The Committee discussed its draft reports on the 2015/16 Annual Report of the South African Police Services and the Civilian Secretariat for Police. Members pointed out several typographical errors and made suggestions for improving ambiguous areas of the reports. Some of the areas where concerns were raised and suggestions for amendment were made include demilitarisation within SAPS, appropriation and expenditure figures, difference between refresher training of SA Police Service officers and new training, feedback to families of victims, monitoring of high profile cases, reenlistment of retired personnel in SAPS desegregation of rape and domestic violence cases from sexual offences, and filling of vacancies in the Civilian Secretariat for Police.
The EFF representative attempted to make the Committee include in its report issues relating to the plight of police reservists, the right of assembly, the use of rubber bullets by the SAPS, and the Committee’s views on public order policing and use of private security services. Members opposed his proposal on the ground that it fell outside the timeline of the draft reports.
Draft Budget Review and Committee Report on SAPS 2015/16 Annual Report
The Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Francois Beukman, presented the Committee’s recommendation report on the 2015/16 Annual Report of the South African Police Services. He called on Members to go through the report page by page.
The Chairperson noted a typographical error on page 4, which was corrected.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) sought clarification over the type case joined by the Nyanga Community Police Forum on page 4. The Chairperson explained that the wording was fine. Ms Molebatsi also pointed out a date error on page 7.
Mr L Mbhlele (DA) pointed out that the last sentence of 2.3 in the second to last paragraph of page 8 should be changed from singular to plural.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) asked what ‘response’ meant in the recommendation of the Committee. The Committee’s Content Adviser explained that response was in relation to demilitarisation within SAPS.
A Member remarked that the word ‘response’ denotes that the Committee overstepped its bounds with respect to demilitarisation, and that the response should not have been included in the report.
Mr Mbhlele noted that, as he recalled, the demilitarisation project should be preceded by research on regional and international best practices. He suggested that the second column in the recommendations should say that the response from SAPS was that they need resources from the Secretariat. The Secretariat report could then indicate that the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) had conducted research projects and its findings appear in the white paper.
Mr M Redelinghuys (DA) remarked that the first sentence of the recommendation made a value judgment. The Chairperson stated that it would be amended.
Mr M Mncwango (IFP) pointed out a typographical error in block number 5 on page 10.
Ms Molebatsi asked the difference between bullets number 4 and number 16. The Chairperson explained that the format in 4 and 16 was adopted last year and the Committee could not change it now.
Mr Mbhlele suggested a hyphenation in the second column of recommendation 15 on page 12.
The Chairperson suggested monthly, rather than quarterly reports.
Mr Mbhlele spotted a typographical error in Lieutenant-Colonels on page 13.
Ms Molebatsi spotted an error on page 15.
Mr Mbhlele asked when the Committee should expect the progress report demanded from the DPCI in recommendation 33.
Mr Mhlongo pointed out that recommendation 3.2.2 (a) on page 17 seemed too vague. He suggested that it should be deleted or clarified
Ms Molebatsi suggested that the phrase ‘the department gives serious attention’ be changed to ‘… more attention.’ The Content Adviser agreed to revisit it.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) suggested clarity in the framing of the last paragraph of page 18 dealing with vote allocation and spending for 2016/17.
Mr Mbhlele pointed out a typographical error on repeat findings on page 20.
Mr Ramatlakane sought clarity over why the bullet points on page 21 should start with percentages. The Content Adviser justified the format.
Mr Mhlongo sought clarity over the appropriation and expenditure figures on page 26, especially the figure of R47 000. The Content Adviser promised to investigate the figures.
Mr Mbhlele pointed out an error in 5.1.1 on page 32. He also identified a spelling error of psychotherapist on page 33.
Mr Mbhlele suggested changing the phrase to ‘enhance production’ on page 38 to ‘to enhance productivity.’
The Chairperson suggested a change in 5.3.1 of the second paragraph of page 43 to ‘re-alignment.’
Mrs M Mmola (ANC) pointed out a typographical error in the first line of paragraph 2 on page 45.
Ms Molebatsi asked whether the word ‘deregistered’ in the last column of page 48 should be mentioned. The Content Adviser explained and agreed that it should be mentioned.
Mr Mhlongo sought clarity over the figure of 23 attendances on 6.1 of page 50. The CA explained the types of training.
Mr Ramatlakane stated that refresher training is different from new training. He sought to know how many refresher trainings were undertaken.
Mr Redelinghuys stated that as he understood it, all members undertook refresher training, while only 23 attended new training.
Mr Mbhlele pointed out that the word ‘appoints’ in the fourth sentence of 6.5 on page 51 should read ‘appointments.’
Mr Ramatlakane suggested that it be made clearer what the Committee’s recommendation was regarding escalation. The intention should be that escalation must be moved to another building. The Chairperson agreed.
Mr Mbhlele pointed out that the word ‘actions’ in 6.7 should be singular.
Ms Molebatsi sought clarity over the placement of child ready dockets. The Content Adviser explained in terms of the provisions of 6.8.
Mr Redelinghuys added that clarity is need over child ready dockets.
Mr Ramatlakane suggested that some high profile cases were not included in the report. He gave the example of the goalkeeper of Bafana Bafana.
The Chairperson added that feedback to families and next of kin of victims and monitoring of high profile cases should also be included.
Mr Mbhlele pointed out a grammatical issue in the second line of 6.9 on page 52 dealing with firearm licenses. He also supported the need for feedback to victims.
Mr Redelinghuys expressed disappointment that there was no culture of feedback in police stations. The Chairperson added that the methodology of feedback – such as use of SMS for gun license notifications and renewals – may need to be revisited.
Mr PJ Groenewald (FF+) suggested better clarity in the framing of the first column of ‘reporting matters on page 53 concerning lost and stolen firearms.
Mr Ramatlakane suggested a column in page 54 to deal with desegregation.
Ms Molebatsi suggested an amendment to the fifth column on page 54 dealing with the establishment of firearms and narcotics units.
Mr Mhlongo suggested an amendment to the progress timelines in page 54 to correct a date error. He sought clarity over rehiring of retired personnel in SAPS. The Chairperson explained that the Committee received a report on this.
Mr Groenewald noted that re-enlistment was not in the Annual Report.
Mr Mhlongo asked the extent to which re-enlistment is practicable in the present circumstances. He argued that the nature of re-enlistment was important. The Chairperson explained that the Commitment had sought an explanation of the criteria for re-enlistment from the Ministry and received a report last week.
Still on re-enlistment, Mr Ramatlakane noted that certain categories of people such as those approaching retirement should be added in a column on page 54. He cited the Pravin Gordhan trial as an example of the need for clarity in reenlistment. The Chairperson and another Member explained the criteria for reenlistment.
Mr Redelinghuys suggested that the Committee’s recommendation on desegregated data in 7.1.3 (5) of page 55 should be made clearer by specifying that it is desegregated data on disciplinary matters.
Mr Mbhlele pointed out various corrections on page 54 and 55. He restated Mr Redelinghuys’s suggestion of desegregation, adding the need to desegregate rape and domestic violence cases, which were presently lumped together as sexual offences. He also suggested that 7.1.3 (9) of page 55 should be clarified to add that management should put in place measures to improve professional conduct of officers.
A female Member suggested an addition of renovation to existing buildings in 7.1.3 (8) of page 55.
Mr Mhlongo sought clarity over some issues. These were the plight of police reservists, exponential amounts on civil claims, the Committee’s recommendations on the right of assembly and role of SAPS in Fees Must Fall protests, the use of rubber bullets by the police despite international prohibition of its usage, and recommendation of the Committee on Metro Police and private security services.
Responding, the Chairperson explained that some of these issues had been dealt with in bilateral interactions with the SAPS, while others were dealt with last year.
Mr Ramatlakane stated that the issue of private security could be discussed on Friday and it would be difficult to add recent developments into the report.
The Chairperson added that there were three engagements with SAPS last year on public order policing. He admitted that this issue was not specifically raised in the report.
Mr Mhlongo stated that the Committee should look into issues of national importance. He argued that the plight of police reservists could not be a matter for bilateral discussions and should find expression in the Committee’s report.
The Content Adviser responded that the Committee was handling police reservists and civil claims against SAPS. He explained that engagements were undertaken on Fees Must Fall protests. The Chairperson added that most of these issues fell under Parliament’s oversight functions.
Mr Mhlongo restated that parliamentary engagements, especially engagements regarding alleged police brutality, fell under issues of national importance that should be reflected in the Committee’s report. He restated that the issue of police reservists was not adequately reflected in the report.
Ms Molebatsi raised a point of order on the grounds that new developments, despite their importance, should not be brought into the report because they fell outside its reporting timeline.
Mr Redelinghuys affirmed that the issues raised by Mr Mhlongo, while properly falling under parliamentary oversight, fell outside the Committee’s report because the report was almost like a Minute of Proceedings. Additionally, the issues require a broader engagement than the Committee can provide.
Mr Mhlongo restated that the reason why these issues must be reflected in the Committee’s reports is precisely because the Committee has discussed them. He maintained that the Committee needed to emphasise its recommendations on the use of deadly force by SAPS in the Fees Must Fall protests and claims against the state.
Mr Groenewald argued that the present report concerns the 2015 financial year. Accordingly, Mr Mhlongo would have ample opportunity in future to raise his concerns later because they did not fall under the BRRR’s present report.
Mr Redelinghuys affirmed Mr Groenewald’s position, stating that Mr Mhlongo seems to be conflating two different issues.
Mr Ramatlakane advised the Committee to move forward with its agenda and return to Mr Mhlongo’s concerns later.
Mr J Maake (ANC) affirmed that the time was not ripe to discuss Mr Mhlongo’s concerns and they could come in the next report.
Ms Molebatsi supported the need to defer Mr Mhlongo’s concerns.
Ms Mmola supported the last three speakers.
The Chairperson ruled to defer Mr Mhlongo’s concerns.
Mr Mhlongo restated that his concerns should be reflected in the present report. He argued that the Committee should be able to point out deficiencies in the BRRR report. He affirmed his right to raise his concerns, despite the fact that he was attending the Committee for the first time. He put it on record that the EFF did not support the adoption of the Committee’s report.
The Chairperson again ruled for the agenda to be followed. Members proceeded with page by page consideration of their report.
Mr Groenewald complained that Mr Mhlongo’s comments were a poor reflection of the Committee. Citing 7.1.4 (18) on page 56 headed ‘visible policing,’ he stated that in retrospect, some of Mr Mhlongo’s concerns were mentioned in the report. He put it on record that Mr Mhlongo did not know what was happening in the Committee and thus could not make sweeping statements about the ambit of its report.
Mr Mhlongo denied that he disparaged the dignity of the Committee. He restated the need for the Committee to include a clear recommendation on the issues he raised because they were of national importance.
The Chairperson advised Members to move on with the agenda.
Mr Mbhlele suggested a reframing of the usage of the word ‘familiarity’ in 7.1.7 (35) of page 58.
Mr Ramatlakane suggested that ‘working conditions’ in 7.1.7 (33) of page 58 should be replaced with ‘accommodation.’
Ms Molebatsi expressed concern that SAPS VIP protection officers sometimes worked outside their official mandates. The Chairperson replied that SAPS was reviewing its service working agreement.
Mr Mbhlele suggested clarity in the framing of working conditions to specify working hours.
Mr Maake responded that the framing was adequate because job description was absent.
Mr Mhlongo suggested an amendment to the huge number of protection personnel assigned to the executive. He also urged the Committee to demand a list of the members of the executive who are abusing their privilege of protection personnel.
Mr Maake objected to revisiting this issue.
The Chairperson responded that this issue had been dealt with in the past.
Mr Ramatlakane stated that there is already legislation around VIP protection and the Committee need not revisit the issue.
Mr Groenewald stated that he had raised this issue two years ago. He submitted that Mr Mhlongo was wasting the Committee’s time by raising this issue.
Mr Mhlongo stated that Mr Groenewald was provoking him. He restated his right to be in the Committee. He restated that the specifics of executive protection services should be clarified in the Committee’s report.
Mr Ramatlakane advised that the issue of executive protection was derailing the agenda of the Committee.
Mr Maake put it on record that Mr Mhlongo attempted to blackmail the Committee.
Mr Groenewald advised Mr Mhlongo should look for executive abuse of protection services in the newspapers.
Mr Mhlongo replied that it was un-parliamentary language to accuse him of blackmailing the Committee.
Mr Maake restated that Mr Mhlongo attempted to blackmail the Committee.
Mr Mhlongo asked the Chairperson to rule on this issue and expunge the blackmail allegation from the records.
The Chairperson refused. He closed deliberations on the Committee Report on SAPS 2015/16 Annual Report and proceeded to its report on the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP).
Committee Report on the Civilian Secretariat for Police
The Chairperson summarised the Committee’s CSP Report and called for page by page examination of the report.
Mr Mbhlele expressed concern on the Secretariat only filling funded posts as a result of National Treasury cuts.
Mr Redelinghuys pointed out an error in Critical Infrastructure Bill on page 17.
Mr Maake sought clarity on presentation of Bills to Cabinet on the fourth bullet point on page 19. The Chairperson explained the procedure for presentations.
Mr Mbhlele suggested the use of mandate holder in the first paragraph of page 22 in order to better convey the intention of the paragraph.
The Chairperson wondered whether the framing of ‘Legislative Programme’ on page 23 is correct. The Content Adviser affirmed that it was correct.
Mr Mbhlele pointed out a small typographical error in the last paragraph of page 23.
The Chairperson explained the rationale for the Committee’s recommendations on page 25.
Mr Redelinghuys suggested that the recommendation on vacancies in the second column of page 25 should be expanded to ‘other vacancies.’
Mr Maake wondered whether it should not be included in the recommendations that the CSP needed more funds. The Chairperson explained that there is underspending in the CSP, which made it difficult for the Committee to recommend more funding. The Content Adviser agreed.
Mr Redelinghuys stated that the more appropriate place for this issue would be next year’s budget debates.
Mr Ramatlakane suggested amendment in the ambiguous framing of the mandate holder. The Content Adviser replied that SAPS must indicate who the mandate holders were.
Mr Redelinghuys asked when Parliament was likely to adopt the Committee’s report.
Mr Maake asked for the inclusion of a time frame for a mandate holder to be appointed.
Mr Redelinghuys sought clarity on the Internal Audit Unit on page 25. The Content Adviser explained the time frame. He also explained the Internal Audit Unit together with the Chairperson.
A Member asked whether internal audit committees were permanent or temporary.
Mr Maake sought clarity on the Committee’s recommendations on the CSP on page 25.
Mr Mbhlele expressed concern over the unfair plundering of the CSP’s budget. Mr Maake’s concerns were addressed in sections 7 and 8. The Chairperson suggested that a solution is to say that the Committee recommends that the audit committees of the departments appear before the Committee and explain their performance.
Mr Maake suggested a recommendation for the urgent filling of all vacancies.
The Chairperson stated that the CSP must make budget provisions for dealing with contingencies or special projects such as student protests.
Mr Ramatlakane wondered whether the three-month period given to the CSP to resolve its debt with IPID should not be made more specific – for example till February 2017.
The Chairperson thanked everyone. He stated that the IPID report will be discussed tomorrow at 10 at an undisclosed venue. He closed the meeting at 1:33pm.
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