The Committee received briefings from the South African Police Service (SAPS) on the implementation of the Budget Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) implementation. The Committee had recommended that the Department needed to provide Members with an Action Plan to ensure effective monitoring of pocket books and the implementation of monitoring of the SAPS 13 stores. The Committee also recommended that the Department takes disciplinary action to address poor performance with effect to members who do not fill out their pocket books and reports to the Committee on a quarterly basis. A copy of action plan with regard to monitoring of pocket books provided to Committee in the letter dated 1 December 2015. The finalised SAPS 13 Action Plan was provided to the Committee in a letter, dated 19 September 2016.
The Committee requested the Department to provide a Retention Plan to keep existing detectives in the SAPS and speed up the recruitment of former detectives who want to return to the Department. The report from the remuneration specialist, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), was received. There was a recommendation from the Committee that SAPS needed to do more to deal with domestic violence and not refer women to courts for restraining orders, without launching a criminal investigation first. SAPS noted the concerns of the Committee and during compliance visits to stations and provinces, the Visible Policing Division continually emphasises the obligation of compliance with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA),1998 (Act No. 116 of 1998),including section 10 of the said Act. This involves informing the victims that they have three options available regarding services in terms of the DVA. The options are that the victim may seek assistance in securing a protection order, lay a criminal charge or exercise both options.
Members wanted to know from the Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng if the Member of the Executive Office (MEC) of Police in the province had discussed his concerns in about the ongoing violence in that province. It would be important to know if the head of management intervention in Gauteng was involved in areas that are plagued by violence and protests. It was unclear if the management team had a programme in place to bring about stability in these areas. There are a lot of people who are complaining about poor service delivery from SAPS and the Committee should perhaps call upon all of the management team to brief Members about the progress and programme of the police stations in the fight against crime. The Committee should be briefed on the strategy to get rid of those police who are not performing according to the expected standard of policing.
Members recommended that the Committee should bring together Mr McBride and Lt Gen Phahlane in the same meeting to have a real conversation around these issues or allegations that are in the public domain. The claim that the Acting National Commissioner had misled Parliament was a serious offence that needed to be followed up. Some Members expressed dismay about the fact that SAPS had to wait for Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) before having to conduct an investigation on the drug syndicate involving SAPS members in the OR Tambo International Airport.
The Committee also received a briefing on Moffatview Police Station on ways that had been implemented to deal with crime in the area of Rosettenville. It was stated that Moffatview Police Station became a fully-fledged police station in 01 April 2012 and the area that is being monitored is 42 square kilometre. The population in the area is approximately 72 000 but this could be more than that as there is a lot of travelling and migration in this area. The Cluster Commander of Johannesburg Central highlighted that added that the identified hotspots in the area are also patrolled and monitored on a daily basis. There was also a decision to involve the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, Department of Home Affairs, local councillors and government organisations and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) so as to provide assistance on conducting investigation on the matter. The Department of Justice and Correctional Service was also involved in identifying repeat offenders and those that are out on bail or parole. The patrolling involved constant stop and search and conducting vehicle checkpoint and bringing about awareness of crime prevention. SAPS members also perform roadblocks. There is an integrated approach in dealing with the problem of crime in the area and this is by involving the community, Johannesburg Metro Police Department and other role players that play a vital role in the fight against crime.
Members asked whether there was any particular reason why the cluster commander had to way for a major protest in the area before coming with a plan to prevent crime in the area of Rosettenville. One Member wanted to know if the Committee would be given an opportunity to also engage with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) so as to have an understanding of the kinds of by-laws. The Committee should be given more information on the Whatsapp voicenote that is circulating calling for the attack of South Africans by foreign nationals. Some Members praised the presentation by the Cluster Commander saying it showed that SAPS was on its own in the fight against crime, especially the fact that it was sometimes difficult to get the witness statements in some cases. There should be concerted effort to form a partnership with the community in Rosettenville.
SAPS also briefed the Committee on its operations during the festive period and highlighted that Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster played a crucial role in preventing crime in the country, especially focusing on maintaining stability by managing all service delivery protests, #FessMustFall campaign and political gatherings. SAPS expected that there would be a lot of festive season shopping and entertainment, meaning there would be an increased movement of large sums of money. SAPS managed to deploy total of 4 953 newly recruited constables with Gauteng having deployed a total of 1 519 while North West only deployed 73. There were a total of 705 639 police actions throughout the country and more than 2 million searches and 83 479 arrests and Western Cape had the largest arrests with 19 625 while North West only had 3 826 arrests. There was notable reduction of 5.3% for contact crime, contact related crime was reduced by 5.4%, property-related crime was reduced by 2.2% while other serious crime was reduced by 5.3% during the festive season.
Members asked about the distinction between Vehicle Controlled Point and the roadblock as the assumption was these two are the same. What are the policy guidelines that are being used for setting up a roadblock and the consultation process that was being followed? They also wanted to know about the actual number of people that had been arrested in Limpopo for dealing with nyaope. Most Members noted that the report that had been presented to the Committee as it showed that there was good work that was being done by the police and there was indeed police visibility during the festive season. The important part is on the lessons that had been learnt during the festive season and how they could be applied on a day-to-day basis of SAPS. The Committee should be briefed on the lessons that had been learned in this previous festive seasons compared to the previous ones, especially on better police visibility and the application of Back to Basics approach. In relation to the notable successes, it would be useful for the Committee to be provided with the actual number of arrests and conviction of those individuals and the value of drugs if drugs are involved.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed everyone and requested the South African Police Service (SAPS) to brief the Committee about the ongoing violence in Gauteng and the steps that had been taken to deal with this persistence violence.
Briefing on violence in Gauteng
Lt Gen Khomotso Phahlane, Acting National Commissioner, stated that the province was doing very well in terms of dealing with the problem of ongoing violence. The crime statistics for the 2015/16 period showed that there had been a decrease of 12% in contact crime, a decrease of 5.6% in murder and a decrease of 4.2% in attempted murder. SAPS was also proud to have recorded a decrease of 18.1% in Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) assault and 19.3% in common assault. There is a decrease of 21.4% in attempted robbery and 14.1% in aggravated robbery. There had been a decrease of 9.9% in property related crimes. The crime statistics in Gauteng proved that SAPS in the province was on a path to bring about stability.
The fact of the matter is that the police are at work in Gauteng and there was effectiveness by the station commander and cluster commander in the province. There is already an action that had been taken to “beef-up” the Johannesburg central cluster as this was one of the heaviest clusters from a policing perspective. The feeling from the Gauteng provincial commissioner was that the cluster required additional support. SAPS was clear that it is impossible to have a “no-go area” in our country. The police was also informing the public that a new unregistered car was highly likely to be hijacked. The Department was not saying the ongoing violence and crime in Gauteng had been resolved but the necessary steps that had been taken to manage the situation. There is clear evidence that crime started to decline in an area where there is consistent police visibility and monitoring of station commanders.
Lt Gen Phahlane stated that we could never be pleased when crimes are committed and we can not even celebrate the reduction in crime committed as people’s lives and properties are still being lost. SAPS members are often caught off-guard because crime was “cropping-out of nowhere”. The Department would continue to maintain peace and stability in areas like Attridegville, Rosettenville and Pretoria West. The situation in Gauteng is not out of control and we all know that Gauteng is known as the province riddled by high crime rate but there is a developing picture of calm and stability in the province.
Briefing on Police BRRR implementation
Lt Gen Phahlane noted that the Committee had recommended that SAPS provide it with an Action Plan to ensure effective monitoring of pocket books and the SAPS 13 stores. The Committee further recommended that SAPS take disciplinary action to address poor performance with effect to members who do not fill out their pocket books and report to the Committee on a quarterly basis. A copy of the action plan with regards to the monitoring of pocket books was provided to Committee in the letter dated 1 December 2015. The finalised SAPS 13 Action Plan was provided to the Committee in a letter, dated 19 September 2016. In addition, the Committee advised that SAPS develop a turnaround strategy to increase the efficacy of the Stock Theft units and make the report available to it within one month. A Stock Theft Recovery Plan was implemented on 1 April 2016. A stock theft communication plan was drafted to create public awareness. SAPS will provide the Committee with a full impact analysis report of stock theft for the last financial year. The timeframe for the achievement of this target is 31 March 2017.
The Committee also recommended that SAPS must provide monthly written reports to the Committee on the action steps it will take to implement and monitor the recommendations of the Auditor-General. There is a concerted effort to ensure that monthly written reports are being submitted to the Committee and the reporting to the Committee on AGSA recommendations will be consolidated going forward to include the AGSA’s 2015/2016 recommendations. There was also a specific recommendation from the Committee that SAPS national and provincial senior management should attend a workshop on the Constitution, with special reference to civilian oversight, rule of law, and the separation of powers by the end of the current financial year. The feedback was provided to the Committee on 24 August 2016 and the 12 three-day workshops will be conducted in the second semester of 2016/2017 in order to incorporate the approximately 800 Senior Management Staff (SMS) personnel members.
Another recommendation was for SAPS to provide the Committee with a Retention Plan to keep existing detectives and speed up the recruitment of former detectives who want to return to the police force. The report from the remuneration specialist, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), was received. However, upon perusal of the report, certain gaps were identified that still need to be refined. Further information was given to PwC to assist in this regard and it is envisaged that the report will be updated by end March 2017. There was a recommendation concerning disciplinary matters: the Department’s Annual Report should contain disaggregated data i.e. incident, rank of officers, police station / units and provinces. The Committee should be advised on strategies or remedial steps taken to address these. More detail and disaggregated information should be provided on the outcome of disciplinary cases instituted against members, as well as the nature of incidents of corruption involving members. This recommendation had been noted and the Department will ensure that disaggregated information, including the outcome of disciplinary cases and the nature of corruption cases, is included in the Annual Report for 2016/2017. The Strategic Management Component will facilitate the inclusion of the information in the 2016/2017 Annual Report. The timeframe for the achievement of this recommendation is October 2017.
The Committee asked SAPS to review and strengthen the implementation of policy directives regarding the use of firearms, including the establishment of independent mechanisms/a review process for incidents of excessive use of force; safe carriage of firearms and ammunition when officers are on/off duty and safe storage of firearms and ammunition. An integrated task team has been established consisting of representatives from the various operational environments within SAPS in order to address this recommendation. The task team convened on 19 January 2017 in order to deliberate on the recommendations. SAPS would provide quarterly reporting on the recommendations that had been achieved.
Lt Gen Phahlane noted that the Committee requested SAPS to do more to deal with domestic violence and not refer women to courts for restraining orders, without launching a criminal investigation first. SAPS noted the concerns of the Committee and during compliance visits to stations and provinces, the Visible Policing Division continually emphasised the obligation of compliance with the Domestic Violence Act (DVA),1998 (Act No. 116 of 1998), including section 10 of the said Act. This involves informing the victims that they have three options available regarding services in terms of the DVA. The options are that the victim may seek assistance in securing a protection order, lay a criminal charge or exercise both options.
The Chairperson wanted to know from the Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng if the Member of the Executive Office (MEC) of Police in the province had discussed the concerns about the ongoing violence in that province. It would be important to know if the head of management intervention in Gauteng was involved in areas that are plagued by violence and protests.
Ms M Mola (ANC) reiterated that what was happening in some areas of Gauteng was not good for the image of the country, as the priority of everyone was to see stability in policing. It was unclear if the management team had a programme in place to bring about stability. There are a lot of people who are complaining about poor service delivery from SAPS and the Committee should perhaps call upon all of the management team to brief Members about the progress and programme of the police stations in the fight against crime.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) commented that although most of SAPS members are working extremely well, there are also those who are not doing their job well. It was quite clear that those SAPS members that had been deployed on the ground were not doing their work. There are some people who spoil the work of SAPS members and this would make people to keep on complaining about poor service delivery from the police. It seemed like there was poor recruitment of police members and this was negatively affecting how the police are doing their work. The Committee should be briefed on the strategy to get rid of those police who are not performing according to the expected standard of policing.
Mr Z Mbhele (ANC) asked about how often the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner briefed the Provincial Cabinet on ways to fight against crime in the province. It seemed like there was lack of sharing of information between the Provincial Commissioner and the Provincial Cabinet and this was a major concern. It would be important for Lt Gen Phahlane to clarify on the allegations from the head of Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) that he had misled Parliament during the briefing on recent matters in the public domain regarding the police leadership. The Committee should bring together Mr McBride and Lt Gen Phahlane together in the same meeting to have a real conversation around these issues or allegations that are in the public. The claim of misleading was a serious offence and it was for this reason that the Committee should move with speed in getting these two individuals in the same room to clarify these matters.
Mr Mbhele explained that last week Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) pointed out that the decrease in crime categories that are dependent on proactive reporting by the victims are more reflective of the decreasing level and trust by the public in the police. Therefore, the numerical decrease in some crime categories was not necessarily a reflective of the situation on the ground. The qualitative crime statistics report and even anecdotal reports showed that the level of trust on the police continued to decline. There are at least parts of senior managements at national and provincial level who are “out of touch” with the reality at station level and the dynamics that are at play. There should be a comprehensive skills audit at SAPS at all levels in order to assess the fitness of SAPS for the duties they are assigned for. There should also be a consequence management in place that would ensure that those officials who are working extremely hard are being rewarded and those who are performing poorly are removed so as to enforce accountability.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) said that it should be highlighted that there are a number of SAPS members who are working very hard to fight against crime and the Committee should also value this effort. The problem within SAPS members was from the minority. The Committee last week received shocking information about SAPS members who are involved in an alleged drug syndicate at OR Tambo International Airport. The important question is whether SAPS knew about the alleged drug syndicate at OR Tambo International Airport with its own members being involved in this syndicate. Was there any action that had been taken to deal effectively with this problem?
Mr Ramatlakane pointed that there seemed like there is a disjuncture between the information that was provided by the Premier of Gauteng, Mr David Makhuru and the Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng in terms of crime in the region. The Premier of Gauteng was clear that crime in Gauteng was out of control and the situation would continue so unless drastic measures are taken by the top management of SAPS. It was possible that this disjuncture could be caused by lack of sharing of information within the top management. It would be difficult for the Acting National Commissioner or the Provincial Commissioner to dispute the negative picture that had already been painted by the Premier in the State of the Provincial Address (SOPA) around crime in Gauteng.
Mr S Mhlongo (EFF) mentioned that SAPS needed to be strident in dealing with people who bring drugs in the country as this was clearly destroying the fabric of society. The country should find ways to deal with drug dealers who come from another country whether they are black or white. It would be wise for the Committee to ensure that IPID's Mr McBride and SAPS Lt Gen Phahlane are locked in the same room to air their grievances. It would be unfair to expect SAPS members to deal with crime in our county on their own as there are political decisions that would need to be taken to strengthen the capabilities of police. The systems that were put in place as informed by our Constitution would need to be looked into very strongly. It was shocking to see a message that was mobilising foreign nationals to take up arms and defend themselves against xenophobic attacks. This was speaking to the problem of national security and was a serious political threat that would need to be taken very seriously. It would be like living a falsehood to pretend that we do not have a problem with some of the black illegal immigrants who come to our country and bring drugs or commit other nefarious crimes.
Mr P Groenawald (FF+) commented that Members were right to be concerned about national security as the Minister himself alleged that the security force in the country was controlled by foreign forces. The recent Stats SA survey had shown that the trust of the public in the police service had declined from 64% to 58% and this was a serious concern. One of the reasons for this decline was the public spat between the Acting National Commissioner and the head of IPID. It would be important to perhaps ask Lt Gen Phahlane how he thought we could solve this problem. The arrest of Mr Paul O’Sullivan was clearly an act of intimidation. He expressed dismay about the fact that SAPS had to wait for IPID before conducting an investigation into the drug syndicate involving SAPS members at OR Tambo International Airport. It was also stated that the police are even fighting amongst themselves to access drugs that are confiscated. The national crime statistics was in direct contradiction to the picture that was painted by the Premier of Gauteng during his Sate of the Province Address (SOPA). SAPS crime statistics in Gauteng showed that there was an increase of 6.5% in murder, 4.2% in sexual assault, 17.4% for attempted murder and 9.3% for robbery with aggravated circumstances. Why there was such an anomaly between the crime statistics presented by the Acting National Commissioner and that of Premier?
Lt Gen Phahlane responded that SAPS was working at finding a solution to the drug syndicate in OR Tambo International Airport. There is urgency in dealing with the matter as it is problematic. The ongoing feud with Mr McBride was indeed not good for the country as the allegations that were levelled against him (Phahlane) were from the people who are serving their own purposes. It seemed like Mr McBride was not paying attention to a “trial through the media” and not listening to the people but rather “causing sensation and hullabaloo”. The situation could be resolved by ensuring that IPID was doing its proper investigation and then produce the outcome of that investigation. He also clarified that he did not mislead Parliament during his presentation. There are too many contradictions as to when he knew that he was under the investigation by IPID with some people saying he knew about the investigation as early as July 2016.
The crime statistics that had been presented by Mr Groenawald was SAPS’s statistics and they are not contradicted at all. The crime statistics that he presented earlier was February statistics and it was a comparative analysis on how the province performed compared to the previous year in the same period. IPID should do a proper and thorough investigation and the bank statements showed when the music system was procured. The bank account should have reflected that the music system was not procured by cash but it was an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). The investigation should then track the account where this fund was transferred to. It was unfortunate that the perception that was being created was that the arrest of Mr O’Sullivan was an act of intimidation. The assumption was that everyone is equal before the law as stipulated in our Constitution. If Mr O’Sullivan was guilty of any crime, then he should be arrested like anyone else.There is a management programme within SAPS and this information could be provided to the Committee. SAPS continued to capacitate the management to deal with issues like importation of best practices from one area to another.
Lt General Phahlane emphasised that there is no doubt that the situation in Gauteng required serious attention and it is not his intention to create the impression that all is well in Gauteng. There is work that is being done to bring about peace and stability in the province. Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape are the biggest contributors of crime and Gauteng is one of those “hotspots”. There are indeed incidents of drug syndicates involving SAPS members and this was under the investigation by IPID. The work at the OR Tambo International Airport is ongoing and there are already strategies in place to deal aggressively with the situation. There are also follow-ups that are being made on the organised nature of these crimes that are committed at our airports. SAPS did not subscribe to the notion that what was happening at OR Tambo International Airport was the order of the day. The Hawks and the crime intelligent officials are continuing to do the work around the area with the hope of arresting those who are involved in this syndicate.
There is an admission that there are “rotten elements” and these are the problems that are coming from a long way and there was an agreement that they would not be resolved overnight. There was a re-establishment of the anti-corruption unit and integrity management within the structures of SAPS and this was to deal primarily with these “rotten elements”. It is safe to say that SAPS had noted the statement that was made by the Premier of Gauteng and the national management would make contact with the Premier so as to have an engagement. Further, there would be a briefing with the Premier on the status of policing in Gauteng.
Lt Gen Phahlane wanted to make it clear that there are no relationship issues between the Provincial Commissioner in Gauteng and the MEC of Police in the province. The MEC of Police and Provincial Commissioner were at liberty to call the National Commissioner in case there is any issue that threatened national security. In relation to the question that was asked by Mr Mbhele on crime statistics, the reality is that the police can not be the answer to all the problems in the country. The approach that had been advanced by SAPS was to be proactive and this did not imply that crime would still not be committed. Police members should be commended for making a huge impact in the reduction of murder in the country. The fight against crime is never solely a policing issue and it was unfortunate that Members are “pelting stones at the police” instead of trying to come up with ways in the communities that would assist the police in the fight against crime. There is an issue of violence at the moment in Stockholm, Sweden where police arrested a foreign national for bringing in drugs and the community was up in arms calling for the release of this particular individual and South Africa also had those similar cases. Members should perhaps give credit where it is due instead of incessantly criticising the “men in blue”.
Major General Deliwe de Lange, Provincial Commissioner: Gauteng, responded that she had only presented once to the Gauteng Provincial Cabinet and this concerned crime for 2014/15 financial year. However, she also highlighted that it was her responsibility to send weekly, monthly and quarterly crime statistics to the MEC of Police. She added that she had never been presented with an opportunity to brief the Premier of Gauteng about crime statistics in the province. There are programmes in place that are aimed to equipping police to deal with criminals.
The Chairperson asked if there is a weekly or monthly interaction with the MEC of Police in Gauteng as this was supposed to be the case. It would be important to also ascertain whether the MEC had ever raised the issue of infighting within the Premier and the MEC.
The Provincial Commissioner replied that she was meeting with the MEC on a weekly basis and this was scheduled on Tuesdays. There was never any briefing on the alleged infighting between the Premier and the MEC.
Briefing on Moffatview Police Station
Major General Ronnie Rajin, Cluster Commander of Johannesburg Central, mentioned that the presentation would focus on the profile of the Moffatview Police Station, in particular the Rosettenville residential area and the recent protest in the area. There would also be a briefing on the measures that would be taken to prevent the reoccurrence of this violence. Moffatview Police Station became a fully-fledged police station in 01 April 2012 and the area that is being monitored is 42 square kilometres. The population in the area is approximately 72 000 but this could be more than that as there is a lot of travelling and migration in this area. There are also twelve schools in the area with ten primary schools and two high schools and four combined colleges. There had been improvement in crime intelligence since the violence took place in the area. SAPS had also improved community relationship as a way of bringing about unity and trust between the police and the general public.
Major General Rajin said that the identified hotspots in the area are also patrolled and monitored on a daily basis. There was also a decision to involve the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, Department of Home Affairs, local councillors and government organisations and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) so as to provide assistance in conducting investigations on the matter. The Department of Justice and Correctional Service was also involved in identifying repeat offenders and those who are out on bail or parole. The patrolling involves constant stop and searches and conducting vehicle checkpoint and bringing about awareness of crime prevention. SAPS members also perform roadblocks. The cases that had been opened are given to the Provincial Investigation Unit and a responsible person is given the task to deal with those cases. There is also a problem of brothels in the place and prostitution and this is something that was also being looked at. Rosettenville was also bedevilled by the problem of hijacking as there are a number of people that are being robbed in their driveway and SAPS was asking for cooperation from the community in order to be able to deal decisively with this problem. There is a total 125 SAPS members that are deployed in Rosettenville on a day and night basis.
Major General Rajin concluded that there is an integrated approach in dealing with the problem of crime in the area and this is by involving the community, Johannesburg Metro Police Department and other role players that play a vital role in the fight against crime. There is a prioritisation on the stop and search operation, traffic control and the enforcement of by-laws. The plan to prevent crime in the area is being monitored and evaluated so as to ensure that there is accountability. The provincial commissioners, station commanders and cluster commanders are also involved n finding an effective way to deal with crime prevention.
The Chairperson asked whether there was any particular reason why the Cluster Commander had to wait for a major protest in the area before coming with a plan to prevent crime in the area. One of the areas in the Back to Basics approach was the issue of the intelligence driven approach.
Mr Mhlongo wanted to know if the Committee would be given an opportunity to also engage with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department so as to have an understanding of the by-laws. There seemed to be a problem with the by-laws we have in the country as it was impossible to have a situation where buildings are abandoned but the by-laws are not “kicking-in immediately”. The Committee should be given more information on the Whatsapp voicenote that is circulating calling for the attack of South Africans by foreign nationals.
Mr Ramatlakane commented that the presentation by the Cluster Commander showed that SAPS was on the right path in the fight against crime, especially the fact that it was sometimes difficult to get the witness statements in some cases. There should be concerted effort to form a partnership with the community in Rosettenville. The reality is that if people do not trust the confidentiality of information that is being provided then it was unlikely that they would ever provide witness statement. The objectives of the plan and what it aimed to achieve showed that it was going in the right direction.
Mr J Maake (ANC) firstly started by narrating that he has a friend in Rosettenville who had been shot three times around the same place. It was absurd to hear that the police could not find the owners of the 7 houses that had been burned down and this was perhaps telling us something else about the intelligence of the police in the area. It would be important to hear about the problem of hijacking of buildings in the area.
Lt Gen Phahlane responded that SAPS was hard at work in trying to trace the person responsible for the Whatsupp recording. We are likely to expect a surprise element on the audio as we are still searching about the number of people that had viewed or listened to the audio and those that could probably react on the audio. The threat was also evident during the xenophobic attack last week and the intelligence was visible in areas where violence was imminent and Mamelodi was one of those areas. It is painful to witness that the work that was being done by SAPS members was not being valued as it looked like everything that SAPS members were doing is wrong or corrupt. The Cluster Commander was closer to the situation in Rosettenville The unrest in the area was just an unfortunate event. There is an individual in the area who had been arrested seven times by the police and the person had been on bail and there is nothing that the police could do in those situations. The country would need to deal with the justice system as it looked to be preventing criminals including the repeat offenders.
Lt General Phahlane added that the buildings that are being hijacked are abandoned buildings and this was making things even more complex as it was difficult to find the owner of these buildings. The hijacking of buildings was not solely a policing issue as there are people who should be playing their part in identifying and reporting these abandoned buildings that are being used for illegal activities. It was unfortunate that fingers would always be pointed to the police while the problem was more complex than that. The police officers are human beings who are mostly dedicated in fighting crime in the country and they must be given credit for the work that they are doing. It looked like Members were focused at throwing stones rather than providing support. The hotline for reporting crime was sitting directly at the office of the provincial commissioner of Gauteng and this was aimed at providing an opportunity for community members to report crime. The hotline is operational and it was proving to be effective in dealing with the issue of crime. It is critically important to try and build relationship with community members as it would be impossible for SAPS to win the fight against crime alone. It was worrisome to hear that there are community members who are burning down the buildings that are suspected of being used for illegal activities
Briefing by SAPS on its operations during festive season
Major General Dawie Rabie, Cluster Commander of Port Elizabeth, indicated that the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster played a crucial role in preventing crime in the country, especially focusing on maintaining stability by managing all service delivery protests, #FessMustFall campaigns and political gatherings. SAPS expected that there would be a lot of festive season shopping and entertainment, meaning there would be an increased movement of large sums of money. There is also cash demand driving sale of stolen goods and increase in illegal liquor outlets including an in-flux of visitors and tourists from inland provinces (Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo and Northern Cape) to coastal provinces (KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape). There are six pillars of the operational approach that were applied with pillar one focusing on aggravated robbery, pillar two on border security while pillar three focused on firearm control, liquor control and safety at sports and recreational areas. In addition, pillar four prioritised crime prevention against women, children and people with disabilities, pillar five was on by-law enforcement while pillar six was on road safety enforcement.
Major Gen Rabie mentioned that the overall approach -ensure high police visibility in targeted areas informed by crime & intelligence assessments. There was a targeted deployment of all available personnel in conjunction with force-multipliers. There was a coordinated, supervised deployment of newly trained constables at malls and hotspot areas. The focus on hotspots was informed by crime threat & intelligence analyses: The majority of Public Order Police personnel were granted leave to enable their recovery and readiness in response #FeesMustFall protests. SAPS managed to deploy a total of 4 953 newly recruited constables with Gauteng having deployed a total of 1 519 while North West only deployed 73. There were a total of 705 639 police actions throughout the country and more than 2 million searches and 83 479 arrests and Western Cape had the largest arrests with 19 625 while North West only had 3 826 arrests. There was notable reduction of 5.3% for contact crime, contact related crime was reduced by 5.4%, property-related crime was reduced by 2.2% while other serious crime was reduced by 5.3% during the festive season.
Major Gen Rabie concluded that there was an overall reduction in the incidence of serious crime attributable to a number of factors and these included:
High visibility, targeted deployments & operations
Effective coordination of all stakeholders
Hands on command & control by respective senior managers
Feedback from communities on high visibility & operations
Positive feedback received on social media & individual engagements during deployments & operations
SAPS’s continued commitment to the current operational approach (high visibility & targeted, intelligence-led deployments
Continued future cooperation with all external stakeholders
Optimal utilisation & deployment of available resources.
Mr Mbhele asked about the distinction between the vehicle controlled point and the roadblock as the assumption is these are the same things. What are the policy guidelines that are being used for setting up a roadblock and the consultation process that was being followed?
Ms Mabija wanted to know about the actual number of people that had been arrested in Limpopo for dealing with nyaope.
The Chairperson noted the report that had been presented to the Committee as it showed that there was good work that was being done by the police and there was indeed police visibility during the festive season. The important part is on the lessons that had been learnt during the festive season and how they could be applied on a day-to-day basis of SAPS. The Committee should be briefed on the lessons that had been learned in this previous festive seasons compared to the previous ones, especially on better police visibility and the application of Back to Basics approach. It would be important to hear if there are any budget implications on the recruitment of the new constables.
Ms Mola commended SAPS for the good work during the festive season as this once again pointed to police visibility. In relation to the notable successes, it would be useful for the Committee to be provided with the actual number of arrests and conviction of those individuals and the value of drugs if drugs are involved.
Mr Mhlongo also praised SAPS for the good amount of work that was done during the past festive season and it was clear that this pointed to police visibility, particularly in busy areas. SAPS should also be particularly commended for the speedy and prompt reaction to the bomb explosion in Vangate Mall, Western Cape. It would indeed be interesting to hear about the lessons that had been learned and ways to take those lessons forward in dealing aggressively with crime.
Lt Gen Phahlane firstly started by commending the police members for the job well done in the fight against crime during the past festive season. The presentation confirmed that crime in all categories and provinces was in decline. There is no negotiation involved in the setting up of a roadblock as criminals also do not negotiate when attacking or robbing people. The setting up of a roadblock was a strategic and operational decision that gets taken as to where to set up a roadblock. It must be explained that SAPS was encouraging an engagement to take place with the people who would be affected by a roadblock, especially the law-abiding citizens. The vehicle control point is more mobile while a roadblock involved everything on planning including road signs. There was an attempt to take notable successes from each and every province. The issue of the lesson learnt included the need to prioritise the hands-on approach by the senior management. The senior management was given an opportunity to work very well with the provinces and get to understand their roles and responsibilities.
Lt Gen Phahlane also observed that there was a healthy competition within SAPS members. This was important and was effective in team building. The newly deployed constables were ready to be deployed in various provinces and these constables did not come in order to take over from the provincial commissioners as they clearly understood their roles. The deployment was not done for the sake of deployment but it was informed by intelligence and identification of challenges and targeted deployment. The concentration of deployment was in different areas, including shopping malls and residential areas. The feedback that SAPS members received from the general public was encouraging. There was a realisation that there should not be a break in the deployment of constables between the festive season and the Easter holidays. There are no figures here on the financial implications of the deployment of constables.
Major General Rabbie replied that the size of the nyaope that was seized in Limpopo amounted to 500 grams and this was not visible in the graph on page 24 of the presentation because the amount of nyaope that was seized in other provinces was significantly higher. There was a performance review that was done on the expenditure review and there was an addition of the R173 million to all provinces and this was for overtime. The budget also had to take into consideration that the country had the local elections last year and therefore it was unavoidable that there would be a need to supplement security.
The meeting was adjourned.
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