The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), the HAWKS, briefed the Committee on various aspects of information that the Committee had requested at their last meeting, which included the staff establishment and how it intended to fill the 700 vacancies in the organisation. Also covered were a motivation for, and a breakdown of, the determined budget and additional funding; the successes of the DPCI; an update on high-profile operations; the budget for the new structure and units; a request for operational equipment, including a helicopter; an update on its discussions with National Treasury regarding operational independence; and details of the steps it was putting in place to locate the new narcotics and illegal firearms unit.
The HAWKS had recently achieved good success with the arrests of terrorism suspects in Gauteng and various individuals linked to rhino horn poaching, as well as illegal firearms smugglers. There had also been the swift arrest of suspects involved in the Simonstown naval base arms cache break-in. The Committee considered this to be an example of good police work that set a positive example for other police units.
The Chairperson said that it was imperative for the Committee to receive a comprehensive briefing on the performance of SAPS in the pre-election and election period, to ascertain lessons learnt with respect to the deployment of resources for these activities. It was very important for the Portfolio Committee to ensure that the HAWKS had the necessary resources and skilled personnel to help in achieving their main task of fighting organised crime. The Committee could not allow a situation where the fight against organised crime was hampered by a lack of equipment and technological capability. It was going to be vital that the 700 vacant posts were filled by the end of the financial year, because if Parliament earmarked money for the DPCI, it had to be used to fight organised crime.
The biggest challenge faced by the DPCI was that Treasury had not supported the budget vote, which it said would be approved only for 2017/18. Another challenge was the fact that a work study that was supposed to have been completed in May had yet to be completed, and some questions relating to staffing would be able to be answered only after the work study was complete.
Members were concerned about the arrest versus conviction rate, and why there were not as many convictions as arrests. They were also concerned about the vetting of staff members and why the process was taking so long. They also asked about the advertised posts that had been withdrawn.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of minutes from seven of the Committee’s meetings in April and May, and the adoption of the draft report on the oversight visit to the Manenburg Police Station in April.
The Chairperson welcomed Lieutenant General Berning Ntlemeza, National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) and the Hawks delegation. He reminded Members that in the previous meeting held on 8 April, certain issues had been highlighted. These had been:
- The DPCI becoming a separate budget programme;
- The SAPS becoming a separate budget vote;
- The effectiveness of the ring-fenced budget for DPCI within the SAPS Vote;
- The budget breakdown for provincial offices;
- The budget for submission to Treasury for additional funds;
- The procurement of operational equipment, including aircraft;
- The staff establishment and filling of vacancies;
- The operational independence of the DPCI;
- Details on community awareness programmes;
- Building a positive public perception of the DPC;I and
- The low performance targets for cyber crime.
The Committee had also requested certain additional information, and while he believed that most of this information was intended to be presented only at the end of October, if the DPCI was able to provide any of that information to the Committee at this meeting, it would be welcomed.
Issues that the Committee had also raised at the meeting on 19 April were as follows:
- The Department should provide the Committee with a plan of how it intends to fill the 700 vacancies of the DPCI;
- The DPCI must provide the Committee with a motivation and a list of how it determined its required budget;
- What additional funding it required for the 2017/18 financial year;
- The head of the DPCI must provide a written motivation for why it supports the DPCI’s funding as a separate vote and motivate such to Treasury;
- The Department should provide the Committee with a report on the training of the DPCI personnel on cyber crime;
- The Department should provide the Committee with a progress report on the establishment of the national cyber crime centre at the end of six months, so it was at the end of October that those reports must come to the Committee;
- Importantly, the Department must provide an interim report to the Committee on what steps it would put in place to locate the new narcotics and illegal firearms unit in terms of the budget structure of operations. The Committee had seen the good results the DPCI had achieved with the naval base break-in at Simonstown, where the suspects had been apprehended very quickly, so its important that the Committee also received a breakdown of what the DPCI’s plans were in that regard.
The Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) from the Committee to Parliament was as follows:
- The Committee recommended that the Department should commence discussions with the National Treasury with the view to establishing the DPCI as a separate vote, to give effect to the Committee’s recommendation. The Committee would therefore need to get a progress report on that at the meeting.
- The Committee recommended that the Department motivates for additional funding for the 2017/18 financial year, whether it supports it or not. The budget of the DPCI came separately to Parliament to consider.
- The Committee recommends that the DPCI fills its outstanding 700 vacancies.
That was broadly the framework of the Committee’s discussions in April, and this meeting was a follow up. It would also allow Members to raise other issues that they were concerned about.
Presentation by the DPCI
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said the presentation was to brief the Committee on the filling of 700 vacant posts; the successes of the DPCI; to update the Committee on high-profile operations and the budget for the new structure and units; and to provide the list for the determined budget and additional funding.
With regard to the filling of the 700 vacant posts, this was a project that had started in 2015 and was still ongoing. The DPCI was working with Organisational Development to identify and prioritise the vacant posts that must be advertised.
During July 2009 to July 2015, an entity had received funds from clients that were deemed as loans. These ‘loans’ had purportedly been invested in forex markets.
The DPCI’s significant successes with regard to serious corruption were that, from April 2016 to date, 237 people had been arrested and there had been 43 convictions.
Page 24 of the presentation provided a breakdown of the determined budget and additional funding. The total allocated to compensation of employees was R42 million. The total allocated to goods and services was R55 million, and the total allocated to transfers and subsidies was R350 million. He emphasised that the R100 million required for a helicopter would be a once-off expense. The total of the determined budget and additional funding was R232 million.
With regard to the list of determined budget and additional funding, due to the alignment of allocations with the Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE), it was imperative that the expenditure of the DPCI be confined to the amounts allocated or earmarked to sub-programmes. The cost centres would not order equipment, goods and services to such an extent that the funds of certain cost centres would be depleted towards the year-end, and payments would be restricted in March. The DPCI would ensure the correct vesting of expenditures within the framework of the new economic reporting format and standard chart of accounts. The national head office of the DPCI was responsible for purchasing resources such as machinery and equipment. Fuel, traveling and subsistence expenses were regarded as the major cost drivers.
The Chairperson thanked Lt Gen Ntlemeza for the presentation, and asked about the killings that had occurred in the run-up to the elections and the councillor who had been killed in the Northern Cape.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked if all staff members in top management positions had been vetted. She asked about the arrests versus conviction rate.
Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked for details of the reasons for the withdrawal of posts that had been advertised.
With regard to the successes of the DPCI related to serious commercial crime, she asked why there had been 507 arrests, but only 307 convictions. Were the cases of the 200 people that had been arrested but had not been convicted currently in court, and if not, what had happened in these cases? Referring to the determined budget and additional funding, she asked about the amounts of R1.4 million for the two chief helicopter pilots and R40 million for the narcotics and fire-arm unit under the category of compensation of employees, and whether these salaries were calculated per annum or per month?
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) joked that if these figures were calculated per month, he wanted to apply to be one of the DPCI’s helicopter pilots.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) asked what happened to items like narcotics and firearms that were seized, what measures were put in place to prevent them from ‘leaking’ back into criminals’ hands, and what steps were taken to ensure that there was compliance with these measures. He also asked what happened to cash and saleable assets when they were seized from criminal syndicates, and if it was possible within the legal framework to auction these assets, or whatever the case may be, and use that cash to then fund activities and resources within the DPCI. The Committee had heard a very compelling appeal from the Lt Gen in respect of the helicopter, but not having insight into the operational needs of the DPCI, he was confused about the high cost of the helicopter and wanted more detail on what the operational requirements behind it were.
Mr Mhlongo asked the Lt Gen if he came across repeat drug offenders in his work. What advice would he give to sister departments with regard to dealing with repeat drug offenders? He said that South Africa seemed to be a free-for-all, as people such as terrorists were given rights because of many laws in the country, even though they were engaged in terrorism within the country or were threatening judiciary personnel. South Africa was too “user-friendly” for criminals and seemed to be a crime destination for criminals and organised gangs. One could not commit the kinds of crime that they commited in South Africa in other countries such as China, because the Chinese state would kill one, but in South Africa one would be given a number of rights, even though one threatened society with the crime that one committed.
Mr J Maake (ANC) referred to page 14 of the presentation document, which stated that the two accused that had transferred money into an account held in Taiwan had been sentenced to a fine of R20 000, or five years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years. He was a bit confused, because he thought that the HAWKS were supposed to be dealing with high profile crime, and that if this was a high profile crime case, why had the prison sentences been suspended? He asked if the investigation in this case had not been good enough to result in a conviction, or if perhaps this type of crime did not belong at the level of the HAWKS.
Mr Groenewald asked about the high cost of the helicopter. In principle, he understood that the DPCI had need of air operational capabilities, but he wanted to know what kind of helicopter the Lt Gen was requesting, as the price of the helicopter was so high. He was wondering if the DPCI was requesting an attack helicopter that would be able to “wipe criminals off the face of the earth”. He said that the price of the helicopter did not make sense to him, and asked for more information on it.
He said that there was R9 million missing on the determined budget and additional expenses funding page of the report, and that the totals did not match the breakdown in each of the expenditure categories. If one added up the sub-categories for the compensation of employees category, that the total should be R42 484 000, and the amount listed in the document was about R1 million short of this. If one added up the amounts for the sub-categories of the goods and services category, one got an amount of R46 million, which made the amount listed in the document about R9 million short. He asked for clarity on this.
Regarding the arrest versus conviction rate, he asked what the conviction rate of the HAWKS had been for the previous annual term. He understood that some of the cases took a long time to finalise, but he would very much like to hear what the conviction rate was.
Responses from DPCI
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that with regard to the issue of the people killed in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Northern Cape in the run up to the elections, the suspect in the killing in the Northern Cape had been arrested and was now in custody. Two people had been arrested in a scuffle between two entities in KZN, related to the killing in that province.
The Chairperson wanted an indication of the total arrests related to the killings in KZN, because there had been about 15 or 16 people killed there.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that he wanted to discuss the ‘bigger picture’ with regard to political killings. 18 political killings cases had been reported in total. There had been two in the Eastern Cape, 13 in KZN, one in Mpumalanga, one in the North West, and one in the Northern Cape. The total number of arrests for these cases was 15.
Regarding the 380 posts that were going to be advertised and filled this year, the DPCI had told the Committee at the last meeting that it was going to fill these posts in the next quarter. Most of these were not higher level posts, as most of these had been filled.
Regarding the question of whether the staff members of the DPCI had been vetted, he said that after the DPCI’s last appearance before the Committee, the process of vetting staff had been handed over to the DPCI’s counterparts in State Security to assist, because the Crime Intelligence department of the SAPS was taking too long to do the vetting. The feedback that he had received from State Security was that staff members were now being called in individually to confirm that they had given permission for their qualifications to be vetted, so that the process could be finalised. He could not “put his head on the block” on this issue, because it took a while for all of the processes related to the vettings to be completed, but that he was happy because the vetting was on track.
Ms Mmola asked if people were vetted when they were appointed, or if they were just appointed and vetted later.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza replied that a clearance from the criminal records centre was sought before people were appointed. The criminal records centre provided the DPCI with a certificate verifying that a person’s record was ‘clean’. For posts at higher levels, the documents required for a criminal clearance check to be done were signed immediately and processed. People could not be appointed to the DPCI without having undergone a criminal record check, and this was why it took so long to appoint people.
Regarding the question of the arrest versus conviction rate for corruption cases, he said that the DPCI was very happy about the conviction rate for corruption cases. These were complex cases that took time, but that by the time the case was brought before the court it moved wel,l because everything that was needed for the court case had already been done.
With regard to the steps in place for the establishment of the two units, the President had announced this year that these two units must be established, so immediately a decision had been taken within the HAWKS that it could not wait for the work study to be completed and it had started by putting interim structures in all the provinces, including nationally. The successes that had been reported to the Committee at that meeting were the fruits of these temporary structures. The DPCI was waiting for the work study to be completed and to see what budget needed to be allocated to those units, but before the end of the financial year, those two units had to be in full operation, no matter what.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza asked Brigadier Pieterse to elaborate on the training that his staff had received since the last time that the DPCI had presented to the Committee.
Brigadier Piet Pieterse, Section Head: Cybercrime, said that the DPCI had developed a skills development training programme related specifically to cyber crime investigation and training.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that the ten posts that had been withdrawn, for the period from April to date, had been withdrawn because the DPCI had not received any suitable candidates applying to these posts. Sometimes organisations did not get the people with the right skills applying for the jobs and when that happened, the posts were withdrawn. Although they had been withdrawn, some had already been advertised again.
Ms Molebatsi asked if Lt Gen Ntlemeza selected which staff members were sent for cyber crime training, or if every staff member had to be trained on cyber crime.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza replied that cyber crime was becoming a big problem for South Africa, and there were currently cases before the courts in which people’s private accounts had been hacked. He was provided with a list of the workforce that worked for Brigadier Pieterse and the DPCI then decided which members it was going to send for training. The staff members’ skills, such as their science skills, were checked before they were sent for cyber crime training.
Regarding the question of how many police officers had been arrested within the period under review, the number was 58 nationally. Four people from the DPCI itself had been suspended, and their cases were before the courts.
The Chairperson said that a few years ago, the Committee had received a briefing on the establishment of an integrity unit within the DPCI. He asked if this unit was still up and running and if it was effective, as some “bad apples” had been discovered in the DPCI’s “basket”.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza replied that it was still in operation and was very effective. It got good results as it moved from province to province, doing things such as testing staff members for drugs and alcohol.
Regarding the salaries of units, Lt Gen Ntlemeza asked Dr Reddy to respond.
Dr Michael Reddy, Head: Administration, said that the salaries were calculated on an annual basis. The amount of R1.4 million allocated to the helicopter pilot’s salaries were broken down into R700 000 per pilot.
Mr Mbhele asked Dr Reddy what different ranks were included in the R42 million that had been allocated to salaries in the narcotics and firearms unit.
Dr Reddy said that the breakdown of the personnel in the narcotics and firearm units included ten middle managers, 20 lieutenant colonels, 40 administrative personnel, and so on, constituting roughly 120 personnel within that unit. He said that the calculations that resulted in the R42 million total had been based on the number of employees at each level.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that regarding the question of what happened to cash and possessions seized by the HAWKS, once money was found or recovered, it automatically went into the government’s pocket -- the HAWKS did not keep that money. What happened to that money was decided by the Department of Justice (DoJ). The DPCI and other law enforcement agencies made a lot of money for the government in terms of recovered money, and moves were being made towards allowing the DPCI to make use of this money, but these moves were slow and currently it was difficult to access recovered money.
Regarding the question of what happened to firearms that were seized and what measures were put in place to make sure that the firearms were not circulating, if it was a big scene -- like the one at the military base, or if it was a big operation -- the DPCI arrested people and recovered the firearms. Those firearms were then wrapped and taken for ballistic testing, and if there was a need, they were taken to court as an exhibit. There were systems in place on the side of the SAPS that needed to be complied with when firearms were seized, and they did not come back to the DPCI. The situation was similar for drugs that were seized -- the DPCI did not keep drugs, and once they recovered drugs they were sent to a lab to confirm that they were in fact drugs. Once these tests had been completed, other processes came into play and the drugs moved on, they did not come back to the DPCI.
Regarding the discrepancies in the amounts in the determined budget and additional funding page of the presentation document that Mr Groenewald had asked about, Dr Reddy said that for each category a total was given, and the amount allocated to each sub-category was listed below the total. The first category of expenditure was broken down into the sub-categories of salaries for the narcotics and firearms units; the salaries of the two chief helicopter pilots; and other allowances. The total amount for this category equated to R42 million. He said that maybe the amounts were allocated to the sub-categories of service and repairs; and construction of a landing space was not indicated clearly, as the ‘eight’ represented R8 million and the ‘one’ represented R1 million, but he could see how these could have been misinterpreted as R8 000 and R1 000. If one added up the allocations to the sub-categories within the goods and services category, they came to R55 million. The amount allocated to the licensing of vehicles was R250 000 and the amount allocated to the licensing of the helicopter came to R100 000. These sub-categories added up to a total allocation of R350 000 for transfers and subsidies. The amount allocated to resources for new units and pilots came to R35 million, and the amount allocated for the purchase of the new helicopter was R100 million. These two amounts together added up to an allocation of R135 million for capital assets. The amounts allocated to all of the categories, when added together, amounted to the grand total of R232 million.
Mr Groenewald asked for the amounts to be presented correctly in the document.
The Chairperson jokingly asked Mr Groenewald if he still wanted to apply for the helicopter pilot’s job.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza asked Dr Reddy to respond to the question about the cost of the helicopter.
Dr Reddy said that the DPCI had used the recent procurement of helicopters within the SAPS as a benchmark, which was in the region of R80-85 million, and provision had been made for possible inflation costs. The helicopter would be purpose built for the SAPS in terms of operations. That was how the DPCI had been guided in terms of costing.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that regarding the question about repeat drug offenders, the government had a master plan for the issue of drugs and that the only advice he could offer with regard to repeat drug offenders, was that organisations needed to work together, because the HAWKS could only deal with the issue at a higher level, and there needed to be organisations that dealt with the issue on the street, within the townships, within the malls and within the shops. It was necessary to have other, lower levels also working on the problem. Another layer that was necessary in the fight against drugs was that of social development, to deal with those people who had been affected by their experiences with drugs. The only advice that he could give was that organisations needed to work in combination to present a multi-dimensional approach.
Mr Maake had asked why the sentences of people convicted of commercial crimes were often suspended. Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that commercial branch cases were very complex, and at times plea bargaining happened in these cases, where the lawyer and the prosecutor would come to a negotiated settlement when a person pleaded, and in those instances the accused was always given a suspended sentence. With regard to whether these cases were in the HAWKS’ mandate, they were within the HAWKS’ mandate.
The Chairperson announced that the Members would now be allowed to ask a second round of questions, which would be more difficult than the questions in the first round.
He said that it had been reported on News24 approximately two weeks prior to the meeting that the state of the offices of the DPCI was not good, and that some of them were not fit for accommodation. He asked what the game plan from the Lt Gen and the management was to address that issue, because the DPCI staff members should work in an environment where they could fulfill their jobs effectively, and should not be accommodated in bad facilities. He asked what was being done to source additional accommodation.
A meeting had been held with the then head of the DPCI, and the now suspended National Commissioner, relating to the staffing requirements needed for the DPCI to fulfill its tasks as the major crime fighting organisation in the country. He wanted to know which detectives would be sent to the HAWKS, especially in light of the two units that were being established.
Mr Mbhele asked for more detail on the construction of the landing space for the helicopter, as the cost of R1 million for a landing space seemed excessive. He was battling to locate the function of the landing space, because it was his understanding that a helicopter was quite mobile and could land on most kinds of terrain. He asked where the landing spot would be.
With regard to the case listed on page 16 of the presentation document, in which an entity had received funds that were deemed to be loans that were then purportedly invested in forex markets, he asked what the nature of the offence was in that case, as he could not understand the nature of the offence and why this case was being pursued.
Mr Groenewald asked how political murders were defined as such, because when a politician was killed, everyone said that it was a political killing. He asked what the experience of the HAWKS was and how do the General and his team define these killings.
Relating to the issue of seized firearms, the Lt Gen had mentioned that 497 firearms had been seized and that 94 of these were rifles. He asked what kind of rifles these were -- for example, were they AK47s, R4s or R5s, or other kinds of rifles. He asked what the main source of illegal firearms was, and how they got into circulation.
Ms Molebatsi asked which farm murders were investigated by the DPCI and which ones were investigated by SAPS. She also asked what happened to confiscated firearms.
Ms Mmola asked how many people were arrested in relation to cases of counterfeit goods that were imported into South Africa.
Mr Mhlongo said that it would be quite a negation of the Committee’s responsibility if only political murders were given top priority by the HAWKS. He said that the previous Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) of KZN used to say that certain murders were not political murders when in fact they were, but because he was in charge, these were not treated as political murders. He said that it was necessary to deal with the issue of political murders correctly, using scientific evidence, even if this meant “opening up a can of worms”, because this was a complex issue that was affected by many factors. He was worried that only political crimes were being taken up by the HAWKS, and that all other kinds of crime being committed in the country (which had their own politics) were being sidelined. He said that a proper discussion was needed concerning South Africans’ use of violence to solve problems.
Responses from DPCI
Related to the reports on News24 about the poor state of the DPCI offices, Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that he he had been in his office when he had received a report that the media were in the building. He had not known what was happening, but could just see that the media were in the building and taking a lot of photographs. He said that the DPCI’s building in the Eastern Cape had been declared “dead” long ago by the Department of Labour, and that those members that continued to work in that building did so at their own risk because that building could fall down at any time. He listed a number of DPCI offices in various parts of the country that he described as “pathetic,” including the ones in East London and Klerksdorp. He said that there were vendors selling food and a Nigerian shop at the gates of the office in the Eastern Cape. He did not even want to mention the office in Cape Town.
The Chairperson asked if it was a SAPS supply chain management problem.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that efforts were being made to try to solve the issues of security and the poor state of offices, and there had been discussions with the Department of Public Works. The DPCI was equal to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in America in terms of its high profile, because it was dealing with sensitive cases. But despite its high profile, security at its offices was “in tatters”. Just the week before, some people had come to his office saying that they wanted to see the National Head, and that he was open to such people because of a lack of proper security. These people had brought media with them, and the media had been able to enter the gate because there was not proper security at the offices.
The Chairperson said that security was vital and that security must be updated as a matter of urgency. The Committee had to raise the issue of supply chain management with the Department and with the Management Committee (MANCO). The Committee could not allow a situation in which the members of the DPCI worked in an unfriendly environment. The DPCI must still do all that it could on its side, in terms of writing letters to the Divisional Commissioner, but the Committee would also take up the matter with the National Commissioner.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that regarding the question of the DPCI’s decision in terms of the migration process, that this matter had long been outstanding and overdue. The DPCI had been dealing with this process for a long time and had discussed the matter with its legal experts to harmonise the working practices between the HAWKS and the SAPS nationally. It had been agreed that the DPCI was going to start the process of migration that dealt with the dockets and the ‘warm bodies’. Within the SAPS detective service, there was going to be a lack of people dealing with level one and two organised crime. However, they would have their own organised crime unit that would be headed by someone at the rank of a Major General, and at provincial level it would be at the level of a Brigadier.
The Chairperson said that the process should not leave the DPCI with fewer posts and fewer resources. It was imperative that there were enough people, and people with the right skills, employed by the DPCI.
Lt General Ntlemeza said that he had appointed General Yolisa Matakata to lead the migration so that the DPCI did not lose skills in the migration process, but dealt with the task and finalised the migration because the Committee wanted results and this matter had long been outstanding.
Regarding the breakdown of the posts for the two units, the posts of the units had not been included in the ones that the DPCI was going to advertise. It was still waiting for the work study to be concluded. The DPCI had said to those who were conducting the work study that it can perform well if it could have a certain number of posts, and those conducting the work study were going to work on that.
Regarding the question of what percentage of the appointed personnel was going to be working at the two units, this question would also be answered by the work study group.
He said that he had questioned the function of the landing space for the helicopter himself, because he had also thought that a helicopter could land anywhere. However, the issue of the landing space was not simply about there being somewhere for the helicopter to land, but was a much bigger issue, as it included the matter of where the helicopter would be housed.
Dr Reddy said that the Lt Gen was right in indicating that the provision that had been made for a landing space was in fact provision for a heliport. In terms of where it would be located, it could be off-site from where the DPCI was currently based, allowing for access to the helicopter at any given point.
Regarding the issue of how political killings were defined, Lt Gen Ntlemeza explained that when someone was connected with a particular political party and they were killed, people always said that that was a political murder. He compared this to an analogy about the church that someone attended and how when something happened to someone within that church, it was seen as an Anglican matter or a Methodist matter and so on. He compared this to the political realm in South Africa and said that when someone was murdered, and the murderer and murdered were from different political parties, people automatically defined it as a political murder. Not all of these cases were political matters, and only killings that were officially defined as political murders were political matters. However, sometimes these murders were not political matters and were related to other things. He said that the DPCI would have to get an official definition of a political murder that determined how a murder could be defined as a political murder.
Mr Groenewald said that surely the motive was very important in defining a murder as a political murder, and the SAPS and DPCI had to ask whether the motive behind a killing was to eliminate a political opponent, or whether there was another motive. He also asked if there was a political motive if the person that was murdered was from a different political party to the person who had murdered him.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza asked the Committee to give him time to report back to the Committee on this issue. When he reported back, he would be able to comment on motive and how it related to the official definition of a political murder. He would have to check the definition of political murders.
Mr Mhlongo said that if one went deep into rural KZN, one would find a lot of rot in terms of corruption that was linked to political killings. For example, people formed leagues to apply for tenders and people treated each other viciously in order to get a tender. Because there were so many factors that influenced political killings, it might be misleading to simply discuss this issue within the narrow confines of the HAWKS and that maybe this needed to be discussed on a broader level. As cases of corruption were probed, one may find that there were some people who were untouchable even though they were killing people “like flies”, and that there were cases where even police were threatened in order to tamper with evidence. He said that if provinces conducted some introspection on the levels of violence, they would open up “wells” of issues.
Mr Mhlongo commented that some people got away with killings because they had political connections.
The Chairperson said that this was a complex matter, as it needs to be determined what the motive for the killing was, and that the SAPS and DPCI had to wait to find out what the motive for the killing was and what the verdict of the court case was in these cases.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that regarding the question of what kind of rifles were seized, it was a mix of R5s and also AK 47s. Investigation was necessary to say where particular weapons originated from. The origin of most of these weapons was revealed during court cases.
Mr Groenewald clarified his question, and asked if these seized firearms had previously legally belonged to private owners, or were they from state institutions or from an illegal source -- for example, had they been smuggled in from Mozambique?
Lt Gen Ntlemeza asked the Committee to be given some time to research this and report back.
Regarding the question of which farm murders were investigated by the HAWKS, it investigated high profile cases and the DPCI and SAPS worked together when it came to operational matters such as these. In terms of the Act, the SAPS could refer cases to the DPCI. For example, when a case was really gruesome and four or five people had been killed, the SAPS provincial office could contact the DPCI to say that it did not have the capacity for this case, and that the DPCI must take over. It was important that these referral cases were recorded in the system and reflected as cases referred by the SAPS and handled by the DPCI. This was important for when the DPCI was presenting to and accounting to the Committee, because it needed to be able to show the Committee that in addition to fulfilling its mandate, it had also handled these other cases.
Regarding what happened to seized firearms, once firearms or an arms cache were found, an investigation would be done. After investigation, other departments, like ballistics, took over. Once all of the relevant departments had concluded their processes with the firearms, the firearms were then sent for destruction, and the Lt Gen was invited to the destruction of these firearms to make sure that the firearms were in fact destroyed, even though he knew from previous experience what happened when firearms were sent for destruction. The DPCI was putting systems in place to make sure that what happened at the Simonstown military base did not happen within the DPCI and with firearms stolen by civilians.
He asked Major General Alfred Khana to answer the question of how many people had been arrested in the counterfeit goods case.
Major General Khana said that no arrests had been made in the counterfeit goods case, as the relevant Act allowed for investigations to be carried out, but not for arrests to be made.
With regard to Mr Mbhele’s question about what the charges had been for the entity that had received ‘loans’ which were invested in forex markets, the charges that were referred to were charges of fraud and contravention of the Banks Act.
The Chairperson said that he had one final question regarding the issue of the budget. In the previous Parliament, the Committee had recommended a separate programme for the DPCI and the Committee this year, in its recommendations, had said that it must be a separate budget vote. In the previous year’s resolutions, the Department of Finance had said that they did not agree with the previous decision on the issue of the programme, but the Portfolio Committee had been of the opinion that it must be a separate budget vote due to the issues that had been discussed on various occasions. He asked for an indication, in terms of the DPCI’s interactions with Treasury, where the DPCI was currently in terms of a separate budget vote, and what the current situation was with the SAPS.
Mr Mbhele said that at the meeting that had been held with the DPCI in April, the DPCI had said that the work study was supposed to have been finished by the end of May, and he asked when it would be completed. He asked if the members that who serving in the interim structures were DPCI members who had just been placed there temporarily, and approximately how many people were serving in the interim structure.
Mr Groenewald said that he had heard that there had been a court case recently in which it had been expressed that there must be some amended legislation when it came to the separate powers of the HAWKS. He asked what the progress was on that, and where the HAWKS stood at the moment.
Mr Mhlongo said that the Constitutional Court had made a clear ruling on the issue of the DPCI’s independence.
He wondered whether the Committee would actually have the time to properly consider the situation of light arms. KZN would still remain a killing field, as it was not within the mandate of the DPCI to look back at the historical past of KZN, where huge volumes of arms were used in previous regimes. He did not want to open up healing wounds, but stated that these arms had not been recovered to this day and that when people’s political leanings changed, arms caches would be floating around and would find themselves in the wrong hands, such as in the taxi industry. When these arms landed up in the taxi industry, they caused mayhem. For example, if one went to Stanger, one would see that there was constant warfare happening there in the taxi industry. He said that there were some historical connections to the levels of violence in KZN, and that it was also related to issues such as the “looseness” of South Africa’s borders, particularly with Mozambique.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that Gen Matakata had been appointed to lead the delegation in representing the DPCI’s argument to Treasury, but Treasury did not support the budget vote now. It said that the budget would be approved for 2017/18 only. The DPCI had had an engagement with the National Treasury, with the Department of Public Service and Administration and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of SAPS, to brief them on what the requirements were in terms of the separate budget vote. National Treasury was not in agreement that it should be a separate budget vote, but had listened to the DPCI’s motivations for a separate budget vote and discussed the matter with the DPCI. The DPCI now understood that it was a medium to long-term process and that it could not take place as soon as the DPCI would have wished for.
The DPCI was, however, going to draw up a plan for the independence of the DPCI, because it was adamant that the DPCI must be a separate programme and not a sub-programme of the SAPS detectives. Treasury did not understand what the distinction was between the SAPS’ detectives and the DPCI, saying that the SAPS also had specialized units. The DPCI had articulated the difference and helped Treasury to understand the difference between the two, and this has led to an understanding by Treasury of why the DPCI wanted a separate budget, and Treasury had said that it could work towards that. However, Treasury’s argument was that the budget had been earmarked for the DPCI and therefore there was no interference from SAPS in terms of the DPCI’s budget. It was still a work in progress, but the DPCI had managed to find common ground with Treasury and would work towards the medium term to get to what it was aiming for. Obviously the DPCI wanted a review of the current SAPS Act, because the DPCI fell under the SAPS Act. The SAPS Act would have to be reviewed, but that would be a process on its own.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that the DPCI had been planning for the work study to be completed by May, but due to some issues it had not yet been completed but should be completed very soon.
Regarding the question of how many people the unit would have in terms of its structure, he said that this related to what he had just been saying about the work study. The DPCI may wish to appoint 40 new staff members to a structure, but the work study was working within the budget for staff and was checking and balancing the need for staff and the available budget, so the DPCI would need to wait until the study had been completed before it could comment on how many staff would be allocated and was not currently in a position to say how many people this would be.
Mr Mbhele clarified that he wanted to know how many personnel there were in the interim structure.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza asked the Committee to be given some time to submit that information.
Mr Groenewald had asked how far the DPCI was in terms of administering the judgment. Lt Gen Ntelmeza assured the Committee that the DPCI had moved in this regard and joked that if the Committee could arrange for the DPCI to get a helicopter, this would assist them in gaining independence. He emphasised that the DPCI had moved towards administering the judgment and that when it next gave a presentation to the Committee, it should be able to tell the Committee what it had achieved in this regard. He said that HAWKS members would not be wearing uniforms, which indicated a move towards independence from the SAPS.
Ms Molebatsi asked what the markers were.
Lt Gen Ntlemeza said that the Committee saw the markers of the DPCI. The DPCI was not saying that it was independent; it dealt with crime, just like the SAPS did.
The Chairperson thanked Lt Gen Ntlemeza and his Committee for giving the Committee feedback on the issues that it had raised with the DPCI at the last meeting. It was going to be vital that the 700 vacant posts were filled by the end of the financial year, because if Parliament earmarked money for the DPCI then it must be used to fight organised crime. On the issue of the DPCI’s independence, there must be the necessary independence of the DPCI, which was why the Committee was pushing for the separate budget vote and would await the further discussions that were going to take place. The Committee was also going to consider the resolutions that it came to in April, especially those dealing with organised crime levels 3-5.
The draft minutes of 7 April, 8 April, 19 April and 20 April were adopted.
The Chairperson noted that there was a mistake on page one of the minutes of 20 May 2016, as Mr Groenewald had been listed as belonging to the FFP+. The amended minutes of 20 May were proposed for adoption by Ms Molebatsi and seconded Ms Mmola.
The adoption of the draft minutes of 24 May 2016 was proposed by Ms Mmola, and seconded by Mr Mbhele.
The draft minutes of 25 May 2016 were proposed for adoption by Ms Mmola, and seconded by Mr Maake.
The minutes were adopted.
The Committee then considered the draft report on the oversight visit to the Manenburg Police Station on 22 April 2016. Ms Molebatsi said that she had sent an apology for her absence, but that this had not been recorded in the draft report. No other amendments were made and the report was proposed for adoption by Ms Mmola and seconded by Mr Mbhele.
The Chairperson reminded members that the Committee needed at least four Members present in order for meetings to continue, and five members for a quorum. He warned that Members should be careful not to miss three Committee meetings in a row, or else they would be fined R1 000. He said that attendance at Parliament was recorded, and if Members could not make it to a meeting, then they needed to send an apology for their absence.
Mr Maake asked if the fine for absence also applied to other work of the Committee, such as oversight visits, or whether it applied only to meetings.
The Chairperson replied that it was just for the Committee meetings.
The meeting was adjourned.
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