The South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Ministerial Task Team briefed the Portfolio Committee on the Department’s contract management and the procurement processes, and gave an update on the Ministerial Transformation Task Team.
The SAPS described its procurement and supply chain management (SCM) processes, indicating the levels of authority for approval of bids at different value thresholds, and the legal prescripts with which it had to comply. It said its contract management strategy aimed to enhance and accelerate governance in the Department. The SAPS would ensure accountability for public funding expenditure through clean and sound administration to uphold its image and reputation throughout the organisation.
The Ministerial Transformation Task Team reported that it had been working since 2016. The team had found some constraints in terms of administrative support and financial budget matters. The turnover of Ministers had not been very helpful in respect of the speed in trying to get to grips with the huge amount of work. However, with the new Minister, the team had taken on its responsibility with passion and enthusiasm. The Minister had reviewed the membership of the task team, which was now more beefed up with people from civil society, distancing itself a bit from the police to avoid falling in the trap where the police would be transforming themselves
The Committee Members commented that while the top level at SAPS seemed to be doing well, the situation at the police station level was not so good. SAPS seemed to be unresponsive to some very basic needs at the station level. Members asked questions about consequence management in respect of irregular expenditure, the bidding process, the current position of the suspended chief financial officer, whether vetting procedures had been completed, and progress with lifestyle audits.
SAPS Procurement and Contract Management
Lt Gen Joe Mokwena, Divisional Commissioner: Supply Chain Management, SAPS presented on SAPS’s procurement and contract management.
He said all procurement approvals above R300 000 were finalised at the national supply chain management (SCM) level, requirements for bids above R500 000 were finalised and approved at national level by the bid adjudication committee (BAC). Provincial and divisional procurement officers had been delegated to finalise all procurement actions up to the threshold value of R300 000. Quotations more than this threshold had to be forwarded to the national SCM office for approval.
The SAPS submitted a procurement plan approved by the National Commissioner for publication, and thereafter deviations, expansions and other feedbacks were sent quarterly, which was also measured through the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). Deviations for quotations above R1 million were reported to both National Treasury (NT) and the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA). The SAPS also complied with the legal reforms such as public procurement, the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA), and SCM commercial contracts (transversal contracting) as prescribed.
The SAPS relied on the Department of Public Works (DPW) to satisfy its requirements on all facilities/accommodation needs. The DPW had, however, granted approval to the departments to satisfy certain requirements themselves. A new turnaround strategy had been adopted in SCM Management with regard to future procurement actions in the built environment, whereby a roster of reputable and capable companies would be implemented and utilised to assist with future requirements. The evaluation criteria of functionality would be utilised in the appointment of future service providers. Due diligence would also be conducted prior to an award to ascertain the capability of service providers.
The contract management strategy aimed to enhance and accelerate governance related to the management of, and accounting for, contracts. It also aimed to create a safe and secure crime-free environment that was conducive for social and economic stability, supporting a better life for all. The SAPS would ensure accountability for public funding expenditure through clean and sound administration to uphold the image and reputation throughout the organisation.
The impact of the strategy would maximise the return on investment to deliver more services or a higher level of service to the community and other stakeholders. The contract management strategy would support the realization of the National Commissioner’s turnaround strategy to enhance effective policing.
The Chairperson asked SAPS to inform the Committee about the status of the lifestyle audits. Was the process under way? When could the Committee expect the process to be completed?
He asked the National Commissioner about the current position of the chief financial officer (CFO) of the SAPS. If he was not in office, who was the acting CFO?
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) asked if all members of the BAC had security clearance, and how it was constituted.
What measures had the Department had put in place to facilitate the reporting of corruption in procurement and other aspects of SCM? How many cases of corruption in the procurement process had been investigated and successfully prosecuted in the year under review?
Ms M Mmola (ANC) asked if all tenders on the Departmental website were according to Treasury regulations. Did SAPS have an appeal process where unsuccessful tenderers feeling unfairly treated could request a review? How was consequence management for irregular expenditure carried out? She asked if SAPS had an Accounts Control Management (ACM) system in place that complied with the PPPFA and ACM framework issued by the National Treasury.
Mr J Maake (ANC) inquired about the key performance areas, and the identification and classification of contracts. He asked for clarity on how a contract was classified.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said that at the high level of the Department, everything looked good. SAPS consistently did well in respect of irregular expenditure. However, at ground level, it was a completely different picture. The police stations had been left out in the barren wastelands to fend for themselves. When station commanders and other closer to the ground users sent in their needs, the reply generally was that there was no budget. How could there be a determination of what the budget should be and therefore what resources were available to meet those needs if the Department had not heard from the people on the ground yet?
He asked why the entire system, which was well regulated and had so much detail laid out as to how things should happen, was unresponsive to the some very basic needs at the station level.
Ms Molebatsi asked for clarity on the role of deputy cluster commanders. A lot of work being done at the police station level was done by the station commanders, and not the cluster commanders. Why did they not have deputies instead of these cluster commanders?
Lt Gen Khehla Sitole, National Commissioner of Police, said that the procurement environment had been identified as one of the priority areas for lifestyle audits, because of the current situation. The same applied to the forensic unit. He had given an instruction that Crime Intelligence (CI) must come up with a project plan to address it, and had instructed both environments to start working on information that was related to ithem and the specific targeted people within the environment.
Gen Mokwena said that the members who did the procurement and the members of the Bid Adjudication Committee had been fully vetted, and the process had been completed. Beyond that, the Department now had to engage in the process of lifestyle audits. The request had been submitted to CI, and the implementation had already started.
Gen Jacob Tsumane, Deputy National Commissioner: Crime Detection, said that there was a process that SAPS had undertaken in terms of the lifestyle audits. During some of the project-driven investigations, some members of interest would be picked. This kind of process would then be picked up as part of the investigation. Over and above that, the National Commissioner would also give his areas of interest and concern in terms of the lifestyle audits. Part of those areas would be his senior leadership. Consideration would also be given to divisions, components and business units, including the procurement environment. However, due to the limited human resources and the nature of the intensive kind of investigation and searching, the process would take time, but it was being prioritised.
Maj Gen MJ Lekalakala said that in terms of the vetting, the environment had been completed. The lifestyle audit was a continuous process. Currently, there was no consolidated report to indicate how far the process had gone.
Lt Gen Sitole said that beefing up the lifestyle audits and vetting was part of the Crime Intelligence (CI) turn around. They would be giving a full report on a quarterly basis. If SAPS was called to appear after the quarter, the Committee would be provided with updated information.
He said that both Divisional Commissioners, as well as the Deputy National Commissioners (DNCs) had a Section 44 delegation in terms of fulfilling this responsibility. The Section 44 was enforced through the performance management system. They were therefore held accountable and they had a performance obligation. If for any reason they did not fulfil their section 44 delegation, performance management consequence was invoked. They were further guided by section 34 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) as well as section 81. If for any reason the organisation suffered a loss because of their failure to carry out their duties, section 81 was invoked. Financial misconduct was investigated, where they may end up reimbursing the state for that loss. If the performance consequence management was undertaken, it would also automatically be followed by a disciplinary process in terms of the regulations. This was the status quo now.
He had requested a meeting with Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, Chairperson: National Forensic Oversight and Ethics Board (DNA Board) The specific reason was that the matters outlined in their letter were also the subject of a current investigation. Because of them being a subject of this investigation, this could be a justifiable delay. An alternative would be discussed which involved moving the deviation way, which was provided for. However, the Department was trying to stay within the prescripts, as the process was being advanced. The CFO had been suspended. Unfortunately, there had been misconduct that he had committed in terms of the regulations which warranted a suspension. He had assigned the CFO functions to Lt Gen Francinah Vuma. She had a previous background in finance and supply chain management. The Department would expedite the process which would either clear the CFO or dispose of his process.
In the standard principle of structures in the public sector, supply chain and finance were both under the CFO function. The Department now had the DNC, who was overseeing both. In fact, the two were both CFO functions. In terms of the structure the Department was reviewing, it wanted to adapt to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) principles of designing structures. The function of the CFO was only addressing the one thing, which was finance, but it was leaving the other aspect, which to a certain extent was an under-utilisation.
He assured the Committee that for the duration of the period, the function of the CFO would be fulfilled.
Lt Gen Sitole said that there was a provision within the organisation for whistle blowing, with a guarantee to protect anyone in the organisation who reported corruption. Further to that, there was a section 34 responsibility which had been relayed to all commanders to make sure that corruption was reported. There was also an internal toll-free number that could be used, ass well as the Presidential Hotline. The Department had just approved the anti-corruption strategy. There was also the ethics committee which would also be dealing with reports pertaining to corruption, and linking them to the anti-corruption strategy.
Lt Gen Vuma said that previously, the Department did not have measures to assist it in detecting corruption. Part of the contract management strategy sought to assist it in terms of the implementation plan that it was currently refining, where it had measures that would assist internally. The Department wanted to have its own internal methodology for detecting corruption before it went beyond the situation that the Department found itself in right now. The Department had many cases that were currently in progress. Some of the members who were directly affected, when faced with the investigation processes, had immediately resigned. Currently there were four members who were resigning.
Ms Molebatsi asked if the Department had a way of following up on these members when they raun away.
Ms Mmola asked SAPS to explain what happened to an investigation when a member resigned.
Ms Mmola asked for an update on the corruption case against Brigadier Beauty Phahlane.
Mr L Ramtlankane (ANC) asked for assurance that Departmental issues, such as finding a “full non-acting” CFO, would be dealt with. He asked for a time frame regarding this issue.
Lt Gen Sitole said that he had put together a forensic audit investigation team. which was referred to as the investigation value chain. This included the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), forensic auditors and investigators from Treasury. Most of the people who had resigned had been subject to investigations in terms of the value chain. Some of them had appeared in the Treasury investigations, others in the IPID investigations. Within the corruption investigation, there was an escalation -- the moment one resigns, they resorted to their asset forfeiture procedures, which included the freezing of the pensions and all other benefits until the criminal investigation was disposed of.
Gen Tsumane referred to the matter of Brig Phahlane, and said there were some discrepancies that had to be dealt with in terms of the Labour Relations Act. However, these had been corrected and she was suspended. She was not alone in the matter, as it involved another senior person and two juniors. After the suspension, she had come back to the Department, but the investigations had continued and were still under way. Regarding the criminal matter, the anti-corruption unit had taken that case and were at a very advanced stage. Any time soon, the four people would be appearing in court. The matter had been given attention.
Lt Gen Vuma said that regarding the identification of contracts and classification, the committee that had been alluded in the contract management strategy also sought to make sure that the purpose would be for the Department to continuously consider the contracts that were put in place, and evaluate them in terms of their performance. It had to ensure that if there were irregularities happening, the Department could detect them as early as possible. It also had to ensure that the Department addressed the government’s policy issues such as black economic empowerment (BEE), which at this stage SAPS were not as visible as they should be. The Department would ensure that they were classified and ensure that where there were problems, the Department could submit certain motivations for the Public Service Association (PSA) to review when they continued with the new contract that they would be putting in place on behalf of the organisation.
Ms Mmola asked how long the disciplinary process took. What happened after a person had been disciplined?
Lt Gen Vuma responded that the disciplinary procedure prescribed that the Department had two months to finalise the process of investigation and ensure that the person was given a hearing in that two months. However, if it happened that the process had not yet been finalised in the period of two months, it provided for an extension of one month. Thereafter, it should be based on the chairperson whether they were willing to extend the suspension, depending on the process of the hearing. When the three months had been finalised, the person was supposed to come back to work.
Gen Mokwena said that all of the bids were advertised in the state tender board bulletin through the Government Printing Works. The Departmental website was also used. Only when the need arose did the Department go to the national newspapers. In a case where a tender was awarded and bidders were not satisfied, what they normally did was to write to the supply chain management. The Department would advise them to lay a complaint with National Treasury. At the same time, the Department kept a register where all the complaints and dissatisfaction raised were noted for audit purposes.
Lt Gen Sitole said that regarding consequence management on irregular expenditure, the Department was guided by section 84 of the PFMA. For financial misconduct investigations, it linked section 81 to the discipline interventions, which meant that when there was irregular expenditure, someone would always be held accountable.
Lt Gen Sitole said that the centralisation approach had depleted capacity at the grassroots level. As the Department brought in the contract management strategy, it would also couple it with capacity building at grassroots level.
The organisation had not had an integrated resource management strategy for several years. For one to get one’s contract output on the ground, one’s resource management strategy must relate to the availability of the resource matrix so that when one discarded the on contract, the contract as well as one’s other provisions of the procurement management should relate to the resources that were needed that were dependent on the output of the contract.
He said that on the ground, one of the observations had been that the Department did not necessarily apply a participative management concept, which had also been introduced to the general strategy.
Lt Gen Sitole said he could not relate much on the cluster commander matter now, because the Department was reviewing the concept with the migration of resources. The Department would be able to come back and present a reviewed approach and indicate how the Department would be moving forward with the cluster commanders. The Department’s principle objective was that it wanted capacity at the police stations.
SAPS Ministerial Task Team report
Rev Dr Vukile Mehana, Chairperson: SAPS Transformation Task Team, briefed the Committee on the Ministerial Transformation Task Team’s report.
The Ministerial Transformation Task Team was informed by the events of Marikana and the report that Judge Farlam had given the Department. Two important developments from report had been the appointment of the international panel of experts, including some of the police officers, and the appointment of the Task Team to focus mainly on the police environment of working and looking at international instructions, orders, policies and procedures, including training and preparedness to be effective police in South Africa.
The Task Team had been working since 2016. It had found some constraints in terms of administrative support and financial budget matters. Also the turnover of ministers had not been very helpful in respect of the speed in trying to get to grips with the huge amount of work. Up to this point, the team had been able to develop a strategy as to how the matter was going to be dealt with, where the team was able to crystallise instructions during work on the system, to ensure that the team had proper terms of reference as to how the work was going to be approached. The team had managed up to this point to join the panel of experts, the team that visited Russia last November, which had been looking at benchmarking public order policing.
With the new Minister, the team had taken on this responsibility with passion and enthusiasm. The Minister had reviewed the membership of this task team, which was now more beefed up with people from civil society, distancing itself a bit from the police to avoid falling in the trap where police were transforming themselves. Now, there were more people from various areas of civil society forming part of the task team.
The work was now ready to take off with all the enthusiasm and passion of the new Minister. The team would come back in August with a full presentation on how it was now taking up this work under the direction and leadership of the new Minister.
The Chairperson asked if the final report of the international panel had been handed over to the team, and wanted details of the new members of the task team from civil society..
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) asked for clarity on whether the team had gone to Russia to look at public order policing, or was taking advice from Russia on that.
Mr Mbhele asked to be reminded about the location of the transformation task team in the wider police portfolio ecosystem. He asked what the link was, given that structural location, with the Civilian Secretariat for the Police Service (CSPS), because the secretariat had now produced the two white papers which were going to feed into the whole transformation discussions. There was also the backdrop of the national development plan (NDP), and a big part of the idea was that this would culminate in the SAPS’s amendment bill process. He was worried that there were so many different trains on the rail which may end up on tracks that went in different directions. He asked if there was a plan around what the central hub was for holding and harmonising all those processes and discussions.
Task Team response
Dr Mehana said that the work of the panel of experts had been concluded. The report had been handed over to the Deputy Minister and it had many recommendations that were transformational. Part of the delay in getting into full swing had been because the team had been waiting for that work to be completed.
Regarding the configuration of the task team, the team had himself as a completely independent person, not being part of any of the two configurations. Secondly, the team had about six members who now came from civil society. There were about four senior generals. One of the generals was responsible for public order policing, another was from legal, comes from personnel, and the deputy chairperson of the committee had been one of the generals. However, the deputy chairperson was now one of the civil society people. The team also some had some people who came from the panel of experts for continuity.
There were representatives from the two major police unions who had full participation, but no voting rights.
Regarding Russia, the Task Team had not initiated the visit. It had been part of the work of the panel of experts. This was because they had to do some benchmarking in other countries
Regarding the involvement of the secretariat, previously the team had been expected to appoint an independent programme management person to help it with administration. However, what had happened now was that the team had taken out a representative from the secretariat who had previously been part of the membership. The directive from the Minister had been that the secretariat would now become the key provider of the administration of the task team. The Programme Management Office (PMO) would reside in the civil secretariat, and they would be responsible for all the team’s administration.
The meeting was adjourned.
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