The South African Police Service (SAPS) briefed the Committee on the Strategic Direction to be undertaken by the new National Police Commissioner. The Direction envisioned the creation of a safe and secure, crime-free environment that is conducive for social and economic stability supporting a better life for all. The slogan of the new Strategic Direction is to ensure that SAPS renders patriotic and selfless service to the communities and country at large. The Strategic Direction is focused on tactical and innovating policing coupled with a back to basic approach, simply put, “doing right things right, every time”. Building a professional and capable SAPS included transformation, resource management (human, physical and financial), uncompromising compliance with the fundamental principles of policing, a culture of performance management and accountability. There is also a focus on stamping (asserting) the authority of the state through stabilisation and normalisation of identified high crime, hot spot and no-go areas, execution of “Operation Fiela Reclaim II” while sustaining basic conventional policing and enhancement of the public order policing capacity and capability, including addressing the Farlam Commission recommendations. There will also be a focus on implementation of the Drug Master Plan at national, provincial and local level and optimisation of measures to enhance police safety with emphasis on a holistic approach.
Members asked whether the Annual Performance Plan (APP), to be tabled this year, would be linked to the Strategic Direction as this was not clear from the presentation. Some Members made it clear they had no confidence the plan would work as it generally sounded more like an academic piece of work. SAPS should have engaged with role players, like the Department of Social Development and Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, or have some kind of imbizo where there are discussions about key challenges and the way forward. The Committee requested it be provided with an update on the progress being made in obtaining a clean audit and comments made by the Auditor-General of SA on performance and financial management. Other questions were posed on the turnaround plan, intelligenced-driven environment, vacant posts and how this affected how the organisation effectively dealt with crime. There are 186 priority posts that remained vacant and the Committee asked to be provided with a progress report on how long these posts were vacant, why these posts remained vacant and what was dragging the process of making appointments in these vacant posts.
Some Members wanted to know about the progress made in vetting of more than 1 400 Crime Intelligence members. The Committee appreciated that the police were able to arrest of those individuals killing people in Glebelands including a police officer. There was concern about the increasing tendency of police stations refusing to open some criminal cases. The Committee was absolutely stunned to hear that there are SAPS members in this day and age who are illiterate.
SAPS then briefed the Committee on the Overview of Operation Safer Festive Season from 13 October 2017 to 20 January 2018. The presentation looked at the number of SAPS member deployed under the Operation, activities which took place under the Operation, highlights and successes.
Members commended SAPS on improving on a number of areas including police visibility which served as a deterrent. The Committee asked to be briefed on any lessons from the festive season that SAPS is willing to take forward. Questions were asked about the decline in Constables appointed compared to previous festive seasons and the reason for this discrepancy as it was worrying to see a major decline in the deployment of Constables. Other Members requested the Committee be briefed on what was to be done in terms of the high number of people arrested during the festive season especially those of serious offences. There is a problem of outlets selling alcohol unlawfully and it was unclear as to who is assigned in monitoring the licenses of these liquor outlets. The Committee also commended SAPS for the breakthrough in the Glebelands killings.
The Committee then received a briefing from the Parliamentary Legal Advisor on the process to be undertaken on the legislative process (Committee Bill) for an amendment to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act in line with a Constitutional Court order.
Members indicated there is a need to look at the capacitation of the Civilian Secretariat for Police as this was a major concern. Members were baffled why they waited for more than a year for the inclusion of minor changes to the IPID Act. The Committee agreed not to wait on the pace of the Executive but rather to implement the decision of the Constitutional Court as the process could not be delayed any further. There is already a Draft Bill from the Secretariat and therefore there should be cooperation between the Committee and various role players so that the process moved quite fast. The priority of the Committee is to ensure the IPID Act is amendment as per the Constitutional Court judgment. The Committee would still need to take a formal resolution on what needed to be done and the process to be followed.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson indicated that the Committee would be dealing with the strategic direction of the SA Police Service (SAPS) and looking at the new structure of SAPS. The Committee would also deal with the overview of operation festive season. Members would then be allowed to look at factors that are in the public domain as there are many issues that had developed in the past two months. In the afternoon, the Committee would get a briefing by the parliamentary legal team on the IPID Amendment Bill. The Committee would then get a briefing from the Civilian Secretariat of Police (CSP) and the Department providing responses to all submissions made thus far.
The National Commissioner was supposed to be present at the meeting but the Committee received late notice that he would be attending the Cabinet Lekgotla instead. The Committee believed it was imperative for the National Commissioner to be present at today’s meeting as the Committee was dealing with an important issue. It must be made clear that Parliament is a priority and the date of today’s meeting was known long ago and therefore the National Commissioner should have prioritised this meeting. SAPS management is ultimately accountable to Parliament.
The Chairperson mentioned that the Committee would need to schedule another meeting in order to engage the National Commissioner. Members would be afforded enough time to interact with SAPS management. The Committee should commend the visibility and operations of SAPS as there was stability in most provinces. The Committee should also commend the work that was being done by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) as there were many breakthroughs focusing on high-profile corruption within government and State-Owned Entities (SOEs). The legislative mandate of DPCI is to focus on commercial crime, high-profile cases of corruption and other criminal activities and the DPCI should report back to the Committee on the breakthroughs made and challenges experienced. DPCI previously indicated there are challenges in regard to expertise in investigating commercial crime. It is important that SAPS showed commitment in fighting crime.
The Chairperson stated that the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) is critical - the National Commissioner made announcements in various press conferences about the importance of implementing the NDP. This explained why it was important for the National Commissioner to have been present today. The Committee was clear that implementation of the NDP was non-negotiable and so the principles of the NDP needed to be implemented despite new appointments made. It is critical that proper processes are being followed for appointments made. There must be competition for critical posts and there must be panels that would adjudicate all individuals to be considered for appointment for these critical posts. A trend had been seen where a new National Commissioner would come in and appoint incompetent people or those lacking qualifications. There should be an internal investigation immediately when allegations are being leveled against the SAPS management instead of having to wait for the finalisation of the court process. There is always a possibility that a court process could drag on while that particular individual in the SAPS management, against whom allegations were made, remained in the public domain as in the case with the bail application in the Western Cape against SAPS top officials. The Committee noted the appointment of new station commanders in Kagiso and Krugerdorp as the Committee always emphasised there should be intervention timeously when there are challenges of mismanagement by top officials.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) also expressed concern that the National Commissioner was unable to attend the first Committee meeting for 2018. It is clearly a gross insult for the National Commissioner to choose to be present in the Cabinet meeting than Parliament and the Committee should write a very strongly worded letter to him asking him to provide an explanation for his absence. It looked like the National Commissioner was unaware of the magnitude of what he had done today and Members would hope this is prevented from recurring again.
Ms Kohler Barnard noted the issue of Mr Richard Mdluli was first raised in 2012 but SAPS was only able to get rid of Mr Mdluli in 2018. It should be made clear that SAPS should never again allow a situation where an individual made millions while sitting at home doing absolutely nothing. There was a full report produced on how Mr Mdluli misused funds when he was the Crime Intelligence head. The Committee should be briefed on the 1 148 convicted felons within SAPS and these included fraudsters and murderers. It would be important to hear what was being done about criminals harboured within SAPS.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) welcomed recent developments undertaken by DPCI in terms of dealing with corruption. The effectiveness and responsiveness of state institutions would always be grounded in the political will to set the right direction and give impetus to that direction. SAPS management is not supposed to be influenced by any political climate but rather by constitutional and statutory obligation. The NDP is quite clear that most of the challenges in police are within the SAPS management. The SAPS management needed to get back on track and start fulfilling its core mandate.
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) agreed that the National Commissioner was supposed to be present at the meeting today but there should also be correspondence with the Executive so that there is concurrence on the availability of the National Commissioner. He congratulated all the appointments and permanent appointments made. There is hope that appointments made are for people with experience in the police service and competent to do the required job. There is no longer an excuse on how we cannot fight crime in the country and the Committee would be looking at whether the new appointments would be effective in fighting crime in the country.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) expressed concern about the absence of the acting Head of Crime Intelligence in the meeting as there are many questions in relation to the effectiveness of Crime Intelligence. The recent events in KZN where there were more than 20 000 people, heavily-armed, threatening to bring about chaos and bloodshed in the country if the ANC were to take a decision to remove the current head of the country. What was the Head of Crime Intelligence doing in regard to these threats? It looked like the Crime Intelligence was part of the threats coming from a group of the people in KZN.
The Chairperson stated that Crime Intelligence would be appearing before the Committee in the coming weeks - it was certainly not part of the agenda today.
Mr J Maake (ANC) disagreed with the insinuation made by Mr Mbhele that the Hawks are being manipulated as this was grandstanding.
Mr A Shaik-Emam (NFP) appreciated police visibility during the festive season - this is something the Committee needed to welcome. There is hope this visibility would be maintained beyond the festive season. It is disappointing that the National Commissioner was not present at the meeting today as there were specific questions that needed to be directed to him. The Committee was still interested to hear about the defence force that was supposed to have been deployed. He wanted to make it clear that he was not satisfied with the process that had been followed in appointments made in terms of transparency and appointing competent people. There is lack of engagement with other role players in terms of the appointment made. There are serious allegations against SAPS senior officials especially in regard to the bail application in the Western Cape. What was being done about these serious allegations against senior officials within SAPS? It could not be business as usual. It is imperative for SAPS to immediately intervene when there are serious allegations against senior officials.
National Commissioner’s Strategic Direction
Maj Gen Leon Rabie, SAPS Component Head: Strategic Management, noted that the theme of the new strategic direction is to create a safe and secure, crime free environment that is conducive for social and economic stability supporting a better life for all. the slogan of the new strategic direction is to ensure that SAPS renders patriotic and selfless service to communities and the country at large. The Strategic Direction is focused on tactical policing, innovative policing and a back to basic approach. The revised back to basic approach focuses on every member of SAPS reverting to the established regulatory framework, or simply put, “doing right things right, every time”. Building a professional and capable SAPS, included transformation, resource management (human, physical and financial), uncompromising compliance with the fundamental principles of policing and a culture of performance management and accountability. The strategic direction is linked to the Medium Term Strategic Framework with a focus on the sevenoutcomes.
The short-term strategic direction ran from 1 to 14 months i.e. until the end of the 2018/19 financial year. The medium-term is from 1 up until 26 months i.e. up until the end of the 2019/20 financial year while the long-term runs up until the end of the 2020/2021 financial year. There is also a focus on stamping (asserting) the authority of the state through stabilisation and normalisation of identified high crime, hot spot and no-go areas, execution of “Operation Fiela Reclaim II” while sustaining basic conventional policing and enhancement of the public order policing capacity and capability, including addressing the Farlam Commission recommendations. There will also be a focus on implementation of the Drug Master Plan at national, provincial and local level and optimisation of measures to enhance police safety with emphasis on a holistic approach. SAPS will focus on the thorough and responsive investigation of every crime and this would be achieved through an enhanced Criminal Justice System. There will be a concerted effort to roll-out the approach of managing of Dismissed Appeals and looking into the post-parole and released offenders’ re-integration programme versus repeat offending. SAPS will also put more effort in fighting cybercrime and create more capacity and capability to combat cybercrime.
Maj Gen Rabie stated that there will be a focus on effective utilisation of resources in the investigation of crime by provision of technological response to crime and modus operandi. Crime Intelligence will provide more support in terms of proactive and reactive policing by optimising intelligence collection, enhancing intelligence analysis and coordination and developing skills of Crime Intelligence members and establishing a culture of performance management. SAPS are aiming to improve to improve a collaborative and consultative approach to policing, prioritising a community-centred approach to policing and promoting a coordinated approach to gender-based violence. The strategic direction will also look into building a professional and capable SAPS, creating a culture of performance management and accountability and transformation of SAPS. Transformation of SAPS entails professionalisation and demilitarisation, service delivery improvement and integrity management including ethics and anti-corruption.
The Chairperson asked whether the Annual Performance Plan (APP), to be tabled this year, would be linked to the Strategic Direction as this was not clear from the presentation.
Maj Gen Rabie responded that the specific indicators that are currently being measured in terms of the APP have been stretching over the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). In essence, SAPS cannot make any radical changes to the APP as it is inherently linked to the MTSF. However, SAPS would be highlighting specific deliverables in the APP under a specific chapter where there would be inclusion of some of the issues from today’s presentation.
The Chairperson said that the expectation from the Committee is that the Strategic Direction could be considered as an academic piece of work since it does not include any measurable targets in the APP.
Maj Gen Rabie responded that SAPS would need to start developing new strategic planning for SAPS in the next planning process where all priorities being identified now would be made visible in the upcoming APP but not directly as targets.
Mr Groenewald asked whether all priorities mentioned in the presentation would be included in the next APP. It was really pointless to do much of the talking without the actual action on the ground.
Mr Shaik Emam made it clear that he had no confidence that this plan would work as it generally sounded more like an academic piece of work. SAPS should have engaged role players, like the Department of Social Development and Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, so as to have some kind of imbizo where there are discussions about key challenges and the way forward. There are serious challenges that exist between SAPS and the Justice Department alone and this needed to be dealt with through cooperation. Everything that had been presented today to Committee had been heard before.
The Chairperson maintained that every vision should be able to be linked with the allocated budget. SA was currently going through the most difficult fiscal and financial period. There is no disagreement on the plans that had been outlined in the Strategic Direction but there should be swift movement to the APP and MTSF otherwise it would just be a wish-list.
Ms Kohler Barnard asked if SAPS had any meetings with various relevant government departments like the Department of Communications. SAPS should have met with these relevant departments so as to have engagement in order to discuss important issues that required cooperation.
Lt Gen Ntombenhle Vuma, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Management Advisory Services, responded that the National Commissioner had already started engagement with some stakeholders like the Chiefs of Metros. The National Commissioner was planning to meet with National Treasury so as to request additional funding on the Turnaround Strategy.
Maj Gen Rabie added that SAPS was taking into consideration concerns flagged by Members including issues related to the APP. The National Commissioner highlighted the importance of taking into consideration resource requirements in all projects undertaken. SAPS were currently faced with a challenge of inability to execute some of the mandates because of budget constraints or lack of specific resources. SAPS acknowledged much work went into the objectives of the Strategic Direction.
The Chairperson indicated that SAPS previously briefed the Committee on plans in place to get a clean audit as the Service had a very good record on this. However, SAPS obtained a qualified audit opinion last year for the first time in 10 years. The Committee should be provided with an update on progress being made in obtaining a clean audit and comments made by the Auditor-General of SA (AGSA) on performance and financial management. What is the update on the Turnaround Plan? The other important area highlighted in the Strategic Direction is on an intelligence-driven environment. There was an indication from Crime Intelligence that there are several posts that remained vacant and this affected how the organisation effectively dealt with crime. There are 186 priority posts that remained vacant and the Committee should be provided with a progress report on how long these posts were vacant and why they remained vacant. What is dragging the process of making appointments in these vacant posts? It is going to be impossible for Crime Intelligence to deal effectively with crime while these posts remained vacant. What is being done to deal with internal issues within SAPS members? The Committee received a letter from a Detective in KZN and it detailed a harrowing story of a lady who was sexually harassed by an immediate Commander. This lady then experienced intimidation and death threats when she tried to open a case to the police and KZN Provincial Management did not really respond to this case. SAPS should look carefully at the letter than had been forwarded to the Committee as it was critically important to deal decisively with this issue. It would be important to know what was being done to deal with sexual harassment within SAPS if this is a general problem. The intimidation by the complainant is absolutely shocking and the Committee should be provided with a written response on the issue. There should be commitment from SAPS management that this issue would be dealt with promptly.
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) asked whether informants are being optimally used in the utilisation of communities as it was clear from the previous interaction that informants are being used. The Committee should be briefed on if the monitoring of pocketbooks was being undertaken as this was part of the Back to Basics approach. The post-parole programme sounded more like the responsibility of the Department of Justice than the Department of Police – how would SAPS monitor the post-parole programme?
Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked about progress made in filling vacant posts within Crime Intelligence as this is a serious problem. It was indicated that there were more than 1 400 members of Crime Intelligence that had not been vetted. What progress was made with vetting?
Mr Shaik Emam mentioned that he was still waiting for the response on the issue of deployment of the defense force. It is important to have the imbizos so as to collaborate with communities to identify criminals who are terrorising the communities. There is a weakness in the police system to be able to collaborate and coordinate with one another. The relationship between SAPS and the Justice Department is very weak and this is something that needed to be addressed – it is unfortunate that there is nothing SAPS can do individually to resolve this problem. SAPS was speaking about the collaboration with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) but the reality is that there are children in Mitchell’s Plain that had never seen the walls of a school and this is not the job of SAPS. The Minister was speaking about the need for amendment of legislation to give the police more power to deal decisively with criminals. It is clear at the moment that criminals had more power than the police – this is sometimes politicised by saying the police are brutal towards the civilian. The collaboration with various government departments was making it easy for SAPS to execute its mandate.
There is talk about professionalising SAPS but there is a need to start recruiting people who are passionate about policing by introducing a policing curriculum within the DBE so as to attract qualified, dedicated and passionate people. SAPS did not mention anything about ways to deal with proliferation of illegal firearms in various communities especially in the Western Cape. What is the strategy in place to deal with the proliferation of illegal firearms? There are serious allegations that are being made against SAPS officials and the important question is whether it should be business as usual.
Mr Maake reiterated the question on the unfilled posts in the Crime Intelligence as it was no use to blame the organisation while it was being understaffed. There is a need to attract patriotic and selfless police members so as to be able to deal with crime. The recruitment of police officers should not about employment but rather recruiting passionate and dedicated police officers and it must be a calling. There is definitely no patriotism within the country and this was not just within SAPS – it cut across the country. It is interesting to hear about the need to stamp the authority of the state as this was indeed appropriate.
Mr Mhlongo stated that it was appropriate for the Committee to peruse all points made by SAPS on strategic direction. There is a need to change the culture of policing in the country and this would start with the change of curriculum. It would be important to hear about how SAPS would be able to ensure that there is collaboration between the new policy document that is being developed and the Strategic Direction. The recent visit to China by the Committee spoke about the importance of constantly monitoring the performance of police officers even after graduating from the curriculum so as to constantly improve policing. The development of a curriculum should not be a once-off thing but rather a continuous process to enhance the capabilities of the state to adapt to the ever-changing environment of policing. There is a need to move beyond being theoretical and rather being practical about plans to be adopted. The police officers should not be intimidated and this included Members of Parliament (MPs). Blood had been shed enough in the province of KZN and it was impossible to just keep quiet about this matter.
Mr Mhlongo appreciated that the police were able to arrest individuals killing people in Glebelands including a police officer. Crime Intelligence should be able to identify the police officer in KZN, known as KGB, who was linked to various criminal activities in the province. It would be important to hear whether it was possible for Crime Intelligence to be able to pick up that there are “rotten potatoes” within SAPS. The Committee appreciated that there was movement happening in dealing with the Guptas as the Guptas had been “raping” the country for quite some time now.
Mr Groenewald expressed concern that there is an increasing tendency of police stations refusing to open some criminal cases. There had been so many SAPS Turnaround Strategies that the Committee had now lost count. The objectives of the Strategic Direction should be part and parcel of the APP for the 2018/19 financial year. It was interesting to note that the new Strategic Direction was speaking about rural safety and this was welcomed by the Committee. The possible establishment of new specialised units seemed to be missing from the presentation on the new Strategic Direction - this was concerning as the establishment of more specialised units was key in the fight against crime. In relation to the issue of transformation, the Minster recently stated that there are only 12 members within SAPS management and white people needed to start joining the police service. However, it was concerning that there was lack of prospect of promoting of white people within the ranks of not only SAPS but also other government departments and SOEs. It looked like SAPS was able to appoint capable and competent people and this should be commended.
Mr Mbhele asked about the current problem statement within SAPS as this would be important in dealing with the Strategic Direction. The Committee should be briefed on the starting point that SAPS was able to identify in dealing with the problems experienced within management. The misdiagnosis of the current and underlying problem would lead to the application of the wrong treatment and this should be avoided by all means. What prevented the implementation of solutions so far? Station Commanders on the ground are aware of the challenges and the desired solutions in addressing those challenges. There is a need to improve interface between different stakeholders in order to deal with crime in the country. It is still baffling as to why SAPS did not have an anti-stock theft unit in the Eastern Cape and Free State and anti-gang unit in the Western Cape as we know these are places with these concentrated challenges. Where is the rationalisation behind such approach in dealing with crime as indicated by the Minister of Police? The problem of train crashes in train stations, like Germiston station, stemmed from the problem of cable theft and this is clearly a policing unit as there should be a policing unit that is going to be able to neutralise this problem. It seemed unfair for the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to be left alone in dealing with security within the rail environment.
Ms Kohler Barnard expressed concern about the issue of retired police officers who had not received their pensions – some were living in extreme poverty with absolutely nothing as this is the issue that had been flagged even last year. She received a phone call in regard to the helicopter crash in 2010 where seven SAPS officials were killed near Pretoria. The former National Commissioner, Mr Jackie Selebi, made a promise to compensate the families of the victims that were involved in the helicopter crash but none were compensated. Forensic evidence showed the pilot was drunk. SAPS should look into this matter urgently as it was really heartbreaking to hear the widows of the victims complaining about being unable to pay for their children’s school fees. SAPS should also look into the issue of cybercrime as our banks are losing millions of Rands per minute but banks have to keep silent about these challenges because they do not want to lose consumer confidence. The cybercrime unit is so absolutely small that all officials in it could meet in a parliamentary lift. What practical steps would be taken to move this cybercrime unit to the 21st century? It is clear that crime had damaged SA’s psyche as we witness cases car crash victims stripped of their belongings while laying in the road. The fact that we also have cases of children throwing rocks at vehicles showed there is something wrong in our community. SAPS should be working together with communities in schools and churches preaching the message of anti-violence and discouraging children from getting involved in criminal activities.
Lt Gen Vuma requested to provide a written response on the issue of sexual harassment involving a SAPS member as raised by the Chairperson.
Lt Gen Stefan Schutte, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Asset and Legal Management, responded that SAPS provided plans with activities and timelines on IT. This plan is driven by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) in collaboration with SAPS. SAPS were able to purchase network assets as a result of SITA not being able to do so and these have already been incorporated. SAPS still had issues with some of the activities to be performed but these will be performed in February 2018. There would be a bilateral meeting with SITA on 7 February 2018. SAPS also had a meeting with the CEO of SITA on progress made on the network upgrades. SAPS were still trying to sort out the Business Agreement with SITA so that there is agreement on the roles and responsibilities to be undertaken. There are a number of activities planned and the Committee would be provided with written responses on the timelines.
Maj Gen Rabie added that SAPS went to all nine provinces under the leadership of the Deputy Commissioner to engage with Station and Provincial Commanders in trying to discuss performance indicators, audit findings and controls that needed to be implemented. SAPS also engaged the provincial divisions on the same issues in trying to identify key challenges and actions that needed to be undertaken. SAPS had already reported to the audit committee on progress made. SAPS would be provided with a written response within two weeks on progress made and action plans implemented. The reality is that SAPS was currently busy with an interim audit and SAPS was able to address some of the challenges previously identified but there are still some problematic areas but there was an opportunity to address those areas since this was an interim audit. There is no guarantee at the moment as to whether SAPS would be able to obtain a clean audit.
The Chairperson asked whether the recording and pocketbook issue was responded to.
Lt Gen Fani Masemola, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner, Policing, responded that the issue of recording and pocketbooks had not been addressed in totality but there has been consequence management taken in various provinces around this matter. The issue of literacy was the main challenge for SAPS and the head of Human Resource Management within SAPS would still need to undertake an audit on how many SAPS members cannot read and write as this is a problem that exacerbated the situation.
The Chairperson expressed shock that there are SAPS members who cannot read and write in 2018 as this sounded implausible.
Ms Molebatsi was also shocked that there are SAPS members who are illiterate as the Committee had been hammering the issue of pocketbooks and record keeping for a long time now. The issue of pocket books is the only way to monitor the performance of the police officers. There should be commitment in place to resolve this matter with urgency it deserved.
Ms Kohler Barnard was also stunned that there are still SAPS members who cannot read and write. There is an understanding that some SAPS members were brought into the Service during the apartheid but millions had been spent by SAPS on adult education classes. It is absolutely stunning to hear that there are SAPS members in this day and age who are illiterate. There is also no doubt that people who were brought to the Service under apartheid had long retired. There is a possibility that SAPS was letting in people with fraudulent education in the system as this is the only possible situation.
Mr Shaik Emam was disturbed to hear there are SAPS members without education or illiterate. It was unclear then how SAPS would be able to monitor the performance of the officials without a pocket book. It would be important to hear about the impact of these officials who are illiterate on the service. There should be systems in place to be able to identify those officials who are illiterate within SAPS.
Mr Mbhele also agreed that there should be systems in place to be able to identify those officials who cannot read and write whether in the intake or recruitment of people to serve within SAPS. The issue of illiterate SAPS officials had an impact on statement-taking and this then would have a knock-on effect on the conviction of criminals.
Mr Groenewald asked about the number of SAPS officials who are illiterate.
Lt Gen Masemola responded that it was discovered in the previous festive season, during visits to various police stations, that there are some SAPS officials who cannot read or write. There would be an audit to determine the magnitude of the problem. These are SAPS members that came in from SAPS over the years and there is a concerted effort to remedy the situation.
Ms Molebatsi said it was worrying that SAPS only discovered in the previous festive season that some of the SAPS officials are illiterate while the Committee had been emphasising the importance of having pocketbooks or record keeping.
Ms Mmola mentioned that the Committee had always complained about the lack of police station visits by SAPS management as all challenges identified are in police stations. She made it clear that she was aware of the problem of some SAPS members who are illiterate but SAPS should deal with it.
Mr Shaik Emam wanted to be provided with a timeline for the Committee with the audit of the problem of SAPS officials who are illiterate and intervention proposed.
Mr Mhlongo indicated that the Committee would need to be provided with a whole synoptic structure of the challenges within SAPS so that Members can be aware of existing challenges instead of getting shocked by bits of challenges.
Ms Kohler Barnard asked about how SAPS would undertake the audit as this was important for the Committee. It is shameful to witness that the millions that went to adult education remained wasted.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should get a written response on the audit to be conducted within a period of two weeks.
Lt Gen Bonang Mgwenya, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Human Resource Management, replied that there are systems in place within SAPS to ensure that those who are being recruited are qualified and meet all requirements especially on obtaining a matric certificate. There is also a quality check conducted. Most of those SAPS officials who are illiterate would probably be those who are towards retirement age. SAPS would conduct a skills audit to determine the magnitude of the problem and interventions to be implemented. There are skills development facilitators who are allocated to business units and they are responsible for identifying those who are illiterate in order to go through the adult education. SAPS were already capacitating Crime Intelligence and the post of Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence is currently running and the closing date is 9 February 2018. There were 25 vacant posts in senior management, including Brigadiers, and there is a concerted effort to ensure these posts are filled. SAPS believed the appointment to be made in these advertised posts will deal with the issue of capacity within SAPS.
Lt Gen Mgwenya said there is a sexual harassment policy within SAPS and allegations of sexual harassment are dealt with by this policy. There are two cases of sexual harassment in KZN - one is currently before court while there is monitoring of the second case on what needed to be done. There would be follow-up on the second case.
Lt Gen Vuma responded that it is true that SAPS was not consistently implementing the issue of payment of overtime and this is because of the people in the security environment are working overtime frequently - this was putting a lot of pressure on the budget of the organisation. This issue had been addressed and therefore currently the issue had been resolved.
The Chairperson commented that the information from Members is that the situation remained unchanged.
Lt Gen Vuma replied that there was a meeting on the issue and it was being addressed. There would be follow-up on the issue so as to report back to the Committee.
Lt Gen Lebeoana Tsumane, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Crime Detection, responded that there are guidelines in place that guides the detectives on how many informants to have and per the prescript. He explained that he was personally tasked to look into high profile cases including the criminal case involving sexual harassment in KZN and the Committee will be provided with a report back on the issue. If a person is not charged of any criminal cases then that individual would be released from the police station. The release of those who had not been charged by the police is an indictment on SAPS as there are a number of people who are suing the Service. It is imperative to take the fingerprints and profile of the person who had been arrested so as to determine if the person is not linked to other criminal activities. There are about 90 specialised units throughout the country. The issue of cable theft was being noted and there were projects planned in this regard.
Lt Gen Masemola agreed that there are issues in Krugersdorp and Kagiso but SAPS managed to visit these areas to determine the extent of the challenges. SAPS was able to address the community at large. The situation in these areas remained stable as SAPS once again visited the areas for monitoring.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had always emphasised the need to rotate Station Commanders especially those who are in crime hotspots for 10 to 15 years. It would be important to hear from SAPS on whether there is a concerted effort to rotate Station Commanders to prevent the possibility of collusion with criminals in those areas.
Lt Gen Masemola replied that there is a task team to deal with the issue of rotating Station Commanders and there would be a report to the Committee on the issue. SAPS did engage with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on the deployment of the defence force and there is an expectation of progress after the meeting with the chief of the SANDF and the National Commissioner. SAPS had already implemented Operation Fiela and the objection of this Operation is to do with drug dealers and other criminality in the communities. SAPS took note of the problem of cable theft in both Gauteng and the Western Cape. SAPS would put a strategy in place to focus on these two specific areas. The main problem was with the places where these cables are being sold. There is obviously railway police in place but this is not fully capacitated to deal with the scourge of the problem.
The Chairperson asked about the validity of the announcement that was made by a PRASA official that security measures within the railway would now be fully taken over by SAPS.
Lt Gen Masemola responded that there is already railway police that is conducting policing within the railway environment but there is also still PRASA private security in place. There are discussions in place for SAPS to fully take over the security environment within PRASA. There would still be engagement on the issue and there is no clear conclusion on the matter. SAPS were not aware of cases of police stations that are refusing to open criminal cases for people.
Lt Gen Vuma said there would a concerted effort to avoid the situation where some police stations refuse to open criminal cases - people are not supposed to be turned down from opening a criminal case in police stations.
Ms Kohler Barnard said that police stations are allowed to refuse to open a criminal case.
Mr Shaik Emam highlighted there are many cases where police stations refuse to open criminal cases - this is a reality on the ground especially if a criminal case fell in other jurisdictions. SAPS should deal with the problem of fake police and blue lights within the radius of airports in the country that are targeting the tourists.
Lt Gen Masemola replied that SAPS was able to crack the syndicates involved in fake police and blue lights and there are people behind bars for this syndicate. However, there are still some suspects that still on the run.
Mr Mbhele stated there is currently an issue of police stations that are stagnant with police officials, in various police stations, that are not motivated to encourage people to open criminal cases and this is an issue that needed to be dealt with.
Lt Gen Masemola responded that there was consequence management taken against Station Commanders in those police stations that are discouraging people from opening criminal cases. There were people fired recently in Limpopo for meddling with statistics on crime in police stations.
Lt Gen Tsumane added that, living in the 21st century, criminals are already moving ahead and there is a need to be advanced in dealing with criminals. SAPS need to come up with a cybercrime strategy to deal with this problem. The cybercrime strategy will be implemented during the 2018/19 financial year.
Lt Gen Yolisa Matakata, Acting Head, DPCI, replied that the DPCI is obliged to develop a cybercrime strategy and the implementation plan was in place. The cybercrime strategy had already been approved internally.
Mr Shaik Emam asked about the progress in place to penetrate social networks, like Whatsapp, to try and trace criminals especially those cases of criminals demanding to be paid ransoms. SAPS should engage with the banking industry so that employees are prevented from giving in sensitive information and some of them are doing it under fear.
The Chairperson requested more information on the percentage of DPCI’s investigation capacity that would be sourced from outside on specialised forensic investigations. What is going to be done to ensure there is adequate capacity in place within the specialised forensic investigations?
Lt Gen Matakata responded that SAPS was developing capacity internally on investigations but this would depend on the structure that still needed to be approved.
The Chairperson asked about the progress on the dispute with labour unions as this was an issue that was mentioned as being the stumbling block on making appointments on specialised units within DPCI.
Lt Gen Mgwenya said that she would have to check from DPCI on the issue of specialised units.
Ms Molebatsi commented that it was not helpful for SAPS officials to continuously promise the Committee to do things while crime was increasing rapidly in the country.
Lt Gen Matakata replied that DPCI was engaging the banking industry on preventing the sharing of sensitive information.
Mr Shaik Emam asked about the vetting process of those employees handling sensitive information within the banking industry. What could be done to prevent employees from sharing sensitive information?
Lt Gen Matakata replied that there are measures in place to prevent those situations and the banks are also prudent on the sharing of sensitive information by employees.
Lt Gen Mgwenya responded that the structure of DPCI would be discussed on Tuesday, 6 February 2018. SAPS was scheduled to account on the 1 448 SAPS officials who are convicted felons on 12 September 2018. However, SAPS will be unable to continue with the process due the outcome of the court order. SAPS has terminated the service of 491 of the 1 448 SAPS officials while 403 officials were found with no criminal conviction and 71 members were found with no serious offences. 44 of the officials disclosed their criminal conviction on appointment and some of the cases were related to political activities for the period before 1994 - those officials are always encourage to expunge those criminal records. There are 225 members who had their criminal records expunged and 161 members were subjected to disciplinary cases. Currently, the remaining of the 1 448 in service is 53. SAPS were currently seeking legal opinion on whether to challenge the court ruling.
Ms Kohler Barnard wanted to know if SAPS was able to look at other alternative ways of getting rid of the convicted felons within the policing environment. The fact that people on the ground should be the ones hoping that a convicted felon from SAPS would be dealing with criminals makes SAPS look like a joke.
Lt Gen Mgwenya responded that 161 SAPS officials were subjected to disciplinary measures as indicated previously. SAPS did effect payment on families of those who were involved in the helicopter crash but SAPS would still need to determine if there are outstanding payments. SAPS will encourage all the families of the helicopter crash to apply to be compensated. SAPS are responsible for the payment of medical accounts of those officials injured on duty but the challenge was the fact that the Competition Commission had appointed another Director. SAPS had a backlog of 7 000 officials to deal with by the end of 2017 but the backlog had been dealt with as there is now only 500 officials in the system. There is a continuous review of the SAPS curriculum and there is a directorate responsible for curricula development to be in line with legislative changes. SAPS were moving towards filling in those vacant posts and this started with the appointment of a permanent National Commissioner. The Cluster Commander in EThekwini was dismissed but he lodged an appeal and SAPS was looking into the appeal process.
Mr Shaik Emam said the community had long expressed concern about the dismissed Cluster Commander in EThekwini and it is unfortunate that SAPS took three years to get this individual dismissed. What is a system in place that could assist SAPS to identify “rotten apples” before the media and MPs are able to found out? SAPS should not underestimate the importance of relying on communities as communities are aware of the criminal activities happening in their areas. SAPS should perhaps engage these Community Policing Forums (CPFs) to allow everyone to make input.
Lt Gen Mgwenya replied that SAPS can only be assisted by intelligence to identify “rotten apples”. SAPS also established an integrity unit to ensure SAPS officials avoided the situation that might compromise their reputation and the Service in general. SAPS were working on the anti-corruption strategy and the framework was finalised. SAPS commenced with investigations immediately after allegations were made against SAPS officials instead of waiting for a court order.
The Chairperson indicated that one of the items on the agenda today was the SAPS structure but it would be prudent for SAPS to make this presentation in the presence of National Commissioner.
Mr Mhlongo expressed shock that an individual, like this “Captain KGB”, had been sentenced to 10 years but only served two years and then came back to SAPS. There should be a mechanism in place to be able to detect and root-out all these “rotten potatoes” within SAPS. The integrity of SAPS officials is very vital in the eyes of the people in the country.
Lt Gen Mgwenya responded that when the individual was employed by SAPS in 2013, in the very same year a letter was sent to the individual informing him that he was dishonourably dismissed from SAPS. Finalisation of the termination of employment of KGB was in 2016. In essence, his dismissal from the Service was done in 2013 but the finalisation of the terminating employment was only done in 2016.
Mr Maake asked if it was not possible to use this KGB as an informer or impimpi.
Ms Mmola wanted to know if KGB was receiving his salary from 2013 up until 2016.
Ms Kohler Barnard heard that KGB was paid his full salary right up from his jail time and returning to SAPS. It would be important to get confirmation on whether this was true.
Lt Gen Mgwenya replied that SAPS would still need to make a determination on whether the individual was indeed paid his full salary from 2013 up until 2016. There is proof that the Service of KGB was terminated in 2013.
Ms Kohler Barnard asked for the Committee to be provided with such proof so as to put the matter to bed once and for all.
Lt Gen Tsumane replied that there are covert, conventional and unconventional measures used to get information. There is nothing that generally prevents SAPS from using KGB to be able to penetrate the underworld.
Lt Gen Vuma explained that SAPS was doing some work on the rationalisation approach and SAPS had already concluded assessment of the clusters and police stations at the moment - this was critically important in dealing with crime.
Lt Gen Schutte responded that SAPS generally loses about 5 000 people yearly and the enlistment of personnel by SAPS fluctuates depending on the year. There is a social return in deploying more Constables and providing additional resources as this is addressing the problem of crime.
Lt Gen Mgwenya said there was an internal investigation on the issue of sexual harassment. SAPS were not aware of the case of intimidation and death threats sent to the SAPS official handling the sexual assault case. The issue of deployment is essentially informed by intake during training.
Lt Gen Vuma welcomed all accolades from Members on the performance of SAPS during the festive period including those issues not positive in nature – SAPS was willing to address these matters as an organisation. SAPS will compile all reports forwarded to the Committee as requested by Members.
Overview of Operation Safer Festive Season 13 October 2017 to 20 January 2018
Lt Gen Masemola indicated that an average of 9 822 SAPS members were deployed nationally on a daily basis. A total of 3 510 newly appointed Constables were appointed nationally with Gauteng receiving the most deployment (1 269) while Free State received the least (143). An average of 1 347 Public Order Policing members were deployed nationally per day from 13 October 2017 to 20 January 2018. There were 1 250 850 operational deployments and activities including patrols, roadblocks and stop and search. SAPS conducted a total of 3 090 026 searches including persons, premises and vehicles. There were 197 reported cases of house robbery, 230 cases of robbery with firearm and 92 cases of cases of carjacking. SAPS recorded 522 cases of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition with KZN having the highest number of cases (107) followed by Gauteng (105). There were 589 reported cases of rape, 159 other sexual offences, 76 sexual assault and 70 cases of kidnapping.
There was a total of 10 966 cases of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Gauteng had the highest number of cases of people driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. SAPS seized about 45 668 ammunition with the highest seizure in the Western Cape (35 219) followed by KZN (3 015).There was a total of 254 livestock that was seized throughout the country with the Eastern Cape and Free State having the highest number of stock theft.
Maj Gen Norman Sekhukhune, SAPS Component Head: Crime Registrar, noted that contact crime was reduced by 1.5% while other serious crime was reduced by 4.8%. There was an overall increase of 12.6% in crimes dependant on police action. There was an increase of 0.8% on reported cases of sexual offences. There was a decrease of 0.1% in aggravated robbery while there was also a decline of 4.8% in property-related crime. SAPS were able to arrest suspects linked to the Glebelands killings in KZN and this included a SAPS member. In relation to newsworthy incidents, a total of 175 people were arrested by SAPS officers of the Johannesburg central policing cluster stations during crime combating operations conducted around Mondeor, Booysens, Moffatview, Langlaagte, Fairlands, Sophiatown, Brixton, and Johannesburg Central area. Among others, seven people were arrested for armed robbery, six for possession of unlicensed firearms, two for possession of a hijacked motor vehicle, one for house robbery, four for attempted murder, one for rape, seven for possession of a stolen motor vehicle, 11 for common robbery, four for domestic violence, five for malicious damage to property, 10 for possession of suspected stolen property, eight for fraud, and 26 for possession of drugs.
The Chairperson commended SAPS on improving on a number of areas including police visibility and how that serves as deterrent to criminal activities. The Committee should be briefed on any lessons from the festive season that SAPS is willing to take forward. There are still urban areas engulfed by criminal activities, like Kagiso, and hijacked buildings and drugs being sold in most buildings. What would the main focus of Operation Fiela be?
Ms Kohler Barnard mentioned that she had just received a call from the top SAPS official dealing with robberies and murders in KZN who is now receiving intimidation, death threats and had her car taken away after opening a case of sexual harassment against a Cluster Commander.
Mr Mbhele noted that there seemed to be a decline in the number of appointed Constables in the previous festive season period compared to the one for 2016. What was the reason for such discrepancy? SAPS mostly relied on manpower and therefore it was worrying to see a major decline in the deployment of Constables.
Mr Mhlongo commended the work done by police officers during the festive season as they are working under extremely difficult conditions. The amount of ammunition ceased in the Western Cape seemed to be very high portraying the province to be in a warzone. It would be important to hear if there was a way to determine the source of suppliers of this ammunition in the Western Cape
Mr Shaik Emam concurred that SAPS should be commended for the sterling work done during the festive season. The Committee should be briefed on what was to be done in terms of the large number of people arrested during the festive season especially those for serious offences. There is a problem of outlets selling alcohol unlawfully and it was unclear as to who is assigned in monitoring the licenses of these liquor outlets. What are the challenges experienced in having a successful conviction? How many of the arrested individuals are repeat offenders?
Ms Mmola reiterated that SAPS played a major role in dealing with crime during this festive season and this is something that should be commended. It is also clear that SAPS officials are involved in high profile cases especially in Glebelands and this was a good sign of progress by SAPS. It would be important for SAPS to start getting involved in schools in order to root-out the problem of drugs.
Lt Gen Masemola replied that SAPS would love to have more police officials on the ground so as to maintain peace and stability to continue from the festive season. There will be multi-disciplinary task teams at provincial and cluster level. SAPS were able to identify certain hotspots in the country and Operation Fiela will focus specifically on those hotspots including hijacked buildings. There was intelligence involved in regard to ammunition ceased in the Western Cape and SAPS will continue in that regard. There was a special team focused in the Western Cape. It would be difficult at the moment to come up with real figures on those arrested - some were granted bail and others were still inside. SAPS were taking note of the suggestion to focus on schools to interrupt the problem of drugs and the Service was already conducting operations in schools considered problematic.
Lt Gen Tsumane added that SAPS noted most of the Magistrates during the December period are absent while there is an increasing volume of cases. The National Commissioner suggested a joint meeting with the Justice Department so as to create capacity to deal with the high volume of cases during December. SAPS also wants to make sure individuals arrested are not given bail as they commit crime on the same day they were released on bail. SAPS can provide a breakdown of figures of those granted bails, convicted and cases withdrawn.
Mr Shaik Emam wanted to know if SAPS had capacity as this was an important matter that needed to be determined. In essence, it would be important to make a determination of the amount of money spent by SAPS on providing additional resources relative to the amount of money that would have been lost due to criminal activities. SAPS should be dealing with a follow-up on all these criminal activities in order to get to the bottom of these criminal activities. Who is going to be responsible for ensuring identified outlets selling liquor unlawfully are completely closed down?
Lt Gen Vuma mentioned that SAPS would certainly like to get more money in order to be able to recruit more Constables as this was critically important in dealing with crime.
Briefing by Parliamentary Legal Advisor
Mr Michael Andrew, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, said the legislative process of a Committee Bill started when the Committee is required to develop and tables a memorandum for the purpose of obtaining the Assembly’s permission. The Speaker must place the memorandum on the Order Paper and the Assembly may give or refuse permission. It is important to note that if a copy of the Bill is published in the Government Gazette, the notice must contain an invitation for interested persons and institutions to submit written representations on the Bill. The Bill must be certified by the Chief Parliamentary Legal Adviser, or a Parliamentary Legal Adviser designated by him or her, as being consistent with the Constitution and existing legislation. The Bill does not have a first reading - instead it is placed on the Order Paper for a Second Reading. At least three Assembly working days must lapse since the Bill was introduced before the Second Reading. In conclusion, the Bill is transmitted to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and referred to a Committee. There is then Committee deliberations and a report to the Second House before being considered by the Second House.
Ms Kohler Barnard mentioned that the judgment was handed down in September 2016 and this was after Mr Robert McBride was still on suspension. It would be important to know why Mr McBride did not come back from suspension after the court judgment.
Mr Alvin Rapea, Secretary of Police, responded that SAPS started with the process after Mr McBride came back from suspension. The process was slow, the Department then had the change of Minister in April 2017 and then there were other priorities for the Minister. SAPS capacity also impacted on the slow process undertaken.
Ms Kohler Barnard indicated there is a need to look at the capacitation of the Secretariat as this was a major concern. It is really baffling as to why the Committee had to wait for more than a year for the inclusion of minor changes in the IPID Act.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should not wait for the pace of the Executive but rather implement the decision of the Constitutional Court – the process simply could not wait any longer. The focus should be to ensure the Bill is able to be transferred to the NCOP. There is already a Draft Bill from the Secretariat and therefore there should be cooperation between the Committee and various role players so that the process moved quite fast. The priority of the Committee is to ensure the IPID Act is amendment as per the Constitutional Court judgment.
Mr Rapea stated there were issues raised by IPID on using this opportunity to actually amend the whole Bill and this is what caused the delay. The concentration was not only on the part highlighted by the Constitutional Court but on the Bill in its entirety. CSP would have completed the whole amendment of the Bill if the focus was only on the part flagged by the Constitutional Court.
Mr Maake asked about the process to be followed especially on whether there would be an overhaul of the Bill after having dealt with the Constitutional Court decision.
The Chairperson indicated that the Committee would still need to take a formal resolution on what needed to be done and the process to be followed. The Committee would sometimes need to work on Fridays to meet the deadline as it also currently dealing with the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill.
The meeting was adjourned.
- New SAPS Strategic Direction & Management Structure; Safer Festive Season 1
- New SAPS Strategic Direction & Management Structure; Safer Festive Season 3
- New SAPS Strategic Direction & Management Structure; Safer Festive Season 4
- New SAPS Strategic Direction & Management Structure; Safer Festive Season 2
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.