The Portfolio Committee on Police met to consider briefings by the Civilian Secretariat of Police (CSP) on its performance in the fourth quarter of the 2015/16 financial year and the first quarter of the 2016/17 financial year. The CSP also presented reports on the monitoring of compliance by the South African Police Service (SAPS) with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA), and the implementation of the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act.
The Committee Researcher said the CSP had shown positive expenditure at the end of the 2015/16 financial year by spending 98.9% of its allocated budget of R113.2 million, which had been a significant improvement on the previous year. However, there had been significant variances in expenditure, which suggested lack of strategic planning and financial controls. In the fourth quarter, the CSP had over-spent on goods and services by R1.6 million, and had under-spent on the compensation of employees by R3 million. The vacancy rate had been 15.2%, which was quite high, with 14 vacant positions at the end of June, including the critical posts of Secretary of Police and Chief Financial Officer.
The CSP made presentations on its performance during the first half of 2016. No regulations had been drafted in the January to March quarter, as they were dependent on the approval of bills by Parliament and the assent of the President. It had not met its target for the number of police stations visited for oversight, due to a reduction in the budget. There had been delays in obtaining information from the SAPS, which had resulted in it producing no reports on the implementation of, and compliance with, legislation. Lack of staff and budget constraints had led to no reports being produced on special projects.
Members asked for a report on progress with the filling of the vacancy of the Secretary of Police. They also wanted to know what the current status of legislation, such as the Critical Infrastructure Bill and the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, was. There were also questions about the high expenditure on non-core items. They raised concerns about the lack of permanent office accommodation for the CSP. They enquired about the situation of the DNA board.
The CSP made presentations on its monitoring of compliance by the SAPS with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA), and the implementation of the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act.
It said compliance levels with the DVA were unacceptable, as it had been expected that the SAPS should implement and comply fully with the DVA. The SAPS and the CSP had established a Compliance Forum. The Forum had not yet been established in all the provinces. StatsSA had been engaged to assist, since a concern had been raised about the CSP’s methodology. A census approach would be implemented in 2017/18 during which all police stations would be visited within one quarter. The census would be conducted every five years. The number of SAPS members that were failing to comply with the DVA seemed to be increasing. The report showed 235 cases of non-compliance, and 211 disciplinary processes had resulted. The CSP made a recommendation that such matters should be investigated at cluster or provincial level, and not at station level.
Most aspects of the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act 2 of 2011 had been fully implemented. Four provincial heads had been appointed. The Northern Cape and Mpumalanga had financial constraints. The recruitment of the head in the Free State was in process. Limpopo was finalising its structures. The Eastern Cape had a provincial head of safety who was carrying out the functions. The regulations would be presented to the Portfolio Committee on Thursday.
Members raised concerns about the provincial secretariat not having been established, and the permanent Secretary of Police not having been appointed. It was suggested that the increase in non-compliance with the DVA was linked to attitudes of SAPS members. Training was not the issue, but this assumption would have to be tested by a scientific study. There was a view that progress had to be made with the provincial secretariat. There was a need for a joint meeting of the relevant parliamentary committees to address the DVA issue.
Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP): Quarterly performance reports
Ms Nicolette van Zyl-Gous, Committee Researcher, highlighted the key performance issues of the CSP for the first half of 2016. It had shown positive expenditure at the end of the 2015/16 financial year by spending 98.9% of its allocated budget of R113.184 million. This had been a significant improvement on the previous year’s expenditure of 82.6% of its allocated budget.
However, there had been significant variances in expenditure, which suggested a lack of strategic planning and financial controls. The CSP had overspent on goods and services by R1.6 million, and had under-spent on compensation of employees by R3 million. Overspending on the department management sub-programme had been a worrying trend. The CSP still did not have its own office accommodation. Explanations were needed for the lack of expenditure on transfers and subsidies to provinces and municipalities.
The CSP’s budget allocation had been overspent by R5 million on goods and services. The bulk of this had been on non-core items, such as advertising and venues and facilities. While the policy development and research sub-programme had recorded overspending of R1.2 million, the legislation sub-programme had recorded under-spending of R269 000.
In the fourth quarter, the vacancy rate of the CSP had been 15.2%, which was quite high. There was a higher than projected expenditure on goods and services.
Ms van Zyl-Gous pointed out that the CSP spent 18.9% of its budget in the April to June quarter. Spending was behind schedule by R5.2 million. There were 14 vacant positions at the end of June, of which some were critical. The critical vacant posts included the Secretary of Police and Chief Financial Officer.
Mr Willem Basson, Director: Strategic Planning, CSP, compared the performance information of the CSP for the period April 2015 to March 2016, against the targets of its 2015/16 annual performance plan (APP).
He pointed out that only two of the targets under Programme 2: Inter-sectoral Coordination and Strategic Partnerships, had not been achieved. The target of one established working group arising from agreements had not been reached because of the reassignment of the Chief Director to the Office of the Minister. In addition, resources had been channelled to the “We are One Humanity Campaign.” No community safety forums had been assessed because of a lack of capacity and lack of budget.
No regulations had been drafted in the fourth quarter as they were dependent on approval of bills by Parliament and assented to by the President. The CSP had not met its target for the number of police stations visited for oversight. This was due to a reduction in the budget. There were delays in obtaining information from the SAPS, which resulted in the CSP producing no reports on the implementation and compliance to legislation. Lack of staff and budget constraints led to no reports being produced on special projects. The CSP had not met its target of one report on the implementation of recommendations. A draft report had not been approved yet.
There were 12 vacant posts. Of the staff, 53 (50.04%) were females and 49 (49.96%) were males.
Mr Hendrik Robbertze, Director: Finance, CSP, said that of the CSP’s total budget of R113.2 million, 57% went to personnel. This was high. The CSP had under-spent its budget by 1.1%. The main reason for under-spending on administration had been the lack of expenditure on transfers and subsidies to provinces and municipalities. This was because clarity had to be obtained on whether the CSP should affiliate to the Safety and Security SETA (SASSETA) or the Public Service SETA (PSETA). The main reason for under-spending on civilian oversight, monitoring and evaluations was because of the vacant position of Chief Director. Spending had improved from 82.4% in the previous financial year.
In the period April to June, the CSP had filled 92 of its 107 funded posts of which 56 (50.04%) were filled by females and 51 (49.96%) by males.
The following key achievements were pointed out:
- five reports on the SAPS implementing safety protocols were completed, but not approved;
- the White Paper on policing and the White Paper on safety and security were adopted by Cabinet;
- the terms of reference for the single police service framework were developed;
- the CSP had finalised concept notes for the research projects on police resource allocation, the safety audit in the Eastern Cape, and community policing forum policy guidelines;
- a research paper completed on the National Police Board;
- a report with recommendations on policy and legislative amendments to the Firearms Control Amendment Bill had been submitted to the Minister for approval;
- the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill was approved by Cabinet on 13 April;
- six police stations were visited; and
- provincial capacity building sessions were planned and conducted to enhance Domestic Violence Act (DVA) monitoring.
Mr Robbertze reported that 18.9% of the CSP’s budget had been spent in the first quarter. Projected spending had been 23.6% of its budget of R110.6 million. The main reasons for under-spending were vacancies and the delay in the implementation of the annual cost-of-living salary increases.
Mr PJ Groenewald (FF+) asked why he was not being informed of changes to the Committee’s programme. He used to receive SMS’s with updated information, but he was no longer receiving the SMS’s. The Committee Secretariat was sending information to the wrong E-mail address. Who decided on changes to the programme? Why had there been an alteration to the procedures?
The Chairperson replied that the Committee’s programme was on the Z-list, which was available on Parliament’s website. He would take up the issue of SMSs. The programme for each term was discussed with Members. Weekly inputs were also accepted from Members. There was a Management Committee (MANCO) that also looked at the programme.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) said that his personal assistant transmitted the weekly programme to him, but at times they were not alerted to changes.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said that he had not received an SMS today. It would help if the programmes were updated, and re-sent when there were changes.
The Chairperson said that he would speak to Mr Groenewald individually about some of the issues. The Committee Secretariat would also give the necessary attention to matters.
The Chairperson asked for a report on progress with the filling of the vacancy of the Secretary of Police. The post has been vacant for nearly 18 months. He also wanted to know what the current status of legislation was. There were five or six pieces of legislation due before the Committee. What were the timeframes?
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked for an explanation for the disjuncture between the high expenditure on the compensation of employees and the high vacancy rate. How would the CSP rectify the high expenditure on non-core items?
Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked what was meant by “lack of capacity,” when it was given as a reason for not achieving targets. What were the reasons for not visiting all the police stations for implementing the school safety protocol?
Mr Mbhele asked for an explanation on the zero expenditure on office accommodation. What had not been paid to account for the lack of expenditure on Transfers and subsidies to provinces and municipalities? From which directorate had the re-assignment of the Chief Director to the Office of the Minister been done? Was this a permanent arrangement? He asked for an explanation for the variances on expenditure. The adjusted budget figures from the previous presentation did not correlate with what had been in the presentation today. Was it permissible to do virements after budget figures had been presented to the Portfolio Committee?
Mr Mhlongo asked how the CSP would comply with the Researcher's findings? Why would there be over-expenditure on projects that were run in partnership with other bodies? How were things ‘gelling’ for the CSP at the provincial level? Were those structures well established?
Mr J Maake (ANC) asked that the gender breakdown of staff should be given according to the level in the organisation. He pointed out that the delegation which was present at the meeting today did not back up the percentages that had been given in the presentation. Some reports completed, but not approved -- what did that mean? Were the vacant posts for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) judge and the Firearms Appeal Board permanent positions, or temporary until another arrangement is made?
Mr Groenewald asked for clarity on the Firearms Control Bill. What was the process?
Mr Robbertze said that the small savings on the compensation of employees against the high vacancy rate had been due to the rest of the savings being utilised in the virement to cover for over-expenditure for goods and services. Much of the overspending on non-core items was related to the “We are One Humanity Campaign.” This campaign was aimed at people affected by xenophobic violence. A lot of venues and catering had to be procured for this campaign. The lack of expenditure on office accommodation was due to ongoing negotiations with the Department of Public Works for permanent office accommodation that would serve the needs of the CSP. Until permanent accommodation was obtained, the SAPS still paid for the office accommodation of the CSP.
Mr Robbertze indicated that the lack of expenditure on transfers and subsidies to provinces and municipalities had been due to the lack of clarity over which SETA to which the CSP had to belong. All government departments belonged to PSETA. The CSP could also belong to the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA). The CSP was still negotiating with the SETA on this matter. This was why that money had not been spent. In terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), at the end of the financial year, the accounting officer has the power to make some changes to the final budget within certain regulations. In terms of this provision, the CSP did some virements between various programmes. This was done across all economic classifications.
Mr Alvin Rapea, Acting Secretary of Police, CSP, said that the recruitment process for a permanent Secretary of Police had been affected by the municipal elections. The relevant ministers had not been available due to commitments related to the elections. The recruitment process would now be finalised. There would not be an extension of the acting appointment beyond the current three months.
The CSP intended to come to Parliament in November with the revised Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill. The Firearms Control Amendment Bill was to come to Parliament in December, but that was dependent on the Minister approving the recommendations of a task team that had been established. The CSP had asked that the Animal Movement and Animal Produce Bill and the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Amendment Bill be put on the 2017 programme. Cabinet had asked the CSP to prioritise bills that had already gone through Cabinet.
The expenditure on non-core items was justifiable, because it was difficult not to cater for meals when doing community outreach. A limit had been placed on the amount spent on catering for community outreach. There was no catering for internal meetings.
Mr Rapea reported that the Chief Director who had been re-assigned to the Office of the Minister, had since vacated the post. The person in that post had asked for a transfer to the SA Police Service (SAPS). The position would be advertised shortly.
He proposed that the Portfolio Committee should call all heads of provinces to present their strategies to align the functions. There was a Heads of Departments (HOD) forum that met quarterly to ensure that strategies were aligned nationally. The actual breakdown per level in the organisation according to race and gender, would be sent to the Portfolio Committee. The CSP had introduced a strict regime according to which all reports had to be evidence-based. This regime required that all reports had to be audited by internal audit before approval. The post of the DPCI judge was full-time. The CSP was responsible for this. This was also the case with the National Forensic Oversight and Ethics Board, known as the DNA Board. By the end of March, the Firearms Appeals Board had been transferred back to the SAPS. There was nothing in the legislation which stated that the CSP was responsible for the Firearms Appeals Board.
Capacity issues had arisen when there was no leadership in certain units. This had resulted in no reports being prepared and a lack of accountability. This had also applied to the reporting on the implementation of the schools’ safety protocols at police stations.
Mr Mbhele asked what kind of delays in obtaining information from the SAPS had been experienced. Was there any suggestion of non-cooperation, such as reported by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID)? Would there be a permanent Secretary of Police by 1 December? Were any aspects of the anti-xenophobia campaign still ongoing? There had been talk of a cultural festival to take this campaign forward.
Ms Mmola asked for information on the seven provinces that were not implementing the Community Police Forum (CPF) guidelines. She again raised concern about “lack of capacity” as a valid reason for not having achieved a target.
The Chairperson asked for more information about the White Paper process and the role of CPFs. What was the position of the DNA board? Had budgetary provision been made for it?
Mr Rapea said that the CSP wanted a business plan or an annual performance plan from the DNA board. All that had been received was a set of slides. This had made it difficult to make a case for additional funding. However, a submission had meanwhile been made to the Medium Term Expenditure Committee (MTEC). Till a proper business plan was received, however, additional funding could not be allocated.
Mr Robbertze added that a special request for additional funding for the DNA board had been made. The CSP had about R2.7 million available. The DNA board wanted R3.5 million. A lot of issues had, however, been resolved.
Mr Rapea said that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was in place with a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Indoni. The CSP worked with Indoni on anti-crime activities. They had requested funding for a cultural festival, but there had not been any approval yet. The recruitment of the Secretary of Police was with the Minister. He assured the Committee that he would no longer be the Acting Secretary of Police on 1 December.
The delays in obtaining information from the SAPS were linked to non-cooperation in some cases, but there had also been a misunderstanding of roles. CPF funding was a problem, since some provinces had stipends and others did not. The CSP did not have a mandate to fund the CPFs. Now that the Chief Director was in place, it would be possible for the CSP to present a proposal after the finalisation of the White Paper process.
The Chairperson agreed with the proposal from Mr Mhlongo that the DNA board should be invited to appear before the Portfolio Committee.
Domestic Violence Act (DVA)
Ms Ayanda Xongwana, Deputy Director, CSP, reported that the CSP had been tasked to monitor compliance and implementation of the Domestic Violence Act by SAPS members. She indicated that compliance levels were unacceptable, as it had been expected that the SAPS should implement and comply fully with the DVA.
The SAPS and the CSP had established a Compliance Forum. The Forum had not yet been established in all provinces.
StatsSA had been engaged to assist since a concern had been raised about the CSP’s methodology. A census approach would be implemented in 2017/18, during which all police stations would be visited within one quarter. The census would be conducted every five years.
In 2015/16, there had been a slight improvement in the level of compliance. However, the number of SAPS members who were failing to comply with the DVA seemed to be increasing. The report showed 235 cases of non-compliance with the DVA by SAPS members, and 211 disciplinary processes had resulted. Four provinces had claimed that there were no incidents of non-compliance.
Ms Xongwana indicated that the number of SAPS members who were perpetrators of domestic violence had increased when compared to the previous financial year. The CSP made a recommendation that such matters should be investigated at cluster or provincial level, and not at station level.
Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act 2 of 2011: Implementation
Adv Dawn Bell, Chief Director: Legislation, CSP, gave an update the implementation of the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act, since the last briefing to the Portfolio Committee.
Four provincial heads had been appointed. The Northern Cape and Mpumalanga had financial constraints. The recruitment of the head in the Free State was in process. Limpopo was finalising its structures. The Eastern Cape had a provincial head of safety who was carrying out the functions. Most other aspects of the Act had been fully implemented.
Adv Bell said that the regulations would be presented to the Portfolio Committee on Thursday.
The Chairperson asked what the level of cooperation with StatsSA had been. He pointed out that the presentation suggested that there had been no non-compliance in four provinces.
Ms Molebatsi asked what the reason was for non-compliance being dealt with at the cluster level. Why did SAPS members not comply with the DVA?
Ms Mmola asked what the outcomes of disciplinary processes at police stations had been. How often did the Compliance Forums meet? Which provinces had established forums?
Mr Mbhele raised concern about the provincial secretariat not having been established, and the permanent Secretary of Police not having been appointed. He asked how the planned census of police stations would take place in the light of current constraints.
Mr Mhlongo asked what the reasons for the increase in non-compliance by SAPS members were. He indicated that there was a need to strengthen the arm of reporting from the provincial secretariat.
Mr Maake wanted to know whether there was an MOU with the SAPS to implement the recommendations of the CSP. Who was responsible for the appointment of the provincial head?
Mr Groenewald asked whether the CSP were aware of the practice of referring DVA complainants to prosecutors without investigation. How did they handle common assault in the context of domestic violence?
Ms L Mabija (ANC) said that it seemed that the SAPS was failing the CSP.
The Chairperson said that some of these issues had to be raised with the SAPS. Had the Acting Secretary met with the National Commissioner of Police?
The Acting Secretary of Police said that he had not met the Acting National Commissioner of Police, but there had been interaction with the SAPS. There was an agreement that the two institutions should work together. There was a management intervention team. It was the role of the MECs, in consultation with the Minister of Police, to appoint provincial heads. The provincial heads were part of the senior management forum that was chaired by the Secretary of Police. The CSP was not aware of cases not being investigated and simply being referred to the NPA.
Ms Xongwana said that investigations at cluster level were for SAPS members who were offenders. The incidences of non-reporting were linked to the police stations that were visited. The establishment of compliance forums would improve reporting. The Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Free State had established compliance forums.
She said that it was assumed that the increase in non-compliance was linked to the attitudes of SAPS members from the previous dispensation. Training was not the issue. It was therefore assumed that it was attitudes. The CSP would do a study, and propose an intervention. Some SAPS members were still stuck in the past and thought that domestic violence was a soft issue.
Ms Molebatsi wanted to know how the CSP would address attitudes.
Mr Groenewald wanted to know how many SAPS members were from the previous dispensation. He believed that there were very few, and it was wrong to place the blame on them since it was an easy excuse.
Mr Rapea indicated that he wished, on behalf of Ms Xongwana, to withdraw the statement that the attitudes of SAPS members from the previous dispensation were responsible for non-compliance with the DVA. The CSP would come back with a scientific report. There was no agreement with StatsSA, but when the census was undertaken there would be a formal agreement. There had been unsuccessful attempts to get an MOU with the SAPS. The CSP relied on the Act.
Mr Mhlongo said that currently the CSP was using police statistics. He proposed that the CSP engage civil society in the monitoring of compliance of the SAPS with the DVA.
The Chairperson said that progress had to be made with the provincial secretariats. There was a need for a joint meeting of relevant parliamentary committees to address the DVA.
The meeting was adjourned.
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