The South African Police Service (SAPS) briefed the Committee on the Engcobo police killings in the Eastern Cape. The case had been presented in court on 7 May 2018 and was postponed to 14 June 2018 for further investigation. The charges comprised of six counts of murder, 25 counts of attempted murder, eight counts of aggravated robbery and 10 counts of possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. Housebreaking, sexual offences and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, were charges that were yet to be added. Most women had been re-united with their families, with the exception of seven women who were still being kept at a place of safety. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), responsible for the investigation of cases of trafficking in persons, was in the process of obtaining statements from the victims. A task team had been established to conduct the asset forfeiture investigation with regard to the seven vehicles which had been seized.
The community had demanded that the police station must be upgraded in respect of security measures, and negotiations were under way with the Western Cape provincial commissioner to transfer 12 members laterally. Members of the community had also complained about the proliferation of firearms, and that SAPS members were in cahoots with criminals. The provision of a stipend for Community Police Forum (CPF) members had also been demanded, and the Eastern Cape local government was currently pursuing a court order to demolish the Seven Angels church premises. SAPS gave a detailed outline of the steps taken to address the situation.
Members commended the National Commissioner for being able to set an important precedent with the steps that were being taken to improve security measures at the Engcobo police station. The important question was whether this would be extended to other police stations countrywide to ensure that police precincts were safe and secured. They felt that the situation at Engcobo police sStation could have been mitigated by getting the basics done correctly.
SAPS briefed the Committee on action taken at Mamelodi West Police Station following the disappearance of a 10-year-old autistic girl at the beginning of May, when in complete contradiction to instructions, family members who reported the matter were turned back twice and told to come back after 24 hours. An enquiry for a missing person had subsequently been registered, and the relevant national instruction and directives for dealing with missing persons had been discussed with all the station commanders and detective commanders within the cluster. Notices to suspend had been served on the identified three members who had turned the family members back, and senior personnel had been relocated.
Member asked for details of the process that was followed when a child went missing. Why had personnel been relocated? Why had the K9 unit been brought in so late to retrieve the girl’s body? Some Members stressed that parents needed to look after their children and know where they were playing to ensure their safety. SAPS should adequately resource the community policing forums (CPFs) to deal with the problem of violence against children and women.
The National Commissioner said that the Committee would be provided with a progress report on the issue of digital policing. There was an instruction for a total review of the technological requirements for policing, because criminals were becoming more advanced.
Members said it was commendable to hear that SAPS would be looking at the use of drones for policing. Technology should make it easier for police officers to carry out policing and would enhance their capabilities in combating crime. However, they sought an assurance that the high costs involved would be justified by the benefits that were envisaged.
The Chairperson said the Committee would like to forward its condolences to the station commander in Meadowlands who was killed at his home last week. It was shocking to constantly get the news of police officers who were being killed in the country, and it sometimes made one to wonder whether South Africa was a constitutional democracy. The Committee welcomed the new provincial commissioner in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Lt Gen Hhlanhla Mkhwanazi, whose appointment was welcomed especially to deal with challenges in the province, including taxi violence, hostel killings and cash-in-transit heists. It thanked Lt Gen Langa on his acting stint as a provincial commissioner in the province. It commended the breakthrough by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) on the bank robbery at the Nedbank branch in North West, as arrests had been made. The Committee would have a summit on 13 June 2018 with a specific focus on the spate of cash-in-transit heists in around the country. All role players in the private security industry had been invited to be part of this summit.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) also welcomed the appointment of Lt Gen Mkhwanazi, as he was a very dedicated person who could deal with political killings, the Glebelands killings and the heists. The South African Police Service (SAPS) should conclude the matter of the suspended provincial commissioner in KZN, as this matter had been dragging on for almost two years now. It was really sad learn of the recent killing of the station commander in Meadowlands, who was about to retire. It was clear that SAPS members were being ambushed on their own and there was a need to consider providing transport for police officers, or have police members travelling in pairs in order to protect each other. SAPS should review the safety of police officers and station commanders.
Mr J Maake (ANC) expressed concern about police killings, as this reflected negatively on the work that was being done by the Committee. The Committee perhaps needed a full day session where the focus would be on these police killings and the way forward to deal with them.
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) also welcomed the appointment of the Maj Gen Mkhwanazi as the new provincial commissioner in KZN. There was no doubt that KZN would never be the same again. The new provincial commissioner was hands-on and a very dedicated individual who was able to plan for the execution of his duties.
General Khehla Sitole, National Commissioner of Police; appreciated and acknowledged the support of the Committee, especially those arising from the painful situation that was experienced of the station commander who was killed in Gauteng. There was a review of the pieces of legislations that would empower the police members even more. A review of the police safety plan was under way, but SAPS would also welcome inputs on the matter.
SAPS indeed welcomed the breakthrough in the spate of heists. It had arrested a G4S security guard with R1.5 million in his house, and the team had gone further to arrest three other heist criminals who were cooperating with the security personnel. The breakthrough indicated that there were quite a lot of inside jobs. SAPS had intensified its investigations towards an unconventional approach to policing because it wanted to get to the side of security companies themselves, as it suspected that there was a deeper problem. The delivery of 66 high-powered vehicles was expected this week to take occupation of the hostels and high-ways, and intensify the activation plan so as to stabilise this particular crime as a matter of urgency. SAPS welcomed the comments on the appointment of Maj Gen Mkhwanazi, and was also equally convinced that he was going to do a wonderful job in the province.
Engcobo police station killings: SAPS briefing
Maj Gen Len Singh, Head: Executive Support to the National Commissioner, SAPS, said that the case had been presented to court on 7 May 2018, and had been postponed to 14 June 2018 for further investigation. The charges comprised of six counts of murder, 25 counts of attempted murder, eight counts of aggravated robbery and 10 counts of possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. Housebreaking, sexual offences and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, were charges that were yet to be added.
Regarding trafficking in persons, most women had been re-united with their families, with the exception of seven women, who were still being kept at a place of safety. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), responsible for the investigation of cases of trafficking in persons, was in the process of obtaining statements from the victims.
A task team had been established to conduct the asset forfeiture investigation with regard to the seven vehicles which had been seized. Statements had been obtained from the E-Natis officials and previous owners of the seized vehicles in order to establish the circumstances under which these vehicles had come to be in the possession of the Mancoba brothers.
Maj Gen Singh said that the community had submitted a signed petition, demanding the demolition of the church premises. The Eastern Cape local government was currently pursuing a court order, but the demolition could take place only when the court order was granted.
The provincial Technology Management Services (TMS) had conducted a needs assessment and from this, specifications would be drafted. A meeting had been held with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) on May 15 to infuse the closed circuit television (CCTV) with the existing infrastructure of SITA. A needs assessment had been conducted and 19 cameras identified to cover the identified site. The specifications were being drafted and the bid would be launched by TMS. The tinting of the community service centre (CSC) windows, smash and grab, had been done. A remote controlled gate had been installed. A Visible Policing (VISPOL) commander had been placed at the Engcobo Police Station, to enhance the command and control. The officer, at the rank of lieutenant colonel, had commenced duties on 17 April. A total of 12 additional members had been identified to be placed at the Engcobo station and were being transferred from the Western Cape. The consultation process with the members was still in progress. The two additional vehicles had been handed over to the Engcobo Police Station during the provincial management forum at the end of April 2018. A tactical response team (TRT) capacity would be established in the Cofimvaba cluster.
Maj Gen Singh said that the Minister of Police had held a community outreach on 21 April to follow-up on the previous matters that had been identified during the initial visits in February. The community had demanded that the police station must be upgraded in respect of security measures, and negotiations were under way with the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner to transfer 12 members laterally. Members of the community had also complained about the proliferation of firearms, and that SAPS members were in cahoots with criminals. They had asked for the provision of a stipend for Community Police Forum (CPF) members.
A task team had been established to deal with the proliferation of firearms, led by the DPCI. There had been a sensitising awareness campaign by corporate communications to address the issue of police in cahoots with criminals. The issue of providing a stipend for CPF members was under review by the Department of Safety and the Secretariat for SAPS. The issue of providing a street light in front of the police station had not yet been attended to, as well as the removal of street vendors in front of the police station. The mobile police station had been finalised and the Cofimvaba police cluster had been provided with a mobile police station to rotate among communities within the Cofimvaba cluster.
General Sitole added that the national instruction was that the police station should have a national action plan, and there was also provincial intervention for provincial matters. The different divisions that were relevant had been instructed to play their roles at the police station. The action plan was being monitored at the national level. SAPS requested the assistance of the Committee on the issues relevant to local government, as this was a serious grey area that needed to be addressed. The Engcobo Police Station was one of the high priorities in the police safety plan, and everything was being monitored. The national deadline to put in place all the processes was 30 June 2018.
The Chairperson appreciated that the National Commissioner had been able to set out an important precedent on the steps that were being taken to improve security measures in police stations. The important question was whether this would be extended to other police stations countrywide to ensure that the police precincts were safe and secure.
Ms Molebatsi commended SAPS for being able to look at its premises from the criminal perspective. There was an indication that a fence had been erected at the police station in Engcobo. Was there no fence before? It had been stated that there would be 12 additional police members transferred from the Western Cape to work in Eastern Cape. Why had this not been done before this incident?
Mr Maake wanted more information on the report about the individuals who had been charged with the murder of their accomplices. Had this been included in the presentation? It would perhaps be advisable for the nyalas, police public order vehicles, to be part of the equipment used to protect police officers. It was completely unacceptable to find oneself in limbo because of the incompetence of municipalities, as this compromised the safety of police officers. What was the meaning of the off-duty parade, as reflected in slide 10?
Ms M Mmola (ANC) commented that the presentation had stated that a Vispol station commander had been placed at the Engcobo Police Station. Was there no such Commander before the incident in Engcobo? The Committee should be provided with a timeline as to when the Seven Angels church would be demolished. When would street lights be installed in front of the police station?
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) said that there seemed to be a problem of no continuity within SAPS, especially with regard to technology. The oversight visit by the Committee in the Eastern Cape had shown that there was still an issue with the installation of technology. The nation should not suffer because of the problem of fiscal dumping. It was important to highlight that the Seven Angels church had been reported by communities last year even before the killings at the police station, and therefore Crime Intelligence should have followed-up on those reports to prevent the situation from exploding. The community members in Engcobo were clear that they believed that police officials were in cahoots with criminals. Had there been any particular crime intelligence assessment conducted to look at the reports of police officers who were in cahoots with criminals? Was there even an effective crime intelligence capability in the country?
Ms L Mabija (ANC) appreciated the good report by SAPS on the issue of police killings in Engcobo Police Station. Would a crisis intervention method continue to be used instead of trying to prevent a situation before it exploded? Was there any consideration of improving security measures in other police stations in the country? Was there any plan to conduct security assessments of other police stations countrywide?
Ms Kohler Barnard asked why SAPS would be transferring 12 police members from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape. Was this not harmful to the Western Cape in its fight against gangsterism? She appreciated all the security measures that SAPS had been able to put in place after the police killings in Engcobo, but felt that this was all reactive and there should be a proactive action plan that was able to circumvent these senseless killings. How long had the church situation been going on for now? The Committee should be provided with detailed information about how long criminal activities had been taking place in this church, to determine its enormous impact on the community of Engcobo. It was commendable to hear that SAPS Human Resources (HR) had included the involvement of social workers in the Engcobo case, which proved once again that this was the best managed incident by the SAPS. There had been a proactive move by SAPS to assist the victims.
It was unclear if SAPS traditionally waited until members of a congregation opened criminal charges before charging those who were using churches as “cash cows.” These were “cash cow” churches in a way that there were people who put R1 000 into these churches while they never put a cent into their children’s education. This was not to denigrate the real churches where people went and prayed, but these were churches that were used as a façade for criminal activities. Had proactive action been taken in similar cases?
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said the situation in Engcobo could have been mitigated by getting the basics done correctly and consistently backed up by the required capacity and monitoring the enforcement of performance accountability. There was a need for a structural analysis that would inform systemic reforms to drive a more proactive approach to be applied across the board, especially in small rural municipalities. Community members had reported dodgy actions at this church, but no one seemed to have taken any concrete action. It would be important to know if there had been any investigation into the failure of Crime Intelligence to counteract this incident before it happened. Had there been any follow-up done on the reported cases of SAPS members being in cahoots with criminals in Engcobo? There should be a corruption investigation to determine who these SAPS members who were in cahoots with criminals were, so that they could be rooted out. Some criminal elements in the police service were the root problem in respect of undermining the capacity of the service to fulfill its core mandate. Had the fencing of the Engcobo Police Station been done through SAPS supply chain management (SCM) or the Department of Public Works (DPW)? It must be made clear that the installation of CCTV cameras would not be able to prevent an attack on police officers in Engcobo Police Station unless this security measure was in addition to other measures.
Ms Molebatsi said there had been reports that community members had been trying to alert the police about some of the dodgy activities in this church, but they had not been taken seriously. Had there been any investigation into why they were not taken seriously? It had been stated the Mr Mancobo had registered two vehicles on two days in succession. Had there been any investigation as to why this was the case?
General Sitole responded that there had been a review of the police safety strategy, and there were short, medium and long term interventions in this strategy. The short term interventions were focused on the quick-win approaches on police safety. Medium term interventions were focused on infrastructure and other installations in the police infrastructure, while long term interventions were talking about the projects to be undertaken. There was a broader plan to rollout the safety plan to all police stations in the country, and this would be linked to the crime hotspots. All police stations needed to undergo a physical security assessment, and this was to look into the issue of security. Some of the police stations would need to be redesigned. SAPS should get the right design of police stations to correspond to the security to be implemented. There were some police stations that were rented, and SAPS was planning to phase out all those stations that were leased. The Department of Public Works did not understand the issue of security measures when building these police stations or other SAPS infrastructure, and this had also been included in the national safety strategy.
It had to be stressed that SAPS was proactive, and there was a proactive plan in place. The fencing of the police station had been done by the Department of Police, and not the Department of Public Works. The installation of street lights was not the mandate of SAPS, but that of the municipalities. The demolition of buildings was also not the mandate of SAPS, as SAPS was mandated to deal with criminality within those buildings.
General Sitole agreed that community members in Engcobo had indeed been engaging with authorities to report some misconduct at this church. SAPS was not mandated to destroy the church, but to deal primarily with criminal activities within this church. There was a need to strengthen municipalities to be able to deal with these cases. All of these issues would be dealt with in the national crime prevention strategy.
There would be additional 269 police members in the Western Cape to deal with gangsterism. There were 3 000 members still to be added, and the bulk of that 3 000 would be added in Western Cape. Most of the 269 members were from the Eastern Cape. An Imbizo had been instituted with the Minister. The police strategy had been fully implemented in Engcobo. The review of technology was still within SAPS, and the installation of other technological measures would be linked to the review of technology.
Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga, Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, responded that there were cases of ordinary people pretending to be police officials, wearing police uniforms and robbing people, and SAPS was employing Crime Intelligence operations to deal with this issue. Regarding cases of SAPS members in cahoots with criminals, SAPS was talking to police officials about the code of ethics, integrity and respect to the role of law. There had also been a beefing-up of the role of Crime Intelligence to deal with those police officials in cahoots with criminals, and 17 corrupt members had already been arrested. SAPS had taken all the vehicles at the church for further investigation, and this was where it had been determined that all of them belonged to the Mancobas while they were not working. The vehicles had been donations to the Mancobas, and this was the issue that SAPS was following-up in relation to charging the Mancobas with money laundering. There was a wall at the Engcobo Police Station, but SAPS wanted to beef it up with electric fencing to upgrade security. There had been a Vispol commander, but he had been sick and SAPS had now placed him elsewhere.
Genaral Sitole asked for more information on the incident flagged by Mr Maake regarding individuals who were charged with the murder of their accomplices.
Ms Mabija wanted to know if SAPS was aware that there were in fact many churches in and around the country that were similar to the Seven Angels church. The people in those churches could be likened to “wolves covered in sheeps’ clothing,” as they only wanted to cover up their misdeeds. Was SAPS working together with Crime Intelligence so that it could prevent the proliferation of similar churches?
Ms Mmola asked if there was a particular reason why SAPS had replaced the Visible Policing commander.
Mr Mhlongo expressed concern that there had been insufficient information gathered by Crime Intelligence in the area. Members of Crime Intelligence should have infiltrated the church to gather intelligence. Crime Intelligence should have been able to gather information and prevented the situation from exploding. The reality was that it was not the duty of the police to deal with the design of a police station.
Ms Kohler-Barnard said that there was an indication that the cluster commander had been sick and the important question was whether he had been sick for the past five years, since the church had existed for a long time. The cluster commander should have been able to pick up the problem in the church even sooner. Why had the cluster commander been transferred somewhere else when he was sick?
Ms Mmola wanted to know if there was a possibility of transferring of police officers from one province to another.
Mr Maake asked SAPS to come up with concrete solutions to address the issue of incompetence at the Department of Public Works so that SAPS infrastructure was under the control of the police. What Act could be amended to address this issue?
Ms Kohler Barnard proposed a joint meeting with the Department of Public Works to address the existing challenges that had been identified by Members. There was no concept of police requirements in Public Works, and this was an issue that needed to be addressed.
The Chairperson said that there had been a meeting with the Department of Public Works back in 2016, but the Committee might need to have another meeting, since there was new management within the Department. A joint meeting could be scheduled after the long upcoming recess period.
General Sitole said that SAPS would be prepared to come up a feasibility analysis report regarding the policy framework that handicapped policing. It had always been asking itself why accountability for security was referred to Public Works. There was a physical security report that had not been attended to for three years by the Department.
SAPS appreciated the inputs that were being made by Members on the Mancoba issue. The Seven Angels church had branches, some of which were in Gauteng. This was in a report that had been provided by Crime Intelligence, and was being attended to. There were also similar churches in Limpopo. Some of the churches had only tents as their structure. This was a social ill that required collaboration with different role players. There had been an introduction of a “spiritual crime prevention” concept, to interact with all organisations dealing with church issues, including the mobilisation of church leaders. This was to brief church leaders that there were criminal elements within churches that would not be tolerated.
General Sitole added that an evaluation was undertaken once a member of SAPS became ill, which was to evaluate the business against the work challenge. The community could not be disadvantaged because of an individual who was ill, but at the same time one could not just eliminate a member who was ill. Visible Police at police stations was the busiest function, and no member who was ill could cope with Vispol, and the relocation of the member had been based on that.
A conducive climate had been created by the Committee for SAPS to react on the issue of Engcobo Police Station. SAPS was in the process of turning Crime Intelligence around from a limping position. The rollout of Tactical Response Teams (TRTs) was a national programme, and there were other areas where a TRT was already in place. Engcobo was part of that national programme. There had been an immediate deployment of the National Intervention Unit (NIU) after the incident in Engcobo, to play the role that the TRT should play there. Engcobo was no longer a normal situation, and that was why it needed to be prioritised. The 3 000 police members were to be distributed nationally and there would be a replacement of members transferred from the Western Cape. This was an annual distribution that was happening in every province.
Lt Gen Ntshinga said that the commander of Visible Police had always been booking off sick, and a member from Mount Frere had volunteered to go to Engcobo. SAPS had taken the opportunity to transfer the sick member to be closer to home in Port St Johns. The member was not as active as he should have been.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should be given an opportunity to look at the medium and long term strategies. It was incumbent on the national commissioner and the nine provincial commissioners to be proactive in dealing with safety at police stations, and not to wait until after an incident. The Committee had had a two-day summit on police safety in 2016 and firm resolutions had been made. One of those had been for joint research between the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP) and SAPS, and the Committee needed to invite both of those institutions to come back before it embarked on research. The Committee would need to conduct a joint meeting with the Department of Public Works in order to meet the new management of the Department. The new head of Crime Intelligence would need to come back before the Committee to address issues of crime intelligence.
Mamelodi West Police Station situation: SAPS briefing
Maj Gen Andre Wiese, Tshwane East Cluster Commander, said that on Thursday 3 May, a girl by the name of Katlego Joja, 10 years of age and autistic (she was not able to talk), was reported as missing to the Mamelodi West Police Station. Relief B, under the command of Lt Col Dlamini, was on duty. Unfortunately and in complete contradiction to instructions, the family members were turned back twice and told to come back after 24 hours. Through the intervention of Capt Maheso, an enquiry for a missing person was registered. Subsequent to being informed of the missing person, the station commander, Brigadier Tshayana, mobilised the head of detectives, Col Du Plessis, Detective WO Ramolobeng, who deals with missing persons, and Lt Col Malebati, to accompany her to the Storom family house.
On Monday 7 May 2018, Maj Gen Wiese, convened an urgent meeting with the management of the Mamelodi police station as well as with the management of the Tshwane East Cluster, to determine the sequence of events that had led to the dissatisfaction of the family with the service at the police station, and to coordinate the investigation into the death of Katlego Joja. At 09h00 that day, the cluster commander and station commander accompanied the Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen de Lange, to the Storom family residence. The Provincial Commissioner apologised to the family for the SAPS’s unprofessional conduct during the initial reporting of the incident. At about 16h00, the cluster commander received a preliminary report from the investigating officer dealing with the inquest of Katlego Joja, that after the post mortem was performed, no foul play was suspected at the time, pending the final histology and toxicology reports.
During the Cluster Crime Combating Forum (CCCF) meeting on Tuesday 8 May 2018, the cluster commander again discussed the relevant national instruction and directives for dealing with missing persons, which had already been recirculated by the provincial commissioner the previous day, with all the station commanders and detective commanders within the cluster. The rest of the disciplinary processes and action steps were still being finalised.
In order to address the improvement of service delivery, the following steps had already been taken.
- Notices to suspend had been served to the identified three members who had turned the family members back twice, and told them to come back after 24 hours.
- The commander of Vispol had already been relocated to another post, and was replaced by an experienced colonel from the Tshwane East Cluster Commander’s office.
- In addition, an assessment would be undertaken to enable the possible relocation/rotation of relief commanders, other officers and members who had been stationed at the Mamelodi West Police Station for a long time.
The Chairperson said that the death of Katlego had been an unfortunate incident, and the Committee would like to send condolences to the Joja family. The Committee should be briefed on the process that was being followed when a child went missing.
Ms Kohler Barnard asked about the immediate consequence management against Lt Col Dlamini. What would the consequence management be for those who had turned away Katlego Joja’s family? Why had SAPS removed the Vispol commander? Was there any particular reason why the station commander had been removed? What disciplinary measure would be faced by this individual? There was an indication that the K9 unit was brought in very late in order to rescue the body of Katlego. Why were there such delays?
Ms Molebatsi enquired as to who had told the staff about the 24-hour waiting period at Mamelodi West Police Station. What action had been taken against those who were involved in this case? What action that had been taken against the commanders? Was there any way of monitoring the smooth run of this police station, especially at night?
Ms Mmola wanted to know the precise time at which Katlego was reported missing. The Committee should be briefed on whether police stations had instructions on how to deal with missing persons. Why had the commander of Vispol already been relocated to another post?
Mr Maake said that the issue that was being discussed was an emotional one, and asking questions sometimes required one to be politically correct. However, there had been reports of children sleeping at their friends and then going to the police stations to report them as being kidnapped so that they were not punished at home. There was a possibility that perhaps this was the reason why the police had to wait for 24 hours before commencing with an investigation of the missing person. Parents needed to look after their children, and to know where their children were playing to ensure their safety.
Mr Mbhele said he had visited the Mamelodi West Police Station and had gathered the same story that was being presented to the Committee today. He also wanted to align his opinion to that of Mr Maake, and was being sympathetic towards SAPS at this moment. SAPS should adequately resource the Community Police Forums (CPFs) to deal with this problem of violence against children and women.
General Sitole also wanted to extend his deepest sympathy on the issue of Katlego, and SAPS was not going to rest until this matter was resolved. A directive had been issued to repeal the 24-hour waiting period before commencing with the investigation of a missing person.
The Chairperson wanted to know when this national instruction had been issued.
General Sitole replied that it had been issued on 22 September 2017. The investigation on a missing child should now be activated immediately by the Community Service Centre (CSC) commander if the matter required such urgency. The activation of the investigation would include other units dealing with such issues as drowning or rescue, including the K9 unit. The duty of the station commander, according to the ‘Back to Basics’ programme, was to visit the police stations at night, and this included the cluster commanders. The cluster commanders were also supposed to visit the police stations around the clock to monitor the presence of the station commanders. These visits were to ascertain whether these people were doing the work they were paid to do.
The Visible Police commander had not yet been redeployed, and there was only a consideration to relocate him. He had been involved in an accident in 2016, and he could not even put on a uniform. It was really impossible to instill the corporate image of an organisation when one could not even put on a uniform. The commander should have been redeployed long ago, but this had nothing to do with the Katlego incident. One could not blame the commander for everything falling apart.
Ms Molebatsi said that some cluster commanders were really toothless, and the Committee had been saying this for a while.
Ms Mabija commented that perhaps some of the people in this police station might not be effective because they were demoralised and doing a lot of work while earning very little money. It was good to hear that the Minister was planning to promote about 60 000 police officials, as this could uplift the morale of SAPS.
Ms Mmola insisted that SAPS should have done proper oversight because the Visible Police commander had been involved in an accident in about two years ago, and SAPS should have acted expeditiously.
Ms Kohler Barnard agreed that the relocation of the commander should have taken place a long time ago.
General Sitole responded that there was a full-blown review of the cluster commander roles and functions, and the number of cluster commanders would be trimmed down to provide more resources at the stations.
SAPS appreciated the support of the Committee on the budget, which would be used to promote 60 000 police members.
SAPS would like to apologise for the impression that had been created that the relocation of the Visible Police commander was linked to the Katlego incident. The reality was that the police were sitting with collapsed family structures across the country, and this was where one experienced most of the problems. SAPS was working on community outreach programmes and Imbizos, including municipalities on special development planning, because these were factors that gave raise to elements of criminality.
Crimes against women and children would be prioritized, as indicated by the Minister in his budget speech yesterday. The budget speech was another policy direction. There would be resourcing of the CPFs to fulfill the pronouncement of the Minister. There would also be resourcing of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) to become an elite unit that was able to clamp-down on acts of criminality. The Committee would see the resourcing of the CPFs, and this would be reflected in the annual performance plan (APP).
The Chairperson wanted to know why some police stations were acting on the old national instruction on the issue of the 24-hour waiting period. The presentation was clear that the members at Mamelodi West Police Station were acting on the old national instruction.
General Sitole replied that police stations were supposed to have station lectures to provide members with information on new developments and new national instructions to be implemented as part of operations. However, there were police stations that had never held these lectures, and the station commanders at those stations should be held responsible for this, as it was their duty to do so. Everyone else who was supposed to ensure that lectures were held at stations would be held responsible, as one could not keep on explaining to people who should know their job prescripts.
Lt Gen Deliwe de Lange, Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, said that Lt Col Dlamini had been attending a station management meeting during the event when Joja’s family was reporting the missing Katlego. It was senior officers at the CFC and warrant officers who had been charged for ignoring the instruction. She said she had issued an instruction to the whole Gauteng province about attendance to complaints from communities and the professional conduct in attending to these complaints. The matter of immediately attending to the complaints about the missing person was in the lectures that were being conducted in all police stations, and all the members were aware of these instructions. This had been an unfortunate incident, but SAPS was taking steps to address it.
The Chairperson appreciated the presentation that had been made and stressed that there should be an assurance that those national instructions were being communicated to all members. The Committee would wait for the final report on the actions to be taken at the Mamelodi West Police Station. The issue of crimes against women and children was a priority of this Committee and government. Parents should also play a role in creating a safe environment for children.
SAPS: Digital Policing
Mr Maake complained that the third presentation that had been made was very complicated, and perhaps the Committee should be provided with a simpler report that outlined all the actions that had been taken on digital policing.
The Chairperson suggested that perhaps SAPS should not present the third presentation but rather provide a brief outline on the key issues important for the Committee, including CCTV cameras and body cameras.
Ms Mabija wanted to know if the presentation had been the direct work of the consultancy.
General Sitole also supported the suggestion to simplify the presentation, as it was very technologically oriented. The presentation was supposed to provide information on the issue of digital policing. The Committee could be provided with a progress report on the matter. There had been an instruction for a total review of the technological requirements for policing because the criminals were becoming more advanced.
The Chairperson requested that the Committee should be provided with a full strategic document that dealt with the technological requirements for policing. Members would be given an opportunity to ask questions on the presentation, assuming they had already read the forwarded presentation.
Ms Kohler-Barnard said that the draft strategy had been drawn up before the appointment of the new police commissioner, and she hoped that the whole strategy would be reviewed. It was also commendable to hear that SAPS would be looking at the use of drones for policing, as drones could take perfect pictures of an incident as it was happening.
The Chairperson commented that it would be impossible for rural areas to deal with elements of criminality without any use of technology for policing.
Mr Mhlongo said that there were poor roads in many rural areas, and this was making it extremely difficult to carry out policing. Technology should make it easier for police officers to conduct policing operations and enhance their capabilities in combating crime. One should ask whether this technology would assist police officers, or whether money was just being injected without looking at the cost benefits of how the technology fitted into the whole equation.
General Sitole responded that there had been development of the rural policing infrastructure, and SAPS had to prioritise problematic rural areas that required technological enhancement. He wanted to make it clear that the first question he asked when the strategy was being presented to him was whether there was a requirement for the technology from the users. There was already an engagement with the chief users.
Maj Gen Zwelithini Gabela, Chief Technology Officer: Technology Management Services, SAPS, said that there was a digital system and an analogue system, and SAPS could not go back to the old system of analogue. There were issues with the evolution of technology, including the introduction of the 4G and 5G network. The Long-Term Evolution (LTE) was going to utilise broadband, and this would assist SAPS in streaming videos and data. This was not going to replace the old system but enhance the system. There were some spillages in other provinces like North West, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and Free State, and SAPS just needed a few switches to connect those provinces. Planning had been done for KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), because SAPS was planning to attend to the big metros in the Western Cape and KZN. There was also a plan to attend to the rural areas as well, but there was still a challenge with environmental impact assessmenta (EIAa) to get approval for the sites. SAPS was talking with other stakeholders like SENTEC in order to deploy its equipment with them. The new system was still expensive because of the lack of infrastructure. SAPS was in negotiation with its stakeholders in order to ensure that the infrastructure was deployed nationwide.
Mr Mhlongo said that he sympathised with the National Commissioner because of this ‘cut and paste’ that had taken place at the senior management level of SAPS. The National Commissioner was quite correct that specification needed to be done by the users. The scariest part was that if the current National Commissioner were to leave, this meant that a new National Commissioner would also come up with another philosophical approach to technological requirements. The Committee was supposed to be provided with a timeframe as to when the new system would be implemented throughout the country. It was clear when the Committee visited United Kingdom (UK) that the digital board there was a driving force in policing. What was it that the Committee should do to ensure that there was an implementation of technology to enhance policing? Was there any possibility of establishing the digital board like it was in the UK?
Ms Kohler Barnard said that back in 2007, the then President had announced that there would be a review of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in 2008 to improve coordination between SAPS, Correctional Services and the courts. This was to improve the court processes, improve the quality of criminal investigations and integrate information such as fingerprints and criminal records between the three entities. A decade later, none of those promises had been kept and hundreds of millions of rands had been spent in the last quarter. It had been promised that victims could go on line and follow the arrest, trial and the incarceration of perpetrators up until their release. There had in fact been cases that had been chucked out of court when the victims did not appear because they had not been told where the court case was. SAPS should have presented the Committee with a full timeline of the Information Technology (IT) that had been implemented.
The Chairperson said that the presentation would be taken as a progress report. There was an indication that SAPS would still need to deal with legislative matters in respect of body cameras. There had indeed been progress, but there should be a broad strategy. SAPS should come to the Committee and brief it on the progress that had been made. It did not make sense for SAPS to be using a 2G network while some people were on 5G. The Committee had taken note of the presentation, and this would be interrogated further when SAPS presented the broad strategy.
The meeting was adjourned. .
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