The South African Police Service (SAPS) functioned as a matrix of corruption, with the exception of a few police officers. The biggest threat to South Africa’s national security was because of corruption within SAPS. Any organisation that was fighting crime in the world needed good organisation and effective intelligence, but South Africa had defective intelligence and highly corrupt police officers. The country was unable to contain serious and violent crime because people were too busy being preoccupied with stealing, and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) was unable to control the corruption and stealing going on.
This was the message given to the Portfolio Committee on Police by Robert McBride, Head of IPID, following the entity’s report back on several high profile cases involving senior police officers. He said it was clear that police officers always felt untouchable and did not want anyone investigating them, and that they could do whatever they liked. There was a feeling that everybody owed everyone something, and this was something IPID needed to deal with. The Department was hampering the ability of IPID to achieve its mandate, and this was being done through under-funding. IPID investigators were being charged, arrested and then cases cancelled later on, and this was a trend that had been happening for a while. There were people within SAPS who were committed to work and collaborate with IPID, but there were also those who were looting the state resources and were willing to fight back against the work that was being done by IPID. The confidence that IPID had in the new National Commissioner, General Sitole, had been completely eroded because of his refusal to declassify some documents to be used by IPID.
IPID said the offences committed in the cases it was investigating ranged from corruption, fraud, theft, money laundering and racketeering, and defeating ends of justice. Among those involved were former acting police commissioner, Lt Gen Khomotso Phahlane, the North West Task Team, and Capt Morris “KGB” Tshabalala. A high profile case involved Forensic Data Analysts (FDA), where a contract for R5 billion was under investigation. IPID complained that SAPS was refusing to release documents which were supposed to be used for criminal prosecution until they had been declassified, although there was really no legally valid reason why the documents could not be declassified. IPID was trying its best to comply with the Farlam Commission recommendations, even though it had not been given funding as recommended by the Commission, which meant other operations had to be reprioritised to ensure that this investigation was completed. This had put a tremendous strain on the IPID operational budget.
Members asked why there had been delays in the investigation of Lt Gen Phahlane, as a whistleblower had alleged corruption back in 2013, and there had been many similar reports since. Capt “KGB” Tshabalala, a convicted criminal, had been fired in 2013 but had re-enlisted – who was covering for him? Was Lt Gen Riah Phiyega, the former police commissioner, yet to be arrested, as she was not on the list of high profile cases? A Member asserted that senior SAPS members would do whatever it took to destroy IPID, as they had never wanted the entity to exist in the first place.
There was also a briefing by the Office of the DPCI Judge on questions arising from its annual report for the 2016/17 financial year. It reported that the number of complaints it was receiving that fell within its jurisdiction was gradually increasing, compared to previous years.
A major issue was the lack of a secretary to assist the judge, with the Office stating its priority was to establish posts for a chief executive officer, a personal assistant for the judge, a director of investigations, five investigators and an assistant director of finance.
The Committee wanted to know if the budget of the Office of the DPCI Judge was ring-fenced, as this was a statutory requirement in terms of the SAPS Act. How many investigators did the Office have? Had there been any progress with the screening of complaints falling outside the mandate of the Office? What obstacles was it facing? Was the need for five investigators proportional to the case load of the Office? The lack of progress in the processing of complaints was a major concern.
The Chairperson said the meeting today was part of the engagement with entities to find out about issues in the public domain, and ways to address those challenges.
High profile cases: Police Investigative Directorate (IPID):
Mr Matthews Sesoko, Head: Investigations, IPID; said the Directorate was investigating numerous high profile cases in line with Section 28 of IPID Act 1 of 2011. Offences committed ranged from corruption, fraud, theft, money laundering and racketeering, to defeating the ends of justice. These included:
- An allegation of a corrupt relationship between Lt Gen Khomotso Phahlane and a service provider, Crimetech and Kriminalistik, owned by Henry Deale and Jolanta Komodolowicz (Kameeldrift CAS 145/09/2017). The estimated amount involved was R96 million.
- An allegation of a corrupt relationship between Lt Gen Phahlane and a service provider, Forensic Data Analysts (FDA), owned by Keith Keating (Sinoville CAS 146/05/2017). The estimated amount involved was R5 billion.
- An investigation into the North West Task Team for defeating the ends of justice.
- An allegation of a corrupt relationship between Capt Morris “KGB” Tshabalala, Maj Gen Obed Nemutanzhela and a service provider to the Crime Intelligence Division (Lyttelton CAS 170/12/2015). The amount involved was R563 005.00.
The two investigations involving Lt Gen Phahlane were focused on the house investigation (Kameeldrift CAS 145/09/2017) and the vehicles investigation (Sinoville CAS 146/05/2017). During the course of investigation of the Kameeldrift case, which spell-out a corrupt relationship between Lt Gen Phahlane and service provider Kriminalistik and Crimetech. IPID was able to uncover a further corrupt relationship with another service provider, FDA, which was owned by Mr Keith Keating. The investigation had detected possible crimes of corruption, fraud and money laundering facilitated by a car dealer, Mr Durand Snyman.
During the investigation of the case; it was discovered that during Lt Gen Phahlane’s house construction in 2011, there had been no withdrawals from either Lt Gen Phahlane or his wife supporting transactions relating to the construction of the house. Seven of the construction workers had been paid in excess of a million rand in cash from the boot of the car by Lt Gen Phahlane or his driver. their version was now supported by cash withdrawals from Crimetech and Kriminalistik accounts amounting to R1 250 000, which appeared as follows: R200 000 on 24 March 2011, R200 000 on 20 April 2011, R400 000 on 20 April 2011, R150 000 on 22 August 2011, R150 000 on 5 September 2011 and R150 000 on 11 October 2011. Some of the withdrawals were made the same day the builders were paid. There was no record from Lt Gen Phahlane’s account that such amounts were ever withdrawn from his account. The forensic auditors were finalising the second phase of the accounts’ assessment for the case to be taken to court.
The IPID investigation had been able to uncover a further corrupt relationship with another service provider, FDA, owned by Mr Keith Keating. The investigation had detected possible crimes of corruption, fraud and money laundering facilitated by a car dealer, Mr Durand Snyman. General Phahlane, his wife and his sister had received vehicles alleged to be sponsorship by Mr Snyman to the value of R883 041.92. He had also received an overstated trade-in value totalling R445 991.47. These benefits were neither due nor declared.
Mr Keating, a South African Police Service (SAPS) service provider and supplier of Rofin lights, had paid money into Mr Snyman’s account through the Bank of Windhoek, which was used to pay for the vehicles, including one given to Col Potgieter, who was based at Technology Management Services (TMS) -- the unit that procured Rofin lights -- with Phahlane’s wife. The Directorate had to look into what benefit Mr Keating had derived from spending huge amounts of money for Lt General Phahlane, his wife, sister and the other officials based at TMS.
During the investigation into allegations of defeating the ends of justice against the North West team and Gen Phahlane, Maj Gen Agnes Makhele instructed her staff officer to withhold certain information from IPID. An instruction not to cooperate with the IPID investigation had been captured on video. The investigation had been completed and the docket submitted to the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for perusal and decision. The DPP had decided to prosecute and on 11 January 2018, she had appeared before the Pretoria regional court magistrate on a charge of defeating the ends of justice, alternatively contravention of Section 29 of the IPID Act, and charged in terms of Section 33 of the IPID Act. The case had been postponed to 12 April.
Mr Sesoko said that Capt Tshabalala had been arrested and was currently in custody. His parole had been revoked. SAPS had since dismissed him.
Regarding the Marikana investigation, IPID had done its best to try to comply with the Farlam Commission recommendations, even though it was not given the funding as recommended by the Commission. IPID had used its baseline budget for this investigation, which meant other operations had had to be reprioritised to ensure that this investigation was completed. This had put a tremendous strain on the IPID operational budget. The investigation into to these deaths, where 34 people had died, had been completed and the dockets had been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on 1 August 2017 for a decision. IPID was still awaiting a decision in this regard, including a way forward on the Scene Two reconstructions.
The Chairperson said the Committee had requested IPID to focus on systemic corruption, and the presentation showed good progress. It had been correct to request IPID to prioritise corruption and maladministration about three years ago. The Committee should be briefed on the progress that had been made in the shift between Programmes One and Three. What was the current relationship like between the SAPS and IPID? The presentation had highlighted the need for SAPS to support IPID, but the reality was that IPID was supposed to be independent and therefore did not require the support of SAPS. It would be important to know if there were any checks and balances in place within SAPS to deal decisively with problems in procurement.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) asked how it was possible for there to be delays in the investigation of the former acting National Commissioner, Lt Gen Phahlane, as this case had been reported a few years ago. When did IPID start its investigations into the case involving him? There had been a whistleblower back in 2013 who had spoken to her about the issue of corruption involving Lt Gen Phahlane, so there should have been an investigation a long time ago. It was clear there had been many whistleblowers who had reported corruption involving Lt Gen Phahlane. What was the current situation with those whistleblowers? The head of human resources (HR) within SAPS had said that Capt Tshabalala had been fired back in 2013, but IPID was saying something totally different. Who was paying Capt Tshabalala? Who was covering for him? Who was paying him his salary? Were there any attempts by SAPS or IPID to recover the salary that had been paid fraudulently to Capt Tshabalala?
Ms Kohler Barnard said that it was also unclear as to who took the bizarre decision not to fund IPID for its investigation into Scene Two of the Marikana massacre. It was really absurd for IPID to be given this massive amount of work with little funding. Was Lt Gen Riah Phiyega yet to be arrested, as she was not on the list of high profile cases? There had been many accusations leveled against her at the Marikana Farlam Commission of Inquiry. It was really a crime to observe SAPS senior members destroying senior investigators within IPID, as this was an attempt to under-resource the entity. The reality was that SAPS senior members would do whatever it took to destroy IPID, as they had never wanted the entity to exist in the first place. What was being done to report this obstruction by senior SAPS members, as these were acts of criminality? Had IPID reported this to the National Commissioner or the Minister of Police?
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said that he was not shocked at all by the extent of the deficiency and lack of ethics within SAPS. The Committee should perhaps have a hearing to require senior SAPS members to respond to all the allegations made by IPID, including the stalling of the IPID mandate by not handing over the required documents. It was clear that what was happening was another form of state capture, where police officers were involved in the web of monumental corruption. It was also unclear as to why these challenges within SAPS had not been detected by the Auditor-General (AG), especially the irregular and wasteful expenditure. Why was this not picked up by the AG? Could this be because of the size of the budget that was allocated to SAPS? Or was it possible that people within AGSA could find technical compliance that was within the law to hide the scope of the problems within SAPS? Regarding Capt Tshabalala, the indication was that he had not served his tenure of sentence and was involved in an embedded network of people who covered for each other. Was this a possible scenario? The Committee was certainly looking at state capture in terms of the abuse of state resources.
What recourse did the IPID have, since SAPS senior members were refusing to declassify some of the documents to be used for prosecution? Was this a matter of IPID perhaps having to go to the Joint Committee on Intelligence to request the declassification of some of the important documents to be used in court? What could the Portfolio Committee on Police do in this regard? The Committee should be provided with a document by the Cabinet on the classification of documents, and cases where classified documents could not be used. There seemed to be an attempt to weaken the IPID by bribing its senior investigators with money. Was there any individual case of a threat towards IPID investigators?
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) said that it was important for IPID to report cases of corruption. The Committee would always support any attempt to root out corruption. The Committee had previously asked Lt Gen Phahlane about allegations made by IPID, and he had immediately denied them at the meeting. The allegations that were being made by IPID were very serious, and it should do its best to get to the bottom of this issue involving Lt Gen Phahlane. There was also an allegation that Mr Paul O’Sullivan was an influence in how IPID was dealing with some of the cases, especially the one involving Lt Gen Phahlane. IPID was not supposed to be influenced by anyone outside influences, and this needed to be highlighted. The people involved in corruption involving tenders should be prosecuted for their actions, especially since this was happening within the policing environment. The reality was that the lower level officials were acting on the instruction of senior managers. There was the issue of people having dual roles, with one person in positions like Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Accounting Officer, and this trend also exacerbated corruption. There were senior officers who were responsible for signing tenders that had been procured irregularly, and there had been silence over prosecuting them.
Mr Ramatlakane added that a lot had been said about Capt Shabalala, but it was problematic to hear about someone having been convicted and then coming back to serve in the SAPS despite having a criminal record. However, this could not happen without recommendation, and someone must have recommended the decision for his deployment within SAPS. What action was being taken against those officials who had recommended an unlawful decision to be taken?
The story about a “grabber” was disturbing. The ANC did not need a “grabber”, as there was no need for one at a democratic conference. There was no way one could use a “grabber” at the ANC conference. The story of a “grabber” was really mind-boggling -- it was baffling why anyone would want to buy votes.
There was a challenge in applying a blanket approach to the classification and declassification of documents, and this needed to be avoided. The route that IPID should take was to apply to SAPS for the declassification of the required documents. Had this already done? The declassification simply meant having access to documents to be used in court without having them released to the general public.
It was shocking to hear that SAPS had been unable to receive funding of R5 million for the reconstruction of Scene Two of the Marikana massacre. Who was blocking this funding, and what reasons had been put forward? The Committee should be briefed on the reason put forward by NPA on Lt Gen Phahlane, as the case docket had been submitted in August 2017 and now it was almost April 2018. Were there any other police officers who still needed to be prosecuted for the Marikana massacre?
Mr Robert McBride, Head of IPID, responded that it was difficult to understand the situation where Mr Bo Mbidwane, political advisor to the previous Minister of Police, had been involved in the procurement procedures involving the “grabbers.” Mr Mbidwane had been not in one meeting, but four. There was evidence before IPID of his involvement in the procurement process. The important question was what those meetings were all about, especially since they involved an advisor to the previous Minister. There had been a refusal to explain to IPID what those meetings had been all about.
There were also people without security clearance who were classifying documents, and this made a mockery of the need for security clearance. There were also cases where there would be a quotation or payment of R54 million made at 10 pm in the evening, just before the end of the financial year. The question was why there was always a trend to wait until the end of the financial year before making payment of such an amount of money. The fact that there were whistleblowers and informers for IPID meant that there were good police officers within SAPS who did not like what was happening, and they were willing to cooperate with IPID.
Mr McBride said that SAPS functioned as a matrix of corruption, with the exception of few police officers. The biggest threat to South Africa’s national security was because of corruption within SAPS. Any organisation that was fighting crime in the world needed good organisation and effective intelligence. However, South Africa had defective intelligence and highly corrupt police officers. There were highly corrupt police officers, and the country was unable to contain serious and violent crime because people were too busy being preoccupied with stealing, and IPID was unable to control the corruption and stealing going on. Thievery by any other name was thievery.
The information that Mr Sesoko had come up with this morning was that there had been attempts to bribe senior IPID investigators to make incriminating statements against the Directorate, and this had been a decision that was taken by senior SAPS members, including those in Criminal Intelligence. This had been because of the “grabber” case where Mr Mbidwane had been involved. IPID expected that the story of Mr O’Sullivan would come out again.
Regarding the North West Task Team, where there was investigation of defeating the ends of justice, IPID was meeting with a range of people who could provide important information. The only option for IPID was to meet with good police officers who could act as whistleblowers. The reality was also that those who provided IPID with information were often victimized.
In relation to the problem of the classification of documents, it was a fact that there were people who classified documents without following proper procedures. It was clear that police officers did not want to be investigated, and that sense of impunity was evident in the case of Mr Richard Mdluli. Police officers always felt untouchable and did not want anyone investigating them, and they could do whatever they like. That sense of impunity which was strengthened by Mr Mdluli was still being perpetuated. There was a feeling that everybody owed everyone something, and this was something IPID needed to deal with.
Mr McBride said that IPID had started the investigation into Lt Gen Phahlane when he and Mr Sesoko came back from suspension in 19 October 2016. Lt Gen Phahlane was considered as a suspect by IPID, and it was the first time in a democratic South Africa that a suspect who was being investigated for serious charges got to stand up and belittle an investigation in Parliament. Lt Gen Phahlane had lied in front of this Committee, and this was indeed a serious offence that needed to be treated with all the seriousness it deserved. Lt Gen Phahlane had lied about a security breach, as there had been no security breach. There was not a single document which showed that IPID had committed a security breach,
General Kgomo was the one given the case of Lt Gen Phahlane, with another investigator. This was the same Gen Kgomo that had gone to the whistle blowers to persuade them that there was no evidence in this case. This was in February 2016. It was the same Gen Kgomo who had been in communication with Lt Gen Phahlane, and who was approaching the investigators of IPID and offering bribes. The Department was hampering the ability of IPID to achieve its mandate, and this was being done through under-funding. IPID investigators were being charged, arrested and then cases cancelled later on and this was a trend that had been happening for a while. Mr McBride admitted that he and Mr Sesoko had been arrested several times.
Mr Ramatlakane interrupted and asked again about the issue of Mr Paul O’Sullivan, and the comment of IPID on the allegations that Mr O’Sullivan had been the outside influence in the investigation of Lt Gen Phahlane. It seemed like IPID was being defensive when it came to the issue of his involvement.
Mr McBride replied that IPID was being assisted by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), and the narrative that Mr O’Sullivan was the outside influence on IPID had been going on for a while. However, this was not true. IPID was not being defensive -- Mr O’Sullivan had been assisting IPID only for that specific period. The reality was that IPID investigators were being threatened and undermined every day. The narrative of Mr O’Sullivan was amateurish and an example of propaganda that had precisely created this dire situation of corruption and maladministration. The focus of IPID had been on what Mr Mbidwane had been doing in connection with the “grabbers.” IPID was now finished with Mr O’Sullivan, as he was required only to provide assistance on the case. The DPCI always assisted IPID whenever when possible. Any allegation of IPID not being independent was not true, and had been proven to be false.
There were people within SAPS who were committed to work and collaborate with IPID, but there were also those who were looting the state resources and were willing to fight back against the work that was being done by IPID. The confidence that IPID had in the new National Commissioner, General Sitole, had been completely eroded because of his refusal to declassify some documents to be used by IPID. There was a lot of money spread out within SAPS, but there was no procedure in place to allocate funds properly. The Tactical Support Unit dealing with “grabbers” had not even been contacted, and this was a matter of concern for IPID.
There had now been 15 years of non-stop looting within SAPS, and this could not just be left unattended. The 2016/17 annual report of SAPS showed “success” -- like 10 firearms recovered -- and this really showed the underlying problem of corruption and maladministration.
Mr Sesoko said that IPID had met with the National Commissioner regarding the contracts that were under investigation. The contract that was currently under investigation was for R5 billion, for Forensic Data Analysts (FDA). FDA was a company with subsidiaries, which also worked with other companies as a front to get money directed to FDA. There was collusion between SAPS and the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) for money to go to FDA.
IPID was trying to find ways to get the contact terminated. We could not have company threatening an organisation like the South African Revenue Service (SARS) to switch-off the service if payment was not made. How was it possible for SAPS to give a contract of national security to a private company? The state institutions should be supporting SITA. The contract had involved corruption from the beginning, as even the procurement process had not been followed. What had happened was that there had been an advertisement for a tender which was cancelled, and then re-advertised as a tender that would favour FDA.
He said that IPID had received the case of Lt Gen Phahlane in 2016, but nothing was as done until October 2016, when he and Mr McBride had come back from suspension.
Capt “KGB” Tshabalala was protected by senior SAPS members and politicians, and that was why he seemed to act in impunity. “KGB” had been arrested and sentenced in 1996 and had appealed the sentence, but did not hand himself over to the police. He was arrested again in 2013 in connection with another robbery case which had taken place in Sasolburg, where his fingerprints had been processed. This was when it had been discovered that he was supposed to have been serving time in prison in 1996, and he was now a police officer. Capt Tshabalala had been released on parole and was then re-enlisted in SAPS in 2016. This was despite being a criminal and having a criminal record. IPID had requested a personal file on him to determine how he got re-enlisted, which it needed to prove that there had been a lack of following proper procedures in his re-enlistment. The personal file was not coming through, and the IPID had been told that the personal file was classified. IPID was concerned about this trend, where the classification of documents was being used to hide criminality and corruption within SAPS.
There was a similar situation in the case of Mr Mdluli, where IPID could not access documents to prosecute individuals. IPID had already engaged with the Minister to assist on the issue of declassification of important documents to be used for prosecution. The other recourse of IPID was to litigate for the declassification of these documents. The Cabinet document on the classification of documents would be forwarded to the Committee, as requested by Members, as this was a government document. The “rogue team,” led by General Mabula and Lt Gen Phahlane, was interfering in the investigation and defeating the ends of justice. The NPA had taken a decision not to prosecute Lt Gen Phahlane for defeating the ends of justice, but IPID had appealed this decision as there was a strong belief that this decision had been irrational.
Ms Kohler-Barnard wanted to know if the NPA had dropped charges against Lt Gen Phahlane.
Mr Sesoko responded that the NPA had only dropped the charges related to defeating the ends of justice by Lt Gen Phahlane.
IPID had made a request to Treasury regarding the reconstruction of Scene Two at Marikana. There had been a number of engagements, but IPID had not received the funding as yet. IPID had taken a decision that the reconstruction of Scene Two was important and had therefore decided to shift some investigations in order to prioritise the investigation and the reconstruction. The case, related to the events of 16 August 2012 was huge and voluminous in nature. There would be a look into whether the reconstruction of Scene Two was enough to warrant cogent evidence. IPID had three advocates dealing with this important matter. IPID was also investigating whether the former National Commissioner, Ms Phiyega, had misled the Marikana Farlam Commission of Inquiry.
Ms Kohler Barnard said it was absurd that Lt Gen Phiyega was now the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Safer South Africa Foundation despite being implicated in the Marikana massacre and was facing charges of misleading the Commission of Inquiry. It was bizarre that a person facing serious charges should be allowed to hold a very prestigious position. Was there any timeline in place to deal with the issue of Lt Gen Phiyega?
Mr Sesoko responded that the issue of Lt Gen Phiyega was beyond the control of IPID, so it was impossible to provide timelines. It was still waiting for a decision to be taken by NPA on Lt Gen Phiyega. IPID would continuously find out about progress on the matter, and this would be requested as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the view of SAPS was that IPID could not see the classified documents, despite the fact that these documents were being used for criminal prosecution. IPID could not see those documents until they were declassified. These documents were supposed to be used for criminal prosecution, and they needed to be declassified, and for them to be used in criminal prosecution meant they become public documents. There was really no legally valid reason why the documents could not be declassified. The NPA was also the one responsible to take a decision on the prosecution and therefore they were the ones responsible for proceding with prosecution, despite the possible reconstruction of Scene Two. SAPS had already presented people who have been disciplined for involvement in Marikana, but IPID did not understand why they had been disciplined, as it had not made any recommendations on this matter. It was working closely with the NPA on Marikana, as this was crucially important. The agreement with the NPA was that the decision on disciplinary cases should be made in conjunction with them.
The Chairperson said that IPID was a constitutional institution that was mandated to investigate the conduct of police officers, and it was important for SAPS management to cooperate with IPID. The Committee would once again highlight this issue during the budget hearings and when the SAPS management came to the Committee. The Committee had highlighted with the National Commissioner the issue of a lifestyle audit in order to ensure that there was transparency among senior SAPS members, as they would be held accountable. This was also part of conducting oversight.
The Committee noted a suggestion to incorporate some of these issues when deliberating on the Committee Programme for the second term.
Briefing by Office of DPCI Judge
Judge Diale Kgomo, Inspecting Judge: DPCI said the purpose of the presentation was to provide responses to the questions arising from the presentation on 28 November 2017 of the annual report for 2016/17.
Mr Edward Rasiwela, Deputy Director: Investigations, DPCI Judge, said the Office had been allocated around R5 960 000, and had spent R5 230 076. The workload of the DPCI Judge compared with SAPS/IPID detectives was very low. The number of complaints received that fell within its jurisdiction was gradually increasing compared to previous years. There were 69 complaints received by the Office, and 38 of those cases fell outside its mandate.
The Committee had expressed concern over the low levels at which investigators were appointed. The matter had been brought to the attention of the former Minister of Police, Mr Mbalula. The Office would do the same with Minister Cele when his schedule allowed. The majority of the cases were received from Gauteng (44), followed by the Western Cape (12), while the lowest was in North West (1). 29 cases were related to alleged unlawful infringement of their rights arising from investigations done by the Hawks.
There had been a question from the Committee on what was being done to ensure that offices like IPID referred complaints to the DPCI Judge’s Office that fell within its scope and mandate. The Office had entered into memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with various stakeholders, including the IPID and Chapter Nine institutions, to regulate its working relationships and how to refer complaints that fell within the jurisdiction of the respective stakeholders. In the MOU, there were details of contact persons to refer the complaints to.
The Committee had also wanted to know if the budget of the Office of the DPCI Judge was ring-fenced. The Office had engaged the Secretary as the accounting officer of its budget. The Secretary’s view was that Treasury had to put measures in place to ring-fence the budget. The ring-fencing was a statutory requirement in terms of Section 17L (13) of the SAPS Act.
Some Members wanted to know the number of investigators in the Office, and the “wish list.” The priority of the Office was to establish the following posts: Chief Executive Officer, Professional Assistant (PA) for the DCPI Judge, Director of Investigations, five Investigators and an Assistant Director Finance.
The Chairperson said that surely there should be an interim arrangement to be able to appoint a secretary to assist the DPCI Judge. It was totally unacceptable to have an institution as important as the Office of the DPCI Judge without a secretary for four to five months. The issue needed to be sorted out between the Secretariat and the Judge as a matter of urgency.
Mr Ramatlakane agreed there should have been an interim solution when the Judge did not have an assistant or a secretary. An interim arrangement should have been reached from day one instead of letting the situation to drag on for no cogent reason.
Mr Mbhele asked about the exact dilemma that was causing these delays, as it was not clear as to why the post had not yet been filled in order for the DPCI Judge to be able to operate efficiently. It seemed there was a submission already awaiting the Minister’s signature. The Police Minister’s signature followed a different process to that of the Minister of Public Service and Administration. An immediate short-term arrangement could be made.
The Chairperson commented that this was a logistical administrative matter that had to be dealt with at the departmental level, so the Committee should not belabor the issue.
Judge Kgomo responded that he had been a judge and Judge President, and therefore he was always careful when he said something and always stuck to his word. The main issue was not about transfers with promotions, but just transfers. One should looks into other aspects like promotions later on. He made it clear that he did not want anyone choosing a personal assistant for him. The current secretary was well experienced and qualified. It had been really frustrating to operate for six months without a secretary or personal assistant. There was currently a huge backlog, and it was really embarrassing that it could take this long to have someone as an assistant. He had always had an assistant since 1974, but now was forced to operate without an assistant. The Minister had been clear that the Judge should have his own secretary.
Ms Kohler Barnard commented that the Judge would not have had to bring this issue to the Committee if it could have been resolved with the Secretariat. Six months had elapsed, and this was still an issue. It was ridiculous, as the Judge clearly needed a secretary, so a secretary must be provided. The Judge had been hired to do this job, and now he was being hamstrung. Another entity earlier today had complained about being deliberately hamstrung so that it was unable to do its job. The Judge should never have been put in this humiliating position of having to come to the Committee in order to get a secretary.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would need a written feedback on the issue, as it had to be resolved. An interim arrangement should be considered, as the Judge needed to be able to operate efficiently.
The Committee should now get into the strategic issues raised in the presentation. The financial reporting should be in accordance with the Treasury guidelines, especially in this coming financial year. The Secretariat must also assist the Office of the DPCI Judge to ensure that this was being done. There was an indication that travelling and subsistence was around R1 million, and the Committee should get an indication as to the main cost driver of this. Regarding the additional offices in Free State and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the main question was whether it made any logical sense to create additional posts and build new offices.
Ms KohlerBarnard wanted to know if any progress had been made with the screening of complaints falling outside the mandate of the Office. It had been stated previously that there was a lack of response to complaints. Had this now been addressed? Had any progress been made with the approval of additional personnel? The shortage of personnel needed to be resolved quickly, as this was the main challenge of the Office. The Committee should be briefed on the signing of performance agreements by the Minister for the 2016/17 financial year. Had they been signed by the Minister? The Committee should perhaps get a copy of the signed agreement. There was an indication that accommodation in Cape Town was more than was needed. Was there a room for the expansion of the current approved structure of the offices in Cape Town? What was the current progress in regard to the Pretoria office? What was the progress on the lease agreements in Cape Town and Pretoria? It was also unclear if the lease agreements included maintenance or not, as there had been a disaster previously in this regard. Did investigators provide regular feedback to the complainants on the progress of investigations?
Mr Mbhele said that there was always a difficulty between investigative bodies and other organs of state, and this needed to be addressed. The Committee had held a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development to deal with delays by the NPA in dealing with cases. The Committee had also heard this morning from the IPID about the difficulties faced by investigators. The NPA seemed to be a challenge in the face of the investigators. What obstacles were faced by the Office? There seemed to be a challenge of capacity, with an indication that the Office was looking at having five investigators. It would be important to know if the figure of five investigators was proportional to the case load of the Office. What justified the request to have five investigators?
Mr Ramatlakane said the presentation made it clear that the Office was “work in progress.” The Committee should establish whether the Office had any engagement with the Hawks in regard to the mandate of the Office and the path to be taken by the Office going forward. The Office seemed to be dealing with the same complaints over and over, without any solutions being implemented. Was there any indication of additional budget being allocated, especially as the Office was planning to have new offices?
Mr J Maake (ANC) said there was lack of progress in the processing of the complaints, and this was a major concern. What seemed to be the obstacles in this regard?
Judge Kgomo replied that that the Office had now visited the Hawks in all the provinces to ensure that there was collaboration. The Office was aware that some of the delays in processing complaints needed to be addressed. There had not been any meetings or engagements with the NPA, as there were no relevant s that required such engagement. The Office was dealing with complaints that were outside the mandate of the Office, and there had been a stakeholders’ meeting in Cape Town last year to inform stakeholders about the kind of cases that the Office was dealing with. This was to reduce the number of cases that came to the Office. There had also been a stakeholders’ meeting in Free State dealing with the same matter. The third stakeholders meeting would be in KZN, and was planned for around the end of April. These stakeholders’ meetings would assist in reducing the workload of the Office in looking at cases that were outside its mandate.
The Office informed the complainants after investigation on the progress on the case, including those that fell outside the mandate of the Office. The Office was compelled to send the cases that were outside its mandate to the relevant entities, rather than just ignoring them.
Mr Maake wanted to know who the specific stakeholders were, that the Judge was referring to
Judge Kgomo responded that they included communities and entities.
The offices in the Free State and KZN were work in progress, and the plan was to complete those offices by 2020. The funds were available. An investigator in the Western Cape would also deal with the Eastern Cape.
Mr Rasiwela said that the core mandate of the Office was investigation, which required investigating complaints nationally in all the provinces. The investigators needed to fly and travel to areas where there were complaints, and this contributed to the high cost on travelling. The other factor that was eating up a lot of the Office’s funds was marketing. The Office was in the process of marketing the Office nationally through awareness campaigns. A single awareness campaign could cost about R100 000, as services had to be procured from service providers.
Regarding the lease agreements, the Office of the DPCI Judge was not paying for the lease agreements for the offices in Cape Town and Pretoria. The lease agreement in Pretoria had expired last year and the Office had requested a renewal for another two years. The matter was now in the hands of lawyers.
Mr Alvin Rapea, Secretary of Police, Civil Secretariat for Police (CSP), added that the issue of the lease agreement was historical, from when the CSP was under SAPS. The entity had separated from SAPS and the money for the lease had never been transferred, and had remained with SAPS.
The Chairperson expressed concern that no budget had been allocated for the lease agreement. Had any budget been allocated for the lease agreement?
Mr Hendrik Robbertze, Director: Finance, CSP; responded that no budget had been allocated for the lease agreement. There was always a need to negotiate with the Treasury for the payment of leases to be transferred from SAPS to CSP. The lease was currently managed by SAPS, and the budget for leases was allocated to SAPS. The Department of Police had had budget cuts for the past two years and therefore all the units in the Department, including the Office of the DPCI Judge, had a normal budget growth of around 5% over the next three years because there was no additional funding available for expansion.
Mr Rapea said that the CSP required about R140 million in additional funds from Treasury, but it did not believe that Treasury would provide this amount once-off.
Mr Rasiwela said it was extremely difficult to determine at face value whether a case fell under the mandate of the Office or not, and that was why it was important to conduct preliminary investigations.
Mr Maake asked about what happened after a case had been referred to the relevant stakeholders, and whether there was a follow-up undertaken to determine the progress made on the case.
Ms Kohler Barnard wanted to know about the average number of complaints that came from the SAPS complaints inspectorate, and those that came directly come from the general public.
The Chairperson said that there had been a discussion about the limitation of the powers of the Office, and this was an issue that needed to be addressed through legislation. Had this been discussed with the Secretariat and the new Minister of Police?
Judge Kgomo replied that the Office had indicated it should not hurry matters. The Office was supposed to be independent. There was a possibility that the Office could be hamstrung if there was no cooperation from the NPA. Follow-ups were made when a case was referred to a particular department or entity.
Mr Rasiwela said that there were a number of factors that were taken into consideration before contacting the complainants on issues that had been referred to the relevant organs of state, including the nature of a complaint. For example, the cases that were relevant to the conduct of police officers were often criminal in nature, and therefore the Office would immediately refer the case to IPID. There would then be an interest in knowing about the progress of the case. Some of the cases were labour-related matters, and the Office would be compelled to refer these cases to the relevant organs of state.
The meeting was adjourned.
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