The South Africa Police Services (SAPS) appeared before the Portfolio Committee to present its annual report for 2017/18.
One of the major cost drivers for SAPS was the cost of fuel. About R245 million was spent on fuel. The Committee was concerned with this level of expenditure, and said there was a need to reduce it. Members asked if the Department had a way of tracking the vehicles to ensure that whenever there was a crime scene, SAPS officials drove directly there, rather going somewhere else beforehand.
The Department said that a major challenge it faced in dealing with crime in the informal settlements, of which there were 379 in the province, was the density of the population and the lack of suitable roads to allow normal policing to take place. Unemployment and poverty in these areas provided a fertile breeding ground for crime. Protests against service delivery resulted in violent protests and the destruction of infrastructure.
The Committee asked what kind support was provided to the families of SAPS members who died on duty. How could it deal with the situation where convicted criminals linked up with gangs while in prison, and on their release committed similar crimes? Why had the province contributed at least seven stations to the top ten stations nationally for murders, and also had about 12 to 15 stations that were part of the top 30 stations nationally for serious crime? What had been done to recover 18 firearms missing from the Mitchells Plain police station? Why were women so poorly represented in the police force? When would the number of police reservists be increased?
SAPS Western Cape Annual Report
Brigadier Preston Voskuil, Provincial Head: Organisational Development and Strategic Management, South African Police Service (SAPS), Western Cape, briefed the Committee on SAPS’s annual report for 2017/18.
The budget was allocated to three programmes -- administration, visible policing and crime detection. For
administration, there was an allocation of R71.9 million, and expenditure of R72.3 million (101%). For visible policing, there was an allocation of R530 million, and an expenditure of R539 million (102%). For crime detection, there was an allocation of R155 million, and an expenditure of R159.5 million (102%).
For goods and services. SAPS had a budget of R568 million, and spent R600 million (105.6%).
For transfers and subsidies, there was a R10.7 million budget, and the Department spent R9.2 million (86%).
For capital assets, there was an allocation R162 million, and R161.7 million was spent.
Ms P Lekker (ANC) asked if SAPS had trackers on the vehicles to enable the Department to see if there was a deviation from the roads that a specific member was supposed to travel. Did they show that the member did not go directly to the crime scene but rather went somewhere else before going to the crime scene.
Ms Lekker said that some of the protest actions were violent. Infrastructure was destroyed or demolished. She asked if there were means to address the communities on the problems of destroying the infrastructure. To what extent had that impacted on the transfer of members from one post to another?
She asked if the 41% of the indicators not achieved were part of the new indicators. If they were not part of the new indicators, what had stopped SAPS from achieving those indicators?
Mr R Mackenzie (DA) said the R245 million for fuel was quite a lot. What mechanism had SAPS put in place to prevent abuse of the system? He noticed that the presentation had separated the outsourcing of vehicles from the parts and accessories, and asked for an explanation of the difference between the two. Was the R62 million on outsourcing vehicles related to the fixing of vehicles? How did SAPS hold people accountable -- R62 million implied a lot of vehicles were involved. How did SAPS hold members accountable for the damage? What mechanism had been put in place to prevent abuse of travel and subsistence costs? R24 million was a lot of money, particularly in the Western Cape.
The Chairperson asked for an explanation of where the additional funds came from to cover the over expenditure. He commented that a quarter of the SAPS budget was spent on fuel, which was a very large percentage of the budget. Had it always been such a large chunk, or was it a number that was increasing?
Mr F Christians (ACDP) said that it was difficult to foresee protest actions. He asked if SAPS had a mechanism to go afterwards to ensure there was no recurrence in the community. Did they to go the communities to calm them down and discuss the way forward?
Lt Gen Khombinkosi Jula, Western Cape Provincial Commisioner: SAPS, responded that SAPS had technology called AVL.This was a system that tracked the movement of vehicles all the time. Unfortunately, with the increase in fuel prices and with the fuel being one of the high cost drivers, there had been some hiccups currently regarding issues that were related to tenders at head office in terms of the AVL. It was a matter that was receiving attention. The hope was that the trackers were going to be activated again, as soon as possible.
In the absence of the trackers to ensure that vehicles were not being abused, SAPS had had its own systems in place that had always been there, even before the introduction of the technology. These systems ensured that there was effective command in control of ensuring that there were regular visits to crime scenes. The system involved monitoring whenever there was a complaint dispatched to any vehicle. The monitoring was done 24 hour by radio control. Those systems still indicated the amount of time that it would take for the vehicle to get to the crime scene to which it had been dispatched. However, this could not replace the importance of technology and the AVL system. The AVLs were still in the vehicles. It was matter of reactivating them as soon as the tender issues had been sorted out at the head office.
Brig Vishnu Naidoo, SAPS, Western Cape, referred to the outsourcing, and said the R62 million was related to the repair of vehicles. It was mostly panel beating and major works which the Department could not handle internally. Regarding the R47 million for parts and accessories, the Department had seven garages in the province and buys the parts so that the servicing and minor works can be done in-house. As for the source of funds, every month the Department had an early warning system and did projections. The projections were sent to the National Department, which absorbed them into the national combined budget of the police.
Maj Gen Mpumelelo Manci, SAPS, Western Cape, said the public protests were violent. The problems affected the police, municipalities and councillors when the protestors were attacking and burning government property. This resulted in the redeployment of members to other areas. Members had to be re-deployed and they had to be provided with accommodation for a week or two, so it did take resources away.
The challenge was when the violence was happening sporadically in many places, with large crowds. When the protests happened at the same time, it stretched the Department to the limit. It used up public order policing resources that could help the Department with crime prevention. The Department had to take its other resources like professional resource teams (PRTs), crime prevention units (CPUs) and detectives to form arrest teams in order to arrest those people. This was because once a property was destroyed, the Department had to account in terms of what the Department had done. All this needs to carried out with regard for human rights and peoples’ right to protest. However, at the same time, justice must be done to those who destroyed the infrastructure.
He said that SAPS had an obligation to intervene, even before the protests. If they got an early warning that something was happening, through station commanders and cluster commanders, they needed to intervene and try to get the people together. However, if that did not prove to be effective and the protests erupted, more members had to be mobilised to that area to keep it under control. During the protests, SAPS had an obligation to engage the role players. After the event, action plans were put in place to deal with that. The action plan had to be based on policing and the identification of why the people were protesting, what should be done to stop them from protesting, and who the role players of the protests were.
Brig Naidoo said that, regarding R245 million that was spent on fuel, the Department had 6 228 vehicles in the province. Many of those vehicles work on a 24 hour basis. The vehicles were heavily dependent on fuel and maintenance. The increase in protest actions had resulted in the Department spending around R20 million per month on fuel. Where there was over expenditure, the Department had platforms where commanders were called upon to submit action plans indicating how the expenditure was going to be reduced.
Mr Mackenzie asked the Department to indicate if the R62 million, that was outsourced, was caused by staff members or if it was due to the protest action.
The Chairperson asked if the budget allocation had been increased in the current financial year to compensate for the increased fuel prices.
Brig Naidoo said that the R62 million for outsourcing comprised of both collisions as a result of police action and those resulting from the members of the public.
Brig PD Petersen, SAPS, Western Cape, said that the Department's budget had received an increase of about R4 million. For fuel specifically there had been a slight increase, but even the head office did not know what the fluctuations in the fuel price were going to be. Early warnings were sent monthly to the head office, and they did the adjustments.
The Chairperson said that the Committee was now going to table the first section of the annual report. That was from page one to page 110. She asked Members to ask questions on the section.
The Chairperson noticed that on page eight, management intervention, the Department had a dotted line instead of a solid line. She asked for an explanation on why that was the case.
Ms T Dijana (ANC) referred to the roll of honour, and asked if only one member had been shot during the financial year. She was concerned about the Deputy Provincial Commissioner :Asset Management; vacancy. She asked long the position had been vacant and when it would be filled.
Ms Lekker noticed that according to table 47, there had been a decrease in the number of crime incidents reported by the police station in Mitchells Plain. However, there had been an increase in crime incidents reported by stations in Delft and Nyanga. What methods had been put in place to ensure that there was a decrease in other stations? Given the high crime rate in Nyanga, had SAPS made any efforts to ensure Nyanga was given priority to ensure that people felt safe?
Ms Lekker was worried about malicious damage to property. There seemed to be areas with sectors particularly susceptible to damage to property. This had to do with the general feeling of the people on the ground, which may include service delivery-related issues and student public protests. She asked if, besides engaging communities, there was a commitment from the police and other government departments, to ensure that the issues raised by the people on different protest marches were issues that would be attended to. These issues would recur if not addressed properly, and more resources would have to be directed to the protest marches. Was there a commitment from everyone involved to address the issues involved?
Mr Mackenzie asked for an explanation of the support provided by SAPS to families of SAPS members who died in the line of duty. He was worried about stability at Mitchells Plain. There was lack of consistency in the availability of the station commander. When would there be stability at Mitchells Plain police station?
Lt Gen Jula responded that the dotted line, regarding the provincial commissioner for management interventions, meant that the deputy for management interventions was responsible to the provincial commissioner, but not accountable to the provincial commissioner. So the solid line, going to the national department, meant that management interventions was a national competency and accountable to the national commissioner. However, in terms of day to day responsibilities, they were responsible to the provincial commissioner, hence a dotted line to the provincial commissioner.
Gen Jula said that post for Deputy Commissioner: Asset Management, was not vacant currently. The only challenge that the Department was having at the moment with regard to the post was that the Deputy who occupied it was still subject to some internal disciplinary processes. The hope was that the process was going to be finalised soon. As soon as the processes were finalised, the Department would know where it stood with regard to the post.
Regarding stability at Mitchells Plain police station, and the lack of consistency and the station commander being absent or present, was a matter that was beyond factors in the control of the Department. It was as a result of the firearms that went missing at that police station. A total of 18 firearms had gone missing. As a result, the station commander had to be suspended for two months. He had been reinstated, so the station commander was now back and some members had already gone through the process, and he also had to go through the same process, because he had questions to answer about the control over the firearms. At the moment, he was on duty. To ensure that when there was any member who was not available for duty due to internal processes being pursued, the Department always made sure that somebody else was asked to act in his position. It was understood that the consistency was going to be disrupted a bit. However, the Department had to weigh the pros and cons of taking this action or not taking the action just for the sake of being consistent in one area, and falling short in accounting for issues that were serious. The Department was hoping that the process would be finalised soon and that the station commander was going to be permanently available, depending on the outcome of the disciplinary process he was undergoing at the moment.
Brig Voskuil responded that Constable CP Mouton was the only member in the last financial year who had died on duty.
Brig S Nkwanyana, SAPS, Western Cape, said that with regard to the support given to members who died in the line of duty, the first support provided by the Department was Employee Health and Wellness (EHW) counseling. This was given immediately to the family members because of the shock of death. While busy with that process, the Department starts to prepare for the burial costs. Even before the burial, there was also a death grant which was paid out to the family members. The grant was close to R250 000. In addition to that, after the whole process, the office of service termination in provincial personnel management, work with the family to assist them in completing the documentation needed to ensure that the benefits due to the dependents were paid out. The Department also makes sure that the mother receives the monthly pension payments, so that the children can be sustained.
Brig Nkwanyana said that for the children of the members who died in the line of duty, there was a bursary fund which takes care of their education. It also assists them where there were challenges regarding the school fees, as well as stationery. The EHW support was constantly made available to the family members.
Gen Jula sad that there were concerns that were coming from various quarters regarding some of the stations which featured in the top ten nationally. The province contributes at least seven stations to the top ten stations nationally for murders. The Department had about 12 to 15 stations as well that were part of the top 30 stations nationally for serious crime. The question that seemed to arise of late was, for how long were these stations going to continue to be rooted in the same positions? The Department was very concerned about that. It had become aware that in instances where any one of the stations dropped out of the top ten, there was always another station that would just from outside the top ten and into the top ten.
Unfortunately, Nyanga and Delft were among the stations that were in the top ten for murders. There were signs that positive results were on the way, particularly in Nyanga. In Delft, the Department was still experiencing serious problems. It had been directing a lot of its resources to these stations, especially in terms of the geographical approach and the targeted approach. It was implementing all those methods of policing at the moment in these stations. All the resources and attention went to the stations that were in the top ten nationally with regard to the murders. It may not have yielded the results yet, but there was a lot that was happening.
A new station was going to be officially opened very soon in Samora Machel. More resources were going to be pumped into the area.
The Department was not happy with what was happening in Nyanga. The problem generating the murders was the presence of vast areas with infrastructure issues that made them difficult to patrol, especially in terms of the Department's proactive patrol operations. It was ensuring that resources were pooled and the areas were patrolled in a manner that was a bit labour intensive. It was not like an ordinary patrol, with only two members in a vehicle going into Nyanga. There was a need for so many resources, especially in areas with lighting problems and no roads. The Department was also trying to mobilise the communities.
Gen Manci said the most of what the Department did was to stabilise the communities. What needed to be happening was normalisation. There were things like unemployment, poverty and other issues that were not within the control of the police. He confirmed that the SAPS had partnerships at the provincial level with other departments, such the Departments of Correctional Services, Community Safety and Justice. Recently, the Department had been working on a murder committee, where extensive research was done on murders in collaborated with the Departments.
They were working together to find solutions to the problem of murders in the Western Cape. It was a question of addressing the fundamental issues that impacted policing, such as lighting, unemployment and poverty. These fitted into the crime causation hypothesis in regard to the desire in people to commit crime and the opportunities in the environment that lead to committing crime
Mr Mackenzie asked how many of the 18 guns that went missing in Mitchells Plain had been recovered. Had the Department found that any of those weapons had been used in a crime?
Ms Lekker said that the crime causation hypothesis sounded like a nice concept. She requested that the Committee get a presentation on the hypothesis at a later stage when it had been implemented. The presentation produced the sense that socio-economic conditions and environmental factors were impacting on the levels of crime in the communities. There was need for people to experience a safer community, beyond their material conditions.
She said was concerned about recidivism. When some people were out on bail, they tended to go back to crime because they had committed similar offenses. As a result, SAPS had to investigate the same suspect after making sure that he had previously got a successful conviction. She asked for an understanding of the correlation between investigations and the sentencing of courts, rehabilitation and coming back to the community, and still committing similar offenses.
The Chairperson said that the Western Cape had one of the lowest unemployment rates in South Africa. It was difficult to marry this with the fact that 12 of the stations in the top 30 came from the Western Cape. She asked what factors made these stations be in the top 30. It could not only be unemployment. There had to be other things that contributed to it.
Gen Jula said that the crime causation hypothesis was based on the understanding of how the Department should be breaking the cycle of violence. For as long as the focus was just on the effect, without addressing or understanding the causal link between the crime that got committed and all the other precipitating factors behind it, the Department was only going to be just scratching the surface. At some point, the Department had to ensure that it addressed the crime from its roots.
The Department understood that there were lower levels of unemployment in the Western Cape. The problem was that the areas that SAPS was policing were densely populated. They included 379 informal settlements in the province that were so densely populated that the Department found it difficult to execute proactive policing methods.
Maj Gen Jeremy Vearey, Deputy Commissioner: Crime Detection, said that two of the guns that were stolen from the Mitchells Plain station had been recovered.
He said that the high rate of recidivism was related to the fact that if person went to prison, they were recruited into a prison gang and were exposed to a larger network of criminals. When they came out, they formed part of whatever criminal activities that network perpetrated. SAPS informs Correctional Services and profiles them properly on the prisoner entering a facility. If the person was part of a gang and most likely would link up with his friends inside, the recommendation was to separate that prisoner so the prisoner did not get into a more extended network.
SAPS was involved in new programme with Correctional Services that was started about two years ago, where for the first time there was gang profiling in terms of gang rehabilitation designed for groups. Correctional Services had essentially been focused on rehabilitating the individual without necessarily looking at the context of a gang membership. Now there were larger programmes that involved group focus and rehabilitation, and there were also particularly designed programmes for gang leaders. There was a dedicated focus now on looking at gang rehabilitation, and SAPS provided the information around who the potential risks were. The scale on which this had to be done in all the prisons, in Western Cape and the country as a whole, was of such a nature that it required a massive funding injection to strengthen those rehabilitation programmes.
There were proposals in the correctional services environment to try and separate first time offenders, to prevent them getting into the gang infrastructure. Unfortunately, given the high rates of sentenced prisoners, managing that as a separate category had become a challenge. It was difficult to separate first time offenders who were non-gang members from those who were gang members.
Other provinces were assisting the Department with accommodating prisoners. However, certain other provinces were increasingly concerned about prisoners from the Western Cape. The prisoner numbers had been replicated much faster in their own prisons, so they were very hesitant to take prisoners from the Western Cape.
SAPS was engaged with profiling regularly with Correctional Services. When prisoners were released, the Department was able to get valuable information on how wide the network had gone ever since that person had been in prison, and the type of criminality the person was likely to get involve in afterwards.
Gen Manci said that environmental design affected the SAPS, especially in terms of murders in progress, and going to an area where roads were not conducive for patrolling. The lighting and the number of houses affected the Department's reaction plans, as members could not be there in time to stop the crimes.
There was also a need for public education. People did not know that leaving a hammer laying around provided an instrument for the criminal to break into their house. That was what was meant by the crime causation hypothesis. Under social crime prevention, public education was one of the initiatives that needed to take place, over and above the operations that SAPS was carrying out. That called for collective responsibility to educate the community, even in terms of human rights, where people could disagree without actually harming or killing one another. There was need to invest more when it came to normalisation.
There was a high pressure on the SAPS to close down shebeens. However, this was linked to job creation and empowerment of communities to do other things that could help them to survive.
The Chairperson said SAPS raided illegal liquor outlets in informal areas, and confiscated the liquor. However, she believed that if someone paid an admission of guilt fine, something small like R500, the liquor was then returned to them. She asked if that was true. If true, it must be demoralising for those officers that had gone to all that effort to confiscate the liquor. Something had to be done to change that system.
Gen Vearey responded that it was matter that should be taken up by a Department other than SAPS. However, SAPS stuck to what the prescripts legally required the Department to do.
SAPS Financial Programme One: Administration
Brigadier Voskuil briefed the Committee on the SAPS administration programme.
The first indicator related to the number of posts filled in terms of the approved the approved establishment.
- SAPS had an establishment at the end of 2017/18 standing at 21 367;
- The number of posts filled was 19 987;
- In the 2017/18 financial year, it had recruited an additional 218 interim level constables;
- There were 114 public service personnel;
- SAPS had filled a further 58 non-commissioned officer posts.
With regard to employment equity, for middle management there was a target of a 70/30 split – 70% male and 30% female. The annual result and the baseline had remained the same, as the number of promotion posts or appointment posts had been limited in that environment.
Regarding the male/ female split at the senior management level, there was a 50/50 target. However, there had not been a number of posts advertised at that level, so there had been less movement, and it had remained the same as in the previous financial year.
Ms Lekker said that the performance indicator relating to gender representation did not have much movement. It still showed that there was no room for women in SAPS. She wondered when the SAPS would begin to realise that women were equal to men. It was worrisome, because if one went to a shooting range, one got the same score whether one was male or female. She wondered why some SAPS officials were not competent enough to make use of fire arms. She asked if they did not pass the shooting test when they went for their training. She asked if all detectives underwent the same processes to upskill them in crime detection. What else was there to make sure that they were fully equipped for the execution of their duties?
Gen Jula assured the Committee that much effort was being put into ensuring that women were empowered and they were brought to the same level as the men in the organisation. Some of the legislation included ensuring that issues of affirmative action and equity guidelines were always considered when promotion of members were considered. He acknowledged that the Department was aware that it had not made the desired mark in terms of empowering women to the level that they should be. There were also some mentorship programs that were in place to empower women and to ensure that they were being recognised, with the hope that sooner or later, they could be brought to the same levels that the men had reached in the organisation.
Gen Jula said there was a serious problem regarding the use of firearms.. The Department had members that were still not competent, even after being given another chance. The option was that when everything else had been tried but failed, to remove the firearms from those members and re-deploy them to environments where they may not be required to use firearms in the hope that at a later stage they could be offered other opportunities to go through the firearm training courses.
Gen Vearey said that all the detectives were required to go through the same process. This was one environment that involved constant up-skilling because of major legislative changes on basic investigative trade crafts.
Col G Tertiens, SAPS, Western Cape, said that in the detectives’ training, there was a requirement for all detectives to do a basic crime investigation programme, so that they knew what to do when they were in a detective environment. Then they went on a three-month programme dealing with the resolving of crime,. They were extensively trained in the detective environment. When it came to mentorship within the detective commanders’ training programme, there was a module that applied to the mentorship of the younger detectives. A commander was responsible for guiding and mentoring detectives. The SAPS had specialised detective courses that ran throughout the year. There were certain courses that had been prioritised. This year, the Department was concentrating on crime scenes with women and children, and cyber-crime, which had become a big thing now.
Mr Mitchell was shocked at the number of SAPS officials who were attacked while on duty. He asked if there were any systems in place to support the police officers who had been attacked. He had noticed that most of the officers that were attacked had been shot at. How many of these crimes had been successfully prosecuted?
Ms Lekker said that an attack on SAPS was an attack on the country. She suggested that the police should use the necessary force to ensure that members of the SAPS were not attacked. The Committee had once made a submission that the conditions on the selection of reservists should be relaxed. Had that happened? When would it be seen that the number of reservists had increased? She wanted to see more visible policing in her constituency, Philippi East, Philippi-Nyanga and Samora Machel.
Ms Dijana welcomed the 293 programmes that were being implemented by the clusters. The problem was that the report did not include the times and places where the programmes had been implemented to enable Committee Members to see if their constituencies were part of the programmes. In future, SAPS should include dates and places.
Mr Mackenzie commended the SAPS finance department for paying 80 000 invoices in 14 days. He wanted to understand what SAPS's approach to crime intelligence was. There had been attacks on trains and robberies were taking place on Golden Arrow buses. What was the approach to crime intelligence in picking up these incidents before they became a trend? How did SAPS deal with it?
The Chairperson said that the recruitment of reservists had been a problem in the Western Cape for a while. It was good to see that there was a reservist trend in the financial year under review. They were a force multiplier and they did assist SAPS, so the Department should tap into that resource, especially if there were willing South Africans who would like to assist the police. She asked what could be done to ensure that the number of reservists increased.
She said that according to the report, Community Police Forums (CPFs) were functioning at 150 stations. Did that mean that CPFs had been established at 150 stations, or did it mean that they were performing the functions that had been set out in the SAPS Act?
Brig Nkwanyana said that immediately the Department received information of members being shot, the Department dispatched the EHW team to debrief those who had been attacked. If they were injured or taken to hospital, the Department would make follow ups and give support to them. Even after they were released from hospital, the Department continued to give emotional support through constant follow-ups.
If a member under certain circumstances ended up not being able to cope at a particular police station or policing environment, the Department would transfer or move them to other stations. However, that would be based on their request, as well the progress they were making in terms of the debriefing and other psychological interventions. SAPS members were also at liberty to use the services of other psychiatric interventions like private social workers, as well as other clinics.
Gen Jula said that the majority of the attacks on police members happened on the Cape Flats, followed by the attacks that happened during service delivery protests. It was a culture in certain areas, like the Cape Flats, that SAPS members had to be attacked while executing their duties there. There were so many areas that were difficult to police, and SAPS members always had to police in numbers.
Gen Vearey referred to train burning, and said there was one particular case where a man had been sentenced under the critical infrastructure provisions of the Criminal Law Amendment Act. According to his confession, he was just a person who was frustrated because the train was late. He had to take the 6 am train, but the train had arrived at 9 am. The confession had had no tie to any of the popular theories going around about what motivates setting fire to trains. The Department had picked up that there were possibly other explanations for the causes of these trains burning. Broadly, none of what the Department had found so far fitted any of the other theories that tried to explain the causes. With forensic analysis, SAPS had to wait until the train had been stabilised, after fire personnel had gone in and electricity had been switched off. They could enter only after about four to five hours later, when it was safe enough to do so. However, by the time they entered, most of the evidence that would have been helpful had been destroyed.
Gen Manci said that the moratorium on the reservists had been removed. The application requirements were still applicable. The SAPS officials went on recruitment drives in the stations and clusters. SAPS also mobilised through community leaders and street committees. The challenge to the Department's effort to have more reservists was that when those who had been successfully recruited came forward and certified their requirements, they did not pass the psychometric tests. The Department got stuck when they did not pass the test. They had to pass these tests as well as the firearm competency. These requirements could not be relaxed. SAPS made use of the reservists when funds were available. For instance, this festive season the Department would make use of the reservists because money was available.
The meeting was adjourned.