At its last meeting before the Parliamentary recess, the Committee met to work through a packed agenda of briefings by the SA Police Service (SAPS) in the presence of the Minister of Police.
SAPS began with a briefing on its recently reviewed basic training learning programme, which provided background information on the history of training right back to 1994, before comparing the new curriculum with the old one and the need to review the programme. The 2016 new basic training learning programme was described in more detail with regard to its purpose, goal, selection and recruitment process and generic requirements. The layout and implementation of the new programme and its monitoring and evaluation were covered, before concluding with benchmarking against international policing agencies and consultations with organised labour.
Members were largely pleased with the revised training programme, noting that the emphasis was on the quality of the training, not the length of it. They found it valuable that improvements had been made to the training in relation to crowd management and tactical techniques, given the increase in police killings. Questions were posed about what had prompted the revision of the programme, plans to boost the number of trainers and how they would be re-skilled, along with other members of the police force, to be in line with the new programme. There was discussion on how police stations had been selected where the recruits would get practical exposure, training to accommodate their attending to gunshot wounds, the maintenance of fitness and consultation with labour. Other issues brought to the fore were generic requirements, particularly in terms of driver’s licences and Matric certificates, or their equivalent, what the probation period entailed, and victim empowerment in the curriculum. Members asked if the curriculum addressed critical challenges in the SAPS currently, like knowing what constituted unlawful arrest, the consequences of losing a firearm and knowing when to shoot. They wanted to know the implications of the new training programme on reservists, if the curriculum emphasised community inclusion and the training of public service employees, like senior administration clerks, who had been promoted to become employees under the SAPS Act.
SAPS then briefed the Committee on updates on the ‘Back to Basics’ Approach, covering the background to and purpose of the Approach, premising the Approach, and the methodology and problem statements. The presentation looked at the objectives and tangible outcomes of the management intervention approach and its methodology. Overviews were then provided for the visible policing and detective services recovery plan, along with the approach to service terminations and a breakdown of the 63 stations identified as priorities. The Committee was informed of the impact analysis, the implementation of recovery plans in visible policing, detective services, service terminations, key management interventions for 2016/17 and planned management initiatives and priority research areas for 2016/17.
The Committee was interested in finding out if any station commanders had been given the ‘red card’ in the targeted priority stations, challenges with service terminations, what was meant by the “annual spike” in reference to the detective service recovery plan, and issues of reservists working full time in the Service for ten years, but without pay. Members remarked that they were pleased with the human resources environment and the improvement in the statistics environment. Others questioned the canine unit, asking if there had been an increase in dog handlers, the process of how dogs were donated and assessed, crime intelligence capacity and shared perspectives on sector policing.
SAPS then briefed the Committee on interventions in ‘hotspots’ around the country, beginning with the background, current national threats and priorities, current unrest and instability hotspots per province and operational approaches to the current unrest/instability hotspots. The presentation then looked at the state of readiness for the upcoming local government elections, the training of SAPS personnel in terms of the Electoral Act, the screening of statistics and voter registration cases.
The next briefing concerned the Enhanced Firearm Register System (EFRS), collaboration with the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Waymark contract status. After presenting background information, SAPS management briefed the Committee on streaming initiatives for the EFRS, collaboration with the CSIR and the Firearm Control System Waymark contract, and the firearm control system assessments by the CSIR. The presentation concluded by looking at the Waymark contract legal process and the way forward with strategic priorities.
Although there was not enough time for engagement at this point, Members noted concerns and questions to which SAPS would respond to in writing. These related to movement of the Central Firearm Registry (CFR), the screening of officers for the local government elections and critical challenges in the CFR environment.
The Committee was then updated on progress made with the recommendations of the Farlam Commission through a comprehensive presentation which covered a summary of the National Development Plan (NDP) in relation to the SAPS transformation project, progress on work done on the recommendations of the Farlam Commission, and the key roles and composition of the Transformation Task Team and panel of experts. Members were also briefed on the scope and phased approach of the Transformation Task Team, the transformation strategy and implementation approach, the key implications and points of attention raised by the Farlam Commission on SAPS. Information was also provided on change management, the enterprise transformation framework, the programme management approach and methodology, the project management process map, the business process re-engineering model and a review of the information communication technology (ICT) environment in terms of hardware and software.
The Committee appreciated the update, and felt a further update briefing should be provided when more work had been carried out. Questions were, however, raised on the long term plans for the Transformation Task Team in relation to the NDP. Members noted the composition of the panel of experts which was made up of experienced individuals in the environment, along with the Transformation Task Team. An eye would have to be kept on budget implications on medium-term expenditure – the Committee would monitor this and general progress.
The Chairperson said the meeting would deal with a host of issues, beginning with the new SA Police Service (SAPS) training programme which had recently been in the news. There would also be a report back on what was being done with the ‘Back to Basics’ programme and the interventions at hotspots country-wide -- the approaches taken, the successes and challenges. The Committee would also be briefed by the SAPS on the Waymark contract and the enhanced firearm register systems. The Minister would then deal with a status report on the recommendations of the Farlam Commission.
SAPS Basic Training Learning Programme
Lt Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, SAPS Divisional Commissioner: Human Resource Development, began by outlining the historic background to the SAPS training programmes going back to 1994, and making key comparisons between the old and new curriculum and the basic training learning programme.
Looking at the new 2016 basic training learning programme in more detail, the purpose of the programme was to build crime prevention capacity in the SAPS in line with constitutional requirements. The goal of the programme was to capacitate new recruits with the necessary basic policing knowledge, skills and attitude in line with the constitutional mandate. Recruits were selected through psychometric assessment, interviews, fitness and medical assessment. Generic requirements included that the recruit must be a citizen of the Republic of South Africa, have no criminal record, between the ages of 18 and 30, in possession of a Matric or equivalent certificate, and be in possession of a driver’s licence.
The layout of the basic training learning programme included:
- one month’s orientation and induction at police stations;
- an eight month academic phase;
- a12 month probation period at a police station.
Lt Gen Mkhwanazi then took the Committee through the implementation, monitoring and evaluation strategy of the basic training learning programme. He noted the recognised labour unions had been consulted through the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) on 5 May 2016 – these unions included the Police and Prisons Rights Union (POPCRU) and the South African Police Union (SAPU).
The presentation also touched on benchmarking with international policing agencies, including those in the United Kingdom, Namibia, Los Angeles and New York.
Lt Gen Bonang Mgwenya, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Human Resource Management, added that the reduction in the period of training did not necessarily mean there was a reduction in the quality of the training. The exposure trainees received at the police station helped them to decide whether they were ready to join SAPS. This saved money instead of investing in trainees for a year, only for them to resign. Utilising the trainees during the weekend was also an advantage in aiding in visibility, as was aimed for in the ‘Back to Basics’ approach. The increased time spent on crowd control spoke to current challenges in terms of protests. The current training programme was in line with National Development Plan (NDP) in striving for professional police service members – the current programme ensured that when trainees left the academies, they were professional and knew what was expected from them in terms of the NDP.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said that broadly he did not have a problem with the revised training, and thought that there had been a misunderstanding in the media when the issue had first arisen. He thought the improvement in crowd management was valuable, along with improvement in the tactical techniques programme, in light of the challenge of police killings. He referred to the issue of attrition of trainers and asked what was being done to boost capacity and the numbers of trainers. With the police stations as training sites, not all stations were ideal training sites, whether in terms of location or quality of station management etc. What was the approach in terms of the selection of police stations to optimise the quality of exposure in the training environment?
Lt Gen Mkhwanazi explained the approach was not to keep the trainers at the Academy, but to have most of them permanently deployed at police stations and to have only a skeleton staff coordinating at the Academy. The trainers would then come from stations to teach their specific modules and then return to the station. This was the best way to ensure training was informed by on the ground experience. There was not much of a shortage of trainers then, because staff already deployed were being used. There were ten training academies in four provinces, and stations located close by to the academies were utilised. There would be rotation of stations for the trainees to understand the different dynamics of policing. There were a lot of logistical considerations to take into account – this was only the first year of the revised programme, so there would be improvements moving forward.
Lt Gen Mgwenya added that recruits were also sent to stations where there was an identified need for members. This also took into account the fact that SAPS was a fixed establishment, and was no longer growing.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) said the Farlam Commission had made recommendations on the basic training of officers to attend to gunshot wounds – did the training accommodate this?
Lt Gen Mkhwanazi indicated that it was ideal that every police vehicle had a first aid kit. The trainees were trained in first aid. Going forward, it was hoped the budget would allow for kits in all vehicles, but some items expired and needed to be replaced.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) questioned the maintenance of fitness. He supported the fact that use was now made of the weekends and public holidays of the trainees. He questioned the issue of consultation over the revised training, with comments on it having been largely negative. Would having consultation before the announcement, instead of after, have addressed this?
Lt Gen Mkhwanazi said that being fit was part of the employment conditions of a police officer.
Lt Gen Mgwenya added that SAPS valued its social partners, namely labour, and would continue to strive for a good relationship with them. On issues of training, training was determined by the National Commissioner, which was provided for in the SAPS Act. The matter had been placed before the SSSBC – the forum where SAPS interacted with its social partners. After presenting the revised training programme, the social partners had been reluctant to engage. They had decided to take another route and to lodge a dispute. The SAPS had an agreement with labour in the SSSBC which spoke to the evaluation of programmes. SAPS requested meetings of principals through the SSSBC.
Mr M Redelinghuys (DA) commended the SAPS for the revised training curriculum. It was clear the constitutional mandate of the police had been taken in account, especially the inclusion of crowd management and critical matters such as docket administration, the use of firearms and criminal procedure. This was a significant improvement which took into account the needs of the police, and he would watch progress moving forward closely. He remarked on the relationship between the unions and the trainees, as the trainees were brought into the SAPS organisation only once training was complete. It was an interesting development, because interns in other environments could make similar demands. Once trainees completed training, how was it determined which stations they were allocated to? Were they allocated to identified stations where there was a critical shortage of members, or was it simply a case of sending trainees to the closest station?
Ms M Mmola (ANC) questioned the relationship between SAPS and the labour unions. With generic requirements such as being in possession of a driver’s licence, was this tested by the SAPS? She said that many state vehicles were damaged by inexperienced drivers.
Mr J Maake (ANC) hoped that the trainees, while on the programme, would have a holiday at least once or twice. Having a driver’s licences as a generic requirement excluded many people, like those from the villages. For a village boy like himself, getting a licence was a tough job. Perhaps the driver training could be done at the Academies -- perhaps over the weekends, if the trainees were not at the station. He emphasised this was a serious issue which needed attention to prevent exclusion. He also wanted to know what the probation period entailed.
Lt Gen Mkhwanazi responded that there were breaks for the trainees on the programme, although they had been reduced. When working in the stations, the trainees worked according to shifts, like any other police officer. For the driver’s licence, as contained in the SAPS Annual Performance Plan (APP), 10% (500) of trainees were allowed to enter into the training programme without a driver’s licence. Even if one had a driver’s licence, to be given permission to drive a state vehicle was a different process. There were other assessments to test this fitness as part of a supply chain management mechanism for everyone in the SAPS.
Lt Gen Mgwenya added that the trainees qualified for 22 days’ leave during the probation period, like any other SAPS member. During this probation period, the trainees were continuously assessed and attention would be paid to the areas where the trainees were lacking. It was also the period where trainees needed to prove themselves as was expected with any other employee, in line with the relevant legislation.
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) also did not have a problem with the fact there was three months’ less training - the emphasis was simply on the quality of training, not the length. He thought those who aspired to become part of the SAPS should already have a driver’s licence, as that was part of the job. He wanted to know what was equivalent to a Matric certificate also in terms of the generic requirements. He sought clarity on the curriculum in terms of what was meant by “victim empowerment”. He particularly wanted to know whether trainees would be able to explain what constituted unlawful arrest, if they would know when to shoot and if they understood the consequences of losing their firearm, because these were critical challenges in the SAPS currently. He wanted to know what emphasis was being placed on these specific responsibilities as far as training was concerned.
Lt Gen Mkhwanazi explained that victim empowerment training trained police officers to be sensitive to victims of crimes in their attitude, and to be understanding especially if there was severe trauma. For example, a victim of rape had to be taken to a separate room to be assisted, so this was contained in the training. An equivalent to a Matric, for example, would be getting a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) qualification through vocational studies, so as not to discriminate. It was hoped that when the trainees were finished with their training programme, they would be able to explain what unlawful arrest entailed. If trainees could not explain such responsibilities, it might affect their permanent employment in the SAPS. This also added to the importance of exposure to practical realities while still in training to ensure better learning.
The Chairperson asked if, due to the change and refocus of training, whether new staff was being added and if the staff already present would be re-skilled. What were the implications of the new training programme on the training of reservists? Was there a strong emphasis in the new training programme on the inclusion of the community?
Lt Gen Mkhwanazi replied that SAPS was looking at impact studies on all leadership training programmes. Leaders at police stations had to know that they must keep their workforce in good shape, which included training. Training of members at police stations was part of the training provisions for the year, and included all refresher programmes, like maintenance of firearms etc, to keep current. There was mandatory refresher training for specialised fields like pilots and divers, and there was compliance with this training. There was a reservist training programme which would also be revised. There were different categories of reservists in the police, which meant there were different requirements for training. This was all part of improving the quality of SAPS members.
Lt Gen Mgwenya referred to community liaison, saying she believed SAPS on its own would not win the fight against crime, so community liaison was continuously improved as a crucial element and was emphasised in the training programmes on a daily basis. Within Visible Policing (VISPOL), a directorate had been identified which would deal mostly with ensuring good community liaison.
Lt Gen Gary Kruser, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Management Interventions, added that the philosophy on which the training was based, was community-centred policing and partnerships as with all programmes in SAPS. The revised curriculum was discussed very intensively at the SAPS management forum, which was the top body of police, and there was satisfaction with the programme at the end in meeting constitutional objectives of the SAPS and of the SAPS Act itself.
Mr Mbhele wanted to get a more visual and tangible sense that the main reason for revising the training was to address shortcomings in the field police development phase, with it now becoming a probation period – was this a correct assessment? If not, what had triggered the revision of the programme? He wanted to know what the recruits were wearing during their practical exposure at station level – were they wearing full uniform with appointment certificates during the probation phase?
Lt Gen Kruser explained that all SAPS training programmes were reviewed every three years, and there were also revisions to be in line with crime trends and other changes. All trainees wore police uniforms with student stripes at the stations. Once on probation they were full constables so they wore the full uniform.
Ms Molebatsi asked what would happen with the existing police members to ensure they were on par with the revised training approach – would they be involved in refresher courses? What would happen with the recruits who continuously did not meet the required standards?
Lt Gen Mgwenya said there were continuous refresher courses. In some situations, there were ageing members in environments such as public order policing, or members affected by traumatic incidents but were not recovering even after being counselled. Such members were identified, their skills were profiled and they were re-skilled to be deployed in other environments, so continuous refresher courses were important.
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to establish how the relationships with the unions were managed, and if there was engagement in the labour forums.
Lt Gen Kruser replied that there were some issues for consultation and others for negotiation, and sometimes this process got confused. The revised training programme could be consulted on with labour, but not negotiated.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) observed that SAPS was, figuratively, using a key to the wrong door but now it was using the right key because doors were opening – she was interested to see what was inside. She hoped the leadership at local level stations would also be improved through training as it was at national level.
Mr L Mpumlwana (ANC) asked if the reservists were trained as members of the police were, and if there were contracts with these reservists.
Lt Gen Nobesuthu Masiye, SAPS Divisional Commissioner: Visible Policing, responded that reservists issues were guided by the SAPS Act and the reviewed National Instruction 3/2014 . The reservists must be employed to ensure they were self-sufficient, because they were not remunerated by the SAPS. Their services were rendered voluntarily and deployed in terms of a crime threat analysis and crime pattern analysis. Reservists were not employed 24/7. Reservists signed undertakings which informed them that they were going to perform duties voluntarily. They were not promised full time employment in the SAPS, but could apply like any other citizen.
Ms Mmola questioned the training of senior administration clerks who were promoted.
Lt Gen Mgwenya answered that there were programmes designed for employees who moved from the Public Service Act to the SAPS Act, where they underwent training to ensure they fitted the profile of a police officer.
Mr Maake understood that unions became involved in operational issues, and not strategic ones. He asked that the taking in of 10% of trainees without driver’s licences could be done in such a way that it took into account their backgrounds. For people in a village, getting a licence was a very difficult matter.
Lt Gen Kruser explained the 10% was rural biased primarily to make provision for those who were at a disadvantage in terms of getting drivers licences. Before, the percentage recruited without licences was bigger but then there were over 24 000 people without licences so this number was reduced because there was only a capacity to deal with the 10%.
Lt Gen Mgwenya added that there was a relationship between SAPS and labour, but this did not necessarily mean there were no differences. Recently, five agreements had been signed in the SSSBC.
SAPS Briefing: Update on the ‘Back to Basics’ Approach
Lt Gen Kruser began by looking at the background to, and purpose of, the ‘Back to Basics’ Approach which was premised on the National Development Plan (NDP) (2030). The presentation then looked at the methodology of the Approach, which included an in-depth analysis into the performance of the SAPS and consultation with management and members of the organisation. Problem statements were outlined from the 2014/15 Victims of Crime Survey. In a summary of the ‘Back to Basics’ Approach, the Minister of Police, the Acting National Commissioner and senior management of the SAPS had identified the need for the introduction of a ‘Back to Basics’ Approach to policing. This approach focused on every member of the SAPS reverting to the established regulatory framework, or simply put, doing the basics of policing properly and consistently.
The management interventions approach and methodology was then presented, along with the management intervention organisational structure. The Committee was taken though an overview of the ‘Back to Basics’ recovery plans, priorities and key actions. These included crime reduction, service delivery, internal functioning and a turnaround of the performance of the Detective Service programme. A breakdown of the 63 priority stations was provided, along with an overview of the service terminations recovery plan.
The Committee was then taken through the impact analysis and implementation of recovery plans, including the number of community-reported crimes at the 63 priority stations for 2015/16, crimes dependent on police action reported at the 63 priority stations for 2015/16, the detective service recovery plan, a docket age analysis, the taking of buccal samples from Section Eight arrestees and the service terminations recovery plan (reduction in the backlog of pending service termination applications).
Lt Gen Kruser then outlined key management interventions during 2016/17, including the current status of engagements with provinces, the 2016/17 management intervention priority stations, the Special Task Force, k9 units, operational command centres, the management intervention at Umlazi police station (KZN), Operation Lockdown in Port Elizabeth and successes of the Operation. The presentation concluded by looking at planned management interventions initiatives and priority research areas in 2016/17.
The Chairperson noted that 270 stations had been targeted for the next financial year. Of the stations already visited, how many Station Commanders had been given the “red card”?
Lt Gen Kruser responded that management was busy with the evaluation of these stations at the moment, so it had not yet reached the stage of red cards. Problems were not left with the stations – an intervention team worked with them until solutions were found. Only thereafter would consequences be looked into.
Mr Mbhele was pleased about the human resource environment. Looking at service terminations, he wanted to know what the challenges were with the management of service terminations. With the detective service recovery, he noted reference in the presentation to an “annual spike,” and questioned what this spike was.
Lt Gen Kruser replied that one of the key weaknesses with service terminations was the non-degradation of the approach, so the different divisions were working in silos. Some systems were also not talking to each other, but this was now sorted out along with addressing data integrity. Annual spikes usually occurred at the end of the year, so the emphasis was on preventing this by dealing with any increases when they occurred to prevent a big spike.
Lt Gen Mgwenya added that when the recovery plan had been introduced in November 2015, there had been a total of 4 307 and with the recovery plan, about 2 000 had been finalised. Together with the integrated approach, a difference was being made.
Ms Molebatsi was encouraged to see the improvement in the statistics environment, which had not been so good. She asked if the number of handlers in the canine unit had been increased. Location was also always a problem, with some units located very far from stations and were therefore inaccessible. Nyaope had not been mentioned in the discussion on drugs, although it was a very serious problem.
Lt Gen Kruser indicated that the K9 unit was currently short of dogs and handlers, but this would be addressed in the project plan. It was surprising that the drugs of choice in some specific areas were painkillers, and SAPS was dealing with the pharmaceutical companies on the issue. These drugs were the main ones confiscated and were sold like sweets in these areas.
Mr Ramatlakane questioned the capacity of crime intelligence and if management was happy with it currently. What were the plans to improve this capacity? He thought that a shared perspective was needed on sector policing in terms of where it was relevant and where it was not.
Lt Gen Kruser responded that one of the challenges, at times, was how to utilise information. There were projects with Crime Intelligence on specific matters. There was intelligence, but sometimes it was not responded to in the ideal way. People also expected too many details from intelligence – intelligence would let you know there was a disruption planned, but not from which entrance people would come, for example. So operations needed to plan for all scenarios, but this was being worked on. Operationally, intelligence had to be tasked correctly according to crime patterns etc, but this was also being worked on as an organisation.
Sector policing was a philosophy SAPS hoped to maintain to plan operations based on the sector – SAPS was busy with research on which models were best for different areas.
Lt Gen Mgwenya added that nine senior management service (SMS) posts had been advertised after a need had been identified, and were in the process of being filled. This coming week, 133 adverts would be run for posts at levels 1 – 12. After the review of the structures in the crime intelligence environment, members were placed in line with their skills, beginning from the top down. There were meetings with national and provincial heads of crime intelligence to ensure everyone worked together.
Mr Redelinghuys was very impressed with the ‘Back to Basics’ Approach and saw an improvement in police conduct etc, so this was a very positive development for which he was thankful. There was a station in his constituency dogged by problems and incredible challenges, but he had not seen the station on the list of interventions. Was management aware of such problems, and were they part of the broader issues to be addressed or given attention?
Lt Gen Kruser replied that he would have to come back on this specific station. A written response would be provided.
Mr Maake questioned the donation of dogs for the canine unit and how the process worked. Did the dogs have to be assessed? He also sought more information on the Operational Command Centres (OCCs) having offices for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), responsible for gang criminality case dockets.
Lt Gen Kruser explained that with the OCCs there were many offices, and detectives sat with the prosecutors from the NPA with all dockets kept at these office bases. This ensured joint management from the crime scene right through to prosecution.
Lt Gen Masiye added that with the donation of dogs, SAPS advertised for the specific dogs it wanted, and breeders with these dogs then approached the organisation. SAPS assessors were then sent to assess the dogs to ensure they were right for the environment and were fit. Dogs that met these requirements were then taken for the duties they were expected to perform.
Mr Groenewald said that in a previous engagement with the SAPS national management in the Committee, he had raised an issue which had occurred at the Stilfontein police station with a captain who, when the Member wanted to lay a charge, had first wanted to know if the perpetrators were black or white. While at the station, the captain had taken private calls and ignored him as a member of the public seeking assistance. He had not received any feedback on the issue. When would management move on from dealing with the top 20% of stations responsible for serious crime, to the rest? In terms of the detective services recovery plan, adding the figures in the presentation up, there were a huge number of dockets open which were older than one year, and he still received too many complaints of people opening cases of serious crime and even providing detail about the suspects, but the cases were not followed up. What would be done in terms of the ‘Back to Basics’ Approach to address this seriously, together with intelligence? What was the cooperation between intelligence and visible policing, such as in the case of Vuwani, because it was clear intelligence was not up to scratch? What was the real problem?
Lt Gen Kruser said he would provide a written response to address the specific incident raised by the Member, and would engage with him further on the matter after the meeting. The 20% were the 63 stations dealt within that short period of time in the recovery plan at the end of last year. This year 30 top stations per province, generating between 70% - 80% of all crime in that province, would be focused on. Focusing on these stations would impact on the crime rate in all the provinces as well. Provincial Commissioners had also been given the prerogative of choosing ten other stations/units/types of crime to address, in addition to the 30. Working with the detectives on the dockets, there was already a huge decrease in the number of wanted suspects, although it was a work in progress. Detectives continued to be held accountable – if they were not dealing with any specific cases, there were mechanisms to lodge complaints through the Cluster Commander, Provincial Commissioner and a complaints number. This could be used to further boost efficiency.
Mr Mpumlwana raised the fact that there were people engaged as reservists, who worked full time and had been given duties as any other policeman for ten years. These reservists were also trained but they had not been paid for these ten years by SAPS, who regarded them as volunteers. The Labour Law stated that when a person was employed full time, that person was permanently employed. These reservists had expectations but were enriching others at the expense of their own impoverishment. By not paying these people, the police were saving money and enriching themselves. If the case were taken to court, was SAPS confident that it was likely to win the case? These were people working full time, day and night, with no pay.
Lt Gen Masiye reiterated that the issue of reservists in the SAPS was guided and determined by the SAPS Act and the reviewed National Instruction 3/2014. A reservist must be employed somewhere else and have volunteered his/her duties. A reservist was not paid by the SAPS. When enlisted into the SAPS, reservists signed an undertaking which informed them that they would not be paid and that their services were voluntary. Services included crime prevention and protecting properties, and signing this undertaking meant these conditions were acknowledged. In the particular case raised by the Member, reservists were told there was no promise of employment. Winning a case, if it was taken to court, would depend on the merits of the case, but the conditions in the undertaking were clear that the reservists would not be paid. With reservists killed in the specific case referred to, it was not certain whether the killing had occurred on or off duty because the body had been recovered the next morning, so the circumstances were still under investigation.
SAPS briefing on interventions at “hotspots” around the country
Lt Gen Fannie Masemola, SAPS: Deputy National Commissioner: Policing, said the SAPS had adopted an integrated policing approach to the management of areas in which public protests led to instability/ civil unrest. Integrated operations in these hotspots were initiated on the basis of National Threat Assessments, conducted by intelligence structures. In terms of current national threats and priorities, the current national threat assessment related to civil unrest identified the following causal factors:
– Protest actions in tertiary institutions;
– Workplace instability and industrial action;
– Intra- and inter-party political contestation leading up to the 2016 Local Government Elections (LGE);
– Community protest action related to service delivery complaints;
-- Event-specific threats e.g. land invasion, anti-foreigner sentiments and conflict within the transport industry.
Lt Gen Masemola then outlined the areas of current unrest/instability hotspots around the country by province in terms of the reason for the unrest, the deployment of SAPS members, arrests made, cases opened and the current situation of the hotspot. Looking at the operational approach for the hotspots of instability/current status, the first pillar involved community and stakeholder engagement through engaging, pursuing, lobbying, mobilising and influencing, along with the relevant departments, disgruntled groups in order to achieve peaceful solutions regarding the point of discontent. There were also community outreach programmes in identified hotspots by the Ministers and Directors General (DGs) of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster.
The second pillar involved the legal and regulatory framework and intervention through enforcement of the relevant legislation in order to encourage/correct and improve compliance and create a peaceful environment.
Proactive measures under the third pillar -- safety and security -- included the gathering of threats through specific pro-active intelligence/information, deployment of security forces in identified hotspots to enhance visibility, the deployment of Public Order Police and, where possible, Metro Police and local crime prevention members as first responders, and the enhancement of all policing stakeholder structures, like Community Policing Forums and Mine Crime Combating Forums, to take pro-active measures. Re-active measures included the management and analysis of all criminal cases generated during all unrest incidents by all stakeholders including, but not limited to, dedicated investigation teams, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJCD), the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), to ensure effective management of exhibits, optimising the use of forensic evidence and leads in order to ensure successful prosecution and conviction.
Pillar four, mass communication, involved the Government Communication Information System (GCIS) identifying, analysing and counteracting miscommunication in the media and ensuring the implementation of an integrated communication strategy, including issues of compliance, projects and programmes of government.
In terms of the state of readiness for the upcoming local government elections, threat assessments and stabilisation operations were ongoing, and national deployments were being made to stabilise hotspot areas until August 2016. The planning processes for election day was at an advanced stage. Members were also informed of the training of SAPS personnel in terms of the Electoral Act for the local government elections (LGE) 2016, screening statistics for the LGE and first and second voter registration cases.
In conclusion, the focus on identified hotspots in an integrated approach by SAPS, assisted by the relevant Security Cluster departments of government, was yielding very positive results in terms of decreasing incidents of crime and bringing order and stability in all identified unrest areas, especially in the run up to the 2016 LGE. There was also an improved discipline and morale among the members of the SAPS due to the ‘Back to Basics’ Approach, which was the cornerstone of these interventions.
SAPS Briefing: Enhanced firearms register system, collaboration with CSIR and Waymark contract status
Enhanced Firearms Register System
Maj Gen E Mavundla, SAPS Component Head: Systems Infrastructure and Technology Development, said that the Enhanced Firearms Register System (EFRS) contained all the functionality required to support the processes prescribed by the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No. 60 of 2000). The Firearms Register System (FRS) had provided for only the following two functions:
– The issuing of duplicate green licence cards in terms of the Arms and Ammunition Act (75 of 1969): which would remain operational due to the court interdict of 26 June 2009 between the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SAHGCA) and the Minister of Safety and Security;
- The Register/Enquiry Weapons Register (WR) numbers (firearm serial numbers) in terms of the Arms and Ammunition Act.
Measures/initiatives implemented to streamline the EFRS included migrating the FRS to the EFRS, where the functions of the FRS which were generic to firearms processes, had been migrated to the EFRS. There had also been the development of the interface between the profiling and the firearms systems to generate a profile report, to enable the extracting of data relevant to a person/applicant from various other SAPS systems, such as the CRIM system (police clearance certificates), CAS (circulation of firearms – lost and stolen); the profiling system (person history profile) and the circulation system (wanted persons).
Other measures dealt with refusal of applications by providing for system-generated refusal letters and enabling the deciding officers to capture comprehensive refusal reasons if required. The firearms e-submission solution was a functionality developed to capture stock returns (dealers, manufacturers and gunsmiths) electronically as opposed to the current manual process. Discussions were under way with the Visible Policing division to initiate the process. There were also ratio reports to alleviate the pressure on the current EFRS. Ratio reports were drawn from the EFRS and made available on a workspace for users to access with ease. The cooling-off period had been developed to serve as a cooling-off period during the process to approve a licence, to prevent the capturing of the wrong decision etc. There was also a system alert to users if the targeted 90 days to process competency certificates or firearm licence applications had been exceeded. Additionally there was enhancement of the EFRS renewal notification to provide the system-generated notification letter for the renewal of licence.
The valid competency certificates prevented the capturing of new firearm licence applications if the applicant did not possess a valid competency certificate. Expired licences also prevented the capturing of late renewal applications that had reached the 90 days, and renewal was not timeous. The Short Message Service (SMS) system notification had also been enhanced, where additional SMS notifications had been implemented to inform applicants regarding the timeous submissions of renewals, expired licenses and lost/stolen firearms.
With the EFRS training manuals, Standing Operational Procedures (SOP) and Designated Firearm Officer (DFO) system training manuals (25 modules) had been made available on the SAPS Intranet as a quick reference for users. The EFRS had been enhanced to allow registration of a competency application by a person who had been declared unfit, but prevented the approval of such an application until the deciding officer had uplifted the declaration of unfitness.
Collaboration with CSIR
Maj Gen Mavundla then outlined the SAPS collaboration with the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Firearm Control System (FCS) Waymark contract. On 15 September 2014, the Divisional Commissioner: Supply Chain Management had approved the terms of reference (ToR) and submitted the ToR to the SAPS/CSIR bilateral committee as instructed by the National Commissioner. On 25 February 2015, a request to prioritise the submission of the ToR to the Bilateral Committee had been submitted by Divisional Commissioner: Technology Management Services. On 4 August 2015, the CSIR had responded and acknowledged the request to prioritise the FCS submission and had provided a quotation and requested that the delivery schedule of the three assessments -- the FCS, the Property Control and Exhibit Management (PCEM), and Investigation Case Dockets Management System (ICDMS) -- be agreed to, taking all three into account sequentially. On 7 December 2015, the SAPS had requested a revised quotation to include the vendor costs if assistance from the vendor was required. On 15 April 2016, the CSIR had provided an updated proposal to conduct the FCS assessment/audit within the framework of a model and indicated that it should be completed within 35 weeks after the start of the project. On 21 April 2016, the SAPS had requested the CSIR to submit the final proposal to Division: Supply Chain Management.
With regard to the Waymark contract legal process, the FCS Development Contract between the SAPS and Waymark had been confirmed as terminated by the National Commissioner on 14 September 2014. Waymark had subsequently lodged a request for arbitration. Meetings had been held with Advocate Purkin (SC), SAPS senior management and the Legal Services Division regarding the arbitration of the Waymark FCS. A proposed date for arbitration with Waymark had been set for 20 June 2016.
Looking ahead, the National Commissioner had approved the proposal to incorporate the building blocks of both the existing EFRS and FCS designs for a cohesive firearms solution, pending the CSIR audit. The following strategic priorities had been identified by the SAPS Technology Management Services (TMS) Division to enhance the EFRS, to provide added proactive and responsive policing services, and to reduce the levels of priority crimes:
- Incorporate a Persons Identification Verification Application (PIVA) interface with the Department of Home Affairs and enhance the scanning of images process to expedite the processing of firearms applications;
- Incorporate biometric access control to ensure authentication and non-repudiation on the system;
- Develop an enhanced barcode for the firearm licences pending the print and distribution process of firearm licences by the Government Printing Works;
- Develop an interface with CAS/ICDMS for the circulation of found firearms.
The Chairperson said that in a previous engagement, the Committee had heard that the Central Firearms Register (CFR) would be moved but this presentation had said something else, so when the Committee returned in August, clarity was needed on the plan for this. He noted progress in terms of hotspots and the SAPS doing well in terms of operational issues. Further work was needed, however, with crime intelligence but this progress would be monitored.
Mr Mbhele sought clarity on what was being referred to in terms of screening of officers of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for the LGE.
Mr Groenewald said it was quite clear there was not accurate data with regard to the CFR. For example, with the system-generated notification for renewal of licences, when had this system been initiated and finalised? He had also renewed his firearm and had received two renewal licences which were exactly the same. According to the CFR then, there was an extra firearm in his name although it was the same one. There were other challenges which were totally unacceptable. These matters were crucial.
Mr Mpumlwana, following up on the issue of reservists, referred to section 18 of National Instruction 3/2014 which provided that, under no circumstances could a reservist be utilised on a full-time basis to perform policing duties. If a reservist had actually been used on a full-time basis, what was the position then? If people had been working like this for ten years, could they not be integrated into the police force? This needed to be looked into, because the law did not really stop the SAPS from utilising people on a full time basis.
Ms Mabija noted that in Vuwani, police had been there and all hands were on deck, along with intelligence and security, yet another school had been torched on Sunday. She did not know how this could occur and found it unacceptable.
Ms Mmola wanted to how the SAPS would deal with the SMSs sent during the local government elections. With SAPS requesting the CSIR to submit the final proposal to the Supply Chain Management Division, what was the timeframe for this submission?
Mr Ramatlakane suggested the rest of the questions should be responded to in writing so that there was enough time to engage the Minister on his presentation.
The Chairperson agreed. He reminded Members that when the Committee returned in August, there would be a follow-up on issues relating to the CFR. The feedback today had come from the Committee’s discussion last week on the firearms environment.
Progress on Farlam Commission Recommendations
Mr Nkosinathi Nhleko, Minister of Police, said that the Department had enrolled the services of Ms Nashrika Sewpersadh, Head of Programme Management, Office of the Police Ministry, largely to set up a programme management office focusing specifically on dealing with the recommendations of the Farlam Commission. The presentation today carried detail about each recommendation and would respond to what work was being done on these recommendations. The Committee would be informed of what model was being followed in the change management programme, which essentially aimed to change how things were done in the SAPS in accordance with the Farlam recommendations. There were business process issues, for example, which had to form part of the change management programme, along with system issues, people and culture as part of the intersected approach. There were fundamental principles in change management to be addressed, along with phases.
Ms Sewpersadh, began by providing a summary of National Development Plan (NDP) resolutions, which were to:
- strengthen the criminal justice system - a safe SA would not be achieved without a strong criminal justice system;
- make the police service professional - a professional police service was essential for a strong criminal justice system;
- demilitarise the police service - the decision to demilitarise the police force, moving away from its history of brutality, was a key goal of transformation after 1994. The NDP indicated that the police should be demilitarised to turn the force into a civilian, professional service.
- build safety, using an integrated approach - achieving long-term, sustainable safety required an integrated approach focused on tackling the fundamental causes of criminality;
- build community participation in community safety - civil society organisations and civic participation were critical elements of a safe and secure society. Local government legislation provided for establishing community safety centres to enable safe, healthy communities.
The Committee was then taken through the high level progress report on the Farlam Commission recommendations. One of the recommendations of the Commission was that matters be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, North West, for further investigation and to determine whether there were bases for prosecution. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) had commenced its investigations on 7 July 2015 over a nine month estimated period, to conclude the investigations.
With the investigation of the incident of 16 August 2012 at Scene Two, the IPID had registered a case file against Maj Gen Naidoo for allegedly defeating the ends of justice as per CCN2016010070, based on the effect of Maj Gen Naidoo’s actions. These included his failure to exercise command and control at scene two as alleged, belatedly submitting his own firearm for investigation by the ballistic experts, and the paramedics under his protection being diverted to scene two instead of giving medical attention at scene one.
With the investigation of the extraordinary meeting of the SAPS National Management Forum (NMF) held on 15 August 2012, the investigation team had opened a case file against Brig Malahlela for allegedly defeating the ends of justice as per CCN2016010079, in contravention of Section 4 (1) (b) (dd) of the Protection of Information Act of 1982, in that she had failed to secure recordings of the extraordinary meeting of the SAPS NMF.
Looking at claims against the state, with regard to the claims instituted against the various defendants (the government), these involved claims for loss of support and funeral costs regarding 34 deaths, one action comprising of personal injury claims in respect of 275 individuals, and 81 separate actions relating to individual personal injury claims. In December 2015, the President had indicated that the government was committed to seeking an expedited resolution of legitimate legal claims instituted as a consequence of what had been described as a national tragedy. The state had since conceded 100% merits of legitimate legal claims, with instructions to settle claims -- including those for unlawful arrest and detention -- but would exclude those claims that were under criminal investigation and faced possible prosecution. The state was in the process of determining the quantum and would make interim payments until the matter was completely quantified for full settlement.
Looking at the recommendations of the National Planning Commission, the Civilian Secretariat of Police had tabled the White Papers on Policing and Safety and Security at the Cabinet in April 2016. These documents had been adopted and would form part of the transformation process of the SAPS. The implementation plans for the White Paper on Policing would be developed concurrently with the transformation process. The Papers on Professionalisation and Demilitarisation of the SAPS, as well as the Use of Force policy drafted by the Civilian Secretariat would also form part of the transformation process.
With regard to public order policing, the Commission had recommended that a panel be established. A panel of experts had been established consisting of senior officers with extensive experience in public order policing, including both local and international independent experts. The inaugural meeting had taken place on 29 April 2016 and would operate henceforth over a 15-month period. The implementation date of the transformation task team would be on 1 June 2016. In terms of control over operational decisions, the Ministerial Transformation Task Team had complemented this panel by reviewing all the policies, national instructions, standing orders and operational standards that were detrimental and negated the police officers’ working environment, their living conditions, their career progression, and their dependants’ livelihood, when the police officers either retired or passed on as part of the transformational plan. The transformational plan prioritised the transformation agenda of the SAPS which will be addressed by both the Panel of Experts and Transformation Task Team. The transformation plan included communication, stakeholder management, culture and people, training, organisational design and structure, job profiles, job competencies, job satisfaction, mentorships, experimental training, leadership and programmes of health and wellness.
Ms Sewpersadh said that with police equipment, the panel of experts had been initiated to make recommendations on law, regulations, policy and procedure reviews that complied with best practice on public order policing. The protocols, plans and the equipment and training that should be applied, was under the terms of reference and on the agenda for the panel of experts and transformation task team. In terms of first aid, one such initiative was the emergency response services, as defined in the SA Police Services Draft Instruction of 2005, titled Emergency Response Services 10111 Centres and Flying Squad, which were limited to the flying squad and 10111 centres of the police. These standing orders, among others, would be reviewed and implemented to be inclusive within the transformation programme. The best practice protocol and training on basic first aid would be advised by the panel of experts.
After speaking to accountability, the presentation focused on the key roles and composition of the transformation task team and the panel of experts. Detail was provided on the countries represented on the panel and the background of the panellists and those on the task team.
Looking at the SAPS transformation strategy and the implementation approach, the vision/ambition of the strategy was outlined, together with implementation of the Farlam Commission recommendations and the key implications and points of attention raised by the Farlam Commission in the areas of SAPS organisation and culture, operating principles and procedures, equipment and infrastructure, training and learning and the legislative and regulatory framework. The theme of change management was highlighted, along with the enterprise transformation framework, the successful agile project management framework and project management process map.
Mr Ramatlakane appreciated the update from the Minister and his team on the comprehensive work that was being done in respect of the recommendations of the Farlam Commission. With processes only beginning to kick off, after reasonable work had been done it would then be best for the Committee to receive another briefing, perhaps later in the year, for further engagement.
Mr Mbhele echoed the position that the update was welcomed and while matters were in the pipeline, perhaps more momentum was needed. Given that the work of the Transformation Task Team was heavily anchored in the NDP, did the Minister intend that the Task Team -- as essentially a ministerial project -- be turned into the recommended national policing board as a long term structural mechanism as part of driving momentum of the goals of the NDP in the police service?
Minister Nhelko indicated that that was not the intention of the Transformation Task Team. The Task Team dealt with transformation to fundamentally look at the Farlam Commission recommendations and drive change management with a view to transforming the outlook and certain functional aspects of the SAPS. The Task Team accompanied the panel as an oversight body in a sense. What was envisaged in the NDP would follow a different procedure and approach as and when that stage was reached.
The Chairperson thought it was important to get regular updates. He welcomed the composition of the panel of experts, which included experienced people in the field, along with the Task Team of the Minister. In terms of the proposals, there were budget implications -- for example, with the information technology (IT) framework and structure, which would impact the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. The Committee would have to keep an eye on this if there were additional items to be budgeted, or if requests were to be made to National Treasury. The process would be monitored as it moved along.
He thanked the SAPS for their briefings, adding that updates would be received when the Committee returned in August. Operations and responses of the SAPS during the LGE would be monitored.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Progress report on Farlam Commission Recommendations to the Portfolio Committee on Police
- Interventions in Hotspots around the Country: SAPS briefing
- Enhanced Firearm Register System, Collaboration with the Centre for Scientific & Industrial Research and Waymark Contract Services
- Basic Training Learning Programme: SAPS briefing
- Back to Basics Approach: SAPS briefing
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