Western Cape Police Ombudsman appointment; SAPS Western Cape Shortages report: PSC briefing; Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) programme

Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport (WCPP)

15 August 2018
Chairperson: Mr M Wiley (DA)
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Meeting Summary

The Western Cape Provincial Parliament’s Standing Committee on Community Safety approved the appointment of Major-General J J Brand as the Western Cape Police Ombudsman.

The Western Cape Department of Community Safety briefed the Committee on the Neighbourhood Programme and the accreditation process.  The accreditation of the Neighbourhood watches is subject to two conditions. The first condition is the acceptance of the Neighbourhood Watch code of conduct.  The second condition is that the accreditation is considered by a panel comprised of relevant parties. Funding Neighbourhood Watches remains a challenge for the Department. The first funding model speaks to the functionality (Admin Support) of the Neighbourhood Watch where between R5000 and R10 000 is paid in two instalments to a Neighbourhood Watch entity over a year. The second funding model is project specific where the Department of Community Safety will broker an agreement between the Neighbourhood Watches and another Department that wishes to utilise the services of the Neighbourhood Watches. The money for this will not necessarily come from the Department of Community Safety but it will come from the parent Department.  

A Committee Member asked about delays in the accreditation process for Neighbourhood Watches in Gugulethu; and another Member asked if the Department could get Neighbourhood Watches to be stationed on trains.

The Public Service Commission presented to the Committee its findings on the investigation into the under-resourcing of police offers in the Western Cape. The Public Service Commission found, among other, things that out of the 22 038 posts approved on the establishment, only 20 604 were filled as at 31 March 2015. The Public Service Commission recommended that the Provincial Police Commissioner should draft a plan for presentation to the Committee indicating the allocation of resources within the province. It was also recommended that vacant, critical posts be filled within a period of six months. It was finally recommended that the National Police Commissioner monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Provincial Commissioner’s resource allocation plan, and the National Commissioner should provide feedback to the Committee on a six-monthly basis. The Public Service Commission said that they struggled to obtain information from both the National and the Provincial Police Commissioners.

Members of the Committee wanted to know how the methodology worked in determining how many police officers are required in an area. One Member also cited the growth of the population in the Western Cape and the high crime rate as inconsistent with the Public Service Commissioner’s findings. Overall the Committee was disappointed at the lack of information and inadequate recommendations in the Public Service Commission’s report.

Meeting report

Appointment of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman

The Standing Committee on Community Safety of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP), having considered the nomination of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman referred to the Committee according to Standing Rule 88, reports that the Committee resolved to approve the appointment of Major General JJ Brand as the Western Cape Police Ombudsman in terms of section 11(2)(b) of the Western Cape Community Safety Act, 2013 (Act 3 of 2013).

Briefing by the Department of Community Safety on the Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) programme and an update on the NHW accreditation processes

The delegation from the Department of Community Safety (DOCS) included Mr Gideon Morris, Head of Department, Mr Simeon George, Chief Director for Security Risk Management, Adv Yashina Pillay- Chief Director: Secretariat for Safety and Security, and Mr Jerome Norris- Assistant Director for Security Risk Management.

Mr Morris said that the presentation will be very brief. Two years ago, DOCS shifted the function of the Neighbourhood Watches (NWHs) under security risk management because they wanted to see a greater alignment with private security and the private security mandate which Mr Simeon George is responsible for.  

Presentation
Mr Morris gave the presentation.
The design principles of the NHW are based on the work done by the Centre for Criminology at the University of Cape Town, as well as some of the lessons DOCS has learnt through the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry which then gave rise to the establishment of a legal framework for the creation of setting up NHWs.

Accreditation
Accreditation is voluntary but it is subject to the acceptance of the NHW code of conduct that was also published as part of the legal framework.

Page 5 of the handout is the letter of support that DOCS received from the National Commissioner of Police to illustrate their full support the accreditation of the NHWs and the process. Pages 7 to 12 of the handout is the detailed code of conduct that was published as part of the regulations after following a process of broad consultation with all the roles players. 

The Chairperson asked the date of that letter

Mr Morris said it was the 22 August 2016

Mr Morris said the second condition is that the accreditation is considered by a panel, made up and Chaired by Mr Simeon George, the Police and the Community Policing Forum (CPF), if they are functional, as measured according to the Expanded Partnership Programme (EPP). And for NHWs in the City, the City is also present because DOCS has signed an MOU with the Minister and the City to say that the City, going forward, will only support and fund accredited NHWs. The Department hopes to have similar agreements with all municipalities going forward. The Multi-discipline panel then makes a recommendation to the Minister, who then approves the accreditation. Certificates are issued in each case of accreditation.

The last page of the handout is an example of what the accreditation certificate looks like.

The certificate is valid for two years. All patrol members of accredited NHWs must undergo vetting or screening by SAPS. The Department had some delays in accreditation because of the vetting process so the Department, in consultation with the relevant parties, split the patrolling members, non-patrolling members, and the accreditation of the NHW. This was to legitimise the NWHs without having to screen all members.

Page 2 and 3 deals with the legal requirements and framework for accreditation.

Funding model
The Department has introduced a funding model for NHWs.  They will split the funding model into two phases and into two parts.

The first funding model speaks to the functionality of the NHW. As long as they can prove that they operate within the confines of the code of conduct as well as section 10, they will receive a functionality payment (Admin support). It will be paid in two transfers per year, the available budget is between R 5000 and R 10 000 per year.

The second part of it is project specific. The Department has piloted a number of projects at a number of schools where the school will sign an agreement with the NHW to provide them with certain functions like access control, walking, buses etc. The money will not necessarily come from Community Safety but it will come from the parent Department. The Department’s responsibility is to create a capable partnership where DOCS will then broker the agreement and then it will be a transaction between NHW and the parent Department. One example is where the Department of Health is contracting the NHWs to look after the clinics.

In both of these cases the big argument is paying individual stipends vs payments to the entity. The EPWP provides for the payment of product or for individual stipends. The problem with individual stipends is not only administrative, but the limitation that any person can only receive an EPWP stipend for a maximum of two years.

The Department’s biggest challenge at the moment is funding. They have set aside R 1.5 million for this year. This comes from savings in costs of employment, and DOCS has made an argument to Provincial Treasury that the additional revenue they have generated through the liquor board, fines and increased tariffs, which comes to about R 12 million, that money should be invested back into the NHWs as an entity to deal with the harms done by alcohol.

Discussion
Mr D Mitchell (DA) asked how often the interactive tool would be updated and is it available online.

Mr Morris said the file given to them was the proof of concept. They have handed it over to CI and hope to make it a live document.

Mr Mitchell asked how many people involved in the programme were previously police reserves.

Mr Morris said that they do not have that information as it is not part of the consideration.

Ms P Lekker (ANC) asked for clarity over issues in the accreditation of NHWs in Gugulethu. There are serious allegations that an individual there is only accrediting NHW groups linked to the DA.

Mr Morris said that the law is very clear, in section 6 of the Community Safety Act, if the Minister refuses accreditation reasons must be provided and there is an appeal process to protect individuals from being excluded from accreditation.  Some councillors are more active in driving the accreditation process than others. Political affiliations are not part of the consideration of the accreditation panel. 

Ms Lekker asked how communities felt about the funding model for the project specific.

Mr Morris said they had consultations with NHWs from Khayelitsha and the Education Department. All of the parties involved were keen on doing it. Communities are willing to work with DOCS on this basis.

Ms Lekker asked if schools that have school resource officers have members of NHWs on board.

Mr Morris said that the school resource officers were appointed by the City of Cape Town. It is often the case where resources are deployed from the three spheres of government if they are a priority.

Mr B Kivedo (DA)asked what the possibility is of deploying some of the NHW people to public transport interchanges, especially Metrorail.

Mr Morris said that PRASA can do that immediately. DOCS cannot fund it since they are still trying to find additional revenue.

Mr Kivedo asked how far DOCS is with connecting NHWs with the Transport Management Centre (TMC).

Mr Morris said the desk is already established.

Mr Kivedo asked if there were any people who felt demotivated to join NHWs due to the entity being paid rather than individuals.

Ms Lekker urged the Department to go to Gugulethu and inform the people and the issues with the application processes.

The Chairperson asked if there is a minimum and maximum number of people with regard to NHWs.

Mr Morris said they did not think of that. DOCS will put their minds to that to ensure that the risks of NHWs becoming too big are mitigated.

The Chairperson asked what the relationship is like between Community Police Forums (CPF)s and NHWs.

Mr Morris said they do have buy in from SAPS and CPFs. Since it NHWs are officially certified through a process it gives them legitimacy.  

The Chairperson asked if there is insurance or public liability relating to NHWs.

Mr Morris said that this is a very complex issue and it is very costly. They currently do not have insurance for that but they could go back to the drawing board to find a viable solution.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for their presentation.

Presentation by the Public Service Commissioner on the SAPS Western Cape Shortages Report (See Document)

The Chairperson of the Committee welcomed the Delegation from the Public Service Commission (PSC) which included Dr Bruno Luthuli: Commissioner, Mr S Mafanya: Commissioner; and Mr Ronald Erasmus: Investigating Officer at the Western Cape PSC.

Dr Luthuli gave the presentation.

Dr Luthuli said he would not delve too deeply into who the PSC is as an entity. The vision of the PSC is to be a champion of the public service excellence in democratic governance in South Africa. Part of their mission is instigating, monitoring, evaluating the organisation and administration, and personnel practices.

Request for investigation
The PSC received a written request from the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Community Safety, Western Cape Provincial Parliament to investigate the under-resourcing of human resources of SAPS within the Western Cape Province. The request indicated that the Standing Committee embarked on a series of public hearings and made concerning findings as reflected below: 

There was a shortage of 1012 Police Officers in WC in 2013

128 Place stations were understaffed

In 2014 there were 2392 vacancies in the WC

The SAPS recruitment is insufficient to meet the replacement levels

The police population ratio of the Cape Town Metropolitan area is significantly below the national average. 21 police stations have less than 1 officer for every 500 residents in high crime communities

Under resourcing affects moral and health of personnel negatively

Lack of visible policing officers leaves the health care workers exposed to potentially volatile gang activity

SAPS response on the concerns raised by the Standing Committee
The Committee invited the National Commissioner of Police to brief them on the steps that would be taken to remedy the situation. The Committee was informed of the following:

The fixed establishment has decreased from 194 431 to 191 431 posts by 2019/20, a decrease of 3000

SAPS was in the process of engaging with National Treasury in an effort to ensure that the budget allocation is maintained over the medium term

The police resourcing shortages experienced by the WC was not unique to the Western Cape

SAPS was making efforts to rationalise and streamline the current staffing levels, potentially creating additional funded posts for distribution to the needy areas at the police stations

The SAPS Personnel Resourcing Methodology
Theoretical Human Resourcing Requirement Methodology (THRR)

This determination does not consider available resources. It simply asks how many police personnel will be needed to perform all the tasks that each station is required to perform. The THRR is a technology-based model for determining the minimum number and level of posts for police stations given the minimum standards and allocates resources on a racially neutral basis.

The determination is calculated at national level and is largely intended to:

  • Determine the allocation of resources in the province
  • Provide a guide to provincial Commissioners on how to distribute their resources. It was not meant to be an absolute determination of the distribution of the resources, which would remain in the provincial Commissioners’ discretion-based priorities
  • The THRR is based on a complex formula that considers a wide range of variables such as population size, prevalence of all types of crimes, the type of station, and the size of the area
  • The number of detectives is based on the number of reported crimes and an assessment of how long a detective will need to properly investigate each type of crime.
  • Visible policing is determined primarily by reported crime rates and population
  • A post is provided for every 20 contact crimes, and for every 5000 people. That number is then adjusted by considering environmental factors including informal housing.
  • The number of police required to staff a Community Service Centre

The determination of the THRR depends on information supplied by each Province to the national office in Pretoria

Whilst the National SAPS determines the number of posts that each station will in fact receive, the Provincial Commissioners are meant to distribute the allocated resources amongst the stations to give effect to their province’s priorities. However, the Provincial Commissioners powers are limited in that:

  • The command structure created by the THRR is of a generic, fixed nature and any allocation which deviates from this overall structure would constitute irregular expenditure
  • It is not possible to fund a police station at a higher level than its grading in terms of the THRR
  • The THRR grading of posts and span of control cannot be exceeded

National Treasury’s guidelines for the costing and budgeting of compensation of employees

All departments are expected to adhere to the set Compensation of Employee baseline ceilings approved by Cabinet on the 13 January 2016

The Cost of Employment (COE) baseline budget was reduced by R10 billion in the 2017/18 and R15 Billion in the 2018/19 financial year

The reduction was spread across all national and provincial departments, with a larger reduction made to National votes

The expenditure analysis of SAPS as set out in the Appropriation Bill indicates that 77.4% (R 229 billion) of SAPS budget over the MTEF period was allocated to the COE. To remain within government’s COE ceiling, SAPS planned to reduce the funded establishment from 193 431 to 191 431 posts. The reduction would target funded, non-critical posts.

The Limitation of the investigation
Availability of information from SAPS was a challenge

The annual report of SAPS provided general programme information, including allocation of resources

Efforts were made to obtain information from the Western Cape Provincial SAPS Commissioner regarding the methodology followed in the WC in the allocation of resources based on the fixed establishment. There was no response that regard.

The PSC relied on other research reports/literature on the same matter, for example:

  • Calculation of human resource requirements clusters, police stations, satellite police stations and contact points (Resource Allocation Guides)
  • PSC’s Consolidated Report of Inspection of Detective Service: Department of Police, September 2011
  • Report on the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Police Inefficiency and a breakdown in Relation between SAPS and the Community of Khayelitsha, August 2014

Findings

Mr Mafanya presented the findings to the Committee

A gap exists regarding the number of funded posts on the fixed establishment and the number of posts determined by THRR

Out of the 22 038 posts approved on the establishment, only 20 604 were filled as at 31 March 2015

On the other hand, the current reality is that the financial constraints within the country have an adverse effect on the whole of the public service

Departments are expected to adhere to the set compensation baseline ceilings approved by cabinet on 13 January 2016

Mr Mafanya said it was very challenging getting information from the Provincial Police Commissioner as well as the National Police Commissioner.

Recommendations

Section 207 (4) of the Constitution, 1996, read with section 12 of the SAPS Act, 1995, the Provincial Commissioner, Western Cape, should draft a plan for presentation to the Portfolio Committee (referring in this case to this Standing Committee) on the equitable allocation of resources within the province in line with the allocated budget and the approved establishment.

Mr Mafanya said the Provincial Commissioner decides how much resources should be allocated to each respective police station.

The plan should be submitted to the National Commissioner in terms of the provisions of section 207(5) of the Constitution, 1996

Vacant funded posts that are critical and are not earmarked to be abolished should be filled within a period of six months from the date of receipt of this report. Mr Mafanya said that this again is the decision of the Provincial Commissioner.

The National Commissioner should monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Provincial Commissioner’s resource allocation plan in order to ensure compliance with the provisions of section 207(4) and (5) of the Constitution, 1996, read with section 12 of the SAPS Act.

Feedback on the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the of the Provincial Commissioner’s plan, should be provided to the Portfolio Committee on a six-monthly basis by the National Commissioner

Discussion

Mr F Christians (ACDP) raised concern that the PSC struggled with access to the Provincial Commissioner or the National Commissioner. What will the PSC do if these recommendations are not fulfilled given that the PSC struggles with obtaining information from the Commissioners?

Dr Luthuli said the recommendations are not wishful thinking. The recommendations are based on what is in the Constitution, which includes the roles of the Committee, the Provincial Commissioner, and the National Commissioner. These three parties together should be able to deal with this particular problem.

Mr Mafanya indicated that the Committee has the power, in terms of the Constitution, to call the Provincial Commissioner to account. The PSC has provided the information and now it is the responsible of the Committee to hold the Provincial Commissioner to account.

Ms Lekker asked if the PSC would make a different recommendation to the THRR methodology.

Dr Luthuli said that the THRR uses a complex mathematical formula to determine its results. The THRR acts as a guideline in assisting the Police Commissioners.

Ms Lekker asked if the PSC would recommend that the ratio between police officers and the population be changed.

Dr Luthuli said that the ratios are not constant over time in areas. The THRR’s recommendations are a guideline and the Provincial Commissioner may deviate from that guideline if necessary.

Ms Lekker asked if there is an instruction from the National Commissioner to the Provincial Commissioner to deviate when necessary.

Mr Kivedo asked for clarity over the THRR’s methodology and how it is captured in the Provincial Commissioners implementation thereof.

Mr Kivedo asked why the PSC did not demand the information from the Commissioners.

Dr Luthuli said they went to the head office of the Provincial Commissioner to conduct interviews. They also handed the Provincial Commissioner a letter which he then sent to the National Commissioner.

Mr Kivedo asked if visible policing is used as a crime deterrent or as a curative measure.

Dr Luthuli said that visible policing needs to be both a deterrent and a curative measure.

Mr Mitchell said that the Committee visited Parow Police Station a few months ago and there are posts that have been vacant for five years. They can no longer accept that there is a shortage of staff on the ground because of the budget because it is not the truth. He asked for clarity on the grading of police stations and the allocation of resources, and also the relationship between the Provincial Commission as a distributor and the National Commission as an allocator of resources.

Dr Luthuli said that those posts should not be vacant if they are critical posts.

The Chairperson said that the population of the Western Cape has been increasing constantly and the crime rate has been increasing. The conclusion would have been different had they considered these two factors.

The Chairperson cited some example of shortages in critical staff in certain clusters. He asked why these posts have not been filled.

The Chairperson asked if the PSC would make an addendum in their report to cite the dramatic increase in the population in the Western Cape and the crime statistics.  

Mr Mafanya said that the Committee needs to put the requests in writing because the Commissioner needs to ask for permission from the Chairperson of the PSC. Some of the answers to the questions asked by the Members the Provincial Commissioner had provided the information the PSC had requested.

The Chairperson noted his concern about the planned future decline in the number of police officers. He thanked the PSC for their presentation and their time.

Recommendations
Mr Mitchell requested that DOCS send updated versions of the electronic NHW tool.

Mr Kivedo asked if they could request PRASA to have some of the NHW groups on the train stations.

Mr Kivedo wanted to know how many people are leaving the police force due to resignation, illness, death etc.

The Chairperson noted his previously mentioned request from the PSC to add an addendum citing population and crime statistics in the Western Cape.

Ms Lekker said she was disappointed with the information and recommendations provided in the report.

Mr Mitchell asked if they could get the Provincial Commissioner and the National Commissioner in front of the Committee.

Mr Kivedo wanted more clarity on the THRR.  

The Meeting was adjourned.

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