The Committee met for its second day of hearings on the Annual Report for the 2015/16 financial year for the SA Police Service (SAPS). Beginning with the indicators, targets, actual performance, reasons for deviance, corrective actions and highlights for programme three: detective services, Members questioned reasons for big personnel losses in environment which led to under spending, languages used for making statements and inputting information into the system, effective communication with victims and complainants where the case of Senzo Mayiwe was raised, leadership and appointment of Deputy National Commissioner: Forensic Services and impact analysis of the turnaround in the stock theft unit. Discussion was had on the usefulness of the detection and conviction rate as a measurement of performance (also with specific crimes against women) and the fact that the number of trial-ready dockets did not match the conviction rate – in this regard Members suggested a joint meeting between the Committee and the Portfolio Committee on Justice, more particularly, the National Prosecuting Authority. A key concern was raised around the backlog in the detective’s environment especially in terms of undetected cases – this failed the victims of crime. Comments were raised about the consistent underperformance in the programme where the status quo was more or less the same as the performance last year – Members asked what more needed to be done particularly to increase resourcing and capacitation. Specific findings by the Auditor-General (AG) of SA was also raised specifically in terms of inaccurate record keeping, slow response in addressing audit findings and improving key controls in risk areas over financial and performance reporting.
The Committee was then briefed on the indicators, target, actual performance, reason for deviances and corrective actions for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) which fell under the detective services programme. Members requested an update on the status of the DPCI offices, sole focus on the investigation of levels three to five, multiyear targets and the filling of vacancies in the Directorate. The Committee asked pointed questions to the DPCI Head around political influence, pressure or directive to prioritise certain cases and how professionalization and integrity were maintained with investigations, especially with high-profile cases as leaks were a concern – pointed questions were also about communication between the DPCI and President in light of the summons issued to the Minister of Finance as a high-profile member of Cabinet. Questions were also asked about the involvement of the DPCI in cyber crime month and concern that such a serious crime had too low of a target. Discussion was had on specific AG findings related to a lack of proper record keeping and SAPS members doing business with the Department and what corrective steps were taken in this regard. Members spoke to inadequate coordination and harmonisation between the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster and the Anti-Corruption Task Team contributing to underperformance in the detection of fraud and corruption-related cases. The Committee highlighted the need for the separate reporting of the DPCI to comply with the SAPS Amendment Act.
Also falling within programme three was forensics where Members were briefed on indicators, targets, actual performance, reasons for deviation and corrective steps in terms of the performance of this sub-programme. The Committee questioned the role of social workers, quality control management in the environment and the status of critical factors leading to downtime on systems in the Forensic Science Laboratories. Discussion was had on the difference in routine and non-routine case exhibits in terms of timeframes, challenges in the Criminal Record Centre with the processing of police clearance certificates and challenges with the dealing of DNA intelligence case exhibits in the timeframe stipulated.
Programme four: Crime Intelligence (CI) was then presented where all indicators and targets in the environment were met – Members were informed of key highlights in the performance. The Committee asked about the vetting of members in the CI space and the concern of CI members vetting each other in terms of the negative impact on checks and balances, optimisation of CI procedures, the nature of cross border operations reported on and uniform policing in the CI environment. Concerns were raised with reconciling the good performance reported on in paper and what was actually happening on the ground for example with the crime statistics reporting on increased contact crimes, murder, robbery and hijacking. This was also linked to concerns of inadequate capacity and footprint to cover enough ground particularly in problematic areas such as Nyanga. Members wanted to know about the use of CI in the Fees Must Fall protests, the conduction of telephonic interception and why there was a substantial decrease in network operations while key crimes were increasing.
The final programme, Protection and Security Services (PSS) also achieved all its indicators and targets planned. Members wanted to know which Key National Points (KNPs) were declassified and the factors leading to their declassification, the cost drivers leading to the escalation in expenditure particularly within the VIP protection, which VIPs were protected by the Presidential Protection Services (PSS), the footprint of the static response units in the provinces and the presidential dignitaries in transit for the year under review. The Committee was concerned about the working conditions of the personal protectors of Ministers and Deputy Ministers where the protectors were expected to run errands after hours or on weekends, speeding and other dangerous behaviour. Discussion was also had on the terrible living conditions and accommodation of the PSS members in the Free State seen by the Committee on an oversight visit. The Committee was displeased that nothing had been resolved in that accommodation environment when it had already been over a year since the Committee first requested that it be addressed.
The Chairperson welcomed all to the second day of the Annual Report hearings of the SA Police Service (SAPS). Yesterday the Committee dealt with programmes one and two, while today the focus would be on the remaining three programmes including the Directorate for Priority Crime and Special Investigation (DPCI). Tomorrow the Committee would receive the Annual Report briefings of the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) while on Friday the Annual Report hearings week would be closed with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA).
Lt. Gen. Khomotso Phahlane, Acting National Police Commissioner, noted that yesterday, Mr Groenewald requested an update on the Waymark contract – it was correct that a date was set for 20 June but proceedings did not continue as scheduled on that date because the mediation route was opted for which was considered less costly for both parties. SAPS was now in settlement mode and a figure was put forward by Waymark which SAPS had responded to – SAPS now waited on feedback from Waymark to take the process forward. At this stage now court or arbitration date was set but there was interaction between the parties to try and find a resolution and it seemed as if the end was close.
Programme 3: Detective Service
Maj. Gen. Leon Rabie, SAPS Head: Strategic Management, took the Committee through the presentation noting that overall the programme achieved 61% of its set targets. Indicators not achieved included:
-Detection rate for serious crimes
-Detection rate for contact crimes
-Percentage of trail-ready case dockets for crimes dependent on police action for detection
-Detection rate for crimes against women 18 years and above (murder, attempted murder, all sexual offences, common assault and assault GBH)
-Detection rate for crimes against children under 18 years (murder, attempted murder, all sexual offences, common assault and assault GBH)
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) noted that a big amount of personnel losses were experienced in this environment which resulted in some under- spending – what was the reason for this? She was concerned that trial-ready dockets, which one assumed would be watertight cases, were not showing results in the number of convictions.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane replied that there had always been agreement that detectives would be fully capacitated but natural attrition could not be avoided – people reached retirement age and left the environment or people voluntarily resigned for greener pastures. When this happened it affected capacity in the programme but SAPS had activated the reenlistment process to try and attract some of the individuals who left the environment and met the requirement of the reenlistment process. Last year about 183 former members were reenlisted in the detective environment while this year alone 216 former members were reenlisted into the environment which brought the total to 399. The process was ongoing and applications were being considered. He admitted that he did not quite like the indicator measuring trial-ready case dockets because even though the case was fully investigated by the investigator or detective, prosecutors often found gaps in the investigation and sent to the dockets back for further work which made the docket not yet trial-ready. This was an indicator which may need to be reviewed in terms of its usefulness. There could never be a direct correlation between trial-ready dockets and the conviction rate.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said that he had previously raised concerns, in Annual Report hearings, on the usefulness of the detection and conviction rates reported to the Committee. His concern was that these reported rates were not reflective of the real situation out there – looking at the definition of the detection rate in the Annual Report he asked why the number of charges withdrawn before court added to the number of charges referred to court because one presumed the withdrawn charges were still sent to court. It sounded as if there was double counting and he asked for clarification on this. Within the formulae, where did charges closed as undetected fit in? For example, if a suspect could not be traced or if there were no leads and the case was then closed as undetected –these cases should surely be part of the global figure of cases reported but if it was not included in the detection rate this could lead to the distortion of the percentage and if this was the case it was worrying. With the percentage of crimes detected as a result of police action, he thought performance of this indicator looked good but the Annual Report noted that this crime category included drug-related crime – the reality of the drug-related crime and offences greatly dwarfed figures presented to Members. His concern was that the reported figures were heavily filtered and heavily distorted and they were not an indication of things on the ground going well – the reality on the ground was vastly different and far more displeasing such the amount of communities pointed police to drug houses but nothing was either done about it or it was weakly followed up. On the use of language, he asked if a complainant or a witness was giving a statement, could that person make the statement in any language, depending on which station they were in and if the officers knew to allow this. What language were these statements then inputted into the CAS/ICDMS system? What language did the docket have to be in when it went to court?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane thought the detection and conviction rate were very useful and important for policing purposes – the rates were based on crimes reported to the police. The more crimes were reported the more the stats would become a true reflection of the crime situation on the ground. To this end SAPS continued to raise awareness and educate communities to report matters to the police as it may help in solving more crimes and develop a better picture of what the crime situation was in a particular environment. With the language, SAPS of course subscribed to the 11 officials languages. Practically in a station if the complainant/victim could not communicate in the language spoken by the officer, someone would be brought in to relay the complaint. There were no people who could speak all 11 languages in stations. On the system, cases were primarily captured in English but when a person went to court, he/she would be assisted with interpreters in the language of their choice. With crimes detected as a result of police action, what was reported and presented was an accurate picture of those cases detected following police action. In those cases, the conviction rate would be much higher because the onus would be on the accused for example if found in possession of drugs or selling drugs to use the example of Mr Mbhele. Communities were continuously asked for cooperation when it came to crime detected as a result of police action.
Mr Mbhele asked if the actual statement itself was then in English? He was not quite satisfied with the reply to his first question – there seemed to be double counting of charges referred to court added to charges withdrawn before court. These sounded like the same charges but if they were not he required clarity on why this was the case. Where were charges closed as undetected counted?
Maj. Gen. Rabie explained the detection rate referred to the crime SAPS actually managed to solve either in getting the docket court ready or were withdrawn by the complainant prior to going to court – the latter did not actually go through the court process itself which explained why those cases were added. Cases closed as undetected was the opposite of detected cases so if the detection rate was, for example, 60%, that meant 40% of the cases were closed as undetected. Those cases did not form part of the detection rate formulae but by definition it was the opposite of the detection rate. Cases closed as undetected, found unfounded or false or were withdrawn by the complainant were still considered to be solved or detected for purpose of the calculation. These cases were expressed relative to the caseload of the reporting period. The detection rate had tremendous value for calculating the percentage of reported crime SAPS solved relative to the cases received.
Mr Mbhele asked if charges withdrawn before court referred to when a complainant withdrew the charge and not that it went to court and was struck off the roll.
Maj. Gen. Rabie confirmed this.
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) asked if the Committee could receive the definition of detection again. It was important because it defined everything.
Maj. Gen. Rabie clarified three categories were taken into consideration in the detection rate namely, number of cases which went to court, cases withdrawn by complainants prior to going to court, unfounded/false cases – the sum of those three categories was calculated as a percentage relative to the total number of cases received i.e. new cases reported in the reporting period and cases brought forward into the period. It was important to bear in mind that of the three categories outlined, not all of the cases were from the year under review as some cases came from before the reporting period.
Mr M Redelinghuis (DA) assumed then that the conviction rate could not include cases where the prosecutor declined to prosecute because conviction was either yes or no. Was there a separate figure for cases the NPA declined to prosecute? The conviction rate not only measured the quality of police work but also the NPA’s resources and their approach.
Maj. Gen. Rabie said there was an effort by SAPS to get its conviction rate as close as possible to the rates used by the NPA. Previously the conviction rate used by SAPS was calculated on the number of cases it dealt with while the NPA only reported on cases it dealt with and it was important to remember that not all cases landed up in court– currently the conviction rate of SAPS considered guilty vs. not guilty and this was then expressed as a percentage. For example if there were 100 cases and 60 were found guilty, the conviction rate would be 60% - the rate did not take into account the bulk of cases dealt with by SAPS but only cases to reach a verdict.
Mr Redelinghuis asked where he would find the amount of cases where the NPA declined to prosecute.
Maj. Gen. Rabie said the data was available. There were a number of indicators to use in the detective services environment. Where the NPA declined to prosecute those cases were not part of the criminal justice system and would be categorised as cases withdrawn.
Mr Groenewald said this meant the “undetected” rate was actually the dockets still being investigated, not court ready, not withdrawn, not found that it was false- he requested that this figure then be presented so that the Committee knew what the backlog was.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane indicated that the information would be made available but this was not part of the indicators SAPS was being measured on. There were any factors the Service did not have control over including convictions.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) said that last year, when programme three was presented, the Committee was fairly worried about the performance of the programme and SAPS indicated steps were being taken through the Back to Basics approach. This year, performance of the programme was static and very much the same as last year – what more should be done in terms of making sure this particular programme was improved. What was SAPS not doing to achieve results? With the detection results for crimes against women, he asked what was not being done to address this particular aspect of the programme. He remained concerned about the closing of dockets as undetected – it was concerning to have a case closed as undetected when a crime was actually committed and the perpetrator of the crime was not found – was the shortcoming due to SAPS lack of footprint and lack of intelligence in particular areas? What could the Committee assist SAPS with to deal with this particular aspect because women and children were a priority and it would be useful to know how many dockets were closed as undetected? It might also be useful that the Committee received a more in-depth briefing on undetected cases and the effect on the victims of crime.
Mr J Maake (ANC) noted that during the Committee’s oversight, the detective services programme was found to be neglected. He suggested that targets should aim for putting up some facilities and resources for this programme before even targeting arrests and conviction – facilities and resources should simply be the target for now. During oversight visits the Committee never found this programme functioning optimally in stations. Resourcing of this programme should be the emphasis.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane agreed that last year SAPS was not doing well in terms of the performance of the detective services environment particularly the general detectives environment but an undertaking was made to turn the picture around to improve performance and performance had indeed improved. 10 of the 15 indicators in the programme had been met in 2015/16 while in previous years the number of indicators met was much lower. This was evidence of the impact of management intervention and implementation of the recovery plans in that particular environment. Changes were beginning to be seen – he was confident that at the end of the financial year the picture would look even more different. Periodic reviews were being done on the environment together with the docket age analysis which was presented to the Committee. He could not dispute that there were resource challenges along with infrastructure and accommodation but with these wider financial constraints, more was being done with less. There was also activity in the training of detectives such as with better communication with victims and complainants. There were only four senior managers that still needed to be appointed to ensure the detective services environment was fully capacitated.
Mr Redelinghuis knew that resources, including human, was a problem for the detectives. Having recently visited a station in Centurion he was shocked to see a detective and a clerk sharing one desk. While he saw the rates of detection and getting dockets trial-ready he wondered how these figures filtered down to station and cluster level which would then be a question of resourcing. Management intervention needed to identify areas in the programme requiring resourcing and this could then be made an indicator to be reported on as part of Back to Basics. In engagement with investigating officers and station commanders, there was despondence about their performance being measured against a conviction rate. The problem many officers faced, and which he encountered especially in Pretoria, was that the members responsible often felt the prosecutors made the wrong decisions and that the prosecutors were either lazy, overworked or not adequately equipped and then the performance on conviction did not reflect the work of the police members. He was told there were often suspects arrested multiple times and the case was sent to court but the prosecutor then did not prosecute. Perhaps there should be a rethink on whether the conviction rate was an indication of someone doing his/her job properly. Perhaps there was a need for greater sync between the Department of Justice, and particularly the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and SAPS with some review mechanism or system in place for example when cases did not go to court or did not get prosecuted.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane said the figures for the station level could be provided but the point was that individual stations and detectives could be assessed as to performance.
Mr Groenewald wanted to know how many detectives were in the Service currently. Looking at the statistics, the criminal justice system was failing the victims of crime in SA. Looking for example at the percentage of trial ready case dockets for serious crimes, there was a huge backlog and this was only looking at serious crimes – together with the conviction rate there were a huge amount of trial-ready serious crime dockets which had not yet gone through the system. The backlog on contact crimes trial-ready dockets was also steadily increasing – how was the police handling this backlog? He suggested the Committee meet with the Justice Portfolio Committee on this specific matter of the backlog of dockets. This was why the criminal justice system was failing victims of crime in SA.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane outlined that as of the end of March 2016, i.e. the end of the financial year, the total establishment of detectives was 25 536.
Mr Groenewald found that this was more or the same figure as the previous year which meant there was not really an increase in the amount of detectives in SAPS.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane said this was correct – as he mentioned previously there was natural attrition but new people were being brought in.
Mr Groenewald said that matters were still not completely clear – looking at the number of complaints reported for priority crimes, total number of complaints incomplete and detection rate, he was concerned about the backlog. It explained why people felt that nothing was being done about their cases. What was the total backlog at the moment?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane responded that the complaints reported were for the financial year 2015/16. Incomplete complaints were laid in the financial year but the cases were still under investigation. He would provide the information on the number of cases not finalised irrespective of the year in which it was lodged.
The Chairperson referred to two root causes in the police portfolio mentioned by the Auditor-General of SA (AG) concerning the slow response in addressing audit findings and improving key controls in risk areas over financial and performance reporting to ensure valid, accurate and complete information. Yesterday the Committee also referred to the quality of leadership – during its oversight visit to the Eastern Cape, the Committee did not have good engagement with the head of detectives at one of the stations. Such an individual was the leader of the unit and must ensure detectives achieve targets, dockets were closed and follow ups were done. In terms of the turnaround strategy of detectives, when did the Acting National Commissioner envisage that change will be seen? With the communication to complainants and victims in public interest cases, many members of the communities said no feedback was provided by the police. While all cases should receive the same attention, the dilemma was that high profile cases sometimes defined successes in terms of perception – with the Senzo Meyiwa case, it was clear from media reports that the family was not happy with the feedback. If proper feedback was given to the family, community and public at large it would aid in allying fears that attention was not being paid to cases. On the issue of remuneration review, he highlighted that last week he visited a station where the station commander said that five or six of his top experienced members left – how were experienced people being retained to crack difficult cases and be mentors. Without that, there would be juniors in detectives at station level without the necessary leadership.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane was pleased with what had been realised in the detective’s environment over a short period of time although the Service could still do better. Management interventions and increased capacitation of the detective’s environment should realise in a different picture at the end of the current financial year but Members would be kept informed of progress made in that environment. He agreed that SAPS was not doing well with communication including providing information on clients including victims of crime but a commitment was made to review the communications environment. Part of the problem with the Senzo Meyiwa matter was the distortion of facts in the media and this incorrect information was then read by the family. The case was a complicated one but it was receiving attention but the reality was that a breakthrough had not been made and it was still under investigation – when there was an outcome in this regard it would be pronounced. On the remuneration specialist, the process was started under the tenure of Gen. Phiyega – work had been done with the review and there was a preliminary report and the target was to have the area finalised by the end of the current financial year. The process also involved other role players and attention was being paid to it.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) noted a station the Committee visited on its Eastern Cape oversight visit where the members did not reside close to the station jurisdiction and could not even speak Xhosa. She was concerned by this because the members needed to have a clear usage of language. She did not know how this could be resolved.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane responded that work was being done to deal with non-performance issues in that particular station. He would look at the points raised by the Member in more detail. It did happen from time to time that station members resided outside the jurisdiction of the station but he would look at these challenges to deal with it accordingly.
Mr Ramatlakane was troubled by the Senzo Meyiwa case – while there was a lot of media reporting on it he struggled to comprehend that after so much time had passed there was still no breakthrough and the case seemed to be a moving target. He often wondered when the investigation would end or if it would remain in the box of undetected cases. What was the problem? The crime scene was there so at the house, without talking to details, what was actually the problem? Could some assurance or hope be provided that something was imminent was on the matter? He raised this because when he read or heard about it, it left a really chilling feeling considering the trauma faced by the family and the inability to make a breakthrough. Would the case perhaps need to be sub-contracted to some international specialist investigator? His feeling was that something was not going right with this case and so assurance was needed from the Acting National Commissioner on this case.
Ms Molebatsi thought what was worrying about this case was that Senzo was shot in full view of people and this made her question where these witnesses were.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane noted the concerns raised by Members but he assured the Committee that no foreign people were needed on the case – SAPS was more than capable to deal with the case and a resolution would be found. One needed to desist from doing an investigation of the case through the media. It was correct that there were witnesses but information would not be provided to empower those who were trying to escape whatever they were responsible for. He gave the Committee the assurance that this case was receiving the attention it deserved. It was important to note that SAPS later established that the scene was compromised in one way or another but crime scene reconstruction was done and the investigation team had been changed for reasons known to SAPS to allow for a breakthrough to be made. The case resided within the detective environment and it was overseen by the Detective Services Divisional Commissioner. SAPS would not fall into the trap of deliberating the case in public because it was not fair to the family or the late Senzo to conduct the trail in the media. SAPS should be provided space to finalise the investigation because the process was on track through the multidisciplinary team. He could not comment on what was imminent but at the point of breakthrough, the Committee would be reverted to and he was confident this point would be reached.
The Chairperson noted that there seemed to be a consistent underperformance in the detection rate for crimes against women – what steps would be done to ensure this issue was addressed effectively? One of the recommendations made in a presentation yesterday by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) was that the implementation of the turnaround strategy for the detective services be presented as soon as possible – was there an update on that implementation plan? Would the number of priority stations for management intervention be increased?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane said the area of crimes against women was prioritised in the recovery plans. Resources would be committed to ensure a different picture was presented at the end of the year.
Ms Molebatsi noted that in a presentation yesterday the Social Justice Coalition noted a very scary picture about the amount of dockets handled by detectives in the Nyanga station which was the murder hub of the country - how did SAPS determine how many dockets each detective should handle? She wanted to know how many dismissed members were from the detective environment. Were there still uniform detectives? In an earlier engagement with the Committee, SAPS told of intense scrutiny by National Treasury – was this still the case?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane outlined that one could not simply take the total number of dockets divided by the number of detectives to ascertain the average docket workload of a detective – this was misleading as it differed from one station to another. Some stations had more dockets and detectives than others but with distribution, one looked at specific dockets and which detectives had specific competencies to investigate. This was also the purpose of the docket age analysis to have a more reasonable number of dockets with detectives and present a less skewed picture of dockets vs. competencies. Increasing the number of detectives would aid a lot in reducing the workload. The intense scrutiny by Treasury was there to ensure the compensation did not grow and that expenditure in that environment was capped. Submissions were made and for the financial year, SAPS would not realise a cut in compensation. There was room to rework the numbers in the fixed establishment.
Ms Molebatsi requested that with Nyanga being the leading murder hub in the world, SAPS must look at detective workload. Something must be done about it.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane answered that this would definitely be done. At times there were misleading reports – this year alone for the Western Cape, 1 324 trainees were deployed from college out of a total of 1 915 people that graduated in Cape Town. The bulk of the trainees went to stations such as Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Manenberg etc to try to address shortages experienced. The impression that nothing was being done to increase capacity was wrong. He did not have the specific breakdown for members dismissed in the detective services but said it could be made available to the Committee.
Ms Molebatsi noted that the SAPS crime stats also showed that of the 10 leading police stations in crime, seven were from the Western Cape. This showed the province really needed more attention.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane noted this and said it was an area which continued to be prioritised.
Mr Mbhele followed up on a point made by the Acting National Commissioner in the following round concerning the capacitation of detective services as part of the turnaround strategy – he understood that there were at least two pillars in the capacitation approach, one, to prioritise the placement of academic graduates in the detective environment and, two, transfer of officers from the Visible Policing (VISPOL) environment to detective services. There were questions about the latter given the skills set required in detective services. When completing their basic training, did the academic graduates have some basic competency around detectives so that if they did they need to be transferred from VISPOL to detective services they could do some basic degree of the job? He wanted to ensure there was no fundamental challenge in transferring officers from VISPOL to detectives to boost capacity in the latter.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane replied that everyone who went to a police college was trained in all areas of policing to be able to do crime prevention, investigation, gather intelligence etc. Those earmarked to go into the detective environment received further training particularly to develop them for that particular environment. There were also those from crime prevention who displayed intention to move into the detective environment by virtue of having that initial training. More specialised and advanced training would then take place. There was no investigating capacity in the VISPOL environment – those uniform members who did migrate from VISPOL to detectives did less serious case investigations until they slowly graduated into the more specialised environment.
Ms Molebatsi asked if that meant there were no longer any uniform detectives.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane confirmed this.
Mr Ramatlakane, when looking at expenditure patters in the programme quarter by quarter, found there was a slow in take in the first three quarters while in the last quarter there was a spike in expenditure in a rush to not lose a cent from Treasury – he found this quite skilful. He asked how there was 100% expenditure but targets not being met were correlated in terms of budget vs. performance to ensure there was value for money. While he did not want to say the increased expenditure in the fourth quarter was fiscal dumping it did look as if it was if the quarterly expenditure trend was not met. The AG had a finding around the capturing of information and data – would the particular form be reviewed to obviate a repeat finding of information not being unreliable?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane confirmed that there was a need to modify the form in view of the remarks on the AG – expenditure: may be found to be high in this environment – he agreed that the spike in expenditure was not healthy in the last quarter but it was mainly informed by the securing of vehicle procurement – SAPS worked through a national procurement contract with Treasury to address the needs of vehicles. Provinces and divisions were then engaged from there – process now to engage the factories on the availability – contract awarded in August this year
Mr Ramatlakane asked if the problem with the contract environment then lied with Treasury. It was important to know for when the Committee compiled its recommendations
Lt. Gen. Phahlane indicated that there was a need to modify the form to be able to accommodate the observations made by the AG and this process was underway. On expenditure, one would always find expenditure higher in the detective environment in terms of resourcing and capacitation. While he agreed it was not healthy from a budget management perspective, a spike in expenditure would be seen in quarter four because of delivery of procured vehicles. Procurement of vehicles would always be a driver of expenditure in SAPS. The Department procured vehicles through a national contract with Treasury. This contract only became available around June and only then could the divisions and provinces be engaged as to their specific vehicle needs before consolidation was done. Then manufacturing factories were engaged on the availability of vehicles needed before orders were submitted. In summary, increased expenditure in the fourth quarter was influenced by when the contract became available to enable procurement – in the current financial year, the contract only became available in August.
Mr Ramatlakane asked if this actually meant the problem was not in-house but was external involving Treasury in terms of the contract arrangement. The Committee needed to understand this clearly when making recommendations to address this particular problem.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane said this was correct and this applied to all programmes in the Department and for all good requiring bulk procurement.
Mr Maake asked how the Paarl University featured in the whole SAPS reporting environment. He was pleased to hear there would be a strategic planning session in November – he felt that targets should be developed which could be reached given the budget at hand instead of aiming to high because Members would always question why targets were not met.
Lt. Gen, Phahlane did not want Paarl to be called a university as it was not necessarily a fully-fledged one. From a university perspective, members registered with UNISA to do a police first level degree on a fulltime basis but were accommodated at Paarl. Paarl was also a centre to develop management competencies not only for senior management but also for middle management and it was being optimally utilised. He agreed on the need to review a number of targets and this would be done during the November session.
Mr Redelinghuis agreed that the Committee should look into having a joint meeting between SAPS and the NPA on how to improve the relationship, and address concerns either side might have and for Members to understand the impact each side had on the criminal justice system. He highly recommended that such engagement be held as soon as possible.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane welcomed this suggestion.
Mr Groenewald highlighted that in the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) of the Committee last year, mention was made of the turnaround strategy in the stock theft unit and this year he noted some improvement had been made with a reduction in the number of cases reported of stock theft. While this was pleasing, one case could have a number of cattle stolen and he had heard of an increase in cattle and sheep being stolen. Was there an impact analysis of the turnaround strategy of the stock theft unit? With the detectives, the Committee recommended the specific increased capacity required in the environment – what was the status of this? On the remuneration, there was a drive to get old detectives back into the SAPS – what was the situation with this? How many previous detectives were reenlisted? He was involved in a case where a previous member applied but was rejected for having a criminal record. Further investigation showed the wrong ID number was used and the person was eventually enlisted. It was known that detectives were overloaded and just could not handle all the dockets. They worked overtime so it was important to address the remuneration of detectives.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane confirmed that the reenlistment process was an ongoing one. In the 2015/16 financial year, 183 former detectives were reenlisted and in the current financial year from 1 April 2016 to date, 216 former detectives were reenlisted which brought the total to 399 and the process was ongoing so the number would grow. The remuneration review process began under Gen. Phiyega and work was being done by a team. An initial report was received and it was hoped that the entire process would be finalised by the end of the current financial year because it was subject to engagement with other role players such as the bargaining council but work was being done in this regard. At an opportune moment, Members would be briefed on the impact analysis of the turnaround of the stock theft unit and progress made. Stock theft was a serious crime and had far reaching implications. Capacity in this environment was also being reviewed in terms of both people and resources deployed such as vehicles.
The Chairperson asked if the Deputy National Commissioner: Detective Services post should be filled in light of all the challenges raised by Members.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane replied that the detective services environment was not in crisis but that did not mean there was no need to have the post filled – processes to do exactly that would be initiated. He was confident that there was a hands-on approach to the programme and where a turnaround would be realised. All posts would have to be filled at some point.
Maj. Gen. Rabie added that with cases withdrawn before court this included cases withdrawn by the complainants and cases withdrawn by the prosecutor based on the investigation conducted.
Directorate for Priority Crimes and Investigation
Maj. Gen. Rabie then took the Committee through the indicators, targets, actual performance, reasons for deviation (if applicable) and corrective steps taken for performance relating to the DPCI. Indicators not achieved included:
-Percentage of registered serious organised crime project investigations successfully terminated
-Number of serious commercial crime related trial-ready case dockets where officials were involved including procurement fraud and corruption
-Value of amount involved in procurement fraud and corruption-related cases
The Chairperson asked the Acting National Commissioner about the state of the DPCI offices in Bellville and other areas – what was being done with the Department of Public Works (DPW) in this regard? To the head of the DPCI, in terms of the Glenister Constitutional Court judgement the sole mandate for investigating priority cases lied with the DPCI and this was a very important jurisdiction in terms of section 17A. Was there any political influence or pressure on the head of the DPCI to prioritise certain cases for investigation? With the code of conduct during the investigation of high-profile cases and the issues of professionalisation and integrity, if a matter was investigated, was it done in terms of the prescripts and normal procedure? The Committee had previously raised the challenge of leaks in the investigation of high-profile cases. In terms of the focus of the DPCI, legislatively this was on organised crime levels three to five – a deduction could be made that the DPCI sometimes focused on levels one to three which was actually the domain of SAPS detective services. Was the DPCI focusing solely on levels three or five or did it also focus on investigation of levels one to three?
Lt. Gen. Berning Ntlemeza, National Head: DPCI, said there was no political pressure on himself – he was doing his job without fear, favour or influence by any person. With the code of conduct vis-a-vis integrity and the issue of leaks, as stipulated in the Act, members of the Directorate signed documents to keep information on cases confidential. Leaks were not from the DPCI because steps can be taken against any DPCI member who leaked information. In terms of the focus of the Directorate, the mandate stipulated focus on level three to five investigations but there were times when the Directorate needed to take action such as when police were being killed, there were political murders or cases in the national public interest – DPCI would form part of SAPS’s multidisciplinary approach as stipulated in the Act. Another example which was not in the DPCI mandate but in which it played a role was in the taxi industry violence – while the mandate of the DPCI was investigating level three to five cases, there was nothing stopping DPCI members from getting involved in level one to three.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane added that the accommodation issue was escalated – DPW and supply chain management was working on it. This was not the only DPCI building that was a challenge. It was not a devolved building so the cooperation of DPW was needed.
Ms Molebatsi asked if the DPCI relied on any go-ahead from anybody outside the DPCI environment when conducting its tasks. This month was launched as cyber security month by the Department of Telecommunications – was the DPCI involved in this? Were all DPCI officers trained to take buccal swabs or was it only taken by certain designated members?
Lt. Gen. Ntlemeza replied that DPCI did not rely on any go ahead from outside the DPCI – it was independent and it dealt with issues without being told so by anyone. No person from outside could tell him what to do. DPCI was involved in cyber month and members made presentations there on. Issues of cybercrime were problematic with people being hacked and fraud being committed. Buccal swab taking was not within the scope of the DPCI.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane added that as of the end of March 2016, 20 127 members were trained to take buccal swabs. As at 28 September 2016, 22 707 members were trained and of this, 70% were detectives or members responsible for investigation. The focus was on training investigators first followed by first responders i.e. those in the crime prevention environment. This number also included Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) investigators.
Ms M Mmola (ANC) noted that yesterday the AG spoke of a lack of proper record keeping for the Limpopo DPCI – which corrective steps would be put in place to ensure that proper records were kept for all provinces? One of the findings of the AG was police members doing business with the Service – what steps were taken against those members and why did SAPS not know about it?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane explained that where members were found to be doing business with SAPS they were dealt with in terms of the disciplinary code under HR. If a member was doing business they were supposed to apply to have the authority to do remunerative work but that work could not be in conflict with their official responsibilities. Members were not under any circumstances allowed to do business with government in terms of the Department of Public Service and Administration policy and SAPS National Instructions. Cases where such did occur would be investigated and action would be taken if required. With the AG fining on improper record keeping in the provinces, it would be corrected to prevent inconsistencies. Processes to ensure there were proper records were initiated and it would be followed through in the implementation of the audit action plan.
Lt. Gen. Ntlemeza was aware of the matter of incorrect recording keeping as raised by the AG. By the time supporting documents had been provided to the office of the AG, findings had already been drafted. He had since met with the office of the AG to work on harmonising communication. The Deputy Head of the DPCI was liaising with the AG so that such gaps could be closed in future. The Deputy Head also met with the provincial DPCI heads and he thought the challenges had since been addressed.
Mr Mbhele noted that issues were raised about the inadequate coordination and harmonisation between the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster which contributed to underperformance in the detection of fraud and corruption related cases. Issues also came up during the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) meeting with the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT). The reading of media reports showed that there was not very good coordination or communication between all the role players. He asked for an outline of the state of play around coordination of the anti-corruption task team members and what was planned going forward in order to improve harmonisation and alignment so that challenges like dependencies on other stakeholders in the cluster did not need to delays. In one of the presentations received yesterday, mention was made of severe underutilisation of the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act (POCA) as well as another piece of legislation to facilitate multiagency tackling of high level corruption and organised crime of that sort – why were these mechanisms not being used as much as they could be and what would be done moving forward to improve that? This was especially in light of the firearms and narcotics bureaus coming into stream.
Lt. Gen. Ntlemza responded that communication and coordination was fine but as he told SCOPA, at times, the main challenge was incorrect people attending the meetings of the ACTT. He had since written a letter to all DGs as suggested by the Chairperson of SCOPA to provide feedback. This had led to better coordination. With the utilisation of POCA and PRECA, movement was being made to utilise these mechanisms as there was greater understanding of what was supposed to be done in terms of these Acts. The two organised crime units (drug and firearm) were being formulated and he assured the Committee that once the units were formulated after the work study, more action would be seen in terms of POCA.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane said that with the coordination the JCPS Cluster was functioning well and met on a monthly basis. He was a co-chair of the Cluster and if required extraordinary meetings could be called. There was no issue with the JCPS Cluster – it had met on the SCOPA meeting outcomes and some directives were issued in this regard. corrective measures would follow.
Mr Ramatlakane sought comment on what seemed to be some issues or challenges around a lack coordination in the JCPS Cluster as came out in the SCOPA meeting. With reference to multiyear targets, targets usually reported on in the Annual Report were annual targets – how did these multiyear targets creep in especially when budgets were awarded annually as well? He did not understand how oversight could be maintained with a multiyear target. With the over achievement of targets, was the indicator perhaps not set at the appropriate level?
Lt. Gen. Ntlemza reiterated that coordination would be improving after the SCOPA engagement because all departments now realised the need for good coordination. There would be a meeting next week – this first one since the SCOPA engagement and some issues would be ironed out there. With the multiyear target, he agreed that those targets need to be reviewed. It was possible to divide the target by the year stipulated to calculate annual performance but he agreed the multiyear targets were too long. Unfortunately these targets were developed before he took office.
Mr Maake pointed to the indicator measuring the “percentage of registered serious crime projects investigations successfully terminated” and questioned what was meant by terminated and how the indicator was budgeted for.
Lt. Gen. Ntlemza explained the projects concerned complex cases some of which took long while some required external stake holder involvement. The target in this regard would be achieved.
Mr Redelinghuis was concerned by the 18% target for cyber crime which was a very serious matter with people being scammed every day. Was this target satisfactory and how was it arrived at?
Lt. Gen. Ntlemza agreed that that specific target was too low but it would be reviewed. Cyber crime was a serious issue in SA with money and confidential information stolen. Swift action was needed.
Mr Groenewald thought the DPCI targets were too low and unrealistic – he suggested those targets be revised. In reference to the summons brought yesterday against the Minister of Finance, he noted the Minister was a high profile person so it would be logical that if a member of Cabinet was going to receive a summons to appear in court, there must have been some communicate between the DPCI and the President. Was there any communication between the DPCI and the President? If not, why not? If such communication did take place, when and what was the President’s reaction?
Lt. Gen. Ntlemeza agreed that targets which were over achieved might need further assessment. With the summons of the Minister of Finance, there was no communication between himself and the President – his duty was to investigate cases and take finalised cases to the NPA.
Mr Groenewald then asked if Lt. Gen. Ntlemeza thought that because the Minister of Finance was involved, who was high-profile and a member of Cabinet, there should at least be contact with the President. It was less to do with the investigation itself but the huge implications. How was it possible that the Head of the DPCI had no contact with the President?
Mr Ramatlakane thought these questions were important but were posed at the wrong level. The decision on whether to prosecute or not lied with another competent authority not SAPS. The question was better answered by the Minister of Justice.
Ms Molebatsi added that the case should not be thought of as involving a Minister but as a citizen of SA just like any other person who needed to answer for some things.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane noted the comments. When the National Director of Prosecutions made the decision yesterday, he said that he had informed the Minister of Justice to ensure a Cabinet Minister was able to engage with the President as required. Once a summons was received, the Hawks were only required to execute it. SAPS might be the wrong people to ask as to whether the President was informed or not.
The Chairperson highlighted that it was important to ensure there was improvement in the portfolios the Committee was responsible for – some findings pointed to the lack of systems and good control. What steps had been taken to ensure findings were addressed particularly with the lack of audit evidence. Was the issue receiving the necessary attention because it affected targets? The last time the DPCI appeared before the Committee, Members raised concern of the rate of filling of vacancies which also affected the achievement of targets – was progress made in this area since the last appearance before the Committee?
Lt. Gen. Ntlemeza responded that when the DPCI last appeared before the Committee on 23 August 2016, it was noted that there were 308 vacancies – since then 154 vacancies had been filled which left a remainder of 226. He assured the Committee that vacancies would be filled by the end of the current financial year – with the cooperation received from the side of SAPS HR, progress was being made.
Mr Mbhele also raised the challenge of vacancies in the detective’s programme of which vacancies in the DPCI formed the bulk – what was the current status of filling these vacancies? Reading media reports, sometimes it was reported that one DPCI investigator was involved in a case while in other cases there were more DPCI investigators and he noted his concern with the unevenness presented. In terms of Section 17J of the SAPS Act, the establishment of an operational committee was outlined to play a coordination role and help alleviate challenges raised in the JCPS Cluster – was this operational committee established and meeting at least four times a year? What kind of issues was it dealing with and was it doing so effectively in terms of having the buy-in and active participation of the relevant stakeholders?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane indicated that the current capacity in the detective’s environment to focus on investigations of level one and two, was incorrectly moved to the DPCI environment – currently that capacity was being migrated back into detectives together with the dockets they were carrying. This would also take on board the two new units. This movement would change the picture of the vacancy rate in the fixed establishment. The migratory process would be completed by the end of the month. Posts still continued to be advertised in the DPCI environment to address critical shortages. Management posts had been filled in the main in terms of DPCI provincial heads and senior management.
Mr Mbhele hoped that there was communication and consultation in that with the fixing of the DPCI establishment, there was no undercutting of the rest of the programme three establishment especially because of the migration under way which suggested an initial defective process in the DPCI posts which now led to having to be fixed over and above the issue of funding. There was a lot of complexity in this area which needed to be sorted out.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane clarified no funds would be relocated from the DPCI into the detectives environment because that money was solely ring fenced for the Directorate. With the migration, this referred to moving the function which was not supposed to be performed in the DPCI environment to the detective’s environment where it was funded. Looking at the numbers of dockets and people, there were dockets and cases in the DPCI which did not fall within its scope and mandate – these dockets and cases were to be relocated back into the detective services environment. When the DPCI was established, there were members of the Scorpions and components in the detective services environment (organised and commercial crime) that was already there investigating cases. Capacity to investigate corruption in the Service was also re-established apart from the capacity in the DPCI environment. The migration would not encroach on the budget of the DPCI – the migration was strictly of capacity not falling within the scope of the DPCI. The capacity of the DPCI formed part of the SAPS fixed establishment under programme three.
Mr Mbhele foresaw a potential challenge in the short to medium term – given that the budget baseline would be fixed given austerity, and given that the DPCI Head had independent power in the statute to fix his own establishment for the DPCI while located in the SAPS fixed establishment determined by the National Commissioner, what happened when there were conflicting fixed establishment needs? When one needed to shrink or expand, who cut into whom?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane said the organisation was not even close to such a scenario and he did not foresee it being a problem because there was an understanding of what the independence of the DPCI entailed. If there were to be any issue, it would be resolved in consultation. The Act was clear that the head of the DPCI made a determination in consultation with the Minister/National Commissioner. Investigations remained purely under the competence of the DPCI national head but currently there was only one Accounting Officer for the Department. There was no reason for concern on this matter and the Member could be at ease because the emphasis was on ensuring there was capacity to investigate those cases at the DPCI level with the national head making the determination within the prescripts.
Mr Mbhele was at ease in this moment in time because of his, and the Committee’s confidence in the Acting National Commissioner but he remained concerned that structurally speaking, there may come a point in time when the individuals occupying the positions would be at loggerheads.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane assured the Committee that SAPS used the Act regularly to ensure there was full compliance and to assess which parts of the Act were not yet implemented because the aim was to ensure the Act was fully implemented and put it into practice – the Act could not change because of personalities. Emphasis was on complying with the law fully.
Mr Groenewald asked how often prosecutors were used in the multidisciplinary cases because this was actually part of the success of the previous Scorpions.
Mr Ramatlakane asked if the evidence of what had been achieved with the trial-ready dockets suggest the multiyear target was completely under-targeted. If the target was going to be revised, the baseline should be used as the level of reasonable achievement instead of opting for the lower side of performance. Was there any chance the multiyear target was actually supposed to be an annual one and it was made multiyear erroneously? The Committee was always concerned about under-targeting.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane said the target was being reviewed although the strategy did span a five-year period. It might be best to move the target from its current position for the annual target to be informed by the baseline and 2015/16 performance – while the target would be reviewed and interrogated, the baseline would not be disregarded.
Lt. Gen. Ntlemeza added that the ACTT included a number of external stakeholders so if the target was reviewed there needed to be agreement by these stakeholders.
Ms Molebatsi asked for some refreshment on the grooming camps which were part of the SAPS recruitment.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane reminded the Committee that when SAPS presented the new basic training programme, the grooming camps were reviewed so they were no longer part of training processes.
The Chairperson indicated that in terms of the Annual Report, there must be a separate section for DPCI to comply with the SAPS Amendment Act going forward – the Executive authority should also comply in terms of the reporting obligations in terms of the Act. Both aspects would be included in the recommendations of the Committee because it was quite important from the side of the Committee to ensure the SAPS Amendment Act was implemented.
Maj. Gen. Rabie then took the Committee through the indicators, targets, actual performance, reasons for deviation (if applicable) and corrective steps taken for performance relating to forensic services. Indicators not achieved included:
-Percentage of routine case exhibits (entries) finalised within 28 working days
-Percentage of non-routine case exhibits (entries) finalised within 75 working days
-Percentage of Biology Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) intelligence case exhibits (entries) finalised within 63 working days
Ms Molebatsi asked if a permanent quality controller was appointed or if Gen. Shezi from TMS was still there. She saw that the role of social workers had expanded to statement taking of children – how were they trained to do that?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane responded that Gen. Shezi had been permanently appointed as Divisional Commissioner of TMS and Gen. T Manamela had been appointed Head of Quality Management replacing Gen. Shezi. There were also other quality managers appointed to support the Head both at the division and within the various laboratories. Quality managers were also appointed in the Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management (CSM) environment so good progress was made in this regard. Forensic social workers were deployed within the Detective Services environment to assist with the processing of investigations around children. That environment continued to be capacitated accordingly.
Ms Molebatsi understood what was being said but asked how these forensic social workers were trained to take statements as they were just social workers.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane clarified they received internal training – training also took place at one of the universities in the Eastern Cape to build capacity for them to be able to perform that function. Specialised training was received internally. In some instances these forensic social workers also assisted in court cases.
Mr Mbhele asked what the basic difference was, and the reason for that, between routine and non-routine exhibits because they each had quite different timeframes to complete. He found the Criminal Record Centre (CRC) to be another challenging sub-environment – a number of times he heard of complaints of members of the public needing to get police clearance certificates. What plans were there to address this bottleneck? Was there any prospect to look at perhaps outsourcing of purely administrative work to make the cogs grind more smoothly and quicker?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane pointed out that CRC was actually doing very well with processing police clearance certificates – the problem with some clearance certificates was that they were required on short notice for people needing to travel abroad. If people applied when they were not under pressure it would be a little easier. Another challenge was experienced with the Post Office strike at some point – applicants were expected to submit self-addressed envelopes for the certificate to be posted back to the individual and the strike caused some challenges in this regard. There was now a SMS system to notify applicants of the processing of their applications and once it was complete. Generally, the CRC was doing exceptionally well with this work. Outsourcing of work in the police clearance certificate environment was a no-no because the certificates needed the authenticity of being dealt with and stamped by the police. The environment was performing well which did not lead to a need for outsourcing.
Maj. Gen. L Mangale added the CRC was currently running on 98% in 15 days to process the police clearance certificates. In the 2015/16 financial year, about 79 000 certificates were processed. Complaints were inflated because of issues related to the Zimbabwe and Lesotho dispensation where people actually misunderstood the process Home Affairs dictated at some point and the incorrect route was taken to come through the CRC. With routine and non-routine exhibits, in simple terms routine exhibits applied to normal cases where there was no complexity involved in the analysing of the case. Non-routine exhibits involved larger, more complex cases needing to be analysed so each cartridge would have to be analysed to reach conclusion. An example of a non-routine case would be a case involving precious metal where many pieces would have to be analysed per exhibit. Because the amount of work in non-routine cases was more, the timeline to complete it would be longer than for routine exhibits.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane added that another non-routine case example was that of Oscar Pistorius because of the large number of exhibits and samples generated at the crime scene – there were close to 99 exhibits in this case to process. In such cases, a greater length of time was needed to finalise the analysing. Another non-routine case would be a big drug bust where a variety of drugs were present and a longer period was needed to process the case exhibits.
Mr Ramatlakane asked what the challenge was with dealing with the DNA intelligence case exhibits in the timeframe stipulated resulting in the target not being met.
Mr Groenewald questioned what contract was referred to where its awarding caused a delay with the finalisation of DNA intelligence case exhibits.
Brig. Petra Hennop, SAPS Section Head: Biology, Forensic Services Division, explained the challenge with the DNA intelligence was the finalisation of the Reference Index (RI) systems contract which had since been finalised – all four of the systems were up and running and currently a three times higher throughput for the processing of DNA cases was seen compared to last year. With the RI contract, a bid was advertised specifically to finalise the RI systems, commonly known as the buccal samples. The contract was slow in its finalisation due to validations which needed to be done and the refurbishment done in the Plattekloof laboratory to specifically host three of those systems.
The Chairperson asked about the critical factors leading to the downtime on systems in the Forensic Services Laboratories (FSL) – was the issue being addressed and what was its current status?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane responded that it was being addressed – the FSL environment was a sensitive one being impacted by temperature, electricity air conditioning etc. Serious problems were experienced in the lab in KZN because of its close proximity to the sea which led to humidity and flooding. All these matters were addressed and options were being looked at to relocate the KZN lab to a place further from the sea and prevent the same factors causing challenges. Downtime occurred from the systems side because of the dependency on SITA – challenges with service providers caused impacts such as time lost. A concern with the DNA Act had been fear of a large influx of samples and this had been the case. Now that the contracts were in place, processing of cases was occurring.
Ms Molebatsi asked where the first responders were placed.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane indicated the first responders were those members at station level and were often first to deal with complaints or arrive at crime scenes.
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to know what the duration of the awarded contract referred to was.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane answered that the RI contract was awarded on a two-year basis. On average SAPS contracts were awarded for two or three years –equipment contracts may include maintenance which may stretch a bit longer than the two/three year period. Lab equipment had an average lifespan of five years.
Ms Molebatsi noted that yesterday, the SA Police Union (SAPU) raised the matter that the forensic environment was not what it used to be since the Acting National Commissioner had multiple roles – what was the response to this?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane stated that SAPU should at least give him credit for establishing capacity in that environment which explained why he was not managing the division day to day. The environment was doing well.
Programme 4: Crime Intelligence (CI)
Maj. Gen. Rabie then took the Committee through the indicators, targets and actual performance for performance relating to Crime Intelligence. Overall the programme achieved 100% of its targets. Highlights included:
-Intelligence gathered during the enquiry phased contributed to more than 6 300 arrests and seizures exceeding R800 million
-Intelligence gathered through ad hoc (tactical) operations contributed t more than 5 100 arrests and seizures exceeding R700 million
-Intelligence gathered through network operations contributed to more than 2 900 arrests and seizures exceeding R400 million
-Interpol-led operation between SA and 10 other African countries targeting ivory trafficking. This operation resulted in 376 arrests, seizure of 4.5 tonnes of elephant ivory and rhino horn and the investigation of 25 criminal groups involved in the illicit trade
- British national sought by the UK for 12 charges of indecent assault and sexual offences involving minors. The suspect was arrested in Gauteng after hiding in SA for several years.
- A Canadian fugitive who was arrested by Interpol’s Extradition Task Team in Gauteng. The fugitive was on the run for more than two years for murder and possession of illegal firearms.
- A British fraudster wanted in the UK for committing fraud to the amount 3.5 million pounds was arrested in Cape Town after hiding in SA for five years.
- The extradition of a fugitive wanted for various crimes committed in the USA.
- A fugitive was subject to an investigation involving the intrusion of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Head Quarters’ computer systems in Washington, USA.
Ms Molebatsi asked if all members in this environment were vetted. She sought more information on the usage of informers. She just received a message from her constituency that the situation in Tshwane was bad – was SAPS alerted to this?
Ms L Mabija (ANC) questioned how far SAPS had gone with vetting of personnel for the current financial year. How was the working of crime intelligence procedures optimised?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane explained that with work procedures there were open and secret service accounts – in the open accounts, all rules and policies that applied to all other divisions equalled applied to the crime intelligence environment. It was only with secret accounts that there was a different regime which applied in that particular space.
Mr Mbhele thought the performance indicators looked good on surface level but the challenge he had was reconciling the performance information reported that all targets were met and all funds being spent with the crime picture in reality with the increase in some categories of organised crime such as car hijacking and business and home burglaries and that a big contributor to the increase in the murder rate being increased property crime involving syndicates– he had difficulty reconciling these two pictures. It suggested that if the Crime Intelligence programme was spending all its money and meeting all targets but there was still a problem with getting a grip on organised and syndicate crime, the programme just did not have enough money to cover all the ground it potentially could. What did the Acting National Commissioner make of reconciling these two realities between the information on paper, both financially and performance wise, and the reality seen in the crime stats and ongoing trends? Crime intelligence seemed to only have impact when it operated as part of a task team context such as the anti-truck hijacking task team and in the rhino poaching environment. But in terms of having a general grip on a small local group of criminals breaking into houses in a specific neighbourhood this impact was not seen.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane indicated that he was certain that products being generated from the performance reported to the Committee, went a long way in assisting in some instances such as operations preventing the commission of crime or targeted policing – intelligence play a key role in informing such operations for actions to follow accordingly. Intelligence was recently proactive in providing information on massive stock theft on the border of Easter Cape and Lesotho which resulted in the result of a Lesotho national in SA who was in possession of the stolen stock and even firearms from across the border. There was definitely a relationship between what was being reported and what was found on the ground. Of course more could be done such as in the area of contact crime including hijackings but work would continue to be done to enhance intelligence capability and enhance police actions.
Mr Ramatlakane questioned why the target for personnel vetted was 60% - what would happen with the other 40%? He was consistently concerned about the capacity and the footprint of intelligence operations and the requisite skills for that – looking at the provinces which contributed the most to crime particularly those difficult categories, were issues of capacity being addressed? A lot had been seen of the Western Cape being a murder capital persistently – he had received a request from the Nyanga Community Policing Forum (CPF) for the Deputy President to come and engage the community about why the problems in the area were unable to be dealt with by enforcement agencies. To look at stations and clusters in areas of high crime, what would the capacity be of that cluster or province? Looking at what happened in Nyanga, he was worried about the capacity in the Western Cape – was there a lack of requisite skills and/or numbers? What was the programme going forward? In a previous engagement with the Committee, concerns were raised about the capabilities in terms of upfront detection before an incident occurred. The response was that there was capacity but the problem sometimes lied with interpretation of information and what to do with the raw data – what was the take of the Acting National Commissioner on this? Reference should be made to areas with high crime rates and what could be done in terms of intelligence-led detection and footprint in these areas in terms of collection capacity and skills for interpretation. Going further, what was the plan to further capacitate the Crime Intelligence division? Unless this environment was capacitated, there would only be reaction instead of acting on information beforehand without suggesting that this was not already occurring on some level. High-profile incidents also showed that SAPS was sometimes found flatfooted in the area of crime intelligence – what could be done to address this otherwise the police would always arrive once the crime was already committed.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane noted that vetting was a target in the planning of the current financial year and the 60% target was informed by the capacity available to process the applications and the baseline. SAPS remained committed to ensure everyone in the environment were processed through the vetting process for full compliance. No crime intelligence environment would succeed without informers and the deployment of agents because that was where information was sourced from on an ongoing basis – he had a discussion with the Divisional Commissioner in the environment to say there needed to be a review of the target of individual members to ensure there was a wider network of informers. Time was also needed to verify the information received so that there was not off the cuff reaction. With the capacity of crime intelligence, there were 7 023 including the 934 in counter intelligence – this brought the total capacity to 7 957 members – if more was going to be done, more capacity would definitely be needed to ensure there was enough ground covered – covering of ground involved both informers and crime intelligence operatives. At this stage, SAPS crime intelligence structure stretched to cluster level. From a strength and force multiplier perspective, informers were the biggest resource and they were supposed to be all over. Upfront detection was vital and useful intelligence had been coming the way of SAPS – with specific operations like robberies and heists, criminals were intercepted as a result of intelligence made available. That intelligence would then inform the planning and deployment – a number of such successful operations had been done. Intelligence also informed work done on the borders or “take down” operations similarly with drug busts. It was in the nature of intelligence work that successful operations were not praised.
Mr Groenewald also wanted to know about capacity and he was also concerned of the field of crime intelligence vs., for example, the State Security Agency. Taking for instance, the current Fees Must Fall protest, he wanted an update on how long the specific situation would still endure if intelligence was being gathered. The protests were having a huge impact on SA at the moment and for those students who wanted to complete the academic year. With the gangs specifically in the Western Cape, every presentation admitted that there were challenges with the capacity of crime intelligence – was this still the case?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane indicated that the mandate of the police would always be to focus on crime intelligence. The Fees Must Fall protests had always been communicated since last year and SAPS was warned from an operational perspective which was why deployments occurred accordingly. Some actions in the protest were however spontaneous and not something crime intelligence could have been informed about because emotions were high on the ground. Currently, cases were investigated and they were now presented to the NPA to take decisions and issue warrants of arrest to effect arrest were crimes had been committed. Trends were also followed.
Mr Groenewald said the impression was created that some of the students were arrested but never prosecuted and, in fact, nothing happened to them. More clarity was needed on this because if one was a student that did something wrong and nothing happened to one, he was sure one would go further in creating more havoc.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane said he did not have the number of cases opened and investigated with him currently. As of 1 February 2016, 327 people were arrested and some of those cases were still before the court – that side of the process SAPS had no control over but he hoped the process went speedily to ensure lessons were learnt but work was definitely being done by the police. This week at the University of the Free State, close to 62 students were arrested. Overnight in Cape Town there was an incident which also resulted in some arrests.
Mr Groenewald sought assurance that the police investigation of cases was complete and all dockets of those arrested were trial-ready.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane said dockets from February onwards were presented before the courts and some were still on trial. It was with the latest incidents that investigations were still being done.
Ms Mmola sought more detail on the nature of the nine cross-border operations conducted in 2015/16 and the outcomes of these operations.
Maj. Gen. M Makhele, SAPS Acting Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence, SAPS, said one of the cases was of a suspect linked to 19 fraud cases, other cases involved human and drug trafficking, wildlife crimes and theft of a motor vehicle.
The Chairperson noted that on its oversight visit to the Eastern Cape, the Committee visited the headquarters of Operation Combat and he thought the model there was a very good one in dealing with gangsterism with the involvement of crime intelligence and DPCI – in terms of the Crime Threat Analysis (CTA), was the anticipation of what was coming included in this analysis to inform deployment, recruitment etc? The Annual Report showed a substantial decline in network operations while key crimes increased like murder and robbery – what was the rationale behind the decline in network operations and station and cluster CTAs?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane replied that gangs would always remain a SAPS priority and intelligence was doing work in the space of gangs which aided in deployment and the commission of arrests. Operation Lockdown was a success – all 30 people targeted were arrested and the conviction meted out was encouraging.
Maj. Gen. Makhele added with the network operations were one of the conventional means to deal with syndicates where other role players were also involved in the operations.
The Chairperson noted his question was more if there was a link between the increase in contact crimes such as robberies and murder and decrease in network operations.
Maj. Gen. Makhele answered that there was a link of the network operations impacting on the decrease/increase in crime. SAPS identified and investigated people involved but success depended on the end users i.e. those carrying the dockets to court where usually SAPS did not get feedback.
Mr Mbhele wondered from a processing perspective if the vetting of CI members should ideally be done from an outside agency as a check and balance similarly as would be done with the State Security Agency (SSA) or IPID members – he was concerned by CI members vetting other or new CI members and the weakening of checks and balance in terms of the integrity of the process. He questioned why the cluster level analysis reports output had decreased significantly and what would be done to address this. He wanted CI to be much more effective and detailed so to see the drop in this analysis report was not encouraging – explanation was needed.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane explained a decision was taken a while ago for senior management (Lieutenant Generals and National Commissioners) vetting to be done by SSA – this also applied to crime intelligence members but because of issues with capacity and time delays, those who were able to be done in the crime intelligence environment would be processed while there would be vetting processes by SSA additionally at a later time – this dual process was being followed. Everyone conducted vetting, whether in terms of crime intelligence or SSA, were all trained by the same people so the chances of manipulating the system was very difficult in this regard. With the cluster level analysis reports, he emphasised the quality of the reports generated to analyse and inform policing – this was not necessarily underperformance but increased focus generated.
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to know the particular footprint of Nyanga –he asked this specifically because the Nyanga issue was an albatross and he was unsure it was receiving the attention to get out of where it was. Khayelitsha was moved as being a hotspot area because of increased resourcing. On a recent trip to George, he was confronted by police officers who had for years worked in a classified unit who were now being told to wear uniforms because this special unit would no longer exist – these officers were concerned that their covers were now being blown. This contradicted information relayed earlier in the meeting that there were no longer uniform detectives – what was in fact happening with this particular case?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane responded that if those members were employed in the crime intelligence environment, ordinarily they would not be required to wear uniform but if they were employed in the uniform environment, there was nothing wrong with making them wear a uniform because of the approach to advanced police visibility. The specific case raised would be further investigated. There was a tendency of police members wanting to dictate how they should work and that was discouraged at all times. If they were employed in crime intelligence it would be strange for them to suddenly perform their duties in inform.
Maj. Gen. M Tiyo, SAPS Provincial Head: Crime Intelligence, Western Cape, indicated the footprint of the Nyanga cluster was 20 members. These were two clusters which were combined and saw the merge of approximately six stations.
Mr Ramatlakane noted that the areas under discussion included huge and complex areas such as Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Manenberg, Phillipi, Mitchells Plein etc which clearly showed there was a problem with footprint in terms of the numbers. The Committee would have to make some recommendation on this area.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane indicated additional capacity would be created in the area but the number could not be disclosed because they operated in a totally different programme. HR was also tasked with reviewing the distribution of personnel in this regard but the process of revising and adding additional capacity in this area was under way.
Mr Groenewald noted that he did not get a clear indication of if the end was in sight for the Fees Must Fall protests. Did crime intelligence conduct telephone interception on its own or through the SSA? If CI did this on its own, did they approach specific Judges?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane replied that police members were drained having been engaged in these protests for a long time. He wished the end of the protest action was yesterday but it appeared to be like a moving target. E received information that the focus had moved from the University of Pretoria to the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) but he was encouraged by the improving situation and that more institutions had resumed classes. SAPS were committed to deploying and managing the situation. He was also encouraged by the Task Team the President had appointed which would assist in dealing with the issue at a different level while SAPS focused on operations. Members should not be surprised to see a spike in expenditure on procurement of Public Order Policing equipment and vehicles in light of the protest activities. With the Farlam Commission recommending the use of non-lethal weapons, SAPS was looking at what was available for procurement. It should be noted that rubber bullets were non-lethal weapons. With interception, crime intelligence complied with the law in this regard and an appointed Judge was processing applications in this regard including those of SAPS counterparts in the intelligence environment.
Programme 5: Protection and Security Services (PSS)
Maj. Gen. Rabie then took the Committee through the indicators, targets and actual performance for performance relating to PSS. Overall the programme achieved 100% of its targets.
Ms Mabija asked which Key National Points (KNPs) were declassified and imminent for declassification.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane answered that the two declassified KNPs were Nelson Mandela’s houses in Houghton and Cape Town.
Ms Molebatsi asked what criteria were used to define a NKP in terms of the KNP Act. What factors led to the deregistration of a KNP and how could it be remedied?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane outlined that an example of a declassified KNP was the previous residence of late former President Mandela as the house had since been sold.
Mr Mbhele asked which cost drivers led to the escalation in expenditure within, particularly the VIP protection because if it was simply the expansion of the Executive, there would have been a once-off jump in spending before it evened out but ongoing costs were seen. Were the VIPs protected by the Presidential Protection Service (PPS) the President and his spouses or were other individuals covered such as visiting heads of state?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane explained there were many cost drivers in this environment and they were not only informed by the expansion or shrinking of the Executive. Cost drivers were linked to factors such as aging fleets, resource demands, deployment demands etc – in the PSS environment overtime was very high where responsibility was not a normal 9 – 5 one. Work was also done outside of SA. Overall a huge cost driver was the compensation budget related to overtime allowances. There was also procurement of vehicles, fuel and maintenance of the vehicles which escalated cost – overall, cost factors could not be pinned down to one matters but was linked to a variety.
Mr Ramatlakane noted the programme received an A aggregate in terms of performance but he wanted to know about the footprint of the static response unit in the provinces. He was pleased to see Lt. Gen. Sitole heading this programme – when the Committee did oversight in the Free State and visited the PSS accommodation there, the members were living in terrible conditions and the Committee was horrified and in disbelief of the conditions it found. In its oversight report, the Committee recommended something be done about the accommodation – what corrective measures had since been put in place in that particular province? What update could be provided on that situation?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane said that there were static response units in all the provinces along with closed protection.
Lt. Gen. K Sitole, SAPS Divisional Commissioner: PSS, added the biggest static response units were in Gauteng and the Western Cape. With the matter in the Free State, SAS went through the process of acquiring the new building and it was finalised. The building was supposed to have been occupied last year June but there were changes in DPW leadership which resulted in the lease documents getting lost. The documents were then forwarded to DPW again to restart the lease proceedings. A letter of motivation was also written to the current DPW DDG in this environment to provide authority to occupy that building. Basically, the building was not yet occupied.
Mr Groenewald asked how many private residences, and who in particular, were also protected by PSS such as former presidents who he knew had personal protectors. As he raised last year, he remained concerned about the working conditions of the personal protectors of Ministers and Deputy Ministers, excluding the President – he read that these protectors had to do things for Ministers over weekends or after hours for personal errands and this was totally unacceptable. He knew of a situation where a personal protector had already left for home but the Minister wanted bread from the local cafe and the protector had to drive all the way to get the bread for the Minister – what was being done about this? The late Minister Collins Chabane died tragically in an accident because his personal protectors were really speeding – this was only one example of dangerous behaviour displayed by these protectors and the situation was not improving. This behaviour presented a larger threat to the person they were supposed to be protecting – what had been done about this?
Lt. Gen. Phahlane stated that former presidents continued to enjoy the privileges of both close and static protection. In the main, former presidents and deputy presidents continue to enjoy those benefits. In terms of private residences, if the person well within the category of receiving protection, static security would be provided but this was only for the duration of the term of the Minister/Deputy Minister. He took note of concerns around the working conditions – ordinarily, protectors performed certain duties and buying bread was not one of them. Any gentlemen or ladies agreements were discouraged because the protectors also needed resting time and time with family. Some protectors did speak out to the media on how they were treated but SAPS continued to deal with grievances and principals were engaged to try and address the situation.
Mr Groenewald responded that the fact of the matter was personal protector were unlikely to turn down the requests of the Minister or Deputy Minister – what communication was there specifically with the Executive/Cabinet to ensure they understood protectors could not run personal errands such buying bread. He requested figures on the private residences protected – he was concerned about the unacceptable cost of providing static protection at private homes. The policy should be that Ministers should only use official residences which the tax payers provided for. He also wanted the names of those who had personal residences protected by PSS.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane did not have the detailed information on which Ministers/Deputy Ministers stayed in official residences and which stayed in private residences – this could be provided to the Committee.
Mr Groenewald clarified that he only wanted to know the residences of where static protection was provided. He knew of some Ministers/Deputy Ministers staying in private residences where the static protection was not there.
Lt. Gen. Sitole explained that the Ministerial Handbook outlined that PSS protected one residence for a Minister and there was no extra cost incurred in protecting any dignitary. Some details around residences were security information and release of it could compromise security. With personal protectors to Ministers/Deputy Ministers, a road show was introduced for all dignitaries which he personally led – the Ministers/Deputy Ministers and Premiers were engaged and explained as to what was not allowed and grievances from both the side of the dignitary and protector were discussed. During lectures, the PSS members were engaged as to their behaviour so there was communication between the PSS Division, PSS members/protectors and dignitaries.
Mr Ramatlakane thought it was a problem that the PSS members were still located in the Free State building which the Committee visited over a year ago – all this time had passed and not much had happened. As an extension of Parliament, the Committee made some proposals and undertakings to those members in the building but since then nothing had changed and this eroded the credibility of Parliament as an institution. The Committee needed to express its displeasure that nothing had changed, the condition first witnessed still was the case and there was nothing in the horizon as to when the problem would be alleviated. He strongly felt the Committee would have to escalate the issue to the relevant Minister for the matter to be addressed urgently. In the conditions in which they worked he did not know how one could look those officers in the face. The Committee would have to be kept abreast of any developments in this space.
The Chairperson added that a BRRR recommendation would also have to be made because it was unacceptable that a year after the Committee first raised its concern nothing had since been done. A report was received since the Committee made the recommendation but the problem was that there were no follow up or status reports on the issue – this might be a lesson to request reports until the matter was finalised but the Committee would attend to it. VIP protection would have to be included in the oversight visit of the Committee in November.
Mr Mbhele noted that reference was made to 16 presidential dignitaries for in transit protection during the period under review under the PPS competent – he sought more clarity and detail on what such protection covered.
Ms Molebatsi asked if De Klerk was included in the protection of former Presidents.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane outlined detail of the PPS was provided for in the Annual Report. PSS protected the sitting President, sitting Deputy President, former Presidents and former Deputy Presidents including visiting Presidents from other countries
Ms Mabija wanted to know which features were removed when a KNP was declassified or if everything was left as it was.
Lt. Gen. Phahlane said with private residencies, normally no modifications were made. If there was no guard house on the premises, a mobile or prefab one would be used and if the guard house was already there it would remain there.
Mr Groenewald noted that the President recently flew to New York on a commercial flight and he asked if this presented any extra constraints as far as PPS was concerned.
Lt. Gen. Sitole requested that detail not be discussed as it involved security information and it was a high national security risk to relay such information.
Mr Groenewald was not asking the detail – he wanted to know if the President travelling commercially entailed more security. He did not want to know how many PPS members there were or which seats on the flight they sat on. One of the arguments was that it was not feasible for a President to fly commercially because it incurred more security – he simply wanted to know if this applied to this specific case, yes or no.
Lt. Gen. Sitole replied that the security status quo was maintained and there was no need to upgrade the security.
The Chairperson, in closing, thanked the Members and SAPS management led by the Acting National Commissioner for engagement on the 2015/16 SAPS Annual Report over the past two days – all responses were noted. Tomorrow Members would be given an indication of draft recommendations which Members were welcomed to add to. SAPS management had a very important role to play in terms of ensuring stability in the country and performance over the last few weeks was noted – this good work should be maintained. He thanked those members going the extra mile from the Committee because as it was sometimes said, it was a thankless job. The Committee appreciated this. Further engagements were anticipated such as with the audit committees to ensure audit findings were sorted out because it was vital for the Committee that findings were addressed for a “clean bill of health” of compliance and financial performance from an administrative perspective. The Committee would not compromise on this and it would also be reflected in recommendations.
The meeting was adjourned.
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