Report back by Work Groups; Update on meeting with Secretary to National Assembly; Draft Resolution on Safety & Security: discus

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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

20 May 2003

Chairperson: Mr F Beukman (ANC)

Documents Handed out:
Draft Resolution on Safety and Security (Appendix)

Members reported back on progress in their work groups with no further discussion. The issue of police carrying firearms off duty caused a debate, which the Chairperson suggested should be postponed for detailed discussion in future.

Adoption of Minutes
The minutes of 17, 18 and 30 April 2003 and 14 May 2003 were adopted with minor corrections and modifications.

Working Group Reports
Mr D Gumede (ANC) gave a progress report on the categorisation reports for the Departments of Agriculture, Labour, Arts and Culture, Land Affairs, Public Enterprise and Trade & Industry and the National Treasury. He also outlined progress on draft resolutions that were either tabled or still to be tabled. Mr L Chiba (ANC) added to the progress report.
Ms Mothoagae (ANC) also gave a progress report on her group's tasks with regard to the Department of Home Affairs.

Meeting with Secretary to the National Assembly
The Chairperson indicated that after meeting with the Secretary to the National Assembly, a proposal was drafted by Advocate Boshoff that would clarify the role of the SCOPA secretariat in relation to that of the National Assembly. The proposal was still to be tabled.

Draft Resolution on Safety and Security
The Committee discussed the issue of police possessing firearms off duty. Mr V Smith (ANC) felt that if the law allowed police to carry firearms after hours, it also implied that the state had to be responsible for police having safes in which to keep the guns in their homes. He felt that police should leave the guns at the police stations when they are off duty.

Mr Nel (DP) argued that the government should not be responsible for such costs and that the police should be subject to the same legislation as individuals who possess legal firearms at their homes. Some Members felt that more guns were lost at the police stations than at the hands of individual police. The Chairperson felt that the matter needed to be discussed separately in future.

The meeting was adjourned.



The Standing Committee on Public Accounts, having considered the Annual Report, including the Report of the Auditor General on the Financial Statements on Vote 23: the Department of Safety and Security for the year ended 31 March 2002 [RP 172/2002], tabled in Parliament on 20 September 2002 and referred to it; as well as having considered the evidence led at the hearing on 30 October 2002, reports as follows:


The Committee notes with disappointment that the Department's Annual
Report was tabled in Parliament on 20 September 2002; and that the late
tabling constitutes non-compliance with of the Public Finance
Management Act.


The Committee commends the Department for the unqualified audit opinion expressed by the Auditor General, and trusts that future audit opinions shall be equally unqualified.


While noting the unqualified audit opinion, the Committee notes that under
Emphasis of Matter the Auditor General has raised various issues of
concern, which needs the attention of Management, and on which the
Committee makes comments and/or recommendations hereunder.


From the evidence presented, the Committee notes with appreciation that in
2000 there was a decline of 20% in terms of all categories of leave taken
compared to 1999, and a further decline of 17% in 2002 as compared to

The Committee notes that the Department has made an analysis of the root causes of the problems.

The Committee recommends that:
· as a matter of urgency, National Treasury should be approached with the view to assisting the Department in resolving the current systems problems it is experiencing with PERSAL in administering leave;
· in the absence of computerised systems, controls around the manual systems should be strictly maintained to provide the integrity and reliability of captured data;
· the Department should implement corrective measures to ensure that the time lapse between the time when leave is taken and when it is captured on the system, is reduced to more acceptable levels; and,
· the results of the training workshops that were held by the Department should be evaluated by the Auditor General to determine whether or not the workshops had a positive impact, and specifically assess that at provincial level leave records are correctly recorded on the PERSAL system.


The Committee commends the Department for the overall reduction in the number of cases reported in relation to the theft and loss of firearms.

The Committee however notes with concern that of the 444 firearms lost during the year under review, 219 lost under reasons classified as "unknown". This is disturbing to the Committee as it is an indication of deficient administration regarding the recording of losses.

The Committee recommends that the Department:
· ensures that the administrative aspects in relation to the recording of losses are tightened up;
· provides the Committee with the details of what constitutes this "unknown" category; and,
· Refrains from using this "unknown" category in future in disclosing the loss of firearms.

The Committee heard evidence to the effect that members if SAPS do not adhere to the provisions of the relevant legislation regarding the safe-keeping of firearms in lockable safes when they are not on duty The Department's attention is directed to the relevant legislation in terms of which members must ensure that "the firearm is stored in a prescribed safe".

The Committee does not accept the Commissioner's reason that providing SAPS members with the prescribed safes would be a too costly exercise, as it considers the provision of the relevant legislation applicable to all the country's citizens who possess firearms.

The Committee therefore recommends that the Department take immediate steps to ensure that all the members of SAPS are in a position to comply with the law.


In terms of the evidence, the Committee notes that:

a) a comprehensive loss control system was developed and implemented on 1 April 2001;

b) the Department is currently transferring all the existing loss cases onto the new system; that the Department has enlarged the capacity of the loss control environment;
c) approximately 30% of all these cases have been completed onto the new loss control management system; and,
d) although promises were made that the total system would be in place by March 2002, the new target date is anticipated to be March 2003.

The Committee recommends that by 30 June 2003:
1) the Department furnishes the Auditor General with a full account and details of losses to the State;
2) the Department provides the Committee with information as to when the backlog of long outstanding cases which pose a risk of being prescribed will be finalised; and,
3) the Auditor General evaluate the extent to which the newly-implemented loss management system has been effective in disposing the backlog of outstanding cases.


In terms of the evidence, the Committee notes that the capturing of data in relation to the receipt and issuing of fuel and oil increased on average from 40% in 200012001, to 60% in 2001/2002, and to 87% up to October 2002.

This reflects a dramatic improvement, and the Committee commends the Department for it.

However, according to the Auditor General, force numbers were not always entered on speed point slips; that control over speed point slips was lacking; that vehicle registers were not checked regularly; and that logbook entries were incomplete.

The Committee welcomes the establishment of a special team, which is going to all the Provinces advising members about these issues.

The Committee recommends that Parliament be furnished with a report by 30 June 2003, indicating the progress made in relation to the other shortcomings.


It is evident from the hearing that there is confusion regarding the definition and interpretation of the concept "free services"; and that the responses to the questions posed were unsatisfactory, since they were related to the provision of free services to its members in the form of messes and canteens.

The Committee therefore recommends that the Department interacts with the Auditor General and if necessary the National Treasury to clarify the confusion regarding the definition and interpretation of free services.

The Committee further recommends that by 30 June 2003, the Department provide Parliament with a progress report indicating whether or not the matter has been resolved.


The Committee notes that whereas at 31 March 2000, the number of members on full pay and benefits stood at 604 at a total cost to the State of over R3Om, the figure was reduced to 153 as at 31 May 2001.

The Committee commends the department for the dramatic improvement in the figures.

The Committee welcomes the appointment of Presiding Officers and Disciplinary Officers, thus creating capacity to address the issue of outstanding cases of suspension.

The Committee recommends that by 30 June 2003, the Department furnishes Parliament with the total figure of members on suspension with full pay and benefits as at 31 March 2003, and the total cost thereof to the State.


The Committee notes that before making a finding that is in the Audit Report, the Auditor General and department is involved in continuous consultation under the auspices of a joint and Audit Steering Committee, that includes a Management Letter to the Department outlining any deficiencies, which the Department needs to address.

On the basis of this process, the Committee expects that the issue of the unavailability of records relating to appointments, promotions and personnel information can be easily resolved between the Department and the Office of the Auditor General before the inclusion of the matter in the Audit Report.


The Committee commends the Department for having achieved a 62% decrease in its advances in respect of travel and subsistence expenditure, and for having decreased the percentage of accounts receivable older than 36 months from 26,4% in March 2001 to 8,6% in January 2002.

The Committee nevertheless remains concerned at the inadequate debtor management, especially in relation to the following:

· Outstanding Debtors: the ageing of debtors is problematic because it is not based on the original dates when the debts are incurred, but when payments are received. Outstanding debts amounted to R13, 6m outstanding for more than 3 years. The Auditor-General is of the opinion that most of these debts will be written off.

· Guarantee Scheme for Housing Loans: As at 31 March 2001, SAPS

had honoured R10, 6m of which R3, 2m has been outstanding for between 2 years and 10 years.

· Other Debtors amounted to R66m. According to the department itself, the recoverability of these debts appears to be doubtful in 77% of the cases.

· Staff Debts stood at R34m as at 31 March 2002, of which R14, 4m was in respect of overpaid salaries.

The Committee recommends that by 30 June 2003, the Department indicate to Parliament what plans it has in mind to rectify the situation, and the time frame by when such plans would address the shortcomings.


The Committee notes that:
a) the annual internal audit was not fully executed due to the lack of capacity, expertise and experience within the Internal Audit Function;
b) the Audit Committee therefore agreed with Management to co-source the internal audit function with an external professional firm of internal audit service providers; and,
c) the Tender Evaluation Committee has met, and the appointment of a company will be made soon.

The Committee recommends that the matter be finalised as a matter of urgency, and that the Auditor evaluate the work of the Service provider, and report thereon in his next Audit Report.


The Committee notes that unauthorised expenditure of R2, 84m as a result of overspending on Programmes in respect of Police Services of the Owa Qwa Government for the financial year 1994/1995 has been reported on for several years.

The matter could not be finalised because supporting documentation to substantiate the expenditure could not be obtained.

The Committee notes the Department's suggestion that in order to finalise the matter, some sort of authorisation should be formulated.

The Committee recommends that after all avenues be explored to obtain the relevant source documentation with regard to the amount in question, the Accounting Officer should submit to the Treasury his view on the feasibility of any further action in this regard, and report to SCOPA on the response by the Treasury.


The Committee notes that the Auditor General has reported on the excess stock for several years; and that excess stock amounted to R145m, which is 44% of the total value of provisioning stock at 31 March 2002.

The Committee welcomes the Department's plan to reduce excess stock levels by a third for each of the three forthcoming financial years.

The Committee recommends that the Auditor General evaluate the extent to which these targets have been met and report thereon in his next three Audit Reports.


The Committee notes that up to now the new computerised workshop accounting system has been installed at 65 of 148 workshop sites.

The Committee is concerned that the installation of the system at the remaining sites depends on the availability of funds, and that no time frame has been set for them.

The Committee recommends that the Department ensures that the required funds are allocated for the completion of the project, and that the Department gives an indication of by when all workshop sites shall be completed.


The Committee notes with concern that internal control over vehicle management and maintenance was still lacking and that the Auditor General has cited various weaknesses and shortcomings in relation to this matter.

The Committee recommends that by 30 June 2003, the Department submits a report to Parliament indicating the Department's strategy to address the matter, and by when will it adequately do so.


The Committee notes with concern that shortcomings and weaknesses in the management of fixed assets have been a recurring problem for several years.

The Committee recommends that by 30 June 2003, the Department indicates what obstacles prevents it from addressing these shortcomings and weaknesses; how it intends overcoming the obstacles; and, by when will the Department put in place a system which will effectively address the issue.


The Committee considers effective financial management and the building of capacity and training in this regard, as fundamental to the effective management of the Department. This should inter alia ensure that:

a) competent and an adequate number of financial management staff are appointed;
b) the control systems and control environment be continuously improved;
c) reliable information systems are established that produce regular and accurate management information that is used to guide the management processes;
d) financial and non4inancial (operational) information systems are integrated; and
e) improved efficiency and effectiveness in the application of the available funds be ensured.

The Committee recommends that the Department submit a report to Parliament by 30 June 2003 on the progress made in this regard.


The Committee notes that in terms of paragraph 3.5.3 of the 2000-01-audit report of the Auditor-General, which refers to paragraph 3.5.3 of the 1999-2000-audit report (RP 138/2000), the National Secretariat for Safety and Security applied for ex post facto approval for the unauthorised expenditure of R330 126. To date this matter has not yet been finalised.

However, subsequent to the review of the supporting documentation that was provided by the National Secretariat the Committee noted that:
a) the supporting documentation has been provided in this regard;
b) reasons put forward for the incurred expenditure that at face value seem adequate (namely that services/goods were rendered/received; value for money was received, and that the State had suffered no loss); and
c) steps taken to obtain approval from the State Tender Board.

Once the Committee has been informed whether the aforementioned State Tender Board approval had been obtained, the Committee will consider recommending to the National Assembly that the expenditure be approved.

The Committee recommends that the Accounting Officer finalise the correspondence with the State Tender Board as a matter of urgency and report the outcomes to Parliament by 30 June 2003.

Report to be considered.


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