Minister of Police on SAPS and IPID policy; SAPS & IPID 2018/19 Annual Performance, with Minister and Deputy

NCOP Security and Justice

16 May 2018
Chairperson: Mr S Mthimunye (ANC, Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary

The Select Committee on Security and Justice received briefings from the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on their strategic and annual performance plans (APPs) for 2018/19, in preparation for the budget debates that would soon take place.

SAPS said that for this financial year, R91.8 billion had been allocated. The breakdown per programme was Administration (R19.4 billion); Visible Policing (R46.9 billion); Detective services (18.8 billion); Crime intelligence (R3.8 billion); and Protection and security services (R2.9 billion).

The spending focus over the medium term, from 2018 to 2021, included:

  • Implementation of the Criminal Justice System’s (CJS’s) Seven-Point Plan - R1. 7 billion;
  • Devolution of funds from the Department of Public Works (DPW) - R4.1 billion. This amount included accommodation charges, leases and municipal services;
  • The roll out, capacitation and re-capacitation of existing Public Order Policing (POP) units -R355.8 million;
  • Construction and upgrading of police stations - R824 million;
  • Specialised investigations: Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) - R1.6 billion;
  • Compensation of employees - R70.7 billion; and
  • R180 million in 2019/20 for the national elections.

The main issues raised by Members dealt with measures to counter cybercrime, police station design and safety, provincial allocations and investigative intelligence. The productivity of SAPS and its working relationship with IPID was also questioned.

Due to time constraints, IPID did not fully present, but responded to Members’questions and gave a brief summary of their frustrations. It addressed the Directorate’s constitutional mandate to investigate the police, who were the primary law enforcements agents, the effect of budgetary constraints, and its efforts to deal with state capture and corruption in the police. Among its main frustrations was the lack of suspension of police generals implicated in corruption cases, and their interferences in cases involving them. The Committee resolved to make IPID’s frustration issues an agenda item for future discussion, so that it could fully under stand the extent of the challenges.

Meeting report

South African Police Service (SAPS): Annual Performance Plan

Mr Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, led the South African Police Service’s (SAPS’s) delegation to present the Department’s annual performance plan (APP).

General Khehla Sithole, National Police Commissioner, said the APP presentation was a combination of the turnaround vision, and would address the existing APP priorities.

Major General Leon Rabie, Head: Strategic Management, SAPS, was appointed to give the presentation. He said the turnaround vision for SAPS was to create a safe and secure crime free environment that was conducive for social and economic stability, supporting a better life for all.  The purpose of the turnaround vision was to:

  • Set the tone for the future;
  • Respond to the policing demand;
  • Clarify the unique role of the SAPS;
  • Establish commitment and focus energy on deliverables;
  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of managers and business units;
  • Establish the standards of performance associated with the turnaround vision.

For 2018/19, R91.8 billion had been allocated to SAPS, and in the medium term that represented an average annual increase of 6.6% from 2017/18 to 2020/21, year on year. The breakdown per programme was Administration (R19.4 billion); Visible Policing (R46.9 billion); Detective services (18.8 billion); Crime intelligence (R3.8 billion); and Protection and security services (R2.9 billion).

The spending focus over the medium term included:

  • Implementation of the Criminal Justice System’s (CJS’s) Seven-Point Plan - R1. 7 billion;
  • Devolution of funds from the Department of Public Works (DPW) - R4.1 billion. This amount includes accommodation charges, leases and municipal services;
  • The roll out, capacitation and re-capacitation of existing Public Order Policing (POP) units -R355.8 million;
  • Construction and upgrading of police stations - R824 million;
  • Specialised investigations: Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) - R1.6 billion;
  • Compensation of employees - R70.7 billion; and
  • R180 million in 2019/20 for the national elections.

Maj Gen Rabie said that due to time constraints, he would focus only on the strategic objectives and indicators for each programme.

Programme 1: Administration

The total amount budgeted for this programme was R19.4 billion. The purpose of the programme was to develop departmental policy and manage the department, including providing administrative support. The three sub-programmes were management, corporate services and civilian secretariat.

SAPS had 118 performance indicators that monitor the impact of their activities and the expenditure, and he briefly went through them for each programme.

Programme2: Visible Policing

The Strategic Objective of the programme was to enable police stations to institute and preserve safety and security, provide for specialised interventions and the policing of South Africa’s borders. It had three sub programmes: crime prevention, border security and specialised interventions

Programme 3: Detective Service

The purpose of the programme was to enable the investigative work of the SAPS, including providing support to investigators in terms of forensic evidence and the Criminal Record Centre. Its sub-programmes were crime investigation, the Criminal Record Centre, the forensic science laboratory, and specialised investigation – the DPCI.

Programme 4: Crime Intelligence

The purpose of programme 4 was to manage crime intelligence and analyse crime information, and to provide technical support for investigators and crime prevention operations. The programme had two sub-programmes: crime intelligence operations and intelligence and information management.

Programme 5: Protection ad Security Services

The purpose of programme 5 was to provide protection and security services to all identified dignitaries and government interests. There were four sub-programmes: VIP protection, static protection, government security regulator and physical security compliance.


Mr G Michalakis (DA: Free State) said it was important for all SAPS offices to receive training in cyber crime.  Had an additional R20 million to fill vacant posts been requested from Treasury and if so, had it been sent? If Treasury was not able to provide the R20 million, what was the plan? Referring to the impact of cyber crime on the private sector, municipalities, banks and businesses, he said the R9.4 million allocated to cyber crime was not enough. What was being done to ensure that that unit was capacitated? He suggested that a more decentralised police service would benefit the country, as there were different needs for different stations. The Department should give more authority to provincial services so as to know what their needs were in detail. Provinces needed a more hands-on approach. He commented that the previous Minister had not done much to nurture SAPS’s relationship with the IPID. IPID needed to be resourced and have what was required to rid the police of suspicious characters.

Mr M Mthethwa (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal) asked what plan was being put in place at police stations to ensure the safety of the police themselves. What measures had been put in place to improve detective services? How would awareness of IPID in provinces be raised?

Ms T Mokwele (ANC, North West) asked if the Minister’s commitment to look into issue of police reservists and incorporate them into his system was a reality, and how much had the Department budgeted for it? Regarding the provincial allocations, Gauteng was getting more than the Western Cape (WC) – but which province had a higher crime rate? If it was the WC, why was Gauteng getting more?  Last year, there had been an issue of police wellness -- around 60 or 65% of police were said not to be well – so how much budget had been allocated to ensure that the policemen and women were taken care of so that they could do their duty? She and the CommitteeChairperson had once seen a police van being repaired by a backyard mechanic in Gugulethu -- how much did the Department budget for the maintenance of police vehicles?

Minister’s response

Minister Cele said decentralisation unfortunately went with an ideology, and the Department was thinking rather of centralisation. It wanted the municipal police to be incorporated better into the system. The problem was that at most times, the municipalities and the Department went in different in directions, which ultimately defeated the end result of fighting crime. Fortunately, several municipalities were in synch with the Department, including the Western Cape. A centralised policy remained better, as there was one command centre and everyone followed. It had been especially demonstrated during the 2010 World Cup. The world seemed to be moving in the direction of centralization, so from the Department’s standpoint, decentralisation could not happen at the current time.

Concerning the relationship between SAPS and IPID, Mr Cele said he had met IPID more than anyone. This did not mean they agreed on everything, but he emphasised the fact that they did engage. One issue they had spoken about and agreed upon was the need to shorten the time for investigations. They had also agreed that working together should not be punitive, but corrective. The relationship between SAPS and IPID would improve and must improve, as IPID was one of the most important proponents of ensuring better policing in South Africa.

The issue of safety at police stations had especially been sparked by the incident that had occurred at the Engcobo police station. Even before that incident, it had been agreed upon that the safety of police should be ensured. The numbers at police stations, particularly at night, needed to be looked at -- perhaps there should be more there at night than during the day. At Engcobo, SAPS was installing a proper CCTV system instead of just an intercom, as well as a high wall and other measures. Regarding the issue of skills, the police were trained at different levels. Some units were trained more than others, and SAPS was trying to up-skill workers at dangerous stations so that they were able to fend off attacks.

To improve the detective service, a new Head of Detectives had been appointed. The challenge was that there were too many dockets to be handled, but not enough people to handle them.

Regarding the police reserves, he said there were standards to be followed when joining the SAPS. However, there had been a high intake and some requirements had been cut. The intake was more restricted now, and conditions had changed. For 2018/2019, the Department had been given a target of employing 200 000 members in the police service, but it had since been decreased to 192 000. Regarding the principle of using reservists, he said they were volunteers and should not be getting paid. 

The Minister expressed his love for the subject of police wellness. He was not sure if the 60% figure quoted by Ms Mokwele was true, as the police were mostly young so they were mostly healthy. Health involved not only to physical, but also to mental health. He said there had been 29 000 promotions, especially at the lower levels, which had been part of the wellness plan, as some had been in the same position for 19 years, which was demoralizing. R2 billion had been budgeted for wellness. It was one of SAPS’s biggest priorities. A deal had been struck with Virgin Active to allow police membership at a reduced price unless they were colonels or brigadiers. However, jogging every day was enough to keep healthy. Police had to make it their way of life to exercise.

SAPS had been working on having 70% of cars working on the road, and 30% being repaired or serviced. At the moment, however, it seemed 40% were on the road and 60% were not, and SAPS could not accept such a situation. Among matters that needed to be fixed were “evergreen contracts” that had been signed years ago, and these had to be reviewed. A company in one town would have a contract to fix vehicles in other towns, and the collection and return costs were unnecessary and expensive. In Engcobo, there were seven cluster stations and cars were being fixed far away. The municipality must give space and an opportunity to young local people to fix the cars in nearby towns such as Mthatha, Engcobo and the like. This would allow those economies to grow. If cars were locally fixed, they could be back on the roads within days instead of months. A change of policy was needed, and contracts must be in line with that policy.

Commissioner Sithole said the Minister had outlined the turnaround approach, and lots of things were changing. Regarding the provincial allocations, SAPS was looking at the variables in the current formula. Gauteng had the biggest personnel plan, the highest number of police stations and more clusters than any other provinces. The national key points were mostly in Gauteng, and the most dangerous crimes were planned in Gauteng though they may be executed elsewhere, like KwaZulu-Natal or the Western Cape. Gauteng was an economic hub as well, which was why more resources were focused on Gauteng. He suggested that a scientific formula that took into account the uniqueness of provinces should be adopted. Current figures, however, justified Gauteng more than the Western Cape.

He said all vehicles had to come with a motor plan, and SAPS also had to make sure that they got new vehicles. They had to interact with companies so that artisans could improve their competence.

On the issue of safety at police stations, police safety was a holistic package. There were other police stations like Engcobo which did not meet the standards for security. The design of the station did not give a chance for the police to escape the attack, so there had to be a review of the design and a physical security assessment that outlined exactly the findings and recommendations. A further point on police safety was that the barracks system did not serve its purpose anymore. In the long run, there should be police estates where the police would be secure.

SAPS, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and IPID were working on an integrated cybercrime strategy, but it would take time to be fully operational as there was a high level technology requirement.

Lt Gen Yolisa Matakata, Acting Head: Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), built on what the National Commissioner alluded to. She said the Directorate would submit the strategy the entities were working on, and SAPS would submit the business case to the National Commissioner and other relevant bodies so that it could be submitted to Treasury in order to get funding for implementation.

Regarding training on cybercrime, this was being provided by the Human Resource Development team in the organisation.

Further discussion

The Chairperson commented that the Department’s “planning forever” was a problem, as plans usually got abandoned when new leadership came in and the whole process started again. Action plans were needed now, and it was time that things got implemented.

Mr G Oliphant (ANC, Northern Cape) said not enough funding was being allocated to Northern Cape, where the money was spent mainly on transport. He invited the Minister to visit the Northern Cape so he could see what was needed there. There was a police station in the township which had not been updated for years. There was a national border in the Northern Cape, and due to the lack of funds to improve security, thieves were easily able to gain access to the province.

Ms T Wana (ANC, Eastern Cape) congratulated the Department on making promotions. Regarding the staff composition, she pointed out that South Africa had a very complex population, which included foreigners with expertise, and sought clarity on why the target for employment had been reduced. For intelligence gathering, why could the Department not create a platform for informants? Why did the Department not have informants? She asked if retired police members could be informants. She said cybercrime was a very serious issue, and recommended that the population be educated about it. How were the masses protected from cybercrime, for example, when they got their grants?

Ms B Engelbrecht (DA, Gauteng) said Gauteng got a large influx of people from different provinces. She asked whether a plan had been made to build more police stations in the province, because they were understaffed and the police officers were overworked. She asked about the conviction rate and the fact that SAPS was not influencing the conviction rate, as it could not measure it. She referred to the Department’s 44% performance against target and its 100% expenditure, and said she wanted to make sure exactly how that made sense. Lastly, amount mentioned in the report on bullet-proof vests accurate? She asked for a detailed explanation on the costs of the vests.

SAPS’s response

Minister Cele said that the budget allocations were not for each department, but a structure that government had to follow -- the bigger the population, the bigger the allocation. Over the years, KZN had been the biggest receiver of allocations, but the focus had now shifted to Gauteng, so allocations would follow that pattern. This did not mean the Department should not listen, and perhaps visits to the provinces would open its eyes more. He spoke about the proportionality of SAPS members to the population. In 2010, South Africa had been number 14 in the world in terms of the proportion of police officers to the country’s population, and he thought that was good. The budget was downsizing, and it did not affect just the police. The Department needed to learn to do more with less. He added that there were about 6.6 million foreign nationals in South Africa.

The Department agreed that while almost 50% of crimes statistics came from Gauteng, the incidence of violent crimes in the WC and KZN was higher, so it seemed they had more crime. However, Gauteng leads overall in terms of violence and crime. Crime had grown and advanced so much that cash heist gangs even had engineers in their teams. 269 police officers had been deployed from other provinces to Gauteng to stabilise the crime situation there under Operation Thunder.

On the question of intelligence, Mr Cele said that for the last six years there had been no permanent head of SAPS crime intelligence, the most recent one having been caught having earned almost R9 million while not working. General Anthony Jacobs had just been appointed, but he would have to do a lot of work to clean matters up.

Regarding the conviction rate, the police were very unlucky. When Sandile Mantsoe, who had murdered his girlfriend Karabo Mokoena, was finally convicted, everyone had been singing praises to the judge but had forgotten Captain Khumalo, the warrant officer who had played a pivotal role in finding evidence for the case. No-one had mentioned Khumalo. The South African prisons were full, and in fact were about 40% overpopulated. The police officers were trying their best to have criminals convicted, but at times judges would say there was not enough evidence. At times, a police officer would feel a case was ready but the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) would say it was not ready, which ultimately frustrated the police. The police were the first to be blamed, but an arrest could take place only after many things had been considered. Last month, 17 SAPS members had been arrested, including even members of the Hawks. In Mpumalanga, two had received 20-year sentences for being involved in cash heists. When rotten apples were found, they were dealt with. However, it was important to note that most police officers were doing a good job, fulfilling their duty to the country.

Commissioner Sithole said he understood the Northern Cape situation as he had been in the province for four and a half years. The Department needed to review the budget formula for allocations to take into account unique cases. He suggested that a scientific formula be adopted. Like the Minister, he mentioned the scaling down of the budget. SAPS had started a police business case on this particular matter, because while there was a suggestion of scaling down, the capital budget had been increased because the communities wanted more police stations. However, while building more police stations, there was a lack of personnel, so SAPS had gone to Treasury for help. The matter was a national security risk if it was not corrected. However, as the Minister had said, SAPS have to deal with its existing resources and review them later, and spread them out accordingly.

On the use of retired police officers to be used as informants, he said it was an issue of capacity. In the turnaround there was a plan to have a conference with veteran police officers, as their skills and those of the community formed part of an untapped capacity.

Referring to cybercrime in banks, Commissioner Sithole said SAPS had made partnerships with Business Against Crime (BAC) and another entity which formed a link between SAPS and other banks as part of its efforts to deal with cybercrime. SAPS was also trying to form links with Community Police Forums (CPFs) to form a multidisciplinary collaboration, also linking with the Department of Social Development (DSD). The entities were working together at an operational level.

On the issue of the Gauteng influx, there were 30 top police stations that were due for upgrading, but 70% of the 30 of high crime rate police stations were shared between Western Cape and Gauteng. Gauteng, however, had an inflated station profile as most stations could no longer meet the profile demand for stations. Feasibility studies were a response to this, and the second response was the business case that would be taken up with Treasury. 

Referring to the 44% performance statistic, the Commissioner said the Department used the principle of resource-based target setting, and the achievement figure did not have to be 100% because of the baseline.

Further questions

Mr Mthethwa asked about car hijacking.  He said vehicles, especially ambulances, were often hijacked, and most people who were doing this knew the people involved as they were members of the community. He also spoke about the political killings in the KZN, where so far 14 people had been killed. He referred to a time in earlier years, when informers were not necessarily trained intelligence people. When would a platform for informants be established so that before killings happened, the police already know about the plans and could prevent them?

Mr Michalakis asked a follow up question on cybercrime. He welcomed the comment on the strategy, but his main concern was that without good funding, the project would run into problems. How was the intervention going to be funded?

Mr Mthethwa referred to the Community Police Forums, and said he did not hear anything about those structures in the community.

Ms Mokwele spoke about the maintenance of police stations. Had SAPS ever thought of small police stations in terms of upgrading security? She also asked how SAPS dealt with bad behavior on the part of police officers in their handling of people when they visited police stations.

Mr Oliphant spoke about police housing. In Kuruman there were only offices, but no housing for them. She asked if the Department could look into that.

Mr Michalakis asked Mr Robert McBride, Head of IPID, what the effects had been of the budget constraints they had been facing since last year. Did he believe the efforts of SAPS had been sufficient to address the relationship problems that existed between them? Had those efforts been productive in any way? What were the natures of investigations involving SAPS members that were being blocked?

The Chairperson asked IPID what kind of command line they followed. Who did they report to?

SAPS and IPID responses

Minister Cele referred to the question on hijacking, and said there was a problem with SA’s relationship with a neighboring country. There was a gate leading to Maputo, and there had been joint operations in policing that bridge. However, SAPS had been expelled from there when trying to prevent hijacking. 

Regarding the political killings in KZN, much support had been sent there -- even a special task force. The Minister, the Commissioner and others would be going to KZN to try and get answers, and drastic steps would be taken to make sure that there were arrests.

Regarding police behaviour, IPID would come and investigate those issues.

Mr Bongani Mkongi, Deputy Minister of Police, answered the question on informants. He said there were young people patrolling the streets at night, including also the chairpersons of street committees. They formed part of the informants and potential informants, and some provinces were budgeting for them. For example, Gauteng had an allocated budget for stipends for patrollers. This was part and parcel of the policing strategy.

Commissioner Sithole spoke about a management intervention to visit the police stations. There would be an introduction of traditional policing concepts, which was part of the strategy, and was being done to secure the involvement of traditional leaders in crime fighting. Regarding the behaviour of police, a code of ethics was enforced in police stations.

Mr McBride said IPID had the unenviable task of investigating police officers who were the primary law enforcement agents in South Africa. It had a constitutional mandate as an independent body, according to the constitution. The entity also had international obligations to fight against corruption. Unfortunately, the inception of IPID in 2012 also corresponded with the process which was now known as “state capture.” One of the first targets of state capture had been IPID. IPID had bled first, but had retaliated first and won. This had resulted in the constitutional court pronouncement which had consolidated IPID’s structural and operational independence.

This background affected the work the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) would do later on this year. There were certain amendments to legislation that needed to be made, as there were some aspects in the Act that were not in line with the constitution. At this stage, the amendments that need to be made dealt with aspects that had been challenged until now. However, IPID was aware that the Portfolio Committee on Police was going to draft a Committee Bill to ensure that the challenges IPID had to deal with could be resolved, as there was a time limitation until the end of September. IPID had not been consulted on this in its workings with the Civilian Secretary for Police. They had had workshops in preparing the amendment, so that the act passed constitutional muster. IPID had also had workshops with civil society. IPID felt uncomfortable about amending the IPID act piecemeal, and want to bring it to the attention of the Committee.

Regarding budgetary constraints, Mr McBride said SAPS had R91 billion more than IPID, or roughly 300 times the IPID budget. SAPS had 191 000 or more personnel than IPID. IPID was a small body dealing with an increasingly big mandate as they began to unravel state capture and corruption within the SAPS. IPID did not mind a smaller allocation in the budget ,as indeed they were a smaller body, but the comparison gave a good indication of how difficult their job was with meagre resources. He suggested reprioritisation was needed, especially in the light of what was being uncovered by IPID in relation to state capture and corruption.

Mr McBride then addressed the issue of relationships. Investigating the police was necessarily a difficult task. The legacy of apartheid practices was still in place, and one of the key areas was this mystical notion called “classification.” Information was not secret because it was state information -- secrecy and classification were there to protect certain information, some of which, as spoken about before, had been given by informants. By its very nature, a state was in competition with other states for influence and ability to influence, so necessarily some information was required to be secret.

When IPID requested information about corruption that had clearly taken place in procurement, it was expected that the primary law enforcement agents would cooperate and assist in investigating the crime together, in amongst the police. The police should see IPID as a partner, not an enemy. The police could not investigate themselves.  There was a long list of issues where they recommended disciplinary action, so their mandate was twofold -- criminal investigations, where they made recommendations to the NPA, and the disciplinary procedures, where they made representations to the National Commissioner or Provincial Commissioner. If the matter was serious, it would be taken to the Minister, and the Minister would take it to the President. IPID had given recommendations on at least 10 cases. There were ten cases involving SAPS generals, and not one had been suspended.

He referred to the case of Brig Beauty Pahlane, former acting National Police Commissioner, who had been implicated in a corruption case with her husband. She was still in her job and was interfering with the case. IPID had uncovered the Forensic Data Analysts (FDA) problem, and now had gained much support from the DPCI. When FDA was switched off, Ms Pahlani had put it back on. A person who should have been suspended long ago was still on duty, and was interfering with cases. They had made a counter case against IPID, using police resources. Section 402 of the IPID Act stated that all organs must cooperate to ensure that IPID fulfilled its mandate. However, in all 10 cases of the generals, none of them had been suspended. What right did suspects in a criminal case have to question one and cross-question one? That was what was being done to IPID. Members had even been offered bribes by those who were facing a torture case. There was resistance to clean governance. The point was that such issues were part of IPID’s daily frustrations, and even those whom IPID trusted were becoming less trustworthy.

The Chairperson said there would be a Committee oversight week, and instructed that IPID be included in the Committee programme, and IPID’S frustrations put on the agenda. There should be a detailed briefing between the Committee and IPID, especially on issues relating to the legislation and the Constitution. The Committee was empowered by the Constitution to initiate even a Private Member’s Bill. Essentially the Committee wanted to get the facts about the frustrations of IPID.

The meeting was adjourned.                                             

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