The Committee firstly welcomed the appointment of the new national police commissioner. Members were particularly pleased that someone from within the police service - who had so much experience and was familiar with the challenges faced by SAPS - had been promoted. They observed that in their interactions with the newly appointed National Police Commissioner, they had always found him to be humble, accessible and frank. The Committee affirmed its support to the new police commissioner’s turnaround of SAPS.
The Crime Intelligence Division then provided responses to concerns and questions raised by Members during the Committee engagement on 15 November 2017.
Crime Intelligence indicated that based on the directives issued by the Minister, the Division developed an Action Plan which will focus on short- (6 months), medium- (12 months) and long-term (24 months) strategies/actions to address deficiencies within the division. The Action Plan has been approved by the then Acting National Commissioner and the Minister, on 18 October 2017. In terms of the concern of the Committee on the footprint of Crime Intelligence in provinces and clusters, the Division, with the assistance of the Minister and the National Commissioner has been allocated 102 entry level constable posts and 181 additional posts on post levels 5, 8, 10, 12 and 13. The plan of Crime Intelligence for the upcoming Festive Season has been included in the SAPS overall plan, which will be presented to the Committee. In terms of the concerns around Uber threat and taxi violence, there will be a continuous updating of threat assessments, relating to Uber, Taxify and meter taxis for registration of national and provincial intelligence operations/progress to neutralise threat. There is a need to ensure the recruitment of sources and undercover agents to infiltrate. The long term plan is to establish a dedicated Transport Violence Intelligence Analysis Centre at National and Provincial levels.
Crime Intelligence stated that in terms of the concern of the Committee about the shortage of analysts, with the assistance from the Minister and the National Commissioner, the Division has identified 41 critical posts for advertisement, for Intelligence Analysts at cluster level. These posts will be advertised at the top crime contributing clusters in the country with Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, receiving the majority of the posts. The Committee raised concerns about repeat offenders receiving bail, in supporting the Detective Service, a collaborative task team consisting of Crime Intelligence, Detective Service, DPCI, Forensic Services, Visible Policing and Operational Response Services, has been established to identify, track, locate and apprehend wanted suspects. The Committee asked if Captain Mdluli was still at tracking and locating within Crime Intelligence. The response was no as Captain Mdluli was transferred from Tracking and Locating Head Office, to Physical Surveillance Head Office, during September 2017, by the Acting Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence.
The Crime Intelligence mentioned that in terms of the process being followed when a security clearance was denied, the supervisor of the applicant will be informed of the negative outcome. The supervisor must discuss the negative outcome with applicant and agree to appeal to the Minister, via the National Commissioner or the Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence. A Personnel Security Review Board will be convened, chaired by the Component Head: Counter and Security Intelligence, or a chairperson appointed by the Minister. The Component Head: Counter and Security Intelligence will defend the negative outcome by advancing reasons. The appellant will defend, by advancing reasons for the appeal. The Chairperson and Board will thereafter recommend their findings to the Minister. The Minister may either vary or approve the recommendation by the Board.
Members asked about the disciplinary steps that had been taken against certain SAPS members as this was one of the concerns of the Committee in the previous engagement. The vetting and lifestyle audit is critically important but it was unclear as to how to implement this. They wanted to know the status around Brigadier Phetlhe as this is an issue that was flagged by the Committee in the previous engagement. The issue of few arrests in the taxi violence involving Uber was not responded to. It was also unclear as to whether the Crime Intelligence was getting enough responses or feedbacks from operational units of SAPS as required and satisfactorily. What happened to the situation when an applicant was denied a security clearance?
Some Members expressed concern about corruption within SASP and in the justice system where known organised criminals and drug-lords are getting bails while they have cases pending. One Member felt that Crime Intelligence in the country seemed to be immune from financial accounting as in other institutions and this is something that should be identified as a concern. The Committee welcomed the reassurance that SAPS would not be appointing someone who is not vetted. However, the Committee still needed to know if a detailed plan is in place in case of a denial of security clearance.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed everyone and indicated that this was the last meeting for 2017. The first meeting for 2018 would be on 30 January 2018 and this is where the Committee would kick-off with the Protection of Critical Infrastructure Bill. The Committee would also like to officially welcome the new national police commissioner Gen Khehle Sitole and Members would be afforded an opportunity to also officially welcome the new police commissioner. The Minister of Police could not be able to make it to the meeting today due to other commitments and the Committee received his apology.
Welcoming of the new National Police Commissioner (NPC)
The Chairperson said the Committee would like to welcome the appointment of the new national police commissioner as this is a critical appointment in the country especially in the police and security cluster and taking South Africa forward. The Committee knew Gen Sitole for a while through his interactions in the media and with the Committee. He has been honest and frank and to the point while providing quality input. It was critically important to get someone from within SAPS and a police professional. The challenges within SAPS required someone who had worked on the ground and knows and has experience about all the challenges faced by police officers. The Committee would certainly support the new police commissioner’s turnaround of SAPS and it is critically important for the recommendations of the National Development Plan (NDP) to be implemented as the professionalism of SAPS was important.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) also echoed the words of the Chairperson and officially welcomed the new NPC as he was bringing in a wealth of experience. She had personally worked with him for many years and knew him to be very humble and down to earth and this would make him easily accessible. She added that the Committee would like to wish Gen Sitole all the best but pointed out that there would be days where there would be fights but this is only meant to get things done and this was the name of the game.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said that the DA certainly welcomed the chapter of stable leadership within SAPS as the national commissioner was a permanent appointment and this would mitigate problems coming from people being in acting positions for long time. The DA also certainly welcomed the fact that the appointment of Gen Sitole as he was experienced and a senior member of SAPS and this was vitally important. The DA also welcomed with some caution his statement that he would be focused on the core mandate of his job and he would not involve himself in politics or become a political tool for political agendas. It was worrisome that it was under the reign of Gen Sitole that the former chairperson of African Union (AU) was granted the political protection under tenuous circumstances. However, the new commissioner might redeem himself and gain transparency. The DA had already written a report about what should be the 3 key priorities of the national commissioner and this could be forwarded to his office. The Committee would also like to know the top agenda items of the new national commissioner in order for SAPS to be fully effective and fighting crime.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) commented that the EFF was very much pleased and welcomed the appointment of the new NPC as he was very friendly and welcoming. The Committee would be able to provide Gen Sitole with all the necessary support required in order to be successful. The Committee was able to discharge its responsibilities by demanding the best and competent leadership within SAPS. The welcoming of the new police commissioner was not to say he would be able to resolve all the challenges engulfing the country but noting his ability and calibre to be able to take the country somewhere.
Gen Sitole firstly acknowledged and appreciated the comments that had been made by Members and stated that he was “brought up” and held accountable by this Committee. He made it clear that he knew what happens when someone tended to undermine the directive of the Committee. The priority would be to ensure that the organisation was able to comply with all that the Committee required or directed. It is important to ensure that there is accountability within the organisation. There would be a new turnaround vision of the organisation in the creation of a safe and secured environment. There is a need to stamp the authority of the state as there are various situations happening in the country and these tended to demonstrate that policing was not happening and this should be interrupted as it undermined the very existence of government. There is a problem of criminal syndicates, gangs and quite a lot of activities of wrongdoing. The “quick wins” approach is where SAPS wants to make an immediate impact.
Gen Sitole mentioned that he had already issued an instruction to deal with unconventional ways of dealing with crime as there are many criminal elements in the country. He also issued an immediate relaunch and execution of Operation Fiela because the current situation around the country required SAPS to fire from all directions. There would be the stabilisation of crime hotspots and this would be approached through high density operation policing as well as high density basic policing approach. There is also a need to fix the broken institution especially since Crime Intelligence is on top of the agenda for dealing with crime. SAPS would be announcing the new Deputy Commissioner for Crime Detection this afternoon and this person would immediately take over the role of repairing the Crime Intelligence Unit as well as Detective Services. SAPS would be working on a turnaround for Crime Intelligence. The other key priority is the migration of the office from the strategic framework to the local policing framework. There should be the empowering of police stations to fight against crime. There would available information on the “quick wins” by the time SAPS briefed the Committee on detailed turnaround.
Briefing by the Crime Intelligence
Brigadier Leon Lombard, Section Head: Intelligence Plan and Monitoring, Crime Intelligence, SAPS, indicated that based on the directives issued by the Minister, the Division Crime Intelligence has developed an Action Plan which will focus on short- (6 months), medium- (12 months) and long-term (24 months) strategies/actions to address deficiencies within the division. The Action Plan was approved by the then Acting National Commissioner and the Minister on 18 October 2017. This Action Plan consists of 70 related taskings, emanating from the directives and sets out how the Division intends to develop Crime Intelligence and its members, leaders and senior management to become a high performing business unit, and a recognised and respected leader in the broader South African Police Service (SAPS) environment. The implementation of the Action Plan started on 19 October 2017 and progress, to the National Commissioner and the Minister, will be provided on a monthly basis. From the 70 taskings, 11 taskings have been finalised or implemented and 10 are in process of implementation, and a due date has been set for each tasking.
Brigadier Lombard mentioned that in terms of the concern of the Committee on the footprint of Crime Intelligence in provinces and clusters, It needs to be mentioned that despite the cut-backs that are planned, the Division, with the assistance of the Minister and the National Commissioner has been allocated 102 entry level constable posts and 181 additional posts on post levels 5, 8, 10, 12 and 13. The majority of these posts have been allocated to fill critical commanders, vetting and cybercrime posts, at provincial level, as well as critical analyst and gatherer posts, at cluster level. The plan of Crime Intelligence for the upcoming Festive Season has been included in the SAPS overall plan, which will be presented to the Committee. In terms of the concerns around Uber threat and tax violence, there will be a continuous updating of threat assessments, relating to Uber, Taxify and meter taxis for registration of national and provincial intelligence operations/progress to neutralise threat. There is a need to ensure the recruitment of sources and undercover agents to infiltrate. The long term plan is to establish a dedicated Transport Violence Intelligence Analysis Centre at National and Provincial levels.
Brigadier Lombard pointed out that in terms of the concern of the Committee on the shortage of analysts, with the assistance from the Minister and the National Commissioner, the Division has identified 41 critical posts for advertisement, for Intelligence Analysts at cluster level. These posts will be advertised at the top crime contributing clusters in the country with Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, receiving the majority of the posts. The Committee had raised concerns about repeat offenders receiving bail, in supporting the Detective Service, a collaborative task team consisting of Crime Intelligence, Detective Service, DPCI, Forensic Services, Visible Policing and Operational Response Services, has been established to identify, track, locate and apprehend wanted suspects. The Committee asked about the total personnel needed by Crime Intelligence, The Minister has instructed that the feasibility study on the organisational-, functional- and post-structure of the Division must be finalised by 31 December 2017.
Brigadier Lombard said that the Committee asked if Captain Mdluli was still at Tracking and Locating within Crime Intelligence. The response was no as Captain Mdluli was transferred from Tracking and Locating Head Office to Physical Surveillance Head Office during September 2017, by the Acting Divisional Commissioner of Crime Intelligence. On the steps to be taken about the lapse of a security clearance, the supervisor of the applicant will be informed of the negative outcome. The supervisor must discuss the negative outcome with applicant and agree to appeal to the Minister, via the National Commissioner or the Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence. A Personnel Security Review Board will be convened, chaired by the Component Head: Counter and Security Intelligence, or a chairperson appointed by the Minister. The Component Head: Counter and Security Intelligence will defend the negative outcome by advancing reasons. The appellant will defend, by advancing reasons for the appeal. The Chairperson and Board will thereafter recommend their findings to the Minister. The Minister may either vary or approve the recommendation by the Board.
Brigadier Lombard stated that the Committee also asked Crime Intelligence whether there is a vetting master plan in place. Although not referred to as a master plan – there is a “vetting revamp strategy” currently being implemented within SAPS by the Division. The short term sub-strategy will focus on addressing the vetting backlog at the Vetting Evaluation and Polygraph- Sections and Security Vetting Panel (SVP) of the Division Crime Intelligence. The medium term sub-strategy will focus on interventions pertaining to the vetting of prioritised environments such as the Ministry, all SMS members of SAPS, O.R. Tambo International Airport and all Crime Intelligence personnel. The development of policies and standardised operational procedures for vetting and addressing the critical human and physical resources needed to achieve “quick wins”, will also be done during this phase. The long term sub-strategy will focus on interventions with regard to the functional, organisational and post structure of the vetting function of the Division on National, Provincial and Cluster level as well training, physical resources and the retention of skilled and experienced vetting personnel.
The Chairperson asked about the disciplinary steps that had been taken against certain SAPS members as this was one of the concerns of the Committee in the previous engagement. The vetting and lifestyle audit is critically important but it was unclear as to how to implement this. It would be important to know whether there would be any steps taken for any procurement irregularities as previously mentioned in the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) meeting. The challenge for the new national police commissioner is that he would be swamped by legacy issues while also needing to deal with current challenges facing SAPS.
Ms Molebatsi wanted to know the status around Brigadier Phetlhe as this is an issue that was flagged by the Committee in the previous engagement. The issue of few arrests in the taxi violence involving Uber was not responded to. It was also unclear as to whether the Crime Intelligence was getting enough or satisfactory responses or feedback from SAPS operational units as required. What happened to the situation when an applicant was denied a security clearance?
Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked when the task team to identify, track, locate and apprehend wanted suspects was established. Was this task team functioning or not? On Brigadier Phetlhe, it was not mentioned whether she went on an official trip to France. Did she go to France as was previously nominated for the official trip? What was the progress on the investigation by Gen Ledwaba? The Minister had instructed that the feasibility study on the organisational-, functional- and post-structure of the Division: Crime Intelligence must be finalised by 31 December 2017. What was the progress in regard to the finalisation on the feasibility study? Was it possible to meet the target by that date? The Committee should get a briefing by January 2018 on the finalisation of the feasibility structure. What are the plans in place to deal with crime during the festive season?
Mr J Maake (ANC) wanted to know about plans in place to fill in the 3000 projected required posts as this was not clear from the presentation. What is the exact plan to achieve this? It would also be important to know if these are critical posts or not. It was also stated on slide 19 of the presentation that the Minister’s decision on the appeal after the denial of a security clearance was final. The important question is whether this was stipulated in legislation or in SAPS regulation.
Mr Mbhele expressed concern about issues of corruption within SAPS and in the justice system where known organised criminals and drug-lords are getting bails while they have cases pending. The DNA Board reported to the Committee about the shortage of DNA kits and this shortage was even confirmed by the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Khombinkosi Jula. When can we expect the activation of the task team? It was still extremely difficult to make sense of what was meant by confidential security clearance as reflected in slide 20 of the presentation. What was the meaning of confidential security clearance? It was good to notice that physical security assessment included IT although this was problematic in a sense Crime Intelligence now had to rely on the Department of Public Works (DPW) and State Information Technology Agency (SITA). SITA was currently being investigated for fiddling with procurement procedures. The break-ins at various institutions should be addressed in physical security assessment. There should be a timeframe for the devaluation of key facilities and the identification of key vulnerabilities so as not to rely on the inefficient DPW.
Mr Mhlongo said that Crime Intelligence in the country seemed to be immune from financial accounting as in other institutions and this is something that should be identified as a concern. There is a huge amount of abuse of state resources including in Crime Intelligence. There should be transparency on the financial accounting in Crime Intelligence so as to be able to determine whether there is value for money in the funds allocated to this Division. People cannot be hiding behind secret clauses to exploit taxpayer’s money. It would be important to hear whether Crime Intelligence in the Western Cape was effective considering the scourge of crime and gang violence in this province. There seemed to be lack of proactive action taken to offset criminal activities in the country. Where is the identified gap within the intelligence service? Was it on proactive action? It is time to start asking whether Crime Intelligence in the Western Cape is effective or if there are challenges in the proactive unit.
Mr Mhlongo indicated that there seemed to be a consensus that the killings in KZN were political in nature. What is the responsibility of Members if a certain section of Crime Intelligence is “captured”? There is a fear on the ground that a certain section of Crime Intelligence was unable to discharge its duties primarily because of being “captured”. The Minister cannot be allowed to take a particular decision without having a guideline in place to guide against the decision of the Minister. In essence, it was concerning that the Minister was given discretion to make the final decision on the appeal for the denial of security clearance. It was always imperative not to give ministers overarching powers as this could possibly lead to the abuse of power.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) welcomed the new NPC and requested him to be frank and honest about challenges facing SAPS. Who misdirected the Committee on the vetting issue? It looked like the capacity of Crime Intelligence did not meet the ratio of the amount of work to be done. What is the interim capacity in place to deal with shortage of staff within Crime Intelligence? The Committee welcomed the reassurance that SAPS would not be appointing someone who is not vetted. However, the Committee still needed to know if there is a detailed plan in place in case of a denial of security clearance. What was to happen tomorrow if a security clearance of a certain official was to lapse? Was it the responsibility of SAPS to get a new person to replace the individual who was denied a security clearance?
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to know the turnaround in place in a case where a security clearance was denied as this is an area where Crime Intelligence was vague and unclear. The Minister “shot down” the need for vetting to be conducted by someone outside SAPS management. It was really frustrating to hear the talk about procedures without specifically mentioning what was to be done immediately tomorrow if security clearance was denied.
Ms Mmola also appreciated that SAPS would not be appointing anyone without completing a security clearance as this was an important step to deal with the problem of instability within SAPS management. What was to happen to those currently without security clearance?
Ms L Mabija (ANC) said that the mistake was not conducting the vetting process from the beginning as this backlog was a result of failure to prioritise vetting within the SAPS management. It would be important for the SAPS management to provide a “window period” for those who are not yet vetted so as to be given an opportunity to submit application for vetting. The Committee was sick and tired of liars and SAPS should get vetted people who would work for the people of South Africa.
Gen Sitole responded that the lifestyle audit within SAPS was one of the priorities for the turnaround plan and this will be a continuous process or permanent exercise. There is an action plan to deal with issues that were flagged during SCOPA meeting including irregularities on procurement process. SAPS believed that the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) should be held responsible for financial management within SAPS. It was still concerning that there is no formal contract management strategy within SAPS management. There would be investigations undertaken to those fiddling with procurement processes. Brigadier Phetlhe was still working for SAPS and there was very little time afforded to deal with the issue. SAPS conceded that there was lack of compliance on the directive that was taken by the Committee in regard to Brigadier Phetlhe. However, SAPS still needed to follow the regulations on the suspension of any individual. There is a criminal case that was opened against Brigadier Phetlhe and this was the first critical step to be taken. The main challenge is that SAPS did not immediately write a letter to the Inspector General on the intention to conduct an inquiry on the matter. The letter has now been forwarded to the Inspector General and the investigation was being undertaken.
Ms Mmola asked about the person who was responsible for writing and forwarding a letter to the Inspector General as this issue was flagged in August up until November when the Committee raised the issue again. There must be consequence management for that person as this was lack of accountability. It looked like Brigadier Phetlhe was untouchable. She appreciated the President for appointing the new police commissioner as he was able to write and forward the required letter to the Inspector General so that swift action can be taken against Brigadier Phetlhe. The Committee was told that Gen Ledwaba was investigating the issue of Brigadier Phetlhe.
Gen Sitole responded that something was done by the acting divisional commissioner as he did write to the then acting national commissioner and to the Committee requesting the matter to be dealt with by the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence. SAPS had the responsibility and obligation to write a letter to the Inspector General so that the Inspector General can then report the matter to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence. The investigation by Gen Ledwaba was close to be finalised.
The Chairperson mentioned that the main concern of the Committee was the scale of the alleged offence committed by Brigadier Phetlhe is huge as it is alleged that she illegally printed and authorised an invalid security clearance. The main question is what is going to be done in relation to that issue.
Maj Gen King Ngcobo, Acting Head: Crime Intelligence, SAPS, replied that there is still an ongoing investigation on the matter.
The Chairperson commented that there must be SAPS consequence management on the issue including an internal investigation on the issuing of the security clearance.
Gen Sitole said that Gen Ledwaba was specifically appointed to deal with SAPS consequence management around the issue of the issuing of the issuing of security clearances. SAPS was still waiting for the finalisation of the investigation by Gen Ledwaba. SAPS will be looking at whether there is 100% compliance in this regard. SAPS consequence management would include producing a consolidated report that would lead SAPS to a relevant action to be taken. SAPS will provide the report to the Committee after the finalisation of the investigation by Gen Ledwaba.
Mag Gen Ngcobo clarified that it was Brigadier Shabalala who was handling the issue of Brigadier Phetlhe and not Gen Ledwaba as this was even confirmed by Judge Kgomo. He also explained that he was waiting for the full report on the matter.
Mr Ramatlakane indicated that the information that was just provided was bringing about further confusion on the matter. The name of the person responsible for the investigation was previously said to be Gen Ledwaba from Limpopo. It looked like it would be impossible for the Committee to get to the bottom of the problem. When was it likely for the investigation to be completed? Was the previous acting commissioner misinforming the Committee by saying Gen Ledwaba was handling the investigation? It looked like the Committee was not being provided with accurate information and it was being misled and this was unacceptable.
Mr Mbhele said that the sense of optimism of the new chapter within SAPS was slowly starting to dissolve as the matter involving Brigadier Phetlhe was not supposed to be this complicated. The Committee should simply be provided with names of people involved as well as dates and time for the conclusion of the investigation. What was the timeline for the finalisation of the report on the issue of Brigadier Phetlhe? The Committee should provide the SAPS management with steps on what to do by when and the expectations that needed to be followed including actions to be taken if those expectations are not met.
Ms Mmola pleaded that the new national police commissioner and the acting head of Crime Intelligence should take firm action to suspend Brigadier Phetlhe as she was causing “havoc” within SAPS. The Committee was clear from the start that Brigadier Phetlhe should be suspended as she illegally printed an invalid security clearance and then deal with the issue of R50 000 at the later stage.
Ms Mabija asked if Brigadier Phetlhe was scary and imposing within SAPS management. Was the SAPS management terrified of Brigadier Phetlhe? She directly asked Maj Gen Ngcobo as to why he looked to be terrified of Brigadier Phetlhe.
Gen Sitole said that he was aware of what Maj Gen Ngcobo has put forth to the Committee and the investigation that was commissioned by the previous acting police commissioner was assigned to Lt Gen Ledwaba and this was still correct. Lt Gen Ledwaba then submitted an interim report thus far and what was awaited was the provision of the final report. The matter cannot be dealt with in a segmented fashion but need to be consolidated. The matter will now be handed to the new deputy commissioner on crime detection. SAPS will provide a full report to the Committee in January 2018.
Brigadier Lombard responded that the Crime Intelligence aimed to address the issue of taxi violence through tactical operation and fully-fledged undercover operation. It was difficult at this stage to state exactly what was causing few arrests in relation to the taxi violence and Uber threats. This information can be sourced from Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI).
Gen Sitole responded that SAPS will attach value to Crime Intelligence information as part of the input made in policing and all the operations will need to be held accountable on the failure to optimally utilise intelligence information.
Maj Gen Ngcobo replied that Brigadier Phetlhe was withdrawn for the official trip to France as per the directive of the Committee. Crime Intelligence provided feedback at provincial and cluster level on early warnings including where there is a mass march or demonstration. Crime Intelligence will be having a whole day strategic plan where the issue of the finalisation of its structure will be looked into. There is hope that the structure would be finalised by 31 December 2017. Counter Intelligence needed to be incorporated in the structure of Crime Intelligence.
Maj Gen D Zimu, Component Head: Counter and Security Intelligence, Crime Intelligence, SAPS, said that the Minster’s decision being final on the appeal for the denial of security clearance was covered in law. The legislation is clear that security clearance must be conducted. The responsible screening institution and the National Intelligence Agency must be furnished with a certificate of a person who was operating without the security clearance. In case of the lapse of security clearance, sections 70 and 71 require that the person who was operating without security clearance must sign an oath of secrecy. The original Act of the National Strategic Intelligence Act left the decision to the Minister to take the final decision on the appeal for the denial of security clearance. However, there was an amendment where the Minister is required to establish a Board of Panel to assist the Minister to carry out that function. The vetting process focuses on three main issues including the establishment of the security competence of a particular individual by looking at criminal records, financial records and personal information. The assessment is based on the susceptibility of the individual to being blackmailed or extortion and the amenability to bribe and the susceptibility to be compromised.
Mr Mhlongo maintained that it was still problematic to state that the Minister’s decision was final and that the Minister might even vary the decision of the Board of Panel. What kind of overarching legislation would be utilised by the Minister? The primary responsibility of the Committee and Parliament is to ensure that the Executive is held accountable. What would happen in a case where the Board of Panel was making the decision that was correct but varied with that of the Minister?
The Chairperson believed that the decision by the Minister would be reviewable.
Mr Mbhele asked if confidential clearance was operating in the same as for Members of Parliament where everyone is required to declare the interests publicly but there are other interests that could be declared in the confidential section unless there is a special application made to the Registrar of Interests to view those interests.
Maj Gen Zimu hoped that whoever would be implementing the Act is knowledgeable about it and the current amended Act is clear that the Minister must establish a Board of Panel instead of taking the decision arbitrarily. The amended Act is to ensure that there is rationality in the decision that would be taken.
Mr Mhlongo appreciated that there was an amendment to the Act so that the Minister cannot just arbitrarily take irrational decisions. It must be made clear that SAPS was in this mess because of the political decisions that had been taken and the amendment to the Act needed to prevent the situation where there are political decisions that are being taken.
Mr Ramatlakane said that there is always recourse when one party is not happy with the decision that had been taken and it was impossible to find an act where the buck did not stop anywhere. There are always checks and balances going into a process and this needed to be aligned with the Constitution of the country. Even the decision of the President was reviewable and evaluated. The Committee was concerned about the information that was not correct in regard to the issue of Brigadier Phetlhe. The information that was being provided by Maj Gen Ngcobo was a mind-boggling story and it was unclear as to which information was correct between the one provided by Maj Gen Ngcobo and Gen Sitole on investigation against Brigadier Phetlhe.
The Chairperson intervened and clarified that the newly appointed deputy commissioner for detective services to be announced this afternoon would oversee the whole process. SAPS would also report to the Committee in January 2018 on all the necessary steps taken.
Mr Ramatlakane cautioned the Committee against making premature remarks and demanding the suspension of Brigadier Phetlhe before the conclusion of the investigation and getting all the facts in place. It is the full responsibility of SAPS management to take the decision on the suspension of officials but the Committee should critically evaluate the report to the produced by SAPS on the matter of Brigadier Phetlhe.
The Chairperson said that individual Members were allowed to voice their opinions and feelings around the issue as it was freedom of speech and whatever opinion of individual Members would not be construed as that of the Committee. It is indeed the responsibility of SAPS to make the final decision in regard to the sanctions to the officials.
Gen Sitole responded that the issue of who was responsible for the investigation on Brigadier Phetlhe will also be contained in the report to be submitted in January. The feasibility study will also be in the headquarters of SAPS where there would be an evaluation of the personnel required. There is one festive season operation for the entire organisation and this is made up of different priorities and operational plans of the different divisions. Crime Intelligence is required to also decide its own festive season operational plan which is a sub-operational plan that is linked to the broader framework of the festive season. The total annual intake of SAPS is 5 000 with 3800 as Police Act employees and 1200 Public Service Act employees. There is an additional 500 employees for reenlistment.
Brigadier Lombard responded that in terms of the activation of the task teams to identify, track, locate and apprehend wanted suspects, the task teams are already activated and they are under the command and control of provincial commissioners. The provincial commissioners report monthly feedback to the Divisional Commissioner of Detective Services on the most wanted suspects. The task teams are fully-fledged and they are operational and monthly feedback is provided. The feasibility study will include the whole of Crime Intelligence including Counter Intelligence as it was initially not part of Crime Intelligence in the last structure. There is a dedicated section that only conducts ICT security assessment and there is a dedicated capacity to work on IT. There is also a separate capacity for physical security assessment.
Gen Sitole replied that the issue of physical security assessment and the fixing of buildings will be looked into together with DPW. SAPS will link the process of Crime Intelligence generating intelligence to all four indicator categories in the performance environment. The window period for those who did not have security to make the application will be based on a particular period. Vetting within SAPS will be treated as the special project. SAPS will be looking to bring back those members who were in Crime Intelligence but were deployed to other environments. There will be a look into whether there is a possibility of bringing further capacity for Crime Intelligence.
Mr Mhlongo said that it was clear that there was something going wrong somewhere and there is a strong belief that there are people who wanted to see Brigadier Phetlhe remaining in her position in order to derail the whole agenda of Crime Intelligence He wanted to make it clear that if the police did not have the eyes and ears of the intelligence then it was better to wash “our hands in the fight against crime and hardened criminals”. The report must be clear on who was investigating Brigadier Phetlhe and not the name of the person who was overseeing the investigation.
The Chairperson thanked everyone and highlighted that it was good to hear about the top priorities of newly appointed NPC. The permanent appointment was also welcomed by the Committee and this had been emphasised by the Committee in the budget reports and Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR).
The meeting was adjourned.
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