Senior South African Police Service management and Chiefs of the Metropolitan Police Services briefed the Committee on the mandate, units, training and relationship between Services as well as conduct of the Metropolitan Police Service members. Members were first prepped by the Committee’s Content Adviser who provided information on the establishment of the six Metropolitan Police Services, functions of the Service, policy areas and training. The presentation also spoke to levels of cooperation and national policy standards.
The SA Police Services then briefed the Committee on the state of the Metropolitan Police Services and levels of cooperation between the metros and South African Police. The presentation looked at the regulatory framework governing the Metropolitan Police Services, involvement of the Service in police committees, national forums for Metropolitan Police Services participation as well as sub-forums of the national Metropolitan Police Services forum. Members were also informed of developmental support for members of the Service, post-basic training development, integrated operations, communication channels and examples of each.
The Metropolitan Police Services gave an overview of each of the six Metro Police Services and the legislative mandate covering traffic policing, by-laws and regulation policing and crime prevention. The presentation also spoke to legislation relating to cooperation between the SA Police Services and Metropolitan Police Services and the challenges experienced.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate then outlined the outcomes of investigations of the Metropolitan Police Services by offence and status of the cases.
The Committee engaged in lengthy and wide-ranging discussion with the Metro Police Chiefs, SA Police Service and Independent Police Investigative Directorate on the vetting of Metropolitan Police Service members participating in the operations consultative forums, the role of crime intelligence and detective services in communicating with the metros, the role of the national traffic unit in relation to the SA Police Service/Metropolitan Police Services mandate and why there was such a large number of cases investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate in the City of Cape Town Metro Police Service. The Committee was concerned about the establishment of some metro units, such as those related to drugs, public order policing and VIP, in terms of their jurisdiction and legislative grounding. Many questions were posed around cooperation between the South African Police Service and the Metropolitan Police Services, the Metropolitan Police Services, and the Provincial Commissioners especially in the event of joint operations. Concerns were raised around the challenges in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Police and that the Acting Chief for the metro was not present – Members suggested the Chief account for challenges and his absence to the Committee at another date.
Further questions were asked about Metro Police members reporting cases of domestic violence, fraudulent issuing of drivers licences, civil claims arising from the Metropolitan Police and the inclusion of Metro Police in the awareness training offered to the South African Police by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. A key matter arising from the discussion was the clear overlap between the South African Police and Metro Police functions and where the line was then drawn in this regard and the use of technology by the metros to enable smarter policing. Critical to discussion was also the matter of the attitude displayed by some Metro Police officials and the increased bribery of metro police – this was raised sharply in relation to sex workers.
Other questions asked by Members centred around oversight committees in the Metro Police Services, compilation of crime statistics by the metros and political control/direction of the metro services by Mayors, Councils and MMCs.
The Chairperson highlighted the role of Parliament in relation to Chapter Four of the Constitution – the National Assembly was elected to represent the people and to ensure government by the people under the Constitution by choosing the President, providing a national forum for public consideration of issues, by passing legislation and by scrutinising and overseeing Executive action. In terms of the new 9th Edition Rules of the National Assembly, rule 227, Portfolio Committees must deal with Bills and other matters falling within its portfolio in terms of the Constitution, legislation. These Rules or the joint Rules by Resolution of the Assembly, must maintain oversight over national or Executive authority, including the implementation of legislation, any Executive or Organ of State falling within its portfolio and any other body or institution in respect of oversight. The Rules also state that Portfolio Committees may monitor, investigate, enquire into and make recommendations concerning an Executive organ of state, constitutional, institutional or any other body or institution, including the legislative programme, budget, nationalisation, restructuring, functioning, organisational structure, staff and policies of such Organ of State, institution or other body or institution.
This served as a reminder of the context of the meeting. The National Development Plan (NDP) also spoke to the functions of Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) where the MPS and the SA Police Service (SAPS) should be viewed as professionals working in a skilled occupation to protect the public. They were the only agencies mandated to use necessary use of force and ethical conduct should be used to maintain the public perception of police as a professional institution.
As part of its strategic plan, the Committee must ensure the principles of the NDP were promoted and it was important to evaluate where the agencies were in terms of ensuring that the NDP was implemented.
Committee Research Presentation
Mr Irvin Kinnes, Committee Content Adviser, said the MPS was established in terms of Section 206 (7) of the South African Constitution and section 64(E) of the SAPS Act. Section 64A of the SAPS Act 68 of 1995 reads: “Any municipality may in the prescribed manner apply to the Member of the Executive Council for the establishment of a municipal police service for its area of jurisdiction.” Section 64L of the SAPS Act stated that the National Commissioner may determine national standards of policing for municipal police services and, in addition to the training prescribed for traffic officers in terms of the Road Traffic Act, 1989 (Act 29 of 1989), determine national standards with regard to the training of members of municipal police services.
Looking at the establishment of the MPS, Section 205 (1) provided for the structuring of the police at national, provincial and where appropriate, local level of government: the national police service must be structured to function in the national, provincial and, where appropriate, local spheres of government. The municipalities that want to establish a municipal police service has to, in terms of the SAPS Act (as amended), apply to the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) in terms of Section 64(A) (1) of the South African Police Service Amendment Act (83 of 1998). The MEC must satisfy him/herself that:
a)the application complied with the prescribed requirements
b)the municipality had the resources at its disposal to provide for a municipal police service which complied with national standards on a 24-hour basis
c)traffic policing services by the municipality will not be prejudicially affected by the establishment of a municipal police service
d)proper provision had been made by the municipality to ensure civilian supervision of the municipal police service
e)the establishment of the municipal police service will improve effective policing in that part of the province.
Mr Kinnes outlined the functions of the MPS where, according to Section 64E of the SAPS Act, the functions of a municipal police service are:
•traffic policing, subject to any legislation relating to road traffic
•the policing of municipal by-laws and regulations which were the responsibility of the municipality in question
•the prevention of crime
Established MPS included:
1.Johannesburg Metro Police
2.Cape Town Metro Police
3.eThekwini Metro Police
4.Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Police
5.Tshwane Metro Police
6.Ekurhuleni Metro Police
In terms of policy areas, Mr Kinnes highlighted that the White Paper on Policing made clear that while the Constitution provided for a Single Police Service (s199), it did not foresee the wholesale usurping of the powers of municipalities. Streamlining the delivery of essential policing services particularly at a local level hinged on the establishment of an institutionalised structure at a national level that would facilitate collaboration and ensure implementation and compliance with agreed uniform national standards for discipline and training among others. This model of integrated policing did not advocate usurping the powers and functions of municipalities through the wholesale integration of Metropolitan Police Services into the SAPS. Rather, it was geared toward ensuring the overall operational command of the service and deepen effective oversight of the MPS and enable an optimal utilisation of public resources. Ultimately, greater emphasis must be placed on maximising the utilisation of law enforcement resources for effective and efficient policing.
Looking at training, Section 64L of the SAPS Act stated that the National Commissioner may determine national standards of policing for municipal police services and, in addition to the training prescribed for traffic officers in terms of the Road Traffic Act, 1989 (Act 29 of 1989), determine national standards with regard to the training of members of municipal police services. The Committee should also probe in what areas there was joint training of members of the Metro police and the SAPS. Other areas of training should be considered with respect to joint operational planning and management of joint operations etc. Training in all aspects of observing the law and human rights must also be a consideration between the SAPS and the Metro Police.
With levels of cooperation, the Committee should enquire into a number of matters relating to the levels of co-operation between the SAPS and the Metro Police. The levels of co-operation between the SAPS and the Metro Police services should be examined with respect to a number of Service Level Agreements signed by the SAPS National Commissioner and the Head of the Metro Police Service. A question which remained - in terms of section 64 C (2)(g) of the SAPS Act (as amended, 1998), the Annual Police Plan must be developed by the Executive Head of the Municipal Police Service, after consultation with the Provincial Commissioner. Had the Metro Police Annual Police Plan been approved and signed off by the Provincial Commissioner?
The National Commissioner had developed National Standards on the following for the Metro Police:
•Management of crime scenes
•Standard Forms and registers
Mr Kinnes noted that the Committee should probe the following areas:
•Co-operation and joint operational collaboration
•Police brutality and civilian oversight over the police
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) questioned the existence of a national traffic sort of police and where it fitted into the whole picture.
Mr Kinnes explained a national unit was established although he did not have the details around it, it might be a matter for the Committee to look into when reviewing the SAPS Act. The unit was related to the National Department of Transport.
SAPS Briefing on the State of Metropolitan Police Services and Levels of Co-operation with the South African Police Service
Lt. Gen. S Kwena, SAPS Divisional Commissioner: Human Resource Utilisation (RSU), outlined the regulatory framework concerning the SAPS and MPS which consisted of:
- Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act No 108 of 1996)
- South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No 68 of 1995)
- South African Police Service Amendment Act, 1998(Act 83 of 1998)
- Local Government Systems Act, 2000 (Act No 32 of 2000)
- Regulations for Municipal Police Services Government Gazette No 20142 dated 11 June 1999
The MPS were established in terms of Section 64 of the SAPS Act (1995). The MPS resort under their respective Metropolitan Councils and are completely independent entities. Section 64 (E) of the SAPS Act (1995) provided the functions of the MPS as traffic subject to any legislation relating to road traffic, the policing of municipal by-laws and regulations and the prevention of crime. Section 64 (L) of the SAPS Act (1995) provided that the National Commissioner may determine national standards of policing including standards of training. The Visible Policing (VISPOL) Division (as the custodian of crime prevention) was responsible for coordination and liaison between MPS and SAPS.
After going through the six established MPS, Members were taken through the involvement of the MPS in police committees on a national level (National Joint Intelligence and Operational Structure), provincial level (Provincial Joint Intelligence and Operational Structure) and local level (Cluster Crime Combating Forums, Station Crime Combating Forums and Community Police Forums).
Lt. Gen. Kwena discussed the national forum for MPS in more detail noting that a constitution had been developed to govern the Forum. The Forum supported the development of:
–National co-operation agreements
–National policing standards and procedures
–The identification and sharing of good practices.
The Forum was convened and chaired by the Divisional Commissioner: Visible Policing on behalf of the Acting National Commissioner. Meetings were held on a quarterly basis. SAPS representatives included the Provincial Commissioners where MPS were established i.e. Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape and the Human Resource Development, Operational Response Services, Technology Management Services and Policy and Legal Services Divisions. Other representative and their roles included
-MPSs -host meetings and contribute towards joint initiatives.
- Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) on behalf of the National Department of Transport –report on traffic related matters.
- Civilian Secretariat for Police –report on new legislation and the status quo in respect of Single Police Service.
- Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) –report challenges regarding reported cases.
- Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) –report on the implementation of Adjudicative Administration of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO).
Lt. Gen. Kwena then looked at the sub-forums of the national MPS forum where two sub-forums had been established:
1.National Training Committee for MPS:
- Meetings were held on a quarterly basis
- Discuss issues of training for MPSs
- The meeting was chaired by the Divisional Commissioner: Human Resource Development and was convened two days before the NFMPS
- The Chairperson of the above sub-committee attended the NFMPS to present reports under their agenda points.
- Composition: SAPS, MPS and RTMC.
- National Research and Technical Committee for MPS:
- Meetings held on quarterly basis.
- The meeting was chaired by the Chief of Municipal Police Services.
- The Chairperson of the above sub-committee attended the NFMPS to present reports under their agenda points.
- Discuss technical and research issues e.g. sharing of systems and equipment.
- The meeting was convened two days before the NFMPS.
- Composition: SAPS and MPS.
On developmental support for members of MPS, the support required from the SAPS’s Division, Human Resource Development cut across the fields of responsibility of the respective Human Resource Development Components and required an integrated approach. The SAPS provided assistance in the following areas:
- Assessment of management and quality assurance of the Policing Entry Level Qualification for the MPS members (Law Enforcement Skills Programme 04/2012)
- Guidance with the development of a single, unique qualification for MPSs under the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO);
- Provisioning of additional training programmes for the MPS e.g. Drill and Physical Training Instructors, Management and Leadership training, Crowd Management training and General Policing training (mostly using a “train-the-trainer” approach)
- Monitoring of training progress and standards in the MPS environment
On post-basic training development, SAPS was responsible for assisting the MPSs with post-basic training in all relevant policing fields mainly focused on the training of trainers in existing programs and new legislation. An annual needs analysis was done to determine the needs and identified needs were fed into the SAPS’s training planning process. Seats were offered on courses at no cost to MPS including accommodation and meals if the trainees were accommodated at a SAPS Academy. SAPS Division: Human Resource Development kept record of all training to MPSs.
Lt. Gen. Kwena noted that in terms of integrated operations and communication channels, the Regulations for Municipal Police Services require that the Executive Heads (Chiefs of Metropolitan Police Department) must develop an Annual Plan in cooperation with the relevant SAPS Provincial Commissioner. The aforementioned plan must relate to the prevention of crime in the area of jurisdiction of the municipal council concerned. Based on the regulation as stated above, joint operations were planned/coordinated and executed at provincial and station level. Joint operations were reported on a quarterly basis by the Metropolitan Police Nodal Point to the Division: Visible Policing. Examples of integrated operations included:
- joint road blocks
- festive season operations (Arrive Alive)
- ensuring safe and secure elections
- Opening of Parliament in Cape Town
- the policing of sporting events
- “Operation Combat” (in Cape Town regarding gangs)
- national and international summits e.g. the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)
Examples of communication included:
- nodal points were established at every role player department in order to ensure smooth communication and to avoid duplications between role players
- all communication was sent via the nodal points
Metro Police Departments: Report on the Status of Metropolitan Police Departments in SA
Steve Ngobeni, MPS Chief: Tshwane, began the presentation by providing an overview of the six metro police departments in SA.
In terms of the SAPS Act legislative mandate, the promulgation of Sec 64 of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No. 68 of 1995), gave effect to provisions of Sec 205 (1) of the Constitution. Section 64L outlined the “National Commissioner shall determine the minimum standards for training”. In terms of Sec 64E functions of Metro Police included:
1.Traffic policing: traffic policing, subject to any legislation relating to road traffic (road policing)
•National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act No. 93 of 1996)
•National Land Transport Act, 2009 (Act No. 5 of 2009)
•Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act, 1998 (Act No. 46 of 1998) (Presently only active in Johannesburg and Tshwane
2.By-laws and regulation enforcement: the policing of municipal by-laws and regulations which were the responsibility of the municipality in question. Municipalities each promulgated by-law relevant to their unique environments
•South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No. 68 of 1995)
•Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1977)
•Regulations for Municipal Police Services - Regulation 10 read with Annexure 5 and 6 which contained various sections of different legislation applicable to Municipal Police Services.
•National Policing Standards e.g. Crowd Management, Domestic Violence etc.
Chief Ngobeni outlined legislation relating to cooperation which regulated co-operation between SAPS and Metro Police – this was not a Service Level Agreement as Metro Police was not an agent for SAPS and the ever changing legislative landscape of policing demanded a more flexible co-operation system. Regulations, National Standards and National Instructions were issued to accommodate new legislation, crime patterns and instructions such as:
- National Standard for Metro Police re Crowd Management
- National Standard for Metro Police re Domestic Violence
- National Standard for Metro Police re Crime Scenes
- National Standard for Metro Police re Arrest, Search and Seizure et al
The following sections of the SAPS Act, regulate Co-operation:
- Sec 64 C(2)(e)-(g)
- Sec 64K, L, M, N, O, and Sec 64P
Cooperation and coordination between SAPS and Metros happen, in terms of legislation, continuously through;
- National Standards
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)
- National Instructions
- Local Station Meetings
- Cluster Meetings
- Provincial (PROVJOC) Meetings
- National (NATJOC) Meetings
- National Chief’s Forum Meetings
Common challenges faced by all Metro Police Departments included:
•Insufficient funding for expensive law enforcement infrastructure:
- Vehicles, communication, weapons, information systems, etc.
- Specialised Training and Equipment (Crowd Management)
- Slow growth of Staff vs. huge growth in Population
•Increase in events, protest actions, land invasion required policing
•Increased demand by Community for “Local” Policing
- Limitations in terms of investigative powers for traffic and bylaw related crimes (e.g. not having powers such as key practitioners like health and fire safety)
- Excessive requirements placed on training and accreditation – need for a dedicated National Metro Police qualification
IPID Briefing on Outcomes of Investigations of Metro Police Service (MPS)
Mr Israel Kgamanyane, Acting IPID Executive Director, noted that the purpose of the meeting was to brief the Committee on the outcome of investigations of cases against the Metro Police Service for the period 2012/13- 2015/16. It was worth mentioning that the Nelson Mandela Metro Police Service (NMPS) in the Eastern Cape was only recently established. The first stakeholder engagement meeting between IPID and the MPS in Eastern Cape took place on 25 August 2016 to discuss IPID’s mandate and the roles and responsibilities of the members of the NMPS. The presentation focused on the Western Cape, Gauteng, KZN, and, to a lesser extent, the Eastern Cape.
The Committee was provided with a summary of outcomes of cases by offences investigated for 2012/13 – 2016/17 in each province as well as a summary of cases by status for the same timeframe.
Mr Kgamanyane said IPID was a member of the National Forum of Police Service (NFMPS) and participated in quarterly meetings chaired by the Divisional Commissioner: Visible Policing. Furthermore, the Directorate had ongoing stakeholder engagements with the MPS in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape. Efforts will be on strengthening relations with the newly established Metro in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape.
The Chairperson saw from the SAPS presentation that the Chiefs and MPS were participating in the NATJOINTS and the PROVJOINTS – were these MPS members vetted? If not, why not? There were a lot of metro police members all over SA and they played an important role but he sought more information on some of the specialised units in the MPS especially those in relation to drug control, investigation and crowd management – was there a jurisdiction and authorisation for such units in terms of the relevant legislation?
Lt. Gen. N Masiye, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: VISPOL, could not inform the Committee on exactly how many MPS members were vetted to participate in the NATJOINTS and the PROVJOINTS. The same members did not always participate. She would submit the answer in writing to the Committee.
Chief Ngobeni added that all the members were vetted and it was a continuous process- at times the vetting expired/lapsed. The vetting unit was over-burdened and could not keep up with demand for vetting given the growth in the numbers of members. There were not specific representatives in the NATJOINTS and PROVJOINTS meetings which necessitated the need for all members to be vetted.
Eugene Nzama, eThekwini MPS Chief, agreed that there challenges of capacity in terms of the entity responsible for conducting the vetting which caused delays. MPS did not have its own capacity to deal with this as SAPS or the National Defence Force, did for example and this was a problem.
The Chairperson asked which department was responsible for vetting.
Chief Nzama replied that it was the responsibility of SAPS.
The Chairperson indicated to Lt. Gen. Masiye that this was a critical matter of priority especially when it came to the vetting of the Chiefs and senior management of the MPS. The MPS had a large number of members and they had serious responsibilities in terms of policing and the Committee needed the assurance that they were vetted. An update on the matter would have to be provided.
Bafana Mahlabe, Chief of MPS: Ekurhuleni, added that the State Security Agency (SSA) also conducted vetting.
Ms Trish Armstrong, Director in the Tshwane MPS, also explained that when a member first attended a NATJOINTS meeting, he/she would automatically be vetted by SAPS as one could not attend such a meeting without being vetted.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said the SAPS VISPOL Division played the lead in coordinating and liaising between SAPS and the MPS. This gave him the impression that the other two key divisions, namely, crime intelligence and detective services, might not be in the mix which would seem to be a shortcoming as crime intelligence could inform the operational planning for the MPS – what role did these two Divisions play in terms of coordination and interfacing between SAPS and the MPS? Did SAPS assist the work of MPS by providing crime intelligence to inform joint operations? Moving onto the MPS presentation, he noted Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni MPS made mention of a VIP protection unit – what did this unit do and which VIPs were they protecting? He thought these units might be a bit of distraction from the core work of the MPS.
Lt. Gen. Masiye replied that VISPOL was the lead division in facilitating and managing the forums. During the operational forums, the detective services and crime intelligence divisions were involved so there was sharing of information on crime intelligence between SAPS and the MPS. It was important that both agencies knew what was being targeted in the joint operations so the sharing of information was crucial.
Chief Ngobeni explained the VIP services were provided to the Executive Mayor while it was the prerogative of each metro as to whether this service would also be provided to the rest of the Executive Council. All metros had this specific unit with a minimal amount of resource dedicated to it.
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) sought more detail on the national transport unit in relation to the MPS in terms of powers. Mention was made of joint operations but in such operations, who was in charge? How was a lead role coordinated between SAPS and the MPS?
Lt. Gen. Masiye indicated that SAPS was always in the lead for joint operations between SAPS and the MPS. With the national transport unit, this unit operated under the Department of Transport.
Mr Groenewald then question why this unit existed and what authority it had.
Lt. Gen. Kwena replied that the unit operated independently but there were instances when it worked with SAPS and the metros in big events. The unit was established under the Road Traffic Management Corporation by a previous Minister of Transport. SAPS had no control over this unit.
Ms Armstrong explained that the national traffic unit was completely separate from SAPS/MPS in terms of operation and reporting.
Mr M Redelinghuys (DA) highlighted Section 205 (3) of the Constitution which spoke specifically to the powers and functions of the police – there was a very clear difference between the SAPS and MPS in this regard particularly as the latter did not have the investigative powers/function along with crowd control. He was concerned by the mention of crowd management units in some of the MPS given the controversy around public order policing recently – was it really within the powers of the MPS to maintain public order or was it always in conjunction with SAPS? He questioned the relationships between MPS and MMCs for Security as a political link. The SAPS Act made it clear that MPS were established for a specific jurisdiction so when a joint operation was conducted, for example in Johannesburg, how could the Ekurhuleni MPS become involved as was seen during the protest at Luthuli House on Monday? Was the provincial police authorised to endorse such “deployment” or how did this happen?
Lt. Gen. Masiye said that the Member was correct in that MPS had no investigation powers. In terms of crowd control, the metro police were also trained in crowd control but SAPS took note of challenges experienced due to Marikana and the matter of crowd control was currently under scrutiny. Members were now trained in light of the Farlam Commission recommendations and this applied to MPS as well to ensure an incident like Marikana was not repeated. During operations, all law enforcement agencies were called.
Chief Ngobeni added that there was a Memorandum of Understanding between the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni MPS – this facilitated proactive cooperation between the metros in the province when challenges were experienced. This was often in the cases of big events. These arrangements were not to be abused but to be used only as and when assistance was needed.
Chief Mahlabe said cooperation of MPS in each other’s jurisdictions were critical when situations were destructive and early deployment was vital. Such joint coordination also occurred when Tshwane experienced issues relating to protest recently.
Wayne Le Roux, City of Cape Town MPS Chief, indicated that his metro had many units including one looking at gangs due to the outcry from the communities. The unit worked closely with SAPS through operations to gather information and intelligence as to what was happening on the ground although there was always room for improvement in this regard. With units came the use of technology to ensure better policing concepts. The Cape Town metro had many such developments in place because normal day to day policing needed to be integrated with innovative policing and technology to work smarter. The metro recently established “Shot Spotter” in order to identify where shots were happening in communities.
Ms Armstrong added that certain sections of various legislation were applicable to the MPS such as the Drug and Drug Trafficking Act. Although MPS were not responsible for the investigation, it was involved in the operations. The SAPS Act also made it possible for the MPS to have cross-border agreements.
Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked what internal challenges Nelson Mandela Bay was experiencing making the MPS in that metro non-operational. Did MPS use police crime intelligence to inform their operations? If not, why not?
Lt. Gen. Kwena noted that the MPS in Nelson Mandela Bay was established in 2012 but it was still not fully operational. The metro currently had an Acting Chief, no members and there were problems relating to administration, training and others but these were being attended to.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) asked if Provincial Commissioners and Chiefs of the MPS met on a regular basis to discuss operational cooperation in the fight against crime. What was the relationship and cooperation between SAPS and all six MPS?
Lt. Gen. Masiye said there were meetings between Provincial Commissioners and Chiefs of the MPS on a regular basis to discuss crime in the metros. Such meetings also took place in the Crime Combating Forums. Chiefs of the MPS were also involved in operational meetings. They also had a picture of the crime stats in their metros to inform operations and prevent crime accordingly. Integration of operations was key in ensuring success in road policing. The relationship between the MPS and SAPS was good and there was communication. Gaps that existed were being closed to ensure there was professional operationalisation.
Chief Ngobeni added that the establishment of the national police forum was primarily done to harmonise the relationship between SAPS and the metros. In the forum, the two entities shared current developments, challenges and were briefed on future arrangements. Is structure was very relevant in terms of raising concerns and it was valued by the metros.
Mr AM Shaik Emam (NFP) was shocked to hear about the large number of cases investigated in the Western Cape by IPID – why was the province notorious for this? If there were civil claims against the MPS, did the claims go to the national SAPS Department or was this the responsibility of the metro?
Adv N Ngele, IPID Provincial Head: Western Cape, answered that with the high number of cases of assault in the Western Cape, most of these cases were common assault where people alleged to have been pushed around or slapped but the NPA declined to prosecute. The death in custody case in the Western Cape was found to be due to natural causes (epileptic fit) by the pathologist. With the large amount of cases of discharge of an official firearm, the Cape Town metro reported all discharges as it were expected to do. Most of the cases were closed as unfounded as IPID went out to investigate the cases.
Mr Thabo Leholo, IPID Acting Programme Manager: Legal Services, added that there quite a bit of protest action in the Western Cape where any incidents would be reported to IPID for investigation. Most findings were that there were no transgressions or criminal action.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) noted that there seemed to be an overlap of duties between the metro police and SAPS – where was the line then drawn in terms of areas of responsibility? Yesterday, IPID informed the Committee of awareness training and she asked if the MPS was included in this training.
Mr Kgamanyane said MPS was neglected from this training but going forward this oversight would be addressed.
The Chairperson noted that one of his questions was still outstanding – the question was what authorisation the MPS had to establish specialised units especially with regard to public order policing, crowd control and drugs. On which regulations or legislation were these units based on?
Chief Ngobeni said part of the mandate of MPS was crime prevention and this was where the role of units was important. Training and standards were prescribed by the National Commissioner as per his powers in terms of the Act.
The Chairperson requested the reference.
Ms Armstrong indicated that Section 64 (O) of the SAPS Act specified that the National Commissioner could make legislation, or sections thereof, to the metro police. There were also applicable regulations and sections of legislation applicable to the MPS like the Drug and Drug Trafficking Act and Domestic Violence Act.
The Chairperson thought this was an important matter for further engagement but he asked if all the units established by the MPSs were covered by certain sections of legislation and regulation.
Ms Armstrong said the National Commissioner could issue a National Instruction to make a specific Act applicable to the MPS. In the case of crowd management, this was applicable to the metro police through a regulation hence continuous joint training sessions in this regard.
Ms Molebatsi also had an outstanding question on where the line was drawn with the overlapping functions between SAPS and the MPS. She provided an example of when she visited a station and found two young metro trainees offering her help which she refused because she wanted to be assisted by SAPS. This also made her question whether the community was aware of the distinction between SAPS and the MPS. She also asked what happened if a MPS member transgressed the Domestic Violence Act.
Lt. Gen. Masiye explained that with the specialised units, like K9, if there was an integrated operation, both units (MPS and SAPS) would be utilised. If each entity was acting on its own, their own units would be utilised. The experience of the Member in the station was unacceptable – SAPS were the members who manned the stations and must attend to those seeking assistance. With domestic violence, the National Policing Standard was circulated to the metros on how to deal with the Act and there was a guide for all metro members on how to assist victims in this regard until it was brought to the attention of SAPS.
Chief Ngobeni added that MPS needed to complete some modules at the SAPS police stations and deployment at the station was part of some of the training.
Chief Le Roux said MPS members were compelled to report cases of domestic violence as legislatively required. In relation to public awareness, metros had put in place various programmes over the years for interacting with communities. Communities would then know the roles and responsibilities of the MPS vs. SAPS. Units, like the KP and equestrian, were used as marketing strategies for community communication.
Mr Shaik Emam noted that his question on the MPS civil claims was still outstanding.
Chief Nzama responded if the MPS was involved in any infringement, the responsibility for payment of the claim was with the metro. If the case involved both SAPS and MPS, an assessment would have to be made on where the responsibility of the claim was.
Chief Ngobeni added that it also depended on with whom the claimant laid the claim.
Ms Mabija wanted to know what the value was of having photographs in the MPS presentation document.
Ms Mmola was not satisfied with the answer relating to challenges in Nelson Mandela Bay – was the Acting Chief in the metro working alone? Why was he not present? He should be called to account for his absence before the Committee. She was also concerned about the in-fighting in the metro.
Lt. Gen. Kwena did not know why the Acting Chief was not present. He reiterated the metros were completely independent from SAPS. All the Chiefs were invited to attend today’s meeting. There were challenges in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro but he did not say there were fights.
Mr Groenewald asked if the MPS had psychometric tests for their members. He highlighted a specific IPID case which showed that some MPS members had an attitude. He had experienced this attitude himself especially at the airport drop-and-go – not everyone had the personality to be a MPS member.
Chief Nzama said that psychometric tests could be done but it would not stop people from wanting to be paid a bribe.
Chief Mahlabe added that he was following up on the issue at OR Tambo airport because a number of cases were made in relation to corruption in that regard. The internal affairs unit was working on looking into some of these cases together with IPID.
Mr Mbhele asked if there were any circumstances or conditions where MPS would provide VIP protection services for a MEC because he understood that MECs had VIP Protection from SAPS. He questioned the one IPID case of assault in Nelson Mandela Bay – if the metro police there was not operational, did it mean that case was against the now suspended Chief in the metro? Who lodged this case and what were the circumstances around it if known?
Chief Ngobeni said national VIP services were coordinated by SAPS and MPS could be requested to assist wherever they were needed or it was necessary.
Banzi Nyanda, City of Johannesburg MPS Chief, added that MMCs were not afforded VIP protection by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) - this would be provided by SAPS. JMPD only afforded VIP security to the Mayor and Speaker of Council.
Mr Kgamanyane explained the Nelson Mandela Bay case involved four MPS members from the Nelson Mandela Bay Police Department and one SAPS member.
The Chairperson asked if there were oversight committees in place for all the metro. In terms of crime stats, what was the compilation policy for each of the metros and where was it reflected?
Chief Nzama replied that the crime stats compilation resides with SAPS because all cases where metros made arrests must be registered with SAPS – these matters then automatically became SAPS cases. Stats related to traffic offences went to the Department of Transport. Oversight did exist.
Chief Ngobeni confirmed that the oversight committees of all the metros were in order except for Nelson Mandela Bay.
Mr R Mavunda (ANC) proposed that the question of Nelson Mandela Bay should be taken off ramp as there were differing accounts and the Acting Chief was not present to defend himself. The Chief should be called to the Committee so Members knew exactly what was happening in the metro. The fact that the Chief was in an acting position showed that there were challenges. The challenges could not be kept secret and should be exposed to the Committee so it could assist with providing interventions.
The Chairperson noted that if all plans went accordingly, the Committee would be conducting an oversight visit to Nelson Mandela Bay next week. The issues raised at this meeting would be taken up at this visit. It was unfortunate that the Acting Chief was not present and did not submit an apology.
Ms Molebatsi was concerned about the widespread issue of bribes experienced by the MPS and asked if there were deterrents in this regard such as body cameras. The matter of bribery was very bad on the streets. She sought clarity on the responsibility of noise control between SAPS and the MPS.
Lt. Gen. Masiye indicated that noise pollution was a by-law so it fell within the ambit and mandate of the MPS. The metros also had the ability to assess the level of noise disturbance through equipment.
Chief Nzama added on the cameras, one must be cognisant of the limited budget – there were so many things which could be acquired to improve member behaviour and protect them but there were limits in terms of budget which Council would point out.
Chief Le Roux said that one bribe taken was one too many – the City of Cape Town had a zero tolerance approach to bribes. When found, charges were laid against the officer taking the bribe and the person offering the bribe which was also important. the City of Cape Town also started an anti-corruption hotline where these types of concurrences could be reported as it was of concern when officers took bribes. Regular checks were also done on lifestyle audits.
Mr Shaik Emam asked if the metros consulted or communicated with the Provincial Commissioners in terms of their plans. He had the impression that the MPS were either taking on more than they could handle in some instances or they did not have sufficient capacity to deal with some matters – an example was municipal health by-laws with contaminated and expired foodstuffs sold on the streets. This was a metro responsibility but the matter was so bad that it was recommended the Department of Health take the responsibility away from the metros. There were also many allegations that metro police officials physically fought to get speed cameras in the morning because of the money to be made. Another thing he had personally noticed was the harassment of sex workers by the metro members and the bribes the girls were forced to pay. There was an area in eThekwini where the longest one would not see a metro vehicle patrolling was two minutes. This also formed part of the serious challenge of deciphering what fell under the mandate of SAPS and what fell under the mandate of the MPS. He agreed that some metro officers were very arrogant as he experienced at the airport himself – the officials stopped vehicles whenever they felt like it and had the attitude that they were above the law and if they were not given a bribe there would be a problem. This was why he could not believe the IPID document that there were no cases of corruption.
Lt. Gen. Masiye replied that there were communications between the MPS and the Provincial Commissioners through the planning of annual plans and other communicative forums.
Chief Nzama added that with the speed cameras, these cameras were automated in the case of his metro. He agreed that the bribing of sex workers was a very serious problem – neighbours did not like the fact that there were sex workers in their areas and often pressurised the metro police to chase the workers away. The metro police found the sex workers to be an easy target while the workers were afraid to complain because of the nature of the work they were doing. These were the kind of complexities of this matter.
Ms Mmola questioned what was meant in the IPID presentation when it referenced “open” and “closed” cases. Did each metro have a service level agreement with SAPS?
Chief Nzama was unclear as to what was meant by “service level agreements” highlighting that the SAPS Act outlined cooperation between the SAPS and MPS. Any grey areas were dealt with in the consultative forums.
Mr Kgamanyane explained that “open” cases were still under investigation while “closed” cases were finalised and some were on the court roll already.
Mr Redelinghuys suggested the Committee have the road traffic police before it to explain their mandate and the powers it possessed to determine whether the unit should reside in the Department Transport or in a division of SAPS. He was interested in further unpacking what powers the road traffic police had. As a resident of the City of Tshwane, the metro police there received a lot of flak and for good reason but he appreciated the good work they did and he commended the MPS for their thankless jobs. Speaking to many metro cops he knew that issues relating to bribery came from the members not making enough and not making ends meet. Nevertheless, the MPS had an important role to play.
Ms Molebatsi cautioned against the message of condoning bribes.
Mr Redelinghuys said he was not condoning bribes but his point spoke to contributing socio-economic factors and systemic problems within the MPS. Whenever he encountered bribery he reported it.
Mr Groenewald was not satisfied at all with the responses he received today especially in terms of his question on the psychometric tests - it was clear that MPS did not make use of these tests. He was beginning to question the need for the MPS and why their members could not just be integrated into SAPS. He noticed that almost all of the metros had equestrian units – what did they do besides patrolling?
Chief Nzama indicated that the MPS did have psychometric tests but it was only conducted once when the employment started. Vetting was more advantageous because it had to be revisited.
Chief Ngobeni added that there were other programmes where metro police members were engaged on customer relations and how they needed to relate with members of the public. This was part of the drive of improving relationships between the MPS and members of the community. The equestrian units were very useful and valuable for patrolling areas where vehicles and motorbikes could not go like mountainous areas or the river side.
Mr Mbhele noted that only the City of Cape MPS indicated it had a CCTV unit/division – this spoke to the broader issue around leveraging of technology to enable smart policing. The CCTV network in Cape Town was a big help in preventing and deterring crime. He wanted to hear from the other metros what their focus was on bringing on board various technologies. The City of Cape Town also recently brought “EPIC” on board which was a king of software and he asked for more expansion on this. On the IPID cases, he remarked that the high amount of Western Cape cases showed proactive compliance by the metro around Section 29 of the IPID Act. It could also speak to higher awareness levels around the public of the rights and ability to seek recourse if they thought their rights were not being upheld. He was concerned about the matter of many assault cases not being prosecuted and asked if it spoke to the quality of investigation or was it more a case of vexatious or over-exaggerated claims. He was interested to know if any analysis had been done in this area.
Chief Nzama explained that each metro was structured differently so the City of Cape Town was not the only metro with CCTV. In some of the other MPS, the CCTVs were run by independent agencies.
Chief Ngobeni added that the Tshwane MPS also had CCTV capability and the matter of technology was continuously engaged to research what was available on the market. The City of Tshwane MPS had recently put together an app for the community to interact with the metro police if in distress – this allowed for quicker response.
Chief Le Roux outlined the Emergency Policing Incident Control (EPIC) was newly introduced and was similar to the 911 concept where people could see the closest deployment of vehicles and how to deploy effectively – this was something the City of Cape Town metro was very proud about. CCTV was used as a footprint and deterrent in order to police and work smarter.
Mr Kgamanyane said the quality of the investigation was not the challenge – all matters reported to IPID (whether they had substance or not) would be investigated and would land up on the desk of the National or Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions with recommendations as a formality – the NDPP or DNDPP would decide on prosecuting the cases or not. Unlike SAPS, IPID did not close case as undetected or withdrawn.
Ms Mabija noted that her question was not responded to from a previous round – this related to the value of putting photos in the metro presentation.
Chief Ngobeni said it was done so that Members could identify the Chiefs of the metros but if it was not deemed necessary it would not be done in the future.
Mr Groenewald thought this was a matter of preference or opinion – he personally liked the photos in the presentation. He understood if other Members felt differently.
Ms Mabija just wanted to know and understand if the photos held any value in the presentation – it was not wrong to include them and her question should not be misinterpreted.
Mr Shaik Emam wanted to know if IPID could provide the Committee with information around convictions and trials – this information could also be provided at a later stage.
Mr Kgamanyane said the detail on prosecutions and convictions could be provided to the Committee.
Mr Mavunda was concerned about the fraudulently obtained driver’s licences –how did SAPS intervene in these cases because this was a criminal act.
Lt. Gen. Masiye responded that SAPS was not involved in the issuing of drivers licences however, if there were complaints of corruption SAPS crime intelligence would investigate. SAPS were not present when the drivers licences were issued.
Chief Nzama added the Department of Transport dealt with the matter of licensing although the MPS were involved with the testing centres. Fraudulent driver’s licences were a problem but prima facie cases were taken to SAPS.
The Chairperson asked if the MPS used the opportunity to provide input on the White Paper on Police process.
Chief Ngobeni answered that the MPS were invited to participate and presentations were continually being made in the Chief’s Forum.
Ms Molebatsi, on the issue of lifestyle audits, asked if the other five MPS were conducting these as well as it could really help.
Mr Shaik Emam noted his question on the capacity of metro police to deal with the health by-laws was not responded to. To IPID, he asked if psychometric tests were conducted on the members involved in cases.
Chief Mahlabe stated that the issue of capacity was ongoing between all the metros but there was a serious imbalance in terms of the ratio between the police force and population size. The international standard of 1:100 was followed as closely as possible but there were other factors to consider like natural attrition and people moving between environments. The MPS tried to use the thin resources and capacity as best they could.
Ms Armstrong added that by-laws were very complex because while some functions may seem like one for policing, it actually was not. For example, in Gauteng, the monitoring of noise was the responsibility of the Health Department and not police. The City of Tshwane had a research group looking at policing, enforcement and writing of by-laws.
Mr Redelinghuys thought the issue of political control and direction was fundamental – did the Mayor, the Council or MMCs have the power to instruct the metro police to conduct investigations or deploy members or generally direct the activities of the MPS. He wanted to know if the metro police were operationally independent from the MMCs or the Council.
Ms Armstrong said this was a very difficult issue because councillors were elected members of the community so communities had the right to complain to their councillors. Indirectly however, a councillor could, through the right channels, make problems known to the MPS as an elected representative of the community.
In closing, the Chairperson referred to the NDP which spoke to a professional police which carried its role out competently and understood the roles and responsibilities to serve communities. The National Planning Commission also recommended the professionalisation of the police by enforcing the code of conduct and the police code of ethics – many of the matters raised by Members related to the code of conduct. This code of conduct was applicable to the MPS too for the consistent subscription of standards – if the public did not trust the metro police members it affected the whole effort to ensure South Africans were and felt safe. Cooperation between SAPS and the metro police in the current forum should be strengthened along with close communication with the Provincial Commissioners – this was critical to training and joint approaches. In many instances the MPS were the first responders and so had a duty to deliver a professional service. The Committee thanked the MPS for their hard work and role played but there should be a major push to ensure all the metro police members subscribed to the necessary standards. In this light, vetting was critical along with necessary lifestyle audits and implementation of technology so that the MPS was comparable to a global standard. Moving forward, the White Paper process would be important and all relevant parties should contribute. The issue of duplication between SAPS and the MPS also came to the fore during the meeting and there were concerns raised with some of the specialised units – more discussion and debate were needed around these matters to ensure the best service for South Africans.
The meeting was adjourned.
- State of Metropolitan Police Services & Levels of Co-Operation with South African Police Service: SAPS briefing
- Metro Police: Portfolio Committee on Police briefing
- Report on status of Metropolitan Police Departments in South Africa: Metropolitan Police Departments briefing
- Outcomes of Investigations of Metro Police Service: Independent Police Investigative Directorate presentation
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