The Civilian Secretariat for Police Services gave a presentation on Policies and Legislation of the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service. She outlined that an approach to policing in the 21st century requires a ‘professional, well-resourced, and highly skilled police service’. She emphasised that a demilitarised police service must display a firm commitment to carrying out its constitutional mandate and embracing a human rights culture. Furthermore, a civilian police service must be responsive to diverse communities and display an approach to policing that is fair, transparent and accountable. Emphasis was placed on ensuring the proper control and management of firearms as a key driver of violent crimes. Most importantly she emphasised that South Africa must adopt a holistic approach to rooting out illegal firearms, while recognising the potential of legal firearms becoming a source for criminal activity.
The Civilian Secretariat emphasised the importance of building a professional police service. Policing must be based on high standards of integrity, knowledge of the law and an understanding of the duty to serve. It must effectively find and root out corruption in order to build a professional police service. Such rooting out of corruption requires a coherent organisational response based on an enhanced capacity to investigate corruption. She stated that leadership and management must implement a multifaceted approach to integrity management. In terms of the institutional arrangements, the institutional architecture across the three spheres of government must allow for developing and overseeing the effective implementation of policing policy. Furthermore, the Minister determines, plans and sets national policing policy, priorities and budget. The National Commissioner oversees the operational management and control of the police service in line with national policing policy.
The Civilian Secretariat also noted that the institutional architecture across the three spheres of government must allow for developing and overseeing the effective implementation of policing policy. The Minister determines, plans and sets national policing policy, priorities and budget. The National Commissioner oversees the operational management and control of the police service in line with national policing policy.
Members of the Committee had questions on the lack of visibility of the police in rural areas as well as questions regarding the training of Public Order Policing. Concerns were also raised regarding the growing possession of illegal firearms. In the responses, attention was also paid to the role that legal firearms also played in crime.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) then gave a presentation on various aspects of policing, beginning with a briefing on the implementation of professionalism in policing. This had been one of the strategic objectives of the South African Police (SAPS) since 2015. The ‘Back to Basics Approach’ aimed at enhancing police visibility, thorough and responsive investigation of every crime reported and efficient utilisation of resources in support of the investigation of crime. Furthermore, the Back to Basics approach will also focus on crime intelligence in support of proactive and reactive policing and focus on a culture of performance management and accountability.
The presenter highlighted that there are 63 police stations which were identified as having issues relating to under-performance; those in the top 40 were picked because of their volume of crime and under-performance against detective indicators, whilst the top 30 stations were identified on the highest volumes of crime reported and other issues such as service delivery. There had been some achievements, however, on service delivery, and personnel at all levels, especially at station level ,were motivated. There have been less complaints from the public on non-attendance to crime related reports. Recently released crime statistics had just been released. These showed an overall reduction of 1.4% in the 17 community reported crimes, a decrease of Common Robbery by 1.5%, Robbery aggravated increased by 2.7% and four out of five categories of crimes in the broad category of property-related crimes also decreased by 1.8%.
Members of the Committee had questions regarding the different styles of policing in rural areas and in urban areas. They also raised concerns about the growing trend of violent public gatherings. Concerns were also raised with regards to the response time of the police, the low morale, weight gain and general fitness levels of police officials. Members wanted to know what was happening to those students arrested during the Fees Must Fall movement, and particularly where they were being held after arrest.
Civilian Secretariat for Police Services (The Secretariat): Policies and Legislation briefing
White Paper on Policing
Ms Bilkis Omar, Chief Director: Policy Development, Civilian Secretariat for Police Services, gave a background on the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (the Secretariat), noting that it had been stablished under section 208 of the Constitution, and its functions are provided for in the Civilian Secretariat for Police Services Act of 2011. The Secretariat’s key objects include exercising civilian oversight over the police service, and giving strategic advice to the Minister in respect of developing and implementing policies. The Secretariat also implements, promotes and aligns the operations of the Civilian Secretariat in the national and provincial spheres of government.
She described the key functions and responsibilities of the Civilian Secretariat. These included conducting research into any policing matter, conducting quality assessments of SA Police Services (SAPS) and monitoring and evaluating SAPS's performance. It was also responsible for mobilising role players, stakeholders and partners outside the Department through engagements on crime prevention and other policing matters.
Ms Omar noted that the 2016 White Paper on Policing stems from a review of the 1998 White Paper on Safety and Security. The review process was informed by the need to assess progress in implementing the key objectives of the 1998 White Paper. The key objectives of the 1998 White Paper were to promote a multi-layered approach to ensuring safety and security, and to transform policing in line with the Constitution. The White Paper on Policing provides a policy framework for achieving the policing vision contained in the National Development Plan. The National Development Plan emphasises the need to firstly professionalise the SAPS, secondly to demilitarise the police, thirdly to build safety using an integrated approach, and lastly to strengthen community participation in safety.
Ms Omar outlined that an approach to policing in the 21st century required a ‘professional, well-resourced, and highly skilled police service’. She emphasised that a demilitarised police service must display a firm commitment to carrying out its constitutional mandate and embracing a human rights culture. Furthermore, a civilian police service must be responsive to diverse communities and display an approach to policing that is fair, transparent and accountable. Ms Omar also commented that emphasis must be placed on ensuring the proper control and management of firearms, as a key driver of addressing violent crimes. Most importantly she emphasised that South Africa must adopt a holistic approach to rooting out illegal firearms, while also recognising the potential for legal firearms to become a source for criminal activity.
Ms Omar then went on to focus on the notion of building a professional police service. She said that policing must be based on high standards of integrity, knowledge of the law and an understanding of the duty to serve. Policing must effectively deal with and root out corruption in order to build a professional police service. Rooting out corruption requires a coherent organisational response, based on an enhanced capacity to investigate corruption. She stated that leadership and management must implement a multifaceted approach to integrity management.
Ms Omar commented that the development of professional policing will be best supported through the establishment of a National Police Board with a set objective criteria for recruitment, selection and appointment. She then focused on the framework for a professional police service. Attaining the goals of Vision 2030 will require optimal coordination and alignment across the three spheres of government. This will be best achieved through a single national police service. She highlighted that the model of integrated policing does not advocate the wholesale integration of the Metro Police Services (MPS) and SAPS. The object remains to maximise capacity and resources for effective, accountable and democratic policing.
Ms Omar mentioned that the institutional architecture across the three spheres of government must allow for developing and overseeing the effective implementation of policing policy. The Minister of Police determines, plans and sets national policing policy, priorities and budget. The National Commissioner oversees the operational management and control of the police service, in line with national policing policy.
White Paper on Safety and Security
Ms Omar gave a brief background and vision of the 2016 White Paper on Safety and Security. She stated that the development of a new policy on safety, crime and violence prevention is aimed at promoting an integrated and holistic approach to safety and security. It is intended to provide substance and direction to achieving the NDP’s objectives of ‘Building Safer Communities’.
The objectives of the 2016 White Paper on Safety and Security include providing an overarching policy for an integrated approach to safety and security. The White Paper rests on six key themes: an effective criminal justice system; early intervention to prevent crime and violence and promote safety; victim support; effective and integrated service delivery for safety, security and violence and crime prevention; safety through environmental design; active public and community participation.
She mentioned that the approach advocated in the White Paper is premised on addressing risk factors, intersectoral and intergovernmental consultation, co-operation and collaboration. It is also based on having an active citizenry and coordinated partnerships. She highlighted how the Community Safety Forum Policy provides a framework for integrated, localised safety planning and co-ordination that is aligned to national and provincial priorities. Ms Omar then proceeded to discuss the role of National Government, the role of Provincial Government and the Role of Local Government. These spheres of government interlink and play a crucial role.
In terms of oversight and monitoring, she mentioned that the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) would be responsible for facilitating the development of an integrated data and information management system.
Ms Omar concluded her presentation by discussing the Bills in progress for introduction in Parliament in the 2016/17 year. She mentioned the Firearms Control Amendment Bill and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill.
Bills that would be brought forward for the Minister’s approval and Cabinet consideration in 2017 will include the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist Related Activities Bill, and the Animal Movement and Produce Bill. She stated that the Regulation of Gatherings Amendment Act will be drafted to strengthen the principal Act that deals with public gatherings.
Ms T Wana (ANC, Eastern Cape) asked why the police were very present and visible in white residential areas like Constantia, but not so visible in the rural areas or in the townships.
Mr G Michalakis (DA, Free State) wanted to know the reasons behind the increase in murder rates in the rural areas and in townships.
Mr J Mthethwa (ANC, KwaZulu Natal) stated that in South Africa there are a lot of illegal firearms, mostly in townships and in the rural areas. He was concerned that most of the organisations that fight crimes are also, coincidentally, the perpetrators of the crimes. He believed that many of the crime-fighting organisations have a very close relationship with police officers, and the police officers allow them to “deal with criminals in kangaroo courts”. He said that the rule of law was being undermined.
Ms B Engelbrecht (DA, Gauteng) mentioned that violent public gatherings were a growing phenomenon in the country. She stated that the police are not trained sufficiently to deal with civic unrest and riots – as seen in the FeesMustFall movement and the Marikana massacre. She wanted to know why there had not been enough effort in training riot policing.
Mr Alvin Rapea, Acting Secretary, Civilian Secretariat for Police Services, stated that new policy had just been drafted to deal with violent protests and violent public gatherings. He said that this policy will answer some of the questions the Members have about public gatherings.
Speaking to the issue of the single police service, he noted that the Committee was in the process of developing a framework to deal with the issue of single policing, and this will also analyse how the service links with the Constitution. The Public Administration Management Act will guide this policy.
Lieut Gen Nobesuthu Masiye, South African Police Services, answered that in terms of operational questions, statistics for the 2015/16 financial year showed that there had been a decrease in murders on farms, and overall in all the provinces except North West. She highlighted that there is a high rate of gangsterism in the Western Cape and in the Eastern Cape. In the Western Cape there is already an operation to combat gangsterism. Furthermore, there had been a huge effort on confiscation of firearms in the Eastern Cape. She emphasised that drugs are a cornerstone of the gangsterism. Two operations were currently taking place to address gangsterism. In addition, SAPS was addressing the issue of illegal firearms and approximately 12000 illegal firearms were destroyed on the 21 October 2016.
Mr Mthethwa emphasised again that the crime in the rural areas is lower than in the cities, where Western Cape seems to be leading on crimes committed. He wanted to enquire what strategies are in place to reduce the crime in the cities
Mr Mark Rogers, Director: Policy Development, Civilian Secretariat, said that the Secretariat wanted to assess where the main risk factors were before making a decision, and it would then be necessary to strengthen and capacitate the community security forces through active citizenry. He emphasised that communities must be involved in combating crimes. Furthermore, the Secretariat is working together with newly elected councillors and want to be involved in councillor induction programmes.
Professionalism in policing, public order policing training and relationship between SAPS and Metro Police departments: SA Police Services briefing
Lieut Gen Nobesuthu Masiye, South African Police Service, outlined the implementation of professionalism in policing, and stated that it had been one of the strategic objectives of the South African Police (SAPS) since 2015. She mentioned that the ‘Back to Basics Approach’ adopted will focus on enhancing police visibility, a thorough and responsive investigation of every crime reported and efficient utilisation of resources in support of the investigation of crime. This approach will also focus on crime intelligence in support of proactive and reactive policing, and focus on a culture of performance management and accountability.
Lieut Gen Masiye highlighted that the Acting National Commissioner of SAPS held a series of meetings with management from all nine provinces. In these meetings, the Back to Basics approach was introduced and explained. In order to implement the approach, the critical areas of focus in the programme were reported crime, serious crime and crimes against women and children. Recovery of stolen or lost state-owned firearms, recovery of stolen or robbed firearms and National Crime Awareness Campaigns were also part of the identified critical areas of focus for the Back to Basics programme. Ms Masiye stated that the Detective Services would also be part of the programme and there will be a focus on the detection rate, trial-ready rate and the conviction rate.
Lieut Gen Masiye commented that 63 police stations had been identified as having issues relating to under-performance. The top 40 stations were identified according to the volume of crime and under-performance of detective indicators, the top 30 stations were identified on the highest volumes of crime reported and other issues such as service delivery. She also briefly mentioned the achievements thus far on service delivery. Personnel at all levels, especially at station level, were highly motivated. Furthermore, there had been less complaints from the public on attendance to crime related reports.
She then proceeded to outline the recently released crime statistics which showed that there has been an overall reduction of 1.4% in the 17 community reported crimes, a decrease of Common Robbery by 1.5%. Robbery-aggravated crimes increased by 2.7%. Four out of five categories of crimes making up the broad category of property related crimes also decreased by 1.8%.
Lieut Gen Masiye then moved on to discuss Public Order Police training. She stated that there are several training programmes available for Public Order Policing, which are continuously offered to all Public Order Police Unit members. As part of capacitating the Public Order Policing Units with personnel, the SAPS undertook an internal recruitment drive and 580 members were successfully selected to join various Units. Public Order Policing aims to maintain order during peaceful gathering and to restore order during violent gathering. She highlighted that there is an intention to adopt a more flexible approach in terms of maintaining and restoring order, being supported by the necessary competencies (skills) and resources in an integrated approach.
Lieut Gen Masiye highlighted that one of the challenges is an increase in service delivery protests. The location of Public Order Policing units made it very expensive to deploy these, as SAPS members have to be accommodated, and travelling time meant that the response time was slow. Lastly she stated that the achievements thus far include an improvement in command and control and higher level of tolerance displayed.
Metro Police and SAPS
Lieut Gen Masiye presented on the statutory relationship between the Metropolitan Police Services (MPS) and the South African Police Service. She said that there are six established metropolitan police services, although the Services in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro were not fully functional.
She emphasised that there are dedicated forums for all Metro Police departments and SAPS, which hold meetings regularly. SAPS is responsible for assisting the MPS with post-basic training in all relevant policing fields. This is mainly focussed on the training of trainers in existing programmes and new legislation. An annual Needs Analysis is done to determine the needs. The MPS needs are fed into the SAPS Training Planning process. She concluded the final part of her presentation by stating that there are integrated operations between SAPS and the Metro Police. A few examples of integrated operations included the joint road blocks, National and Local Government elections and Parliament opening.
Mr Michalakis stated that there have been many instances in the past where the public order police had over-reached their powers without good cause. Where this had happened, he questioned whether any investigations had been done, to find out the cause and to consider whether this could be addressed through the training process. He said that training must be improved to maintain public order.
Mr M Mhlanga (ANC, Mpumalanga) wanted to know the names of the 63 police stations which are under-performing. He also enquired about Crime Awareness and Prevention campaigns, stating that Parliament should support them.
Ms G Manolope (ANC, Northern Cape) also expressed a desire to hear more about these programmes.
Mr S Thobejane ANC, Limpopo) said that the strategy of policing differed from one area to the next. He was worried that policing might be taking place in one sector, but at the expense of another. He enquired whether the current system of policing was really helping black people in rural areas. He noted that there is an absence of visible policing in rural areas.
Mr S Mohapi (ANC, Free State) said that he wanted to focus on effectiveness in terms of response time. In general, when cases are reported, the response time is very bad. He commented that police are taking too long to arrive at scenes because they are under resourced. He also noted that there is a mushrooming of informal settlements in the country, and these areas notably showed a high incidence of crime. He said that SAPS needs to stop having a reactive approach. Mr Mohapi considered that the morale of the police is low. He commented on their physical attributes, expressing the view that many were overweight and unfit, and displayed a tendency to drink too much, and noted that the rate of divorce amongst police is also very high. He wanted to know whether there is a wellness programme for SAPS officials.
Mr Mhlanga wanted to know how often were police vehicles procured and whether that service was outsourced or took place within the Department.
The Chairperson wanted to know whether the students arrested for their actions in connection with FeesMustFall were being remanded with those convicted of other crimes, and where they were being held once arrested.
Lieut Gen Masiye said that in terms of public order policing, there is a transformation committee which emanated from Marikana. It was currently addressing some of the issues relating to the Public Order police over reaching their powers unjustifiably. She said that the police must use minimal force, in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.
Lieut Gen Masiye said that she has the names of the police stations where certain matters had been identified, and will give the document to the Secretary of the Committee. All the “hot spots “that are identified have crime awareness programmes. Church and community members have been involved. She noted that there are challenges with the deep rural areas in terms of effective policing and the research division is currently researching how best to reach the deep rural areas. She admitted that reaction time is longer in rural areas than in urban areas. Ms Masiye highlighted that there simply were not enough helicopters to fly over and investigate all instances of stock-theft in the rural areas, but there were cases is Lesotho and Eastern Cape where choppers were used to discover stolen stock. She stated that there is a mushrooming of informal settlements and that no arrests are made for the erection of informal settlements. After 48 hours, it becomes harder to remove informal settlements, because residents are deemed to have acquired rights.
Lieut-Gen Masiye noted the comments around police officers gaining weight. She pointed out that there are physical training centres around the provinces and there are wellness centres for psychological and emotional stress, due to the recognition of the police officers' high exposure to trauma. Debriefing also happens. She said that the procurement of police vehicles takes place within the Department and there is a budget for each province for police vehicles. In terms of student arrests, she said that students were held in different police stations and they were not detained with adults but held separately.
The meeting was adjourned.
- South African Police Service presentation
- Background Notes for NCOP Debate: Impact of Crime in SA
- Procedural Note: Section 75 Legislation Public Participation Proposal
- Summary and Analysis: Justice Administered Fund Bill [B26-2015]
- Civilian Secretariat for Police Service 2016 White Paper on Policing
- Civilian Secretariat for Police Service 2016 White Paper on Safety and Security
- Civilian Secretariat for Police Service presentation
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