Farlam Recommendations implementation by Ministry of Police; Railway, Gangs and Radio-control specialised units; SAPS transformation task team, with Minister & Deputy present

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21 September 2016
Chairperson: Mr F Beukman (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed by the Minister and Deputy Minister of Police on progress made with the Ministerial Transformation Task Team in terms of recommendations to have come out of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. The presentation covered the scope of the Ministerial Transformation Task Team, a summary of the resolutions from the National Development Plan which were included in the scope, the key deliverables and milestones in terms of the Task Team and processes and reporting plans. The presentation also touched on the Panel of Experts in terms of its scope and how it complemented the Ministerial Transformation Task Team.

The Committee posed a number of questions to the Ministers relating to Public Order Policing vehicles particularly nyalas and if first aid kits would be included in the vehicles; amendment of the South African Police Service Act; remuneration/compensation of families affected by Marikana and how the Committee would be reported to in terms of the phased approaches and key deliverables of the Ministerial Transformation Task Team. Members were concerned that too many members of the Task Team were from within the internal policing environment and the potential this had to produce a closed-thought system. Members wanted to know if a reference group would be used to scrutinise what came out of the Transformation Task Team to ensure quality assurance. Further discussion was had on the national policing board as a key recommendation of the National Development Plan and if this board would be used for the impending appointment of a permanent National Police Commissioner and to improve the quality and calibre of other leadership appointments. Further points were raised around the taking into account of the Ministerial reference group, the state of policing in SA currently in terms of successes and challenges and then how the Transformation Task Team and Panel of Experts fit into the White Paper processes.

Not related to the briefing, the Committee raised questions around why the Minister was a year late in notifying Parliament of the appointment of the head of the Hawks – Members noted that the Minister was effectively in contravention of the SAPS Act which stipulated that Parliament be notified of the appointment within 14 days ,and asked how the Minister would remedy/mitigate the contravention of the statue.

The Committee was briefed by senior management of SAPS on three key policing environments namely, the rapid rail environment, gangsterism and functioning of the 10111 call centres. The presentation on the Rapid Rail Police covered the functions of the specific unit, core strategies of the unit, stakeholders and partnerships in the environment, forums established, successes, actions and operations executed in 2015/16, passenger statistics as policed by the Rapid Rail Police, challenges and risks and the way forward.

The Committee was concerned about the decrease in the number of members in the Rapid Rail Police unit and asked if there was engagement or negotiation with the Passenger Rail Agency of SA in terms of addressing this – if Passenger Rail Agency of SA line managers and executive committee were not taking the matter seriously, the Committee would have to engage the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises. Other questions were raised around arrests and convictions in terms of the successes in the rapid rail environment and what the cross border operations entailed.

The presentation on the functioning of the 10111 call centres looked at the responsibilities and functions of these call centres, linkages of police stations to the 10111 call centres across SA, successes and challenges and the way forward.

The Committee felt that the capacity of the 10111 call centres needed to be increased and questioned why some provinces, like Gauteng, had all police stations connected to the 10111 call centres while a province like Limpopo only had 10 police stations connected. Members wanted to know what criteria were used to determine which stations were linked to the 10111 call centres, what happened when stations were connected and if calls were recorded like in the 911 system to be used as evidence when allegations were levelled against the Service. A concern was raised that only one-third of calls to the 10111 call centres were legitimate and how this added to fostering an attitude amongst police members to not take calls seriously.

The final presentation on the policing of gangsterism discussed the background and legal framework to this challenge, the integrated approach to dealing with gangsterism and the National Crime Combating Forum Instruction to deal with gangsterism. The presentation also covered Operation Combat and Operation Lockdown in the Western and Eastern Cape respectively in terms of actions executed, arrests and seizure, successes and recoveries. After touching on drug confiscations, the briefing concluded by addressing the increase in gang violence and gang-related incidents.

Members questioned the rolling out of some of the projects under Operation Lockdown and Combat to other provinces, what type of crime loitering was and how it was identified and intelligence integrity to ensure there was no corruption in terms of police involved in or benefiting from gang activity. Discussion was had on why there seemed to be a resistance within SAPS to establish fully fledged specialised units to police gangsterism instead of opting for temporary task teams and the prosecution led approaches in Operation Combat and Lockdown. 

Meeting report

Chairperson Opening Comments

The Chairperson welcomed the Minister and Deputy Minister of Police and senior police management. It had been a very busy one for the Committee – the previous day it dealt with the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) and there were many items on the agenda for today. The Committee would first receive a progress report on the Ministerial Transformation Task Team. Thereafter, the Committee would focus on three important policing areas, namely, the functioning of the 10111 call centres, gangsterism and the functioning of the rapid rail police.

Members would be duly informed if Friday’s meeting would be brought forward to tomorrow – the request was still with the House Chairperson.

Progress Report from Ministerial Transformation Task Team

Minister of Police, Mr Nkosinathi Nhleko, said the Deputy Minister was the champion of the Transformation Task Team project. Following the recommendations of the Farlam Commission, the Panel of Experts and Transformation Task Team were established to focus on specific areas of concern by the Commission. This was the first progress report since work had got underway on the Task Team. The established project management office essentially coordinated all work around the Transformation Task Team and Panel of Experts.

Deputy Minister of Police, Ms Maggie Sotyu, added that Cabinet approved the establishment of the Transformation Task Team and Panel of Experts. One of the functions of the Transformation Task Team was to look into the entire police service to ensure that all policies, procedures, National Instructions and Orders detrimental to the police officers’ mandate and wellness were reviewed, revamped or repealed to ensure that every police officer was ready physically, psychologically and emotionally to ensure effective and efficient policing throughout SA. The mandates of the Transformation Task Team and Panel of Experts did not differ widely and the two would work hand in hand. She briefly took Members through some of the members of the Transformation Task Team noting that to save funds, many of the members were from within the internal policing environment – it was also best to utilise the skills which were already there.

Mr P Groenewald (FF+) was not pleased that Members only received copies of the presentation during the meeting – documents were supposed to be provided to the Committee before the time.  

Ms Nashrika Sewpersadh, Head of Programme Management, Office of the Police Ministry, took the Committee through the presentation beginning by going through the scope of the Ministerial Transformation Task Team. The mandate of the Transformation Task Team was applicable to the National Development Plan (NDP) vision of professionalising and demilitarising the SA Police Service (SAPS) by reviewing all the SAPS/Department of Police’s policies, National Instructions, Standing Orders and operational standards that detriment and negate the police officers’ working environments, their living conditions, their career progression and their dependents’ livelihoods when the police officers either retire or pass on

The following NDP resolutions were included in the scope:

  1. Strengthen the criminal justice system
  2. Make the police service professional
  3. Demilitarise the police service
  4. Build safety using an integrated approach
  5. Build community participation in community safety

The Transformation Task Team complemented the Panel of Experts – the Panel of Experts was launched on 29 April 2016 while the Ministerial SAPS Transformation Task Team was launched on 15 August 2016. The two complemented each other to achieve a common objective which was the successful transformation of SAPS. The Transformation Task Team played a pivotal role to ensure that police officers were ready to implement policies and strategies that the Panel of Experts recommended for implementation. The Transformation Team Task would ensure that all policies, procedures, National Instructions and orders detrimental to the police officer’s mandate and wellness were reviewed, revamped or repealed thus ensuring that every police officer was ready physically, psychologically and emotionally to ensure effective and efficient policing in the country.

Ms Sewpersadh then outlined the deliverables of the Transformation Task Team in five phases:

  1. Phase One: introduction of the Ministerial Transformation Task Team members, meeting with the SAPS executive, National Commissioner of Police and all national heads of SAPS entities 
  2. Phase Two: workshop Constitution/terms of reference, implementation plan, budget and communication strategy
  3. Phase Three: benchmarking of best practices at both local/domestic and international institutions, audit and review model to be accustomed to SASP’ transformation requirements as per the NDP
  4. Phase Four: auditing and reviewing of policies, National Instructions, Standing Orders and operational standards of the SAPS and review and amendment of SAPS Act:
    • Entry salary levels of police officers reviewed
    • Career progression and promotion policies review
    • SAPS Employee Health and Wellness Programme (EHP) aligned to the National Framework of EHP
    • Pension and Occupational Compensation Fund of the SAPS reviewed to suite the special needs of the law enforcement institutions
    • National Instruction on placements, transfers, transporting and accommodating of police officers reviewed
  5. Phase Five: final review report and costed draft Cabinet memorandum presented to the SAPS executive with a time-framed implementation plan for promulgating final decisions by Cabinet and Parliament, health and wellness of the SAPS police officers transformed to improve the psychological morale and physical fitness of the police officers, encourage commitment to the police officers’ oath and general working environment of the police officers to be more conducive to execute their constitutional mandate

Ms Sewpersadh then highlighted the Transformation Task Team milestones:

  1. 26 August 2015: Cabinet approved implementation of the recommendations of the Marikana report
  2. March – June 2016: Deputy Minister of Police followed due process to select and appoint Ministerial Transformation Task Team in tandem as when the Panel of Experts was established and launched in April 2016
  3. 15 August 2016: Ministerial Transformation Task Team was successfully launched and would operate until 31 July 2019
  4. 16 September 2016: Ministerial Transformation Task Team met to workshop the implementation of the directives set out in the terms of reference
  5. 31 October 2016: Phase One and Two of the terms of reference project planning phase was scheduled for completion
  6. 1 November 2016: Phase Three was scheduled to begin with the Phase One and Two deliverables scheduled for completion

Deputy Minister Sotyu added that things raised by the Farlam Commission had been said by Parliament for years even when she was a Member but there was a lot of work happening in the Department and a lot which had been done.


The Chairperson heard the motivation as to why almost 80 to 90% of the Task Team was from inside the environment but compared this to the rapid change of processes in the Department of Home Affairs during the Fourth Parliament – the Department took on people from various disciplines including the private sector. Would Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) play the role of process evaluation or would this be done by the Panel of Experts? The danger or dilemma of only utilising internal people was of having a closed-thought process. He asked who would be the reference group to scrutinise the proposals from the Task Team and to ensure quality assurance.  While the Minister might not be the relevant Executive authority, he noted that one of the outcomes of the Farlam Commission were processes regarding the suspended National Commissioner – what was the current status of the Claassen Committee and when could a report be expected on the matter? 

Deputy Minister Sotyu said the Department would only receive the PWC report as a way of implementation.

Minister Nhleko thought the point around the internal environment was very important. The internal component was vital to informing processes moving forward. The Panel of Experts was also important for guiding and evaluating the process. It was critical to balance institutional knowledge/experience and external ideas about the organisation. With the Claassen Committee, the process was outside of the Ministry and he could therefore not provide an update on the status of the process. He would have thought the retired Judge was considering all the matters to have come before him.

Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) heard mention of vehicles in terms of Public Order Policing (POP) but there was no mention of nyalas which were key in POP activities, did the reference to vehicles include nyalas and water cannons etc.? In terms of reference to first aid, did this mean every vehicle would be fitted with first aid kits?

Deputy Minister Sotyu responded that the actual work on areas like vehicles was still being done but she knew SAPS was in the process of buying nyalas and revamping some of those already there. Such details could be provided to the Committee once more work was done.

Mr Z Mbhele (DA) noted that a big part of the Task Team was how it would impact and improve the quality and calibre of leadership and management in SAPS as everything started at the top. He found that one of the key recommendations emanating from the NDP was the establishment of a national policing board – what was the delay with putting this board in place as part of the unfolding process? This board was even more urgent considering the impending appointment of a permanent National Commissioner once the Claassen Commission had been finalised. This policing board needed to be in place to carry out the duties outlined in the NDP around influencing the appointment process of the National Police Commissioner. As a NDP recommendation, why could the policing board be out in place to begin a review of current senior management in time for the appointment of a permanent National Commissioner? Also in terms of the critical importance of leadership, he highlighted a letter submitted the previous day to Parliament by the Minister notifying the House of the appointment of the national Hawks head according to section 17 C of the SAPS Act. The problem with the letter was that the notification was a year late as this section of the SAPS Act required that Parliament be notified of the appointment within 14 days which happened in September 2015. Leadership was critically important as a foundation and anchor around the performance of organisations, why was Parliament informed of the appointment a year later? He asked if the Minister could confirm that this notification was triggered by a parliamentary question he submitted to the Minister’s office earlier in the month asking if the provision of the SAPS Act had been complied with. Did this late notification by the Minister render the appointment of Lt. Gen. Ntlemeza procedurally irregular, at the very least, and open to having the appointment set aside on technical grounds which meant the process would have to be restarted? What would the Minister do personally to remedy this contravention of statute which had come to light?

Minister Nhleko responded that any transformation process looked at an institution from a holistic point of view in terms of the current character the institution adopted from time to time. Processes were geared toward developing a better outlook on how work should be conducted effectively and efficiently. A myriad of issues was likely to come out of such an exercise which would have a positive impact on how the institution was governed and run. With the national policing board, he thought it was better to deal with the structural issues before considering creating further structures, this would allow for a more phased-in kind of approach. The advantage was that the NDP was also a vision towards 2030 which allowed for such a phased-in approach to set up structures to assist in the work of the police.

Mr Mbhele reminded the Minister of an old saying which said that the second best time to plant a tree was today – the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.

Minister Nhleko noted this. Eventually processes would lead to structural establishments but this would be phased-in. Setting up the national policing board would be another layer of consolidation of transforming SAPS.

Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) asked if it was not advisable for the Committee to get the short term plan of the Task Team for better monitoring and to then move on to the medium and long term phases. He raised this in light of the review of the SAPS Act and the sections/areas of the Act which were problematic. Had the Task Team identified these problematic areas of the Act to actually get the ball rolling? With regard to Marikana, he questioned the remuneration /compensation of those families who were affected by the massacre out of police coffers or if the funds would be sourced from elsewhere. One could not have talk of transformation without healing the wounds of those affected by Marikana. No headway could be made with the Farlam recommendations if this was not first addressed.

Deputy Minister Sotyu said that no Act could be reviewed without involving the Committee. Policies and National Instructions would also need to be reviewed as, at times, the documents did not speak to the current situation.

Minister Nhleko highlighted that with the Marikana compensation there was a legal process underway which drew in the National Prosecuting Authority, Independent Police Investigative Directorate and a number of other role-players and the issue of compensation was dealt with at that level. This was a matter which spanned right across the social and political spectrum of society. Compensation was also not the only means through which to bring about healing because there was no monetary value to human life. The matter also required collaboration but the emphasis was on fostering stability, reconciliation and peace. 

The Chairperson asked how the Transformation Task Team and Panel of Experts processes fit into the White Paper processes and SAPS Amendment Act; a merger of ideas could be valuable.

Deputy Minister Sotyu replied that the White Paper on Policing spoke to demilitarisation and professionalisation of the police but in a non-detailed fashion while the Transformation Task Team-Panel of Experts would be addressing the detail in this regard.

Minister Nhleko added that there were a number of different initiatives from different angles which would assist in identifying other areas which would have to be drawn into the mainstream work. The White Paper process actually started before the Transformation Task Team and Panel of Experts was set up and it was likely that some issues would dovetail.               

Ms Bilkis Omar, CSP Chief Director: Policy Development and Research, said both the White Papers were being operationalised this year, implementation plans were being developed and the national police board was one of the operations for this year. All policies and papers were part of the Transformation Task Team including the amendment of the SAPS Act.

Mr Groenewald noted that the presentation highlighted professionalism – the Minister having informed Parliament a year late of the appointment of the head of the Hawks was not an act of professionalism. He had a big problem with the Minister’s legal team where the Minister lost many cases even in the Constitutional Court. In this specific instance of the Hawks head appointment, it was clear the Minister was not advised that Parliament was to be informed of the appointment in compliance with SAPS Act. This meant the Minister was in contravention of the Act, why was Parliament only being informed a year later? He wanted to know if the Committee would receive interim reports on the progress made by the Transformation Task Team to follow the whole process as it moved.

Minister Nhleko responded that the section of the SAPS Act referenced did not speak to parliamentary approval but spoke to reporting to Parliament. It was true that the stipulated 14 days was not complied with but the entire process had been run according to normal HR management processes. Reporting the appointment of the head of the Hawks to Parliament within 14 days was recently brought to his attention. The letter to the Speaker did allude to this oversight on his part and he therefore took full responsibility for it. Opinion of his legal team was debatable, elements of decisions taken recently were quite strange both in terms of law and political matters but this was another debate and it was not about competency.

Mr Groenewald asked what corrective steps were taken to ensure another such “oversight” happened.

Minister Nhleko responded that part of the issue was internal capacity within his office at the time but this problem of capacity was addressed. Identification of this particular anomaly was as a result of new capacity in his office. He took responsibility for not reporting to Parliament within the 14 days, it was for Parliament to decide on what steps to take from there.

The Chairperson presumed that the Reference Group would do the work of looking at other jurisdictions and best practice. He emphasised that processes were not to reinvent the wheel but asked if there was an integrated approach to look at other case studies to ensure that it was included in the plan moving forward. It was four years since Marikana and asked the sense of the Minister on the state of policing in SA in terms of successes and challenges. 

Minister Nhleko highlighted that the state of policing in SA today was a difficult question. He believed in conducting scientific research studies when it came to matters of this nature. This sort of work had not been conducted on the side of the Ministry but it would be interesting to see which organisations had perhaps done such work in terms of the current state of policing in SA. Institutionally, positive feedback was heard in terms of new deployments and results to be yielded from that. He heard that levels of morale were beginning to pick up in certain respects but there was still quite a long way to go. Pockets of excellence were however beginning to emerge, this was also seen in the way in which the police conducted themselves under very difficult circumstances like violent protests, under some such difficult circumstances, even the police themselves had come under attack but they had not retaliated using instead measured interventions in terms of alternative forms of crowd management for example. There were pockets of excellence which needed to be taken forward and consolidated to build on positive aspects emerging. The Transformation Task Team would also assist with internal factors i.e. ordinary employees of the Service to build on some of the positive ground beginning to emerge in policing in SA.

Mr Mbhele asked the Ministers if the Transformation Task Team and Panel of Experts would take into account findings of the Ministerial reference group which made some useful and substantive findings around senior management and the handling of various processes in SAPS which would be important as part of the transformation process. There was value in the reference group and he did not want it to be lost. Following up to discussion from the previous round of questions, he noted that the Minister said he followed relevant regulations and protocols in the appointment process for Lt. Gen. Ntlemeza. He assumed the Minister was referring to the Public Service Act but he reminded the Minister that he could not pick and choose which statute or regulations applied to a process because he had already been shown up in that regard with the ruling of the case of Gen. Dramat (previous head of the Hawks). The Minister also referenced the lack of capacity in the office of the Ministry which may have contributed to the oversight of not notifying Parliament of the appointment of Lt. Gen. Ntlemeza within 14 days. He raised concern with the capacity and calibre of the Minister’s legal advice and the Chief of Staff of the Minister who said, in a newspaper article, that the oversight was due to confusion around whether or not the SAPS Act should apply to the Hawks. If this was correct he found this unfathomable because the SAPS Act was the very Act that created the Hawks and regulated various parameters and conditions which applied to the agency. Any confusion about whether or not the SAPS Act and its provisions applied to the Hawks was demonstrable grounds for some major problems in the competence. Having worked in a Premier’s office before, he knew how crucial the position of chief of staff was. At the very least that individual should be an Advocate because of all the legal documents involved and if that someone could not work out whether a statue applied to an organisation or not was a very big problem. He then noted that the Minister said he took responsibility for the oversight but the Minister did not mention if he would take any corrective or remedial measures – what would the Minister personally do to remedy the oversight? In other countries, a Minister would step down for a similar contravention as it was effectively breaking the law. He again asked if the submission of the letter notifying Parliament of the appointment of Lt. Gen. Ntlemeza was triggered by a parliamentary question he posed earlier of the month which would have alerted the office of the Minister to this gap.

Minister Nhleko responded that a number of initiatives and processes had developed which explained why there was a project management office to assist in pulling in all these areas. Many matters came out of the Ministerial Reference Group such as human resource management. The Transformation Task Team itself was also focused on employee health and wellness so there was certainly opportunity to tap into the work done by the Reference Group to assist the work of the Transformation Task Team. All police officers were appointed under the auspices of the SAPS Act with some exceptions for those employed under the Public Service Act such as clerical staff. There was no way that a Cabinet memo could be drafted without outlining the entire detail around the recommendations and how the appointment was made in terms of the SAPS Act. There was no confusion in this regard. The parliamentary question by Mr Mbhele was certainly not a trigger for notifying Parliament of the appointment, He still needed to see some recent written questions as he had not been to the office.

Mr Mhlongo understood that the Task Team would be reporting quarterly to the Committee but for effective oversight work and for Members, as public representatives, to tap into the feelings of the people, it would be better if the deliverables were reported on and then the Committee could also track the pace. He agreed it was important to look at the linkages between the Transformation Task Team and the White Papers broadly. There were also a number of other issues to come out of the Committee’s recent oversight trip to the Eastern Cape where it would be important to see how they fit into processes discussed today. The presentation itself said that without effective policing there could never be an effective criminal justice system to deliver on the expectations of the people. Reviewing the current SAPS Act was important in terms of identifying which parts needed to be repealed. Transformation needed to be broken down into phases and each phase would be the responsibility of a specific structure in the organisation.

Deputy Minister Sotyu explained that the project management office was within the Ministry but the driving source would be under human resource management. The emphasis was on individual police officers because these were the people who would implement everything under discussion today. Which areas of the SAPS Act to review could only be identified by the team during its first sitting in October, there were those tasked with looking at the regulations, legislation, policies, National Instructions etc.

Minister Nhleko added that the White Paper process itself was also looking into some of these matters. With the Constitution adopted in 1996 and the SAPS Act in 1995, there was an argument that the Act itself needed to be aligned to the Constitution. The White Paper process would assist in identifying the sections which needed to be aligned to what the Constitution stipulated. He noted the concerns of the Member on structuring the approach according to phases in the short, medium and long term.

The Chairperson noted the interim report and said the Committee awaited further reports on these projects. These projects were critical as they linked to the NDP 2030 vision. The Committee would be updated quarterly on progress made toward achieving these NDP milestones. It was vital to implement the NDP and relevant recommendations of the National Planning Commission.

SAPS Status: Functioning of Rapid Rail Police

The Chairperson noted that part of the focus of the Committee was to look at specialised units. Last week on an oversight visit the Committee visited the 10111 call centre in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Lt. Gen. N Masiye, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Visible Policing, noted that the 10111 call centres waere an essential resource in fighting crime. Challenges were experienced in these call centres but they were being attended to by all divisions involved. The rapid rail units were policing the rail environment through the visible policing (VISPOL) and crime prevention interventions. There were no specialised units for the gangs but there were however task teams established through the provinces to deal with gang-related crime. Two operations were employed in the Western and Eastern Cape to deal with gang-related issues. Gangsterism could not only be policed by SAPS but required the involvement of other departments to deal with the social ills which led to gangsterism.                                              

Maj. Gen. M Motlhala, SAPS: Head: Rapid Rail and Police Emergency Services, VISPOL Division, took the Committee through the presentation, noting that South African Railways and Harbour Police (SARP) was established on 1 July 1934 under the Department of Transport. The SARP was then amalgamated into SAPS on 1 October 1986 bringing16 000 members. These officers/ members were transferred to local police stations.  On 11 June 2003 Cabinet approved the mandate, functions and resources of the PSS Division, which included Railway Police. Railway policing was re-introduced and established during 2004. The restructuring process in the SAPS was approved on 8 December 2010, and subsequently Railway Police (including the National Mobile Train Unit) were moved to the VISPOL Division. The Gautrain Unit established in 2012.

In terms of functions of Rapid Rail Police, the mandate of the Rapid Rail Police Units was embedded within the mandate of SAPS which was derived from section 205 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. The functions of the Rapid Rail Police Units included:

  • rendering of a visible policing service within the rail environment to address safety of commuters, passengers, freight and the rail transport system
  • conducting of a preventative and reactive policing service within the rail environment
  • providing of a rapid rail policing service within the rail environment
  • performing of crime prevention and crime combating operations in the rail environment.

Total strength of the operational Rapid Rail Police (RRP) stood at 3232 (Police Act members).

Core strategies of the RRP corridor policing included:

  1. optimal police visibility
  2. rapid response service
  3. police accessibility
  4. focused detection and deterrence
  5. problem solving policing approach

Maj. Gen. Motlhala then outlined successes for 2015/16 in terms of type of crime, units and total arrests. This was followed with information on action and operations executed for 2015/16 and passenger statistics policed by the RRP. Challenges and risks included:

  • overcrowding
  • open rail system
  • train delays
  • cable theft
  • external stakeholders

SAPS Status: Functioning of 10111call centres

Maj. Gen. Motlhala began by noting the responsibilities of the 10111 call centres included:  

  • Receiving and dispatching complaints
  • Serving as an early warning centre during major incidents or disasters by alerting and activating all the various role players and co-ordinating activities

Complaints were prioritised as follows:

  • Alpha:  Complaint in progress and all serious crime requiring immediate police action
  • Bravo: Crime already occurred with no immediate threat to life or property
  • Charlie: Less serious crimes e.g. drunkenness and loitering

Maj. Gen. Motlhala said the functions of 10111 call centres included:

  • Render a 24-hour professional and immediate crime related emergency service by receiving and processing complaints.
  • The 10111 call centres (Radio Control Rooms) were the point of entry and exit of all crime related complaints received.
  • Dispatch complaints to the appropriate response vehicles via radio and render the necessary support to response vehicles.
  • Record all complaints on the Global Emergency Management, Command and Control Centre (GEMC3) that had an inter-face with the Crime Administration System (CAS) utilised at police stations e.g. date and time reported, transmitted and attended as well as a result of complaint and CAS number, if positive.
  • Receive and process radio enquiries from response vehicles.
  • Provide advice / assistance to the community on police related matters.

The presentation then looked at linkages of police stations to 10111 call centres across the provinces. In terms of successes, during the 2015/2016 financial year a total number of 7 579 878 calls were answered of which 2 462 745 (32.5%) calls resulted in complaints being registered, attended to and finalised. A total of 5 117 133 (67.5%) calls were enquiries or prank calls which were not police emergency related. In terms of challenges:

  • Majority of Police Stations were not linked to 10111 Call Centres due to inadequate radio towers (high-sites) and different radio systems utilised (analogue vs. TETRA)
  • Eight provinces, with the exception of Gauteng, were utilising Analogue Radio Systems resulting in poor voice quality, poor reception in mountainous areas and inability to communicate with response vehicles not within range of the 10111 Call Centre.
  • Different IT resources were utilised by 10111 Call Centres.
  • High volume of calls received by 10111 Call Centres of which an average of 55% were not police related emergencies (nuisance and abusive, “prank”, hoax and/or enquiries calls.)
  • Inaccessible informal settlements affecting response time of vehicles.

Looking at the way forward, emphasis was on streamlining of Radio Communication Systems from Analogue to Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) country-wide as the TETRA System was able to link in all terrains, linkages of all police stations to 10111 call centres, integration of all systems between 10111 call centres and police stations, implementation of Back to Basics to all 10111 call centres, standardisation of IT equipment with the 10111 call centres and benchmarking with other international police call centres.

SAPS: Policing of Gangsterism

Maj. Gen. Motlhala began by noting that gangs existed in various forms and intensity throughout the country and were generally linked to drugs, firearms and organised crime. SAPS had therefore responded by dealing vigorously with drugs and firearms.  A multi-disciplinary and integrated approach was therefore adopted to effectively address gangsterism through prevention, intervention, assessment and suppression. Gangs related to the social fabric of a community which not only required combating by SAPS but also needed to be dealt with by other authorities and civil society in an integrated manner. Integrated Task Teams had been established in SAPS, consisting of VISPOL, Detective Service and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI), with a life span of 3 to 6 months, to deal with specific issues when required. Such task teams were established in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State. Western Cape adopted a specialised operational concept that provided for visible policing, investigation, crime intelligence and community mobilisation.

The legal framework for dealing with gang-related crime and violence included:

  • Prevention of Organised Crime Act, 1998 (Act No 121 of 1998)
  • The Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2001 (Act No 38 of 2001)
  • The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2013 (Act No 7 of 2013)
  • The Drug and Drugs Trafficking Amendment Act, 2014 (Act No 140 of 1992)
  • The Witness Protection Act, 1998 (Act No 112 of 1998)
  • The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004 (Act No 12 of 2004)
  • The Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No 51 of 1977)

Maj. Gen. Motlhala discussed the integrated approach in dealing with gangsterism noting that in 2014, Cabinet tasked the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee (NICOC) to prepare a threat analysis focussing on prison gangs in the context of gangsterism as a national threat. At the same time the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) was tasked by the Minister of Police to develop an interdepartmental strategy. These two parallel processes were coordinated through a Gangsterism Task Team under the joint leadership of NICOC and the CSP. The existing anti-gangsterism strategies of the Free State and Western Cape provinces were incorporated into the National Anti-Gang Strategy. Prior to the directive that resulted in the process to develop the anti-gangsterism strategy, some strategic and operational interventions were already in place, specifically in provinces where gangsterism and gang-related crimes were prevalent, led by SAPS and other stakeholders. This was mostly prevalent in the Western Cape where gangsterism was deeply entrenched in many communities with severe social and crime related problems. This included the establishment of three committees dealing with Intelligence, Detectives and Operations with the intention that the committees would continue to work in these disciplines. The Technology Committee aimed to address the challenges within Correctional Facilities where gangs use technology to influence activities outside of prison. For example, the Intelligence Committee and intelligence structures would provide information to the Operations and Technology Committees to allow appropriate intervention. The Anti- Gangsterism Strategy was approved by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster in December 2015 and further presented to the JCPS Ministers in August 2016, where a draft detailed implementation plan was requested. A Cabinet memorandum on the Strategy was drafted and forwarded for approval. The Strategy was further presented to the Free State PROVJOINTS in July in order to be incorporated into their action plan. The Strategy was also endorsed by the Social Protection Human Development Cluster, the Economic Sectors Employment and Infrastructure Development Cluster as well as the Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD) Management Committee (MANCO) to ensure that the root causes of gangsterism were addressed by the relevant clusters as opposed to a solely law-enforcement approach.

Maj. Gen. Motlhala then discussed the NCCF instruction to deal with gangsterism noting that in order to ensure that SAPS in all provinces acted proactively on threats of gangsterism, NCCF instruction 1 of 2014 was issued. This required police stations to act proactively to address gangsterism through targeted policing actions and cooperation with communities, local government and other stakeholders. The Instruction further required that should stations not be able to address gangsterism effectively, the interventions could be escalated to the Cluster Crime Combating Forum (CCCF) or Provincial Crime Combating Forum (PCCF) level making use of the Organised Crime Threat Assessment (OCTA) processes. The existing plans adopted by the Eastern Cape, Free State and Western Cape were also presented to an extended NCCF meeting to serve as an example of what was required in this regard. in addition to the NCCF instruction aimed at policing of gangsterism, the SAPS crime combating approach articulated in the NCCF instructions was further utilised to address gangsterism and gang related crime.

In terms of interventions in the Western Cape, the province had a law enforcement and criminal justice plan in place (Operation Combat) that was driven by SAPS but involved Local Government, Provincial and National Departments. The Western Cape Provincial Government also adopted a provincial “Social transformation, Gang Prevention and Intervention Strategic Framework” in 2008. The mandate of the strategy adopted by the Western Cape included:

  • To stabilise gang affected areas
  • To dislodge and weaken the capacity of gangs
  • To disorganise and disable their criminal economy
  • To construct prosecution ready dockets, including the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA) cases against gangs/members
  • To create security within gang affected communities

The four primary dimensions of the strategy were:

  • Strategic VISPOL deployments
  • Criminal investigations related to gangs
  • Focused gathering and analysis of intelligence
  • Mobilisation of communities against gangsterism

Maj. Gen. Motlhala said the operational concept used by the Western Cape focused intelligence support by providing tactical information, focused on integrated visible policing at identified hotspot gang areas, addressed gang leaders and gang members through focused criminal investigations, monitored and evaluated focused integrated operations and conducted community outreach programmes directed at targeted vulnerable groupings, affected communities and role models.

Maj. Gen. Motlhala said Operation Combat in the Western Cape comprised of Crime Intelligence, Visible Policing, Operational Response Services, investigative capacity and other law enforcement agencies involved in the combating of gang violence. It was deployed in identified problematic gang areas to stabilise over and above station and cluster level deployments.

Turning to interventions under Operation Lockdown in the Eastern Cape, existing policing practices, mostly conventional of nature, had no impact on the situation hence the Acting National Commissioner had directed an intervention with the achievable objection of successfully combating gangsterism in the area. The strategy, which was developed and be actualised with effect from 1 April 2016 through an operational plan and daily operational instructions, directed from the Cluster Operational Command Centre. The strategy was based on three pillars and operational focus area namely:

  • Detection;
  • Disruption/suppression
  •  Prosecution.

Successes and recoveries under Operational Lockdown included:

  • 567 arrests
  • 82 firearms
  • 1040 ammunition

Maj. Gen. Motlhala, on the question of whether there was an increase in gang violence and gang- related incidents, noted that gang violence fluctuated month to month or even year to year. It started as a fight over “turf” and then resulted in intimidation, revenge attacks and alliances. At present, 35 known gangsters were awaiting trial at St Albans Prison of which some orchestrated hits on witnesses and other gang members. This also contributed to an increase in gang related cases. The hot spot areas expanded week by week due to the following:

  • Lack of income (drug trafficking, routes been policed and closed)
  • Displacement of gang related crime due to increased police presence
  • Need for legal fees, etc. for court cases, led to gangsters committing other crimes, e.g. robberies, carjackings, etc.
  • The modus operandi of gangs was constantly changing due to the increase pressure of the police

Currently there were about 700 known gang members affiliated to between 16 to 21 identified gangs. This figure had increased over the years due to constant recruitment.

It was noted that whilst these policing interventions were being implemented, the scourge of gangsterism was deeply-seated in many poorer communities and would require a complete all-of-government response to address the implications. Policing was but a part of the solution – special attention would also have to be given to the prison gang structure which fed the systematic adoption gang culture.


The Chairperson noted that in the RRP, in 1986 there were 16 000 members and now there were 3 000 – this was a total change in terms of numbers and he wanted to know what agreement/negotiation there was with the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (PRASA) in terms of what could be done to address this issue. He highlighted that one of the residents in his constituency in the Drakenstein was thrown out of a train in Klapmuts – he was concerned about what was being done to ensure safety on the trains.

In terms of the 10111 environment, the call centre the Committee visited in Nelson Mandela Bay was world class but there was still a lot of capacity which could be deployed there in terms of the broader crime picture – would VISPOL be looking at its current staff and members to direct some resources? Operation Lockdown in the Eastern Cape was excellent and was the way to go in terms of it being a world class strategy and the quality of people deployed there. Moving the Operation to a Cluster rather than station level was good because leakage of information and tipping the criminals off happened a lot at station level, to cut that level out and ensure only vetted people were working with the Operation was welcomed. The Committee would also like to receive a more detailed briefing on Operation Lockdown at a later stage. Was SAPS looking at rolling out some of the projects under Operation Lockdown to other provinces? 

Lt. Gen. Masiye replied that it was unlikely the numbers of the RRP would increase but at least in the Western Cape, 100 new constables were recruited and deployed but SAPS was negotiating with PRASA to increase security and increase visibility in the rail environment cooperatively.  With the 10111 call centre in Nelson Mandela Bay, note was taken of the concern of the Committee around the need to increase capacity in this specific call centre. The aim was to make Command Centre Commanders Major Generals, this had started in Gauteng. Organisational development was looking at restructuring the other 10111 call centres in this way. The staffing of the 10111 call centres was receiving attention. Operation Lockdown was indeed a world class strategy and it was correct to say that these deployments must be handled from a cluster level, many of the station personnel were used to the gangsters and some of them had relationships and fed information to the gang leaders. Having most deployments come from the cluster was assisting in mitigating these challenges.

Ms L Mabija (ANC) on the 10111 call centres, did not understand why Gauteng was the only province where all stations were connected to the 10111 call centre. This was compared to Limpopo, for example, where it was a mostly rural province and where the crime rate was high but only 10 of 99 stations were connected to the 10111 call centre. What criteria were being used to connect a station to a call centre?

Lt. Gen. Masiye explained that the current system utilised was a challenge but technology would improve as time went on. The Technology Management Services (TMS) division was aware of these challenges. In mountainous areas the station could not be connected to the 10111 call centre because of network restrictions. Complaints would be reported to the police station if the station was not linked to the 10111 call centre. The call would then be dispatched from the station to all available vehicles patrolling. No complaints would be lost from the communities if the station was not linked to the 10111 call centre. The 10111 call centre was started in Gauteng which explained why all the stations in the province were linked. This did not mean some provinces were prioritised over others.

Mr Mbhele questioned the fixed establishment or ideal staff complement for the railway police if they were to reach full capacity and in order to have enough visibility. He thought that part of the problem was not having enough boots on the ground on the platforms, in the trains and surrounds. He asked if members of the railway police were now posted at stations or if they were part of a different structural environment. If the members were posted at police stations, did it mean they could be diverted from working in the railway environment to other operations which would create a challenge in depriving railway police. On the 10111 centres, he asked what the interface between the GEMC3 and CAS system was meant to achieve in terms of value and benefit. What happened when there was no link between a call centre and a station?

Moving to the gangsterism presentation, he asked why there seemed to be a resistance within SAPS management to specialised unit approach instead opting for temporary task teams. If it was noted that an ordinary police approach was not the way to deal with gangs, why did the Service just not go all the way with specialised units? When thinking about intelligence as part of the approach, what corruption mitigation and prevention measures were there for tackling gangsterism in the intelligence environment? It was known that gangs made a lot of money in the underground economy and so it would make sense of a gang boss to have a handful of intelligence operatives to warn of when territory would be raided or to get information on rival gangs. The integrity of the intelligence environment in this regard was thus very important so what measures were in place to mitigate/prevent corruption? In comparing Operation Combat and Operation Lockdown, a key pillar of Operation Lockdown was the prosecutorial-led investigation approach to have dedicated prosecutors working with investigators from the very beginning of a case for a constant feedback loop between prosecution and investigation. In Operation Combat however, he did not see explicit mention of the same approach. Was there also a prosecution led approach with Operation Combat with a dedicated team of prosecutors working in that focused way carrying the case docket from initiation to conviction?  

Lt. Gen. Masiye responded that senior detectives were dealing with the cases related to gangsterism to ensure convictions and these detectives had good relationships with the prosecutors. The prosecutions-led approach of Operation Lockdown was also used in Operation Combat.  With the fixed establishment of the rapid rail environment, she did not have the fixed establishment number on her but SAPS currently utilised what it had but it might be good for the Service to utilise reservists where it could to beef up forces. Members of the RRP were stationed at the corridors. PRASA had allocated SAPS some offices at their railway stations where the members were operating from. These members were not based at police stations and were specifically deployed to deal with the crimes at the rail environment. When the trains were not in operation the RRP members were utilised in other crime prevention operations in the clusters. This was well coordinated by the RRP commanders. With the interface between CAS and GEMC3, the GEMC3 was the enhanced CAS system. The CAS system would be phased out as time went on because some functions could not be utilised on the system hence the GEMC3 but the two had the same functionality. The establishment of specialised gang units was on the list of priorities of the DPCI under an organised crime unit. She could not comment more as she was not aware of the current status of establishing this specialised unit.

Maj. Gen. D Moodley, SAPS Acting Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence, said that integrity in the intelligence environment was maintained through a very vigorous vetting process for all members involved in the intelligence environment and there was a specific intelligence desk to look at the behaviour/habits of members in the intelligence environment. If members had contact with gangs this information was to be logged in terms of the nature of the interaction etc. There was also intelligence gathering on an ongoing basis to identify member susceptible to corrupt activities by gang bosses especially within the confines of specific gang operations. If members were not working on a specific operation, that person would not know the details of which gangs were targeted, when, where and how.  

Mr Mhlongo wanted to know the strategic location of the areas/stations linked to the 10111 call centres in Limpopo, noting that the greater part of the province was rural. Was there a method developed to ensure the 10111 call centre not only availed in one part of Limpopo but was evenly spread in order to ensure communities could access the 10111 service but were not necessarily linked. With the RRP, he understood the volumes of commuters SAPS needed to police. Was there a way of police entering into partnership with PRASA to model a system for a command centre in the rail block?

Lt. Gen. Masiye clarified that communities where nearby stations were not linked to the 10111 call centre were still getting the service. Vehicles were installed with radios which were used to communicate with the stations when complaints/calls were received.  Some of the vehicles also had cellular phones which were linked to a particular sector, the community could call these sector numbers directly. This ensured the gap between stations not linked to the 10111 call centre was plugged. SAPS was looking into partnering with PRASA to have the command centres to ensure alerts and incidents were fed to the RRP and improve efforts to fight crime in the rail environment.

Ms M Mmola (ANC) questioned arrests and convictions under successes mentioned in the rapid railway police environment. On the challenges and risks, she questioned what was meant by a lack of accountable persons participating with integrated approach functional level in relation to external stakeholders. With the cable theft, how did such crime happen if there was patrolling? On the 10111 call centres, she asked if there was another to communicate in areas where communication was poor like in mountainous areas. On gangsterism, she asked if any police members were involved in gangs or arrested for being part of gangsterism.

Lt. Gen. Masiye said information on convictions could be provided to the Committee in writing. With the challenge of a lack of accountable persons participating with integrated approach functional level in relation to external stakeholders, this referred to not having senior people involved in stakeholder participation, from PRASA, and also because the people involved changed frequently. In terms of communication in mountainous areas, there were other means of communicating and communities in these areas were not neglected. Complaints were lodged with the stations and responses were dispatched from there. Complaints lodged through stations could be monitored through the CAS system and GEMC3. Now and them, members of SAPS were arrested for being involved in gang activity particularly through the selling of firearms. She did not have the exact numbers on the members arrested for this kind of crime

Mr Groenewald was concerned that only one third of the calls to the 10111 call centres were valid. He was worried that this created an attitude among the members to not even answer calls or seriously address calls. What was the role of the station commander in monitoring the 10111 calls? He did not understand why the calls were not recorded like a 911 to use a benchmark. If a member of the public alleged that SAPS did not react to their call, one would know the call was recorded for evidence. On the gang presentation, 10 years ago when the Committee was briefed on the same challenge it was noted that SAPS and intelligence were losing against the gangs; this was still the case today. Were the successes highlighted in terms of drug confiscation really the best that could be done? Everyone knew the battle against gangsterism was being lost but nothing was really done about it. Presentations were made to the Committee but no results were seen in practice. On the way forward, the presentation said special attention would have to be paid to the prison gang structure which fed the systematic gang culture. Why was this special attention not already given? Who monitored this special attention? The emphasis needed to be on what was practically being done instead of presenting on what should be done.

Lt. Gen. Masiye replied that the 10111 call centres did have recording systems and so calls were recorded. Recently she was aware of problems with the Maitland 10111 centre in Cape Town where members of the public complained that their calls were not followed up on. Management was following up on these complaints and there were disciplinary cases involving the misconduct of some SAPS members. In terms of special attention, Members would be aware of the management intervention structure which was tasked to follow up on specific incidents requiring special attention. If a member did not perform accordingly to an incident in terms of following up on giving special attention, steps were taken.  

Mr Groenewald asked how many cases were experienced when there was not specific follow up.

Lt. Gen. Masiye could not cite the exact number of cases but she explained that if SAPS made an undertaking to respond to an incident of crime within 20 minutes, for example, but there was a delay, special attention would be given during investigations of misconduct to the member who caused the delay. That member would be disciplined accordingly.

Maj. Gen. Moodley, responding to work on gangsterism, conceded that more could have been done. The intelligence environment had largely been focused on stability-related issues and trio- related crimes but the environment was putting together capacity and aligning structures to focus on gangs. The number of covert operations directed at gangs had also increased and there were active intelligence operations directed toward gangs throughout the nine provinces, results in the months to follow would demonstrate this sharp focus on gangs. There was also specific gang intelligence collection capability within the security intelligence component and dedicated resources were being added towards gangsterism on a continuous basis dependent on the budget. A desk-based centre was being put together to specifically analyse gang activity and crime which emanated from it.

Mr J Maake (ANC) wanted to understand what type of crime loitering was and how it was identified. It reminded him of a time when one was arrested for walking at night in town because one was “loitering”. With the RRP, he noted that in Cape Town there was an increase in attacks on train drivers and he asked if this was a trend or if the drivers were robbed like any other person while walking for example. He then asked what the Legal Succession Act was in reference to the presentation. With the cross border operations, he questioned what these operations actually entailed. Was this similar to hot pursuit? 

Lt. Gen. Masiye responded that loitering was where the community noticed people creating problems in their community and those people did not reside in the specific area. With the attacks on train drivers, she did not have specific details of particular cases but they could be provided to her for follow up. Cross border operation referred to operations implemented across provincial borders. For example, there were operations between Gauteng and Limpopo within the rapid rail environment.

Maj. Gen. Motlhala explained the Legal Succession Act prohibited people from crossing rail lines to prevent serious injuries. 

The Chairperson raised the issue of challenges people experienced when exiting the witness protection programme. Without going into too much detail, was this matter taken up with the Department of Justice? A lot of people were in the programme and if there were challenges with exiting, alternative strategies were needed to provide the necessary support.

Maj. Gen. D Mole, SAPS Deputy Provincial Commissioner: Crime Detection (Western Cape), responded that he had contacted the office of the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions and he was told that the current status quo remained, there were concerns and discussions around them but there was no policy change.

Ms Mabija wanted to know if SAPS tried to negotiate with relevant departments in terms of the challenge of communication in mountainous areas. What measures were taken to diagnose manifestations of SAPS members getting involved in gangsterism.  

Lt. Gen. Masiye explained that when SAPS engaged with stakeholders’ challenges were shared but in the case of the mountainous areas she could not pinpoint if other departments were engaged with, she would follow up on the matter. TMS was approached and an improved system was being looked at to ensure all communities received the same services no matter which area they resided in. With the issue of gangsterism, cases were investigated as they were received by crime intelligence to get to the root causes and deal proactively with gangsterism. Challenges faced required inter-departmental collaboration and for communities to stand together. Many factors influenced gangsterism in society while communities were on the suffering end. On the side of policing, SAPS were trying their level best but not enough had been done.

The Chairperson thought there was a need for the Committee to interact jointly with the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises to ensure PRASA was giving the challenges the necessary attention. Technology was also quite important for the safety of passengers. SAPS had a role to play but PRASA did too and if their line managers were not coming to the party it was totally unacceptable. There could only be solutions if the relevant line managers and executive committee members of PRASA were involved.

Mr Mbhele asked if the Gautrain unit was part of the Rapid Railway unit. He wanted to find out if the GEMC3 enhancement/upgrade was part of the CJS/IJS plan-process, if this was not the case it was a problem because it would imply disjointedness. If the two were connected, he was concerned the GEMC3 would die a slow withering death like the rest of the IJS had been doing for the past couple of years. Would there be value in the shift to the GEMC3 and was the shift being monitored or implemented in such a way to prevent a recurrence of the problems seen under the IJS/CJS so far.

Maj. Gen. Motlhala indicated that the Gautrain was part of the RRP under the high-speed unit.  Because the Gautrain was a closed system and there was technology in place there, the RRP high-speed unit was not experiencing challenges in that specific environment. The GEMC3 enhancement was indeed part of the CJS/IJS process.

The Chairperson closed the meeting by noting that it was important that the 10111 roll-out was prioritised.  The TETRA system must be implemented effectively to replace the analogue system especially for the rural communities and the Committee would engage TMS on this. The Committee welcomed the upgrading of the 10111 technology at various centres but the centres required full employment.  The Committee noted the issues in the Rapid Rail environment but the 100 constable additional intake in the Western Cape was welcomed, other provinces should also be looked into in this regard. The Committee would be taking the matter of PRASA involvement further with the Public Enterprises Committee.  There was still a lot to do in the policing of gangsterism while being cognisant that the complex issue was social, educational, involved communities. From the side of SAPS there must be integrated approaches and analysis of crime intelligence along with specialised skills and deployment. Efforts made in this regard were welcomed by the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned.



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