices were then submitted to the Police. As at the end of February, from the R997 million, SAPS had paid R933 million -- 92.6% of the allocation, or 11 of the 12 invoices supplied to SAPS.    

The Chairperson asked about the reason for the delayed spending in the sub-programme on crime prevention, which was its core business. At the same time, the Service was way ahead of spending for VIP Protection – what was the reason for this? In the Detective Services programme, who was behind in spending, the SAPS detectives or the DPCI? This was the dilemma the Committee faced when monitoring performance.

Maj Gen Nelson indicated that the spending for VIP Protection included compensation to a certain extent.

Adv L Mpumlwana (ANC) attended the Committee to relay complaints about the issue of police reservists. He understood reservists to mean people who were employed, but were willing in their spare time (normally a maximum of 16 days per month) to assist the police and to be paid for that particular time. The reality was that some reservists were put on duty full-time in advance, as part of a roster. These people were also involved in training, wore uniforms and had guns. This meant they did everything a police person did, except they were not paid. He knew of people who had done this and had not been paid for ten years. When he had questioned the Eastern Cape Commissioner about this, he was informed that there was a policy on reservists, and they were encouraged to apply when posts became available. In terms of the Labour Relations Act, if someone worked for another for more than 18 days a month, that person was permanent and would need to be paid, but these reservists were not paid at all. This amounted to enrichment from someone else’s impoverishment. SAPS had been using these reservists and saving money instead of employing them for more than ten years. Some of the reservists had died during this period, which was very painful and difficult. He wanted to find out what was going on with reservists, and when this matter would be sorted out. The reservists also needed to be paid retrospectively from the time they had started. 

Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) also raised the issue of reservists, and felt it was something the Committee needed to look at in a much more profound way. It was also unfortunate that all these reservists were black – they dealt with hard criminals and worked hard, yet remained ordinarily reservists. At the rate at which police members were dying, he did not understand why these reservists were not absorbed into the organisation to fill gaps. Some people could afford to offer their free time as reservists, while for others it was their bread and butter. However, they were in fact working for the government for free. He received calls almost daily on the plight of the reservists in Newcastle, KZN. 

Mr Redelinghuys noted that the issues with reservists were not new. He did not think it appropriate or fair to describe it as affecting only black people. In Centurion, where he lived, there were issues of reservists not being taken on board, as well as in Pretoria East. He suggested the Committee should have a dedicated meeting to discuss the issue in more detail.

Mr Groenewald thought the policy on reservists was quite clear. What the Committee had heard was an exceptional case, but the policy had always been clear that reservists would not be paid.

Lt Gen Schutte said that the issues raised by Adv Mpumlwana would be followed up by the national Department to assess and investigate the details. There was a clear policy on reservists, although there had been contention over it for a long time. He understood the arguments made by Members about the long periods of service, but he would look at it further without making speculation.

Adv Mpumlwana said the information had also been provided to the Minister, although he still awaited a response. He would also provide the specific details to Lt Gen Schutte.

Mr Mavunda said he still had an issue with the lack of timeframes surrounding some statements made in the presentation. When exactly would the Committee see the outputs being delivered to the required places? At what percentage was the spending on buildings and infrastructure currently at? These matters needed to be specific and reflected for Members to follow up on them. 

Lt Gen Schutte reiterated that the timeframes related only to the 2015/16 financial year. Members would be provided with more detailed figures on the delivery schedules for the critical items for the 2015/16 financial year. 

Ms Mabija questioned the personnel recruitment of retired members who were reabsorbed, and if there was a budget set aside for this re-absorption. She also requested that the information be broken down per province.

Mr Maake also questioned the process of re-enlisting retired SAPS members. Did they apply or were they headhunted? What were the prescripts for these individuals to return to the Service?

Ms Molebatsi asked if the money spent on the procurement of vehicles included the much-needed Nyala armoured vehicles.

Lt Gen Schutte replied that the expenditure at this time did not include Nyalas – in excess of 200 Nyalas were currently being maintained in a separate maintenance budget, not a purchasing budget. The SAPS, together with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Armscor, was looking at a different vehicle to replace the Nyalas. A prototype had been developed by Armscor, but SAPS still needed to decide on matters to comply with procurement rules. It was important to look at maintenance and the use of fuel, as the Nyalas were extremely fuel intensive and expensive, so there was no sense in buying new ones. Replacements could also not be made overnight. There would need to be a replacement strategy to phase in new ones as the old ones were phased out, to maintain the capacity of the POPS units.

Ms Molebatsi was concerned, because it sounded as if the refurbishment of the Nyalas was a waste of money if new models were being looked at.

Lt Gen Schutte responded that currently the Nyalas were doing the job and it was important to keep a minimum capacity, so they had to be maintained. 

Maj Gen Nelson added that the focus of refurbishment was to replace the manual gearbox with an automatic gearbox to limit recurring maintenance issues. Replacement costs for these vehicles were between R4 and 5 million per unit, and there were no production lines currently running for their manufacture.

Ms Molebatsi stated the number of violent protests was increasing at an alarming rate, so POPS required effective and up-and-running Nyalas to quell them.

Ms Mabija thought there should be a focus on all SAPS vehicles.

Lt Gen Schutte indicated the current Nyalas needed to be maintained in running condition until there was a new plan firmly in place. Additionally, they could not be left idle for long periods of time, as they had diesel engines. They needed to be driven for some kilometres per week otherwise they faced issues with the gearbox. SAPS was aware of the operational situation on the ground which dictated the equipment needed, and this was a high priority.

Mr M Mncwango (IFP) asked who was responsible for the maintenance of the buildings, such as painting, cleaning and repairing what needed fixing. He had visited a number of police stations and had been appalled to see the state of some of them.

Lt Gen Schutte responded that there were two kinds of maintenance – planned, and day-to-day maintenance -- and the latter applied to the question of the Member. DPW’s policy indicated that generators were their responsibility as part of the planned maintenance, while SAPS was responsible for the planned maintenance of the devolved stations. With the day-to-day maintenance, there should not be problems if stations used the mechanisms at their disposal for urgent and emergency issues. Management would emphasise this.

Mr Mbhele asked what the mechanism was for addressing inter-departmental issues, particularly between SAPS and the Department of Public Works (DPW), because this interface came up across a range of environments. Did such interaction take place at the forum between DGs, or was there a bilateral mechanism directly between SAPS and the DPW to address issues?

Lt Gen Schutte answered that there was a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Departments, in which were service level agreements, which outlined the rights and responsibilities for both. DGs would also see each other as and when the need arose, and there were project meetings on a component, directorate and sectional level regarding a variety of aspects.  There was extensive interaction between the SAPS and the DPW. 

The Chairperson said that the environment would continue to be monitored but as Members highlighted, it was important to see outcomes in the form of service delivery. 

Impact of budget reprioritisation: Police Vote 2016

Maj Gen Nelson began by saying the background to the presentation had arisen from a special Cabinet meeting on 13 January 2016, where a number of changes to national budget allocations had been proposed in Cabinet Memorandum No 1 of 2016: Amendments to 2016 MTEF allocations to the National Sphere of Government. The National Treasury had introduced reductions to the Vote: Police over the Medium Term. These had involved reductions essentially in three main areas:

  • earmarked amounts allocated during November 2015;
  • hairline baseline reductions on goods and services; and
  • a reduction in spending on the compensation of employees.

The total baseline reduction over the medium term period amounted to R4.735 billion, and was structured as follows:

- Compensation of employees: R3, 632 billion

  • R799.992 million in 2016/17
  • R1.465 billion in 2017/18
  • R1.367 billion in 2018/19

- Reductions in the Integrated Justice System baseline: R300 million

  • R50 million in 2016/17
  • R100 million in 2017/18
  • R150 million in 2018/19

- Goods and services cost containment measures: R802.9 million

  • R302.1 million in 2016/17
  • R225.9 million in 2017/18
  • R275.0 million in 2018/19

The focus areas for reduction included:

  • Compensation of employees. The amounts allocated for the purpose of the carry-through effect of salary
  • adjustments introduced in 2015, had been reduced over the medium term period
  • Reductions in the Integrated Justice System baseline. The baseline amount allocated for the Integrated Justice System in Programme 1: Administration -- and essentially in respect of the Technology Management element of the Programme – had been reduced.
  • In goods and services, the focus areas targeted for baseline reductions were among others, travel and subsistence, communication, marketing, and consultancy services.

After outlining the programmes affected, Members were informed of the way forward. With the compensation of employees, in the allocation letter, it had been indicated that the Ministers of Finance and Public Service and Administration would announce stringent measures to manage personnel expenditure and develop tools to assist departments to reduce personnel numbers in 2017/18 and 2018/19. The SAPS Human Resource Committee was to evaluate the impact it will have on the fixed establishment, promotions, grade progression and the filling of vacant posts -- essentially the impact on the outer years of the MTEF period. With reductions in the Integrated Justice System baseline, projects were to be re-evaluated in respect of the Integrated Justice System in Programme 1: Administration (Technology Management Services). With goods and services, baseline allocations of cost centres would on average increase only by a mere 2,1% from 2015/16 to 2016/17, thus realising net decreases in real terms. The focus areas targeted for baseline reductions by cost centres included travel and subsistence, communication, marketing, consultancy services and fleet services, and further implementation guidelines would be provided by Treasury soon.

The Chairperson asked if the reduction had had any effect on the fourth quarter.  

Lt Gen Schutte said certain virements, or actual shifts, had taken place according to the Appropriation Act, for compensation, goods and services and households and biological assets. There had also been some savings recorded but all in all, it had not really had an effect on quarter four because there had been a consultative process between SAPS and National Treasury and most, if not all, of the HR priorities would be met, although perhaps slightly later than intended.

Maj Gen Nelson added there had been movement from the compensation budget in programme one due to vacancies which existed, in order to supplement severance packages owing to increased personnel losses. This was a movement within the programme. There had also been a reallocation of funds from travel and subsistence in the programme to pay, for instance, for the procurement of dogs. Additional personnel had been appointed in the auditing environment and this had been funded from the vacant posts. Additional office equipment had been procured for detectives in programme three. Additional severance packages had also been needed in programme four under the households environment.

Lt Gen Schutte said that it had been a highly technical exercise per programme. Within one programme, there might be a shift from one economic item to another, or there might be a virement from one economic item to another in a different programme. There had been a spreadsheet with a massive database in order to determine what would be done.

The Chairperson noted that the Minister of Finance, in his budget speech, had said that frontline services would not be cut. It was in the interests of the Committee, and SA at large, that there were enough police officers on the visible frontline. Would the budget cuts impact on the frontline services of SAPS?

Mr Mbhele said that the biggest baseline reduction had been in the compensation of employees, and sought assurance that core delivery would not be adversely affected. When many developing countries in the 80s had had to take on International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout loans, they had come in the form of structural adjustment programmes. Instead of many of these countries cutting frills and luxuries, they had cut education, health and other core delivery programmes of government. This had left the luxuries of the elite reserved, while the poorest had been most affected. He was concerned about the contrasts in spending -- for instance, the 2.1% increase in goods and services compared to the 14% projected increase for VIP protection. Perhaps he was missing the underlying needs and demand analysis at play, but this was the overall picture he derived.
Ms Molebatsi said the use of consultants was an issue year in and year out. Had there been a significant reduction in their use? Was it possible to do away with the use of consultants completely?

Lt Gen Schutte responded that consultants had a very specific meaning and in terms of SAPS, there was a distinction between consultants and contractors. Places that repaired vehicles were not really consultants – consultants were more of an advisory body. SAPS’s legal services were also classified as consultants, although it was not really the way in which ordinary, reasonable people defined a consultant.    

Maj Gen Nelson added that the only consultants in the SAPS budget were in respect of the legal costs for the state attorneys. The other category was contractors, in terms of the maintenance of equipment, buildings and infrastructure. 

Mr Redelinghuys was concerned about the disproportionate spending on VIP protection.  

Mr Mhlongo was also worried about the millions spent on VIP protection.  At a time when it was unnecessary, and essential services were being cut, it did not make any sense to him.

Lt Gen Schutte noted that, to a large extent, the baseline reductions had been decided on by principals such as the National Treasury. It was going to be tough for goods and services, and cost containment measures beyond even what was currently in place, were needed especially since the budget speech. Big expense items would also need to be looked at. Cost containment would be spread, and there might be certain exclusions, but this depended on further consultation with the DPSA. More certainty could be relayed in April. The approach in place was reasonable, although any reduction was hurtful. However, SAPS would try to do the job to the best of its ability.  

The Chairperson looked forward to a more detailed discussion of the programmes in the Annual Performance Plan in April.

Crime Intelligence Budget (Programme 4): 2015/16 Financial Year
Maj Gen Motantsi Makhele, SAPS Acting Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence, gave the Committee an overview of the 2015/16 operational budget for 2015/16 in comparison to 2014/15 in terms of budget allocation, expenditure and spending rate. The main cost drivers in the programme for the 2015/16 financial year included fuel, travel costs, motor vehicle maintenance and repairs, and communication.

He outlined the total expenditure for the programme in terms of overtime, goods and services, transfers and subsidies (licence fees) and capital assets. Members were then informed of actual performance against targets for the programme in terms of the number of enquiries handled;  ad hoc (tactical) operations conducted; network operations conducted; intelligence analysis products generated; and number of arrests (intelligence supplied that led to actual arrests).

Major projects to be implemented during the 2015/16 financial year included:

  • Vetting of senior management.
  • Roll-out of the E-vetting system to six provinces.
  • Roll-out of seven new regulatory frameworks for the Division.
  • Implementation of new secure mail across the country.
  • Participation in Operation Fiela.
  • National Joint Operations and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) annual ports of entry visits.
  • Deployment of police liaison officers abroad for the next contractual period.
  • Extraditions by INTERPOL.

The Committee was then taken through the projected 2016/17 budget allocation -- with a projected increase of 4% -- and spending priorities, which included:

  • Implementation of E-vetting.
  • Cyber security (capacity building, training, etc.).
  • Capacitating clusters to increase Crime Intelligence’s footprint in the provinces.
  • Enhanced border security intelligence (including capacity building).
  • Expanded coverage (including capacity building) with regard to domestic stability.
  • Expanded coverage with regard to local government elections.

The Chairperson noted that Crime Intelligence would return to the Committee in April with the Annual Performance Plan and Members would then be able to pose questions. It was also important that the programme provide feedback on the specific recommendations made in the Committee’s Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR).

The Committee would be hosting its strategic planning workshop next week on Wednesday, while Tuesday would see the re-launch of the DPCI Judge, so there was no Committee meeting scheduled that day.

The meeting was adjourned. 

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