Western Cape Police Ombudsman 2017/18 Annual Report; Cape Town Metro Police Department 2018/19 Annual Plan

Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport (WCPP)

14 November 2018
Chairperson: Ms M Wenger (DA)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to consider the annual report of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO) and the annual plan for 2018/19 of the Cape Town Metropolitan Police Department.

Pertinent issues raised in the WPCO’s annual report included the backlog in the Forensic Pathology Services, which prompted a Member to ask if investigators of the Ombudsman were trained to attend post mortem examinations to assist in locating the next of kin of deceased persons, and to take fingerprints. A shortage of staff and investigators were mainly to blame for the backlog, compounded by the unexpected resignation of staff, which left behind a huge workload for the remaining staff.

Members called for the employment of more Xhosa-speaking staff so that complainants could feel more comfortable during interactions with the WPCO. They questioned the effectiveness of its media strategy in reaching the community, particularly in rural areas. They were assured that the WCPO enjoyed full cooperation from the South African Police Services (SAPS).

The Cape Town Metro Police described their specific role and functions, operating in collaboration with the traffic department, by-law enforcement and crime prevention. It also offered considerable support to the SAPS.

Issues raised by the Committee were concerns over the cost and effectiveness of Shotspotters, and were told many arrests had been made and firearms confiscated through this technology. Other municipalities had noted this and had plans to install them in their areas. Members suggested improvements to CCTV locations, and called on the Metro Police to focus more on priority “hotspot” areas. They were assured that the Metro Police were not competing with SAPS, and that they shared good communication and cooperation with each other. The installation of CCTV cameras would also be rolled out in areas which did not necessary have a high level of gang-related crime, but had significant amounts of other forms of criminal activity.

Meeting report

Western Cape Police Ombudsman: Annual Report 2017/2018

Ms Deidre Foster, Deputy Director: Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO), said two of several issues raised in the foreword of the WCPO’s annual report for 2017/2018 were on the study conducted on police reservists and the backlog in the Forensic Pathology Services. Since both these matters fell under the Department of Health (DoH), the WCPO would act on the matters only after they had received a complaints form from the DoH.

Ms Foster said staff shortages were also raised, and the WCPO had received approval to appoint two Level 8 investigators on a contract to assist with the 2016/2017 backlog. The Ombudsman had also appointed two legal interns and would implement overtime to assist with the backlog of cases. It referred to a study conducted by Ms Jean Redpath and Professor Muntingh from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on complaints received by the WCPO, linked to reported crime data for police stations. The study revealed that 10 of the 150 police stations in existence in 2015 were not on the WCPO database, which concluded that only 93% Western Cape policing areas were covered.. The areas not covered were:

  • McGregor    (153 community reported crimes in 2015)
  • Montagu     (788)
  • Murraysburg  (350)
  • Nuwerus     (80)
  • Porterville    (648)
  • Struisbaai     (220)
  • Suurbraak    (109)
  • Thembalethu (1898)
  • Touwsrivier   (496)
  • Uniondale    (465)

The WCPO had approached more community radio stations which reached the areas not previously on its database, to assist. The additional radio stations were: Gateway FM, Eden and Overberg (an Afrikaans radio).  

Reported crime

For every 330 crimes recorded in 2015, there was one complaint associated with it. The areas identified with systematic problems in the manner which the South African Police Services (SAPS) dealt with, and needed interventions were:

  • Delft            (45 complaints; expected 16)
  • Gugulethu       (37 complaints; expected 5)
  • Nyanaga        (37 complaints; expected 32)
  • Lingelethu-West (25 complaints; expected 10)
  • Mfuleni         (29 complaints; expected 18)
  • Ocean View      (18 complaints; expected 5)

Areas with more substantiated complaints:

  • Ocean View      (8 substantiated; 1 expected)
  • Delft             (9 substantiated; 3 expected)
  • Gugulethu        (6 substantiated; 3 expected)
  • Milnerton        (6 substantiated; 4 expected)
  • Lentegeur        (5 substantiated; 3 expected)

Delft and Ocean View had more expected complaints than substantiated complaints compared to the number of reported crimes. The WCPO said the situation should be brought to the attention of the Department and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to investigate the causes which lead to complaints.

The Ombudsman would continue with outreach programmes within the affected communities which would lead to identifying issues and enable intervention. Workshops, symposiums and special events with stakeholders would continue.

The WCPO had used various broadcast media to create an awareness of its Office. The advertising campaign to the broadcast media cost R1.3 million, while regular brochures distributed at public engagements cost R20 000.

Financial Information

The budget allocation for 2017/2018 had started with a total allocation of R11.236 million, which was distributed as:

  • R6.613 million under Compensation of Employees (COE) and for communications.
  • R4.302 million for goods and services.
  • R321 000 for machinery and equipment.

 

Ms Foster said resignations had had a negative effect on the COE budget allocation due to the length of time it took to fill vacant posts. Due to resignations, there had been expenditure under household / transfers which had not been budgeted for. An amount of R13 028 had been paid as leave gratuity to an official who had resigned. Funds were also shifted within the budget from goods and services, to household / transfers. The WCPO had contributed R22 500 towards the SAPS Prestige Awards to the top three police stations for giving the best co-operation to the WCPO during its investigations.

Domestic Violence Act

Ms Foster said that between 2015 and 2018, 1 452 complaints had been received, and 931 had been finalised at the time of the Annual Report. The current number of complaints was 1 163. During the past financial year, the WCPO had received 13 Domestic Violence Act complaints. This was an increase from seven complaints in 2015/16, and eight in 2016/17.

The outcomes of recommendations made revealed that there were inefficiencies on the part of SAPS which had resulted in the WCPO being unable to resolve the complaints through mediation, or SAPS had been unable to resolve the complaints through its internal processes.

On the matter of substantiated complaints, the WCPO had mediated 105 complaints. SAPS had mediated on 71 substantiated complaints through disciplinary action against SAPS members.

Discussion

Ms P Lekker (ANC) asked if the WCPO made use of broadcast services of Radio Zibonele, as it had a large listenership in Khayelitsha; why the WCPO had failed to cover the entire Western Cape and if it intended to cover areas in the Southern Cape and the West Coast; and what progress the it had made with regard to making use of isiXhosa speaking social workers for domestic and sexual abuse cases, particularly those involving children.

The Chairperson asked the WCPO to explain the “sporadic improvement in forensics post mortem examinations.” Had the documents relating to “directives in terms of section 18 (1) of the Western Cape Community Safety Act directing under certain police officers to appear before me or produce certain documents or information relevant for our investigations,” been produced? She confirmed that she had submitted 13 complaints from Hout Bay to the WCPO, and asked what had happened to other complaints which she said appeared to be omitted from the table in the report.

Ms Lekker asked why there were no Xhosa speakers at WCPO, and said they should realise that the complainants would be more comfortable to converse in a language they knew best. She wanted to know if the WCPO would go on “head-hunt” to recruit isiXhosa investigators and plan to retain them. She said the WCPO wasted money on training people who would later resign. She wanted to know the ratio of investigator per complaints received, if the WCPO would retain legal interns on contract for longer than a year, and if its organogram would be reviewed for progression. She also asked when the vacant post in the Information Technology (IT) Department would be filled. She also wanted to know if WCPO investigators received training on attending post mortem examinations and the taking of fingerprints, and if it assisted with the tracing of deceased persons.

Ms T Dijana (ANC) wanted to know if the WCPO would permanently employ contracted legal interns after they had completed the backlog of investigations.

Mr F Christians (ACDP) raised concern whether the organogram or organizational structure of the WCPO was sufficient to keep abreast with incoming cases.

The Chairperson said the report highlighted the relationship between the reported crime and substantiated complaints, and asked whether one should conclude that citizens who reported at those police stations were either better at reporting and making complaints, or whether service delivery was worst at those stations. She enquired whether the 24% underspent in the budget would be spent in the new financial year.

Ms Dijana asked the WCPO to name the 10 out 0f 150 police stations which were not on the data base. She five community radio stations were included only at a later stage in the its awareness programmes, and she wanted and explanation for the R1.3 million spent on the media.

Mr D Mitchell (DA) said no stakeholder engagement took place in the Central Karoo, which ended in Maraisburg, and that communities should not be excluded.

On the matter of risks assessment, Mr Christians commented that the report indicated that the Office did not have the required resources to implement the mandate, and he asked if the contributing factors and challenges as stated in the report were still current.

WCPO’s response  

Maj Gen Johan Brand, Ombudsman: WCPO, responded as to why Radio Zibonele was not included in the WCPO’s marketing programme from the start, and said that a meeting with the radio station would be taking place soon, as well as with KDF and the South African National Civics Organisation (Sanco). The WCPO also went to Thembalethu to make the community aware of its services. They had also met with the Department of Community Safety to ensure proper awareness campaigns in this particular area.

Responding on the absence of isiXhosa investigators, he said the WCPO offered a basic Xhosa training course to members. It would soon make use of a registered provider for an advanced course in Xhosa.

Maj Gen Brand said investigating officers did not normally attend post mortems. This had been highlighted at a recent seminar, and subsequently the cluster commanders had to report regularly on post mortem attendance. The Department of Health (DoH) had been advised to lodge a written complain to the WCPO with regard to the backlog in post mortem examinations.

With regard to the implementation of directives, he said nobody had appeared before an advocate or the WCPO due to the good cooperation it received from SAPS. During the last financial year the WCPO had not focused much on investigating any complaints from the Metro police. This would improve soon as the chief of the Metro Police was informed that the WCPO would be looking into complaints at the Metro Police.

On the 24% underspending, he said that due to the resignation of Advocate Vusi Pikoli, former Western Cape Police Ombudsman, the gap in terms of compensation would be a major issue in the current financial year. They had looked at alternatives such contracted appointments for this financial year, to prevent another deficit.   

Ms Nadia Arabi, Deputy Director: WCPO said the Office had budgeted for certain categories this year, but not as extensively as in former years, and gave reasons for the deficit. These included the budget for legal services over the years, and unpredictability as to whether legal action should be instituted against SAPS for non-compliance. The budget had been shifted to increase marketing initiatives to prevent another under-spending on goods and services. The creation of contract posts and Level 9 posts would also lead to the purchase of more IT equipment. On the issue of the COE with the resignation of advocate Pikoli and that of another staff member, the filling of these posts took some time.

Ms Foster explained that the purpose of the study had been to enhance the WCPO’s services and to determine the systemic issues that would arise. It was important to outsource the study which was done by Ms Redpath and Professor Muntingh. The WCPO was undergoing a modernization process which would address capacity in order not to fall behind with new cases, as raised by Mr Christians. There was a need for a data analyst and a career path at the WCPO. The Office had continued its interaction with Community Police Forums and with SAPS to improve on its services.

Responding to why some of the radio stations were included only at a later stage, she said the first few stations were initially included on the basis of their listenership. Radios KFM, Namakwaland, Radio West Coast, Valley and Gamkaland were included in the new financial year. The cost of R1.3 million covered all the stations mentioned in the report.

On the ratio of investigators per complaints, Maj Gen Brand said since the inception of the WCPO, there were 200 complaints and currently 94 cases on average per investigator. The backlog in cases was due to the struggle to get reports from certain individuals, and finding documents in other department. Performance management had been implemented in the past three months to ensure better services. He added that the WCPO employed Xhosa-speaking legal interns and other staff to assist at the reception desk.

He said it was the work of SAPS to trace the next of kin of deceased persons, and to carry out post mortem examinations and fingerprints.  

Regarding communities in the Central Karoo, the WCPO would meet with the provincial Community Police Forums next Thursday to discuss a road show. On the matter of cooperation with SAPS, he said he experienced good cooperation, but there could be cases of non-cooperation with a change of management.

Responding to Ms Lekker’s concerns on “the increased workload”, Ms Arabi said this was due to the WCPO being understaffed, and had resulted in a negative impact on the community and its stakeholders. Another reason for the backlog was resignations, which left behind many unfinished cases. These cases were distributed amongst the remaining staff who already had a heavy workload. The high numbers of resignations was due to the lack of career growth progression at the WCPO.

Annual Metro Police Plan 2018/19

Mr Wayne le Roux, Chief: Cape Town Metro Police briefed the Committee on its 2018/2019 annual police plan, which he said was quite comprehensive. The Department was halfway through developing the 2019/2020 plan. It had also received its SAPS Certificate of Approval from the Provincial Commissioner, who had expressed his happiness with the plan. The Metro Police did not operate on its own, but played a supportive role and had a mandate in three areas of enforcement -- traffic, by-laws and crime prevention. The Metro Police also played a supportive role to the SAPS with any other type of operations.

Mr Charl Kitching, Director: Cape Town Metro Police, said the plan was based on:

  • An integrated and co-ordinating approach to policing;
  • Joint operations and a coordinated approach to policing;
  • Departmental structure;
  • Service delivery budget implementation plan;
  • Performance indicators;
  • Demands and expectations;
  • Priority crimes;
  • Drug and alcohol combatting programme;
  • Specialised units;
  • Community policing/Interactive policing;
  • Innovative policing -- Emergency Policing and Incident Command (EPIC) programme and Shotspotter;
  • Social crime prevention;
  • Public relations.

Mr Kitching said the Metro Police, a department within Cape Town’s Directorate for Safety and Security, had adopted an integrated approach to policing and law enforcement in the city. In cooperation with the other law enforcement agencies, its pro-active plan aimed to achieve its mission and vision to create community reassurance throughout the City. 

It partnered in joint operations with various external partners such as SAPS, Provincial Traffic, the Department of Home Affairs and neighbouring municipalities. Joint operations included roadblocks on major routes in and out of the city’s regional borders.

To ensure efficient policing, the Departmental structure had been divided into various smaller sections which assisted with a hands-on approach to situations. The sections started with an executive director and a chief of police. The director for closed circuit television (CCTV) and radio was responsible for the operation of all CCTV cameras throughout the City.   

The specialised units consisted of a gang and drugs team, trained dogs and horses, and a tactical response team to assist with demonstrations and protest actions.

The administrative positions included managerial support, human resources, finance and directors who reported to the deputy chief for central operations. The City was divided into four sections -- north, east, south and west -- and had four directors to oversee.

The civilian internal affairs section dealt with misconduct and complaints from outside the City, firearms, and logistics within the department.

Information Management was responsible for all statistics related to the affairs of Metro Police within the department. Metro police had an Academy which also offered its services to other departments within the City, such as traffic, by-law enforcement and other external role players in terms of training.

The objectives outlined in the annual police plan mirrored the Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan (SDBIP) as derived from the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) of the City of Cape Town. It was also aligned with SAPS’s policing priorities, such as illegal drugs and liquor, firearms and dangerous weapons and gang related crimes.

The Metro had to have the capacity to respond at least 85% of crimes in all areas, Shotspotter signals, and traffic and by law operations. Protest actions and demonstrations remained the responsibility of SAPS, while Metro Police could only assist. Due to the increased demonstrations and protest actions, SAPS provided training to metro police members to assist more efficiently in such cases.

Performance indicators for 2018/2019

The Metro Police were responsible for achieving the following:

  • 85% response by Metro Police to technology-driven activations such as CCTV and Shotspotter;
  • Crime-orientated operations in high risk areas to improve safety in local areas;
  • Traffic-orientated operations in high risk areas to improve safety in local areas;
  • Bylaw-orientated operations in high risk areas to improve safety in local areas;
  • 80% response to, and attendance at, protest actions and contraventions of the Gathering Act;
  • 85% attendance of events as detailed in terms of the events legislation and City of Cape Town commitments.

The demands and expectations of the Metro Police were crime reduction, improved safety, rapid response to emergency calls, high visibility patrols and community reassurance patrols, reduced traffic accidents and infringements, professional, efficient and transparent service, building relationships in order to enhance the capability to fight crime, adopting and implementing Batho Pele principles, and enhancing policing through technology

The Metro Police provided support to SAPS in operations by providing information on illegal trading of drugs and alcohol. Members within the law enforcement fraternities had the right to monitor liquor outlets. The Director of Safety & Security had also stepped up measures for implementing drug enforcement laws.  

Crimes which had been prioritised were combatting of alcohol and drug-related crimes, and  contraventions of the Arms and Ammunitions Act, dangerous weapons, gang related criminal activities, crimes against women and children, violent crimes,  traffic violations (including drunk driving), by-law contraventions and policing of events and protest actions

Mr Kitching said following increasing requests to assist with tracing missing persons, the City had trained four dogs to help in such searches. The dogs would start with assisting in searches of missing persons by the end of November 2018.

The Camera Response Unit ensured effective response to CCTV incidents, and initiated patrols of hotspot camera incident routes. This unit also focused on smash and grab incidents. The Gang and Drug Task Team (GDTT) were not only responsible for gathering information on gang members and their associates, but also for identifying premises which were used for illegal activities.

Two Metro Police law enforcement officials from traffic and by-law enforcement were permanently deployed to the pilot area in Delft, which operated under the Neighborhood Safety Team. They provided assistance to children and carried out the usual law enforcement, such as crime prevention and by-law enforcements. The Department hoped to extend such a pilot programme to other areas.

The Emergency and Policing Incident Command (EPIC) was as a new incident management system which the City had embarked on. The system was linked to all enforcement agencies, such as fire, law enforcement and traffic. Once a call to report an incident was received, they would be able to see which vehicle was closest to the incident and despatch it immediately to the scene.

The Shotspotter gave an indication of the number of shots fired. In many cases gunshots, were not reported to the police, and the Shotspotter would pick it up. It was an effective tool which assisted police in planning, and with information from where and at what times most gunshots were fired. He confirmed that the Shotspotter had led to several accurate arrests.

Social crime prevention focused mainly on domestic violence, youths at risk and how the Metro Police could deal with such challenges. It would assist with interventions on child safety and address the fears which existed in communities who were exposed to unsafe environments.

Mr Kitching confirmed that the Public Relations department was busy with a public participation programme. An advertisement on the police plan would soon be released for communities for comment, and for them to give their input by 19 January 2019. The department would then proceed with further communications with the Members of the Executive Council (MECs), community police forums, civilian oversight committees and ward councillors.

Discussion

Mr Christians suggested that more police attention should be directed to crime prevention. He felt that the R30 million spent on the installation of the Shotspotter could have been better used for something more worthwhile. He argued that the Shotspotter, according to media reports, had led to only one or two arrests.

Ms Lekker said the CCTV cameras on Swartklip Road were too low, and she suggested that a better service provider be appointed to re-position them. She also wanted to know why no CCTV cameras had been installed other areas, where the need was more urgent. She asked that the Committee be provided with a list of areas where CCTV cameras were installed.

She said the Metro Police should be more visible in very poor areas where crime rates were high, such as in Philippi and Nyanga East. Even though the police station was situated near these areas, a number of traffic violations took place and taxis continued to operate illegally, making it unsafe for communities to use them after 19h00. Metro police patrol vans used their sirens only to get out of traffic. She also wanted explanation on the relationship and activities between the traffic department, Metro Police and law enforcement. She pointed out high risk areas, such as Lansdowne Road, Joe Gqabi Road, the terminus in Nyanga East, and Hendler to Lansdowne roads.

She said the Shotspotter was needed more in Philippi and Nyanga East, the murder capital of the City. She wanted to know when such services would be provided to areas in desperate need to fight crime. How much had the City spent on installing CCTV cameras and Shotspotters? Had the procurement processes been followed?

The Chairperson wanted to know what plan the Metro had in place to address crime against women and children. She also asked if SAPS provided the Metro Police with feedback on investigations and convictions.

Ms Dijana pointed out that the CCTV cameras were out of order at the Cape Town station. She asked how the Metro Police planned to improve safety in high risk areas.  

Metro Police responce

In reply to Mr Christians’ call for more crime prevention policing, Mr Le Roux said there already existed a lot of focus on crime prevention. He said the police’s three-fold approach to traffic, by-laws and crime prevention provided a 24-hour service to communities.

Responding to Ms Lekker’s observation that Shotspotters were too costly and produced unsatisfactory results, he assured her that it had contributed to many arrests over the past financial year. He was not able to state how many arrests had been made, but said several drugs and firearms had been confiscated in Manenberg and Hanover Park, where the Shotpotters were installed. Police received daily information from the public and other sectors on criminal activities, which indicated the success of the Shotspotters. They would be installed in other areas, not necessary gang related, but high crime areas.  

He would follow up on the positioning of CCTV cameras on Swartklip Road, and the list of cameras installed in various areas. He admitted that Joe Gqabi was a challenging road to patrol and that Metro Police continued to work closely with SAPS and the traffic department in the area.

Mr Le Roux said the tenders were processed through the supply chain department.

Regarding the malfunctioning CCTV cameras at Cape Town station, he said there were no cameras inside the station, only outside the surrounding areas, near the Magistrates Court. There was a response team which carried out repairs to the cameras. He described no particular area as “high risk,” but said that they rather dealt with matters as a priority in order to render a service and to look at challenges. Police no longer patrolled from their vans only, but were also involved in planning and the gathering of information.

Mr Kitching referred to the number of arrests made due to the Shotspotter, and said during the past 12 months, more than 100 arrests had been made and 1 421 rounds of ammunition had been confiscated. The Shotspotter successes had become known, and other municipalities were making plans to install it in their areas.

The meeting was adjourned.

Documents

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