The Portfolio Committees on Police and Public Works, in the presence of the Minister of Police, met jointly in a special meeting called during recess to be briefed on matters relating to safety and security at the national legislature following a tragic incident in which a senior staff member shot himself dead in his office on the parliamentary precinct on 14 September 2018.
The Portfolio Committee on Police’s researcher presented on parliamentary security in a brief presentation addressing the security policy of the Parliament of South Africa, security concerns raised by SAPS in a previous meeting with the Committee and international breaches of security at legislatures.
SAPS briefed the Committees on the roles and responsibilities of the Service in protecting the national parliament. The presentation addressed the strategic regulatory and policy specification environment for protection services and physical security measures, key components and influencing factors regarding static protection and functions of SAPS in protecting Parliament. The presentation then detailed the security breach which took place at Parliament on 14 September 2018 where a member of staff of Parliament committed suicide. Members were then alerted to security deficiencies/challenges as identified by SAPS, current static protection capability and the way forward in improving security measures at Parliament.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) briefed the Committees on its role in providing and maintaining infrastructure in Parliament, other National Key Points and other sites as the implementing department. The presentation also spoke to communication between DPW and SAPS regarding security at Parliament and the initiation of a project by DPW of the parliamentary precinct to upgrade of security to the external entrances to Parliament, installation of additional security fencing, creating a temporary vehicle search park and enhanced security to various buildings – the project was expected to be completed in 2020.
Members were most concerned that deficiencies and challenges raised with the Portfolio Committee on Police in 2015, following a breach in security at Parliament, still remained. The Committees wanted to know when these gaps would be dealt with. There was also concern that the joint planning committee to address matters of security at the national legislature was still not established. In this case, there was worry that Parliament was not present in the meeting when it was a primary stakeholder. It was said integrated stakeholder protection is a primary way forward and while discussing security was good and well, in the absence of the Secretary to Parliament, Union, Chief Whips and Speakers, this was futile. Buy-in of these stakeholders and users, who accessed the premises on a daily business, was required. Members highlighted examples of the lax security at Parliament when it came to visitors, the non-searching of vehicles and static protectors not paying full attention due to a lack of discipline. Other Members said the security system at Parliament generally worked bar some Members of Parliament refusing to cooperate.
There were questions raised around steps taken against those responsible for ensuring access control and security infrastructure was working, if static protectors were adequately qualified for the job, DPW contracts, policies, preventative maintenance and contingency plans.
The poor performance of DPW was berated especially because of critical security infrastructure which was either faulty or not working at all. It was noted that this was not limited to SAPS and Parliament – many other state institutions and facilities experienced challenges in dealing with DPW. Members were pleased to see that SAPS would promote refresher training for those working in the environment, as it would assist in ensuring these officers upheld and enforced the law, but asked if SAPS had its finger on the pulse regarding low morale associated with the nature of the work in this environment and if there was opportunity for career pathing. A Member identified the weakest link in the incident was the lack of discipline of the static protector present at the building not ensuring the deceased placed his bag through the x-ray machine.
Members particularly highlighted the attitude of certain users at Parliament, including Members of Parliament, Ministers and senior officials, refusing to be checked by security or having their bags passed through scanners often stating “do you know who I am”. It was emphasised that for security to function effectively, all users in Parliament must respect the security process and subject themselves equally.
Other Members cautioned against what it appeared to be a heavy-handed, militarised approach to the incident - it was said blame could not be apportioned to one party and that no one could guard against what an individual decided to do and so “a sledgehammer could not be used to kill a fly”. The problem in this situation was that a firearm was brought onto the premises and this was the only matter for Members to focus on. It was also highlighted that Parliament was a public institution that interacted with the people and this must be balanced against security.
The Departments were provided with a list of matters to follow up on, within 14 days, before the Committee met again to be briefed on updates and progress made, scheduled for November. Interim solutions are required urgently to address the immediate challenges of defunct metal detector scanners and security cameras within the precinct of Parliament.
Chairperson Beukman outlined that everyone learnt from the recent tragic incident on Friday, 14 September 2018, when a member of the parliamentary staff took his own life at a workstation in the 90 Plein Street building – both Committees extended their sincere condolences to the family. The focus of the meeting today would be on security measures and role and responsibility of the SA Police Service (SAPS) and Department of Public Works (DPW). There is a parliamentary investigation around matters related to the incident which the meeting today would not delve into. The meeting would focus on the oversight responsibility of the two Committees.
Security and safety at Parliament is of enormous importance and which prompted this special meeting called during the recess. Parliament is the seat of the national legislature – Members of Parliament, members of staff and members of the public must feel safe in the environment at all times. Any breach of security or protocol which had a negative effect must be properly investigated with remedial action. The purpose of the meeting is to really look at what happened, current challenges and what can be done to improve the situation looking ahead.
Chairperson Mmemezi said focus was needed. It was also important to take into account the children, families and colleagues affected – it was important to bring comfort in this regard. The fact that the meeting was called during recess reflected the urgency of the matter. There was a need for regular meetings between SAPS and DPW on the matter. Matters relating to security needed to be checked and updated regularly. It is important to look at the future – this would not be the last such joint engagement.
Apologies were received from the Minister and Deputy Minister of Public Works.
Ms Nicolette Van Zyl-Gous, Committee Researcher, began by noting that security breaches at parliaments are a common occurrence worldwide. The vast majority are non-violent and protest-driven although there have been serious incidents recorded with a loss of lives. Parliamentary security services, supported by police forces, are responsible for security. Security is provided by unarmed guards calling for armed response when needed. There are formalised agreements to coordinate roles and responsibilities of the police and parliamentary security in other countries. This is usually coordinated through security planning officers, or similar structures.
With the security policy for the Parliament of RSA, a policy was signed and approved in 2005 by the presiding officers. The policy applies to the parliamentary precinct but excluded Tuynhuis. It defines the responsibility of SAPS and Protection and Security Services (PSS) and there are duel responsibilities when it comes to control centres, chamber security, reaction and incidents, events and technical surveillance countermeasures. A lack of formal service level agreements or memorandum of understanding makes coordination of these duel responsibilities difficult. There is a need for engagement between Parliament and SAPS to clarify these roles and responsibilities.
A previous meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Police, on 4 November 2015, was held after student protesters breached security. During the meeting there was a discrepancy regarding whether the precinct is considered a National Key Point (NKP) as only three buildings on the precinct are declared as such namely 120 Plein, Tuynhuis and the two Houses of Parliament. Security concerns raised by SAPS during the meeting included, inter alia, poor access control, lack of shelter at vehicle entrances (poor working conditions), inadequate perimeter fence (easy to jump over) and no checkpoints for deliveries – three years later, these challenges still remain. There are also third party contracting challenges in terms of procurement of security equipment and upgrades to infrastructure.
The presentation then looked at international examples of security branches – the most violent breaches of parliamentary security have been recorded in Iran, Armenia, Canada and India. In 2017, two terrorist attacks were carried out at the Iranian Parliament and a mausoleum. The attack left 17 civilians dead and 43 injured. The Westminster attack in 2017 was the deadliest when a car drove into pedestrians on the pavement of the Westminster bridge injuring 50 civilians and killing five. The car then rammed the perimeter fence of Parliament. An unarmed police officer was fatally stabbed. In 2014, a gunman shot and killed a Member of the Canadian Armed Forces at a memorial site and entered the adjacent precinct while Parliament was in session. The attacker was shot and killed. In 2001, terrorists gained entrance to the Armenian Parliament with AK-47 rifles under their coats. Eight people were killed including the Prime Minister, a Cabinet Minister, the Speaker, two Deputy Speakers and three Members of Parliament. Many other non-violent security breaches by protesters have been recorded worldwide.
Roles and Responsibilities of the SAPS in protecting the National Parliament
Gen. Khehla Sitole, National Commissioner of Police, said the matter dealt with was governed by two key pieces of legislation namely, National Key Points Act and Strategic Intelligence Act. By virtue of the fact that Parliament is a NKP, there is certain information which could not be shared on a public platform because of the presence of the media. SAPS would provide as much information as it could and would respond to questions but when it comes to national security, he pleaded with the Committee to not share this information. Alternatively, a closed session could be arranged.
Maj. Gen. Leon Rabie, SAPS Head: Strategic Management, then briefed the Committee on the roles and responsibilities of SAPS in protecting the National Parliament. The mandate of SAPS is derived from Section 205 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996). The objectives of policing are to:
-prevent, combat and investigate crime
-maintain public order
-protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property
-uphold and enforce the law
Protection Services are performed in terms of the SA Constitution (SA 1996: Constitution 108
24(1)) whereby the Interim Constitution (SA 1993: Act 200 of 1993: 218 (1)) remains intact; re:
“…the National Commissioner shall be responsible for (1) national protection service…” The SAPS Act (1995: Act 68 of 1995 11(1)) further states the National Commissioner may exercise the powers and shall perform the duties and functions necessary to give effect to Section 218(1) of the Constitution.
Looking at strategic regulatory and policy specification, in response to its constitutional mandate, and in support of its operational strategy, SAPS established the Protection and Security Services (PSS) division to render professional, effective and accountable protection and security services to all identified dignitaries and government interests in South Africa (SA 2003: Cabinet Memorandum) through the following functions:
-provision of VIP protection services
-provision of static protection services
-provision of a regulatory service to all identified strategic installations, including NKPs
With the physical security measures regulatory framework, SAPS Security Advisory Services (SAS) is mandated to conduct physical security appraisals at all identified installations/government buildings as part of risk limiting principles of the security strategy and to make recommendations on appropriate security measures to:
-delay, detect or prevent unauthorised intrusion to a facility
-activate appropriate responses to such attempts or actual gaining of unauthorised intrusion
- implementation of physical security measures to safeguard employees, contractors and visitors from harm
-secure information and documents at the facility
The Minimum Physical Security Standard states further that when providing facilities for institutions, the National Department of Public Works must ensure that:
-physical security measures as prescribed by SAPS (SAS) for departments/institutions, as part of contracting process, are adhered to
-threat and risk assessments are conducted by the relevant National Intelligence Structures
-security assessment of facilities, or drawings/architectural designs thereof, are undertaken by SAPS (SAS) before any agreement is entered into to procure the property for an institution and all recommendations of the SAPS (SAS) are implemented
- SAPS are involved in all structural improvements done to maintain minimum physical security levels of the institutions
-the security section is exposed to appropriate security-related training to empower them in the performance of their functions
The presentation addressed the key components and influencing factors concerning static security.
Maj. Gen. Rabie then discussed the functions of SAPS (PSS) in protecting Parliament – the primary aim of access control is to safeguard Parliament as a strategic government installation and ensure the safety and protection of VIPs within the parliamentary precinct. Access control is executed through the following five primary functions:
SAPS (PSS) Responsibility:
-screening of the person who seeks access to determine if the person is a legitimate visitor and whether his/her reason for visiting the premises is a valid one
-search and examination of the person and vehicle, if applicable, for harmful items, including perimeter patrol and protection and established Response Teams within the parliamentary precinct
Parliament Protection Services is responsible for record keeping of access, permit issuing and escorting of visitor to the said office etc.
Looking at the security breach at Parliament, (suicide of staff member of Parliament), on 14 September 2018, at 09:55, a staff member attached to International Relations, Policy Analysis at Parliament, Mr L Garane, arrived at 90 Plein Street Building basement area and entered the access control area at the basement. He showed his permit in the direction of the SAPS Static Protector and walked through without placing his bag through the x-ray machine. According to a co-worker, Mr N Mzuvukile, Mr L Garane appeared despondent when he arrived at his office and said something of “wishing to say farewell”. Mr Sambona from Parliament Wellness and Health was called and went to speak to Mr L Garane in his office. Upon observation that Mr L Garane was not looking well, Mr Sambona went to arrange for an ambulance to take the member to hospital. Mr L Garane locked his office after Mr Sambona left. Mr Sambona did not witness any firearm at the time. Later the staff member sitting across the office of Mr L Garane, who heard the shot, called the PSS Control Room for assistance. SAPS Static Response Team responded to the call at the scene where they found the door from where the shot was fired locked from the inside. Through the window in the door, the members saw Mr L Garane sitting on a coach in the office with a wound at the head and what would appear to be a firearm on his chest. The door was forcefully opened and Mr L Garane was found with a bullet wound to the head and declared dead on the scene by Emergency Services. The firearm used in the incident is a licenced CZ 9mm short pistol registered in the deceased name. A suicide letter was found on the table of a staff member working with Mr L Garane. Mr L Gerane was an authorised permit holder and entitled to access the 90 Plein Street Building. The Static Protector contravened the Static Protection Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) by allowing Mr L Garane to gain access to the Building without screening. An inquest was registered at SAPS Cape Town Central – CAS 710/09/2018. The Static Protector in question was served on 15 September 2018 with a Notice of Intended Suspension in terms of Disciplinary Regulation 10(2) of the SAPS Discipline Regulations, 2016. The prescribed disciplinary procedure was also initiated against the Static Protector.
Maj. Gen. Rabie then addressed security deficiencies/challenges noting the approach by SAPS to utilise physical security measures as part of its security strategy, by means of a layered approach, is in line with international standards. The shortcoming in using physical security measures is found in the lack of implementation thereof, as well as ensuring effective working and operating of physical security equipment. Without the element of operational functioning, this key element cannot be counted on as part of the security strategy. The current paper slip issued to visitors poses challenges in terms of control. The presentation highlighted access control mechanisms, metal detectors and x-ray machines out of order. There is no asset control tracking system to prevent unauthorised removal of equipment e.g. computers. Increased volumes of visitors / tours to Parliament (35 -105 delegates per tour). The layout of the access control point and set-up equipment is not conducive for proper access control. Parking of vehicles and busses on the precinct is not properly managed and subsequently blocks emergency routes and exits.
The cooperation by clients (Members of Parliament, staff, visitors etc) is not supportive to the security strategy e.g. they do not see the importance of the work of static protection and do not respect access control procedures. Identified stakeholders are not readily available for service delivery meetings. There are no contingency evacuation drills.
Specific concerns were raised about the lack of a search park at the parliamentary complex for K9 to search delivery trucks - delivery trucks obtain entry to secured areas before being searched. Cameras are not in sequence which makes it difficult to follow an intruder within the parliament precinct. There is no demarcation/zoning of areas of importance e.g. Office of the Presiding Officers. There is no “Speakers Corner” e.g. for increased marches to Parliament. The parliamentary precinct is declared a heritage site and approval must be obtained from the SA Heritage Resources Agency (SARHA) as well as Western Cape Heritage before any infra-structure changes can be considered. The perimeter fence at Parliament is only 1.2m high and easy to jump over. There are no shelters at the main entrances for extreme weather conditions. Static protectors have to open and close gates, search vehicles etc in the rain. Due to the lack of guard huts, static protectors are not protected in the case of an attack.
Other challenges included homeless people using the parliamentary complex boundary as a safe haven, especially during the night because police officials patrol the area and therefore Parliament is a safe area for them. There is no control over occupants or visitors to the private lodge within the parliament precinct. There is a need to balance the idea of an open, transparent People’s Parliament and security of the precinct. There are also increased marches to Parliament.
Maj. Gen. Rabie looked at the current static protection capability noting the Static Protection Unit Commander at Parliament is at the level of Lt Colonel. Supervision includes, one Captain per shift at the parliamentary precinct (PSS). The current deployment is 334 Static Protectors operating in two 12 hour shifts from 06:00 to 18:00 (day shift) and 18:00 and 06:00 (night shift). The day shift is supplemented with an additional eight hour shift over the peak times of Parliament.
Looking at the way forward and conclusion, enforcement of access control measures to be implemented from 1 October 2018 included:
-permit holders must produce permits for identification purposes and wear it visibly
-all permit holders will in future make a declaration to the designated security officials whether they are in possession of any firearm or harmful objects
-all permit holders will be subject to a screening process as stipulated within the security policy of Parliament
-vehicles entering the parliamentary precinct must be in possession of the required vehicle parking disc and vehicles will be subject to searching procedures
-sensitising of all permit holders through the Acting Secretary to Parliament to produce permits for identification purposes and wear it visibly
-request the Speaker of Parliament to enforce establishment of a Joint Planning Committee at Parliament in accordance with the NKP Act (Act No 102 of 1980)
-stakeholder engagement, e.g. DPW, on challenges with equipment and layout of access points and to maximise utilisation of technology in securing of the parliamentary precinct
- additional Static Protector deployment at Parliament: outer perimeter: six vehicle and pedestrian access control points, increase from one/two to five Static Protectors per posting. Inner perimeter: 16 access control points at buildings in the parliamentary precinct, increase from one/two to three/five Static Protectors per posting
-immediate briefing of Static Protectors with regard to improved security measures and role and responsibility of Static Protection in this regard, enhanced command and control, zoning of parliamentary precinct in more manageable areas and designating of supervisors (Warrant Officers) to each zone, implementing a checklist for supervisors to ensure compliance with standing operating procedures and refresher courses for Static Protectors
-professionlise Static Protection: implementation of a Protection Capability Management Strategy for a workforce of excellence, job specific recruitment and selection for Static Protection, optimised training, Personal Development Plan, career pathing, reward strategy and exit strategy.
The unfortunate incident that occurred emphasised the need for integrated stakeholders’ engagement with the view to improve security in Parliament. Likewise, SAPS will embark on a programme to professionalise Static Protection as part of the vision of the National Development Plan of a well-resourced professional institution, staffed by highly skilled officers, who value their work, in a journey to a safer South Africa.
Security Enhancement Project for Parliamentary Precinct
Mr Sam Vukela, DPW Director-General, said that DPW, as the service department, serviced SAPS and Parliament as the clients regarding security measures.
DPW is responsible for the infrastructure in Parliament, NKPs and other sites. In 2016, DPW resuscitated a project to look at improving access control at external entrances of Parliament including the creation of a vehicle search park, anti-drug barriers, enhancing CCTV cameras, perimeter intruders’ detection and K9 holding area for the bomb explosive unit, following the presentation made by SAPS to the Portfolio Committee on Police in 2015 following a security breach. SAPS were part of this project team. There were difficulties in receiving approvals from SAHRA and Western Cape Heritage. It was expected that the project would be initiated in 2018/19 and concluded in 2020. The current maintenance contract was awarded on 1 November 2016 to EOH Technologies for a period of 36 months, which will come to an end on 31 October 2019. Before this contract expires, there will be another maintenance contract in place.
DPW was in constant communication with SAPS regarding security breaches but as the implementing department, it took DPW some time to install new security features due to how the project cycle is implemented in the Department.
Chairperson Beukman noted that gaps in the security of Parliament were already identified in 2015 but three years later, these gaps still existed – what would be done to ensure these gaps were dealt with? SAPS highlights gaps in security machinery and equipment at Parliament – could the Committees be assured this was dealt with and security at Parliament was at the level it was expected to be? Also raised in 2015 was the existence of a joint planning committee but such a committee was still not in place – why?
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) highlighted that it was not the purpose of the meeting to apportion blame – no one could guard what an individual person did in their own home or office. No one could answer for a person’s state of mind and if this person was desperate enough they could go to the top of a building and jump. The problem in this situation was that a firearm was brought onto the premises and this was the only matter for Members to focus on. The question was how this firearm came into the building. It was easy for a firearm to be chucked over the walls of Parliament and someone already on the premises can then do immeasurable harm. There were many police stations where SAPS begged DPW for security because walls have been removed by DPW fly-by-night contractors taking the money and fleeing – these stations were left with zero security. There were no scanners at the borders so it was not surprise that Parliament did not have scanners either. Workable solutions must be looked at. Unless electric fencing was placed around the whole precinct and everyone was stripped down, she did not see how these challenges would be removed. However, procedures must be tightened up. She was most concerned to hear that some scanners were faulty – whose responsibility was this? A briefing was needed on what impact the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill has on the security of Parliament.
Mr S Emam (NFP) asked whether Parliament should have been present in this meeting so that they were aware of what exactly was going on.
Chairperson Beukman clarified the focus of the meeting was really on the incident that happened and security and what was in the jurisdiction of the two Committees. Recommendations made today might involve Parliament.
Mr Emam highlighted this because weaknesses and challenges in the security of Parliament was already raised in 2015 but very little or nothing had been done – it took the protest death of a colleague to bring this to the fore. He conveyed condolences to the family. Despite presentations speaking to measures to improve security nothing has changed – anyone was able to drive into the precinct and the vehicle would not be searched at all. SAPS itself breached security because it was not allowed to conduct investigations on the premises of Parliament – this was breached by two officers from Cape Town Central Police Station who misled security at Parliament and conducted an investigation on the premises. Escorting of visitors never ever happens – visitors sign in at the entrance and are presumed to be innocent, stable citizens and are allowed into the premises. They are not escorted around – if it is done, it is a rarity. This must be addressed. None of the checkpoints seem to have metal detectors. If there was a terrorist attack in Parliament, it would be the easiest target in the country because there is basically no security at all at these checkpoints – if there was such attack, it would be fatal. Challenges identified must be taken seriously and measures must be implemented as a matter of absolute urgency. Parliament must account because it was equally responsible for security of the people. It seemed the responsibility was simply pushed onto SAPS and parliamentary security when Parliament itself is providing and paying for this service.
Dr M Figg (DA) asked what action would be taken against those responsible for ensuring access control and security infrastructure was working – someone should be held accountable. The Member said he had better control over security at his house than there was a Parliament, a NKP. It was unacceptable that there was insufficient space to thoroughly check vehicles. There were 400 Members of Parliament on the precinct – vehicles’ not being properly checked were unacceptable and was an indicator that something was surely wrong. The Member wondered how adequately qualified the people appointed for maintaining security were to do the job – if such person did not see the necessity of searching a vehicle coming onto the parliamentary premises, it was a huge problem. Would visitors also have to make a declaration as permit holders were recommended to do? Making a declaration was not adequate – surely people should not be allowed to bring firearms onto the precinct at all. People could be instructed to leave the firearm at a point and collect it against once they are leaving the precinct. Mention was made of a security policy – was there a document of this policy? The Member has not seen such policy. He was pleased to see refresher courses for static protectors would be held to promote professionalism – this acknowledged persons on the precinct providing security were not adequately qualified. Why was EOH, who FDA had shares in, favoured for the contract? Was this the best company for the contract?
Mr D Ryder (DA) conveyed condolences to the family of Mr Garane and his colleagues – this was an unfortunate incident which Members must use as a learning opportunity. In a City Press article of 23 September 2018, the former head of Parliament’s security services said “In my experience, there are staff members who are managers or even MPs, who refuse to allow the police to do their job. They refuse to be searched and will shout: ‘Do you know who I am? I am a member of Parliament’ or ‘I am a senior manager; I can’t be searched’”. This is where the problem lies. There are systems in place and policies are largely followed but today there are turkeys discussing the cancellation of Christmas i.e. SAPS and DPW cannot protect those who do not allow themselves to be protected. Integrated stakeholder protection is a primary way forward. Discussing security was good and well but in the absence of the Secretary to Parliament, Union, Chief Whips and Speakers, this was futile. Buy-in of these stakeholders and users, who accessed the premises on a daily business, were required. There are deficiencies such as metal detectors and access control machines not working and this required serious attention. The system however generally works. Visitors he knew were most impressed by security at Parliament, went through the necessary checks and balances and were prevented from bringing in things they were not supposed to. While the system was generally working, buy-in from the various departments and people accessing Parliament was required – this was where a strong focus should be placed especially as election season approached. People have to subject themselves to security checks at the airport and should do the same when accessing the precinct of Parliament. There was however a fine line between hampering freedom of movement and security – stakeholder engagement would determine where this line was and this was most important moving forward.
Ms E Masehela (ANC) sought clarity from DPW on whether the contract was ending in 2018 or 2019. The matter at hand was not about equipment not working properly, although this must be looked into - the problem was with those people who did not want to be searched or refused to have their bags searched. She was pleased to hear about refreshing of the in-service training for these officers – this would assist in ensuring these officers upheld and enforced the law. Even if a Member of Parliament did not have a tag, a temporary one should be sought – everyone must ensure things were done properly and in-service training would assist with this. No one can be allowed to pass through an entrance without the necessary checks – this does happen often. It was also often found that static protectors were talking to each other at the entrances without checking those passing through. While DPW was responsible for infrastructure, within the infrastructure was specialised machinery. She recommended the policy regarding this should be revisited so that SAPS attended to these technicalities as it knew exactly what it wanted and when items were not functioning. This would prevent further damage being done in the time it took to report a fault to another department. The main concern was to have people passing through the entrances without being checked.
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) noted that DPW’s presentation said the Department last carried out preventive maintenance in July 2018 to ensure all x-ray machines were working properly – what happened between July and now? There were currently x-ray machines not working properly. Why were contingency evacuation drills not done? Who was responsible for ensuring this happened?
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) said there was a saying which went “do not throw the baby out with the bathwater” i.e. there must be a balance between a people’s Parliament and security measures. The weakest link in this specific incident was a lack of discipline by the static protector. One could go through the entrance to any building and find static protectors with earphones in and busy on their cellphones without even noticing who was passing by. They were not aware of what was happening around them and were not doing their work – this was lack of discipline because if there was discipline, the job would be done. It was also important to be realistic – the police could not do a thorough search of vehicles entering the parliamentary precinct otherwise there would be a traffic jam every morning. This was why each building in Parliament had different security measures. The Member said he would not want to be searched each time he entered a building – who would want this? There are metal detectors which could be set to sensitivity to detect items especially a firearm. The appeal to the police is to go back to discipline –if the police member involved was dedicated and disciplined, the incident would not have happened. The DPW presentation said a project was registered to enhance security measures around the Parliament precinct in 2007. The planning instruction was issued to the Cape Town Regional Office with a project description: Cape Town: Parliamentary Precinct: Upgrade Of Security To The Entrances To Parliament; Installation Of Additional Security Fencing; Create Temporary Vehicle Search Park And Enhanced Security To Various Buildings WCS 045138. The project came to a standstill due to scope creep and as a result became dormant – what is “scope creep”? How could the police be expected to do a proper job if they would create a traffic jam? The real weakest link was a lack of discipline on the part of the static protector and DPW was actually undermining the efforts of SAPS.
Mr J Maake (ANC) noted it was said the SAHRA and Western Cape Heritage Council needed to be approached before any restructuring could be done as Parliament is a heritage site – this meant the power lied with these agencies and DPW could do nothing without their approval. This means there can be no contingency measures until there was approval by these two institutions – this meant DPW could do nothing. This was totally unacceptable when discussing security. Project cycles were also totally unacceptable when discussing security. Who should have initiated the joint planning committee? The presiding officers should have been present today to explain why this committee was not in existence. Would labour relations allow static officers at the gates to search cars in the rain – he did not think the union would agree to this. There must be some protection and this could be done, even if a tent was set up. Until these matters were sorted out, Members were wasting their time discussing it. Why was there no overriding contingency plan?
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) thought there were at least two aspects at play in this incident – accountability and enforcement that must happen as well as an important learning opportunity. The question was whether the lapse in protocol was an exceptional infraction or a symptom of a more chronic deficiency in the environment. In carrying out the disciplinary procedure against the static protector, will the process involved detailed and strategic question to find out exactly from the member what the problem was that led to the incident? The Member suspected there was a challenge of morale in the environment – it could not be the most stimulating job to work a 12-hour shift in one spot just watching people pass by. The Member remembered working in retail doing access control - standing on one’s feet for hours at a time was absolute murder on the lower back. Did SAPS Employee Health and Wellness (EHW) have its finger on the pulse in this regard to ensure the morale and wellbeing of members serving in this environment is catered for therefore enabling them to operate optimally? Do members working at the entrances to buildings where bags were passed through an x-ray machine know what to look for? Was there adequate training to interpret the imagery so that the routine everyone went through of placing bags on the machine had an informed result? Was PSS treated with the same status or esteem as other divisions such as Intelligence and Detective Services? Or was it seen as a place where members were placed when there was no space for them in the Service? Was there career pathing and training to ensure members in the environment feel valued and were therefore able to operate effectively? The concern was that the matter was more of a systemic, chronic one in the environment which would not be solved through one disciplinary against one member. Were members in the environment, serving in Parliament and perhaps other NKPs, supported by being included in intelligence briefings impacting their environment to raise awareness or were they “flying blind” and not adding value in the environment?
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) noted both SAPS and DPW correctly identified the lapse which gave rise to what occurred on the day of the incident. Now that the lapse was identified, corrective measures must be taken to deal with this. Some measures suggested bordered on heavy-handed militarisation of the precinct as a result of a particular incident. Some measures were not necessary in line with the ethos of Parliament being an institution for the people and that interacts with the people. He cautioned against these heavy-handed approaches and rather that lapses identified be dealt with e.g. faulty machinery. The DPW presentation ran contrary to the deficiencies highlighted in the SAPS presentation. The focus should be on these lapses in a measured way. He was very concerned by the militarisation in reaction to this incident. The fact that there was a suicide note on the scene indicates the deceased had taken the decision to take his life and unfortunately, the scene of the incident happened to be Parliament on this particular day. Both DPW and SAPS correctly identify the lapse in protocol being that the deceased did not put his bag through the x-ray machine however there was no follow-through to say what would be done to ensure this did not happen again. Often times there were more than one static protector at a building entrance so the explanation must also account for this. Scope creep could not account for the entire breakdown of the system e.g. at Porthuis, there was a machine that had not been working for some time and this was identified by the police. The need for the establishment of a joint planning committee was contained in the policy but the question was who the lead agency was to ensure this committee was established. Were there incidents involving certain officials coming to work with their firearms without depositing it in the safe box on the precinct as Parliament was a gun-free area? Was there any record of such incident? This also required attention. He again appealed that a sledge hammer not be used to kill a fly. Parliament should not be made a military area – something different could be done to achieve the same result.
Ms Kohler Barnard asked if any MP or Minister has brought their firearm or a dangerous weapon into the precinct, declared or otherwise, ditto a member of staff. She agreed in the need to caution against going to war in this matter
Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, agreed the meeting was not a blame game but a coming together of minds to correct the matter. He agreed that a big hammer should not be used to kill a small fly unless the fly refused to die. He was concerned about the discussion of security detail because too many people listened to what the police said and then planned. To deviate slightly, a big problem SAPS would need to deal with is the change in the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant payment. The Minister was not sure who was supposed to ensure the joint planning committee was established – he assumed it would be the presiding officers – it is a gap that the institution was not represented in the meeting today. He hoped this gap would be corrected so that everyone was brought together. The Minister has evidence of people asking “do you know who I am?” Most of the officers posted at Parliament were Constables i.e. very junior in rank. By asking this junior member “do you know who I am?” pushed the morale of the member down without doubt. If this member answered back, there would be war in Parliament over ill discipline of static protectors. He fully agreed these officers must be trained but Members of Parliament, including Ministers, must allow know that for Parliament security to work effectively, everyone must cooperate and no one should ask “do you know who I am?” – taking Members through these measures would help to ensure everyone worked together. The joint planning committee must be functional and everyone must know what to do at the workstation whether an MP, Minister, officer, DPW etc. Overburdening of police could also contributed to low morale and this would be addressed by SAPS management – 50 per cent of the work was done when one had the morale to do the job. This would include looking at what could be done to add a little bit of excitement in the lives of members in this environment. There was concern about the DPW project cycle and when deficiencies requiring attention would be dealt with – this might only be in the sixth administration. The Minister saw too many cameras not working. Matters discussed came to light when this incident happened and everyone responsible must really sit down and fix areas requiring attention – the joint planning committee is the first move. He cautioned against discussing security detail in an open Committee of Parliament watched and listened to by many.
Gen. Sitole highlighted that the Constitution held SAPS fully responsible for providing security however the policy for security at Parliament said the budget resided with DPW. Physical security infrastructure installation was subject to DPW policies on procurement. This policy instrument did not support the constitutional obligation of SAPS. SAPS were required to respond to national security threats at Parliament within 24 hours – where would DPW then be found? If SAPS was found to buy any security infrastructure it would be seen as unauthorised or fruitless expenditure and the Service would have to appear before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA). SAPS could not go on strategic planning for security because the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period forced the aligning of budgets – SAPS cannot present what it could not afford. The modus operandi of those outside were far ahead of what SAPS was doing. Only SAPS, and not DPW, knew the modus operandi but the policy did not allow for the quick response of the Service – SAPS was held at ransom by this policy. When the damage was done, only SAPS was held accountable for the security breach, irrespective of who did not do his/her job. SAPS were effectively taking responsibility for all omissions. The plea to Parliament was for this policy to be reviewed so that SAPS could correct the strategic process. SAPS PSS went to Hungary a few years back to benchmark the security of Parliament – in Hungary, the entire budget for security installation was with the Parliament Guard and not somewhere else. The current policy sometimes caused conflict between SAPS and DPW - this could be avoided if the instrument was relooked.
Gen. Sitole accepted the human error which required strengthening of command and control which went together with discipline. When he was alerted to the incident, Gen. Sitole did question the role of the Commanders and what they did – the Commanders would be taken to book as it was their responsibility to ensure the static protectors did their job according to the Standing Operating Procedure. The integrated stakeholder approach would be pursued with DPW and parliamentary protection. An exercise of security awareness was hoped to be undertaken which would involve Parliament. The national command structure of security protection was monitoring the situation. The lead agency for establishment of the joint planning committee is the Secretary to Parliament. An urgent meeting would be requested with the Secretary to Parliament to ensure the committee was functional – the deadline aimed for is 1 November. Scanners presently fell under DPW – they did not fall under SAPS’ asset register as it was the user. When the policy was reviewed, this would also include review of the scanners, x-ray machines and other devices. The recommendation is for special, dedicated technicians to assist in attending to infrastructure – this would be discussed among the stakeholders.
Regarding SAPS mandate to investigate, the law stipulated the moment an incident took place and it became a crime scene, SAPS was in charge of the area – any area. This also applied to crime scenes within Parliament as defined in policies. There were crime scene policies and SOPs outlining what members could and could not do at the scene, including Parliament. There was a curriculum for training of static protectors. The training and development strategy of SAPS was under review. Training research and development was tasked to look at sustainable maintenance training of static protectors to ensure training was enhanced. There was also the matter of morale. The grading of protection services would commence from 1 November – there would no longer be Constables in static protection as the entry rank would be Sergeant together with a competency profile regarding training and meeting certain competency levels. For VIP protection, the entry level would be Warrant Officer. The grading process would accompany intensified training to enhance competency. It is believed this would assist in boosting morale. It was instructed previously that there should be a dedicated EHW component attached to PSS to ensure members were psychologically and operationally ready to do the job – this was in place. The grading approach that goes together with development of a protection services dispensation would include rotation which meant PSS members would be an entry point to be followed with training to move onto becoming VIP protectors after acquiring certain competencies. One would then not find a static protector in the environment for more than five years after training and meeting certain competencies. Career development was also part of the instruction for trained members meeting requirements to move onto other environments. There was a business intelligence unit, working with Crime Intelligence, within PSS dedicated to brief members on intelligence matters.
Gen. Sitole said he currently did not have a record of incidents of Ministers of Members bringing firearms onto the precinct but this could be investigated further. The contingency plan was a joint matter between SAPS and Parliament – this would be discussed as part of the quick win action plan. DPW would assist with the requirement relating to physical infrastructure installation. SAPS supported the buy-in of Members – the security awareness plan would deal with orientation. The weakest link was addressed. Policy gaps identified did not allow SAPS to put a performance management system in place – if a SAPS member omitted to carry out his/her duty, the person would be subjected to SAPS performance management system and thereafter SAPS disciplinary code. But if a DPW official did not do anything and a security breach occurred, SAPS could not take action against this official. Security breach accountability was not contained in any of these agreements so SAPS accounted for everyone. A performance management system was required – an integrated performance management system was recommended to tie the responsibility for security to DPW regarding certain omissions.
Mr Vukela welcomed the suggestions from Members and SAPS with respect to matters to address jointly. He also welcomed the policy review which was another important element. DPW worked closely with heritage institutions that were already on board. Scope creep spoke to a plan already finalised with a particular scope but where serious changes in the middle of the process had material effect on the initial scope to the extent that it delayed the process. Major change from the original scope meant the project would have to go back to the drawing board to start from scratch. Quarterly review of preventive measures was done but this did not mean problems identified were only addressed quarterly – there would be intervention because there was a contractor on site to deal with challenges as and when they require attention. Regarding corrective measures, if the process identified omissions from the side of DPW, there are instruments to assist the Department in correcting these omissions including dealing with contractors and Department officials. The matter would be addressed internally in the Department.
DPW emphasised there was an EOH special, dedicated contractor on site in Parliament 24/7 if there was a breakdown in equipment – the process would involve logging the call and immediate attention. SAPS were encouraged to follow this process if there were any challenges picked up regarding equipment.
Chairperson Mmemezi said it was best to provide proposals on the way forward – this may not be the last joint sitting of the Committees. In any follow up meetings, Parliament must be present.
Mr Groenewald asked what the critical change was in the scope of the project resulting in scope creep and the project being abandoned.
Mr Vukela replied that one indicator of the change in scope was in the items identified in the initial stages and financial constraints e.g. implementation of scanners was done through a phased approach. Security could not be deferred and scanners were required immediately in all entrances – this increased the scope and money. DPW wanted to phase-in the vehicle search point but security could not be deferred and the entire point must be addressed at the same time. There was a suggestion of change of the entire security system which was a major project – these were some areas which changed the scope of the work.
Mr Groenewald did not understand how 11 years later, no vital changes were made.
Mr Emam highlighted that SAPS complained year in and year out about challenges with DPW – this was not contained to Parliament but was also seen in various stations. It seemed there was a major problem – would DPW sit down with SAPS to change the necessary policies? It could not be business as usual. Many other departments and state facilities had a problem with DPW -when would a solution be found and policies changed so that performance improved?
Mr Maake said a timeframe was required for SAPS meeting with DPW to recommend to Members exactly where the policy needs to change. The problem was known i.e. DPW did not know the security measures needed in buildings. SAPS definitely knew what needed to be changed.
Mr Ramatlakane agreed but emphasised a defence mechanism would not help. DPW’s DG would have to provide the particular required leadership. He suggested there should be a follow up meeting with feedback. He appealed for the two departments to meet, solve the problem and provide Members with feedback at the end of October when Parliament returned from recess.
Chairperson Beukman noted there were a number of suggestions as a result of today’s meeting in terms of the way forward:
-all stakeholders recognised the importance of Parliament and having a safe environment but there must be increased cooperation between stakeholders
-joint planning committee must be established by Parliament as soon as possible in terms of the NKP Act
-interim report looking at short term measures to deal with current deficiencies by 14 October e.g. addressing scanners etc
-regular and unannounced inspections by SAPS, DPW and Parliament Protection Services to look at the environment
-a meeting with the Joint Financial Management of Parliament Committee, SAPS and DPW to address matters outstanding over the last five years, within the next two weeks
-benchmarking security of Parliament – the Portfolio Committee on Police has visited Northern Ireland, China etc where it was seen Parliaments in these countries could not be entered without proper screening and procedure – why could this not be implemented in South Africa?
-joint meeting of 13 November 2018 for broader discussion of outstanding matters with all role-players i.e. SAPS, DPW and the oversight Committee of Parliament
-appeal to all Members of Parliament and staff of the institution, especially senior staff, to comply with security prescripts and support the relevant role-players when duties were officiated
Chairperson Mmemezi thought good work was done today and input made was helpful. SA was a developing country with many needs in all sectors as was in the complex nature of a developmental state – not all departments could be satisfied at once. There must be prioritisation and SAPS and DPW must speak on a daily basis because this assisted. Treasury could also be involved. The Portfolio Committee on Public Works visited the Parliament in Germany where it was seen the institution was strict in applying the policies – this was best practice. When the meeting ended, this did not mean worked stopped.
The meeting was adjourned.
Beukman, Mr F
Buthelezi, Mr EM
Cele, Mr BH
Figg, Mr MJ
Groenewald, Dr PJ
Kohler-Barnard, Ms D
Maake, Mr JJ
Masehela, Ms E K M
Mbhele, Mr ZN
Mjobo, Ms LN
Mmemezi, Mr HM
Molebatsi, Ms MA
Ramatlakane, Mr L
Ryder, Mr D
Shaik Emam, Mr AM
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