The South African Police Service (SAPS) briefed the Committee on the new strategic direction on which it had embarked, and also covered issues related to senior appointments, the 2018 Firearm Amnesty and the SAPS harassment policy.
The Minister highlighted that although the National Commissioner had already announced the SAPS turnaround strategy, and it looked good on paper, this did not mean that SAPS had “arrived”. There were instances in the public domain where people had expressed their displeasure with the police’s handling of cases. It was not the responsibility of SAPS to argue about this, but to prove themselves to the people by the work it was carrying out in dealing with criminals. SAPS was clear that it could not continue to coexist with crime, and was working with municipalities to close down criminal activities such as the selling of drugs.
The new strategic direction of SAPS was to create a safe and secure, crime-free environment that was conducive for social and economic stability supporting a better life for all. It was focused on tactical and innovative policing, with a ‘back to basics’ approach. There was also a focus on asserting the authority of the state through the stabilisation and normalisation of identified high crime “hot spots” and no-go areas, and the execution of “Operation Fiela Reclaim II,” while sustaining basic conventional policing and the enhancement of its public order policing capacity. There would also be a focus on the implementation of the Drug Master Plan at the national, provincial and local level.
Members asked about ways to ensure that SAPS members were being held accountable, as this was critically important. SAPS needed to be successful, but this could be achieved only by having its technology in order and up to date. What was the update on lifestyle audits for police personnel? What was being done to deal with the criminal elements within SAPS? SAPS should fast-track and implement a comprehensive plan to deal with cybercrime, as most of the criminal cases within SAPS were cyber related. SAPS should be dealing with illegally occupied unused buildings, especially in the city centres, where buildings were being invaded and often sold illegally. It was also a concern that the rural safety strategy was not yet approved, considering that farmers were being targeted, and in some cases were being tortured until they died. They asked about the reported attempt to hack into the SAPS computer system, and wanted to know what was being done about the Western Cape’s Metrorail problems, copper theft and criminal scrapyard activities.
After SAPS had briefed the Committee on senior appointments that had been made, Members criticised the provisions of Regulation 45 of the Department’s employment regulations, which provide that the National Commissioner may, upon-written motivation and with the concurrence of the Minister, promote an employee into a post without advertising it, and without following the selection process. A Member said there were allegations that promotions depended on who one knew in SAPS, and that a transparent selection process, based on merit, should be followed. The Committee also asked for an update on the suspended KZN provincial commissioner, who was still receiving his salary while sitting at home.
The Chairperson said that the most complicated issue surrounding the Firearm Amnesty was the dates, as the proposal from SAPS was that it should be in the middle of the year. The Members would be given an opportunity to comment on the Amnesty proposals. There were concerns about the Minister’s proposed draft notice, as there was nothing in the letter that had been forwarded to the Committee that spoke about the stamped and fingerprinted receipt to be received by those who had surrendered firearms.
The Chairperson welcomed the Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, the National Commissioner, Lt Gen Khehla Sitole, delegates and Members of the Committee. He said Members would be provided with an amended Parliamentary programme, as it was important for them to be briefed on the amendments that had been made, taking into consideration the two bills that the Committee still needed to deal with. The Committee would not only need to finalise those bills, but also to deal with other outstanding oversight work. Members would have to work over the weekend in trying to come up with proposals on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill [B22 2017] in order to reach maximum consensus on the non-contentious issues.
The Committee agreed with the National Commissioner’s views on where he wants to take policing in the Western Cape. The Committee also noted the tragic killing of a warrant officer in front of his wife and four children. This was absolutely unacceptable and needed to be dealt with promptly as it was a tragedy that was not good for the country. It was tragic that an officer who was mandated to protect the country had been killed in this brutal manner. The Committee was sending condolences to SAPS and the entire family of that warrant officer. The National Commissioner had reflected on prioritising action to deal with the killing of SAPS members during his visit to the Western Cape yesterday.
The Committee also noted and commended the good work that was being done by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) in clamping down on commercial crime and corruption, and it needed to continue with this work. The DPCI was clearly sending signals that anyone who wanted to loot state resources would be dealt with accordingly.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) echoed the sentiments of the Chairperson on the killing of a SAPS member, as this compromised the integrity and effectiveness of the police service in doing its work. It was important also to welcome the operation and raids made by the Hawks this morning, as this was long overdue. The key issue was to have a comprehensive accountability and not to apply selective justice. The Acting Head of DPCI would be aware that the DA had laid charges against several officials and political officer bearers related to allegations of corruption. Therefore, there was hope that the Hawks would pursue to charges and do its work properly and arrest people, even if it cut close to the political bone. The law enforcement sector had been beholden to political bias and selectivity for far too long.
Mr A Shaik-Emam (NFP) said that there was often a little outcry when a police officer was killed, compared to when a civilian was killed by a police member. What was SAPS doing to protect police officers? It was quite clear that there was something that needed to be done in terms of providing police officers with added protection. The Committee certainly welcomed the fantastic job that was being done by the DPCI and SAPS, as this was what was needed for the country. It was also good to hear from the Minister that SAPS would be conducting a special investigation into the killing of former Orland Pirates goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa. There had been an outcry from the family that not enough was being done to investigate the case. It was quite clear at the moment that SAPS was moving in the right direction. This was welcomed by the Committee, and there were a lot of positive contributions from the community.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) commented that SAPS should not forget the killing of metro police members, as they were also being targeted by criminals, like a recent one who had been shot in the head and died. The reality was that as much as SAPS members were being killed by criminals in the line of duty, one should also look at ways to address the killing of metro police members.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) welcomed the inroads by the DPCI in cracking down on corruption, as this was the first and foremost mandate of DPCI.
Minister Fikile Mbalula apologised for the absence of the National Commissioner at the meeting last week, as he had been scheduled to attend the Cabinet Lekgotla. The absence of the National Commissioner was not the act of defiance, but rather being scheduled for another duty. He welcomed the broad support for the appointment of Lt Gen Sitole as the permanent National Commissioner. The National Commissioner had already announced the turnaround strategy and it looked good on paper, but this did not mean that SAPS had “arrived”. There were cases that were in the public domain, where people had expressed their displeasure at the handling of cases. It was not the responsibility of SAPS to argue with people, but to prove to the people by the work that was being undertaken on the ground to deal with criminals. SAPS was clear that it could not continue to coexist with crime and was working with municipalities to close down places selling drugs. There was a need to clump down on criminality in the country, and the police force was very important in that regard. The police must do their work without fear of favour and strengthen the authority of the state.
The Minister finally made it clear that he had always wanted to be present at the Committee meetings, as he was often accused of being reluctant to attend them.
Briefing by SAPS: Strategic Direction
Lt Gen Sitole said that the turnaround strategy had already been presented to the Committee, and the presentation now would just tie matters together and show how they were linked to one another. The strategic direction was not changing entirely, but it was adding some of the factors that had been presented to the Committee during the reign of the Acting National Commissioner. The Back to Basics concept had not been thrown away -- it was still part of SAPS. The turnaround vision was informed by the premise that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results was a sign of craziness. The turnaround vision had been adapted from the criminal modus operandi. Criminals changed all the time, and therefore SAPS needed to be a step ahead.
One of the challenges facing government was the illicit economy, and SAPS was responding to illicit mining. The turnaround was looking at focusing on the framework to deal with illicit economy so as to stimulate economic growth in the country. SAPS was aligning and re-aligning the creation of a safe and secure environment for economic growth and social stability. This was taken from the preamble of the National Crime Prevention Strategy, which was applied by former President Mandela during the promulgation of the Strategy.
Lt Gen Sitole indicated that SAPS still had the strategic plan, the Annual Operational Plan (AOP) and the Annual Performance Plan (APP), which was the one to which it was accounting. It was linking the strategic plan to the rolling process of the AOP, as well as the APP. There were short and long-term priorities in the strategic vision. The turnaround was realigning the execution of policies from other role players and stakeholders so as to be able to work together. SAPS should be able to link the resource part to the target setting.
Maj Gen Leon Rabie, Component Head: Strategic Management, SAPS, said SAPS was adopting the National Development Plan (NDP) by creating a safe and secure place for all South Africans in the country. SAPS noted that the country did not yet have the social and economic stability that would be able to support a better life for all. The short-term strategic direction was from one to 14 months, and this would be up to the end of 2018/19 financial year. The medium-term was from one to 26 months, and this would be up until the end of 2019/20 financial year, while the long-term would run up until the end of 2020/2021 financial year. There was also a focus on stamping (asserting) the authority of the state through the stabilisation and normalisation of identified high crime, hot spots and no-go areas, and the 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 would also be a focus on the implementation of the Drug Master Plan at the national, provincial and local level, and optimisation of measures to enhance police safety, with the emphasis on a holistic approach. SAPS would focus on a thorough and responsive investigation of every crime and this would be achieved through an enhanced criminal justice system. There would be a concerted effort to roll-out an approach to the managing of dismissed appeals, and looking into the post-parole and released offenders’ re-integration programme versus repeat offending. SAPS would also put more effort into fighting cybercrime and create more capacity and capability in this area.
Maj Gen Rabie said there would be a focus on effective utilisation of resources in the investigation of crime by the provision of a technological response to crime and its modus operandi. Crime Intelligence would provide more support of proactive and reactive policing by optimising intelligence collection, enhancing intelligence analysis and coordination, and developing the skills of Crime Intelligence members and establishing a culture of performance management. SAPS was aiming to improve its 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 would also be looking into building a professional and capable SAPS, creating a culture of performance management and accountability and transformation of the service. Transformation of SAPS entailed professionalisation and demilitarisation, service delivery improvement and integrity management, including ethics and anti-corruption. The National Commissioner had already mentioned that the strategic direction would not immediately find its way into the APP, but the intention of SAPS was to brief the Committee on a regular basis on the deliverables.
The Chairperson asked about ways to ensure that SAPS members would be held accountable, as this was critically important. SAPS needed to be successful, but this could be achieved only by having technology in order and up to date. What was the update on the issue of a lifestyle audit? What was being done to deal with elements of criminality within SAPS? There was currently a court case in the Western Cape of two former brigadiers who had been found guilty on charges of corruption. The Committee had also heard of various allegations made in the bail application in Cape Town in regard to senior police officers in the Western Cape. It had also seen a senior officer of the Hawks being sentenced. It was essential for SAPS to crack down on elements of criminality within SAPS so as to regain public confidence. The issue of a lifestyle audit within SAPS senior management was important and needed to be expedited. Every high ranking official within SAPS that appeared in court diminished the standard of the SAPS. The Committee should be provided with a written report on the billions of rands that had been spent on technology by SAPS, and what had been achieved.
Ms Molebatsi said that the post-parole strategy sounded more like a strategy for the Department of Justice and Correctional Service. How was this strategy going to be monitored and implemented? SAPS should fast-track and implement a comprehensive plan to deal with cybercrime, as most of the criminal cases within SAPS were cyber related. It had promised during a briefing on the safe Festive Season Operations late last year, to crack down on outlets illegally selling firecrackers, as this was a major problem, but there were still four illegal outlets in her community who were selling firecrackers to underage children. The Committee should be briefed on whether the strategy to deal with the illegal selling of firecrackers had been successful during the festive season. Some of the police officers in her community were not even aware that SAPS had a strategy that prohibited the selling of firecrackers to underage children.
Ms Kohler Barnard urged SAPS to deal with illegally occupied unused buildings, as this was a massive problem, especially in the city centres where buildings were invaded and often sold illegally. Was SAPS able to ascertain whether these illegally occupied unused buildings belonged to the private or public sector? The Department of Public Works (DPW) recently indicated it had lost thousands of buildings. What was to be done regarding these illegally occupied buildings? It was a concern that the rural safety strategy was not yet approved, considering that farmers were being targeted and tortured until they died. There was a trend where farmers were being tortured to death, with nothing being taken away. Stock theft was a major problem for SAPS in the rural areas and this should be dealt with in the rural strategy as there was absolutely no control and protection provided in these areas. It was really depressing to hear that SAPS was “working on a plan” for rural safety. She asked for clarification on the statement by the National Commissioner that the systems of SAPS were being intruded into. Was this implying that criminals were hacking into the systems of SAPS? The problem of systems not speaking to each other had always been a problem of SAPS. The Committee should indeed be provided with a written report on the billions that had been spent by SAPS on technology.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had been briefed by Technology Management Services (TMS) last year, and SAPS would need to get an update on the new vision on technology. The issue of operating with an outdated system raised the issue of the risk policy within SAPS, and the Committee should hear about the role of management’s intervention in this regard. The organisation should be able to detect threats within its Information Technology (IT) as soon as possible.
Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked when the provincial and station drug action plan had been implemented, as this was not stipulated in the presentation. How many provinces had implemented the plan? What was timeline for its implementation? SAPS needed to address the problem of drugs, as it was a major problem in many schools throughout the country. The Committee should be provided with an update on the security clearance issue involving Brigadier Phetlhe. Had she been put on suspension? What was the update on the issues surrounding IPID in the Northern Cape? It was worrisome to hear that systems that were outdated within SAPS, and security was being compromised. What was going to be done to address the problem of outsourcing services from Denel? The issue of outsourcing should be prevented, as this was where there was a problem of corruption.
Mr Shaik-Emam wanted to know about the process to be followed in order to have a continuous vetting or polygraph testing of SAPS members, as this was absolutely important to prevent possible collusion between SAPS members and gangsters or criminals. The reality was that the National Commissioner could not solve crime on his own, and that was why there was a need to prioritise imbizos to work together with communities and various stakeholders to prevent crime, instead of dealing with criminal activities. The social conditions under which people lived contributed to the high levels of crime in the country. There was a need to deal with ports of entry, as this was where drugs were pouring into the country, and limited inspection was undertaken. The Committee should be briefed on whether SAPS had tried to conduct an exercise to determine if there was any possible collusion between detectives handling cases and hardened criminals and gangsters. It should be determined if the same detectives were handling the cases of the same suspects who came in and out of prisons.
The influx of foreigners to the country was something to be looked into in terms of the regulations, as they were in charge of the sex trade and the drug trade, and had control over the country’s children. South Africa was open to foreigners coming into the country because of the circumstances in their own countries, but this access needed to be reasonable and limited as it could not be a free-for-all. It was good to hear that SAPS would be working together with South African Development Communities (SADC), as this was where there was a problem of car-jacking and car theft. The cars that were being stolen were often stolen for their parts. and there was a market for that. What was going to be done to close down those who sold the parts of stolen vehicles? SAPS should deal with the problem of abuse of SAPS vehicles where they were being used for purposes other than policing.
Mr Shaik-Emam said that there was a need to have cooperation between SAPS and the Department of Justice to prevent cases of repeat offenders. Was there a strategy in place to deal with the killing of farm owners? SAPS had spoken about the need for professionalisation, but this could be achieved only by integrating a SAPS curriculum into schools and tertiary institutions instead of recruiting unemployed and desperate individuals. The country was faced with the problem of high unemployment, and therefore it was likely that SAPS was recruiting desperate and unemployed individuals. What was the weakness in the technology of SAPS? It seemed to be struggling with simple technology in order have synergy with the Department of Justice. The systems of SAPS were unable to track criminals, and this was reducing the effectiveness of policing.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) welcomed the vision of SAPS, as it was promising, but there was a need to combine this vision with the resources that had been allocated and the budget in place. For the vision to be able to succeed, it needed management and people who were going to be the drivers of the vision. Had SAPS determined the readiness of the management to implement the vision that was being presented by the National Commissioner? Were the right tools in place to implement the vision? The recent visit to the United Kingdom (UK) hadshown that they have a digital policing board that was able to analyse what was happening in the cyber space. What would need to be done by SAPS in order to reach this particular level? SAPS would not be able to transform itself unless there were other overarching interventions being made. Was there any attempt to revisit the SAPS curriculum at the various colleges? This might solve the problem where there were police officers who could not even write police statements.
Mr Mhlongo said the police officer of the 21st century had to be very sophisticated and always steps ahead of criminals in the country. SAPS was dealing with more sophisticated criminals, and some of them were demanding money that far exceeded the budget of the government, so having police officers who could not read and write was not going to address these mammoth challenges. SAPS should be frank and open about the challenges within the organisation, including the allegations of sexual harassment by police officers. One could not expect police officers who behaved like prisoners to be the very ones to deal decisively with criminals.
Mr Mbhele said it was extremely difficult to engage with the large chunk of the presentation, as it detailed projects that still needed to be undertaken, with nothing tangible. SAPS was speaking about the ‘Back to Basics’ approach without any emphasis on fixing the fundamentals. The fundamentals were in three parts. The first one was addressing the problems of understaffing, and being under-equipped, under-trained and under-resourced at station levels. The second fundamental was fixing Crime Intelligence, as this had been in crisis for a long time. The third and last fundamental was boosting the detectives that were in distress. It was good to hear SAPS talking about conventional policing to sustain the gains from operations, but this was not going to happen if there were station shifts that were understaffed, coupled with a shortage of SAPS vehicles. There were cases in the Eastern Cape of one SAPS vehicle having to cover a very large sector with a lot of residents.
The ideal scenario for policing was where 80% of the policing, crime and public safety issues could be adequately addressed by conventional policing. This was where police stations were doing patrolling, and detectives were collecting statements and following leads from informants. The 20% of the issues included those where the station and cluster commanders could not get a grip on them, and this was a major concern. It seemed like there was a heavy reliance on operations to cover the shortfalls in the conventional policing and being stuck in a quagmire where one was unable to address the underlying challenges. This was why violence and organised crime had been on the increase in the last five years. It had been stated in the presentation that Crime Information Officer (CIO) capability had been fully established in all police stations. However, what was unclear was whether this was an intention, or a status report. If it was the case that CIO capability had been fully established in all police stations, then the next question was whether the vacancies for Crime Intelligence analysts had been filled. It had been indicated in the Committee that there were major challenges regarding the actual analysts who were to process the raw crime information into usable, actionable crime intelligence.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) commented that the presentation confirmed that some of the issues were continuing, and that SAPS was not starting from scratch, especially on community policing. The main concern was the issue of continuous renewal, without the actual implementation. The drug master plan and gangsterism strategy were all issues that were in place, but the main concern was whether there would be capacity in place to implement these strategies, and if all the provinces were geared up to implement the plans. SAPS “should walk the talk” when it came to cracking down on gangsterism in the Western Cape. It was unclear if what was happening nationally was also happening provincially when it came to dealing with gangsterism. There had been a struggle in implementing the Impi Project in the Western Cape which was aimed at dealing with gangsterism and the smuggling of firearms with the involvement of SAPS officials. There were also indications that the project had been dismantled all together. There should be an indication as to whether it would now be driven by the Hawks instead of SAPS, because the SAPS management was not comfortable with the project. There were also allegations that high ranking officials within SAPS were interfering with the investigation of gang leaders. SAPS should arrest those officials who were alleged to collude with criminals and gang leaders.
The problem of copper theft in the Western Cape was out of control. This should be construed as organised crime that had the footprint of the internal work of Metrorail employees. Metrorail was unable to deal with this challenge, and it was interrupting its operations. It was now almost six weeks since the disruption of the Central Line. The matter of cable theft was supposed to be backed up by intelligence-led operations, but it seemed like not much was happening. Commuters from Khayelitsha, Nyanga and Phillipi were simply unable to move, and some of them had lost their jobs because the trains were unable to move. There was no other body in the country that had the mandate of protecting the citizens, and the guards that were employed by Metrorail were simply just guards with little power to do anything. The issue of the expiration of the contract for IT was a serious challenge, as it compromised SAPS with the possibility of hacking. What back up was in place to neutralise the damage that had been done on IT? The possible penetration of IT by the underworld could compromise the ongoing investigations within SAPS.
Ms Kohler Barnard asked if “Captain KGB” Morris Tshabalala had paid the full salary while he was dismissed from SAPS from 2013 until his service was terminated. What was the progress with regard to those with criminal records who had been employed within SAPS? It had been indicated that there were criminals within SAPS, and the Committee should be briefed on nature of the criminal acts committed and the positions held by these criminals.
Lt Gen Bonang Mgwenya, Head: Human Resource Management: SAPS, responded that the involvement of SAPS members in criminal activities was a sign of decay, and SAPS had been required to establish an integrity unit and appoint ethics officers. It was in a process of appointing the ethics committee and the terms of reference for the committee had been completed. SAPS had finalised the draft ethics and anti-corruption strategy. This was currently under circulation for inputs from members of SAPS in all business units, and this would be taken to the policy committee and then subsequently to the National Commissioner. The strategy made provision for random lifestyle audits of SAPS members, and this work would be done in collaboration with the Hawks. There was already a unit within the Hawks that dealt specifically with issues of integrity. This would look at issues of financial disclosure and conflict of interests. SAPS was optimistic that the strategy would be beneficial for the organisation.
The Chairperson asked if there was currently no lifestyle audit under way within SAPS, as this was important for proactive management. The Committee was concerned about the number of high-ranking officials that were in court. The proactive anti-corruption strategy within SAPS should ensure that there was a lifestyle audit that was under way, especially in sensitive areas like people who ran secret accounts.
Ms Kohler Barnard wanted to know if the policy would be acceptable to SAPS if civilians were to report suspicious senior officials who were living beyond their financial means. Was there a way in which a civilian could report a particular constable they saw driving a Lamborghini?
Ms Molebatsi wanted to know the timeline for the implementation of a lifestyle audit, as this was critically important. The Committee was tired of hearing that this lifestyle audit was under way, but needed a concrete action plan and the way forward. Who was conducting the lifestyle audit on DPCI members?
Lt Gen Sitole clarified that he had immediately instructed implementation of the lifestyle audit project after the appearance at the Committee, and this project was already under way in Crime Intelligence.
The Chairperson enquired if it was correct to presume that the lifestyle audit project was under way.
Lt Gen Sitole replied that the project was under way, and it would start no later than April this year.
The Chairperson said that the project needed to be expedited, as the absence of a lifestyle audit was eroding public confidence in SAPS. There was a huge risk within the organisation, and that was why it was important to have the lifestyle audit project. There should be certainty that the top management levels, like provincial commissioners and people in sensitive positions, were cleared in order to be able to move forward.
Lt Gen Sitole responded that the Committee would be provided with a progress report by the first quarter, based on action taken. There was also a special vetting process that complemented the lifestyle audit project. SAPS had also forged a relationship with the DPCI to deal with existing challenges.
Lt Gen Mgwenya added that indeed SAPS had forged a relationship with the DPCI so as to continue with investigation on members who were subject of investigation. There was a provision within the strategy that makes the provision for whistleblowers and there was also a pillar that speaks to investigation detection.
The Chairperson commented that financial mismanagement and corruption were the biggest threats to law enforcement agencies, and this was even more concerning when it involved high-ranking officials within SAPS, as it eroded the public trust in SAPS.
Mr Shaik-Emam said that the absence of a lifestyle audit within SAPS had serious repercussions, as this meant that there was lack of trust in reporting wrongdoing or misconduct by SAPS officials.
Lt Gen Sitole acknowledged that the Committee was treating the situation of lifestyle audits with the seriousness it deserved. SAPS wanted to make it clear that there was nothing that was starting later than the beginning of the new financial year. All these projects and strategies would start no later than the beginning of the financial year, and there were various deadlines. Some of them started from mid-February, while others were in mid-March. Lifestyle audits were taking place, but this was on a limited scale and the intention was to broaden this to all members. SAPS would be beefing up the capacity of Crime Intelligence in order to help SAPS’s intelligence-led operations. There had been cooperation from the State Security Agency (SSA) in conducting lifestyle audits for DPCI members.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) asked about the criteria that were being used to choose officials to be subjected to lifestyle audits.
Lt Gen Sitole responded that SAPS was informed by intelligence information, including the Human Resource (HR) information and the state of financial health of its members. There was also the Organised Crime Threat Assessment (OCTA) to pick up members who were involved in covert investigations, and this was being linked to the lifestyle audit.
The post-parole strategy was not a SAPS strategy, but a multi-disciplinary strategy which would take place within the national, provincial and local crime prevention framework. SAPS had identified that repeat offending was escalating, but Department of Correctional Services was undertaking only a three-month reintegration strategy, and this was not enough to fully integrate former offenders into the community. Some of the offenders often found themselves rejected by the communities and others found themselves without food from the first day of release, and then they would resort to crime to have something to eat.
SAPS had identified cybercrime as a threat in the country, and there was a proposal in place to have one formal integrated cybercrime strategy, together with Crime Intelligence and the DPCI. The deadline for the implementation of the integrated cybercrime strategy was directed to be 1 April 2018.
Ms Molebatsi asked for a written report on the delivery of the one formal integrated cybercrime strategy.
Lt Gen Sitole replied that the strategy was technologically intensive, and the technology part would inform Members of the medium and long term goals. The Committee would be provided with a written response.
Lt Gen Fani Masemola, Deputy National Commissioner: Visible Policing, SAPS, responded that dealing with firecrackers was one of the features of the festive season, and visible policing and Metro Police were responsible for the inspection of outlets selling firecrackers to check if the outlets conformed to norms and standards. The firecrackers could be confiscated or fines could be issued to those outlets that did not conform to regulations. Firecrackers could sold to people over the age of 21, and there was a fine that was issued if firecrackers were sold to underage children. The common trend was for adults to buy the firecrackers and then give them to underage children at the street corners.
Lt Gen Sitole said that SAPS accepted that there was a gap in communicating the policing strategy for dealing with the regulations of firecrackers. SAPS would issue an instruction and try to monitor the firecrackers so that all the operations were able to address this, as it had been identified as a challenge.
Some of the illegally and unused buildings belonged to deceased estates, and this was the case in KZN. Some buildings belonged to municipalities, while others belonged to various government departments like the Department of Public Works. Some of the buildings included Reconstruction and Development (RDP) houses and abandoned houses. SAPS had initiated a national project to deal with these buildings, and Operation Fiela was focused on them. SAPS brought all the disciplines together, starting with the municipalities, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and Public Works. SAPS usually arrested those elements committing criminal acts in the abandoned buildings. There was reference to the Department of Social Development in cases where there were children involved, and the closing down of abandoned buildings.
Lt Gen Sitole added that an abandoned building was destroyed if it was no longer habitable. If it belonged to a particular government department or stakeholder, then a statement was issued on the need to take over the building. In relation to hijacked buildings, SAPS was mandated to conduct further investigations and arrest the people concerned and then place the building under police custody. SAPS had formalised a multi-disciplinary collaborative approach to dispose of any building that was used for crime purposes, and this included RDP houses.
The rural safety strategy was already in place and being implemented. The farmers in the Free State had taken the president to court, and the provincial commissioner had approached the matter. The National Commissioner explained how he had also approached farmers in the province and addressed the challenges they had identified.
There was a national Drug Master Plan. The Minister had called for a review of the national Crime Prevention Strategy because the Drug Master Plan was attached to the National Crime Prevention Framework, because it was a multi-disciplinary type of strategy. SAPS still had a challenge with local drug action plans because of the lack of community safety plans in various communities.
Lt Gen Lebeoana Tsumane, Divisional Head Forensic: Crime Intelligence, SAPS, responded that he had been given an instruction by the National Commissioner to deal immediately with the issue of Brigadier Phetlhe, as this had been all over the media and it did not sit well within the particular SAPS component. Departmental processes had been undertaken, but the process was stalled because there had been the involvement of some senior officials. The trip to France had been stopped immediatel, and a suspension letter had been issued to Brigadier Phetlhe.
Lt Gen Sitole added that in simple terms, the letter of suspension had been issued. Regarding the North West investigation, he explained that there had been two investigations when he assumed the position of being National Commissioner. These included investigations into Lt Gen Phahlane and IPID. The case of Lt Gen Phahlane had been disposed of, as witnessed in the media. The docket on the North West investigation team was with the prosecution authorities, as this was a prosecutorial-driven type of investigation. The case would come to the police as soon as it was disposed of by the prosecution.
There had been an engagement with the Head of Human Resources to review the HR policy in respect of vetting. The recruitment policy should also speak to policing. The vetting capacity within Crime Intelligence was not enough to cater for 195 000 SAPS members. SAPS would consult with various affected stakeholders in the process of reviewing the HR policy.
The reality was that SAPS could not fight crime on its own. There was an acknowledgment of the shortcomings in place, and these would be addressed. SAPS had started engaging with the Department of Basic Education (DBE), as government had already came up with a campus safety policy, but SAPS wanted to escalate this to a campus safety summit and come up with a framework that addressed campus safety. The review of the National Crime Prevention Framework would provide a holistic solution.
Mr Shaik-Emam said that there was a high percentage of children who had never been to school or did not go to school, and parents did not seem to be doing anything about this despite receiving social grants. How should one deal with this issue, as it was serious problem in many communities?
Lt Gen Sitole responded that he had personally written a youth crime prevention concept in the organisation, and this had won an international award at the United Nations (UN). SAPS was formalising a national youth crime prevention framework to remove children out of the reach of criminals. The summit for this had been scheduled for the second week of February, but it had been postponed to March 2018. This was to address youths who were in and out of school, including homeless children, and this was a framework that would apply throughout the country.
Lt Gen Masemola said that SAPS was responsible for scanning luggage at international airports, but there was a use of profiling at the ports of entry because of the lack of container scanners. There was a container scanner at the Durban harbour, but there were no scanners at the other ports. SAPS had provided dogs for assistance in searching for possible drugs and there were plans in place to purchase more dogs to capacitate these ports of entry.
Lt Gen Sitole said he had initiated a process that would be led by management intervention for the organisation and normalisation of borders. The first border that was on the agenda was uMhlabuyalingana in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal. There was also a focus on the OR Tambo International Airport.
The National Commissioner called for the support of the Committee in dealing with foreigners. There was a Somali village in the Eastern Cape which was a fully-fledged village of Somalians. The main challenge was the laws that allowed for the establishment of a village there. SAPS had conducted an operation in the village and discovered that there was a problem in following the regulations regarding movement by Department of Home Affairs. SAPS had closed down the businesses there and arrested a number of people, but it needed support from the Committee for a review of the by-laws. SAPS wanted to shift from operational policing to basic policing, hence the normalisation and formalisation. SAPS was working with the Department of Home Affairs and various municipalities to deal with these challenges.
SAPS was dealing with scrap-yards in relation to the legislation that dealt with second-hand goods. There was also an engagement with traffic and metro police in order to tighten the registration of vehicles. SAPS was dealing with crime committed via the scrap-yards through unconventional policing to clamp down on this.
Members could report any abuse of SAPS vehicles, as action needed to be taken to regulate the use of these vehicles. Community members were also requested to report any abuse of these vehicles, as they were only to assist in fighting crime.
Ms Kohler Barnard asked where exactly one could report the abuse of these SAPS vehicles, as this was not a criminal case and therefore it could not be reported to IPID.
Mr Shaik-Emam said that there was a major problem in the licensing departments, as licensing departments and scrap-yards were working in cohoots. What could be done to clamp down on this?
Lt Gen Sitole said he would personally deal with the case of abuse of SAPS vehicles, with the assistance of the Deputy National Commissioner. The issue of dealing with licensing departments and scrap-yards required an unconventional policing approach, and therefore it would be risky to share this information with the Committee.
The relationship between SAPS, the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the NPA was good, and the only challenge was the conflict of priorities and conflict of measurements. The way the NPA and the DoJ measured performance was completely different to SAPS. The only solution to this was the realignment of performance measurements. There would also be a turnaround that addressed the multi-disciplinary performance management systems in order for them to be able to work together.
SAPS was taking note of the suggestion of the possible inclusion of a SAPS curriculum at schools, but there were processes that needed to be followed. This would be greatly beneficial for SAPS in the future.
It was important to have alignment of the vision with available resources and budget allocations, and to have a performance report that addressed the cost of achieving the priorities.
Lt Gen Sitole said that the first priority of SAPS was to develop strategic capacity within the organisation. The readiness of the organisation for the strategic direction was a work in progress. There was institutional transformation within the Ministry, and this was where one monitored the execution of transformation. There was a continuous curriculum review within the organisation, and there were a number of things that were being considered, like bringing into the basic policing training curriculum computer degrees, in order to be equipped to deal with cybercrime.
SAPS was sitting with stations with inflated profiles, and these were stations that were not necessarily located within “hotspots.” There was a need to monitor the profile of police stations continuously.
The first step to fixing Crime Intelligence was to have a leader within the Divisional National Commissioner, and the Crime Intelligence turnaround would flow from this particular process. There was a ‘Back to Basics’ approach within Crime Intelligence, and this included a Chief Information Officer (CIO). An instruction had been issued that most stations should have CIOs by the end of March 2018. This was a restoration of this particular function as it had been withdrawn at one point.
There was indeed a challenge with the decline in the number of detectives, and there was a review of the detective resource management plan which included the beefing up of capacity.
Lt Gen Sitole said that SAPS wanted to phase out operational policing and replace it with basic policing. Operational policing would be maintained only for stabalisation purposes.
The spatial makeup of the Western Cape was making it extremely difficult for policing especially in places like Nyanga. SAPS would be working with municipalities and provincial government departments to try to address these challenges. The purpose of the review of the strategy was for execution. The issue of gangsterism was a two-tier challenge -- one of them was combating it, but SAPS was still struggling with the prevention of this scourge. There were quite a lot of root causes fuelling the problem of gangsterism and therefore it was not the sole responsibility of SAPS. SAPS was focused on normalising the problem of gangsterism in both the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, and this would be to start with the prevention. The SAPS management could accept the reality that it did not “walk the talk” when it came to dealing with gangsterism. It was impossible to expect the constables to perform when the management was not doing its work, and this was a reality. Lt Gen Tsumane would be working on the Western Cape project that was aimed at dealing with gangsterism. SAPS would come up with something different on the project in its next appearance before the Committee.
Lt Gen Sitole said he was recently in Western Cape to address the top management, and one thing that was being introduced was the ‘Simunye concept,’ which was intended to unite the province. He had commissioned an organisational climate study in the Western Cape and this would be undertaken in the short term. There would be an action plan that would respond to the climate study.
The issue of cable theft and other criminal elements mentioned would be dealt with through unconventional policing.
It was not the IT contract that had expired, but the security controls and some of SAPS’s technology had been obtained in 2000, so some of the security controls had expired. The review of the technology was to restore the security controls to protect its systems.
Lt Gen Mgwenya said that the salary of “KGB” Tshabala had been frozen in 2013, which was the same month in which he had been sentenced and convicted.
Lt Gen Sitole said that the kind of technology that was needed within SAPS was the one that was able to integrate and coordinate. The completion of the integration of systems within SAPS would make it much easier to catch the suspects, especially repeat offenders. There was already an instruction from the Criminal Justice Cluster that had been given to SAPS to work on the systems’ integration. SAPS was undertaking a review approach on its requirement for technology. Integration of the systems was on top of the agenda, and this was followed by interfacing. The problem of the lack of integration was not only within SAPS, but it had already escalated and surfaced in the court case strategy. The role players were still struggling to pick up sentenced prisoners who were out of jail, and this was related to the problem of a lack of integration. The systems should be able to link with the DoJ and SAPS in order to be able to detect repeat offenders and sentenced prisoners who were out of jail. SAPS was also redefining the technology requirement that should help it address policing. The priority of SAPS at the moment was to address the issue of interface and integration.
There was attempt from unknown intruders to hack into the database of SAPS, and he had already issued an instruction on the matter and there would be an update on the issue in future. SAPS would prefer not to speak about the issue at the moment, as there was still an on-going investigation. There was TMS component within SAPS that was able to link up with relevant service providers to provide technology. In-depth research was required when trying to determine the technological requirement for an organisation, and this had to be by those who were scientifically and technologically qualified to do so. Denel was a sovereign company, and it was linked to the state. There was no full capability within SAPS, and that was why there was a heavy reliance on Denel. SAPS was asking for the support of the Committee in terms of reviewing the technological requirement for policing in order to deal with criminals within the technological space, like cybercrime.
Briefing by SAPS: Senior Appointments
Lt Gen Mgwenya said that the appointment of senior managers in the SAPS was regulated by various Acts. These included the Constitution (Act 108 of 1996), section 207(1): appointment of National Commissioner; section 207(3): appointment of Provincial Commissioners; and section 6: appointment of National and Provincial Commissioners. There was also section 17CA: appointment of National Head: DPCI; National Deputy Head DPCI; and Provincial Heads DPCI. The National Instruction 11 of 2017 (Appointments to Posts in the Senior Management Service) was to be revised due to the impact of SAPS Employment Regulations 2017.
The following senior managers had recently been appointed as Deputy National Commissioners:
- Lieutenant General Tsumane as DNC: Crime Detection, with effect from 1 December 2017;
- Major General Vuma – to Lieutenant General: DNC: Management Advisory Services, with effect from 1 December 2017.
- Major General Mfazi - to Lieutenant General: DNC: Management Intervention, with effect from 1 February 2018.
Regulation 45(1)(n) of the Department’s employment regulations, 2017, provided that the National Commissioner may, upon written motivation and with the concurrence of the Minister, promote an employee into a post without advertising the post, and without following the selection process, if the National Commissioner was satisfied that:
- The employee qualified in all respects for the post;
- There were exceptional circumstances that warranted the deviation from the said sub-regulation, and
- such deviation was in the interest of SAPS;
- Such promotion had been recommended by the Minister for outstanding performance; and
- The National Commissioner had recorded the reasons for the deviation in writing
Lt Gen Mgwenya said that there were four vacant top management posts at the level of Lieutenant General, including Provincial Commissioner: Free State; Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence; Divisional Commissioner: Protection and Security Services; and Divisional Commissioner: Detective Service. The posts had been advertised on 25 January 2018 and were to be filled by April/May 2018. One vacancy existed at the level of top management (Lieutenant General) in the DPCI -- National Head: DPCI -- and the post had been advertised. There were two Lieutenants General currently on suspension, including the Provincial Commissioner: Kwa-Zulu Natal, and the Divisional Commissioner: Forensic Services. Both posts remained occupied.
The Chairperson said that the National Development Plan (NDP) emphasised the importance of considering merit in the employment of public servants. It would be important to ascertain from the National Commissioner whether it was not an ideal time for Deputy National Commissioners to compete in interview processes, where they would be assessed and chosen on competence, merit and capability, especially for top positions.
Mr Shaik-Emam said that there were allegations that to get promotion depended on who one knew or was close to. It was therefore important allow candidates for the position of Deputy National Commissioner to go through an interview and assessment process.
Mr Mbhele agreed with these sentiments, as Section 45 of SAPS Act tended to be misused for cronyism and favouritism. There should be an open and transparent process of appointment of Deputy National Commissioners. The only solution perhaps would be for the Minister to provide in writing the reasons for deviating from section 45(1) (n).
What were the requirements for the provision of protection services to the National Commissioner? The Committee had never dealt with the issue surrounding the protection services to the National Commissioner, although it was aware of the VIP protection services for ministers, deputy ministers and Members of Executive Councils (MECs).
Mr Ramatlakane also echoed the sentiments of Members on the need to have a transparent process on the appointments to be made. He asked whether the process of appointments to be made would be by drawing from the existing pool, or from promoting within the SAPS management. The Committee should hear the opinion of the National Commissioner on section 45(1) (n).
Mr Mhlongo agreed that there was a need to ensure that there was transparency in the process of appointing Deputy National Commissioners. The appointments could not be based on personal trust, as there was no yardstick to measure personal trust. The Committee should request the amendment of section 45(1) (n) in order to avoid the appointment through cronyism. There should be checks and balances in places in order to appoint capable and competent individuals.
The Committee should be provided with an update on the suspended KZN provincial commissioner, as this individual was still receiving his salary while sitting at home.
Ms Molebatsi asked for the reasons for the promotions of Lt Gen Vuma and Lt Gen Mfazi, as this information was not provided in the presentation.
The Chairperson wanted to know about the plan in place for the utilisation of regional commissioners and the financial implications of this.
Lt Gen Sitole responded he was of the view that Deputy National Commissioners should go through the interviews and assessments in order to allow for the competition as proposed by Members. It was extremely difficult to convene a selection panel at the DNC level when there was no access to colleagues above that with the required expertise.
Mr Mbhele said that the challenge with the selection panel illustrated the urgency for the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) recommendation for a national policing board, as this would mean that the National Commissioner had access to this particular resource for assistance on the selection panel.
Lt Gen Sitole said that initially the National Commissioner had not been part of the policy that governed the protection of dignitaries. There had been a review of the policy, and this had been referred to the Cabinet to review for the approval of the protection service for National Commissioners. A National Commissioner was previously protected on a threat assessment. When he was appointed National Commissioner, he had requested a threat assessment to be conducted, and the assessment had justified the deployment of the protection service. The protectors needed to be graded in accordance with the protector dispensation. The protection service that was currently being used was not graded in accordance with the international standard, and SAPS was starting with this process.
There should be a review of section 45(1) (n). SAPS could not continue to pay for senior officers who were sitting at home. SAPS was clear that the case of the suspended KZN provincial commissioner needed to be disposed, and the deadline was March 2018. It would not violate the court order on the case, and therefore it was important to follow procedure.
The promotions of the two Lieutenants General were necessary, as these were experienced individuals. The functions that were rendered by these individuals were important for SAPS to be able to operate effectively.
Other SAPS issues
The Chairperson observed that the Committee was running out of time, and therefore it would note the report and the findings on overtime in the Northern Cape. The study on basic literacy within SAPS was still outstanding, and there should be commitment from SAPS to provide this study.
Lt Gen Sitole replied that it was possible for the Committee to receive a study on basic literacy within SAPS. It had already started with the exercise and this would be forwarded to the Committee within two weeks.
The Chairperson said that the most complicated aspect of the Firearm Amnesty was mainly the dates. The proposal from SAPS was that the Amnesty should be in the middle of the year. The Members would be given an opportunity to comment on the proposals for the Amnesty.
Ms Kohler Barnard expressed concern about the proposed draft notice by the Minister. There was nothing in the letter that had been forwarded to the Committee that spoke about a stamped and fingerprinted receipt to be received by those who surrendered firearms. This would prevent the problem where most firearms went missing or were stolen by SAPS members.
Lt Gen Sitole accepted the input that had been made by Ms Kohler Barnard, and said this would need to be taken into consideration.
Lt Gen Tsumane responded that a receipt would be received, but the type of format was a welcomed suggestion. An official stamped receipt would be issued, but SAPS would consider the suggestion for the format of the receipt.
Mr Mbhele said that the draft amnesty made reference to an annexure which accompanied the declaration, and it would be useful to receive this annexure.
The Chairperson clarified that the annexure would be made available at police stations.
Mr Shaik-Emam asked if there would be adequate facilities to accommodate all the requirements for the amnesty. There would be limited success with this process if one did not deal with the issue of vetting.
Lt Gen Masemola responded that the annexure made reference to all the types of forms that were needed for the process, and this would be made available to Members. The surrendered firearms would not be kept for very long at the station level as they needed to be taken to the provincial storage facilities
Ms Kohler-Barnard wanted to know about the consensus that had been reached on the exclusion of three police stations from the Amnesty.
Lt Gen Masemola explained that there was a typo from the letter but there was consensus reached on the exclusion of the three police stations. SAPS would write a notice to the respective stations and publish this information to the general public.
Ms KohlerBarnard commented that it was a concern for Lt Gen Masemola to say that an entire paragraph had been a typographical error, as this seemed to suggest that there was someone who was writing answers for SAPS management.
Lt Gen Maemola apology for the error, and promised that this would not be repeated.
The Chairperson said that the Deputy National Commissioner had promised that the Committee would receive a full report on the harassment policy of SAPS. A letter had been forwarded to the Committee which detailed the issue of harassment within the SAPS, and the Committee should also be briefed further on the issue. There should be consequence management, as it seemed like junior officials were not being assisted at all. The station commanders just continued with “business as usual,” without any consequence management.
Lt Gen Mgwenya responded that SAPS had prepared a presentation that detailed the harassment policy and what action was being taken when harassment was reported. She had spoken to the complainant of harassment in KZN, including the provincial commissioner in the province. There was also a sexual incident report which detailed what would have taken place ever since the case was reported. SAPS would certainly look into the reported harassment in the Eastern Cape.
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee should receive the copy of the sexual incident report, and this would be perused by Members.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Strategic direction, Senior Appointments, Basic Literacy Audit; Harassment Policy, Firearms Amnesty; VIP Protectors’ overtime: SAPS briefing, with Minister 1
- Strategic direction, Senior Appointments, Basic Literacy Audit; Harassment Policy, Firearms Amnesty; VIP Protectors’ overtime: SAPS briefing, with Minister 2
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