The Committee met with the SA Police Service (SAPS) on matters arising from the Auditor-General of SA (AGSA) in relation to performance management (Visible Policing and Detective Services) and progress made with previous audit findings. The audit committee also presented on progress made with interventions. With the progress made on the 2016/17 AGSA audit findings, the presentation covered the performance indicators, audit findings, action taken to address the 2016/17 findings and impact of actions implemented on the 2017/18 audit for Visible Policing (VISPOL), Detective Service and performance management.
The Committee was then briefed on the progress made on interventions to address AGSA findings by the SAPS audit committee. The presentation addressed the interventions of the audit committee on SAPS performance management, the internal audit plan for 2018/19 and the financial audit steering committee.
The Committee was concerned by repeat findings made at station level and questioned consequence management in this regard. Members were disappointed that SAPS could no longer gloat about clean audit and asked about the causes of this. Other points of discussion were dragged out disciplinary processes, immense challenges posed by the Department of Public Works, disclosure of interests and challenges of the measurement of confiscated liquor. Members raised the effectiveness of the pocketbooks, steps taken against non-compliance, contracts awarded without competitive bids and the need to relook at recruitment to foster the passion, dedication and commitment required for policing. Further questions were posed around the abuse of police vehicles, liquor legislation in the Western Cape, expediting disciplinary processes, irregular expenditure recovered and skills gaps. Concern was raised around top management of SAPS serving on the boards of other organisations and the risk this posed in terms of divided attention on core functions.
SAPS briefed the Committee on the progress made with previous audit findings and 2017 Annual Financial Statements. The presentation covered moveable, tangible assets, action plans to address finding and latest progress.
A presentation was also delivered on police safety of members and police stations. The presentation addressed legal opinions, objectives of the project, analysis on the current status of security measures at police stations and minimum security standards for safety at police stations, critical success factors and the way forward.
The Committee wanted to know about the use of reservists, curtailing of resources and police members for visible patrolling, minimum amount of members per shift, problems with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and SAPS assets removed from the register. Other questioned centered on the manning of guardhouses, contradicting legislation, CCTV footage and body cameras and timelines of the plans presented today.
The Committee noted the progress reports. SAPS needed a clean audit – performance issues must be dealt with and it was clear there was still hard work to be done. The Committee would monitor this. The safety of police was critical.
Chairperson’s Opening Comments
The Chairperson noted that the real focus of the meeting would be on where the SA Police Service (SAPS) was in implementing recommendations of the Auditor-General of SA (AGSA) and matters of performance management. The Committee met with the office of the AGSA before the recess and concerns were raised – Members felt it important to deal with this as soon as possible to get assurance from the side of the audit committee that there was progress on the audit findings and performance issues.
The Committee also wanted to know about progress made on station safety.
Progress Made on the 2016/17 AGSA Audit Findings
Maj. Gen. Leon Rabie, SAPS Head: Strategic Management, took the Committee through the presentation beginning with the key departmental Programme Two: Visible Policing (VISPOL). The presentation addressed the performance indicators, audit findings, action taken to address the 2016/17 findings and impact of actions implemented on the 2017/18 audit for the following indicators:
-volume of liquor confiscated as a result of police actions
-quality of illicit drugs confiscated as a result of police actions
-percentage of school safety programmes implemented at identified schools
-number of stolen/lost and illegal firearms recovered
-percentage of applications of firearms license, permits authorisation, competency certificate and renewals finalised
-number of rural and rural/urban mixed police stations implementing set criteria of the four pillars of the Rural Safety Strategy
-average national police reaction time to alpha, bravo and Charlie complaints
For Programme Three: Detective Service, the presentation addressed the performance indicators, audit findings, action taken to address the 2016/17 findings and impact of actions implemented on the 2017/18 audit for the following indicators:
-percentage of trial-ready case dockets for crime against women 18 years and above
-detection rate for cybercrime-related cases charges
-number of serious commercial crime-related trial-ready case dockets where officials are involved including procurement fraud and corruption
-detection rate for serious commercial crime-related charges
-percentage of trial-ready case dockets for fraud and corruption for individuals with the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster
-percentage of trial-ready case dockets for serious commercial crime-related charges
-percentage of ballistics case exhibits (entries) finalised (acquired)
- percentage of Biology Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) Intelligence case exhibits (entries) finalized
- percentage reduction in case exhibits (entries) exceeding the prescribed time frame of 28 working days
- percentage of routine case exhibits (entries) finalized
Maj. Gen. Rabie then looked at performance management where the audit finding related to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) Circular 15 of 2017 –directive on the Performance Management and Development System for members of the Senior Management Service. In terms of Outcome 12 and the Delivery Agreement of the Minister for the Public Service and Administration, DPSA reviewed the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) for members of Senior Management Service (SMS) and for Heads of Departments (HODs). The revised PMDS for members of the SMS was issued as a Directive in terms of Section 41(3) of the Public Service Act, 1994 and was implemented on 1 April 2018. The revised PMDS for members of the SMS integrates management of individual performance with management of organisational performance. The system links the SMS members Performance Agreements (PAS) to the Department’s Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and key Government Focus Areas as outlined in the HOD’s Performance Agreement.
The performance management for members of the SMS at the levels of Directors, Chief Directors and Deputy Directors-General is centered on three main elements: Employee Performance, Organisational Performance based on the APP and the AGSA’s Opinion and Findings.
The presentation then looked at the integrated individual and organsiational performance, SAPS alignment with DPSA directives, poor performance and consequence management for employees conducting business.
SAPS Audit Committee Progress on AGSA Interventions
Mr JE van Heerden, chairperson of the SAPS Audit Committee (AC), took the Committee through the presentation which first spoke to the audit committee interventions on SAPS performance management. In this area, since the Audit Committee met with the Committee in October 2017, the following interventions were implemented to improve organisational controls related to audit findings:
-performance in relation to pre-determined objectives has been included as a standing item on the audit committee agenda
-quarterly progress reports for Quarter 3 and 4 for 2017/2018 and Quarter 1 for 2018/2019, were presented to the AC
-during the interrogation of the progress reports, special attention was paid to the achievement of targets and the reasons provided by management for non- achievement
The AC also requested regular feedback from SAPS Management on the action plans with regard to the audit findings of both SAPS Internal Audit and the AGSA. The AC attended a special accountability workshop, which was held on 18 May 2018, to consider Management’s planned interventions to address audit findings. The workshop was attended by Deputy National Commissioners (DNCs), Provincial Commissioners (PCs) and Deputy Provincial Commissioners (DPCs). The Cluster Commanders and Station Commanders from the police stations, at which findings were made by the AGSA, were also in attendance. Special attention was paid to consequence management via the Performance Management System. SAPS compiled a report on the outcomes of the workshop, which confirmed the following:
-the current process of consequence management is not functioning as required
-the error rate has increased and the findings include several recurring audit findings (multiple financial years)
-responses by SAPS Management to audit findings, at particularly station and cluster levels, are not up to standard
-action plans compiled by Management do not conform to SMART principles
-the root cause analysis of factors underlying audit findings should be enhanced
The AC attended a follow up meeting with all DPC’s, on 28 May 2018, to consider further proposed action plans. Various shortcomings were identified in the internal control system that needs to be improved and consequence management was emphasised again
Mr van Heerdan stated the AC stressed the importance of the regular monitoring of all action plans and supported the establishment of a permanent Audit Steering Committee (ASC), between the SAPS and the AGSA. The ASC facilitates the coordination of the annual AGSA audit on pre-determined objectives. ASC meetings are also attended by Internal Audit. During a meeting of the ASC, on 30 May 2018, the Chairperson of the AC once more stressed the importance of the application of consequence management. The ASC, attended a meeting of the AC, during which the interim findings by the AGSA were noted and SAPS was requested to pay special attention to the remaining audit, which was to be conducted in Limpopo.
Subsequent to the engagement with the Portfolio Committee, in October 2017, on the findings by the AGSA on the non-disclosure of network assets, by either the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) or SAPS, the Audit Committee ensured that regular feedback on the action taken to address the issue was presented by Management. A detailed Asset Verification Project Plan was compiled by SAPS and the SITA, during August 2017, with specific action steps, timeframes and defined responsibilities, to ensure compilation of an asset register for all network and hosting equipment, purchased by either SAPS or SITA. The Accounting Framework for disclosing network assets in the AFS was approved by the Accounting Officer on 18 June 2018. The execution of the action plan was monitored and sufficient feedback was provided to confirm that SAPS will be in a position to submit a detailed quantified network and hosting asset register, for disclosure in the AFS, for 2017/18. The asset register, together with an asset verification process document, were submitted for audit on 31 May 2018 .The country- wide verification process of network assets by SITA is planned to be completed by September 2018. The information presented by SAPS, in collaboration with SITA, was sufficient to clear the finding raised by the AGSA, in the 2017 Audit. Follow-up audits by the AGSA and SAPS’s Internal Audit Component, regarding the findings made in 2017/2018, reflected on certain recurring findings and areas that should be attended to further by the SAPS. These issues will be monitored by the AC on an ongoing basis. The Internal Audit Component performed the following audits during 2017/2018, to assist SAPS to address issues raised by the AGSA:
-Audits of performance information in Divisions, Provinces and Stations
-An audit of AFS, with particular focus on the network assets register, irregular expenditure and commitments
The presentation then looked at the internal audit plan for 2018/19 - the following audits are planned in 2018/2019 to further assist SAPS to address specific issues raised by the AGSA:
-An audit of procurement below R500 000
- An audit of computer assets which include network assets and other computer hardware
-An audit of contract management and tender processes above R500 000
-Follow-ups on AGSA audit findings
-An audit of performance information
- An audit of network modernisation within the Division: Technology Management Services (this audit was completed in the first quarter of 2018/2019)
With the financial audit steering committee, as result of the absence of the CFO during the critical stages of the 2017/18 audit phase, certain of the current audit findings could have been resolved earlier and the AC has requested SAPS to stabilise this important part of the monitoring of audit. The AC has also requested the Financial Audit Steering Committee to provide regular feedback to the AC regarding any shortcomings identified during the interim audit phase of the AGSA as well as all internal audit findings throughout the year. The feedback by the Steering Committee will be a standing item on the AC Agenda.
Regarding the way forward, the AC has noted the special effort that the SAPS has taken to improve overall internal control and accountability processes and is confident that, with the support of top management and regular interaction with and feedback by the provinces, the situation should improve. The AC will, furthermore, continue to monitor the progress with the implementation of action plans, on a regular basis and insist on more effective consequence management.
Mr van Heerden said the audit committee, over the last five years, has been hampered by the leadership stability of SAPS. Over the last five years SAPS has had four accounting officers – this created problems for continuity and impacted leadership structures and reporting lines.
The Chairperson acknowledged the instability caused by changes in senior leadership but the key concern was repeat findings at a coal-face level i.e. at station level. In the interaction between the AGSA and the Committee it was made clear plans developed at national level were fine but the problem was with the filtering down. This was linked to consequence management – provincial commissioners were responsible for stations. What was also brought to the fore were cluster commanders – if they were well-organised, the problems heard today would not arise. As a result, basic issues were raised as repeat findings for the third year in a row. Station commanders were a dilemma – what was being done to turn this around?
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) was disappointed with what was heard today. The Committee could always brag that SAPS consistently received clean audits. The now suspended CFO was appointed in 2015 but the suspension process was still ongoing – why was this dragging on? Why was someone hired who obviously could not do the job? She asked why people were acting as station commanders when they were trained for the job. She knew of some station commanders who did not want to use their maintenance budgets, to save them, and so water leaked out taps and roofs leaked – why was this done?
The National Commissioner, and other members in the room today, were around when the Phaalane and Shezi issue was happening - it happened right under their noses. Where was the consequence management? There were members suspended for irregular expenditure but nothing was done at all – these people are likely to just do it again because there is no consequence management at all. There are goods and services over the value of R500 000 that were awarded without competitive bids – were they dished out to friends, relatives, Gupta companies? This was simply allowed to happen while those present in the meeting stood by. Consequence management was required from station and provincial level to the highest level. People cannot be allowed to get away with things. The correct people have to be appointed.
Was it not time that SAPS took responsibility for its own assets, specifically the building and leases? The Department of Public Works (DPW) is a service provider but it is not providing any service to SAPS station. At a station in KZN in the past two months, the building was stripped out completely and the contractor took the money and ran – the station had no security for over a year. At Dundee station, the detectives were put into a listed building next to the station where there was no aircon, heating or security. The filing cabinet of the detectives stood next to a huge window – it would take a few seconds for someone to reach in and take the files. DPW must be read the riot act and SAPS should take on the responsibility of the buildings itself. Was something proactive happening in this regard?
Ms M Mmola (ANC) noted that the AGSA found that close family of some officials were awarded contracts because the officials failed to disclose interests as required by Treasury regulations – was this situation addressed? Details of the contracts were required. Was the SAPS internal control framework effective, relevant and institutionalised? She asked if the challenge of disclosure around network assets was addressed and if SAPS had a reliable asset register.
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) noted that in the past, the Committee was informed of the challenges of measuring confiscated liquor – what was the current situation? What steps, if any, were taken against officials who have incurred irregular expenditure? The presentation largely dealt with the Technology Management Service (TMS) issues but the TMS acting head was not present. The Committee was concerned about the way pocketbooks were monitored for effectiveness – what was SAPS doing in this regard? What was the situation with the serious shortage of DNA kits?
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) was optimistic that positive change would come from the change in management. He was concerned that, as shown in the presentation, much of the lack of implementation of action was due to non-compliance with directives – what steps were taken against this non-compliance? Directives in the Service must be complied with. Consequence management was not seen and this, along with non-compliance, was the core of the problem. How would this specific core problem be handled?
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) noted that remedial actions outlined in the presentation spoke to tinkering, enhancing, revising and reviewing at the policy-level of the system. However if the challenge was in implementation then that is the level at which remedies should be addressed. A well-designed policy paper with bad implementation was of no value because the results would not be seen. Operational and administrative imperatives weighed down on the cluster and station level. Was there a clear and rational understanding or approach on how things should happen given these imperatives? For example, with the capturing that should happen on OPAM following confiscation of liquor or drugs, was this primarily meant to be done by Police Act members or Public Service Act (PSA) members? Was the problem that operational members did not have the skill or time to follow through with the administrative aftermath of operations? Was there a gap in the flow of the system? This was the level at which the challenge should be addressed and less so at a policy level.
Mr Mbhele was curious to know what the root causes analysis, highlighted in the audit committee presentation, said. If the root causes were found, were adequate actions put in place to follow-up or was the analysis itself defective for the remedial action to then have the desired effect?
Mr J Maake (ANC) wanted to know what the disjuncture was regarding the FSL and why it does not support the exact method of calculation as required by the Technical Indicator Description, as highlighted in the presentation.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) asked if there was any contravention of Treasury regulations regarding contracts awarded without competitive bids,
Mr M Shaik Emam (NFP) noted that challenges remained on the ground despite the good reports presented to the Committee. There were people in the Department without the passion – was it not time do something? A completely different recruitment process should be looked at to ensure the right people were employed. The Member knew of people who applied for SAPS posts for five years in a row but each time there was no answer. Now that liquor would be allowed at schools in the Western Cape, SAPS is going to have a big problem on its hands – was it prepared to handle this? The Western Cape had a crisis when it comes to alcohol. If the officials present accompanied the Member right now on a tour of the city, one would see the amount of the police cars marked outside the homes of members of up to 10 hours at a time. This showed a lack of passion, commitment and dedication and this caused problems.
All departments were failing when it came to consequence management. Committees went on oversight and identified problems but what happened thereafter? It was important to look at introducing careers in the SAPS at school level to foster that passion and commitment not seen today.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) said it was clear that when it came to SAPS, the Committee would talk until the cows came home. For a doctor to treat a patient, the doctor must first identify the root cause of the problem – the correct diagnosis was needed for the correct prescription to remedy the problem. The Committee was not told what led to this paralysis – was it a skills gap? What measures were put in place? At the station in the Eastern Cape where police members were killed, the Committee had an in-loco visit prior to the incident where Members were presented with a nice picture of the roll-out of TETRA. Was TETRA asleep when the officers were killed that day? This French system cost the taxpayer billions of Rands. Thereafter General Shezi was suspended and SCOPA was verifying the veracity of corruption with this system. The Members of the Committee made an oath to the people of SA to be loyal to them. Gen. Phaalane ruined the whole system right under the noses of the Generals present – not one single one lifted a finger to say he was messing things up.
The Committee was informed that vetting of officials was complete yet there were still incorrect members in the system causing rot in the police force – where were these matters? It was doubtful whether SAPS had the interests of South Africans at heart. There appeared to be sustained fiscal dumping without any service delivery. What problem led to this paralysis? Was it the lack of skills? What initiative was taken to address the skills gap? In terms of consequence management, if things went wrong at a certain level, what steps were taken? Where the Member stayed, in Newlands West, Durban, the station was completely falling apart and detectives were completely unprotected. The station was leased and he wondered how much it cost at an inflated price at the expense of the state and SA taxpayers. Top bureaucrats received kickbacks from this rot – the only saviour was SCOPA. At the right time the Committee needed to address rotten elements even within crime intelligence. This was causing huge problems in KZN – the Member would address this at the correct time. The Member said he had made his oath to the people of SA and he would not shy away from criminals using state power for their own narrow ends.
Gen. Khehla Sitole, SAPS National Commissioner, apologised to the Committee for the sentiments raised today. Limitations were placed on accounting structures. The audit structures should be given the mandate to operate – the National Commissioner supported this. Skills was an area which required attention – SAPS was currently busy with rationalisation which spoke to deployment of capacity back to police stations. A challenge which presented itself was drained capacity at police stations over a period of time. This has caused problems in relation to lack of sufficient experience to respond. This also resulted in almost permanent consequence management. Rationalisation would take capacity where it belonged i.e. police stations. Links between financial misconduct and the disciplinary code were looked at by the accounting structures as there was a gap between the two. Damage caused to the state by irregular expenditure also meant there should be recovery of funds along with disciplinary action in terms of the SAPS disciplinary code and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). This was informed by gaps in performance management systems. All levels of the Service were responsible for shortcomings. The gaps in the performance management system had an effect on accountability at the different levels. For this the Deputy National Commissioners (DNCs) were held responsible because these are their environments in terms of accountability for the budget. The Divisional Commissioners accounted directly to the National Commissioner when they should be accounting to their DNCs as this was how the performance agreement was signed. There must be consequence management of non-performance.
Gen. Sitole said discoveries were made about the optimal utilisation of systems which was not part of responsibility in terms of the performance management system. He issued an instruction for all managers at all levels to account for the optimal utilisation of systems which involved monitoring of systems and ensuring those capturing data were doing so correctly. The combined assurance approach was important for avoiding qualified audits. This system collapsed and he issued an instruction for its immediate reinstatement to ensure there was more capacity for monitoring. Risk management and the internal control framework actually caused more harm to the Service – there was no total review of risk management and the framework to ensure it was aligned. Repeat audit findings were actually risks in the system. He found repeat findings to equate to misconduct in terms of the disciplinary code. Instructions were also provided on expeditious processes surrounding disciplinary processes and suspensions.
Instructions were provided that audit action plans must be finalised within three months after the audit outcome was known.
The Minister and Committee were asked to support SAPS on the DPW matter which required policy review. SAPS tried to work with DPW for years but the Department did not help. A security function could not reside with a Department that did not have capacity for this – this was the root cause of the problem. Security issues also came with a sense of urgency – this urgency could not be instilled in DPW. There were currently 95 leased police stations. With these stations, there were three parties involved – SAPS, DPW and the lease owner. Physical security assessments of the stations were done for security to be implemented by outside parties, yet the police were killed in these very stations. This is a policy issue and the support of the Committee was required. If the policy did not change, the situation would stay the same.
Lt. Gen. Bongang Mgwenya, SAPS DNC: Human Resources Management, responded that with members who failed to disclose contracts are dealt with in terms of the disciplinary regulations which were revised to include expeditious processes. Internal audit, which conducted the forensic investigations, were worked with closely. Each case will be dealt with on its own merits – where a case warranted dismissal, the member would be dismissed.
Mr Mbhele asked if it was primarily the case that delays in disciplinary cases come from difficulties in convening the disciplinary panel or if the challenge lied elsewhere in ensuring the disciplinary process was expedited.
Lt. Gen. Mgwenya agreed there were challenges with coordination of diaries but most cases were finalised in time especially where international functionaries were utilised. Disciplinary management was a priority of the organisation and was in the Annual Performance Plan (APP). The turnaround time was 60 days. Delays were experienced in cases where top management was involved. Delay tactics were used by the defence to ensure cases was not finalised in time. However there was continuous engagement with functionaries to ensure they did finalise the cases. The Labour Relations Act was always observed.
Gen. Sitole confirmed SAPS has a computerised asset register – it was reliable and included capturing of netweb assets. Recent assets procured not linked to the register were under investigation.
Lt. Gen. S F Masemola, SAPS DNC: Policing, noted that there was a problem with the measuring of confiscated liquor but this has since been resolved. Capturing was done by SAPS capturing clerks at station level or PSA members not the operational members out on the field.
Ms Kohler Barnard understood the National Commissioner in his explanation that irregular expenditure was now linked to the disciplinary code. In the last cycle, irregular expenditure amounted to R20.3 million – how much of this was recovered through the disciplinary procedure?
Gen. Sitole could not give an accurate figure at present but it could be made known to the Committee. The principle was that once there was irregular expenditure, the PFMA kicks in and then came the disciplinary code. He issued an instruction to apply the provisions of the PFMA in all such cases. Processes might not be finalised but the instruction stood. There might be some limitations as some cases were under investigation.
Lt. Gen. Sharon Jephta, SAPS Acting Divisional Commissioner: Visible Policing, addressed the pocketbooks noting that with the recurring findings, the design of the pocketbook was being reviewed to complement effectiveness. The current pocketbooks did not make provision for many factors related to the technical indicator description. This would be worked into the design to enhance the effectiveness thereof. The effectiveness was being looked at and almost 500 disciplinary cases were reported on. A gap analysis on these cases would be done to get to the root cause to assess if the problem was with writing skill, knowledge, etc.
The Chairperson asked if any station commander was disciplined for this.
Lt. Gen. Jephta replied that members who did not comply with the instruction were disciplined.
Gen. Sitole added that when matters were raised at the level of the Committee, it was considered a national issue and action would be taken, even against the leaders, including the station commanders.
The Chairperson said the fact was no action was taken up until today – this was the dilemma. Unless there was an onus on the station commander to perform, thousands of members would be disciplined in the next cycle and no results would be seen. This was the reality.
Gen. Sitole accepted this as a shortcoming and said it would be addressed the next time he appeared before the Committee – it would be proven that action would be taken against managers for failing to fulfill their responsibilities. This also flowed from the performance management system where the lines of accountability were clear. A clear instruction was issued to the supply chain team obtain the DNA kits. A minimum was obtained for all police stations and so far there were no complaints. The process was still ongoing to reach the correct specifications.
The Chairperson noted that in a presentation the Committee received last week, it was said a new process would be finalised in September.
Lt. Gen. L Tsumane, SAPS DNC: Crime Detection, pointed out supply chain management was working on a process which will be completed in September. In the meantime the kits were required especially for FSL and forensic-related cases. Redistribution plans were also underway to ensure stations shared with each other.
Mr van Heerden said that the reference to the previous root cause analysis was made because when the audit committee considered the action plans of SAPS to address audit findings, one must evaluate whether the action really spoke to the problem and for this, a root cause analysis was required. The audit committee asked the SAPS risk management to identify the causes of certain findings such as skills shortages, unclear or outdated policies or instructions, misconduct and problems with leadership. Non-compliance on its own did not say much and so a root cause analysis was required to get behind the reason for the non-compliance. The SAPS risk management team was working on this.
Maj. Gen. Rabie said the technical indicator description which spoke to the time taken to process case exhibits in the FSL was measured in working days. Unfortunately the FSL system was never designed to measure progress in terms of working days using instead calendar days. Two years ago it was decided 28 working days would equal to 35 calendar days to be processed by the system. Essentially the two were not compatible and the system could not measure the time as it was needed. To bridge the gap, either the technical indicator description needed to be changed or the system needed to be redesigned to calculate working days. The latter was not always an easy solution as it added complexities. It was easier to measure performance by calendar days – this was implemented in the latest APP.
Gen. Sitole spoke to the tenders above R500 00 saying there has not been a reoccurrence but internal audit was instructed to conduct an audit. This was a priority for internal audit.
He welcomed the input on reviewing the recruitment approach. Capacity at police stations was currently being addressed through rationalisation as well as the training and development strategy to sustain skills. An instruction was made in the strategic plan that basic training would now take the TRT standard as from the next intake to increase the individual retaliation level of the police at the stations.
Mr Shaik Emam wanted to know the chances, now that serious problems and shortcomings were conceded, of identifying a team of specialists from SAPS with the necessary capacity to go station by station for a period of time and identify all resources on the ground. This would entail putting each station, starting with the worse, under management. Communities could also be called in to identify the shortcomings to deal with and correct the station hands on before moving to the next one. It seemed to be the only way SAPS would get its house in order.
Gen. Sitole welcomed this. Gen. Jephta was working on a new plan for police stations for serious turnaround and it could be looked at in alignment with what the Member suggested.
The use of police vehicles was a problem everywhere. In this regard, SAPS was not only reliant on its monitoring measures but also on the communities – these vehicles were for the community and they could not allow the police to abuse them. Where abuse is seen it should be reported to take action. Massive community mobilisation would speak to this. Further, the disciplinary code would be toughened up regarding abuse of vehicles. Rationalisation did not only apply to personnel but also resources for effective management.
With the causes of the paralysis, with the root cause analysis right up to risk management, the emphasis was now on repairing the paralysis to ensure the situation was not repeated. He apologised for the situation created.
The Chairperson said the principle of DNCs and Divisional Commissioners serving on the boards of other institutions was sharply raised in the case of the CFO. This posed certain risks if the focus was not completely on the work of SAPS especially at the level of Chief Director and above. There was the risk of divided attention on core functions. With there be further restrictions on top management serving on boards and in other role outside of the police sector?
Gen. Sitole was of the view that, given the nature of police work and prioritisation of community safety, a duel approach could not be afforded because of divided attention. The other problem was conflict of interest. In terms of the prescripts, there must be authorisation for members to be involved elsewhere but the National Commissioner was of the view that this would not be allowed especially as they worked on repairing the organisation.
Ms Mabija noted that on the cover pages of the SAPS presentations it said “on a journey to a safer South Africa – creating a safe and secure, crime free environment, that is conducive for social and economic stability, supporting a better life for all”. Does the match the reality on the ground especially with the state of the borders?
Progress with Previous Audit Findings: 2017 Annual Financial Statements
Maj. Gen. SJ Nelson, SAPS Head: Financial Services, Budget, Expenditure and Accounting Services, Division: Financial and Administration Services, took the Committee through the presentation. With the movable tangible assets, the Department did not disclose network assets purchased in the Annual Financial Statements even though future economic benefits or service potential was received by the Department in accordance with the Modified Cash Standards (MCS) 2, Concepts and Principles. The Department did not account for network assets purchased by the Department and on its behalf by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) in the disclosure note for movable tangible assets. Consequently the disclosure note for movable tangible assets is understated. The full extent of the understatement was not able to be determined as it was impracticable to do so.
By way of background, SAPS transferred all of its network and hosting assets to SITA (Cabinet approval, Treasury approval). Section 19 of the SITA Act provided for the transfer of assets since the establishment of SITA. These assets were accounted for by SITA at the time. SAPS reported on end-user equipment (desktops, laptops, printers) as per business agreement and will continue to do so. The AGSA requires SAPS to disclose all network assets irrespective of arrangements contained in the SITA Act, Business Agreements, Service Level Agreements etc. SITA took ownership of network and hosting equipment transferred on inception as well as assets procured on SAPS’ behalf. SITA reported on these assets in its AFS annually until 2006. A decision was then taken by SITA to remove these assets from its asset register. Subsequent to that, assets were still procured by SITA on SAPS’ behalf but not disclosed in the asset register of its AFS. During the period 2014/15 to 2016/17, assets were procured directly by SAPS using the SITA contracts and subsequently installed and maintained by SITA. The AGSA performed audit at SITA during 2016/17 and raised the issue of ownership and non-disclosure of these assets with SITA in February 2017
In terms of the action plan to address the finding, following process unfolded according to a joint Asset Verification Project Plan between SAPS and SITA:
-SITA has stratified the sites that need to be considered for the verification and divided them into three categories: the first category relates to the SITA switching centres, the second to the sites with asset quantities of 100 and above assets and the third with sites with assets below 100 items
-Switching centres and sites with assets with 100 items and above were verified by SITA with support from Sizwe (SITA appointed service provider). Sites with less than 100 items were analysed by comparing the assets on the Action Request for Service System (ARS) with assets accessible on the Network Monitoring System (NMS). However, due to many assets being old, some assets are not accessible on the NMS. Due to this, it was decided to also physically verify these assets. SAPS agreed to also assist with this process
-The results of the fixed asset verification were captured on the ARS and were signed off. The project plan provided for quality assurance measures to ensure the results were captured accurately. SITA’s internal audit assisted in this regard. SITA also appointed IDG Consulting to assist with quality control of the project and in particular to advise on technical accounting aspects of accounting frameworks applicable as well as aspects to consider from an auditing perspective
-Significant movements (mostly additions) to the ARS due to new equipment bought and installed had to be taken into account. The additions had to be verified against the additions to the ARS to ensure the ARS was updated and that it presents a complete, accurate and valid source of assets (basically as an asset register)
-Apart from the physical fixed asset verification, values had to be attached to the assets. The approach to this was to first separate assets that were out of the fixed asset life cycle of the assets. Assets outside of its life cycle will have an insignificant value. For assets within the asset life cycle, the value will be determined by supporting documentation where the documentation can be used (Where the supporting documentation is inadequate to determine the cost price of the specific asset, service providers were requested to provide information with regards to the estimated costs of these assets in order to determine the values attached to these assets)
-Since inception of the project last year, the SITA/SAPS Asset Verification Project Team meetings take place weekly to monitor on progress with Project Plan execution and to ensure timeframes are met. Minutes were kept and Project Plan updated continuously
-The AGSA was kept abreast with developments and copies of the Project Plan were provided at Steering Committee meetings as the process unfolded
-In order to also keep track with the process that unfolded in compiling the asset register, an Asset Verification Process document was compiled that detailed the technicalities and assumptions made throughout the process comprehensively
-The last meeting of the Project Team took place in May 2018 where the Asset Register was discussed and approved for disclosure in the SAPS 2017/18 Annual Financial Statements
-Due to no conclusion on the SITA Business Model at the time, SAPS has to disclose in its AFS and not SITA
Maj. Gen. Nelson then outlined the latest progress noting that on 31 May 2018, the Asset Register for Network Infrastructure was disclosed in the AFS of SAPS. The register comprised 73 245 assets valued at R1. 708 billion consisting of network, hosting and mainframe equipment. The detailed register supporting the disclosure values accompanied the AFS submitted to the AGSA on 31 May 2018. Several meetings were arranged in order to assist the AGSA with the audit process due to complexities involved in the network infrastructure environment to understand the register, to locate a specific asset, component and sub-componentisation of the infrastructure amongst others. Some of the meetings were not attended by the AGSA. The following documents were provided to the AGSA in support of the Register:
-Asset Verification Project Plan
-Asset Verification Process Document
-Framework for Disclosure of Network Infrastructure in the AFS for 2017/18 as approved by the Accounting Officer
A special meeting was arranged at SITA that involved the Business Executive, Senior Manager and other Managers of the AGSA as to allow for a proper understanding of the Register, the Network Infrastructure and to offer an opportunity to provide responses to questions seeking clarity. During the audit itself, the AGSA raised a finding on completeness of the Register - 12 cases from the total population of 73 245. The response to the finding can be summarised as follows:
-six of the 12 items referred to sub-components of a bigger asset and have no individual value. These items all had different descriptions to what were reflected on the finding and were confirmed on the ARS System. These items are parts to a server bundle, lightning protector (plug), switch or parts to a server console. All of the above has no economic value and according to the process document not included in the register (a network infrastructure consists of thousands of small individual parts that have no economic value once installed and therefore does not warrant inclusion). Many network devices, such as routers, switches and other network peripherals, also have sub-modules and integrated modules with their own sets of model and serial numbers that will form part of the physical device/chassis and in most cases these sub-modules/integrated modules serial and model numbers will only be relevant to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) itself and not necessarily the end user/owner. (These types of devices/chassis will be seen as a single/bundled device and will be sold by the OEM as only a single physical device)
-Three of the items were confirmed on the asset register by using the serial number or Web number on the asset register ꟷ Items 10 and 12 on the sample provided by the AGSA had such limited information that management could not confirm the asset from the register due to a lack of information
It became evident from the interaction with the AGSA that the impression existed that this is an ongoing process and therefore the register is incomplete. Any asset register, moveable fixed assets, immovable fixed assets and minor and major asset registers are being updated regularly throughout a financial year. Reasons such as relocations, disposals, losses, additions etc. all require updating of asset registers.
The essence is that the reporting requirements, as at a certain given point in time, requires from the Department to produce an asset register as at a given reporting date for a specific reporting period. The fact that updates to the ARS System are affected does not necessarily implicate incompleteness. It was emphasised the importance to note the reason for the continuous updates on the network infrastructure and to consider such within the broader perspective of supporting and process documentation as provided.
Police Safety: Members and Police Stations
Maj. Gen. Rabie took Members through the presentation noting that, by way of background, according to the United Nations (UN) Office on Drugs and Crime, police per resident populations is an indicator of a nation’s ability to respond and investigate civil and criminal complaints, terrorism, riots, unrest and other forms of mob or mass violence. For police to effectively fight crime, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime prescribe a minimum police strength of one police officer to 220 people. Currently in SA the ratio is one police officer for every 394 residents (SAPS Annual Report 2016/2017). According to the Statistics SA July 2018 Mid Year report, the current population estimate is 57 000 000. In terms of the Community Based Survey Statistics, 11 000 000 is foreign Nationals. This inter alia means that the ratio is one police officer for every 579 residents (68 000 000). The recent spate of attacks on police stations as a result of criminal activities, protest action, riots, attacks and unnatural deaths of employees of the SAPS, both on or off duty, have to be regarded as a threat to the stability of the country. The Minister of Police, National Commissioner and the Top Management of SAPS have prioritised the safety and wellbeing of all SAPS employees as well as the safety at police stations. The report of the Portfolio Committee on Police for the 2018/2019 Budget Vote 23, APP of the Department of Police (SAPS), during May 2018 recommended that “CCTV cameras are installed in community service centres at all police stations and SAPS implements body- worn cameras for frontline service delivery members”. The recent attacks on police stations have necessitated an urgent intervention to establish security safety gaps at police stations to prevent any loss of life/injuries and damage to property.
Looking at the legal opinion, the current provisions of the Regulation of Interception of Communication-related Information Act, 2002 (Act No 70 of 2002), prohibit the recording (interception) of communications of another person by a law enforcement officer, unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that the interception is necessary on grounds that a “serious offence” has been or is being or will probably be committed or the person who is being intercepted gave prior consent in writing to the interception. The Act regulates both visual as well as sound footage. Ordinary crimes or engagement on street level or during unrest situations will not necessarily qualify as a “serious offence” defined by the Act. Interception of especially oral communications by means of a recorder which is attached to a body-worn camera may therefore be unlawful if the offence or engagement which is recorded, does not qualify as a “serious offence” or the offence or engagement is recorded without written consent of the intercepted person or occurs in a private place. The legal opinion was subsequently submitted to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development which administers and drafted the Regulation of Interception of Communication-related Information Act, 2002. The Department agreed with the original opinion that the Act prohibits the use of body-worn cameras during crime prevention and investigations. SAPS requested for the consideration of amendments to the Act on an urgent basis to comply with the recommendations of Parliament. In the view of the onerous and time consuming process to effect amendments to the Regulation of Interception of Communication-related Information Act, 2002, the Division: Legal and Policy Services requested the Department to rather effect an amendment to the Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes Bill wagered and inserted an amendment to the Regulation of Interception of Communication-related Information Act, 2002.
The presentation then looked at the objectives of the project: safety at police stations. An integrated Project Plan is compiled to address the following objectives:
-To advice and implement emergency safety security standards at identified police stations
-To mitigate police safety risks
-To ensure sufficient personnel on duty per shift
-To implement preventative measures to minimise attacks on police stations and SAPS employees at police stations (inclusive of detainees and community members), Standard Operating Procedures will be developed and implemented
-To enhance operational readiness as well as well-equipped police personnel at police stations
An analysis was conducted on the current status of security measures at police stations. The criteria looked at:
-Whether police stations are equipped with: perimeter fencing, perimeter lights, lockable gates for vehicles and pedestrians
-Whether police stations have: secured entrances to buildings, secured entrances to the CSC, a guard house
-Minimum Standard for Human Resource: six members per shift
Maj. Gen. Rabie then discussed emergency safety security measures at police stations and minimum security standards for safety at police stations. In terms of the integrated project plan, the timelines were as follows:
Phase One: 16 Aug 2018 – 31 March 2019 – Link to findings of data
-Prioritise all police stations for implementation of minimum standards that are not technology: Fencing, Lockable Gates Vehicles, Lockable Gates Pedestrians and Guard House
-Staffing at police stations with four or less members per shift: 532 Police stations, 5 841 posts vacant
-Medium risk training to all members in basic training (TRT training)
-Technology: The process for the appointment of a Panel of Suppliers for CCTV and Access Control have been initiated
Phase Two: 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2024: Roll out of other minimum standards that are not technology, Roll out of technology: CCTV, Panic Alarm
Continuous Monitoring and Evaluation of I-mplementation of Action Plan
Critical success factors included:
-Recruitment of entry level staff
-Approved Resource Plan for implementation
-Authorisation by PWD for security upgrades for non devolved stations
-All procurement of these services is done on Urgency Delegation
-Approval of the Cyber Crime Act for the implementation of Body worn cameras
In terms of the way forward, Provincial Commissioners have identify and prioritise police stations to be considered for implementation of safety standards. A phased approached is used to ensure safety security measures are implemented at all police stations. Bid/tender processes will be initiated to obtain the necessary procurement and financial authority with execution of plan which includes a quantity survey on costs. A staffing plan will be compiled to address shortages of personnel on shift at identified police stations. Specifications for CCTV cameras have been finalised. The roll out of body-worn cameras will be done after finalisation of the legal matters as mentioned above.
Maj. Gen. Rabie said the management of SAPS is committed to ensuring the safety at police stations i.e. SAPS employees, detainees, public and to prevent damage to property, ensuring police stations are capacitated to eliminate the risk and to develop Standard Operating Procedures for “Attacks on Police Stations” and to ensure operational readiness to prevent the loss of life and damage to property.
The Chairperson said the shortage of police staff to population ratio was a reality. In May, SAPS management indicated to the Committee that there were currently 11 000 reservists in SA. On the surprise visits undertaken by Members to stations, which would continue, it was clear the number of vehicles used for patrolling, especially on the weekend, were curtailed because members must be in the stations. How would it be ensured that while members were in the stations, visible policing continued? Much more energy and focus should be given to reservists – during peak hours and weekends, reservists could be in the stations while SAPS members were out patrolling and supporting communities.
Ms Mabija asked what was meant by four or less members per shift – could this mean zero members present?
Mr Mhlongo highlighted that the Committee is an oversight organ of Parliament and SITA is not above it. Is SITA a problem for SAPS? Government agencies could not exist to plunder public resources. Has SAPS developed its own toolkit in terms of verification of assets? Stealing from state coffers was pure criminality – a disciplinary process was not needed to determine this. Discipline could occur while one was wearing the orange uniform. Breakages in the chain of the effectiveness of the toolkit must be identified and those responsible held accountable. The emphasis should not be on holding constant meetings – it was in these meetings that exploitation occurred. The role of SAPS was to manage the tool and ensure it was working.
Ms Kohler Barnard asked what got into SITA that it thought it could simply remove SAPS assets from the register in 2006 – she was speechless to see a billion Rand worth of assets simply taken off the books. Was someone disciplined or have they been promoted? Now that asset verification was done, how much of the network infrastructure was missing? How much was stolen? What has disappeared and at what value? The result was that the AGSA had insufficient evidence to substantiate. Thieves were using the SAPS stations as firearm ATMs – getting DPW involved in the solution would not assist. DPW did not listen to what the SAPS needed but gave them what it thought they needed and it was a catastrophe every time. This was besides the length of time DPW took to respond. Did SAPS not have the budget or authority to do this work itself? If it could, SAPS should do so even if just to ensure expander gates on the front door of stations to protect members. She was pleased to hear that guardhouses would now be implemented – who would stand in these houses?
Ms Mmola asked how SITA could procure SAPS assets but not disclose it on the register. What were the guardhouses for? When would the vacant posts be filled?
Ms Molebatsi also wanted to know who was going to man the guardhouses because if they were not correctly monitored it could be a haven for many wrong things. When would the CCTVs be implemented at police stations?
Mr Groenewald noted that if the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill was amended as suggested to allow for the body-worn cameras, this would be in contravention of the Regulation of Interception of Communication-related Information Act – it did not make sense to have two pieces of legislation working against each other and clarity was required.
Mr Maake was surprised to hear that there was no a problem with the body-worn cameras – how was the conflict with the legislation only realised now? At this point the budget needed to be finalised for these cameras. The Committee has been dealing with DPW for many years now – on two occasions it was called to appear before the Committee. How could people who did not understand how police stations worked be responsible for building them? What needs to be changed? How can the Committee assist so that the problem was dealt with?
Ms Mabija agreed with Members – the Committee should be told how it can intervene.
The Chairperson was worried about the urgency – who was going to take the responsibility if there was another Ngcobo? The risks and priority stations were known and the timeframe was not realistic. The Committee heard that police members at stations were afraid of being attacked. These members must feel safe enough to do their jobs.
Gen. Sitole appreciated that the Committee held SAPS accountable and confronted management when things were not done – the Committee also came to the rescue of SAPS when there was a dilemma. Regarding DPW, there was a policy which governed physical security installations. The policy was promulgated by government and was in the domain of DPW. SAPS proposed this policy be reviewed. The policy impacted a number of aspects such as implementation timeframe – this essentially rested with DPW. SAPS required the Committee to confront this policy. SAPS were the masters of security and it knew the implications of a poor response to a security risk. A physical security assessment report was conducted on the national Parliament which required urgent response – in three years it was still not implemented due to the policy. SAPS would work with the Secretariat to draft a proposal. Consultations would also need to take place with the Minister.
Gen. Sitole said SITA was not the problem , the problem was the SITA Act. There is a drastic and rapid modus operandi advancement– only SAPS would know about advanced modus operandi in the fore which criminals were using. If the modus operandi was cyber in nature and directed towards the grand economy strategy of the country, it could collapse the grand economy strategy within seven days. Some of the technology SAPS used to respond to the modus operandi was national security and SITA was not supposed to know – SAPS was forced to let SITA know despite the risks of infiltration. Support was required to look at this legislation. If SAPS had control of the security response and capability, it would account better to the Committee. Enabling legislation was required. Legal services should do a feasibility analysis on the legislation creating handicaps for the Service. SITA did not have the capacity to do modus operandi analysis – only SAPS knew this yet SITA owned the domain in which the SAPS was required to respond as per the Act.
On the borders, Gen. Sitole was not happy – SAPS was not performing poorly but the state of the current border environment was not up to expectations. This was a multidisciplinary matter involving the Department of Home Affairs and Border Management Authority (BMA) which SAPS worked with. In terms of numbers, the SAPS personnel plan was no longer capable of responding to the policing demand. This was brought to the attention of the Minster and the Minister informed the President. A business case was developed to respond to the data coming out of Stats SA. Too much could not be said because criminal elements were listening but the current personnel response plan to policing was handicapped. Something drastic would be done to ensure SAPS responded to the calls of the community. There were challenges with the countries bordering SA which were being addressed at bi-national level. For SAPS to perform at the borders it required a concrete cross-border arrangement – these processes were on the fore.
There were two types of policing – operational policing and basic policing. Operational policing was high density policing and was three times more expensive than basic policing. Informal settlements extended far away from police stations. Malls were constructed without the knowledge of the police. Such areas were not covered under policing because the personnel plan was not responsive. SAPS were then forced into operational policing for “fire extinguishing”. The aim was to end crisis policing to stabilise and normalise policing in the country. The support of the Committee was required on the personnel plan and business case.
Gen. Sitole issued an instruction to unlock the recruitment of reservists – VISPOL was working on this. Criminals now deployed the crime scene – 500 meters way, they would deploy 15 people with AK47s. These cases were then reported to the police station and two members were sent to respond – what would they be able to do? This was an example of the current modus operandi to which the police were required to respond. The response needed to be normalised and explained the move to TRT training. The reservists can be increased but could not be included at that level of training to respond. There is no police station that would have less than two members on shift. There were some stations which had less than four members per shift but this was being improved. The aim was not to have less than four members per shift because the stations were under attack.
Maj. Gen. Nelson responded to SITA removing assets from the register in 2006 by saying the reason for this decision was not known. The Department was under the impression that this was disclosed in their financial statements meaning it was approved by National Treasury inventory transfer for the account of all assets previously owned by SAPS. SITA took control of these assets and accounted for them and at some point in time a decision was taken in this regard. The exact reason for this decision was not known.
Gen. Sitole clarified that the minimum amount of staff at a station per shift was four members presently. Regarding SITA, there were value chain investigations which affected all party to the procurement.
Ms Kohler Barnard asked if this was a Special Investigation Unit (SIU) investigation or who was running this investigation. What was the end date?
Gen. Sitole remarked that on his first day in office, he was called to account on procurement to SCOPA. This procurement involved corruption. There were many investigating bodies included, such as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), and a value chain investigation was established to bring everyone together.
Presently, SAPS has not ruled out security for the manning of the guardhouses. SAPS were working on the capability required at the station. Attacks on stations were done with AK47s. In Ngcobo, rifles were used.
SITA was independent of SAPS and current provisions allowed them to procure on behalf of SAPS. This was a symptom of a problem created by legislation.
An instruction was issued for the filling of vacancies under the current rationalisation for all police stations. Some posts were still under advertisement but a decision was taken to drastic increase the capacity at stations.
Lt. Gen. Mgwenya confirmed the rationalisation process involved moving resources from provincial and national office to local police stations. Members would be deployed at stations in line with their skills. The details of the implementation plan would be presented to the Committee tomorrow. Together with VISPOL, there was a plan for the priority stations.
Gen. Sitole said the decision on the body cams was suspended pending the opinion of the Department of Justice. The matter would be escalated to the criminal justice cluster so that it received urgent attention at this level. A structured feasibility analysis of all legislation impacting SAPS was conducted under instruction – this would be brought before the Committee including legislation which was in conflict. This would include looking at the legislation dealing with liquor in schools in the Western Cape. The impact of this legislation fell on the police but the police was not involved in the formulation of this legislation. This was an area for engagement and strategies for implementation.
Special urgent arrangements were needed with SITA and DPW. The safety of police was currently a national crisis and was of high priority for management. An instruction was given to convert barrack systems to estates. Also with the transportation of police, the aim was to move away from the police entertaining themselves at the wrong places – a police member was recently shot at a tavern. The estates could assist in this regard.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee would tomorrow deal with contract management in Crime Intelligence. The Committee noted the progress reports. SAPS needed a clean audit – performance issues must be dealt with and it was clear there was still hard work to be done. The Committee would monitor this. The safety of police was critical.
The meeting was adjourned.
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