SAPS members conflict of interest / doing business with the state: hearing, with Deputy Minister

Public Accounts (SCOPA)

13 June 2017
Chairperson: Mr T Godi (APC)
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Meeting Summary

The SCOPA hearing with the South African Police Service (SAPS) was the result of a presentation by the Auditor-General that showed that SAPS had the highest number of officials who had a conflict of interest in that they were involved with companies doing business with SAPS or with other state departments. Contracts in the Police that showed a conflict of interest totalled R14 872 000 in 2015/16. SAPS had 96 employees who were directors or members of companies directly doing business with SAPS to the value of R8 million, who did not submit a declaration of interest as part of the bidding process and had not indicated a conflict of interest to the bid committee. Contracts worth R6.7 million were awarded to close family members. The Committee alleged that there was a complete lack of management of the supply chain process where suppliers had not submitted declarations of conflict of interest and had not even taken part in the bidding process. The National Commissioner admitted that their system was not wholly fool proof.

It was established that only at the beginning of February 2017 had it become illegal for SAPS members to do business with SAPS or other government departments. Nevertheless, it had been, and still was, a requirement that SAPS members requested permission to undertake additional remunerative work.

Despite extensive probing, the Committee could not find any evidence of investigations into the 32 sample cases that the Auditor-General had referred to. SAPS members had resigned or left SAPS but no one had been charged. Even the former National Commissioner, General Phiyega, was amongst the 32 who were suspected of doing business with the State. She had sent a letter stating that she had left the company concerned in 1999.

The Deputy Minister was surprised and embarrassed to see that the Department was unable to answer questions about SAPS members suspected of doing business with the State as the Auditor-General Report had been given to them a year previously. He said that the Ministry could not preside over a corrupt institution.

The Public Service Commissioner shocked the Committee when she revealed that the Public Service Commission had corresponded with the Minister of Police each year, detailing those senior SAPS members whose financial declarations had suggested that they might have a conflict of interest, but there had been no response whatsoever from the Minister’s office for the past three years.

SCOPA requested a more detailed report on the investigations into the SAPS members who were suspected of doing business with the state and about the three SAPS Supply Chain Management members Management who had breached procurement rules. The Chairperson noted that the people who should be chasing after the criminals were behaving like criminals themselves.

Meeting report

Opening remarks
The Chairperson indicated that the Committee did not want a presentation from SAPS as they had an idea of what they wanted. Ms Chiloane and Mr Ross would be leading the questioning. He asked the Deputy Minister to note any comments that he wanted to make and he could also ask questions after the Committee had interrogated the Department. The Deputy Minister indicated that he had a prior meeting at 11:30.

The Chairperson asked Mr Ross to begin with the questions for SAPS.

Mr D Ross (DA) thanked SAPS for the information provided. As the Committee had received seven documents, he would focus on the Back to Basics document. He expressed the Committee’s concern about the number of police officers who were doing business with SAPS, i.e. employees within the police service and also family of police officers who were engaging in contracts with SAPS. The Police should know better than anyone that preventative measures were important so that crime was prevented. The objective of the Committee was to act preventatively, especially on contracts to family members and to employees themselves. Mr Ross was impressed with the SAPS strategic plan and its attention to Public Service regulations that deal with not conducting business with the State. He referred to the Annual Report 2015/16 which deals with Fraud and Conflict of Interest (page 251) and states clearly: "The Public Administration Management Act, 2014, Chapter 3, section 8 specifically deals with ‘conducting business with the State’. Employees from the SAPS will not be eligible to conduct business with the SAPS or any other State department, on national, provincial or local level."

Mr Ross asked Acting National Commissioner, Lesetja Mothiba, if SAPS was committed to preventing police officers from doing business with SAPS.

Lt General Mothiba confirmed the commitment. Currently the SAPS document on the Public Administration Management (PAM) Act stated that any bid for a contract by a SAPS member would be disqualified.

Mr Ross asked if the General would want to see additional sanctions and consequences for those employees who attempted to do business with SAPS.

Lt Gen Mothiba confirmed that SAPS would like to see a stronger sanction.

Mr Ross stated that the Committee was in agreement on the matter. He asked if SAPS would agree to push for stronger sanctions.

Lt Gen Mothiba agreed.

Mr Ross referred the meeting to the 9 May 2017 SCOPA meeting where the Auditor General spoke about the audit findings of state employees doing business with the State. SAPS was the worst performing department. Contracts in the police that showed a conflict of interest totalled R14 872 000 in 2015/16. There was an upward trend in the value of business with the State. In 2010/11, it was R1.4 million; in 2012/13, it was R280 000; in 2013/14 none was reported; in 2014/15, it was R15 433 000. SAPS was not setting the example as an agency of law enforcement.

Lt Gen Mothiba agreed with the Auditor General’s findings but indicated that the system had loopholes and that SAPS was attempting to resolve these.

Mr Ross said in the Auditor General Report on Conflict of Interest showed that in 2015/16, SAPS non-compliance in the bidding process had reached R8 million and 96 SAPS employees had been involved in doing business with SAPS and had not indicated a conflict of interest. There had been a complete lack of management of the supply chain process where suppliers had not submitted declarations and had not taken part in the bidding process.

The National Commissioner admitted that their system was not wholly fool proof.

Mr Ross referred to evidence where close family members had made bids with false information and received contracts. Even worse was the fact that in certain cases people had provided false information.

Lt Gen Mothiba confirmed that that was fraud.

Mr Ross informed him that the fraud case had taken place in 2012 and amounted to R280 000. He recommended that the Auditor General Report be analysed to establish the trend.

Contracts worth R6.7 million were awarded to close family members was a huge concern as it showed how people connived to defraud the system. The Auditor General Report showed that in 2015/16 R6.7 million was involved in such transgressions. He asked if there had been interaction with the AG Report by SAPS.

Lt Gen Mothiba confirmed that they had taken action in respect of the 2012 case.

Mr Ross said the SAPS Back to Basics documentation indicated that SAPS had approved the Auditor General’s National Instruction 4/2012 which had strengthened SAPS' management of remunerative work outside the public service. A meeting between SCOPA and the Auditor-General had addressed non-compliance in contracting and SCOPA had been shown the extent to which it had taken place. He asked the Acting National Commissioner if he agreed in terms of those regulations, that remunerative work outside the public service fell into a different category. He asked if there was a yearly process to manage approval of remunerative work outside the public service.

Lt Gen Mothiba agreed that there was.

Mr Ross asked if the yearly process opened the loopholes again and if the Committee should look into legislating to prevent these loopholes.

Lt Gen Mothiba said that remunerative work outside the public service had nothing to do with the State and was a different thing from doing business with the State. Each year a SAPS member could apply for permission to do additional remunerative work. He therefore felt that it fell into a different category. Doing business with SAPS could take place on a daily basis at any one of the police stations or head office.

Mr Ross understood that remunerative work was a different process.

Mr Ross made mention of a total of 103 exceptions that were identified by means of a Computer Assisted Audit Techniques report (CAATS) and a management letter in which 32 samples of incidents of seemingly fraudulent contracts with the State were presented to SAPS. He asked the Acting National Commissioner to provide the context for the information and to explain what it meant. What constituted an exception?

Lt Gen Stefanus Schutte, Deputy National Commissioner: Asset and Legal Management, explained that the 32 was an audit sample of SAPS employees doing business with SAPS in 2015/16. Of the 32, a number had resigned and only 19 people were still SAPS members. In addition, there were 71 exceptions noted in the report. There was a total of 103 implicated persons that still had to be dealt with.

Mr Ross clarified that that was the figure for implicated persons was for 2013/14 to 2015/16.

Lt Gen Schutte emphasised that it was work in progress as up to August 2016, one could do business with the State by following certain requirements. He noted that there had been a grace period of six months for the PAM Act and only from the beginning of February 2017, was doing business with the State forbidden.

Mr Ross said he had wanted to establish that 104 persons had not complied with the regulations that existed at the time and Lt Gen Schutte had clarified timeframes.

Mr Ross referred to the disciplinary processes and asked what had happened to the 19 who were still SAPS members. Had they left their positions as directors of business?

Lt Gen Bonang Mgwenya, Deputy National Commissioner: Human Resources Management, said that her figures showed that they had resigned from SAPS. She pointed out that prior to August 2016, SAPS memebers could request permission to do additional remunerative work but it was not forbidden. Those who had not resigned were subject to a disciplinary process if they had not applied to do additional remunerative work. However, they did not have figures for members who had violated the Act and conducted business with the State after the Act's regulations came into force in February 2017. She acknowledged that SAPS did not have its own systems to extract information, as per the systems of the Auditor-General and the Public Service Commission.

Mr Ross believed that the steps that SAPS was taking against those who had not resigned, were very slow. It was critical to prevent crime, as SAPS would know. He needed clarity on those officials who had sought permission to do additional work. He asked who the Accounting Officer was.

Lt Gen Mothiba confirmed that he was the Accounting Officer.

Mr Ross noted that if SAPS members did remunerative work without approval, they were non-compliant.

Lt Gen Mothiba said that it was evident that SAPS did not have adequate systems to identify fraud. However, he noted February 2017 was the point from which officials were prevented from doing business with the State and that there had been a grey area prior to that point.

Mr Ross ran through the timeframes. In August 2016, a circular had been released, which SAPS released to its members. Employees had one month to apply for approval and within six months, the official had to resign as a director of a company doing business with the State, or prove that he or she was no longer conducting business.

Mr Ross asked if all business with the state had stopped after February 2017 and that the only situation at present was other remunerative work outside of the public service, which required Accounting Officer approval. He considered that an important factor and wanted the meeting to confirm consensus.

Lt Gen Mothiba said SAPS agreed with

Mr Ross gave a summation of the hearing thus far.

Mr Ross highlighted specific concerns about seven officials in critical services who had been involved in conflict of interest: Crime Intelligence – one person, Forensic Services – two persons, Finance and Administration – one person, and Supply Chain Management (SCM) – three persons. He asked if SAPS would consider these an inside job. How did SAPS view the situation and what had been done to address it?

Lt Gen Mgwenya explained that verification and confirmation was still underway and so they were not in a position to state that they had been done deliberately. Where there was a transgression, they would immediately implement disciplinary action.

The Chairperson asked Lt Gen Mgwenya to respond specifically to these particular cases. What had been the sanction for those officials?

Lt Gen Mgwenya requested permission to provide the requested information in writing when the cases had been resolved.

Mr Ross pointed out that he was asking questions on the SAPS presentation and therefore they should have the information. He asked if the seven persons officials in critical services had resigned or been removed.

Lt Gen Mothiba informed the Committee that PO Mahlelehlele, the member from SSL, had resigned as a director of the business and the system had not been updated. Warrant Officer Mdodo had refuted the information, saying that he had never been involved in business. PO Robson said that she had resigned from her husband’s business in 2014. An affidavit from KwaZulu-Natal showed that Sergeant Gumede was not associated with any company. Mr Mpanza said he had sent confirmation of a change of directors in 2013 and SAPS was awaiting confirmation from the authorities. Constable Mbanga said that he had been de-registered as a company director. SAPS was in the process of confirming that.

Mr M Booi (ANC) reminded SAPS that they were making statements under oath in the Committee and therefore they had to be honest. The Committee was referring to the SAPS document that said 32 people had been involved in contracts with the State and now they were saying that that was not so. It was a contradiction.

Ms T Chiloane (ANC) referred to the SAPS Instruction Note 7 of 2000 which said a SAPS member was guilty of misconduct if he or she performed remunerative work without written permission from the National Commissioner. The Auditor-General showed that many SAPS members had decided to disregard Note 7 of 2000. Why did the Accounting Officer or Provincial Commissioners disregard the instruction? The National Commissioner informed the Chairperson that Instruction Note 7/2000 had been replaced by Instruction Note 4/2012.

Lt Gen Mgwenya replied that SAPS did take steps against members who transgressed the National Instruction.

The Chairperson asked why SAPS had allowed gaps and lapses to occur so that people were able to transgress the instruction.

Lt Gen Mgwenya believed that they had systems in place to identify such transgressions.

Ms Chiloane referred to Note 7/2000 and suggested that something had happened and the Note had been disregarded. Why? The Committee wanted to understand why Note 7/2000 was not followed and who was responsible for implementing Note 7. The Note stated that anyone doing remunerative work without permission was guilty. Nobody had followed the law. Did the fault lie in the national office or in the provincial offices? What had happened to the particular person who was supposed to implement it?

Lt Gen Mothiba admitted that SAPS members had done wrong but stated that they were looking for a system to manage it. Originally SAPS was reactive but they were changing to become proactive. Instruction 4/2012 was assisting them in addressing the challenges of the Instruction Note 7/2000. They had to pick up on these matters before SAPS members became involved in business with the State.

Ms Chiloane needed further explanation where the Note stated that no SAPS member was supposed to perform "any other" remunerative work without permission.

Lt Gen Mgwenya explained that the Instruction Note 7/2000 had been replaced by Note 4/2012 which specified certain remunerative work that could not be done by SAPS members.

Lt Gen Mothiba explained that a SAPS member could not do business with the State, SAPS or certain other businesses such as a taxi business but they may do remunerative work with other businesses.

Ms Chiloane explained that the Auditor General Report was not restricted to a specific year but his Office had selected samples from a number of years for checking. The findings in the Auditor-General Report stated that five SAPS members were identified as directors or members of companies doing business with the State. She suggested that SAPS report on the five names.

Lt Gen Mothiba asked for permission to identify the five specific names and respond in writing.

Ms Chiloane said she had hoped that they could discuss it in this meeting. It would have assisted the Committee if SAPS had been able to respond in the meeting.

Ms Chiloane said supply chain management fraud was R144 million but all the transactions were based on quotations and the invoices were under R200 000. If they did not have systems in place, they would not be able to identify those instances of fraud. She emphasised the importance of keeping good records. 19 employees had been identified as directors or members of companies who did not have an approval to perform other remunerative work. Why did the person who was supposed to be responsible for that system not respond? Why did he or she not perform his or her duties? Why had they allowed the situation to go on and on.

Lt Gen Schutte replied that the question referred to control of the process as they were talking systems. Until October 2016, National Treasury had not had a system to test against the supply chain database and so SAPS had been unable to test. Since the introduction of the Central Supplier Database, one could test against that system. That system interfaced with Persal which contained the data of all personnel.

Mr Booi interjected asking how long SAPS had been in existence.

The General responded that it was about 100 years.

Mr Booi asked why, in all that time, had they not had a system but only got one when Treasury got a system.

Lt Gen Schutte informed Mr Booi that there had been systems but he had been referring to the latest enhancements.

Ms Chiloane referred to Section 8 of the Public Service Code of Conduct for Public Servants. How was that incorporated into the work of the Police Service? It stated categorically what was supposed to to happen.

Lt Gen Mothiba admitted that they did not have adequate systems to deal with it. He was happy that they were working with Treasury to deal with it, but until such time, they were merely reacting. Only when the Auditor-General told them that officials were doing things, were they able to throw the book at the persons involved. They were working with the Office of the Auditor General, National Treasury, and Public Service Commission because it was not only a SAPS issue. The Department was trying to close the loopholes but they were not the only department with challenges. The Acting National Commissioner believed that they could get it right in the future.

Mr Booi reminded the General that they were dealing with the Auditor-General Report in front of them and not about the future. The money involved was not the General’s but that of the fiscus. It was public money. He must give answers. He referred to the matter of Lt Gen Hlela who was corrupt and whose case had been coming a long time. The organisation had been corrupt. Lt Gen Mgwenya was misleading the Committee.

Ms Chiloane stated that there had been no compliance within SAPS. Someone who wanted to do additional work was supposed to get permission. Why had not one of them got permission? Had someone in senior management colluded with them? SCOPA would assume so if they did not get answers. The answers given by SAPS always relate to the future when the Committee is talking about a report in front of them. The Committee wanted to know why it had happened.

Lt Gen Mothiba stated that it was wrong to do outside remunerative work without permission and they were investigating the instances and they would inform the Committee when they had done this.

Ms Chiloane referred to the list of members doing business with SAPS which Lt Gen Mgwenya had said was in process of investigation. She asked for an explanation about the SAPS cleaner.

Lt Gen Mgwenya replied that the cleaner had explained that she had initiated deregistration of her position as a director and that it would take two years for her to be de-registered. They were awaiting confirmation of the deregistration. SAPS had to rely on other departments to provide this information.

Ms Chiloane asked how long it would take to complete the investigation. How long would the disciplinary procedures take and had any monies been recovered?

Lt Gen Mgwenya said that the process was dependent on other departments. It should take 30 days to complete a disciplinary process where the matter was in the hands of SAPS but they were waiting for processes outside of SAPS. They did not have a case finalised as they did not have all information so there had been no attempt to recovery money as yet. The Loss Management Unit would recover the money if they owed money. A debt would be created against a member and monies would be recovered.

Ms Chiloane explained that the Committee was particularly interested in the recovery of funds taken out of the purse of government.

The Chairperson advised the Acting National Commissioner not to provide information not requested. The Committee had requested the Auditor-General to do a follow-up report on conflict of interest. His concern was that SAPS was right at the top of the list of officials conducting business with the state.

Mr Booi asked Lt Gen Mgwenya to stop misleading the Committee. He referred to the Auditor General Report which stated that SAPS members had to disclose in respect of three different regulations. All she could talk about was internal disciplinary action. What about the rest? She was in Human Resources. He referred to Lt Gen Hlela from Supply Chain Management who had received kickbacks of R1.3 billion. Lt Gen Mgwenya had come with the lethargic approach of saying that SAPS was investigating. Why had they not picked up the Lt Gen Hlela matter at an early stage? He saw that SAPS was not cooperative with the investigation of the Office of the Auditor General. The Committee read in the report of 469 corruption cases. The Committee was only looking at persons doing business directly with SAPS or via their families but there was much more corruption. There were 104 fraud cases amongst the police. If Lt Gen Mgwenya understood consequence management, what was she going to do? Lt Gen Hlela was going to serve five years but he had taken R1.3 billion. Lt Gen Schutte had been a CFO for many years and yet he wanted to wait for another process. But it happened under his guard. SAPS was telling the Committee that they would tell them at a time that suited SAPS as they had not finalised the cases. The Auditor General Report indicated that SAPS had not submitted information and documentation as required. There were no records, so their information was not correct. He asked who had compiled the list.

Lt Gen Mgwenya explained that the list had been compiled by the Auditor-General and SAPS had added their findings in the last column. The problem remained that the Auditor-General identified the cases and the SAPS system had not been enhanced. They did not have the ability to track this.

Mr Booi asked about the Audit Committee that was supposed to help SAPS management.

Lt Gen Mgwenya explained that the Audit Committee was an independent body so she could not speak for them, but her system could not pick up “kickbacks”. SAPS members had to apply for permission to do outside work. However, unless the employee told management, they would not know that they were doing business with state departments.

Mr Booi asked about the system that SAPS had.

Lt Gen Mgwenya replied that SAPS did not have an electronic system to identify who was doing business. SAPS had appointed an Integrity Directorate and going forward they would have a system. It was a work in progress.

Mr Booi reminded her that they were talking about the present, not the future. SAPS was always asking for money but a Lt Gen could pick up R1 billion for himself and SAPS systems could not pick up what was going on with top management.

Mr E Kekana (ANC) pointed out that SAPS had received its 2015/16 Audit Report in July 2016 with the names of people who were doing business with the state. SAPS were proudly saying that they did not have systems to verify the information. Did they have the capability to investigate it?

Lt Gen Mothiba confirmed that they had the capability to investigate.

Mr Kekana said that the spreadsheet showed that nothing was being done. For example, there was information in the column about what the SAPS member was saying but there was no follow-up information from SAPS. Had they investigated and if they had, where was the information?

The Chairperson explained that the Committee wanted to know what had been done after the SAPS members had made their statements.

Lt Gen Mgwenya admitted that work had been done that had not been shown in its report to the Committee. She suggested that the Provincial Commissioners could indicate what had been done.

Lt Gen Mothiba admitted that the responses were inadequate and promised that they would send the information in writing.

Lt Gen Bethuel Zuma, Provincial Commissioner: Mpumalanga, referred to the case of Warrant Officer Mabetshe who had resigned as a director of the company, explaining that SAPS was awaiting evidence of the change in directorship.

The Chairperson asked why the comment stated it as a fact that the SAPS member had resigned as a director.

General Zuma indicated that they were investigating and that the comment included in the report was the SAPS member’s statement. He noted that the comment should have also stated that the matter was under investigation.

Lt Gen Mothiba stated that all cases, except where SAPS members had resigned, were under investigation.

Mr Kekana asked if they would be dealing with those who had resigned.  

Lt Gen Mothiba agreed that there would be investigations into those who had resigned but that it was a different process and they would have to follow the criminal code.

Mr Kekana explained that it was the responsibility of the Department to investigate all names that the Auditor-General had given them. Recouping the money was the second step. SCOPA required a comprehensive investigation and report.

Lt Gen Mothiba stated that SAPS was investigating, firstly those who were still SAPS members and then those who had left the service. The investigation would also be recouping money.

Mr Kekana asked about timelines. When could the Committee expect a response because he had expected to be told that the investigations had been completed? Lt Gen Mgwenya referred to the presentation which showed the plan which the internal audit committee, with its limited capacity, would be looking into.

Lt Gen Mgwenya committed to sending a report in writing on the state of investigations by the end of June.

Mr M Hlengwa (IFP) said that he did not agree with the timeline as the 2015/16 audit findings should have been responded to many months ago as the 2016/17 Annual Report was coming out soon and they were already well into the 2017/18 financial year. The findings were not new. They had been identified a long time ago. The system was broken at all levels. The absence of consequence management was evident. If the former National Commissioner Phiyega was involved in doing business with the State, how broken was the system? Reading from the Auditor-General Report, he noted that full and proper documentation had not been submitted as required. Supporting documents from SAPS were always late. It was a SAPS practice that it did not deal with matters timeously, and did not adhere to laws and procedures. SAPS should be the alpha and omega of law enforcement but it was collapsing at the top. How could SAPS pursue criminals and officials in other departments if SAPS was in such shambles in-house? They were supposed to be leading against crime and corruption.

Mr Hlengwa asked about the status of the investigation into previous National Commissioner Phiyega. He also asked about Warrant Officer Mdodo who did business with the state in the amount of R1.5 million, the largest amount in the report. He required details. What was the status of the investigation? He asked for Lt Gen Mgwenya’s term of service in SAPS.

Lt Gen Mgwenya replied that she had started in Human Resources the previous year but she had been with SAPS for three decades. She explained that the previous National Commissioner had sent a letter stating that she had resigned as Director of Connex Travel in 1999. The Internal Audit Committee had conducted a forensic investigation and the case had been finalised.

The Chairperson asked if the investigation consisted of receiving a letter from the former National Commissioner, or if they had confirmed her resignation from the travel agency.

Lt Gen Mgwenya replied that the Internal Audit Unit was headed by a brigadier who was an expert at forensic audits.

Mr Hlengwa pointed out that previously she had stated that it took two years to deregister a director but she had a different story for the former Commissioner’s case.

Lt Gen Mgwenya explained that they had had a person dedicated to work on her case.

The Chairperson gave the Deputy Minister an opportunity to comment as he had to leave. He noted that he had forgotten to tell the Committee that the Minister was indisposed and could not attend the meeting.

Police Deputy Minister, Mr Bongani Mkongi, stated that the Ministry of Police was very excited about the exercise that SCOPA was undertaking but it was a serious surprise to see that the Department was unable to answer these important questions as the Auditor-General audit report had been given to SAPS a long time ago. SAPS had had a year to correct those things. The Ministry was embarrassed to see that the matters had not been addressed. They would await the SCOPA report on the matter and then arrange a meeting with the Auditor-General to fast track it. They could not preside over a corrupt institution. The Deputy Minister said that the Minister had come from the Department of Sport which he had turned around and it had had a clean financial statement and a clean audit report. It was frustrating to be with an institution that was a mess. He thanked the Chairperson for the exercise and promised that the Ministry would make a follow-up. He would arrange a meeting with the Auditor-General and the SAPS leadership so that the matters could be resolved. SCOPA should give timeframes so that they could clean the mess before the next financial year.

The Chairperson requested the Committee to continue with the interrogation.

Mr Hlengwa wanted to know why a different approach had been taken when they had investigated the former National Commissioner. If the investigation had been as successful as he was made to believe, it should have formed a framework for the rest of the investigations. He required a detailed explanation as he did not believe that it had been a comprehensive investigation. Everyone should have been treated equally.  

Lt Gen Mothiba requested permission to respond in writing.

Mr T Brauteseth (DA) asked if SAPS had systems and standards for dealing with disciplinary matters. He asked if there were standards and timeframes that would give the Committee some comfort that the matters would be dealt with expeditiously. He asked how many incidents of SAPS members doing business with the State had happened since February 2017. Could they pick it up and what had they done about it, that is, did they have monitoring systems? Or did they wait for the Auditor-General to tell them?

Lt Gen Mgwenya replied that SAPS had effective disciplinary processes. Where there was misconduct, they had 30 days to charge someone and the case had to be finalised within 60 days. The disciplinary process could be found in the Annual Report and it had been recently revised. Where there was a prima facia case, they could finalise within 5 days. They could withhold a disciplinary case until after a criminal process, if necessary. Powers to deal with SAPS members involved in business had been devolved to the provincial commissioners. They would know when a member had applied for permission to earn additional remuneration.

Mr Brauteseth said that she had not responded to his question. She had not told him how many cases had been found since February 2017. How many had been resolved in five days? He found it remarkable that a disciplinary process could have been completed in five days.

Lt Gen Schutte stated that they had 11 cases in 2016/17 but he did not know how many there were after February as he did not have that data with him.

Ms N Mente (EFF) asked if SAPS was aware that a case could not be investigated after 60 days, if it had not been pursued within that time.  

Lt Gen Mothiba explained that the standard was 60 days to investigate and 90 days to finalise but under certain situations they could extend the time.

Ms Mente said that SAPS regulations determined that after a member had been suspended or charged, the employer had to hold a hearing within 60 days.  

Lt Gen Mothiba responded that they were committed to those timeframes but explained that they could extend the time.

Ms Mente stated that the unions would defend their members against disciplinary processes if they had not been charged within the timeframe. They had not done their work and the unions would not allow them to charge the officers after the specified time. Up until Level 12, members would be protected by their unions and most of the cases were within that range.

Lt Gen Mgwenya explained that the 60 days’ rules applied only after a member had been charged but they could not charge someone until the investigation was complete. Where a member had been suspended, they would be compelled to commence with that case within 60 days.

Ms Mente asked if any of the members had been charged.

Lt Gen Mgwenya replied that no one had been charged until there was confirmation of misconduct. No one had been charged in the year since July 2016.

Ms Mente observed that SAPS had regular, quarterly inspections of vehicles, police stations, garage units, etc. How did they synchronise the outcomes of those investigations?

Lt Gen Mgwenya informed her that, in terms of those cases, they had not received a report from the inspectorate and so the disciplinary process would only kick in when there was a case of misconduct.

Ms Mente referred to the POLFIN and the PAS systems.

Lt Gen Schutte explained that POLFIN was the Police Financial Management System and PAS was the Provisioning Administration System and they interfaced because of vertical systems.

Ms Mente asked who loaded the system.

He responded that SCM loaded the system and if it was an individual they should identify if it was a SAPS member but if it was a company, they would not know as the directors of the company were not loaded on the system, except now they could test against the National Treasury System as to which public servants were involved in companies.

Ms Mente asked how one becomes a SAPS supplier.

Lt Gen Schutte explained that there were various ways, including approaching SAPS or respond to an advertisement or they had an open day.

Ms Mente noted that they had the system and the names of people who had been suspected of doing business with the state involved in fraud. The names of the 32 people would have been forwarded to police stations on the supply chain side. Either the names had not been sent out or the people in the police stations had not done their work. Which was it?

Lt Gen Schutte explained that POLFIN did not check names against the Persal System but the data of 4 500 suppliers was available to all stations for them to check. The 32 names would have been forwarded from the Supply Chain perspective but also from the Personnel side. He had files of data on that.

Ms Mente asked if the work had not been done by the provinces.

Lt Gen Schutte replied that he could not say it was not done, but it could have been expedited. He explained that there were so many cost centres that while it had been done, it had not been done fully.

Ms Mente stated that this was not an answer and he should state if it had been done or not.

He respectfully submitted that he was of the opinion that it was not an either/or situation.

Ms Mente was not satisfied. She stated that Lt Gen Mgwenya had said that some of the SAPS members had been granted permission to do business so why could they not get the file.

Lt Gen Schutte informed Ms Mente that those files were held in the provinces.

Ms Mente stated that that was what she had asked. Who had not done their work? The provinces had failed to go to HR and get the files. That was why she had not wanted him to cover for anyone.

Lt Gen Schutte replied that he was not able to give an absolute response.

The Chairperson suggested that Ms Mente address her question to the Acting National Commissioner. He understood Lt Gen Schutte’s response very well. There was one person in Northern Cape and two in Mpumalanga identified as having a conflict of interest. Did provinces need a year to investigate?

Lt Gen Mothiba took responsibility for the situation and acknowledged that SAPS had not done well in the investigations and he promised to finalise the investigations with speed.

Lt Gen Zuma explained that Mpumalanga was monitoring the deregistration of Ngwenya as a director with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). The second person from Mpumalanga had resigned and there was doubt if that person could be investigated.

Ms Mente asked if the resignation of the member as a director was prior to 31 January 2016. Anyone who was still a director after 31 January was guilty. Another person had resigned from SAPS on the 31 May but the file was not yet closed so he could be pursued.

Commissioner Sellina Nkosi of the Public Service Commission (PSC) stated that SAPS had submitted all the financial declaration forms of senior management staff (SMS) members to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and it had made findings where SMS members had a conflict of interest or had not disclosed information. PSC had written to the Minister of Police to ensure that the conflict of interest was managed but had not received a response and therefore the PSC was not aware of the outcomes. It was therefore possible that some of the 32 might have been identified as having a conflict of interest by the PSC. SAPS should have an arrangement with CIPC to obtain details of all SAPS members who had companies which to give to the SAPS Supply Chain Management so that they would know which companies had officials as directors.

Commissioner Nkosi warned that Section 30(3)(b) of the Public Service Act stated that a public servant had to apply for permission to do additional work but if the Accounting Officer did not respond within 30 days, that person was deemed to have permission.

The Chairperson asked the Commissioner if the Deputy Minister of Police was aware of the situation. He also informed the Commissioner that it would have been helpful if she had supplied details of the declarations by SMS members.

In response, Commissioner Nkosi stated that in 2013/14, 795 SAPS members submitted their financial disclosure forms. The findings of the scrutiny were that 40 SMS members had a potential conflict of interest. No response was received from the Minister. In 2014/15, 27 officials in SAPS had a potential conflict of interest and no response was received from the Minister. In 2015/16, 61 persons had not disclosed all of their interests. Again there was no response from the Ministry. Ms Nkosi stated that they were still scrutinising the 2016/17 declarations of financial interest.

Mr Ross stated that this new information was quite concerning. He noted that SAPS had had an unqualified audit report, albeit with findings, but it was possible that the Executive Authority had also left the Department in the lurch. The Committee needed to get the Public Service Commission report as soon as possible. He had a concern about the appointment of the internal audit unit. It was the National Commissioner’s prerogative to appoint the internal audit and there was a void in that unit as it was not fully staffed and not quite functional. When could the Acting National Commissioner appoint an internal unit that could address the conflict of interest matter? That could make a huge difference to the Department.

Ms Chiloane wanted to know if the Audit Committee was functioning well and what their view was of the conflict of interest matter.

Mr Booi said that the Accounting Officer was not familiar with the Annual Reports but in terms of the law, he was responsible. Lt Gen Mgwenya was better informed but she had tried to mislead Parliament. SCOPA dealt only with the Accounting Officer, no one else and he had to take full responsibility in front of SCOPA. The Committee had gained further insight from the Public Service Commission. What would the SAPS Acting National Commissioner do if SCOPA came up with a completely different report from the one that had been presented? If the information was contradictory, he could be asked to resign. Mr Booi felt that Lt Gen Mgwenya had misled Parliament and should resign but he held the Acting National Commissioner responsible.

Ms Mente referred to the three people in Supply Chain Management that had breached the rules. Supply Chain Management was the custodian of the rules and regulations that governed in procurement in SAPS. In addition to the lists that Mr Hlengwa had requested, she requested information on the outcome of the investigation against the three people in Supply Chain Management. The three members had breached those rules but SAPS was “still investigating”. She suggested that the National Commissioner should charge his Provincial Commissioners who had not investigated the people under suspicion of doing business with the state. The Provincial Commissioners had not investigated. Not a single person had been charged. That was irregular expenditure that could have been prevented.

Mr Hlengwa requested a far more detailed status quo of the cases. He noted that former National Commissioner Phiyega’s case had been fast tracked, probably to set an example or an image of SAPS diligently doing its work. The cases had been delegated to Provincial Commissioners but delegation of work did not mean delegation of responsibility. He objected that investigations had been sent back to those who, in the first place, should have ensured that the conflict of interest had not happened. Those who had not stopped it happening were now being given responsibility to investigate it. He was concerned that the Office of the National Commissioner did not have the ability to investigate the 32 matters. The meeting had been a waste of time. He took strong exception to sending investigations to friends who protect friends. The presentation was nothing less that “malicious compliance” intended to hoodwink the Committee into thinking something was being done when nothing had been done.

The Chairperson observed that the hearing had not talked to the lack of stability in the leadership of the police. In 23 years, there had been six people at the helm of the police. For three successive years the Public Service Commission had written to the Minister and told him about the problems with officials, but the Minister had ignored it. It could not be correct that the Ministry ignored a Chapter 10 Institution. There had not been a single year when every senior manager had been clean. He wondered if the political leadership was not interested in such matters. He suggested that SCOPA might want to call the Public Service Commission to discuss financial declarations in greater detail.

Lt Gen Mothiba indicated that he had taken serious note of what the Committee had said and he would deal with this and interrogate each and every aspect because the most important thing was prevention. One of his immediate tasks would be to meet with the internal audit committee whom he had not yet met. He took full responsibility for the situation. He saw that things were not right. He would sit down with the team and find out why the provinces had not dealt with matters. He was concerned that members of the supply chain had been fingered. A full written report would be submitted.

Mr Booi asked the Chairperson to request a report from the Police Minister once the Committee had received the Public Service Commission report.

Mr Kekana requested a timeframe for SAPS forwarding the requested written report.

The Acting National Commissioner asked for time until the end of June. He needed to do some investigation before he could draft his report to the Committee and not just respond for the sake of responding. He would like to address not only systemic failures but also systemic challenges.

The Chairperson requested the National Commissioner to personally pursue the case of Mpanza and how the cleaner’s company, Okaak, in KwaZulu-Natal had bid for and was awarded a tender for R115 000. Some sly people were using the cleaner as a front.

The Chairperson could not understand why the police were not suspicious of that situation. He noted that the people who should be chasing after the criminals were behaving like criminals themselves.

Meeting adjourned.

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