IPID reports on performance & police action crime; SAPS Crime Intelligence refocus

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27 June 2017
Chairperson: Mr F Beukman (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) reported on Quarter 3 and 4 performance, gave an update on high profile cases plus statistical information on crimes reported to be as a result of police action. IPID Executive Director Mr Robert McBride noted that key to IPID performance was underfunding which had led to some core functions having to be halted or frozen such as the filling of vacancies; training; internal audit annual plan; statistical analysis software could not be procured; some investigations were put on the back burner and the position of key legal advisor to investigators on the ground had been frozen. IPID was facing litigation as investigator salaries were not on par with the SA Police Service. All the IPID restructuring and disputes with SAPS had led to a drop in morale. The IPID CFO noted that for 2016/17 IPID had spent 99.8% of its budget but IPID still owed R23 million in accrued invoices. Mr McBride said Treasury had been unresponsive to requests for additional funding.

The Chairperson said this was an urgent matter that needed to be sorted out. It had been a Farlam recommendation to increase IPID resources.

IPID gave a briefing on its Section 9(n) Report which deals with crime detected within the SA Police Service. A total of 3 313 cases had been reported to IPID during the reporting period (the first half of 2016/17). These were: 1 857 assault cases, 714 complaints of discharge of official firearm, 207 deaths as a result of police action; 154 cases of death in police custody. The other reported cases included:
- Death in police custody had increased except in the Western Cape. Overall there was an increase of 50% with 154 deaths in police custody;
- 207 people died as a result of police action;
- 25 people were raped by an on duty police officer and 26 were raped by off duty officers;
- Seven people were raped in police custody which was a 53% decrease;
- A total of 1 918 were tortured or assaulted. While there were no torture cases reported in the Western Cape, it had the highest number of assault cases (425).

During its feedback on high profile cases, six cases were reported on:
- Allegations of SAPS members in Parliament disguised as Parliamentary Protection Service officers;
- Complaint against Rosettenville SAPS;
- Corruption alert on SAPS supply chain management involving the selling of printing toners to purchase a Range Rover;
- Cash heist at OR Tambo International Airport
- Shooting at OR Tambo International Airport; and
- Defeating and obstructing the course of justice against General Berning Ntlemeza.

Members were for the most part happy with performance despite the dire funding constraints.

Acting National Commissioner Lesetja Mothiba and Acting Director of Crime Intelligence Pat Mokushane led the SAPS Crime Intelligence report. Responding to media reports, both men assured the Committee that Mokushane did indeed have security clearance and had not hired his spouse as his personal secretary. Another contentious issue was the transfer of crime intelligence officers from head office to provinces. Unions had been consulted and the process was still to be finalised. There had to be more eyes on the ground and more informants.

Meeting report

Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on its Quarter 3 & 4 performance
The IPID Executive Director, Mr Robert McBride, Chief Executive Officer, Ms Linda Ngcongo, and Acting Director: Strategy and Performance, Ms Suzan Letlape, made the presentation.

Mr McBride said IPID’s budget was a considerable hindrance to its work. This was as a result of the budget cuts and ceiling placed by National Treasury on compensation of employees. Some of the activities in investigations and stakeholder management were deferred to the next financial year. As a result, four case classifications were prioritised for investigation; which were death in police custody; death as a result of police action; rape by police officer and rape while in custody; and systemic corruption.

Management had taken drastic decisions to reprioritise departmental activities and expenditure to remain within the allocated budget. Reallocation of funds had been done from non-core to core activities of IPID to achieve more with fewer resources. Activities that were affected included:
- Filling of vacancies;
- Training;
- Internal audit annual plan could not be completed;
- Statistical analysis software could not be procured;
- Some investigations were put on the back burner; and
- Legal opinions provided to IPID were curtailed with the position frozen. This was a critical post.

IPID Chief Executive Officer, Ms Linda Ngcongo, said at the end of Quarter 4, IPID had spent 99.8%; R242.1 million of R241.7million targeted spending. This left IPID with an available budget of R380,000. All programmes reported expenditure of more than 99% of their allocated budget. It had an accrual of R23 million which was still due to be paid for mainly contractual invoices.

In summary, Mr McBride said even though performance was falling short, the impact of IPID in any event has been exponentially better in terms of high profile cases. IPID had become a household name but performance was not ideal. This was evidenced by an increase in complaints lodged with IPID.

Ms Letlape said IPID had 1 733 complaints in its case load and more were coming in.

Mr F Beukman (ANC) said it was concerning that only three provinces had been visited by IPID. Why were the others not in its scope? The accrual of R23 million amounted to 9% of IPID’s budget which was not sustainable going forward. What were the cost containment measures? How were the books being balanced?

Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) asked for an explanation for the costs on non-core items like travel and subsistence. In addition, why had the IPID logo changed?

Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said it was almost a “nice problem to have” going from overspending to under spending. But the trade-off from diversions from non-core to core programmes was noted. There were structural challenges. He asked what the engagements with the Ministry and Treasury had been like on the budget. What feedback had IPID received in improving the baseline?

Mr Mbhele asked about the drop in stakeholder related activities such as station visits and community outreach events. This was a function of the SA Police Service but what was IPID doing to get the backing of the Civilian Secretariat for Police? It was matter of creativity not necessarily money.

Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked what had led to the high increase in travel costs. The large number of vacancies in the investigation and management programme was a concern as they were key and this had a knock on effect. She asked what progress has been made about the remuneration of investigators.

Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) asked if there had been a consolidated presentation to Treasury on IPID’s overall allocation of resources and what had been the response. He was worried about the Constitutional Court’s ruling on independence. This meant there had to be more investigators which needed more resources to address the so-called police interference in IPID operations. There was the question of systemic corruption and it needed an in-depth discussion.

Mr McBride replied that the increasing risk of less audit activity in the provinces was the result of budget and fiscal neglect of IPID. That was the original sin. Underfunding had to be looked at against the background of the Farlam Commission findings and the Constitutional Court pronouncement as well as the Auditor-General’s report yet IPID was still underfunded. For many years IPID had been singing it was underfunded. But in instead of getting more funding, its budget had been cut. “Now we are at breaking point".

About the R23m accrual, which were mainly contractual obligations, it was clear there was underfunding Money should have been ring fenced to avoid litigation. Currently the situation was not sustainable and this meant IPID would be closing down some satellite offices. It was still figuring out which ones but this meant overheads such as rent and services would be cut. IPID was looking as at ways to mitigate against total collapse in areas and would sort out a plan to deal with that.

Mr McBride explained that IPID had never had a logo. All other departments had logos and IPID needed to be seen as independent. The logo which looked like an eye reflected independence, impartiality and integrity. The eye shape and the eye theme was a play on the two ‘I’s in IPID and its role as an oversight body. The Latin phrase Custos Custodum translated to guards of the guards or watchers of the watchers.

On the investigations that bore fruit, Mr McBride said the irony was that its ultimate impact was of a perceptual strategy focus.

On engagement with Treasury or any other stakeholder about funding, Mr McBride said: “I can say without an iota of doubt that we do not have the sympathy. [They are] not interested in ConCourt; Farlam; the Auditor-General.”

With South Africa’s ratings downgrades, one could expect corruption to go up and corruption in the police would follow suit. This would mean an increase in the case load with an already underfunded budget.

He said IPID should be doing police station lectures but these had taken a backseat during what is “colloquially called our exile period”.

He agreed there were a large number of vacancies. He gave one example of an investigator who was tasked to investigate former Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane. The investigator was now working as a senior officer under Phahlane helm.

On the remuneration of IPID investigators which looks to be heading for litigation, Mr McBride replied it was not only about legality and resources. IPID may be found wanting and in contempt of court, if we do not get the consent of Treasury for more funding. The situation was increasingly untenable and unsustainable. For section 23 matters; conditions of services including remuneration and IPID has not been on par with SAPS remuneration since its inception. Various courts had been approached. He said IPID was in no position to oppose any litigation “just for the sake of it”. The matter had been dragging on for too long.

Mr Matthews Sesoko, IPID Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation, said an increase in travel costs had to be understood in the context of the previous year when personnel were moved from provinces. Going into Quarters 3 and 4, IPID was already on the back foot. Leadership changes and restructuring of personnel had increased travel costs and goods and services.

Management had to take a strategic decision to see how to contain what would be called over expenditure. This meant the reprioritisation of cases. The reality was that IPID was trying to contain its accruals. It had gone into this financial year R23 million in the red. This meant starting off with 10% less of its R255 million budget. To try to cut costs, officials would travel to investigate more than one case at a time. IPID was trying to find cheaper alternatives for accommodation. The core problem was funding. The number of investigators had dropped from 423 to 388. This meant more cases with fewer people.

Ms Nomkhosi Netsianda IPID Chief Director: Corporate Services, said IPID literally closed shop in November/December. It had to delay the advertising and appointment of positions. She had even asked herself what the point of going into the office was. Projected spending was sitting in minus. She predicted that by September, IPID would have to close more district offices if there was no positive response on funding. People were working from home now. It had become impossible.

In terms of section 23 on remuneration, she said it was a disaster waiting to happen. IPID would not oppose any court action. It had engaged with everyone and Parliament was aware of it.

Mr Beukman asked who IPID was dealing with at the Treasury. Was it the Director-General?

Mr McBride responded that it was the director as he wanted to follow protocol and did not want to undermine the process. But the matter had now become quite urgent.

Mr Beukman said in terms of the Farlam Commission ruling about more funding to IPID, the Committee would look into this. It would engage with the new Director-General as the situation was quite urgent.

Ms Letlape said Gauteng forensic pathologists have put down tools. We are trying our best to avoid investigators from downing tools. We will not oppose. We must do something because it is a disaster.

IPID spokesperson, Mr Moses Dlamini, noted the logo was approved by the executive director in April.

Ms L Mabija (ANC) said IPID had to do more with less. This was a reality of all government’s departments. IPID was using private investigators. Why, when private investigators had their own money?

She, followed by Ms Molebatsi, asked how much the logo had cost.

Mr Mbhele referred to the “exile period”. Could he get a picture of what the first two quarters looked like? The Committee should get a briefing from Parliament’s Appropriation Committee. The Committee had the power to fix this. “We are not helpless and IPID was not beyond the realm of the assistance of this Committee.”

Mr Beukman asked what the contingency plans were in place for the provinces not visited by IPID.

Mr McBride replied that no private investigators had been hired but they might be used in the future.

His response became quite heated when he said it was discomforting to hear wide sweeping statements that money had been misused.

“We have not misused any money and any allegation like that must be rejected with the contempt it deserves. We are not going belabour that point. We are not here to be abused and insulted.”

He said IPID should have its own logo; an identity. A negligible amount had been spent.

An IPID colleague later said it had cost about R20 000.

He said there was no independent process from SAPS for the IPID budget process. It would be dereliction of duty if he did not state that he had been requested by SA Revenue Service Commissioner Tom Moyane for handover reports about mindless transfers, unlawful restructuring and vexatious and malicious processes. He had refused to hand over a report because everything he did was under instruction from the then-Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko. He said people had been transferred, such as the head of legal services to the Northern Cape for no logical reason. Others got suspended because they raised their voice in meetings.

Mr Sesoko said in terms of internal audits, IPID would actually go to every province and confirm. Systemic corruption because of its nature was not always able to identify.

Mr McBride added that to mitigate this conduct, management audits were conducted and the Auditor-General was on board so no province would be overlooked.

Ms Mmola said IPID had to plan more so they could spend less - and now they were crying. It was not for the Committee to decide on the budget. Another meeting should be called regarding intimidation. She asked for an update on the investigation of the former IPID executive director.

Mr Beukman said IPID had to have a one-on-one with Treasury. The situation could not be one where IPID was unable to do its job. With elections on the way and the Higher Education report to be released in August, IPID’s activities would increase.

Mr Beukman said Judge Farlam’s recommendation that more money go to IPID had to be enacted. Otherwise it was just a report.

Section 9 Report: IPID briefing
Mr Sesoko delivered the presentation on statistical information related to illegal activity and incidents involving police officers. A total of 3 313 cases had been reported to IPID during the reporting period (the first half of 2016/17). 1 857 were assault cases, 714 were complaints about the discharge of official firearms, 207 were cases of death as a result of police action followed by 154 cases of death in police custody.

The majority of cases (531) were reported in KwaZulu-Natal. This represented a 44% increase. The only provinces where there had been a decline were Mpumalanga and North West.

Other reported matters included:
- Death in police custody had increased except in the Western Cape. Overall there was an increase of 50% with 154 deceased;
- 207 people died as a result of police action;
- 25 people were raped by an on duty police officer while 26 were raped by off duty officers;
- Seven people were raped in police custody which was a 53% decrease;
- 1 918 people were tortured or assaulted. While there were no torture cases reported in the Western Cape, it had the highest number of assault cases (425).

To date there had been 86 disciplinary convictions; 87 acquittals; 27 criminal convictions; 64 members were arrested for different crimes and 805 matters were on the court roll.

The presentation outlined IPID’s recommendations and the details of the cases (see document).

Ms Molebatsi asked if, in the cases of suicide while in police custody, the person’s belt and shoelaces had been removed. Were any charges laid against station commanders for the suicides? There were 55 suspects who died as the result of natural causes. Was there any update? She asked why in the Western Cape there were no torture cases reported but it had highest number of assaults.

Mr Mbhele asked if the IPID recommendations to SAPS had in fact been heeded by SAPS. What was the outcome of the SAPS disciplinary hearings? If IPID handed down a guilty verdict and the outcome of the disciplinary hearing differed, what was the process going forward? Were any recommendations made on an appropriate sanction?

Mr Mhlongo asked for a better breakdown of where the various crimes were committed. When IPID recommended that police conduct an internal inquiry into Marikana, the police had said there was no wrongdoing. Did IPID have the power the hold the police to account? Police continued to operate in high levels of secrecy. There was a systemic kind of extermination of people who had come forward and charged police in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mr Beukman said an increase of 50% in deaths was shocking and absolutely unacceptable. There are people in SAPS that should not be there. The Commissioners of Free State and North West should be called to the Committee. It had international implications. The increase in rapes by on duty officers was too much. He asked if any specific police stations continued to stand out in terms of charges. The executive director had said there had been good cooperation with the National Prosecuting Authority. Was this in all provinces and in all courts?

Mr McBride responded that in some provinces prosecutors were more ready to assist. There was a process of centralisation in the Pretoria courts. Sometimes there was a disparity in the time NPA dealt with cases; some quickly, others not. There was great enthusiasm and tenacity from some, other cases took years to get heard in court. One torture case still had to be heard after six years. There was a reluctance or inertia in dealing with those cases. In terms of human rights, if such cases were processed more quickly, then the word would spread that torture would not be tolerated.

Mr Sesoko replied that IPID was doing a trend analysis and suicide cases would be looked at in terms of police involvement and recommendations would be made whether criminal or internal action should be taken. There was a lack of systems and so forth.

He said the recommendations were called negative investigations when no disciplinary action was taken. It was one of the problems IPID had with SAPS. But there was continued engagement.

The disciplinary process was that of the police. IPID did not have the power to implement the outcome. Often IPID found that sanctions were not commensurate with the offence and this had been raised with the police. It was hoped the police would take this to heart.

IPID high profile cases
Mr Sesoko gave feedback on six high profile cases (see document):
- Allegations of SAPS members in Parliament disguised as Parliamentary Protection Services;
- Complaint against Rosettenville SAPS;
- Corruption alert on SAPS supply chain management involving the selling of printing toners to purchase a Range Rover;
- Cash heist at OR Tambo International Airport
- Shooting at OR Tambo International Airport; and
- Defeating and obstructing the course of justice against General Berning Ntlemeza.

Members were interested in the violent incident involving Parliamentary Protection Services personnel during the State of the Nation Address in February 2017, there were allegations by EFF leader, Mr Julius Malema, that two SAPS members, namely Ms Nokuthula Joka and Mr Gerry Maphumulo, were disguised as members of the Parliamentary Protection Services.

Mr Sesoko reported that the IPID preliminary investigation established that Ms Nokuthula was a former SAPS member. She resigned from the police service on the 31 July 2015. At the time of the incident she was not a SAPS member. IPID established during the investigation and from the photos that Mr Maphumulo as identified by the complainant, was in fact Mr Sizathu Mkana, not Mr Maphumulo. Mr Mkana was a former SAPS officer who resigned on the 31 July 2016.

SAPS presentation on Crime Intelligence
Ahead of the presentation, Mr Beukman welcomed Acting National Commissioner Lesetja Mothiba and his delegation and noted the police dog investigation in the Western Cape which yielded the biggest drug bust in the history of the country. He welcomed the initiative to host a symposium on crime classification and recording standards of SAPS own accord. What was concerning were reports about the restructuring of Crime Intelligence (CI) and the possible unhappiness by its members. That was the reason SAPS had been called to brief the Committee. He said the Committee had raised a number of issues about CI over the last three years including the lack of a permanent leader.

Reflecting on recommendations over the last three years, Mr Beukman noted that in 2015 there had been a plan to increase the CI footprint across the country. Major crime was happening in the clusters. The Committee had recommended that all personnel be vetted with lifestyle audits and with top secret clearance. The number of informants had to be increased. Some of the handlers had just three or four informants. The importance of crime intelligence was highlighted by the recent incidents at the Bloemfontein City Hall and the Joe Slovo clinic and community hall. Crime intelligence should have been aware of this and what was happening on the ground. With the release of the Higher Education report in August, would the police be ready for any protests or disruptions?

Major-General Leon Rabie, SAPS Head: Strategic Management, made the presentation (see document)

Acting Divisional Commissioner of Crime Intelligence, Major-General Pat Mokushane, said the transfer of intelligence officials to provinces was to put them where they were best needed. It was not just downscaling. There were more resources and personnel at head office but on the ground no capacity at all. On a visit to head office, he realised there were a lot of personnel who were duplicating work.

He said over the last 10 years, all the posts advertised, percentage wise, 1% of people had been distributed to the provinces. Head office would take the cream of the crop so there was no capacity on the ground. Resources had to be used optimally. He said SAPS members would be consulted down the line as to the performance on the ground after the transition. It was necessary to put intelligence where it was needed most as police complained they did not have it.

Mr Beukman wanted an indication of the consultation process with officials. Would this be raised with the unions as it could mean uprooting families? He asked if Maj-Gen Mokushane had top secret clearance certificate.

Ms Mmola asked what would happen to the national office if the leaders were taken to the provinces. Would this mean having to employ more people to work at head office? She asked if the unions and the Minister had been consulted.

Ms Mabija said she believed the back to basics approach was needed. The Department had to be strong as there were some people who deceptively did not want the process to be done correctly.

Mr Mhlongo wanted to know how to move the process of high level secrecy to ground level. The heist at OR Tambo happened because there were no eyes on the ground. Specific shortcomings were identified in the whole division; perhaps there should be collaboration with other intelligence agencies to avoid this thing that “intelligence is run by the Gupta family. That is embarrassing”, he argued.

Ms Molebatsi said for a while the Committee had been talking about the top level structure so this relocation process might start to address that. Referring to Maj-Gen Mokushane, she said it was very discouraging when a person was put in a position and within days faced controversy.

Mr Mbhele disputed that it was not downscaling but devolution. Was the current process the reason why crime intelligence was not working? He asked what the police and the unions thought of the process. There was a “flurry” after a circular was issued on the Friday with SAPS members asked where they wanted to go and that they had to respond by 4pm on Monday. That did not sound like the time frame, tone or kind of approach that was consultative. He asked if the Crime Intelligence officers would keep doing what they were doing before; what was the trade-off?

He asked for the Acting Divisional Head to respond to reports that he appointed his spouse as his personal assistant; if so, was the proper labour law process complied with?

Ms Mmola asked if a person at head office was transferred, would the person remain at the same rank.

Acting National Commissioner Mothiba replied that Maj-Gen Mokushane had top secret security clearance and he had been assured by Mokushane that he had. He was still waiting for a copy of it. He would inform the Committee. He said Mokushane was appointed in a security clearance position in Gauteng when he first met him. He had been assured that for the acting role, Mokushane met the requirements.

Ms Mmola wanted to know what the requirements were.

Lt-Gen Mothiba replied that in considering the placement, requirements included that the candidate had to be a major general, a police member in good standing with no criminal record. He was assured that Mokushane had met these requirements. He reminded the Committee that Mokushane was only appointed in an acting position. When a permanent head was sought, it would go beyond the vetting process.

Mr Beukman asked why due diligence was not followed considering he was still waiting for the security clearance certificate and he was appointed on 17 June.

Lt-Gen Mothiba said he agreed that he should have Mokushane’s top secret clearance certificate in his hands but he had assured them was nothing untoward.

Ms Mabija asked what would happen if the vetting and polygraph process was negative.

Ms Molebatsi wanted to know how long the process took.

Lt-Gen Mothiba replied it did not take a long time; it was just that Mokushane had been busy.

Maj-Gen Mokushane said he had a polygraph two or three years ago and passed. In terms of current responsibilities it had to be done every five years so the previous one still stood.

He said Crime Intelligence members had been consulted regarding transfers. Currently there was no crime intelligence on the ground. Information was in abundance but there was no ground being covered.

He said provincial heads were still being consulted but some of the provinces were saying “please don’t bring us junk”. People would have to be competent.

He reiterated that people would be given a choice.

Lt-Gen Mothiba said he fully supported the process. Head office was too big and it was not only crime intelligence. Human resources would be leading the process.

Maj-Gen Mokushane said none of the media reports were true that his wife was his personal assistant. She had never been a personnel assistant. She had worked for a year in the crime intelligence office in technical support which was a totally separate office.

Mr Mhlongo questioned the rationale behind the transfer of Crime Intelligence officers. There were no eyes or ears on the ground but now there was non-researched action. The doctrine of a tool kit was necessary.

Mr Beukman said even in 2015 the Committee had stated that the footprint was lacking; especially at cluster level. The focus on this was welcomed. When Parliament was back from recess, the Committee had to be given the assurance that this was happening.

Maj-Gen Mokushane said the mandate of head office was to set the standard and monitor it. That capacity would remain there. Only those who could cover intelligence on the ground would be taken. The process had to be finalised within two months because crime intelligence was a priority.

Ms Mmola wanted the assurance that a person would not be hired into a position that the person was not ready to undertake.

Maj-Gen Mokushane said none of the vacant posts at head office would be advertised.

Lt-Gen Mothiba there was no way crime intelligence could operate with a top heavy system. There was no member who would go outside crime intelligence.

Mr Mbhele again asked if senior management had thought about rank seniority and mitigated against this when Crime Intelligence officers were transferred. Had this been considered?

Lt-Gen Mothiba said no Crime Intelligence officers would be lost in the system because of the transfer nor would they be victimised. In terms of rank, there would be plans for equal cooperation. Some of the members had applauded the decision. The cream of the crop had to be at the operational level. After Parliament recess, it was hoped the police would be ready to provide an updated report.

Mr Beukman said going forward it was a non-negotiable that any Acting Commissioner did not have valid security clearance and meet the necessary requirements. Crime Intelligence should go to cluster and station level. As the SAPS Crime Statistics has reported, there was an increase in trio crimes – so it was expected that Crime Intelligence would be make headway, detecting and dealing with trio crimes.

After briefly going through the committee programme during and after recess, the meeting was adjourned.

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