Relevant: Crime Intelligence Progress Report & Vetting; Firearms Amnesty: SAPS briefing; Crime Intelligence on Quarter 2 performance & vetting process
The South African Police Service (SAPS) briefed the Committee on the Turnaround Strategy and status of vetting of Crime Intelligence and other senior Members, in the presence of the new Minister.
SAPS indicated that since 1 April 2017 a total of 1172 new security clearances have been issued to members in prioritised environments. Compared to the same time, the previous year, there is an increase of more than 200% in production.
There is a dedicated focus on finalising vetting investigations of Senior Management of Crime Intelligence. Of the 51 Senior Managers of Crime Intelligence 29 have top secret clearance and 22 are in process of being vetted.
In terms of challenges, SAPS reported said that some Senior Managers have not applied yet on the e-vetting system despite being given a due date and personal letters have been distributed in this regard. In addition, there was a shortage of computer equipment such as scanners and laptops in some provinces. Also, there are cases where Members began applying on the e-vetting system, but did not complete the total application process because after some time the system automatically deletes the unfinished application process.
SAPS indicated that there is a two-pronged approach in dealing with the issue of vetting of senior managers. There is a need to enhance the capacity of vetting of senior officials and there was an instruction made to the Head of Human Resources, Lt Gen Bonang Mgwenya and Lt Gen Lebeoana Tsumane, Divisional Head Forensic: Crime Intelligence on the issue of enhancing capacity. There is a need to have good members with skills and expertise in vetting so as to speed-up the process of vetting. There is a medium term plan that SAPS was dealing with and this is part of the resourcing the vetting process. There are also policy developments in place so as to make vetting part of the policy framework.
Members asked about the number of top officials within Crime Intelligence management who were applying for the security clearance for the first time. They wanted to know about the status of the two Lieutenant Generals that had not been vetted yet. It was unclear if these two Lieutenant Generals that had not been vetted were still at work and it was business as usual. Why was she still enlisted by SAPS despite having a criminal record? The Committee asked to be briefed as to whether the 4184 officials with no security clearance were still working in their positions. Did they apply for security clearance as instructed and what are the steps that had been taken against them?
Some Members enquired about the timeframe provided for the 22 senior managers of Crime Intelligence who are still in process of being vetted so as to avoid the situation where these officials become criminals themselves. What was the timeframe provided for the vetting of all senior managers within SAPS and Crime Intelligence?
They also had questions about Brigadier Phetlhe, Captain KGB Tshabalala and if Mr Richard Mdluli’s family members were still employed in SAPS.
SAPS also briefed the Committee on the methodology of compiling crime statistics within SAPS. Crime statistics focused on the reported crime that had been perpetrated within the borders of South Africa and the crime reported at the 1 144 police stations, including satellites and ports of entry. The statistics would also comprise of crime reported by the victim, witness, third parties and detected by SAPS during any policing activity. The administrative data collection process involved recording of criminal incidents, the source document used for this purpose is a case docket. The first statement of crime must contain four elements of crime, namely:
-Principle of legality, incident constitutes an offence
- A human being had to have performed the act
-Unlawfulness, the conduct contravenes a statutory requirement or a common law rule
-Culpability, i.e. intention or negligence.
SAPS highlighted that all the crimes recorded at the stations within a particular cluster should collectively add up to the total of the crimes recorded in that cluster. The quarterly statistics are compared to the same period in the previous financial year. These quarterly crime reports are disseminated to the public, subsequent to the submission of the statistics to Cabinet. At end of each financial year, a re-draw of the crime statistics is performed, allowing all amendments to reflect in the annual crime statistics. The quarterly crime statistics from the redrawn statistics might differ slightly from the frozen quarterly crime statistics. Cases closed off as unfounded are subtracted from the redrawn annual crime statistics. The statistics are then used in the compilation of the annual Crime Statistics Report. The annual Crime Statistics Report is disseminated to the public.
A Consultant and Crime Analyst, Dr De Kock, also briefed lawmakers on the compilation of crime statistics. He pointed out that there is a significant issue of under-reporting of crime. This universal phenomena should just be accepted and it should be emphasised that the crime statistics is based on reported and registered crime. At least for the past years we have the excellent National Victims of Crime Surveys (VOCS) of Statistics South Africa. Unfortunately underreporting is also a sign of mistrust. There are a number of suggestions on how crime statistics and crime reports should improve and these included improving the validity of crime statistics by members of the Crime Registrar reconciling the crime registers with dockets and checking if all the crimes and their counts were listed on the docket and then registered on CAS. This should be done daily. SAPS use these broad crime types which in the case of contact crime include both less and more policeable crime to hide increases in more policeable crime. With this they are fighting the crime statistics and not the crime.
Some Members expressed concern about this business of rewarding the police for bringing the statistics down as this was likely to promote corruption and fiddling of statistics. There are cases where 5 hijackings for example would be registered as only 1 hijacking and this needed to be avoided. There are also cases where people are referred from one police station to another because of wanting to keep crime statistics low in that police station. SAPS should perhaps look at international best practices in terms of rewarding officials for bringing statistics down. It was concerning to note that there is no sufficient talent and expertise within SAPS that is responsible to provide an in-depth analysis of the crime statistics as this is a standard practice worldwide. The Committee should be provided with an assessment report by Statistics South Africa from 2015/16 financial year. Some Members wanted to know about the timeframe for the completion of the Crime Statistics Data Dissemination Policy. They asked about what would happen if the CSC commander was unable to do his/her duties as stipulated in slide 22. There are cases in other stations where station commanders are not doing their job. It was unclear if station commanders would understand the importance of field work that needed to be conducted by Crime Information Officers.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed everyone and indicated that the meeting today was a follow up to the meeting that the Committee had last year on the issue of vetting of senior managers within the South African Police Service (SAPS). The Committee indicated previously that vetting was non-negotiable and it is the only way to ensure that our top men and women in the police service adhere to the necessary requirements. The Committee also resolved last year to look at the methodology of crime statistics in terms of what was being done and where are with methodology that is being used. The Committee also invited the private researcher Dr De Kock to also speak about his analysis about that. The Committee would not be dealing with quarterly crime statistics today. In 2016, the previous Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation said that the crime statistics would be made available quarterly. The Committee would need to deal with this issue very soon especially when one takes into consideration that there had been 2 changes in the Executive Authority and 2 changes in terms of the Accounting Officer.
The Chairperson said that the Committee was scheduled to have a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development the following day so as to address issues related to the delays by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in prosecuting those linked to state capture. The Committee also welcomed the arrest made by SAPS and DPCI of 9 officials of the Department of Environmental Affairs in Western Cape who are involved in poaching of abalone. This was a good development as we need to prevent the plundering of our resources. We also saw that the Acting National Commissioner in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) suspended the corrupt police officials and this is good and police management should act promptly in rooting-out corrupt officials. There had been a lot of cash in transit heist incidences in the country and this is a huge concern and SAPS and the banking industry would need to work together to address this matter. There should also be involvement of Crime Intelligence in dealing with cash in transit heist as this was not limited to one province. The Committee commended the statement made by the Minister of Police on the need to prioritise intelligence-driven operation and this was welcomed.
Briefing by SAPS on Status of vetting of Crime Intelligence and other Senior Members
Maj Gen Leone Rabie, Component Head: Strategic Management, SAPS, indicated that since 1 April 2017 a total of 1172 new security clearances have been issued to members in prioritised environments. Compared to the same time, the previous year, there is an increase of more than 200% in production. Vetting staff are working overtime and the Security Vetting Panel even convenes over weekends. The prioritised environments include SAPS SMS, CI, DPCI, PSS, PPS, FLASH Officials, SCM (Procurement), Internal Auditors, Service Terminations and Inkwazi users. Members whose security clearances have been denied (35 in total in entire SAPS) will have the opportunity to appeal within the next three months. All of the efforts are currently focused on the execution of the Vetting Turnaround Strategy namely reducing the backlog with regard to manual applications, the vetting of members at OR Tambo International Airport (as per instruction of the Minister) and all SAPS SMS members. There were a total of 934 officials in senior management and their vetting status can be divided as follows: 401 in top secret; 55 officials already had an expired security clearance and must re-apply; 124 non-application; 8 officials had their security clearance denied; 4 officials had confidential clearances; 6 officials had secret clearance and the status of 336 officials were still in process.
Maj Gen Rabie provided a breakdown of the vetting status of lieutenant generals, Major Generals and Brigadiers within SAPS. 75 new security clearances for Senior Management have been issued since the implementation of the Vetting Turnaround Strategy. There is an increase of 55 “in process” applications for Senior Management since the implementation of the Vetting Turnaround Strategy. Outstanding Senior Managers have been requested to apply on the E-vetting system before 31 March 2018. 34 vetting officials/administrators from national and provincial level were deployed to OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) on 16 October 2017 (task team). There were 710 members to be vetted at ORTIA. All personnel will require a top secret clearance. 685 members have already applied on the E-vetting System. Outstanding 18 members are currently being assisted to apply on the E-vetting System and 667 members are currently in process of being vetted. 15 members are scheduled for polygraph investigation. 22 members have been issued with valid top secret security clearances. So far, no official has been denied a security clearance. The due date for finalisation of the ORTIA project is 31 July 2018.
Maj Gen Rabie stated that 531 members have been issued with valid security clearances since 1 April 2017. There is a dedicated focus on finalising vetting investigations of Senior Management of Crime Intelligence. Of the 51 Senior Managers in Crime Intelligence 29 have top secret clearance and 22 are in the process of being vetted. There is a development of a criteria/guideline that will dictate the level of security clearance required per occupational classification. There is also a development of a National Instruction on how to deal with the transfers of members who did not successfully pass the vetting process. SAPS was focused on the development of a resource matrix for polygraph and vetting capability with the aim of enhancing the capacity. There was an establishment of the Security Vetting Appeals Board within the next three months.
In terms of challenges, Maj Gen Rabie said that some Senior Managers have not applied yet on the e-vetting system despite being given a due date and personal letters have been distributed in this regard. In addition, there was a shortage of computer equipment such as scanners and laptops in some provinces. Also, there are cases where Members began applying on the e-vetting system, but did not complete the total application process because after some time the system automatically deletes the unfinished application process.
Gen Kehla Sitole, National Commissioner, SAPS; indicated that there is a two-pronged approach in dealing with the issue of vetting of senior managers. There is a need to enhance the capacity of vetting of senior officials and there was an instruction made to the Head of Human Resources, Lt Gen Bonang Mgwenya and Lt Gen Lebeoana Tsumane, Divisional Head Forensic: Crime Intelligence on the issue of enhancing capacity. There is a need to have good members with skills and expertise in vetting so as to speed-up the process of vetting. There is a medium term plan that SAPS was dealing with and this is part of the resourcing the vetting process. There are also policy developments in place so as to make vetting part of the policy framework.
The Chairperson welcomed the new Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele and promised that the Committee would invite the new Minister to brief Members about his vision of SAPS.
The Chairperson asked about the number of top officials within Crime Intelligence management who were applying for the security clearance for the first time. It would be important to know if there are now due checks and balances in place to prevent the recurrence of illegal printing of security clearance so as to have quality control.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) wanted to know about the status of the two Lieutenant Generals who had not been vetted yet. It was unclear if these two Lieutenant Generals that had not been vetted were still at work and it was business as usual. The Committee should be briefed on whether all those senior managers that had not been vetted or still waiting for security clearance were still at work. In relation to Brigadier Phetlhe, was she convicted in 1997 and then enlisted by SAPS later? Why was she still enlisted by SAPS despite having a criminal record?
Ms M Mmola (ANC) also asked if those senior managers who had been denied security clearance were still at work. The Committee should be briefed as to whether the 4184 officials with no security clearance were still working in their positions. There is an indication that those senior managers that had not applied for security clearance had been instructed to do so. Did they apply for security clearance as instructed? What are the steps that had been taken for those officials that had failed to apply for security clearance? What was the update on the issue surrounding Brigadier Phethle? There was an indication that R50 000 was paid in her account to illegally print a security clearance. What was the update on the investigation into Brigadier Phethle? The Committee should be briefed on whether there was any investigation undertaken in relation to Captain KGB Tshabalala?
Mr J Maake (ANC) wanted to know if there are any categories within Crime Intelligence for the vetting of senior managers. It was also unclear if all officials required to be vetted in order to be able to work in the Crime Intelligence environment.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) enquired about the timeframe provided for the 22 senior managers in Crime Intelligence who are still in process of being vetted so as to avoid the situation where these officials become criminals themselves. What was the timeframe provided for the vetting of all senior managers within SAPS and Crime Intelligence? It is important for SAPS to fast-track the vetting process so as to avoid the situation where people become untouchable like KGB Tshabalala. It is quite clear that there is lack of consequence management within SAPS management and this needs to be addressed.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) asked about the duration of a security clearance once issued before it needed to be renewed. It was unclear if all the vetting as per the status update were done internally by Crime Intelligence or State Security Agency (SSA). If the process is a combination of the two entities, then the important question is who was doing most of the vetting. There is a possibility of abuse of the security clearance if done internally by Crime Intelligence as it would mean that the police are vetting themselves as this was the case to Brigadier Phetlhe. What was being done to those senior managers that had their security clearance denied? What was the policy in this regard? Was this policy adhered to? It is clear that the post establishment in the Crime Intelligence had been reduced by approximately 1 400 posts from the previous presentation that was made by SAPS on the vetting of senior managers. Was this really the case?
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) wanted to know about the process that was being undertaken if security clearance was denied. It is clear that there are still senior managers that are still not vetted despite working in a very sensitive position. In relation to the issue of the printing out of an illegal security clearance, the Committee should be provided with an update on Brigadier Phetlhe? Has she been fired or at least suspended? It seemed like SAPS only waited for the security clearance to be expired before undertaking the process of renewal. The normal procedure should be to stipulate a timeline where senior managers can make an application for the security clearance rather than having to wait for the expiration date. What are the sanctions for failure to apply or renew the security clearance?
The Chairperson asked what was being done to those that refused to apply for the security clearance. There should also be vetting process at lower level as these are officials that are likely to be tempted by monetary incentives to be involved in corruption. What was being done to mitigate these risks?
Lt Gen Mgwenya responded that SAPS has started reviewing the Human Resources policy framework with an attempt to reflect vetting at entry level and career mobility. The current situation does not allow the vetting of SAPS members prior to being promoted and SAPS was currently working on ensuring that there is vetting that is in place before the promotion takes place. SAPS would ensure that its members would need to be vetted before they are promoted. There are processes in terms of regulations 11 in the recruitment criteria where members are subjected to second criteria but SAPS is now going to include vetting. The new recruitment that will be taken in the next financial year is going to be subjected to vetting and this will have been included in the policy.
The Chairperson commented that this was part of the reactive approach by SAPS as the vetting process at recruitment level should have been the case for a long time. There is a possibility that the new recruits would come in within SAPS without any vetting process as the vetting was to be part of the policy in the next financial year.
Ms Molebatsi asked what would be done to those officials that would not be promoted because of a failure to meet the criteria to pass the vetting process. What is the action that is going to be taken to these officials?
Gen Sitole responded that SAPS was reviewing the recruitment policy so as to be able to talk to the Strategic Intelligence Act so that all individuals coming in to the organisation would be subjected to vetting. The past intakes happened before SAPS was able to finalise the policy to ensure that there is vetting at recruitment level. SAPS was ready for the intake that would be recruited in the organisation. SAPS was targeting the employment contract and not necessarily the promotion level and SAPS wanted to enter into an agreement at entry level that vetting is going to be part and parcel of employment contract. SAPS would use the promotion contract to dispose of members who cannot be promoted because they had been denied security clearance. SAPS would also have to go through the labour process so as to inform the labour unions about the policy stance of SAPS. There is an agreement that indeed in the past SAPS might have been reactive in the vetting process.
Lt Gen Mgwenya clarified that the fact that vetting was not yet the policy of SAPS did not mean that there is a possibility of having recruited people with questionable credibility. It was indicated in the Committee previously that SAPS was piloting the Community Based Recruitment Strategy which has been put in place and the current recruits were subjected to this process. The current recruitment criteria that is being implemented for the new recruits was adequate to recruit good and credible police officials in the organisation.
Lt Gen Mgwenya added that SAPS also subjected members to the Global Access System (GAS) so as to recruit credible police officials.
Maj Gen D Zimu, Component Head: Counter Intelligence, Division Crime Intelligence, SAPS, responded that Crime Intelligence was looking into the issue of those with outstanding security clearance especially the 22 Major Generals and Brigadiers. The controls in place are sufficient to prevent any possible corruption in the issuing of security clearance. There is a panel that sits and adjudicates the decision on the issuing of security clearance, there is an attendance register and minutes in place to ensure that there is transparency in this process. It is possible for the organisation to go back to each file of the applicant and scrutinise that file. The organisation was able to detect that processes were not followed in the issuing of the security clearance by Brigadier Phetlhe as this was not on the record. It was the legislative mandate for Crime Intelligence to undertake the vetting process and this was the case to SSA. The issue of the timeframe for the 22 officials whose security clearance was still in process; this would be the responsibility of the Committee to determine the timeframe and Counter Intelligence would respond to the timeframe of the Committee. A period of three months would be enough to finalise the vetting of the 22 officials that are still in process. There are challenges in terms of pending cases that often delayed the issuing of security clearances. There are 11 new applications for security clearance and 11 renewals of security clearance in the total of 22 officials with pending security clearance.
Gen Sitole replied that only first time applicants for the vetting process could be the new recruits to SAPS but the rest are the normal people that are part of the routine. There would be an appeal committee in place to strengthen the quality control.
The Chairperson asked if there is no appeal committee currently in place.
Gen Sitole responded that there is currently no structured appeal board and the Act says the Minster handles the appeal. SAPS wants to put in place quality control so as to purify what is to come to the Minister and ensure that there is quality control. There is an appeal board that scrutinises all the issuing of security clearance to ensure that the certificate is correctly issued and all processes were followed. The second appeal board is going to be functional within the project as from 1 April 2018.
The Chairperson commented that the Committee should be provided with assurance that everyone would apply for the security clearance and there would be no exception to the rules.
Gen Sitole responded that there would be that assurance as the issue of vetting would now be put into policy. There would be an early warning system in place to inform SAPS on the security clearances that are about to expire and all members would be forced to reapply for the security clearance within 3 months. Failure to reapply for security clearance would result in the consequence part. There would be a maximum of 14 days given to a member that has been denied security clearance. In essence, failure to apply for security clearance would result in revoking of the employment contract. SAPS was aiming to put the onus on members who are going to sit with applications for vetting that are outstanding and there must be action taken against those members. The reality is that these members that have not been vetted are still within the Crime Intelligence and other environments. Maj Gen Mokushane has been redeployed and presently he is in management intervention and no longer with Crime Intelligence. SAPS was planning to get rid of the backlog by the end of the first quarter especially for senior managers.
Gen Sitole added that SAPS want to be looking at the final report by June 2018. There is a plan in place to enhance the vetting capacity and there would be a HR plan to this because of the size of the vetting capacity is too small in comparison to the size of the organisation. SAPS would be doing a purification of all the vetting process and not everyone required top secret security clearance. There would be few people that would remain in top secret once SAPS is done with the purification process and this would include senior managers. In essence, there would be vetting undertaken but those in the category of top secret would be reduced. The top secret security clearance was the one taking a lot of time and the current picture of the backlog would change once SAPS is done with purification process. The purification is part of the deliverable description of the project.
Ms Mmola asked if the redeployment of Maj Gen Mokushane was a promotion or what. Was Maj Gen Mokushane under investigation?
Mr Mhlongo indicated that the action of SAPS seemed to be a rapid reaction to a crisis situation and this was obviously not the fault of the current National Commissioner. Was there a Work Place Skills Plan as dictated by the Employment Equity Act? The issues that are coming up within SAPS on the vetting process are issues that can be addressed in the Works Place Skills Plan. The issue of KGB Tshabalala emanated from the failure to have this Works Place Skills Plan to deal with delinquency within SAPS instead of doing the cut and paste on every challenge that is being encountered. There is a need to “pull a bull by its horn” and start addressing serious issues.
Mr Mbhele expressed concern that those Members that had been denied security clearance were still within Crime Intelligence despite the sensitivity of the environment they were operating under. There should be a rapid action taken to any member that had been deemed not to be there. We are not going to be able to deal with organised crime like cash in transit heist if we are unable to fix Crime Intelligence and this should start with consequence management and the enforcement of accountability. There should be a provision in the current framework for rapidly dealing with members within the Crime Intelligence while the security clearance was still pending. It is not helpful to wait in limbo for the decision that would be taken after consultation with labour unions without looking at a rapid way of getting rid of these officials in that environment. There is clearly a problem of mismanagement within SAPS and this was undermining and compromising the objectives and goals to be achieved. The vetting of senior management particularly in Crime Intelligence should perhaps be done externally so as to ensure that there is transparency in place and measure of independence and prevent any possible corruption.
Ms Kohler-Barnard asked for the level of security clearance required per occupational classification so as to have an idea about the kind of people that did not require security clearance. There is a report that indicated that Mr Richard Mdluli hired 7 of his family members in Crime Intelligence and this was part of the looting that was taking place in the organisation. There is an indication that some of Mdluli’s family members are still within Crime Intelligence with his son doing the interception within the organisation.
Ms Mmola wanted to know if Maj Gen Mokushane had been vetted currently.
Gen Sitole responded that all members are subjected to the oath of secrecy as prescribed by law and their supervisors are also informed if there have to be in any engagement. Members are also subjected to the GAS as indicated previously and this system is able to update SAPS about what these members are doing. There is also a confidential process of vetting which is much faster. There are still children of Mr Mdluli in the organisation except those who were dismissed for misconduct but they are subjected to all processes as the law prescribed and there are no special exemptions.
Ms Mdluli asked if the wife and the ex wife of Mr Mdluli are still within Crime Intelligence. How many of the family members had been dismissed and how many are still within the organisation?
Gen Sitole suggested that this information should be provided in writing so as to be verified. Gen Mkhushane was taken off Acting as the Head of Crime Intelligence and at the time he was the Provincial Head of Protection and Security in the Northern Cape. Therefore, he was never near the organisation and therefore this was a placement instead of promotion. SAPS had to find a place to accommodate Maj Gen Mokushane. The investigation against Maj Gen Mokushane is still on ongoing. There is a Works Place Skills Plan in place and the priority of SAPS is to link all the processes referred to into the Works Place Skills Plan. The recommendation to conduct the external vetting to senior managers would be taken into consideration. SAPS has already started working with SSA to conduct vetting of senior managers. He also admitted to having been vetted by SSA. Brigadier Phethle has not been fired as she is still in the organisation and there are processes that need to be followed including investigation. The investigation is at an advanced stage and the case docket has been submitted for prosecution. She was supposed to be served with a letter of suspension and then she went on a leave and she was later served with the letter of suspension when she came back. Brigadier Phetlhe challenged the suspension on technicality and then the suspension letter was reissued after SAPS addressed those technicalities.
Ms Molebatsi asked if she was convicted in 1997 and then re-enlisted two years after to SAPS.
Ms Mmola wanted to know about the timeframe for the conclusion of the matter involving Brigadier Phetlhe as she seemed to be untouchable. When are you going to suspend Brigadier Phetlhe?
Ms Kohler-Barnard commented that it was clear that someone had messed up right from the wording of the letter for suspension. The important question is whether Brigadier Phethle is currently on suspension at the moment? Are we likely to see the same situation as the Provincial Commissioner in KZN where the case had been dragging for 2 years on suspension?
Lt Gen Mgwenya confirmed that Brigadier Phetlhe was convicted and later re-enlisted.
Lt Gen Mgwenya responded that indeed SAPS went to the records after hearing about the issue on Radio 702. Brigadier Phethle was indeed convicted in 1997 but the system at the time could not pick it up that she had been convicted and therefore had a criminal record. The problem was only discovered in 2015 that Brigadier Phethle had a criminal record after she was recommended for the senior management post. Brigadier Phetlhe applied for the expungement and the record had been expunged.
The Chairperson asked about the possibility of having other case studies similar to Brigadier Phetlhe where a criminal record is not being picked up from recruitment. The issue of vetting is essential especially at Senior Management Staff (SMS).
Ms Mmola wanted to know if the system was now upgraded to be able to detect criminal records so as to avoid being served by officials with a criminal record.
Lt Gen Mgwenya explained that Brigadier Phetlhe was enlisted two years after being convicted and the system at the time did not pick up the criminal record. The system at the moment was not advanced but there are a number of systems currently including the GAS in order to detect any criminal record. It is still baffling as to why this was not picked up at the time but it should have to do with the lack of advancement in technology.
Gen Sitole promised Members that the issue of Brigadier Phetlhe is not going to delay like the case of the Provincial Commissioner in KZN. The organisation has taken a decision about the suspension of Brigadier Phetlhe and the decision has not changed as the letter was corrected later. SAPS would still need to verify the records for those that still needed to reapply for the security clearance. The employment of KGB was terminated in 2013 from the SAPS HR system and he was therefore not an employee of SAPS. KGB was not taken to the SAPS HR system in 2016 but rather taken to the agent programme and this programme is part of the secret service. There is a letter that had been issued to the IG in trying to understand how he was employed in the secret service.
Lt Gen Mgwenya explained that there has not been a reduction within the strength of Crime Intelligence but what happened is that the members of the Crime Registrar who were originally part and parcel of the Crime Intelligence structure but have since migrated and now fall under the office of the National Commissioner. Currently, the fixed establishment is 7 023 and the rest of the figure that makes the difference would have migrated to the National Commissioner.
Gen Sitole said that there would be an assessment into the function of the senior manager that had been denied a security clearance. SAPS would be a warming to all those that needed to reapply for security. There should be a confidential clearance for those handling informers and no one would just handle informers without a security clearance as this is a very high level area.
Ms Kohler-Barnard commented that there should be a clause within SAPS that clearly states that you cannot serve within SAPS if you have a criminal record. There is clear evidence that Brigadier Phetlhe lied under oath. Why do you not just fire her for fraudulently filling in a SAPS form and hiding her criminal record? How secure are the vetting documents? Was this system not vulnerable to hacking by hackers who are very clever? Which provinces could possibly be short of laptops and scanners in this day and age for E-vetting?
Mr Maake indicated that the response of Gen Sitole seemed to have just blown the cover of KGB Tshabalala.
Ms Molebatsi asked about the charged that was instituted against Brigadier Phetlhe.
Mr Mhlongo stated that it was a common practice within the public sector to dismiss someone for fraudulently filling in an application form as this is a breach of trust right from the entry level. SAPS should not waste time with these people who are bringing in rot within the organisation. People from outside should not be seeing SAPS management being soft on these corrupt officials.
Gen Sitole explained that Brigadier Phetlhe was not given special treatment as she is an ordinary member of the organisation. There was an internal investigation within the organisation in this matter and this is a prescribed regulation. Therefore, it is important to start with the investigation before firing an individual. The commitment to be made to the Committee is that the outcome will be provided to the Committee. The vetting period is 5 years. It must be stated that there are laws that are promulgated by Parliament and these laws direct us in one way or another. These laws included the Strategic Intelligence Act and this is the Act that protects the secret service in the country. In terms of the secret service procedure as outlined in the Strategic Intelligence Act, the agent part of KGB is supposed to be dealt with in terms of that law and this cannot be taken to the public domain. The Committee would still be provided with all the relevant information.
Gen Sitole made it clear that if he was going to the agent part of KGB then he was blowing his cover and this is against the Secret Service Procedure. Maj Gen Mokushane is not vetted as his vetting certificate was retracted as it was not correctly issued and then a decision was taken that he must be vetted again. The system of vetting for SAPS was secure and there are security walls in place and therefore it is not vulnerable to any hacking. There is a review of the SAPS technology so as to ensure that there is a look into the security walls. The E-vetting is at an early stage within the organisation and it is part of the long term of SAPS.
Mr Maake said that in the last meeting he asked if there is any law that prevents a criminal from being recruited into the Intelligence and it was responded that there is no such law. The understanding is that are Intelligence operators in jail. It seemed like Gen Sitole might have blown up a cover of a very effective operative.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would need to be briefed by SAPS in June around the status of the Strategic Direction and the challenges in the implementation including the issue of vetting of senior managers.
Briefing by SAPS: Methodology of Compiling Crime Statistics
Major General Norman Sekhukhune Head: Crime and Research Statistics, SAPS, indicated that crime statistics focuses on the reported crime that was perpetrated within the borders of South Africa and were reported at the 1 144 police stations, including satellites and ports of entry. The statistics would also comprise of crime reported by the victim, witness, third parties and detected by SAPS during any policing activity. The administrative data collection process involves recording of criminal incidents, the source document used for this purpose is a case docket. The Community Service Centre (CSC) Commander peruses the case docket for correctness and completeness before it is registered on the Crime Administration System (CAS) or ICDMS. The first statement of crime must contain four elements of crime, namely:
-Principle of legality, incident constitutes an offence
- A human being had to have performed the act
- Unlawfulness, the conduct contravenes a statutory requirement or a common law rule
-Culpability, i.e. intention or negligence
Maj General Sekhukhune highlighted that all crimes reported are recorded and this was irrespective of when the crimes were committed. The elements of crime are assessed to ensure that the correct classification or charge is allocated to the incident. The number of counts associated with the identified offence are then determined. The preliminary investigations and inspections on the incident are conducted to ensure that the information reported is accurate and complete. Crime is categorised to group crimes with similar characteristics together and this classifies the nature of crime and facilitate the understanding of the various crime categories. There are five broad categories of crime and these included contact crimes, contact related crimes, property related crime, other serious crime and crime dependent on police action for detection. All the crimes recorded at the stations within a particular cluster should collectively add up to the total of the crimes recorded in that cluster. The crimes recorded in the clusters within a province, should collectively add up to the total crimes in that province. The crime recorded in the nine provinces, should collectively add up to the national level.
Maj Gen Sekhukhune said that reported crime is discussed at the National Crime Combating Forum (NCCF) and National Management Form (NMF) on a quarterly basis. The snap-shot is drawn once all the station crime information has synchronised. This snap shot will be frozen for the quarter and be used to produce the preliminary quarterly crime reports. The quarterly statistics are compared to the same period in the previous financial year. These quarterly crime reports are disseminated to the public, subsequent to the submission of the statistics to Cabinet. At end of each financial year, a re-draw of the crime statistics is performed, allowing all amendments to reflect in the annual crime statistics. The quarterly crime statistics from the redrawn statistics might differ slightly from the frozen quarterly crime statistics. Cases closed off as unfounded are subtracted from the redrawn annual crime statistics. The statistics are then used in the compilation of the annual Crime Statistics Report. The annual Crime Statistics Report is disseminated to the public.
Maj Gen Sekhukhune stated that crime ratios will be used to compute crime rates only for crimes against a person. The crime ratios are used to compare crime rates for equal portions of the population. (e.g. per 100 000 population). This enables the comparison of crime rate to population increase per province. The crime ratios are computed at national and provincial levels due to misalignment of station boundaries with those of the enumeration area. Crime Data Quality Management:
- To enhance the crime statistics quality at station level, the Crime Information Management and Analysis Centre (CIMAC) conducts daily quality checks. Any discrepancies are discussed and rectified at the Station Crime Combating Forum (SCCF)
- The Provincial Crime Registrar oversees the process and conducts quality assurance checks at sampled stations.
- The National Crime Registrar : Quality Assurance Sub-section, performs the same function.
- A Technical Working Team (TWT) was established based on Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) between Statistics SA and the SAPS.
Maj Gen Sekhukhune said that the Committee previously raised the issue about the role of the Station Commander in the Crime Recording Process, in line with National Instruction 3 of 2011
The CSC Commander must ensure that -
(a) the information relating to the case has been correctly captured on CAS.
(b) complete and detailed information regarding the circumstances of the crime have
been correctly captured on CAS function 184.108.40.206.
(c) the case docket has been transferred on CAS to the detective service for further
investigation, and that a member of the detective service acknowledged receipt for the docket on CAS. RATIOS
Briefing by a Consultant and Crime Analyst on the Compilation of Crime Statistics
Dr Chris De Kock, Consultant and Crime Analyst, mentioned that crime incident and crime categories are defined by law and this was how SAPS categorises crime. There are different crime categories, subcategories and types (classification) for a particular crime. There is a huge dilemma around aggravated robbery, sexual offences especially rape, and murder (e.g. so-called farm murders, femicide/gender based murders, homophobic and xenophobic murders etc.).There is a significant issue of under-reporting of crime and this is actually a subject on its own, but it is necessary to make a few remarks about this trend analysis nightmare. This universal phenomenon should just be accepted and it should be emphasised that the crime statistics is based on reported and registered crime. At least for the past years we have the excellent National Victims of Crime Surveys (VOCS) of Statistics South Africa. Unfortunately underreporting is also a sign of mistrust.
Dr De Kock stated that there are cases of under/non-registration of crime (there can also be over-registration) and this could be unintentional or intentional. There are also numerous cases where a police officer would convince a victim that there was no crime. The police officer would accept that there was a crime, but only “register” it in the incident book/register. The police officer opens a docket, but does not list all crimes and/ or counts of crimes on the docket cover. The Police officer/member does not enter all crimes and or counts on the CAS (Crime Administration System). Statistics are drawn from CAS for a specific crime, station, and for a specific period. The station statistics add up to cluster level, cluster level to provincial level and provincial level to national level. There are a number of suggestions on how crime statistics and crime reports should improve and these included the following:
The validity of crime statistics can further be improved by members of the Crime Registrar reconciling the crime registers with dockets and checking if all the crimes and their counts were listed on the docket and then registered on CAS. This should be done daily. This was a recommendation of the Petros Committee.
These station members should fall under the command and control of the Provincial Crime Registrars who again fall under the command and control of the National Crime Registrar who reports directly to the National Commissioner.
Would personally prefer that the CIAC (now CIMAC) also fall under the command of the Crime Registrar.
SAPS use these broad crime types which in the case of contact crime include both less and more policeable crime to hide increases in more policeable crime. With this they are fighting the crime statistics and not the crime.
It is high/past time that the more serious, more policeable, crime categories like murder, rape and aggravated robbery are broken down to operationally useful subcategories and that it is registered as such.
The Chairperson indicated that there are currently draft proposals in relation to the classification of crime for statistical purposes and crime counting rules. The Committee should be briefed on the timeline for SAPS to finalise those drafts so as to go into the issue of official statistics.
Ms Kohler-Barnard expressed concern about this business of rewarding the police for bringing the statistics down as this was likely to promote corruption and fiddling of statistics. There are cases where 5 hijackings for example would be registered as only 1 hijacking and this needed to be avoided. There are also cases where people are referred from one police station to another because of wanting to keep crime statistics low in that police station. SAPS should perhaps look at international best practices in terms of rewarding officials for bringing statistics down. It was concerning to note that there is no sufficient talent and expertise within SAPS that is responsible to provide an in-depth analysis of the crime statistics as this is a standard practice worldwide. The Committee should be provided with an assessment report by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) from 2015/16 financial year.
Ms Kohler-Barnard wanted to know if there was any assessment report from StatsSA from 2016/17 financial year. What is the date for the release of official statistics? There should be an effort to deal with issue of crime classification especially on the issue of statistics on farm murders or visitors on farms and the rural statistics. There was a request from the Committee for SAPS to reintroduce these categories as these needed to be reflected and at the moment they seemed to be hidden for various political purposes.
Mr Maake asked as to who was responsible for the allocation of charges in terms of the classification. Was this the responsibility of SAPS or NPA? It was unclear if quarterly reports recorded the exact crime levels reported. The Committee should be provided with more explanation as to why SAPS disseminating information for stakeholders only.
Ms Molebatsi wanted to know about the method that was working better for SAPS in terms of statistics purpose between the situation where cases is reported and then withdrawn and the one where cases are reported and then investigated later. When would the Crime Statistics Data Dissemination Policy be completed?
Ms Mmola enquired about what would happen if the CSC commander was unable to do his/her duties as stipulated in slide 22. There are cases in other stations where station commanders are not doing their job. It was unclear if station commanders would understand the importance of field work that needed to be conducted by Crime Information Officers (CIOs)
Mr Mbhele also echoed the concerns of Ms Kohler-Barnard especially in regard to rewarding SAPS officials for bringing down crime statistics as this was likely to set up that perverse incentive as station commanders feel like that they can fiddle with statistics to be able to paint a good picture. The biggest risk in the police service is when rank supersedes rationality and the ranking can be a stumbling block in moving towards the environment of effectiveness. There was an indication of stations that still lacked CIOs. How many stations were without permanent full-time CIOs? When would this be addressed?
Gen Sitole responded that the placement of functions of crime statistics and research was not under the station commanders. The function that is still within station commanders included CIOs. SAPS can provide information on the number of full-time CIOs in writing. There is a performance management system and consequence management to deal with station commanders not doing their work. SAPS has been addressing existing gaps in the performance management system so as to ensure that all areas are assessed.
Maj Gen Sekhukhune replied that SAPS has finalised the counting rules and classification and there was crime statistics symposium where there was an invitation to all the role players to explain the counting rules. There is still a need to invite the legal side of SAPS to look at classification and to look into whether this was in line with the legal classification. There is a need to produce two series side by side when introducing new counting and classification rules so as to determine the impact. The crime statistics that had been presented to the Committee in the past three years has been thoroughly analysed and the categories of the murders have been done. SAPS has broken down the murders to determine which one are farm murders and which one emanated from robbery or taxi violence. We should try and come up with categories that are not necessarily definable as there is a need to identify and clarify a concept and definition. The “yellow book” gives direction in terms of the crime classifications that are used for crime recording purposes. There is a need to involve the Department of Social Development as some of the cases are referred to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and there should be a way to find out how to count those cases.
Maj Gen Sekhukhune agreed that crime classifications needed to be revised and that is why that SAPS would be having this symposium and this is to ensure that SAPS is able to come closer to the operational definition. The dissemination of information to internal stakeholders only usually happens within SAPS meetings like at the Station Crime Combating Forum and this is usually attended by SAPS members. The main question is still who is going to be responsible for the Dissemination Policy on crime statistics. The Constitution is clear that this should be the policy of the Ministry.
Mr Maake asked where the Community Police Forums (CPFs) feature in the whole dissemination.
Mr Mhlongo said that SAPS indicated that crime statistics would help in the deployment of resources but Dr De Kock was opposed to this assertion as he believed that there is a possibility of station commanders fiddling with crime statistics. Which methodology would be used for the deployment of resources?
Maj Gen Sekhukhune responded that the available statistics would be provided to the Committee.
Gen Sitole replied that there is strategic and operational statistics and the short-term statistics are operational in nature and the strategic statistics go over a process. The operational statistics are modus operandi driven and the change in modus operandi results in a change in operational statistic. The operational statistics are for operational planning or any other operational reasons. The involvement of CPFs, the Community Policing Strategy, SAPS is bringing in the service charter so that the statistics are tested by the reaction of the client and in this case it is community. The Statistics are the key elements in the determination of criteria for resources but there are other variables that are taken into consideration. There should be an instrument that talks to the resource required including the intelligence required. In relation to the booklet on crime statistics, SAPS was waiting for the letter from the Statistician General and there has not been any feedback in this regard. SAPS was still waiting for that particular letter.
Dr De Kock indicated that it was critically important for SAPS to provide quarterly reports so as to deal with early warnings so as to see the progress on a quarterly basis instead of getting shocked by the increase in specific categories after 9 months.
Maj Gen mentioned that indeed there was quarterly crime statistics in 1999-2000 as mentioned by Dr De Kock but the staff complement at the time was like 75 while the staff complement currently was 25.
The Chairperson indicated that the Committee would need to find a space to discuss further the issue of crime statistics as this was a matter that was important. The view of the Committee is clear that we need quarterly crime statistics as this was important to pick up the trends of crime provincially and nationally. The Committee requested SAPS to provide information on the basic literacy audit.
The meeting was adjourned.
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.