The meeting was a continuation from the previous day’s meeting in which the overall Annual Performance Plan, 2017 budget and Programme 1 were described. In this meeting, with the Deputy Minister briefly in attendance, SAPS presented the APP and budget for Programme 2: Visible Policing, 3: Detective Service, 4: Crime Intelligence, 5: Protection and Security Services.
Programme 2, the largest and the one that included Visible Policing, took 50.7% of budget. Targets were not achieved for crime reduction, especially the Trio crimes which consisted of carjacking, home robbery and business robbery where violence was used or threatened and a weapon was used. Other targets not met included those for confiscation of dagga, cocaine and liquor, number of SAPS firearms lost or stolen, which had increased, and firearms registered in 90 days. Overall, however, the serious crime target showed a 3.14% reduction, higher than the 2% target. A new indicator would target a reduction of serious crime, including contact crime, contact-related crime, property-related crime and other serious crime. A national Trio Crimes Task Team was established, with the mandate to address Trio Crimes in the top 20 Trio Crime Clusters nationally, headed by Lieutenant-General Mark Magadlela. Provincial offices may tackle additional areas. Overtime and top vehicle purchases would need R15.6 million.
Members were concerned about adequate systems for data collection and wondered if “set guidelines” were appropriate. They emphasised the importance of vetting and the importance of rotating people where risk of collusion was high, but wanted to know what proactive steps wee taken to root out collusion. Members asked, throughout the presentation, for more details on the Coligny incident where a Nyala vehicle was destroyed. They asked for quarterly breakdowns. Questions were also asked about the proposed firearm amnesty, and the apparent inconsistencies, whether the rural safety programme was having any results, and commented that a targets to reduce number of cases reported might simply result in under-reporting by stations. Questions were also asked about the recent heist at the national key point of OR Tambo, how this had happened, what collusion there might have been and how it was being addressed, including whether vetting had been done. The position of no police station at Khayelitsha continued, and border management remained an ongoing problem. They asked if SAPS had access to fingerprinting by other departments. Members also asked why nyaope was not noted on the statistics. Further questions addressed the position of police reservists in some detail, whether lifestyle audits were undertaken as part of vetting, what was the situation in the 10111 centres, the ratio of vehicles to staff, the requirement for psychometric testing, and whether Kwa Zulu Natal had stabilised. The execution of a community member in Gauteng, apparently involving Metro Police, was to be investigated further by the National Commissioner. The plans for Public Order Policing were explained.
Programme 3: Detective Service also showed areas of under-performance, which included the detection rate for the different categories of crime; the number of registered organised crime projects successfully terminated; serious corruption related trial-ready case dockets where officials were involved, and routine and non-routine case exhibits processed within the prescribed number of days. New indicators had been added to the objective of Effective Investigation of Serious Crimes to allow for the tracking of specific crimes. Some
performance indicators had been removed and there had been updates to the 2014/19 strategic plan.
Members were primarily concerned as to why the targets for detection rates of serious crimes were lowered, which meant that it was no longer complying with the MTEF, whether the reasons for change were linked to poor investigation, and the meaning of certain targets, including detection rate. Members were concerned that SAPS had never stated clearly what it needed to do to improve the performance and this was leading to frustration in their constituencies. SAPS assured Members that detectives and forensic services had improved, as seen by the attainment of sub-programmes. SAPS said that the targets were not equal to achievement, and that SAPS knew these required some improvement. There was a discussion over how targets should be set, and it was explained that removal of indicators was based on valid reasons, largely to do with SAPS not having control of certain processes. However, some Members still insisted that there should be sufficient experience and expertise in SAPS to come up with a better way of addressing the improvement of the detective services, and urged greater synergy between police, lawyers and prosecutors to improve overall systems.
Programme 4: Crime Intelligence consisted of Crime Intelligence (CI) Operations and Intelligence and Information Management. A key function was vetting of employees, but targets here were not met, and additional performance indicators in respect of providing intelligence reports in support of pro-active SAPS operations had been introduced, to try to adopt a more qualitative approach.
Members noted that the nature of the work was labour-intensive, and questioned if there were sufficient staff, and what the current position was with the Head of Crime Intelligence, and wanted to know why targets had been removed. Some Members criticised the fact that there had not been sufficient security warnings for Coligny or attacks on foreign citizens, and there seemed to be too much hype around minor issues with major heists allowed to happen. An opposition Member urged the need to move away from narrow partisanship. Members also questioned why some targets were in percentages but others in numbers, and why the technical indicator descriptions were not included. It was noted that the counter-intelligence ability of SAPS, was not fully implemented but staff were being appointed.
Programme 5 dealt with VIP Protection Services to all identified dignitaries and government interests, including the President, former presidents and protection of foreign dignitaries. There was under performance in the area of the evaluation of national key points, where only 82.47% had been evaluated. Overtime pay and travel and subsistence accounted for a large percentage of the budget. SAPS monitored protection provided to VIPs and 196 national key points as well as strategic targets. Members asked whether the former Head of the African Union qualified for protection and asked linked questions about the level and type of protection offered, whether protected people should be permitted to attend rallies and who else was protected. The VIP Protection Unit and Presidential Protection Unit were explained. It was suggested that the National Commissioner should report back on protection when the protection assessment was completed. Members also discussed the state of buildings, particularly the Free State building and why the Department of Public Works had appointed the same company for another tender when it had already performed poorly, and expressed the view that top management of SAPS was also at fault. Conditions of work in Protection Services were discussed.
Budget and Annual Performance Plan 2017: SAPS briefings (continued): Programme 2
Three provincial commissioners, for Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo were present.
Major-General Leon Rabie, Head: Strategic Management, SAPS, presented Programme 2. He noted that this Visible Policing (VP) Unit is the biggest programme in the Department of Police (The Department or SAPS) and was allocated 50.7% of the total budget allocation. It included Crime Prevention, Rail Police, K9 Units, Mounted Police, Youth, Children and Gender-Based Violence, Flying Squad and Detained Persons. Border Security included Ports of Entry. Specialised Interventions included Special Task Force; National Intervention Units; Tactical Response Teams, and Public Order Policing.
Certain targets were not being met. Targets were not achieved for crime reduction, especially the Trio crimes which consisted of carjacking, home robbery and business robbery where violence was used or threatened and a weapon was used. Dagga, cocaine and liquor confiscations had not met the target. The number of SAPS firearms lost or stolen had increased to date, and it was not possible to tell whether recovered firearms were SAPS arms as the number had invariably been filed off. The targeted number of firearms registered in 90 days was not achieved. Serious crime had been divided into various categories as different strategies were necessary, but overall the serious crime target showed a 3.14% reduction, which was higher than the 2% target. A new indicator would target a reduction of serious crime, including contact crime, contact-related crime, property-related crime and other serious crime.
A National Trio Crimes Task Team was established on 7 March 2017. The Task Team was instructed to develop a national action plan to address Trio Crimes in the top 20 Trio Crime Clusters nationally. Lieutenant-General Mark Magadlela had been appointed as the head of the National Trio Crimes Task Team under the stewardship of the Deputy National Commissioner: Management Intervention, Lieutenant-General Gary Kruser.
Lieut Gen Khomotso Phahlane, Acting National Commissioner, added that R15.468 million was required to pay for overtime and to purchase high-powered vehicles to deal with the high incidents of Trio crimes. The National Department would focus on the twenty highest Trio crimes. Provincial offices may tackle additional areas.
The Chairperson reminded SAPS that the Committee required the Technical Indicator Descriptions (TIDs). He expressed concern about adequate systems for data collection. Whilst he welcomed the new indicators for crimes he was concerned about the use of the term “set guidelines”, asking what these were and whether they were appropriate. The definition descriptions needed closer scrutiny. The Action Plan and the vetting of people was important. Rotation was good if it stopped corruption and illegal behaviour, as the risk of collusion was otherwise very high. He pointed out that the trouble spot stations where commanders had been in place for a long time could be problematic, and they needed proper vetting. He asked what was SAPS doing pro-actively to root out problems of collusion and corruption? The Chairperson required a breakdown of the public order policing and the new vehicles. He wanted to know about the Coligny incident where a Nyala was destroyed. He asked when would the vehicles arrive and what was SAPS doing to protect its members. He would like to see a breakdown of the plans for the next three, six and nine months.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked whether there was going to be a firearm amnesty and what was happening about the renewal of firearms, particularly where these were past the expiry date. Was the Rural Safety programme yielding any results as attacks on farms and farm workers were continuing? She asked about the logic of transferring 800 officers from OR Tambo? Why was “nyaope” never mentioned in reports on drugs?
Dr P Groenewald (FF+) stated that the Committee needed the Minister back in the meeting; on the previous day he had made some statements but the Committee had not had an opportunity to ask him any questions. The remark about “shoot to kill” sounded good but the public always asked why, if someone shot a robber in his house, he would be arrested; there were different standards for police and the public. Dr Groenewald requested the Minister to come to the Committee and answer questions on SAPS, as critical points by the public needed answers. He welcomed the Trio Crime Task Team as the Trio crimes were indeed the most feared crimes in South Africa. SAPS wanted to reduce Trio crimes but the targets set were clearly not achieving this aim. For example, reducing number of cases reported might suggest an indication of less crime but at station level, the Station Commanders may simply not report the crime to ensure they complied with targets. any people have said that they have laid charges but nothing happened. He wanted an explanation for lowering the targets.
He also requested an update on the matter regarding expired firearms licences in light of the court cases with SA hunters. It was reported to him that in the Western Cape, the Provincial Commissioner gave an order for police to confiscate firearms whose licences had not been renewed but there was no understanding of what had then happened to the firearms. There needed to be consistency between what police say and do. Why did SAPS not wait for the conclusion of the court case? Could there not be a moratorium on the matter until finalisation of the court case?
He then questioned what was being done on rural safety and sector policing, and whether there were 879 stations for rural crime or 887 stations. When it came to sector policing, there was one vehicle in Upington for 800 and more farms. In Parys, fourteen cattle belonging to a farmer had been hacked. Theft and stock theft was out of control. Sector policing was inadequately resourced. The Trio crimes plan was good but what approach was there for farm murders?
Dr Groenewald said that, looking at crowd control and targets set, he could not understand the situation in Coligny. If SAPS said that it was exercising proper crowd control, how could the police have allowed a crowd to get into the street, looting and stealing..
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) referred to the “Plouamma” White Paper on Policing that had noted certain drivers of crime such as drugs and dealing in drugs. He asked if there was a different focus, and how this related back to targets. He wanted to know what was being done to control crime at a national key point, OR Tambo. Was there full policing compliance with Standing Order 15 and what lapses had taken place? The Acting National Commissioner had mentioned that there were allegations of collusion at OR Tambo and he wanted to know what management had done. Vetting at national key points was essential and although large numbers of people worked there, the responsibility remained for SAPS to vet. Was the incident not an opportunity to clean up OR Tambo? He wondered if vetting included the lifestyle audit of police.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) referred to the twenty top police stations, and questioned visible policing, saying there was unhappiness in Khayalitsha about the fact that there was no police station there. The issue had been ongoing for over two years. A commission was set up by the Provincial Commissioner to consider the deployment of resources but resources had not been deployed to Khayelitsha, and he asked for a report on the current situation there, and whether it was not time for SAPS to talk about the necessary tools required for a police centre? He also asked what had happened about Nyanga. Had the issue about the integration of border management been resolved? He was concerned about the integration with other departments regarding the Border Management Agency. Did SAPS have access to the finger printing?
The Chairperson explained that the Committee had asked for a list of police stations, which should include those where building of stations was in the process. A decision had been taken not to stop renovations or buildings in progress.
Ms M Mmola (ANC) referred to the target of 100% of medium to high-risk incidents responded to, in relation to the National Intervention Unit and the Special Task Force, and asked that the Department should elaborate. She would also like to know about the status of recent consultations with Department of Home Affairs about border management.
The Chairperson asked for the views of the National Commissioner on six-monthly reports on the use of force, to ensure police do not use excess force, similar to the practice in Ireland.
Mr Bongani Mkongi, Deputy Minister of Police, explained that the Minister of Police, Mr Fikile Mbalula, and himself had had another appointment to attend, which meant that they had had to leave the meeting. A hostage situation had occurred at Nyanga from 7am to 7pm on the previous evening, when a security guard and individual were killed and a policeman injured. Most of the hostages were workers at Shoprite, and support was needed. He asked that Dr Groenewald retract his statement as it was misleading to the nation. Using this example to answer another question he noted that the security guard who had been killed was not carrying a firearm. The police were dealing with heavily armed criminals who were shooting to kill, and so it was necessary for the police to do the same; clearly the situation would be entirely different if they were tackling citizens protesting about services. He did not think police “should sing the national anthem when they were being shot at by heavily armed criminals”. In North West, a boy was killed on a farm because he stole a sunflower, and a month previously, a man was shot because the farmer said he had mistaken him for an animal. It was not desirable for citizens to be permitted to shoot to kill because of the risk of killing innocent people, especially on the farms. The Deputy Minister said that he needed to go to the Intelligence Committee meeting but had wanted to clear the air first.
Dr Groenewald stated that the Deputy Minister had clouded the issue. A hostage situation was a crime scene and no politicians should be there as it was an operational job for the police. Police had been trained to deal with criminals. He asked why the Deputy Minister thought that he would advise that the police to sing the national anthem at a hostage situation? As far as farm murders were concerned, he stressed that this had been a black farmer who mistook a black child for a baboon.
Ms Molebatsi informed Dr Groenewald that the Deputy Minister had never said that the Minister and Deputy went to arrest criminals, but to give support at the hostage situation.
The Chairperson requested that the debate on that matter end, as he did not want interpolations in the Committee. He asked Members to focus on the Annual Performance Plan (APP).
The Acting National Commissioner informed the Committee that R241 996 000 had been set aside for Public Order Policing (POP) as earmarked additional funding. Approval had been granted for 119 new vehicles for POP and sixty body protection kits, and twenty-five Nyalas were to be procured in 2017/18. SAPS had approached three suppliers for procurement of vehicles in the current fiscal year and in the following year, a further fifty Nyalas would be procured, giving a total of seventy-five new Nyalas. There was a challenge around the old Nyalas as they were aged and expensive to maintain. The situation was being reviewed even while procuring new vehicles.
The Chairperson enquired whether those were the New Generation Nyalas?
The Acting National Commissioner confirmed this, saying that a few had already been deployed and they were conducive to the new environment. Procurement also included additional equipment to enable police to detect what was happening without going too close, although the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was still working on improvements. New integrated helmets with body cameras, IT connectivity and so forth were being procured. He could not give a three or six month but there were plans and they were being implemented. Some people in the POP environment needed to move, especially older people and SAPS needed to inject some younger people. A three-week training course on crowd management capability had been introduced into basic training. Even those not in public policing, such as those in stations, were to be given crowd control equipment so that they could cope in the event that the PPU was far away when a situation broke out. SAPS had established a complement to manage the PPU. Currently a matrix approach, nationally and provincially, was in place but the PPU would be centralised so that the PPU could be moved from its home province, where necessary. The burning of the Nyala in Coligny had occurred when it had broken down and, while police were focussing on crowds, the vehicle was torched.
He agreed that the set guidelines used to determine targets were not entirely satisfactory but in the course of the current year, SAPS would engage with and review the guidelines so that it would be able to say what should be found in each station. For example, in smaller stations it may not be necessary to have two Community Policing Forums a month. Policy and guidelines were work in process.
He agreed that there was a serious need to make progress in the area of vetting. The priority had to be not only senior managers but the plans should speak also to specific environments and numbers so that SAPS could say what had been done. Some vetting was a legal requirement, so that had to be finalised first and then SAPS could work in other areas. The plan would be made available for the Committee to scrutinise and measure SAPS against it. There was a need to look at vetting capacity. Trained people were not retained so long as they moved to other units, such as polygraphing. At OR Tambo, regrettably, there were security breaches, which had come from both airport security and the police. The gate used by the robbers was manned by airport security, but police were deployed outside the gate and on the day in question, the police were not there. They claimed the robbery occurred during a change of shift, but there was a question around whether it was pure coincidence that they were late for duty on that day. Communication between airport security and the police was inadequate. When cargo was moved from A to B, airport security was supposed to wait for a police escort but had neglected to do that. There were breaches and the matter was being attended to. The transfer of SAPS officials was an attempt to resolve the situation but also it was designed to ensure that people would not become too settled in a position. The re-deployees had sought legal action but only 100 officials had been identified to move, not 800. The intention was also to move officials closer to their home so that they would be on duty on time. Some officials had been compromised and some commanders had allowed security lapses in a national key point. They had to be moved.
The Acting National Commissioner noted the Chairperson’s request for a report on use of force. He promised to look at a template for reporting.
Major-General Rabie responded to the issues around Khayelitsha as he had given evidence at the Khayelitsha Commission. The deployment of resources was continuing on a daily basis. The criteria for what was required at police stations had been submitted but SAPS was disputing evidence presented by Social Justice. They had not taken into account the variables that are common to police stations around the country. The mathematical calculations were therefore still in process.
The Acting National Commissioner referred to the former Minister’s proposal to Cabinet in respect of a firearms amnesty. That was approved but needed to be tabled in Parliament. It had been envisaged that implementation would be 1 April but there was not yet full compliance with the law. The envisaged firearms amnesty would have allowed people to benefit if their licences had expired so they could apply afresh for licences. In response to a question from Ms Molebatsi whether the outcome of court cases would have a bearing on the legislation, he said that the judgments would be taken into consideration.
The Chairperson indicated that the Committee was ready to handle the matter when the new Minister had been briefed.
The Acting National Commissioner noted that as far as new firearm licences were concerned, there had been inconsistencies at SAPS. Applicants had to tender an application at least 90 days before expiry. Some people had applied only a week before expiry; in some cases, these had been renewed, while other cases were refused on the grounds of non-compliance with the 90-day requirement. That inconsistency had to be addressed. SAPS had to train thoroughly, and ensure consistent enforcement of the law as it was opening SAPS up to legal challenges. SAPS had been advised to exercise caution when retrieving firearms. There were also regulations as to how firearms had to be dealt with. People with a licence in the old green ID book had never activated a renewal process. Others had a card but had not applied for renewal of the card. In the light of court cases, SAPS intended to go public and to inform the public of expectations regarding firearm licence renewals.
In regard to the Rural Safety strategy, the Acting National Commissioner noted that 888 stations were supposed to be implementing the rural strategy. However, not all stations were adequately equipped, including those in the Northern Cape mentioned by Dr Groenewald. Some stations had inadequate personnel and inadequate vehicles. Provinces had been advised about the type of vehicles to procure for these stations. They would be purchasing additional vehicles in 2017/18. Incidents of attacks had decreased but 50 people were killed in the past year. 395 farm attack incidents represented a decrease in incidents, but murders increased from 50 to 64, and this was significant. Some of the Trio principles would be employed in the current fiscal year to deal with farm attacks and to bring down the levels of farm murders. The incident with 14 cattle in Parys was akin to stock theft, which continues to be on the increase, but SAPS would be focussing on specific areas where the situation was not normalising.
The situation in the townships with nyaope, also known as “blue tooth” was a pressing issue. Nyaope was a combination of drugs, including heroin, which is why the SAPS analysis, on both heroin and dagga, did not mention it in a separate category.
He noted that Trio crimes were reported to the local police and mostly then reported on to national headquarters. He agreed that ideally the target should be to eradicate the crimes completely, but SAPS had to move towards seeing a downward trend. Good work had been done in Kwa Zulu Natal (KZN) as more gangs were intercepted before the criminal activity took place. Crime Intelligence was definitely working. There had been some fatalities but SAPS was pleased that most preventive measures had worked. SAPS would never tolerate concealment of crimes committed, because only by knowing the full story would SAPS be able to determine where the problems were. If crime was on the increase, the local commander was going to feel the heat. Visible policing was important in combating crime, but SAPS needed measures to prevent crime and would not tolerate a laissez-faire attitude. Alcohol had been found to be the biggest contributor to crime.
The Acting National Commissioner continued that in Coligny area, there had been a problem where the numbers of police were not adequate to manage the situation until police were brought in from outside the area. Following the incident, the police launched an overnight operation and most stolen goods were recovered, and 67 people were arrested in possession of stolen goods. Ideally the situation should have been prevented.
He explained that the 20 clusters referred to in the presentation each referred a cluster of eight to ten stations. A site had been obtained for the Khayelitsha police station but, in the interim, mobile police stations had been launched. A list of the projects prioritised by provinces would be provided to the Committee. In December 2016, the Western Cape received the biggest number of new recruits, who had since been deployed in the Khayelitsha area. On Friday 5 May 2017, SAPS would be launching the Crime Combatting Operation in Blue Downs, Cape Town. This would have a spill-over effect in Khayelitsha and other areas.
Border management agency was problematic in that the Constitution provided for the SAPS to do the function of policing. It could not be outsourced. The Border Management Agency could only manage border issues but if there was a crime, it had to be managed by the police. That was the source of conflict with the Border Management Agency. Police are permitted to operate within a ten kilometre radius of the border into a foreign country and they would continue to operate in that area. That was not a contradiction to the Border Management Authority as proposed. Some functions that police currently undertook would change at national key points, such as OR Tambo, but SAPS could not give away legislated mandates, such as intelligence gathering. The Acting National Commissioner believed that the departments involved had now reached an understanding on that matter. Fingerprinting had been dealt with, and he informed Mr Ramatlakane that the Department of Home Affairs was developing a new system for capturing fingerprints and SAPS was involved in the process. SAPS was able to connect to the system but needed external devices.
He assured the Committee that there was alignment with the White Paper on Policing.
The Chairperson asked about police reservists, asking for an indication on the roll-out of the system. How many reservists were there at present and how many did SAPS envisage having by the end of the year? He was still concerned about the alignment of the APP with the MTEF. He asked about the status of the dormant units that were to be re-established and the new units that were to be created.
Ms Molebatsi asked whether SAPS undertook lifestyle audits. How far was the plan regarding the deputy station commanders? She asked for information on the situation in the 10111 centres where the staff had threatened to go on strike.
Ms Mmola asked whether there were vehicles at station level.
Dr Groenewald asked why reservists with many years of experience had to complete the psychometric tests. In the Western Cape, a commander at one of the police stations had told the reservist applicants that he hoped that they failed the tests, as that would make his life easier. All reservists were apparently instructed to bring their equipment back to the station. He asked how the taking of psychometric tests had been communicated.
Mr Mhlongo asked whether the situation in KZN was stabilising and what the response had been to the national programme. He referred to the execution of a community member in Gauteng. The Metro Police were involved in the incident. He asked whether the Metro Police operated alone or whether they had to involve SAPS. The Head of Metro Police had been defensive in response to questions.
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to know why the Crime Prevention Operation was being launched in Blue Downs, rather than in Khayelitsha where was a call for police intervention? In relation to the OR Tambo heist, it was well-known that criminal syndicates operated at the airport, so he asked if SAPS knew who worked there and commented that even a low-level checking of employees would help, as there would always be potential criminals. His other concern was the time that it took to arrive at the scene of a crime and he asked how this could be improved.
Ms Mmola asked whether SAPS had plans to employ reservists. In some stations, reservists worked better than the police.
The Acting National Commissioner stated that he was satisfied with the level of engagement at OR Tambo, with Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and other stakeholders. ACSA employees and staff from airlines had been arrested, but he could not provide further details as the case was still in process.
He noted that 13 950 active reservists were on SAPS's books. Some people had joined as reservists but were not active for the mandatory 16 hours per week and they were not included in this number. SAPS was currently reviewing the number of hours that reservists worked, as the 16 hours work a week had been equated to two shifts. However, police shifts had changed from 8 hour to 12 hour shifts and consideration was being given to adjusting the time that reservists worked to match the current two shifts. 2 610 reservist positions had been advertised. There were 6 308 applications. So far 542 applicants had been appointed. He was concerned about the report about the statement of Captain Kriel in the Western Cape, as well as the process, because only new applicants had to undergo the psychometric testing. SAPS did not allow people to use the reservist system as a back-door route to get into the police force. It was a volunteer system but did not guarantee employment by SAPS, although prior reservist experience did obviously give an applicant some advantage.
Dr Groenewald asked whether it made sense to have only 2 600 reservists? In the past, there were 50 ,000 reservists. He agreed that there was a problem when reservists were not active but had uniforms and other equipment in their possession. Nevertheless, he felt strongly that there was a need for more reservists.
Ms Mabija stated that there was an outcry that police stations did not work in the community. Reservists do good work, but they are deterred from working by the police.
The Acting National Commissioner responded that sometimes, in the past, stations were manned by reservists over the weekend. Reservists did good work, unless they had an ulterior motive. SAPS dealt firmly with complaints about the police not pulling their weight.
He commented that KwaZulu-Natal stations are receiving assistance and progress was being made. He personally was unaware of the incident in respect of the Johannesburg Metro Police, but requested details so that he could look into it. He noted that the Crimes Operation launch was in Blue Downs because that area had been identified as a high crime cluster. Other initiatives had already been implemented in Khayelitsha. He agreed that the MidRand 10111 centre had presented challenges. Public service staff had been moved from level 3 to level 5 when they began work at the centre but they subsequently wanted to move to level 7. Given the importance of the service, SAPS wanted to deploy staff who were employed under the Police Act and who could not go on strike as they were performing an essential service.
SAPS was not implementing deputy station commanders owing to issues of conflict, but would appoint deputy cluster commanders. Lifestyle audits were undertaken of all senior management and also at all levels where there were suspicions raised.
Public Order Policing had required the re-establishment of dormant units and new units. There was no funding until the current financial year. SAPS would start by enhancing core unit buildings and equipment and the number would rise from 17 to 18 in 2017/18. 780 new recruits had been allocated to four provinces but these police would also be used to re-enforce other provinces. One of the dormant units had been re-established in the Northern Cape. Funding for the re-establishment of others was in the 2018/19 budget. As far as the re-establishment of Operational Units was concerned, SAPS had submitted requirements, but the number of personnel employed by SAPS was fixed by government. However, where there was attrition of personnel, new recruits were being trained for the Provincial Operational Policing Services (POPS). The non-personnel side had been easier to manage and SAPS had acquired additional equipment and vehicles. In regard to personnel figures in the budget, the Committee was reminded that the plans were drawn up in August/September of the previous year and were based on what SAPS believed that it could afford. Depending on how many personnel took leave, retirement or resigned, these figures would have changed in the past six to eight months.
Programme 3: Detective Service
Major- General Leon Rabie presented Programme 3: Detective Service. Programme 3 dealt with effective investigation of serious crime. There were three sub-programmes: Crime investigation, Criminal Records Centre and Forensic Science Laboratory.
Areas of under-performance included the detection rate for the different categories of crime; the number of registered organised crime projects successfully terminated; serious corruption related trial-ready case dockets where officials were involved, and routine and non-routine case exhibits processed within the prescribed number of days. New indicators had been added to the objective of Effective Investigation of Serious Crimes to allow for the tracking of specific crimes. The new indicators were: detection rate for contact-related crimes; conviction rate for contact-related crimes; detection rate for property-related crimes; conviction rate for property-related crimes; detection rate for other serious crimes; conviction rate for other serious crimes.
A number of performance indicators had been removed and there had been updates to the 2014/19 strategic plan.
The Chairperson invited engagement by the Committee. He began by asking about the issue of detection rates of serious crimes. What was the reason for lowering the targets, which were now no longer aligned to the MTEF?
Ms Molebatsi asked about serious crimes charges and whether the reasons for change there were linked to poor investigation.
Ms Mmola asked for the reason for the removal of the trial-ready cases target. She also questioned the meaning of the “not exceeding 10% of case exhibits” on reductions of backlogs on case files and asked why had certain targets been removed? She pointed out that it was unacceptable for the community to wait two or three days for police because others had gone to training.
Dr Groenewald requested a definition of “detection rate”, asking if it was where a crime was reported and the detective makes contact with the accused. He commented that having targets in the range of 30%, when there were 1.7 million reported crimes, was a problem. He asked that SAPS clarify the exact staff establishment of detectives? He required an explanation of how fingerprinting was done.
Mr Mhlongo noted the target of 43% of registered crime. He asked for the meaning of “terminated”, and whether that represented the success rate? Generally, he was concerned about serious crime, as the detection rate seemed to be dropping, and asked what was lacking, and whether shortage of skilled detection was a contributor. Since this involved murder it was a serious concern.
Mr Ramatlakane pointed out that Programme 3 was critical but had been under-performing, and instead of SAPS stating clearly what it needed to do, the targets had been lowered, which was of great concern. The current target was itself informed by the previous under-performance, and that process would lead to a downward spiral. If SAPS went down that road, it would lead to frustration in the community. He asked what resources would have to be put into this to improve the sector. He recommended that management should go back and come up with something to improve the situation. He said that otherwise he would not be able to justify to his constituency what this Committee was accepting.
The Chairperson asked whether the removal of indicators meant that the results were not open to public scrutiny. The bar had to be set higher in that programme, as this kind of situation affected South Africans every day. Were crimes being solved? The performance targets that have been removed had sometimes been indicated as a priority in the strategic plan. What was the reason for removing targets?
The Acting National Commissioner informed the Committee that the detection rate as indicated in the strategic plan was measured to establish the ability of SAPS to solve crime. Therefore the target related to the time from when SAPS became aware of a crime and a docket was opened, until a suspect had been charged or the case docket had been closed as unfounded or withdrawn. “Detection rate” was thus “the successful investigation, positive identification, arrest and charging of the perpetrator.” He was aware that in 2014/15, the Annual Report showed poor rates in Programme 3 but he believed that there had been a turnaround and matters had improved.
The reduction of the detection rate, particularly for serious crimes, would indeed result in SAPS not achieving the target. The presentation showed the performance over three quarters of a year but the Acting National Commissioner had a draft of the full year report and it showed that 28 indicators had been achieved,which was 71.4% achievement of targets in Programme 3. He was happy with the progress. Targets were low but in the past, the SAPS had not achieved the targets. Targets would be raised for the next financial year.
Ms Molebatsi asked if detectives had improved.
The Acting National Commissioner assured her that detectives and forensic services had improved. The results of Programme 3 were so good that SAPS was adopting the same monitoring process for Programme 2.
Major-General Rabie pointed out that if the overall detective rate had not been achieved, then also the sub-programmes would not have been attained. The previous year, SAPS was advised to adjust the targets to put them in line with the results obtained by detective services. The targets were not equal to achievement, but required some improvement. The detection rate was currently at 36.1% and had moved to 37%. It would require some improvement to attain the target. All targets had been lowered to be in line with current services and attainment. He was adamant that it would not help to set a rate that would require a dramatic or radical improvement, as that could not be achieved overnight.
The Chairperson felt that target rates were too low.
Dr Groenewald felt that the detection services were the Achilles heel of SAPS. He said that lowering the standards would not help the citizens. Instead, SAPS should have plans to assist the Detective Service to meet the higher targets.
The Acting National Commissioner agreed that the concerns were valid but reminded the Committee that it was the Committee that had advised SAPS not to set unreasonable targets. SAPS was putting systems in place to meet the target and then to raise the target. The management intervention had gone into the docket store, and an age analysis showed that dockets had been open far too long. The docket analysis showed that in some cases, there had been no arrest even though the suspect had been identified. He believed that SAPS had resolved some of the issues of the past and was in the process of improving the situation. The question had to be asked whether the focus on detectives had made a difference. SAPS needed to investigate the training of detectives.
The removal of indicators was based on valid reasons, particularly that SAPS did not have control over certain processes. For instance, the indicator of “dockets being trial ready” was often invalidated because the docket could not be seen as “trial ready” until it had been accepted by the prosecutor. Where there might be a change in prosecutor, the new incumbent might reject a docket that had been accepted as “trial ready”. The efforts therefore had been moved to quality so that there could be successful convictions. For example, in Coligny, 76 people were arrested, most of them in possession of looted goods, but they were released in court on R300 bail. SAPS was seen as not having dealt with the situation despite its efforts.
Dr Groenewald understood the frustration of the Acting National Commissioner because the release of criminals was frustrating. Detection rates were low but the conviction rate was high. The criminal justice system needed to address the issue.
Mr Ramatlakane did not believe that motivation was an excuse for poor detection rates. The failure of the criminal justice system should not be the reason for adjusting targets. Targets should not be reduced to a point where they were meaningless. He submitted that there was sufficient experience and expertise in SAPS to come up with a better way of addressing the improvement of the detective services.
Ms Molebatsi wanted to know whether it was the norm for the investigating officer to meet with the prosecutor before going to court.
Ms Mabija said she had frequently heard that suspects were released from court, and the President had spoken of this. The community did not want to report crime when even those perpetrating serious or violent crimes were sent back to the community on bail. She was glad that there was young blood in the new Minister who could find ways of resolving the inadequacies in SAPS. The Committee was supposed to assist SAPS. She recommended that perpetrators going to court should be “treated harshly and with fire”. There had to be synergy between SAPS, prosecutors and lawyers. Innocent people often said that they would be found guilty because they did not have a lawyer.
Mr Mhlongo noted that various interventions had been implemented but that any improvements had been seen as temporary. The honesty and the capacity of the provincial detective services were found wanting.
The Chairperson indicated that the Committee would make recommendations based on the input of colleagues, as the matter could not be resolved in the Committee room.
The Acting National Commissioner stated that he had pointed out the unsatisfactory bail in the Coligny case but had not intended that comment to reflect on all cases. The proper processing of crime scenes was regulated. When there was no witness, evidence from the crime scene was important. Public policing did not have the same ability to rely on either witnesses or crime scenes, and there was no tangible evidence as to what each person had done during looting. SAPS therefore had a different approach to public order policing.
In forensics, the backlog in the laboratory should not exceed 10%, although lower targets had been achieved. It was a realistic target, as the volumes of work were extremely high. Waiting two to three days for fingerprints might occur in certain areas but the target was that they should be taken within an hour.
The Alpha, Bravo, Charlie issue was working well on a national level, but in some rural areas, there were problems in responding to crime as a result of the inadequate number of vehicles. He would respond to the Chairperson's questions about ratios of vehicles to detectives, the number of detectives, the docket rate per detective and training later. The total number of detectives was 19, 142 at stations plus 334 at cluster level and 4 000 at specialised units. In regard to training, 390 training programmes were planned for detectives. 7 479 people would undergo training, from basic to short detective training, computer training, solving of crimes and others.
The vehicle to detective ratio was 1:2. Last year R19 million had been spent to procure additional vehicles for detectives. The capacity of Crime Intelligence I was 7 975 people
Programme 4: Crime Intelligence
It was noted at the outset that a Crime Intelligence meeting was being held at the same time as the Portfolio Committee meeting, and so the officialsworking in the Crime Intelligence Unit were unable to attend this Parliamentary session. Originally, it was assumed that Programme 4 would have been dealt with on the following day.
Major-General Rabie therefore presented the reports on Programme 4: Crime Intelligence. There were two sub-programmes: Crime Intelligence (CI) Operations and Intelligence and Information Management (IIM). The function of CI was to manage crime intelligence and analyse crime information, provide technical support for investigators, and crime prevention operations. One of the key functions was vetting of employees but there had been under-performance in this area with the target set at 60% but the achievement rate at 37.15%. Additional performance indicators in respect of providing intelligence reports in support of pro-active SAPS operations had been introduced, to address a recommendation that a more qualitative approach should be adopted to the measurement of Crime Intelligence.
It was noted that those employed under the Secret Service Act were not paid from the SAPS budget.
The Chairperson noted that the nature of the work was labour-intensive. Crime was one of the country’s serious risks. He asked if SAPS was closing down posts. He asked about the Clusters’ involvement in dealing with intelligence. Some of the stations do not have enough staff to deal with crimes. Was there a shift to sending resources to these stations? What was the position in relation to the Head of CI?
Ms Molebatsi asked for an explanation of why some targets had been removed.
Ms Mmola noted that the target was to vet 60% of employees, and asked when were the remaining 40% going to be vetted, and why they had not already been vetted?
She asked what was meant by the target of 22 in regard to the supply of intelligence products relating to National Strategic Intelligence, and whether this was achieved.
Dr Groenewald stated that this briefing was a good example of the theory of targets. 100% performance of the targets, except for vetting, was very good on paper, yet CI had not proved effective. There was no warning of Coligny or of attacks on foreign citizens. He too asked that the Committee be given an update on the position in regard to the Head of CI?
Mr Mhlongo was extremely upset about what was happening in relation to security in the country. The recent hype around the Hawks was getting everyone worried with their declaration of intelligence about a coup, but in reality the person charged had no weapons or resources. However, real crimes such as the airport heist could take place. This made a mockery of claims of security in the country. In London, a person entering the country would have been seen ten times on security cameras before even reaching passport control. The political squabbles taking place were affecting the situation in the country. There was a need to move away from narrow partisanship.
Mr Ramatlakane was worried about the capacity and the footprint. What would be the recommendation of SAPS if there were no restrictions on capacity; the ability of good crime intelligence was critical. The OR Tambo example had sent a signal that there was a problem around collecting information. He asked what would be the solution. Some targets were expressed as numbers and others as percentages, but he questioned what the percentages related to. He commented that the presentation was not clear.
The Chairperson expressed concern about the lack of technical indicator descriptions.
The Acting National Commissioner informed the Chairperson that he was committed to trying to deliver a report on technical indicators by Friday. CI people were at all levels but SAPS could never be satisfied with the numbers, as the footprint was too small. SAPS did not simply concentrate on how many people there were but had to ask how competent they were to do their job. SAPS had raised the question with CI. Some people had been in CI for far too long and their efficiency and effectiveness had become a problem. CI could not grow in numbers so it was necessary to refresh those who were in place. In the current year, he had had to force a change of targets. He personally had more informants than the CI officials, who had only three informants, just increased to four, but the Acting National Commissioner had then doubled that to eight. The OR Tambo incident was conducted by a well-organised network but he asked whether the organisation could have been infiltrated. Information which would prevent action or so that there could be interception had to be gained. He would report later about what had actually happened in this OR Tambo incident.
He warned that the Committee should not be concerned when people complained that they had been redeployed. The issue of the man who was supposed to topple the government needed no further discussion. The success in the Trio Plan was highly dependent on intelligence and so he had requested a CI strategy to assist in that regard.
He did not know anything about the closing down of posts but there was some re-organisation. Cluster policing was an important strategy. Some officials were stationed at national or provincial level and others at station level. The court case of Lieutenant-General Moduli had been set for June 2017 and the matter would then unfold; at the moment he remained on suspension – currently at 90 days - but after that his suspension had to be with benefit or there would be a case for unfair discrimination.
Ms Molebatsi asked whether Lieut-Gen Mdluli would lose his salary if he were found guilty.
The Acting National Commissioner replied that if a dismissal were recommended, his salary would be stopped.
Indicators that had been moved referred to the number of enquiries conducted. The problem was that everything was initially recorded as an enquiry but since this figure ran into hundreds of thousands, it had no meaning. Certain activities – such as checking on a telephone number only - were not strategic. In relation to the targets expressed in both numbers and percentages, he explained that wherever possible concrete numbers were used, such as for early warning reports. Where the indicators were expressed as percentage of targets this was because SAPS did not know how many instances there would be. If, however, the target was 100%, it would mean that everything that was put on the table had be put into operation. For example, the Interpol target was 100% which meant that no matter how many requests were received, all had to be addressed.
Mr Mhlongo complained that the Committee had no power to make SAPS change anything. SAPS was secretive and told the Committee only what it wanted. He said that 100% of nothing was nothing.
Major-General Rabie explained that it was not “100% of nothing” but “100% of an unknown number”.
The Acting National Commissioner said that SAPS wanted to improve intelligence to reduce surprises. As far as vetting was concerned, there was lack of capacity to do more, but the target was being raised each year.
In response to the Chairperson’s question about improving the counter-intelligence ability of SAPS, he replied that the counter intelligence strategy was not fully implemented but staff were being appointed.
Programme 5: Protection and Security
Major-General Rabie also gave this presentation. He noted that VIP Protection Services provided protection and security services for all identified dignitaries and government interests, including the President, former presidents and protection of foreign dignitaries. The sub-programmes included VIP Protection, Static Protection, Government Security Regulator and Physical Security Compliance. There was under performance in the area of the evaluation of national key points, where only 82.47% had been evaluated. Overtime pay and travel and subsistence accounted for a large percentage of the budget. SAPS monitored protection provided to VIPs and 196 national key points as well as strategic targets.
Ms Molebatsi asked whether the former head of the African Union (AU) qualified for protection. She asked for an update on the state of the Protection Services facility in the Free State.
Ms Mmola referred to the 82% of strategic installations evaluated and questioned what had happened to others and if they were not protected?
Dr Groenewald asked what the qualification or guidelines were for receiving protection, and the activities of a person who needed protection, and what was the component or level of protection. The former head of the African Union had had three vehicles to protect her, and he questioned why this was necessary. If there was a such a high degree of threat to her life why should the police protect her at public meetings that were not in the ambit of her job. He also requested to know more about the distinction between the VIP Protection Unit and Presidential Protection Unit.
He also asked for explanation on wellness programmes for members of SAPS, if there were promotion opportunities or migration of officials to other programmes? He asked if the new building in the Free State was in operation.
Ms Molebatsi asked whether protection staff still worked under adverse conditions and for long hours.
The Acting National Commissioner firstly noted that the former Head of the AU would have been entitled to protection as the AU Chairperson and she was protected by the Presidential Protection Unit, as she was at the level of a President. The unit catered for presidents, deputy presidents and former presidents and deputy presidents plus their spouses as well as visiting presidents.
Protection was offered for one month after the former Head of the AU’s term of office ended, but threats had been made even before the month was up and SAPS had to escalate security. The threats did not de-escalate, even after the initial month. Her protection continued, subject to the threat assessment. Because she was no longer AU Head, her protection would be diverted to the Protection Unit under the ad hoc protection category, which is made available to any person following the confirmation of a threat. SAPS would assess the category of threat as high, medium or low and protection would follow accordingly. SAPS could not say that she was the only person who was not in an official position but who was being protected. For example, Dr Buthelezi of the IFP enjoyed protection. Blade Nzimande had had protection from well before he became Minister. Mr Lekotla received protection because of the threats he had received. This was informed by the Protection Services policy. Julius Malema had received protection even before he became a Member of Parliament. The National Commissioner assured the Committee that SAPS would not do anything outside of the law. He stated that SAPS had not immediately transferred the former AU Chair to PPU when there had been noise about her, as it would seem like a cover-up.
Ms Molebatsi asked how many categories of protection there were. What were the levels of threat?
Dr Groenewald stated that the Committee knew it was permissible. He requested a copy of the Protection Services policy document. He repeated his question about the capacity of protection, and why the former head of AU required three levels of protection. He asked when the Committee would get the report on the final assessment of the threat to her. If the threat was so great that she needed so much protection, surely there was a policy saying she could not attend public meetings?
Mr Mhlongo noted that the protection of the former AU Chairperson by the PPU was problematic. The question had not been properly addressed and people saw it as an abuse of their money. She could be downgraded to VIP status. Factional politics had found expression in the matter.
Mr Ramatlakane commented about the assessment process. Should the Committee not say to the National Commissioner that he should inform the Committee when the assessment would be completed and report when it had been completed? He did not wish to stop the debate but was suggesting a process to get to the finality of the matter.
The Chairperson agreed that Mr Ramatlakane had made a valid proposal.
The Acting National Commissioner stated that, out of respect for the Portfolio Committee, SAPS had not explained the full situation in detail elsewhere. He accepted the recommendation regarding the way forward but he repeated that the current level of protection was for a transitional period only. He would be taking over the protection fairly soon. The number of vehicles and level of protection was informed by two independent assessments of risk. They had not scaled down until the change-over to Protection Services. He pointed out that the prohibition of behaviour and actions by those being offered protection was very difficult. The Protection Services could not forbid someone from attending a rally. SAPS could only advise principals. The Protection Services policy document would be made available to the Committee, but circulation had to be limited to the Committee for security reasons.
Dr Groenewald asked whether the threat against the former head of the AU had been a political threat.
The Acting National Commissioner indicated that he was not able to provide further information. Protection Services could not determine the movements of the person being protected. He promised that the situation regarding protection of the former AU Head would be resolved by the end of the month and protection would be moved away from the VIP Protection Service.
Speaking to the Protection Service building in the Free State, Public Works had lost the documents when there was a change of leadership. SAPS had provided copies of the documents and a tender process had been followed. However, the tender committee recommended a building by the very same person who owned the dilapidated building that was currently being used. SAPS rejected the recommendation. A new tender process was undertaken and was nearly in the finalisation stages.
Ms Molebatsi expressed her disappointment at the situation, especially the loss of documents.
Mr Mhlongo indicated that he had gone to the very same building in the Free State and had struggled as there were no working lifts in the building. He wondered how officials could respond urgently when it was so difficult to access and leave the building. He had been appalled at the state of the building.
The Chairperson expressed his deep concern and said that while he understood the situation and could not blame individuals, the top management had to address the matter. There had been another case of a lift falling, where people were injured. The police barracks also were unsuitable and needed urgent attention.
The Acting National Commissioner agreed that the situation regarding the Free State building was unacceptable but, unfortunately, SAPS was dependent on Department of Public Works (DPW). SAPS was not even a member of the tender committee. DPW did not take accountability. Just as with the Muizenberg situation, DPW was accountable but SAPS was left to answer the questions.
Mr Ramatlakane agreed with the Chairperson that DPW should be called in, but that officials at the appropriate level should report. There certainly seemed to have been collusion in the case of the Free State building as it was unacceptable to give the tender to someone who was currently giving unsatisfactory service.
Lieutenant-General Khehla Sithole responded to questions on physical security assessments of strategic installations. It was legislated that strategic installations be evaluated every other year so only 50% of the installations needed to be assessed in any one year. Having done the physical security assessment, SAPS provided recommendations for meeting the required standard. A security assessment had been done at Nkandla as per legislation.
Ms Mabija asked when the Nkandla assessment had been done, as work had been taking place at Nkandla during March.
Dr Groenewald commented that the former FF+ leader had been given advice on securing his residence, but the cost of the security proved to be greater than the cost of the house.
Lieutenant-General Sithole explained that the Nkandla assessment had taken place long before March but the owner of any facility would be required to link the upgrade to the MTEF framework and the availability of funding. Implementation of the recommendations could therefore potentially take years to effect. SAPS had a specifically trained unit that undertook the assessments. They also advised on the selection of accommodation as where one lives can impact significantly on the nature and level of security required. A private citizen had to pay for his own upgrades to security. SAPS did not determine the cost of security. Public Works determined the costs. SAPS indicated what was required to reach adequate security levels.
In answer to another question from Dr Groenewald whether the assessment provided for options in upgrading security, he confirmed that options were indeed provided.
Ms Molebatsi asked about the conditions of work in the Protection Service and was told that the officials often worked extremely long hours but were paid overtime. There had been instances of poor behaviour and abuse by the person being protected but there had been no recent complaints. There were also internal promotion opportunities, and officials were able to move to other units.
Mr Ramatlakane asked whether those officials who had complained to the Sunday Times about their conditions of work had been disciplined. Lieutenant-General Sithole informed the Committee that there had been disciplinary action, but both officials and the VIPs were addressed as sometimes the conduct of VIPs was unacceptable
Major-General Rabie added that there had been no change to the targets but because the protection units were responsible for both protection and strategic installations, SAPS had split the targets.
The meeting was adjourned.
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