The South African Police Service (SAPS) briefed the Committee on the current status of vetting reports, focusing on the vetting process and irregularities which had been identified. This was followed by a briefing from the Hawks, known officially as the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI), on the procurement of security measures.
The SAPS presentation gave details of the vetting mandate and process, including the cases where top secret security clearance certificates had been printed irregularly on 30 June and 4 July 2017. SAPS said that these cases had recently received a lot of media attention and explained that the issuing of the certificates in question had been irregular, as the vetting processes had not been concluded. It conceded that the security clearance situation was alarming, with more than 50 people at senior levels not having the required clearance.
Members expressed concern over the promises about security clearances which had been made at a previous meeting, but which had not been fulfilled. They were extremely concerned about how a case like this could take place at such a high level within the SAPS management, and what it said about the integrity of the SAPS. They wanted to establish what actions had been taken since these irregularities had come to light, and whether those implicated were facing suspension or not. Members also asked for information about the Grace Mugabe case and were told that as far as SAPS were concerned, she was still in the country, although the media were suggesting otherwise.
The DPCI explained how the security clearance system worked, and both the DPCI and the Committee raised concerns over the lack of a continuous vetting system. The DPCI said that the capacity of the vetting department was a problem, and this had created a large backlog in the system. This had meant there were problems with security clearances lapsing while applications were still being processed. A full investigation was being carried out by the Provincial Commissioner for Limpopo, and the Chairperson requested that a copy of the interim report be made available to the Committee for its meeting next Wednesday.
The DPCI reported on the procurement of security measures, explaining that assessments of DPCI facilities had been carried out in 2010 and 2015. From these assessments, shortcomings were identified and recommendations had been made to improve the security of the facilities. However, these recommendations had not been fully implemented to date. They requested that they be allowed to inform the Committee about the details of which recommendations had, and had not, been carried out at Wednesday’s meeting. The DPCI also asserted that the problems of implementation lay with the Department of Public Works.
Members referred to delays in procurement that had been raised during the Committee’s Durban visit, and expressed disappointment at the lack of information contained in the briefing about these problems. The DPCI responded that these problems were coming from the Department of Public Works and not the SAPS supply chain. Due to the lack of relevant information on these issues, Members agreed to curtail the discussion, and revisit it during Wednesday’s meeting.
The Chairperson discussed the Committee’s successful visit to KwaZulu-Natal two weeks previously. The visit had focused on various sections of the SAPS, concentrating on police stations, specialised units and specific hotspots within the province, as well as gaining information from members in order to ascertain the current situation within the province. He emphasised the need for a closer management approach from the Regional Commissioners, ensuring that there was compliance but also that the leadership was well trained and properly monitored and that necessary rules were in place to ensure that challenges were dealt with on an urgent basis.
The Chairperson expressed concern over the facilities visited, and expressed the need for the Committee to engage with Department of Public Works (DPW) on how the current situation could be improved. He gave examples of the transportation of those awaiting trial, with the lack of police cells at Nongoma Police Station, as well as problems with vehicles not operating effectively. He also highlighted the issue of leadership, and how station commanders were being mentored and what exactly was expected of cluster commanders in terms of how they intervened if there was a challenge, and whether they should wait for orders from the province or national.
The Committee had recommended an extra five members being allocated to Umlazi Police Station in order to assist with investigations. Improvements were urgently needed in terms of the Crime Intelligence (CI) footprint in the area. as well as the issue of a satellite police station. Necessary support was needed from a visible policing side and this was an issue that would need attention going forward. A permanent Provincial Commissioner was needed in each province. One of the positives to come out of the visit was the state of the specialised units, and he acknowledged the five-year anniversary of Marikana.
Since the start of the current Parliament, the Committee had visited all of the Public Order Policing (POP) units that they could possibly visit, and the impression given was that these units had experienced officers who understood what was needed, but that a change was needed in how the police operated and dealt with the public, as well as having a good understanding of the importance of minimum force and maximum restraint. There was a critical need for funds to be made available in the budget for the Parliamentary recommendations to be fast tracked, as well as the importance for radio communication and first aid training. Problems surrounding vehicles had also been highlighted again, as the maximum deployment of vehicles in public order situations was still a concern. There was less than 50% availability of the old style Nyala, which put SAPS members under pressure, and therefore the fast tracking of the Nyala programme was essential.
The Chairperson said that the International Panel would sit in September, and therefore a concrete report would be needed to report back on what had been done. It was also critical that the matter of financing and resourcing of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) was discussed. This had been tabled for discussion in October. He reiterated the good job that the officers and members of the specialised units were doing, but said that it was a difficult crime situation and all hands were needed on deck. The Committee had also said that the national department should give more resources to KwaZulu-Natal to deal specifically with political murders, and that this was an important matter to deal with going forward.
The Chairperson outlined the day’s programme, stating that the Committee would look at the vetting status of the Acting Head of CI. At a previous Committee meeting a few months ago, it had been indicated by the Acting National Commissioner that the certificate issue just had to be finalised. In the City Press two weeks ago, a report had brought the fact that there was no finalisation of this certificate yet into the public domain, and that there had been indication of possible improper behaviour in issuing certificates irregularly. He expressed how important it was from an oversight point of view that the Committee was fully briefed and that they knew if the vetting process had been finalised, the certificates had been issued and if not, what the current status was.
The other issue tabled was the visit to Durban, with an update from the acting head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation on the break-in that had taken place at the head office in Pretoria. The Committee had received a full report on the investigation status and also on the issues around ensuring that they had the necessary equipment in place, as well as replacing phones and other items. However, it had been stated at that meeting that there had been a delay in the procurement of those replacements, so it was important that the South African Police Service indicate to the Committee why there was a delay. The Committee had said previously that the DPCI should have its own budget vote, but Treasury had not supported that position. However, with a situation like the security problems at the DPCI, and they did not have the necessary security equipment and facilities, then the matter should be handled on an urgent basis.
Lt Gen Lesetja Mothiba, Acting National Commissioner, apologised for his absence from the Committee’s oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal. He had been briefed on the visit by his team, and the national Department had already put in additional resources in the form of manpower. He reassured the Committee that the SAPS were co-operating with the Moerane Commission, and that his team had been told to prepare for a presentation, as many things had been said about the SAPS and they needed the chance to give their side of the story.
Irregular Vetting Reports: SAPS Briefing
Maj Gen Leon Rabie, Component Head: Strategic Management, briefed the Committee on the current situation of vetting reports, specifically in terms of the requirements, as well as with reference to the recent media reports. He said that the presentation did not contain a lot of detail due to the nature of the topic, but that a full investigation had taken place and a detailed report had been written. He discussed the vetting mandate, referencing the National Strategic Intelligence Act, and explained the stages of the vetting process which needed to be followed. Security clearance could not be granted if the process was not followed as prescribed.
He commented on the irregularities in the vetting process which had recently been highlighted in the media. On 30 June 2017, a top secret security clearance certificate had been issued for General Pat Mokushane, Head of Crime Intelligence. Security clearances had also been printed for Brigadier ML Phetlhe and Brigadier VVV Mazwi on 4 July 2017. The printing of these certificates was irregular, as the vetting processes had not yet been concluded at the time of printing. When this had come to the attention of Maj Gen Dumezweni Zimu, Component Head of Counter and Security Intelligence on 22 July, the Component Head had submitted a report on these identified irregularities to both the Acting National Commissioner and the Acting Divisional Commissioner of Crime Intelligence. This report included recommendations that the certificates be rescinded and recalled for safe keeping, that an investigation be carried out by the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence, and that Brigadier Phetlhe be transferred or suspended.
Lt Gen Mothiba explained that General Mokushane’s security clearance had expired in 2007. He had applied for and taken the mandatory polygraph test, but the results had been held at Counter Intelligence and the General had not been informed as to why his security clearance had not been granted. General Mothiba said he had referred the whole process of General Mokushane’s vetting to the State Security Agency (SSA), because General Mokushane was now the head of Crime Intelligence which dealt with vetting. This meant that his juniors would be vetting him, which was inappropriate, as it would mean ultimately that he would be vetting himself. Rules dictated that General Mokushane should have been confronted about the irregularities that arose in his vetting procedure and asked for clarification, but he had not been.
Lt Gen Mothiba clarified that the certificate that had been issued was done so irregularly, because the process of issuing the certificate had not gone through the office of General Zimu. This was why the certificate had been withdrawn. The report from General Zimu’s office had highlighted irregularities which included allegations of General Mokushane running businesses from work and using money from the Secret Service account wrongly. Lt Gen Mothiba explained that he had appointed General Ledwaba, and he had been assured that he would receive a report which would speak to the entire process and the allegations surrounding money. Dealing with these stories in the media was difficult because when one story was dealt with, another appeared the following week, and the story around the vetting irregularities had put SAPS in the media for all the wrong reasons. General Ledwaba had to investigate so that SAPS could get to the bottom of the whole issue. The entire top management of Crime Intelligence would be vetted by the SSA, because there were some problems in that space where vetting processes had not been done correctly.
Maj Gen D Zimu, Component Head: Counter Intelligence, spoke more about the vetting process as outlined in the National Strategic Intelligence Act, 1994, and explained that the evaluation process had been skipped and the panel had not sat to evaluate the situation. The certificates in question had been issued before that process could take place.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked for clarification on whether Gen. Zimu had been suspended, or if there was a suspension hanging over his head for raising the alarm about the security clearances. She wished to know what had been done so far about the irregularities highlighted.
Ms M Mmola (ANC) said that at the last meeting, the Acting National Commissioner had said he would submit the police clearance of Gen. Mokushane, but today Members of the Committee had been told that this was not available. She asked what the requirements were when appointing the acting head of CI, because this post was critical. The expiration of Gen. Mokushane’s clearance dated back to 2007 -- had he been working in the Department without the relevant clearance for ten years? She asked Gen. Zimu who had skipped the process, and what had he done in response.
Ms Molebatsi referred to a previous Committee meeting, where Mr Mbhele had asked Gen. Mokushane about appointing his wife and he had said that his wife had been in that office for so many years. She asked for clarification on whether Gen. Mokushane had now appointed her as his personal assistant (PA) or not.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) said that the situation being dealt with was quite awkward in the sense that there was a prescript that determined what had to happen prior to an appointment, and that vetting was key. Given that the Acting National Commissioner was of the view that this clearance was going to be given and that the issue was only administrative, but after learning that the problem was actually bigger than originally reported, what action had been taken? If Gen. Mokushane had not met the requirements, then who had made sure that two of the steps had been missed? How had that happened, as the issuing should be based on records that came from the panel? He asked for further information on the actions of the Acting National Commissioner now that it was known that certain actions may need to be taken to protect the sensitive environment. If the certificate had expired in 2007, then that person was not qualified to be in that position -- or was it that the General believed the person was still qualified to be in that particular sensitive position and therefore the action was immaterial at this point? He asked what action had been taken to date to minimise the damage and under whose instructions had the action been carried out? Who at the top had issued these instructions? He was concerned that something of this nature could take place at the top of the SAPS management. Gen. Rabie had not explained what had to happen if something similar to this case came to light, and he was concerned that the General had not told the Committee. He highlighted the ongoing investigation, saying that it would probably bring out more details of the case. Was the investigation correcting the legal flaws? He asked if General Mokushane was still in his position at CI. Was there a provision that if security clearance had lapsed after five years, but one had had clearance before, then one could remain in the position while the application took place?
Ms L Mabija (ANC) stated that in the previous Portfolio Committee meeting, she had asked the Acting National Commissioner about the certificate for Gen. Mokushane, and had been assured that he would bring the certificate to the Committee, but now there was no correct certificate. She said that this unfulfilled promise had made her question his trustworthiness. She asked why he had been hired when the vetting certificate was not there. Was he being fired, and was the Acting National Commissioner resigning, as he could not be fit to lead SAPS if he was untrustworthy. She expressed her disappointment, highlighting the unreliable information provided at the previous Committee meeting which was now coming to light.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) felt that the presentation had been lacking in relevant content that would allow the Committee to get some clarity on the questions at hand. The presentation had outlined information that was already in the public domain. He referred to the recommendations given on slide 10 and queried if all of these recommendations had been implemented, especially the recommendation that Brig. Phetlhe should be suspended. He did not feel that a transfer was sufficient, and therefore had there been a suspension as consequence management. One of the big weaknesses within SAPS was the management being soft on enforcing accountability. Strong and consistent accountability and the application of sanctions where there were violations, was key.
He highlighted the missing voices, stating that the Committee had not heard from Brig. Phetlhe and Col. Tshabangu. He found it hard to believe that the Brigadier would have acted as a lone ranger gone rogue, randomly issuing instructions to commit fraud, so therefore had Gen. Mokushane issued instructions or a directive to Brig. Phetlhe to issue the certificate to Col. Tshabangu? He also asked about the suggestion that the reason the certificate was outstanding was because there were specific documents that had to be submitted for that process to be finalised. There had been mention of an outstanding matriculation certificate and other such documents. Why were these documents still outstanding and when would the matter be finalised? If that was the sole administrative problem outstanding, then paperwork should not be that big an obstacle to finalise the issue.
He asked Lt. Gen. Mothiba exactly who Gen. Ledwaba was, and if it was correct that he was the current Provincial Commissioner of Limpopo? If so, as his appointment to investigate the case was an internal appointment, was this taking place concurrently with the recommendation from Gen. Zimu’s memo that the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence should investigate, because if this was solely an inside job to investigate, there would not be confidence in the independence and integrity of the investigation. He also questioned the idea that Gen. Mokushane had to report to a brigadier, as his understanding was that Gen. Mokushane would outrank the brigadier.
There was an allegation of the abuse of the rank structure and of command and control in order to violate protocols. If the person who had to face accountability was being investigated by someone who ranked below them, then it damaged the accountability from the outset, and this could not be the case. He emphasised that it was a good thing that the problem had come to light but that the accountability needed to come from Col. Tshabangu, who had been the one who had done the printing. He referred to the Constitution, section 199, which stated that no member of any security service may obey manifestly illegal orders. Regardless of rank structures, every official must not obey an order which violates the protocol and systems in place. He asked Col. Tshabangu directly why he had violated this rule and printed the certificates if he knew it was going to amount to fraud. Was the Colonel aware that there had not been an evaluation?
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) said that it was a disgrace that this situation could take place at this level. The Committee had tried by all means to caution against the passing of processes where people were appointed without securing the necessary clearance. He warned against allowing the abuse of positions of trust so that people could fight their own battles at the expense of good men and women. He expressed concern over the appointment of an internal General to investigate, despite the recommendation on slide 10 that the Inspector General of Intelligence should oversee the investigation. He mentioned the killings in the Glebelands area, stating that they were the result of the failures of Crime Intelligence, such as this. He asked how the Colonel who printed the certificate had accessed the certificate in the first place. How easy was it to print fraudulent certificates? Were these security certificates not secured? There must be maximum security over them. He called the act criminality at its best, and said that this sort of action must be stamped out at all costs.
Mr A Shaik-Emam (NFP) expressed his disappointment that there were matters like this at such a high level, and yet the public were asked to have confidence in the Police Service. He asked why whoever was responsible had not been suspended. Why had whoever had skipped the process not been dealt with efficiently and urgently? He pointed out that there was a major weakness in the system, as there was no continuous vetting process. He raised the issue of innocent people joining the police and then becoming corrupt, and that without any repeated or consistent vetting system, this could not be dealt with. He asked what insurance and guarantees there were that there would not be collusion within the investigation. What measures would be put in place to avoid a repeat of this taking place again?
He queried whether a person could be disqualified if it was found that they had deliberately not disclosed important information. He referred to the vetting process, and asked if every stage in the process had failed, and therefore how many people had been actively involved in the printing of this certificate? Who were these people, why did they do it and how did they benefit from it?
Dr P Groenewald (FF+) said that top secret security clearance was supposed to be linked to very high integrity in the person receiving that clearance. It was a very sad day for the Committee to hear what was going on over the issue of security clearances. It reflected on the integrity of the whole Police Service and proved that South Africa was now reaping the fruits of the instability of Police Commissioners since 2000, where integrity had always been a problem. How could the citizens of South Africa be expected to put their trust in the Police Service? He said that impunity was the cancer that destroyed delivery. What punitive measures had been taken?
He asked about the integrity of the police service and highlighted the recent media attention given to arrests in South Africa -- for instance, that of Grace Mugabe. What was the situation there? He referred to a case where a culprit had not been arrested because he was part of the South African National Defence Force. Why had this man not been arrested? That was the problem -- there were double standards when it came to specific officers when they were in the SAPS or Defence Force. That was undermining the whole safety situation in South Africa. It was a huge and major security breach. He argued that the time had come for high ranking officials to set an example for the people of South Africa. The crime situation in the country had to be corrected.
The Chairperson said how vital it was for the Committee to receive copies of the reports of Crime Intelligence on this matter and any other written reports that may assist it in taking this matter forward. He also requested time frames for the Gen. Ledwaba investigation.
Lt Gen Mothiba said that Gen. Zimu had not been suspended. He referred to a document he had with him which had called for Gen. Zimu’s suspension, but explained that he had assured both Gen. Zimu and Gen. Mokushane that Gen. Zimu would not face any suspension.
Ms Molebatsi asked for clarification on what the document was, and what reasons it gave for asking for his suspension.
Lt Gen Mothiba referred to the leakages in the press of the report that had been written by Gen. Zimu. The suspension was based around this report ending up in the media. There was also a case opened against Gen. Zimu by Brig. Phetlhe.
Maj. Gen. P Mokushane, Acting Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence, said that at this point in time, his wife had not been appointed as his PA. He had no PA in the office, only an acting administrative assistant. His wife was not in that office, but was in Gauteng province.
Lt Gen Mothiba explained that the security clearance that had been submitted to him had been the expired one.
Ms Mmola clarified that the security clearance Lt. Gen. Mothiba had received was the expired one from 2007, despite it being 2017. She queried if the General would have told the Committee about the security clearance if the Members had not specifically asked. Who was misleading who?
Lt. Gen. Mothiba clarified that when someone was appointed, this person had to have a clearance or be able to prove they had applied for clearance. When Gen. Mokushane was appointed, there was proof he had applied for this clearance. He said that this issue was under discussion, as people could not be appointed based on the fact that they had applied, as these people might be found not to be suitable to have a security clearance. There were shortcomings in the system. Ideally, all senior managers would have a security clearance, and reapplication must take place before the clearance expired so that there was not a period where the clearance had lapsed.
Lt. Gen. KJ Sithole, Divisional Commissioner: Protection and Security Services, added that there was an organisational practice, and there was a process. When something had gone wrong or shortcomings had been identified, in this case the human resources (HR) process must be changed. When someone external applied for a post, they had to submit a request for clearance. The appointment was provisional until the clearance was issued, but this may need to be considered for change if this was identified as a shortcoming.
Maj. Gen. Zimu explained that the evaluation had been skipped. He shared the view of Lt. Gen. Mothiba that he should trust his senior officers, as otherwise he would not be able to function. He referred to a signed letter he had in his possession from a brigadier and former component head in Counter Intelligence. The letter stated that the security clearance of Gen. Mokushane should have been issued with immediate effect, as there had been no further concerns or information provided. He felt that Lt. Gen. Mothiba had been correct in following this advice. Unbeknown to the Acting National Commissioner, there were issues outstanding, but people had misled the Acting National Commissioner. He informed the Committee that he had received a letter with a 72-hour deadline to respond, and that he could not travel outside of Gauteng because Brig. Phetlhe was being investigated. He was facing a criminal case of intimidation from Brig. Phetlhe, and was looking to obtain protection from her. He argued that it was important to confront the issue and that he was not concerned about the court cases, but that he felt that the Acting National Commissioner was being misled on a large scale.
Ms Molebatsi asked for clarification as to who Brig. Phetlhe was with reference to the previous cases.
Ms Mmola asked how one could intimidate a member if he told the truth. She suggested having another Committee meeting and requesting the attendance of Brig. Phetlhe to explain everything. How could one threaten a man if he tells the truth? Something must be done to make sure he was not going to be suspended because he tells the truth. She asked Gen. Zimu to give copies of the letters he had referenced to the Chairperson.
Mr Ramatlakane said that there was some misleading that was taken place. He queried if there was room for Brig.Phetlhe to address the Committee as in his view he did not feel that she was working alone and that there must be someone at a higher level colluding with her. He argued that the person who had written the letter that Gen. Zimu had referenced was likely to be involved. He asked about the organisational practice. The practice that had been produced had amended the law by creating administrative procedures which were not in keeping with the Act of 1994. Why had this been done? It was amending the law by stealth. Was it within the interests of the state to do this?
Ms Mbhele acknowledged Gen. Zimu’s honesty, saying that it helped the Committee to do its job effectively. She asked about the letter from the former component head. Was the recommendation to grant the certificate in the letter made with knowledge that the vetting process had been skipped?
Lt. Gen. Mothiba explained that when the letter had been brought to his attention, he had discussed it with Gen. Zimu. When it was picked up that the letter was misleading, Gen. Zimu had suggested taking steps against the former component head. He said that Brig. Phetlhe’s account was under investigation by Anti-Corruption, and that he was planning to notify the Committee of this in writing. There were gaps within the process that had to be fixed. There were problems with vetting, because the Department did not have the capacity and therefore delays were taking place. Continuous vetting must take place, because if it was taking place only every five years, then the damage might already have been done.
Lt. Gen. Sithole said that each time there was a problem, policy needed to be assessed to see if it was correct. Here the HR policy had allowed the gap, and so it must be reviewed. Vetting capacities needed to be given high and serious priority, as when the vetting capacity was right, the HR policy was forced to bow to this.
Maj Gen Mokushane agreed with Gen. Sitole. He said he would submit to the Committee the list of Crime Intelligence officers who did not have the required clearance, and called the situation alarming. More than 50 people at the senior level, some of whom had been there for a long time -- including the person who was in charge of the secret service account -- did not have any security clearance. He said that he had applied for his security clearance six years ago, not this year. The timeframe for security clearance was five years. If security clearance was not given within two or three years, that application automatically became null and void.
With regard to the allegation of running companies, he explained that he had been appointed as a Major General in December last year, and during this appointment he had had to comply with the declaration process, and that every financial year he had applied to reassure his status. He said this was one of the organisational gaps that had been there for some time. The issue of the security clearance backlog was not specific to CI. Some of the personnel were very junior, and therefore vetting of someone at a higher rank could be a problem. The backlog was huge, right across the entire organisation.
The Chairperson requested a copy of that report to assist the Committee in understanding all of the issues.
Lt. Gen. Mothiba stated that at the core of the issue was the vetting section being comprised of very junior members, but the top management of the organisation had to own up. The organisation had not been dealing with the issue of vetting correctly. He had asked the SSA to vet the top management, including all the officers of CI. This should add integrity to the process. The investigation by Gen. Ledwaba would highlight many issues. He referred to a meeting he had held last week with the Director General of Intelligence where they had discussed these issues. The Director General had said that he was still getting his house in order and that he would assist with the investigation when he could.
The Chairperson said that the Gen. Ledwaba investigation must be concluded as soon as possible. He asked if it would be possible for the Committee to receive an interim report by next Wednesday. He added that it was critical that they restored confidence in the SAPS and in the vetting process.
Col. J Tshabangu, Sub-Section Head: Vetting, said that he had received the instruction to print the certificate from Brig. Phetlhe. He had been told that he was the only person available and that he had to comply.
Mr Ramatlakane asked the Colonel if he had evidence of the instructions he received.
Col. Tshabangu responded that he had received the instruction by telephone when working in Pretoria. He added that he was not aware of the provision in the constitution about not obeying orders that went against correct protocol, and that he did not have reason to question the authority of the instructions he received.
Ms Molebatsi said that Brig. Phetlhe had a lot of power, and she hoped that the investigation by Gen. Ledwaba would provide more information on the Brigadier.
Mr Shaik Emam asked if the Colonel had not thought to get the request in writing, considering how important the document was. He also queried why the Colonel had not checked with his superiors to make sure he was carrying out the correct actions, especially as he knew that the processes had not been followed.
Col. Tshabangu explained that he was aware, but that he did not have reason to question the instruction from a senior. His awareness was that the senior officers had to prepare themselves to appear in front of this Committee. He said that he had informed Gen. Zimu that he had received this instruction, and then the Colonel had prepared a letter which would go to his office. The investigation would reveal the actions taken to make sure that he had stayed within the boundaries of the integrity of the office.
Lt. Gen. Sithole expressed concern that further details from Col. Tshabangu given in front of the Committee had the potential to compromise the ongoing investigation.
The Chairperson agreed, but said that the Committee wanted all the documentation and that the Ledwaba investigation must be fast tracked.
Mr Shaik Emam was concerned about discussing the matter at great length in case it prejudiced the investigation.
The Chairperson said he felt that the accountability issues could not be ignored and that the Committee needed answers. If there were any issues that were deemed privileged, then that could be raised, but the meeting would continue.
Lt. Gen. Mothiba reiterated the current vetting process. He said that he had been appointed and that the fitness of Gen. Mokushane to lead was under consideration. The outcome of the Ledwaba report would finalise that matter. Brig. Phetlhe was not working in the same environment any more. She had been pulled in to assist Gen. Mokushane in the office, so she had to go back to her original post. He had told both Gen. Zimu and Gen. Mokushane that he did not want to hear that Brig.Phetlhe was demanding documents from Gen.Zimu’s environment.
Maj. Gen. Mokushane said that he had not issued any instructions. He explained that after every session, he usually called a management session to relay feedback from the Committee so everyone was there when he told them that the issue of clearances had been raised by the Committee. He suggested that perhaps Brigadier Phetlhe had used her own initiative to fast track the process. He indicated that he was unable to sign his own certificate, and that the certificate had been presented to, and signed by, the National Commissioner. After the issues were raised, the National Commissioner had withdrawn the certificate. He thought that before the end of the coming week, the results of who was and was not qualified would be released, as the SSA’s capacity meant that the process would be quick.
Lt. Gen. Mothiba confirmed that Gen. Ledwaba was the same Gen. Ledwaba who was the Provincial Commissioner in Limpopo. The matter at hand was dating back to six years ago, when Gen. Mokushane was a brigadier reporting to another brigadier in Gauteng. He confirmed that the document calling for the suspension of Gen. Zimu was not valid. He said that there was no continuous vetting, and that vetting was carried out every five years. Sometimes the five years was exceeded, and this was an issue that had to be rectified so that vetting was continuous. A plan had been drawn up by Gen. Zimu to ensure that actions like this case could not be repeated.
Ms Mmola queried who was meant to vet the major generals.
Mr Shaik-Emam thanked Lt. Gen. Mothiba for his handling of a previous matter involving a senior member. He acknowledged the problem of provisional approval, and asked if part of the plan was to stop that to ensure provisional approval was not given while the vetting process was under way.
Lt. Gen. Mothiba said that vetting had to take place within the given timeframes. The problem was that junior ranks had been expected to vet more senior members, and support had not been there when problems had been encountered. When problems were encountered, the document had been filed and it had been discovered later by Gen. Zimu.
Mr Mbhele asked about understaffing and the nature of junior staffing of the vetting environment. These issues appeared to be the structural, systemic and historic problem contributing to the issue at hand. He asked if all the problems discussed today were as a direct result of the legacy of the dysfunctional and compromised leadership of the suspended head of CI, Richard Mdluli?
Maj. Gen. Zimu said that structurally, junior members were expected to vet senior members and that this was a practice that had been in place for years. However, this was problematic because if someone had something to hide, then this process made it easy to do so, as it was unlikely that a junior member would force their senior to comply. The issue of capacity within the vetting department was a serious problem, and that there were large scale personnel shortages. This had created backlogs, which was why there was a gap in which security clearances were lapsing around reapplications.
Mr Mhlongo said that the reason that there was a huge plundering of ranks in the police service was due to problems like this case. Department was appearing like a super division which was not accountable to the normal chain of command, and in his view this was very wrong. He asked what the requirements of an efficient police service were. It appeared that there was a large cluster of Generals sitting at the top who were asserting their own power, and not applying the rule of law.
Lt. Gen. Mothiba confirmed that corrective action would definitely be taken. Wednesday’s presentation would reflect these actions.
He said that the issue with Mrs Mugabe had taken place on Sunday, but that the matter had been brought to the attention of SAPS only on Monday afternoon. A team had been sent to look for her, but she had booked out of the hotel. He had received a call to say that Mrs Mugabe would hand herself over. Lawyers had arrived at the Sandton police station around 6am yesterday morning, pleading diplomatic immunity. The National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, had supported SAPS in saying that she must go to court. He learned this morning in the media, however, that she was back in Zimbabwe. As far as SAPS were concerned, her lawyers had begun working with the police this morning. A statement from her was expected. He asked for further details on the case mentioned by Mr Groenewald.
Dr Groenewald asked for clarification on the date that the police became aware of the Mugabe case in relation to the date that SAPS received the call. He asked if there would be a summons issued for her to appear in court, and queried how it was possible that they did not know whether she was in the country or not.
Mr Ramatlakane asked what actions Lt. Gen. Mothiba was planning to take. He outlined his understanding of the case, referencing the letter presented by Gen. Zimu and the fact that it appeared contradictory, and the telephone conversation which had taken place. He said that based on this, there were three people who appeared to be working together. Based on this, what actions would be taken around these three people who were collaborating?
Lt. Gen. Mothiba clarified that the police learnt about Mrs Mugabe only on Monday although the matter took place on Sunday. Only on Monday evening had the lawyers indicated that they would be in court on Tuesday. As far as SAPS was concerned, Mrs Mugabe should be in the country. If she had left the country, she would not only be compromising SAPS, but also the lawyers representing her. More details would be given to the Committee on Wednesday. He he was not aware of a letter that had been signed by Gen. Mokushane, but he did not have any right to serve any suspension documents due to his implication in the security clearance case. He said that it was a matter which he was taking in a very serious light.
The Chairperson concluded the presentation and thanked those involved for the frankness and openness of the interaction. The Committee needed to receive the interim report by Wednesday next week. He highlighted the need for consequence management for those who had violated the rules, in order to ensure future confidence in the SAPS. He pointed out that issues that had been raised by the Committee in the past were clearly still problematic. It was critical that vetting was done thoroughly and properly, as there must be confidence in the system. The problems at CI were not yet solved, and more attention was needed on this matter. He said that if no unlawful act had been committed, then no action should be taken against either the Colonel or Gen. Zimu, and that it was important that there was no victimisation. The Committee needed all the documentation and correspondence, and any members of the delegation who had any relevant documents should give copies to the Committee for Wednesday.
Procurement of Security Measures: DPCI Presentation
Maj. Gen. Rabie briefed the Committee on the procurement of security measures at the DPCI, the background to and current status on what had happened and the processes that the DPCI were currently busy with. He said that the initial assessment on the DPCI facilities had been carried out in 2010 and that during that process, shortcomings had been identified and recommendations were made to ensure that the facilities were secure. A second audit by the same division had followed in 2015 in order to see what had been done.
He outlined the process for procurement and the list of shortcomings that had been identified, and said the majority of recommendations made had not been implemented to date. The DPCI were currently carrying out an audit to determine exactly what had been implemented, based on the recommendations, but due to the time available, they had not been able to finalise it. He asked if it was possible for the DPCI to indicate which matters have been attended to during the Committee meeting on Wednesday.
He said that the Supply Chain Management division had received a presentation from the Protection and Security Services division regarding the two security assessments from 2010 and 2015. Both reports had been handed over to the DPCI to begin procurement processes. He outlined some of the requests that had been made since the reports were handed over. The required upgrades had not been fully implemented as had been recommended, but the DPCI would be in a position to provide the Committee with a detailed breakdown of what had been carried out at the next meeting.
The Chairperson asked the General to reassure the Committee that the fight against crime was being won, as it was an issue that had come up during the meeting yesterday.
Lt Gen RJ Mokwena, Divisional Commissioner: Supply Chain Management explained that the required security needs at the DPCI headquarters in Pretoria had already been forwarded to the DPW, but there had not been any reply from the Department. He suggested that it was worth inviting the DPW to the Committee meeting next week so that they could answer as to why nothing had been done to date.
Ms Molebatsi said that the DPCI was in a very precarious position when it came to the Department of Public Works. It was not only the head office security that needed to be looked at, but also the monetary implications of the recommendations. The head office of the DPCI needed to be brought up to the same levels as the SAPS head office. There were two provincial offices which had been condemned.
The Chairperson referred to details given during the Durban meeting about what had been stolen, and an indication had been given that the replacement had been delayed by the SAPS supply chain. He said that these issues had not been dealt with in the presentation, and the Committee needed answers on this. It would be impossible for the DPCI to operate effectively if these matters were not addressed as soon as possible.
Ms Mmola asked when details of the required needs had been forwarded from the DPCI.
Mr Ramatlakane suggested that a comprehensive report needed to be written, and therefore sufficient time should be given so that the Committee could be briefed in full about the issues with the supply chain.
The Chairperson said that the acting head of the DPCI had listed a number of items which needed urgent attention in order to deal with the break-in issues. There were issues with the supply chain on the SAPS side, and those issues had not been dealt with in the presentation. He concurred with Mr Ramatlakane that this issue should be dealt with at a future date.
Mr Shaik Emam agreed that this was a problem, and he did not understand why it had not been a comprehensive request. He wanted to know what the problems were with the PWD.
Lt. Gen. Mothiba explained that all facilities utilised by the DPCI were non-devolved facilities and therefore SAPS had no mandate whatsoever in terms of upgrading the security. That mandate fell under the Department of Public Works. The issue did not lie with the supply chain.
The Chairperson raised the issue of mobile phones which needed to be addressed. He indicated that that was within SAPS’s control.
Lt. Gen. Mothiba responded that this also lay within the Public Works supply chain, and not SAPS. They had their own supply chain, and not the supply chain of the Divisional Commissioner. He also stated that Technology Management Services (TMS) had to come in.
The Chairperson suggested leaving the issue until next Wednesday so that answers could be arrived at. He emphasised how critical it was to gain an indication from which ever supply chain as to what was being done. If these replacements were not under way, then the operational function of the DPCI was being compromised. He asked if the fight against crime was being won.
Lt. Gen. Mothiba said that operational plans were in place, a task team had been set up and hotspots had been identified. For the first time in years, the crime rate in Gauteng was down. Across the country there were a few provinces that were having problems, including Mpumalanga and the Western Cape. In the first quarter, there had been a sharp increase in transit robberies, especially in Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The arrests made in Gauteng had been encouraging. In Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, a number of criminals had been killed in police action due to intelligence from CI. He stated that the main challenges included the amount of time it took to finalise cases, which led to witnesses being killed or disappearing, which was concerning. To finalise an armed robbery murder case took an average of two years, and some took longer. This was worrying, as these were the cases that needed to be finalised as quickly as possible.
The Chairperson said that the first quarterly report would be dealt with on Wednesday.
Ms Mmola asked if there was an action plan to deal with the problems in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga.
Lt. Gen. Mothiba said that there had been a meeting with CI, where the problems in these provinces were high on the agenda. In the Western Cape, extra resources had been deployed.
Consideration and Adoption of Outstanding Minutes
The Chairperson took Members through each set of minutes on a page by page basis.
Minutes from 8, 15, 22 and 28 February and 1, 5 and 15 March 2017 were adopted with minor amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.