Police stations: Public Works facilities management
13 November 2018
Chairperson: Mr F Beukman (PC Police) (ANC) & Mr H Mmemezi (PC Public Works) (ANC)
The South African Police Service (SAPS) described a litany of challenges it was experiencing in respect of services provided by the Department of Public Works (DPW). When the DPW indicated that they had not come to the meeting prepared to respond to the SAPS complaints, the debate became heated and the co-Chairpersons had to appeal to the Members to calm down and allow proceedings to continue with the required decorum.
The first issue raised by SAPS referred to the ongoing delay in renovating Telkom Towers, purchased by the DPW in 2015 to be the police headquarters. The initial occupation date had been 1 April 2016, but this had been put back until May 2018 – and then the National Commissioner had to vacate because the building was still not compliant. This was putting pressure on SAPS, which was having to negotiate leases on a month to month basis. Other concerns were the massive cost escalations through the DPW’s use of implementing agents; projects being captured as completed and closed on the DPW system, but physical inspections would reflect that the facilities were in a worse condition than before the execution of the project; delays in the registering of new services; inaccurate information captured on the programme management schedule; the DPW putting a moratorium on all planned maintenance projects without informing SAPS as a client department; poor project management, including a slow pace in finalising contractors’ disputes by DPW on projects and the appointment of inexperienced service providers; lack of maintenance on leased facilities by the landlord, which had resulted in appalling conditions of the facilities; evictions and lock outs at leased premises due to non-payment by the DPW; discrepancies between the SAPS and DPW asset registers regarding the location and identification of facilities; and the majority of police stations were non-devolved and remained without victim friendly facilities,thus compromising the service delivery to the victims of sexual crimes.
The Director General of the DPW apologised for not anticipating that Members were expecting him to respond to SAPS’s concerns, but said it had been a detailed presentation which merited a detailed and written response. He would also work closely with the Commissioner and SAPs senior management to address the issues. However, Members from all parties described his response as unacceptable, with one even referring to it as “treasonous.” This was when the Chairpersons asked for calm to return.
The joint Committee heard that the entire Parliamentary precinct had been declared a national key point last month, and the DPW reported on the measures it was implementing to ensure security. It said that SAPS had conducted security assessments at the Parliamentary precinct on various occasions, which had identified deficiencies that included poor or almost no access control infrastructure at vehicle and pedestrian entrances, inadequate perimeter fencing, no designated security check point for delivery vehicles and trucks, and inadequate infrastructure to cater for busses and heavy duty vehicles. The DPW had responded by initiating a project to deal with the deficiencies identified.
SAPS said the steps it had taken to improve security measures of Parliament were enhanced access control, enhanced operational management, regular and unannounced inspections, and international benchmarking. There would be effective engagement with the DPW to facilitate the revision of the policy on the funding and procurement of physical security equipment and physical security upgrades at Parliament. The improved security measures implemented and reformed strategies embarked on were not restricted to Parliament only, but would unfold to all other Provincial legislatures.
SAPS on DPW challenges
General Khehla Sitole, National Commissioner of Police, referred to the previous Committee meeting where it had been suggested that there should be engagement between the Department of Public Wroks (DPW) and the South African Police Service (SAPS). This had resulted in the Ministers of the two departments meeting, a lot of policy issues had been discussed, and direction had been given. However, there was not sufficient opportunity for him to meet with the officials of the DPW on the matters that had been brought to both Ministers’ attention. He said there were areas that needed to be agreed upon amicably. These areas were critical and it would not be of help to criticise each other.
Brigadier Craig Mitchell, Head: Strategic Management, SAPS, said the purpose of the presentation was to highlight various challenges involving the DPW and to propose solutions to enhance effective service delivery at the premises of the SAPS. He summarized the legislative framework within which the two entities operated and described their respective mandates, and said the main mandate of the DPW was to providing solutions for the accommodation of all national government departments. On the other hand, the mandate for SAPS was the implementation and execution of all newly built and existing capital projects for functional accommodation, and performing the custodial functions and responsibilities for devolved police stations, such as planned and unplanned maintenance.
He presented the challenges and possible solutions to the problems that had arisen due to services rendered by the DPW.
Telkom Towers had been purchased from the Telkom Retirement Fund by the DPW on behalf of SAPS in June 2015. The feasibility study received from the DPW during the acquisition of the building clearly stipulated that the DPW would be responsible for conducting remedial maintenance work to bring it to an acceptable and habitable standard. However, the DPW had requested funding from SAPS for the required maintenance work. The initial occupation date agreed upon was 1 April 2016. However, the statutory compliance and remedial maintenance requirements as reflected in the feasibility study were not attended to. Subsequent delays, including the Commissioner taking occupation in May this year and then having to vacate because the building was still not compliant, had led to pressure on the lease budget, as well as compromising planning, as 11 leases had expired and were kept on a month-to-month basis. These leases could not be renewed as they were earmarked for relocation to Telkom Towers. SAPS needed a project execution schedule from the DPW to understand what was going to happen, and to fast-track progress where required.
Another concern was the use of implementing agents as a procurement strategy by the DPW without consultation with SAPS with regards to projects and generators. This was resulting in exorbitant fees that cripple the capital budget, For instance, the initial estimated project value for Kagisanong was R66 million, which had rocketed to R147 million through the appointment of an implementing agent. The DPW had to engage the SAPS with regard to its proposed procurement strategy so as to allow SAPS to forecast.
With the capital works programmes, the milestones populated by the DPW regional offices were not always a true reflection of the projected completion dates of projects. Projects would be captured as completed and closed on the system, but physical inspections would reflect that the facilities were in a worse condition than before the execution of the project. This meant SAPS was unable to monitor and track projects executed by the DPW as there were no realistic milestones and therefore inaccurate information was communicated to stakeholders. SAPS proposed that the works control system must be constantly updated by NDPW to reflect accurate project milestones and progress.
Other challenges involved delays in the registering of new services; inaccurate information captured on the programme management schedule; the DPW putting a moratorium on all planned maintenance projects without informing SAPS as a client department; poor project management, including a slow pace in finalising contractors’ disputes by DPW on projects and the appointment of inexperienced service providers; lack of maintenance on leased facilities by the landlord, which had resulted in appalling conditions of the facilities; evictions and lock outs at leased premises due to non-payment by the DPW; discrepancies between the SAPS and DPW asset registers regarding the location and identification of facilities; and the majority of police stations were non-devolved and remained without victim friendly facilities (VFF), thus compromising the service delivery to the victims of sexual crimes.
Brig Mitchell also described some of the challenges faced by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DCPI). These included co-occupying most of the buildings with other SAPS components and other external tenants, which was a serious risk to the functioning of the Directorate. Most of the buildings were over utilised and overpopulated because of the shortage of office space in the buildings. In some areas, the DPCI members were placed in different buildings within one town/city, which had an adverse effect on their effective functioning and on service delivery. He also presented a breakdown of the exorbitant expenditure on payment for leased buildings by the DPCI, which came to an annual total of R177.8 million. To resolve these issues, SAPS recommended the procurement of cellular stand-alone buildings that would meet the end user’s requirements, the accommodation of the DPCI should be more focused on the procurement of state-owned buildings than leased facilities in order to cut the costs of rental and poor maintenance of the buildings by the landlords. All the state buildings allocated to the DPCI should be devolved to enable proper and speedy attendance to the maintenance of all its facilities.
General Sitole referred to the potential national security risks. He said police stations like Johannesburg central could not be maintained by private contractors, as this would be a major security risk. He recommended that such police stations should rather be devolved so that there was a clear security system operating within it. SAPS had a private contract for generators, and so did the DPW, and maintenance of these by private contractors would pose as national security risk and required a contract to maintain.
There was a positive understanding between the National Commissioner (NC) and the Director General (DG) which he wanted to highlight. One of the strategic risks was the long term delay in the building of police stations. He gave an example of a police station that had been started in1995 but was not yet finalised, and there were few of those. If a police station was needed now, it could take three years to be completed, and if it was not finished by then, development would outgrow it. The population would grow and more police stations would be needed. The central solution was a police review which had been escalated to the principals who had started the processing, and he and the DG would be working on a strategic alignment of these particular processes so that they could correct what could be corrected, and refer what belonged to the police to where it belonged.
Adv Sam Vukela, DG: DPW, said he was not going to respond, as this had been such an extensive presentation. He wanted to apologise if he had missed the point that the challenges affecting SAPS would be a part of the discussion, because no one in the Department had picked up SAPS would focus mainly on that. He accepted the presentation, and was aware of the issues that the National Commissioner had raised.
He said he wanted to make a proposal in view of the fact that the team he had was very thin, because it was focused on many tasks pertaining to Parliament. He had accepted the SAPS submissions, and would ensure that the DPW would attend to all the areas indicated. The presentation had given him the best opportunity to ensure that as they respond they know what they are responding to and this gave them the opportunity to respond in detail. If they responded now, the responses would be vague and would not assist the Committee in arriving at a better decision. His proposal was that he was ready with the presentation of continuing with what they had left out at the previous meeting.
Mr A Shaik Emam (NFP) said he found it unacceptable that they needed a joint presentation by SAPS and the DPW to the Portfolio Committee on Public Works, admitting that they knew the issues but had done nothing about it. Why had they allowed things to get to where they were? Secondly, SAPS had been expected to present and their presentation was supposed to be responded to item by item in order to find solutions. Public Works had to tell the Committee boldly if they had the capacity to deal with the problems or not. If they did not, then the issues could be dealt with in a different manner. Actually, the issues SAPS was facing were not unique to them only -- other government departments had been facing these issues for ages and nothing was being done about it.
Ms M Molebatsi (ANC) said that what the Director General (DG) had presented was totally unacceptable. Before a person was called to the Committee to present, he or she was told what to do and what to present, so what he had just said was totally unacceptable and she did not like it.
Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) said he sat on the Defense portfolio committee, and what the DPW was doing was totally treasonous! In the Free State, the government had spent close to billions of rands building a hospital that did not even meet the specifications, so that it had to be abolished. The Department was useless and it could not be allowed to get away with murder the way they were. The reports by SAPS clearly indicated that they inflated prices so that something that would cost R300 000 with them would cost millions. This was because the DPW was riddled with corruption.
Regarding the excuse that the DG had given, he said he had done project management and it was such a simple thing to do. All that was required were specifications and consulting stakeholders in order to ensure that they were satisfied. Why were the people not doing such simple things? They could have been preparing matrices of project management, specifying a project manager appointed by the DG of the department, and all the specifications necessary for the project. A senior police officer had told him SAPS was working in a building that was full of “amagwinya” traders. The DPW should not be allowed to defeat the objective of fighting crime in the country. It was making security agents of the country susceptible to infiltration and all forms of abuse. What the DG had said was completely useless. Why were they not consulting the security forces on their own specifications that the Department had to meet? Instead, they were looting money from the government. Even the Minister of Public Works had criticised his own department. He then suggested that a more focused meeting should be arranged to call the DPW to account, because it was a “cash cow” for themselves and their own cronies.
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) said that she had served on the two committees for about a decade. She had seen listed buildings being fobbed off on the SAPS, contractors coming into a police station, breaking down the fence, stripping the listed building, then taking the money and disappearing. This had happened two years ago. The SAPS officers had been working in an exposed building for two years. Officers were being shot and dying in the stations with the fence still down. These issues had been raised over and over again. To her knowledge, not one step had been taken to address them. The police were still being slaughtered in their stations because the DPW did not provide security measures. They put issues on their agendas, but five years down the line they did nothing about it. How many deaths had to lie at their feet for them to do something?
Did the DPW really think it would be coming to Parliament for some sort of patting down meeting? That would never happen in the Police Portfolio Committee. For ten years, she had been informing the DPW about a forensic laboratory, but it was still lying empty and rat-infested in Durban. The one they had been using had been flooded, and all the evidence had been washed into the ocean. Some of the officers were working in a slum building. That was how inconsiderate the DPW was being to the SAPS members. The firearms registry was even worse -- it was a disgrace! So for the DPW to appear before the Committee saying that they were unable to answer the questions was not good enough! She did not know who the Department was serving and who was taking the money, but certainly SAPS was not benefiting.
It had taken the DPW years to build a police station and when she went there she saw that they had put big bolts neatly inside the cells so that the detainees could hang themselves. The DPW did not listen to anything the SAPS had told them. Were they going to wait until more members of the SAPS were slaughtered in their stations? Maybe then it would do something.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) said that at least the DPW should have asked for a bit of time – say, 10 minutes -- to catch up on the issues raised and then respond accordingly. The challenges that had existed during the previous two years, but had not been addressed, could have been noticed by the DG if the Department had a serious maintenance programme in place. It was unfortunate the political head of the Department was not present, but it was not up to him to enquire why. Some issues went as far back as 2015, such as the acquisition of Telkom Towers. Surely there had been lots of correspondence which did not end at the director level, because a lot of money had been involved in the project. The DG could not therefore say that he could not answer the questions that had been raised. Issues to do with maintenance, complaints regarding buildings that were not legally compliant and generally not working together with clients could not be the first time the issues were being raised. The procurement strategy which was very costly was also not something new to the DG, unless there were parts or sections of his Department that were operating without his knowledge. A lot of money was involved.
He asked about the moratorium that had been placed on planned maintenance projects -- whose decision had it been, and what was it based on? This was not something that the DG had to go to Pretoria to find out. It had to be placed on record that the Department was deliberately failing -- it had nothing to do with inefficiency. It was a deliberate matter where people in the Department had the attitude that they were employed in a department whose principal function was to collapse the state of South Africa. This was a goal to be achieved between 2015 and 2018, and it was unfortunate to note that the Department had indeed achieved this goal, and congratulations were in order for a job so badly done! The attitude of not answering questions that had been raised was not in any way helping the state of South Africa.
The Chairperson pointed out that most of the points had been made and that after three more Members addressed the meeting,an opportunity should be given for a response to the pertinent issues. However, there had to be a comprehensive written response on the issues that had been raised.
Co-Chairperson Mmemezi said that he would just say a few things before the three Members spoke. When chairing a meeting, there was a duty to ensure that the meeting was moving in a fair manner to both participants -- that was the police and the Department of Public Works. The DG, having received a detailed presentation from the police, was clearly expected to respond on the matters raised. However, the matters were so detailed that they had to be responded to in a professional manner, which was in written form, as they had also been presented in written form. In fact, even before the DG said anything, Mr D Ryder (DA), as a Member from the Public Works Portfolio committee, had indicated that he did not understand what was being discussed at the meeting.
Mr Mhlongo interrupted and said that as part of their responsibility as public representatives, they would never cower before civil servants who ought to be held responsible. The apology by the co-Chairperson was completely unwarranted. The question of non-consultation with a stakeholder did not require a laptop. If they were to ask the Chairperson of the Defence Portfolio Committee, they would find out that the hospital he had referred to had cost millions. Why were the police also not consulted in terms of the specifications?
At this stage, Mr Mhlongo was shouting, and the Chairpersons called for order and asked the Members to calm down. However, Mr Mhlongo kept on speaking in the background.
Ms E Masehela (ANC) said that the language that was being used in the meeting was totally unacceptable and un-Parliamentary, so he asked the Chairperson to call the Members to order.
The Chairperson asked for cooperation so the meeting could continue in a constructive way.
Co-Chairperson Mmemezi said that they had a duty to keep the meeting and its participants honorable. As a chairperson of the meeting, it was not good for him to be accused of things. It was not fair. The duty of a person chairing the meeting was to ensure that all the participants were heard in a fair way. The DG had explained that it was not his understanding that the matter elaborated by the General was going to be discussed here, and this had been supported by the Member from the Public Works Committee. Members of the Public Works Committee would say that they were being taken hostage and being hijacked on the issue. Some of the worst things arising from the meeting were statements that were very insensitive. No Member, and no government employee, would be happy when the police were dying at work, so saying that people were happy when other people were being slaughtered was not helping the meeting. Saying that those serving in the Police were more sympathetic to the killing than those in the DPW was making his job very difficult. The fact that the DPW was not prepared or that they were not informed was not a big problem, as they could always reschedule the meeting to a later date where they could address all the issues that had been raised. All the assertions that had been said made were wrong, because they painted everyone with same brush -- that everyone in Public Works was a looter -- which was not fair.
Chairperson called for a point of order, and said that he had taken a totally different approach. He had highlighted issues which he felt could have been responded to, and he did not want to linked to every other comment that had been made.
Ms Masehela said that she agreed with what the Chairperson of the Public Works Committee had said. They should not be in a meeting where people were speaking in such a way. When the presentation was made, it had been noted that the political principals had met -- had the National Commissioner and the DG met to agree on what would be presented at in the meeting? In her opinion, they had not come to a meeting for people to speak in a disrespectful manner.
The Chairperson asked the Member to leave the points that had already been addressed. They should not keep going back to those issues.
Mr J Maake (ANC) said that SAPS was a department where if a mistake was made, the repercussions would be so great and that it would not to be allowed to happen again. He therefore suggested that, since there had been complaints about the DPW, an urgent motion should be introduced in Parliament to debate the performance of the Department, and all the departments that had complaints should bring them to Parliament where they were cameras for the whole of South Africa to see that it was not the SAPS that was not performing. Since the political principals had already met, they should give the Committee reasons for them not to introduce the motion in Parliament.
The chairperson thanked the Member for the proposal, and then asked if there was anyone to second the motion. Some murmured in agreement.
Mr F Adams (ANC) said that he did not second the motion because if the DPW, like all other departments, was subject to Treasury, then Treasury should also be present at the meeting to explain where the money was coming from. In their constituencies, when the Members go to visit and see the state of the police facilities, when they engage they are told that there is no money or budget. His proposal therefore was that there be a follow up meeting on what the General had presented, with the Treasury Department present.
The Chairperson said that they would leave the discussions as they were, because they would not reach a consensus today. However, Members of the Police Committee were welcome to join them the next day where the proposal would be raised and duly handled. After that, he gave the DG an opportunity to respond to the issues raised.
Adv Vukela started by committing the DPW to developing a project execution plan to deal with all the issues that had been raised, and that it would submit it in a detailed manner because before them was a detailed document. He said he meets with the National Commissioner, but they had never met to discuss the matter at hand.
He referred to the situation at Telkom Towers, and said it had already been discussed at a meeting convened by the Minister of Police. He had wanted to understand what was happening, so the DPW had made their presentation, after which there was indication that he was going to meet the Minister and discuss the matter. He had prepared a letter to the National Commissioner, responding to the issues and was going to meet him to discuss them. There were many issues, but he had been ready to deliberate and clarify certain areas, and where they did not agree they would develop a way forward on how to address them.
The Telkom Towers issue was also affecting a lot of other leases that were supposed to be collapsed, had it been resolved. The completion of the Telkom Towers work would be the solution to address the month to month leases.
With regards to maintenance, funding was one of the biggest challenges the Department was facing. It had prepared a memo that talked about maintenance challenges and the issues causing it.
Regarding health and safety issues, the DG said that it was now a requirement of the department to no longer sign a lease without consideration being given to health and safety matters.
On the delays in the construction or completion of buildings, he had noted in the presentation the concern raised that the use of implementation agents had cost implications. The agents were used because they were quicker in terms of delivering the services. The cost issue was something that could be discussed with the clients.
Regarding consultation with the clients, there was an agreement in principle at the political level with their political principals that there was a need for task teams, some which were already working in certain areas. However, the meeting he was going to have with the National Commissioner would address a lot of issues.
He would investigate why the police stations had taken a long time to complete and what was causing the delay. He then delegated to members of his team to add their responses, depending on their area of expertise
A DPW official explained the project delays, saying a general explanation was that the projects were contracted in on a multi-year basis. The challenge was that the budget system was an annual one, so if the Department suffered budget cuts they had to find other ways of funding the contracts they had already committed to. In turn, this meant that projects scheduled to start could not do so due to the commitments they had made.
Commissioner Sitole said that he wanted the Committee to take note of the inter-committee interaction that should be a priority for other committees in dealing with critical issues. It was the foundation. He also wanted to confirm that he had agreed with the DG to deal with the matters that had been raised. However, the issues were on two levels, the first one being the policy level, which was beyond their control, while the other was the administrative level which was within their sphere of influence. Therefore, after the political principals met, he and the DG could follow the direction of the principals.
Regarding Telkom Towers, the DG might not be aware that currently the police did not have a headquarters. Telkom Towers was sitting with a letter that it was inhabitable, so they could not occupy it. However, of the nine towers that had been purchased, two were being used by a private entity, as they were habitable. So the question was, why were SAPS sitting under a tree while another institution was using the building that they purchased? As a matter of fact, after carrying out an investigation, they had found out that the DPW was not aware of such rentals at the Towers, although the entity had said that the building had been leased to them for two years. This therefore needed to be dealt with urgently. When SAPS’s lease expired in February, could the private entity leave the Towers so that they could occupy it?
The chairperson closed the first item on the agenda with a few remarks, pointing out that any further submissions should be made in writing. The co-Chairperson also encouraged the DG and the National Commissioner to meet more often so that they dealt with the issues before they reached the Committee.
Security at Parliamentary precinct
Adv Vukela said Department of Public Works (DPW) had been requested to provide an interim report on the 14 October 2018 about short-term measures to address deficiencies in Parliamentary security that had been identified, and a detailed report on how to address the security gaps that had been identified in 2015. The matters identified at the joint committee were the need for cooperation between stakeholders and conducting of regular inspection of security measures in Parliament by the stakeholders, and maintenance of access control to ensure it was in a functional state
The SAPS had conducted security assessments at the Parliament precinct on various occasions, which had identified deficiencies that included poor or almost no access control infrastructure at vehicle and pedestrian entrances, inadequate perimeter fencing, no designated security check point for delivery vehicles and trucks and inadequate infrastructure to cater for busses and heavy duty vehicles. The DPW had responded by initiating a project to deal with the deficiencies identified. Heritage Western Cape had required the DPW to provide an archaeological survey, a visual impact assessment report, and a traffic impact assessment report as part of the heritage impact assessment. This had required the Department to appoint a town planner, who had been appointed on 19 October 2018. A meeting of stakeholders had been convened on 25 October 2018 to brief the town planner. A contractor was expected to be appointed and be on site in September 2019 on a 12 months’ contract. To ensure proper coordination and alignment of the security needs, the DPW would establish a steering committee constituted by all stakeholders who would be involved during the planning and execution of the project.
The DPW concurred with the sentiments that had been raised in the joint meeting held on 26 September 2018 that there was a strong need for cooperation between stakeholders. There were initiatives that were already in place that needed to be strengthened. He continued by mentioning the different existing forums that dealt with coordination and cooperation with the stakeholders.
Lastly he referred to the maintenance of access control. The DPW had commissioned an investigation of the security system and equipment around the precinct. The current system was well maintained, and this was due to daily checks, attending to calls logged for faulty equipment and quarterly services. He presented a list of measures that had been put in place at the precinct. Some of the measures were:
- The maintenance of infrastructure such as x-ray machines, metal detectors, CCTV cameras and Intercoms at the Parliament precinct;
- Daily routine checks or inspection of the infrastructure, morning and evening;
- Inspection of all uninterrupted power supply systems (UPS) that were supporting detection machines and the NAS system would be carried out almost weekly to ensure they were in working order at all times.
Brig Mitchell referred to the roles and responsibilities of the SAPS in protecting Parliament, and said the purpose of his presentation was to brief the joint Committees on progress made to improve the security at Parliament, as recommended on 26 September 2018. He acknowledged the receipt of the declaration of the Parliamentary Precinct, as a National Key Point, which had been signed by the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on 18 October. Due to this, the Parliamentary precinct, including the buildings, would be regulated in terms of the National Key Point Act of 1980, until the time when the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill was promulgated. The Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the NCOP were in the process of nominating a Joint Planning Committee (JPC) chairperson and deputy chairperson. After the appointments, a date would be set for the inaugural meeting of the JPC.
The solutions implemented to improve security measures of Parliament were enhanced access control, enhanced operational management, regular and unannounced inspections, and international benchmarking. As a way forward, there was a need for monitoring of the operational management of the protection at Parliament by the Protection and Security Services (PSS) head office and the PSS Western Cape provincial office, implementation of the “Protection Capability Management” strategy for protectors, inclusive of recruitment standards; optimised training; maintenance and refresher training; personal developmental programmes to career path and exit strategy; and development of a personnel plan for PSS detailing the minimum requirements in terms of operational standards.
There would be effective engagement with the DPW to facilitate the revision of the policy on the funding and procurement of physical security equipment and physical security upgrades at Parliament. The improved security measures implemented and reformed strategies embarked on were not restricted to Parliament only, but would unfold to all other Provincial Legislatures.
Ms Molebatsi asked the DPW to provide some assurance that the scanners in Parliament were currently in working condition. Her second question was addressed to SAPS, asking if they had engaged the presiding offices of the provincial legislatures to discuss the implementation of the revised security measures, to avoid a repetition of what had happened in Parliament.
Ms M Mmola (ANC) addressed her first question to the DPW. She referred to statement that a contractor was expected to be appointed, and asked if the contractor had in fact been appointed. How long did it take to appoint a contractor, since DPW had said the contractor would be on site only in September 2019? The DPW had also said it had commissioned an investigation into the security system and equipment around the precinct -- when would the investigation be completed, because it was supposed to have a timeline? Were the daily routine checks for inspection on the infrastructure in the mornings and evenings coordinated between the SAPS and DPW, or were they run separately?
Mr Shaik Emam said the DPW always seemed to have problems with funding and budget constraints, and with all the additional members, the steering committees, the town planner and all that was being put in place, if the budget and funds were not being provided, what impact was that going to have on the success of the projects? He did not necessarily agree the interim measures that had been put in place, because if they were to take a walk and drive in, they would be able to enter with a firearm undetected because the metal detectors were not at all the security check points. Another point that he raised was that after the DPW had consulted with the Speaker and the chairperson of the NCOP, what was made clear was that stakeholder engagement was very important. What that meant was that all the departments that the DPW worked with had to be consulted all the time, as they were the stakeholders.
Mr Ryder said that considering it was the mandate of SAPS to ensure the security at the precinct, if SAPS were to be allowed to continue enforcing the mandate and were given the budget to do so, there would be a need to balance that mandate with other needs. Therefore, the establishment of a joint planning committee was urgent, as it had the function of taking the existing precinct in terms of its heritage, the constraints, the budget and the people that worked there, and balancing it with the SAPS mandate of security. Unless the committee was established, everyone would keep going around directionless.
Mr M Figg (DA) said there had been no improvement from SAPS. If one were to arrive early at the Parliamentary premises -- that was before seven am -- a person could easily walk in as there was usually no one at the security check point. With regard to improved security measures and the way forward, how did they believe that they were going to be able to implement the measures, because these were basic measures that the SAPS should already have been doing. Due to an incident, they were saying that they were going to train their officers, but was the training not supposed to be done before they came on site? Should something really happen first before action was taken? He was of the view that the measures were going to happen for only a short time,and then things would be back to normal.
Ms D Mathebe (ANC) said that in the presentation, the SAPS had said on 18 October 2018 they had declared Parliament a national key point. How had it been viewed all along? A revision of the funding and procurement policy needed urgent attention from both SAPS and the DPW.
Ms Kohler Barnard sought clarification on the point that the Parliamentary precinct was a national key point. On the official list of the National Key Points released on 22 January 2015, there were two addresses, so how did it work? Did it include every other building that was visible within that area? Many people had spoken to her regarding the attitude of some of the SAPS members in relation to the Members of Parliament, especially at the Marks building. They were treating the MPs with contempt. She referred to some of the government’s leased buildings which were in a slum-like condition, and said she had asked the DPW how much the landlord was being paid, but they would not answer her questions, which she had been asking them for years.
Mr Filtane said that given the remarks by the National Commissioner, that the normal procurement process potentially carried the danger of frustrating the very purpose for which the process had been put in place, what proposal was he going to make regarding the splitting up of the procurement process? How were they going to circumvent that? As the SAPS were aware of the collusion between criminals and the people employed to prevent it, did they have a system in place to automatically detect the process? Strategically thinking, did they have within their structure a typical planning division that sits down to plan the measures to take, based on the threat level? Regarding the non-use of personal phones, he had met with the support group for the police in East London, and they had told him that they did not have company phones so they had no choice but to use their personal phones.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said that with regard to the declaration of the whole parliamentary precinct as a national key point in October 2018, what were the reasons behind such a decision? The National Commissioner also made mention that there were going to be budgetary implications and challenges in relation to phasing in the new security measures. The question was whether the National Key Points Act in Section 3B made provision for a special account for the safeguarding of national key points. Had this been looked at? Was it functional?
Ms Masehela told the DPW that issues that had been discovered in 2015 had started to be addressed only in 2017, and some were still not completed by the Department. This showed that the DPW was being lazy in a way. She told the police that, as the Chairperson had said earlier, it was not about the budget -- if the budget was there and the people were not willing to use it, then nothing would be done. Actually, the reason why the joint meeting was being held was because of the incident. Some people had been negligent. The police must therefore try to talk to their officials so that the work would be done properly and any further incidents could be avoided.
Adv Vukela said that not all of the scanners were working. There was one scanner that was not working. It was going to be part and parcel of the inspection they were going to undertake. After a discussion with his colleagues, they were of the view that there was a need to have joint inspections with their clients, in this case the SAPS.
With respect to the contractor, a contractor had not yet been appointed. His colleague was going to explain why they had not employed a contractor at that time.
Regarding the investigation that they were going to undertake for the security systems in Parliament, the time line was that hey were going to finalise the inspections by the end of the month.
On the issue relating to the sensitivity of the detectors, the matter had already been attended to. However, since the committee had raised the issue again, they would go back and check the sensitivity of the X-rays equipment.
On the impact of the budget on the security measures, that issue would have to be administratively discussed between the DG and the National Commissioner to find an approach to present to the National Treasury.
Regarding stakeholder engagement, they had taken note of it and going forward they were going to take it into consideration.
On the issue of the slum conditions and the service provider, he had signed responses to Parliament and had facilitated an investigation into the matter, as it had also been raised in another forum. He was therefore going to give a written response as the investigation assigned two weeks ago should have been concluded by the now.
On the issue of following normal procurement processes with respect to security measures, the matter required a collective approach between the DPW and SAPS to the National Treasury, because the issues of procurement were handled by the Treasury.
A DPW official referred to the daily routine maintenance, and whether they were doing it on their own without the involvement of other colleagues. The answer was that when they carried out the routines they did it with SAPS officials at that particular station, and they signed the report that was generated by the service provider.
The National Commissioner said that he was going to address the questions that dealt with strategy, and then the operational questions would be answered by his colleagues. On the question of training, they were not necessarily reactive, but what the Committee should know was that the criminals were always changing their modus operandi. When a modus operandi changed, they then went for training and development research. That was why they seemed reactive.
On the question of a strategic centre that looks into security matters proactively, according to the Turnaround Vision, SAPS had introduced a Modus Operandi Analysis and Research Centre which operated for 24 hours a day. It produced a modus operandi report. If a new modus operandi was discovered, a report was captured and they started daily modus operandi awareness, changed their plans, and if it impacted on training they changed and upgrade the training modules as well. There was also a Crime Research Division T SAPS which complemented the Modus Operandi Crime Analysis and Research Centre. This centre looks at long term modus operandi and it also analyses crime from a long term perspective and reports on the implications.
On the issue of constant routine searches, including the search of MPs, it was Parliament`s responsibility to promulgate the law and it was SAPS`s responsibility to enforce it. There was the National Key Points Act promulgated by Parliament, and it dictated that the moment a precinct was declared a national key point, search methods apply. If the police did not do it, then they would be in violation of the law. Therefore, they needed the cooperation of the MPs. If the process of Parliament becoming a national key point was finalized, more stringent security measures would be introduced.
On the issue of collusion, potential collusion was indeed there, but they had taken sufficient measures to deal with it. The commanders had been instructed to do constant checks, constant monitoring and constant addressing of members. They had put both a disciplinary code and performance management in place. If the officers did not do what they were supposed to do, it would be declared misconduct and it would be escalated to the commanders.
The National Commissioner also confirmed what the DG had said, that they were going to make sure they met to discuss the issues.
He was going to follow up on the issue of the police not having phones, but it was worth noting that the budget that the DPW had for security was not enough.
Lt Gen Samson Shitlabane, Divisional Commissioner: Protection and Security Services (PSS) said that the nine provincial legislatures were also national key points and they were regulated as dictated by the National Key Points Act. The equipment in the legislatures was also audited in accordance with the act.
Major Gen MJ Motsepe-Masemola, Component Head: Government Security Regulator: PSS, said that declaration of the national key points that had been made this year was just an extension. Parliament had been declared a national key point in pieces since 1982. As it stood now, the whole Parliamentary precinct was a national key point.
On the question of a special budget account, the national key points had been transferred from the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) in 2004 to the Protection and Security Services Division, the government security regulator to be specific. Since then the account had been done away with. Furthermore, the Public Finance Management Act does not allow other accounts to be held by other organisations, so the special account had to be handed over to the Treasury.
Commissioner Sitole said that the rest of the short comings would be addressed operationally, and SAPS would ensure that the security at Parliament was up to the required standard. They were going to work with the DPW through coordination with the DG.
The meeting was adjourned.
Beukman, Mr F
Mmemezi, Mr HM
Adams, Mr F
Figg, Mr MJ
Filtane, Mr ML
Kohler-Barnard, Ms D
Maake, Mr JJ
Masehela, Ms E K M
Mathebe, Ms DH
Mbhele, Mr ZN
Mhlongo, Mr P
Mmola, Ms MP
Molebatsi, Ms MA
Ryder, Mr D
Shaik Emam, Mr AM
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