The Committee met with the SA Police Service (SAPS) and Directorate for Priority Crimes Directorate (DPCI) to be updated on a number of matters before Parliament rose for the year. The Head of the DPCI took the Committee through updates on high-priority cases using a sample of 22 cases. The presentation began with a synopsis of the lifecycle of a case docket before updating Members on cases of serious corruption, including that of state capture, Venda Building Society (VBS) and the Estina dairy farm. The presentation also covered cases of serious commercial crime such as that of Ronald Bobroff, BOSASA and Steinhoff. Members were also updated on investigations of serious organised crime before concluding with an overview of some successes.
The Committee noted the excellent work done by the DPCI and its units but however was concerned about the capacity of the Directorate, by way of Human Resources and technology, to thoroughly conduct its crucial yet technical work on complex cases and investigations. Members also wanted to know the status of the specialised units within the DPCI namely on narcotics and illegal firearms. Other questions were posed on the relationship and if there is good cooperation between the Directorate and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and that there is prosecutorial support for cases investigated by the DPCI. Members were concerned about postponement of cases and asked what informed this. There was also concern of the slow reaction in the VBS investigation – it was said this slow response did not provide a good impression to the public. Another worrying area was the lack of progress made on the Estina matter since the Committee was last updated on it in March 2018 – Members expected to have seen further arrests since then. Members also questioned when finalised forensic reports would be received and charge sheets would be finalised for many of the cases highlighted in the briefing, role of crime intelligence in DPCI cases and if there was adequate and quality support from crime intelligence to the Hawks environment.
The Committee took note of the progress and advancements made. The Committee welcomed the personnel review as the Committee believed the DPCI should have the necessary capacity and technology to deal with the various cases. The Committee would receive further updates in the new year.
SAPS, as led by the National Commissioner of Police, then briefed the Committee on updates on vetting and lifestyle audits of SAPS personnel. The presentation covered financial lifestyle audit results, project approach, focus groups and the way forward. The presentation then looked at the status of vetting of SAPS senior management and progress made on the re-engineering of the vetting process.
SAPS then briefed Members on high-level plans for the safer festive season in terms of operational approach, operational concept and national programme.
SAPS presented its anti-gang capability to the Committee where the presentation addressed the establishment of the anti-gang capability project scope, establishment of the anti-gang capability operational mandate, establishment of the anti-gang capability working methodology and the anti-gangsterism strategy implementation plan. The presentation looked at successes and seizures in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng before concluding with the operational synopsis.
The Committee questioned the implementation date for establishment of the permanent vetting panel, capacity of counter crime intelligence to deal with corruption, capacity for ad hoc vetting matters coming to the fore and if the vetting project at OR Tambo International Airport was completed. There was also discussion on security measures applied to the e-vetting system to ensure its integrity and mitigate against cybercrime vulnerabilities. Members were concerned by SAPS members not submitting vetting applications, how this could be permissible and what management was doing about it. There was concern that some of the figures around vetting have not changed much since the Committee last met on the matter in March 2018. Questions were asked about the National Commissioner changing the regulation to ensure vetting took place before promotions were effected, outcomes of the vetting and the status of progress made on the Senzo Meyiwa case.
The Committee emphasised the end goal is to have anti-gang units as envisioned in the National Development Plan (NDP) and questioned what is being done to ensure these units are up and running in line with the formal model for specialised units. In this regard, Members were concerned about whether the gang units were fully fledged units as explicitly launched by the President – there seemed to be a difference in the language used by the President and that used by SAPS in the presentation today. There was also concern that the Western Cape launched a similar task team and if this posed competition for the national intervention. The Committee felt there is a need to relook consultation between the SAPS management and union on the matter of the anti-gang unit. There was a question on whether there would be an anti-gang strategy in Wentworth, KZN and how closely SAPS worked with the SA National Defence Force when it comes to border management.
The Committee acknowledged the important vetting project – a follow up report would be received next year. SAPS must deal with any member who fell short of the necessary criteria. The Committee wished SAPS well for its safer season operations. The Committee supported the introduction of specialised unit, as outlined in the NDP, and welcomed the anti-gang unit which is important. The National Commissioner must ensure administrative processes are ironed out so that the units can be extended to other provinces. The Committee welcomed the successes of the unit in the Western Cape.
The Committee then considered its Legacy Report for the Fifth Parliament (2014-2018). It was agreed the Report would be sent to Members via round robin but the Report was adopted in principle with amendments.
The Chairperson noted this was the last Committee meeting for the year. Today, the Committee would receive an update from the Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) on high-profile cases. The SA Police Service (SAPS) would update the Committee on vetting. There would also be a briefing on operations for the festive season. The final item would be a briefing on the recently launched anti-gang unit. The Committee would then adopt its Fifth Parliament Legacy Report.
DPCI Status of Selected High Profile Cases
Lt. Gen. Godfrey Lebeya, DPCI National Head, took Members through the presentation on the status of high profile cases – after briefly looking at the mandate of the DPCI, the presentation addressed the synopsis of the life cycle of a case docket – the life cycle was as follow:
- 1. occurrence of a crime
- 2. crime scene management and investigation
- 3. charge and arrest
- 4. docket to court
- 5. bail application
- 6. further investigation
- 7. court hearing, judgment and sentencing
Due to the nature and complexity of the cases under investigation by the DPCI, the estimated life cycle of a case can span between two to ten years. Some cases may go beyond the estimated life cycle. The nature and complexity of the cases are contributors towards the life cycle however there are other contributors such as:
-Stakeholder dependencies: dependencies on external stakeholders
-Tedious workload: an investigator could be working on over 20 high profile cases that may require over 200 statements from individuals
-Court case roll: cases on the court roll can span over ten years
-Capacity: at the establishment of the DPCI during the financial year 2009/10, there were 2 633 members. The number has since reduced significantly. Taking the aforementioned into account, the case workload of 15 804 cases in the DPCI is high
Of these cases, 22 cases have been selected as a sample for this presentation.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya took the Committee through the cases of serious corruption by providing a brief summary of the case, value involved, charges, persons/entity involved, status of the case and number of statements taken. The different cases highlighted involved Systems Applications Products and Transet, Eskom, Tegeta and Optium Coal Holdings, Homix, YKA Trading Company and Morning Star International Trade, Estina and the Free State Department of Agriculture, Venda Building Society (VBS), Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) and the North West Department of Rural Environment and Agricultural Development.
The presentation addressed serious commercial crime investigations by providing a brief summary of the case, value involved, charges, persons/entity involved, status of the case and number of statements taken. The different cases highlighted involved Ronald Bobroff and Partners, BOSASA, Tannenbaum-Investment Scheme, Steinhoff International Holdings, the Central Energy Fund, Eskom Pension Fund, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (PRASA) and a medical doctor.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya then looked at serious organised crime investigations – cases involved a clandestine laboratory on a farm in Harding, cash-in-transit, during the investigation of project Veyron, which targeted the notorious Czech organised crime boss, Radovan Krejcir. Other cases concerned Jason Domingues-Baya, who was involved in dealing in illegal narcotics in the Gauteng area, illegal trafficking of rhino horns, bomb threats and bombing incidents in the e-Thekwini Inner North and Durban Central area, Timothy Omotoso and illegal smuggling of abalone.
Looking at an overview of some successes, in addition to ongoing high profile cases, the following are noteworthy successes:
-Cash-in-transit: since August 2017 to 22 November 2018, 285 arrests have been effected, of which 214 suspects remain in custody, 31 are on bail, 21 are deceased and the matter has been withdrawn against six of the accused. 52 convictions have been secured. A total of 161 firearms and 116 vehicles have been recovered
-Clandestine laboratories (1 January –22 October 2018): during the period 1 January 2018 to 22 October 2018, 55 clandestine laboratories have been dismantled resulting in 91 arrests being effected and there were seizures amounting to approximately R324.5 million.
The Chairperson saw from the presentation there was excellent work being done by the DPCI and its units. Cases highlighted were complex and would take some time to solve as they require a great deal of attention and manpower going forward. It was noted the DPCI capacity was being depleted over time – was the plan to get more expertise and staff on board on track? The National Development Plan (NDP) is very clear that specialised units are required to tackle crime. He asked if the illegal firearms and narcotics specialised units within the DPCI were signed off by SAPS Human Resources. Or were these units still in the form of task teams? Looking at cooperation with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), he noted many cases are prosecutor-led – was the support and cooperation between the DPCI and NPA adequate? He noted cases involving corruption of the Land Bank and Land Affairs Department was concerning given future land reform. Did the DPCI have the necessary technology capacity in place to ensure credible cases are taken to the NPA?
Gen. Khehla Sitole, National Commissioner of Police, said a direction was given to both SAPS and the Hawks to review the personnel plan for investigations in the environments of DPCI and Detectives. It was agreed the resource plan for DPCI would be reviewed to deal with the personnel plan and technology requirements – this would be part and parcel of the resource review and physical resource requirements. This included replacement of DPCI capacity which may have been displaced. The fixed establishment was suspended as the personnel plan was being reviewed – the fixed establishment does not talk to the real requirement in this regard. There is a programme running between the DPCI and Detectives involving the exchange of capacity here and there.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya said the structures for the specialised units were approved at the correct level – last year there was approval at the incorrect level. This was being revived as part of the new design and the personnel are there – they deal with cash-in-transit robbery cases and the like along with firearms. There was also a unit dealing with narcotics to deal with drugs and drug laboratories. These structures have been signed off but the whole structural design of the DPCI is under review.
The Chairperson found this concerning as finalisation of these units have been on the table for a very long time – when is the final date by which these units have to be officially up and running? This is the bottom-line.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya responded that both the firearms and narcotics units are up and running although not at the full capacity that he would like to see them. The firearms unit was dealing with cash-in-transit robberies and other violent-related offences. The narcotics unit dealt mostly with clandestine laboratories and organised crime projects related to narcotics. These units have not been fully capacitated with regard to personnel so some personnel were placed on duty arrangements from other environments.
The Chairperson wanted to know if the units were fully capacitated as envisioned in the NDP – a straight answer is needed.
Gen. Sitole replied that SAPS was working together with the DPCI on the plan for revival of specialised units. The entire DPCI structure was under review by way of a work study – this included formal pronouncements on the particular units as fully functional. The units and entire structure would be formally approved before the end of January 2019. When Lt. Gen. Lebeya pronounced on the structure he would also pronounce on the units. When the structure was pronounced, the units would be beefed up and fully functional with no duty arrangements.
The Chairperson asked for confirmation that the two specialised units, as announced by the former President three years ago, would be up and running by the end of January 2019.
Gen. Sitole said SAPS and DPCI were working on it together to ensure the units were pronounced with the structure.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya said there was cooperation between the DPCI and the NPA – prosecutors are involved in projects in the environments of organised crime and commercial crime at an operational level. On a higher level, the DPCI and NPA sit together on various forums e.g. on anti-corruption matters requiring monitoring and prioritisation. There is an operational committee, provided for in the SAPS Act, for engagement between the DPCI and the NPA – there are also task teams coming out of this committee where there is cooperation between the DPCI and the NPA. The DPCI cooperated with the acting Director of Public Prosecutions.
Regarding technology, if a hard copy of a document went missing, the information would still be there but the question was whether the court would accept copies which were not certified when the originals cannot be traced. This is a matter to argue in court. The technology itself would always produce the copies but it is for the court to decide on the credibility of uncertified copies.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) asked what was meant by the defence disputing the credibility of uncertified copies. He was concerned this meant that people could walk off.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya explained the state went with the best available evidence – if the best evidence available was copies, the state would go with the copies. It would then be a matter of argument as to whether this best evidence can be accepted or not. The best option was to go with the original but if this was not possible, one would have to use copies.
Ms A Molebatsi (ANC) noted the VBS case reminded her of the Bophuthatswana Building Society (BBS) and asked if there was a link between the two. Was there discussion between the DPCI and NPA on postponed cases? How did these postponements affect the work of the DPCI? She asked if the church of Omotoso has been closed and if so, where the people are that were staying there.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya said that the link between VBS and BBS has not yet been established. He had been advised that the Eastern Cape branch of the church was closed down but it appeared congregants were applying to court to open the church again – the DPCI’s role is only to investigate the individual against charges put forward.
Ms L Mabija (ANC) noted that another form of state capture is flourishing businesses within SA – these businesses never accept bank cards but would only work with hard cash, strictly. This made her think these businesses want to avoid paying tax. Throughout the country there are also small businesses making big money off of South Africans without paying tax – this was state capture at a lower level. This was not being handled and no one is paying attention to where this money was being taken. This contributed to a decline in the economy. All money coming into businesses operating in SA should be government money and must be taxed. Was the DPCI aware of these practices? Does it fall under the investigating mandate of the DPCI? This was being raised as she moved around in her constituency and wanted to understand it better. On the matter of the Omotoso church, she said foreign people found ways of coming into SA and conduct their religion. In the process, the masses of SA are exploited as if there were no masses from where they come from to run their churches. She wanted to hear the views of the DPCI regarding South Africans held to ransom religion-wise by foreign nationals.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya said freedom of religion and association is a constitutional matter. Some people get influenced while others choose not to belong – it is a matter of choice. It is found that even after intervention, people refuse to leave the church. The role of the DPCI is to look at unlawful activities in all spaces including churches. Looking at state capture as a form of businesses not paying tax, the DPCI worked with other departments to ensure when such cases were picked up, and cash-practices were not registered to avoid bank deposits, the DPCI picked up on it. Usually such cases are found by the SA Revenue Service and Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. There would be investigation to establish whether these practices were compliant. Sometimes these people would be found with their loot at the airport and other ports of entry/exit – this could be up to millions of Rand trying to make its way out of the country which was acquired through tax avoidance.
Ms Mabija asked whether the DPCI accepted information directly from the public in cases where authorities, such as those highlighted in the response above, did not pick up on certain matters.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya confirmed the DPCI accepted information from whoever had it.
Mr Ramatlakane asked for more information to understand the matter of postponements – could it be a delaying tactic by the defence, challenge with the court roll or the investigation itself? He asked for an indication of the percentage of each category. He then asked about the capacity of investigators in the DPCI and if it was satisfactory. What is being done to address it? Skills were needed to remain on top of the investigations so what is being done about this?
On the VBS matter, he was concerned the reaction to it was too slow – reading the report into the matter, there are glaring wrongdoings. There was a news article alleging the Hawks were ready to pounce on those accused of looting money but no action to this effect took place – was this simply a rumour? The slow response to clear wrongdoing did not give society a good impression – slow action gives rise to citizens’ arrests. This also applied to the SAPS.
Mr Ramatlakane noted that about six months ago, the Committee was briefed on progress made on investigating the Estina case – the Committee is now seeing the same information presented. He asked if this was the sum total of arrests made – if not, when would there be further action? He was uncomfortable with the fact that the matter seemed to be at the same place as the briefing Members received six months ago.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya said the assumption was that the majority of postponements are due to lack of space on the court roll. There are some cases where delaying tactics come into play – these are usually the cases where the suspect had financial muscle to challenge the details of the case but the majority of delays were due to lack of space on the court roll. When it comes to the pace at which matters are dealt with, at times things are said in the public which the DPCI has not pronounced on. The DPCI is cautious when it puts timeframes on what needs to be done. There is a team of the DPCI in place working with prosecutors to guide focus areas and ensure there is quicker finalisation.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya then responded to the matter of Estina by noting there are still others which could be added to the charge sheet. Agreements were signed with authorities outside of SA where some of the suspects might be based – this could result in suspects being added to the charge sheet as the sheet was not yet complete. He assured the Committee that those involved would not be left out of processes. Once there was sufficient evidence the docket would be tabled to the NPA for decision.
Mr Ramatlakane found it difficult to understand how if, for example, 20 people are part of the problem only 10 are arrested – why is this done in the case under discussion? This gave a particular perception around the DPCI being able to deal with people who commit crime. He was not satisfied with the answer provided. Millions of Rands are involved in this case through the process of appropriation – surely the DPCI must have minutes and information on how these decisions were made.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya said it could not be concluded that those currently not included on the charge sheet would not be included in the future to be charged. The matter was still being attended to by the DPCI.
Ms P Mmola (ANC) asked the DPCI how long it would wait for finalised forensic reports – some of these cases were opened in 2010 already but the forensic report was still awaited. Were the statements taken not enough? With the case of the doctor, opened in 2013, why was the charge sheet only being drafted now? Who instructed the DPCI to investigate cases? It seemed not much progress was made on the cases of BOSASA and VBS.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya expected the finalised report next month, if not by the end of this month. The report itself was finalised but its availability to the DPCI is based on the Directorate fulfilling certain financial obligations before the report was produced – this was additional work which was not in the original arrangement. With the drafting of the charge sheet, the investigation itself was completed and it was now just a matter of finalising the charge sheet so that those involved could be prosecuted. The auditing process looking at the flow of funds was completed along with the investigation – the charge sheet was now being finalised to secure attendance of the accused in court either by indictment or arrest.
Ms Mmola asked when the charge sheet would be finalised – she was concerned as the matter had started five years ago. There must be prioritisation of work before the DPCI.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya responded that there would be communication with relevant office of the NPA to finalise the charge sheet. Regarding instruction of investigation of cases by the DPCI, the instruction came from the case docket. The docket contained the report of a complainant of a crime committed.
Mr Z Mbhele (DA) remarked that while cases presented today are a sample of the larger investigative workload the DPCI is working with, it is probably a reasonable assumption to say this quantum of cases the DPCI has on its plate is only the tip of the iceberg of the real time, on-the-ground picture when it comes to organised criminal activity. He suspected there was quite a big gap between what is being addressed by law enforcement and processed through the criminal justice process and the actual volume and depth of the problem – this is a long and slow road to travel. Turning to capacity, the presentation spoke to the significant reduction in the number of members in the DPCI – what is the current capacity of members in the DPCI? How many vacancies does this represent in terms of the total fixed establishment? On the case involving illegal trafficking of rhino horns, he questioned why it presented a constitutional challenge – which exact statute is being challenged on constitutional grounds?
Mr Mbhele noted the importance of the role of crime intelligence in many of these cases – how did crime intelligence support and enable the work of the DPCI? Was there adequate and quality support from crime intelligence to the Hawks environment? He asked the National Commissioner for his assessment and feedback on crime intelligence to the DPCI. The Member was asked to raise the matter of raging public unrest in and around Stutterheim – the local SAPS are completely overwhelmed and over stretched. The matter could cause major problems given that trucks are passing through and the local economy was already taking strain. Crime intelligence must get a grip on these underlying dynamics.
Gen. Sitole responded that as part and parcel of corporate renewal, DPCI is top of the agenda. Crime intelligence takes the lead on the unconventional environment – results of this were already seen in the busts. This was also a demonstration of cooperation between crime intelligence and the DPCI. Crime intelligence has a clear directive to beef up capacity and create a crime intelligence foundation on which the DPCI can operate. Recent results showed the marriage between crime intelligence and the DPCI is maturing. He suspected more busts would come as the two were working on further projects.
Gen. Sitole said he received the report on the unrest in Stutterheim from the Provincial Commissioner– once a report of this nature was received, the national support process kicked in where crime intelligence would enter to understand why it was not picked up proactively to ensure the situation was prevented. There would be intervention to provide the necessary support required. ORS would then conduct an assessment, which has already been done, to establish whether the situation warranted a level three intervention. Support would also be immediately provided. There is cooperation between national and the province. The support of the Committee and other role-players are needed to get to the root causes of the unrest which seemed to be getting worse.
Gen. Sitole said the recent judgement which allowed people to march without notice would have huge resource implications on SAPS. SAPS would have to plan around this although capacity would be stretched beyond its limits.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya answered the matter of capacity outlining the DPCI was at 2 633. To address this, a work study is in its final stages to ensure the structure being designed would assist in increasing the posts where personnel should be placed. A process had already begun to get members from the greater SAPS into the environment. Currently the DPCI’s capacity is at 2 543 which is a bit less than the ideal number but it would be corrected as indicated by the National Commissioner.
Regarding the constitutional statute challenge, the matter involved the trade in endangered species .The matter involved what could be done to protect endangered species and whether trade is permissible. He would need to refer back to the case to specifically answer which provisions were being challenged in the application itself.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Ledwaba, DPCI Head: Serious Organised Crime, added there was a court ruling on legalisation of domestic trade and sale. The loop holes of the matter were being looked at as the Constitutional Court ruling on the matter was awaited.
Lt. Gen. Lebeya then answered the question on support from crime intelligence confirming there is such support. Crime intelligence plays a critical role in ensuring successes in the areas of CIT and clandestine laboratories through interception. The DPCI worked together with crime intelligence on projects so there is cooperation with crime intelligence.
The Chairperson concluded this session by noting the Committee took note of progress and advancements made. The Committee welcomed the personnel review as the Committee believed the DPCI should have the necessary capacity and technology to deal with the various cases. The Committee would receive further updates in the new year.
SAPS Vetting and Lifestyle Audits
Maj. Gen. Leon Rabie, SAPS Head: Strategic Management, took the Committee through the presentation beginning by looking at lifestyle audits – SAPS suffered from various integrity failures affecting national security, in specific the authority of state relating to systemic corruption. On 16 February 2018, President Ramaphosa stated that “It is time that we implement our resolutions on the conduct of lifestyle audits of all people who occupy positions of responsibility, starting with members of the Executive”. The Divisional Commissioner: Crime Intelligence has been tasked to give effect to such a process within SAPS. The process is focused on enhancing the integrity of SAPS personnel in identified areas of risk by assessment of personnel integrity risks and threats, monitoring and evaluation of integrity risks and threats and mitigation of prioritised personnel integrity risks and threats. Lifestyle audits, in future, will form a sub-set of the vetting process.
9 972 SAPS members were subjected to financial lifestyle assessments (900 senior managers, 17 Bid Committee members in SAPS’ Supply Chain Management, 8 367 SAPS Crime Intelligence members and 865 SAPS members at OR Tambo International Airport). 99.15% of members have no adverse findings – 0.85% members have however been flagged for further validation to determine veracity of findings.
Phase one of the financial lifestyle assessments have been done for the first group (9 972 members). A further two phases will also be done to ensure comprehensive validation, namely, phase one: criminal activity risk assessment (SAPS Crime Intelligence) and phase three: organisational vulnerability profiling and threat assessment (SAPS Corporate). These three analytical audit phases will culminate into an “integrity risk and threat index” on which decisions will be based.
Maj. Gen. Rabie said the next focus group would be 10 000 SAPS members in the DPCI, Technology Management Services, new anti-gang task teams, prioritised ports of entry (Cape Town harbour and Durban harbour), national finances, national supply chain management and forensic services.
For the way forward there would be validation of findings of flagged members, criminal record checks of 9 972 members, organised vulnerability profiling and threat assessment of 9 972 members and feedback to be provided to the Committee on a continuous basis. No members will be identified until the assessments are verified and phases are concluded.
The presentation then looked at the status of vetting of senior management – the following 936 senior managers were vetted:
-415 top secret
-55 expired – must reapply
-324 in process
35 Lieutenant Generals were vetted – 29 at top secret and 6 were still in process.
196 Major Generals were vetted – 123 at top secret, 45 in process. 21 expired and must apply again, 6 non-applications and 1 clearance denied.
705 Brigadiers were vetted – 278 top secret, 44expired and must reapply, 71 non-applications, 6 secret, 7 clearance denied, 3 confidential and 296 in process.
Looking at progress made on re-engineering of the vetting process, there would be dedicated focus on finalising vetting investigations of SAPS senior management. A vetting turnaround strategy has been implemented:
-an acting Section Head (Brigadier) has been appointed to oversee the vetting section for the interim
-the vacant section head post (Brigadier) has been advertised – short listing of candidates has been finalised
-a permanent security vetting panel is in the process of being established
-83 critical vacant posts have been advertised to enhance capacity – the process of short listing candidates is underway
-the process is underway to develop a framework for the reclassification of vetting requirements
Gen. Sitole added there were categories and phases (one, two and three) for vetting. A directive was issued to have all three phases complete by the end of March. A final report could then provided which would also speak to how the 84 were disposed of. Capacity to conduct lifestyle audits is too minimal so this was under review for it to be enhanced. Some lifestyle audits are informed by existing investigations and forensic audits where questionable dynamics revealed themselves. No police member can have no form of clearance – if a member was undergoing top secret clearance, that person should at least have secret or confidential clearance so that the status was escalated. This would ensure SAPS and government is safe. It is also not necessary that everyone have top secret clearance – this must be categorised. There are also links to the performance management system. An ultimatum was given to the outstanding applications – if there was deliberate failure to renew, the employment contract would be invoked. The Act provided for 30 days to apply for condonation to the Minister – if this was not done the HR process would be invoked.
SAPS Progress Report on the Safer Festive Season
Maj. Gen. Rabie said it is the norm that during the festive season there is an increase in the movement of people in SA due to tourism, holidays and the increase of activities at places of entertainment, shopping centres and migrant workers returning to home. This is also a period when ports of entry are very busy because of the movement of persons in and out of SA. Major events, such as sporting, social, cultural, religious and political, are planned around or in the festive season period. These activities, associated with the festive season, are unfortunately being used by criminals to terrorise society. The Minister of Police launched the National Safer Festive Season for 2018/2019 on 2 November 2018 in Port Elizabeth at Motherwell (NU2 Stadium) under the theme “Quiet Storm” and the mission will be “Zero tolerance to Crime”. A national multi-disciplinary roadblock took place, on the evening of 2 November 2018, on the N3 corridor, at the Van Reenens Pass, in the Free State, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. All the nine provincial launches/roll-out of the safer festive season campaigns are aligned to the #NationalSafetyFriday Campaign approach. SAPS have been embarking on the #SafetyFriday since 2 November 2018. The launch was followed by operations which will continue until 31 January 2019 and will involve all the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster departments.
Maj. Gen. Rabie said the plan compliments the current National JCPS Operation Mutingati (Operation Fiela), including all other interventions such as the JCPS Economic Stimulus Implementation Plan, Anti-Gangsterism Operations, Emanguzi Presidential Intervention for Cross-Border Operations, GANOLIMP CIT Operations/roll out to all provinces, Border Management Agency (BMA) plan, OR Tambo Implementation Plan rolled out to the other identified ports of entry, protection of administrators and officials in North West province, SASSA and Post Office, Operation Buya Mthetho in Gauteng and the Arrive-Alive campaign.
Identified focal provinces included Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
The presentation then went through the six pillars of the festive season operations:
-pillar one: combating aggravated/armed robberies, trio crimes, murder, inclusive of taxi violence, and conducting high visibility operations at all businesses
-pillar two: proliferation of firearms, liquor, drugs and gangsterism, illegal immigration, illicit economy and ferrous and non-ferrous metal theft and second-hand goods and Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (SASREA)
-pillar three: crimes against women, children and vulnerable persons, murder, sexual offences etc
-pillar four: enforcement of by-laws e.g. hijacked buildings, unlawful sale of firecrackers etc
-pillar five: enforcing road safety e.g. drunken driving, speeding, driving of unroadworthy vehicles
-pillar six: enhancing border security, searching of stolen property crossing the borders, drugs, human trafficking, tracing of unwanted suspects etc
The operational concept of the festive season operation included implementation of the following phases:
-phase one: pre-holiday season (25 October – 30 November 2018)
-phase two: start of holiday season (1 to 15 December 2018)
-phase three: holiday season (16 December 2018 to 2 January 2019)
-phase four: end of holiday season (3 January to 16 January 2019)
-phase five: post holiday season (17 January to 31 January 2019)
A national programme is developed for enforcement of road safety, visibility of shopping malls, inspection of second-hand goods shops, cordon and search of specific identified areas, combating aggravated or armed robberies and addressing cross-border crimes.
Gen. Sitole added the festive season is a high density, integrated and multidisciplinary policing programme everywhere. The normalisation and stabilisation process is also underway by stamping the authority of the state. Under normalisation, there is community mobilisation during this particular season to work together with SAPS. There was a positive response in this regard from the Community Policing Forum Boards. The traditional policing concept would also be launched during the season to mobilise traditional leaders by 7 December 2018 to work with SAPS. There is mobilisation of churches and the National Council of Churches for the Spiritual Crime Prevention Conference. There is the 72-hour activation plan to execute arrests.
Anti-Gang Capability within SAPS
Maj. Gen. Rabie took Members through the presentation beginning with the project scope of the anti-gang capability which included:
-Establishment of Anti-Gang Task Teams in identified provinces.
-Dislodge and terminally weaken capacity of gangs in identified areas
-Disorganise and fundamentally disable the criminal economy linked to gangsterism including drug and firearm supply lines or other identified commodities in the criminal economy
-Detection involving collection and coordination of all information and intelligence and the collation and investigation of all gangsterism related cases. This will include investigation in a coordinated form, under a single investigation group
-Concurrent with the criminal investigation, a secondary investigation in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA), 1998 (Act No 121 of 1998), will be launched as a failsafe and alternate plan
-The goal of the case investigations is the prosecution of perpetrators linked to each case, while the POCA investigation has the strategic intent of removing the entire gang from the community
The mandate of the anti-gang capability operational mandate included:
-investigate all gangs, including prison gangs, which fit the definition of a criminal enterprise, as defined by the POCA
-investigate gang-related violence, perpetrated by the defined gangs
-investigate all gang-related activities which comprises/forms the criminal enterprise of the gangs with the focus on dismantling economic profits generated by defined gangs
-functions should be divided in two sections for investigating non-prison gangs and prison gangs separately as the investigation methodology differs within the two environments
The presentation then looked at the working methodology of establishment of the anti-gang capability.
The Anti-Gangsterism Strategy Implementation Plan is aimed at addressing all gang-related activities in the country to ensure “all people are and feel safe” with the view of achieving objectives of outcome three of the NDP. Implementation of the Anti-Gangsterism Strategy was compiled by the Visible Policing Division Task Team under the direction of the Policing Deputy National Commissioner. The Implementation Plan requires a multi-disciplinary and integrated approach, involving all role-players within SAPS and broader government. The Anti-Gangsterism Strategy Implementation Plan has taken into consideration intelligence gathering, analysis and coordination, a pro-active and high visibility approach, a combat and re-active approach, a reactive approach through detection, including an organised crime approach, community policing concept, as well as communication and liaison.
Maj. Gen. Rabie outlined the anti-gangsterism strategy implementation plan would focus on human development, social partnerships, environmental design, crime justice process and establishment of a NATJOINTS Priority Committee on Gangsterism.
The presentation then looked at successes and seizures in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng.
As a preventative measure, preventative actions are taken within affected communities that include but are not limited to community upliftment and education on gangsterism. Preventative actions will start from primary school and high school programs on prevention of gangsterism as well as social and media roll outs regarding prevention and assistance with reporting, whistle blowing and victim support. Combating is emphasised through the tracing of known suspects, arrests as well as diligent crime scene management to enhance court outcomes and successful prosecution. Combating will include disruptive as well as undercover operations to destabilise the criminal entity. Specialised Operations are done with court-driven outcomes in mind. Investigations are based on the Prevention of Organised Crime Act to ensure the criminal enterprises are completely removed from society and not merely distracted. These Operations are supported with 252 operations (Undercover Operations). Analysis and Information Management are the backbone of intelligence and linkage of cases. Special attention is given to information analysis, modus operandi analysis as well as the linkages of suspects to current and historic
cases through information gathering and court-driven intelligence reports.
Gen. Sitole added that he issued an instruction for training and development research as part and parcel of the anti-gang intervention to define qualities needed to respond to gangs – this would inform the curriculum review of the members. The modus operandi analysis centre took off last week – gang modus operandi would specifically be focused on. SAPS would also be working with other countries on this to remain a step ahead. SAPS attended the Interpol Conference in Dubai recently as well as the UN Convention in Vienna – one key aspect is transnational organised crime of which gang activity forms part. A specialised resourcing plan was instructed to sustain the impact. The President has launched the gang units in task team formations but an approved work study still needed to be signed off for the formal units. The current solution responded to the current challenge but the matter was part of a broader developmental process with the final aim of established gang units.
The Chairperson asked what the implementation date is for the establishment of the permanent vetting panel. What is the capacity of counter crime intelligence to deal with corruption? This should be a priority. Would there be capacity if ad hoc vetting matters came to the fore to ensure there was proper vetting of the units and that there were not corrupt members? He emphasised the end goal is to have anti-gang units as described in the NDP – when is the final implementation plan to ensure these units are up and running in line with the formal model of specialised units?
Gen. Sitole said a clear instruction was given that all work being done on vetting must be completed by 31 March 2019 – by 1 April 2019, the entire vetting process must be fully in place. Regarding internal corruption, several investigations are unfolding within SAPS – an instruction was issued that vetting be linked to these particular processes. Certain investigations would lead to the withdrawal of certain vetting certificates as a result of what was revealed during the investigation.
Ms Molebatsi asked to be updated on the progress made on the Senzo Meyiwa case. Was the OR Tambo International Airport vetting project completed by end July 2018 as promised when the Committee met on the matter in March 2018? She asked if the head of the anti-gang strategy was present. What security measures are applied to the e-vetting system to ensure its integrity and mitigate against cybercrime vulnerabilities? She asked what SAPS would do to monitor the illegal sale of firecrackers.
Gen. Sitole responded that on the case of Senzo Meyiwa, the Minister has pronounced on a new cold case team of four to work on this case. Some work has already been done which the National Commissioner thought was convincing. The National Commissioner could not say more than this. The case is top of the cold case strategy, which is located in the office of the National Commissioner. The head of the anti-gang unit was present – he is Maj. Gen. Andre Lincoln.
Lt. Gen. LJ Tsumane, SAPS Deputy National Commissioner: Crime Detection, said the e-vetting process sought to do away with some leakages and to strengthen the integrity of the process. E-vetting applications are only accessed through a password. The integrity of the process as a whole is being protected. There is capacity to deal with those who have been flagged.
Ms Mabija asked if there was a due date for the cold case team. If yes, what is this date? This is important for the Committee’s follow up work.
Gen. Sitole replied that the first report of the new task team on the Senzo Meyiwa would be received in December – this would be shared with the Committee.
Lt. Gen. Tsumane added that vetting of the OR Tambo environment was identified as a top priority – 962 members were supposed to have vetted. 865 were vetted so there are only 84 members left to do. It is hoped that the process for the 84 left would be expedited.
Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) asked what the outcome of the vetting was – were members found to have their fingers in illegal activities? Has anyone been removed from OR Tambo after what came to light during the vetting process?
Gen. Sitole said a report on the outcomes could be provided to the Committee.
Mr Ramatlakane asked why some SAPS members did not submit vetting applications – is there allowance for non-submission? What is management doing about this? The President launched a specialised anti-gang unit in Hanover Park – this seemed to be different to the language used in the presentation today. Has the President launched an anti-gang unit? Or was a task team launched? There seemed to be much confusion around this. If the President launched an anti-gang unit then that is what it is. Media reports recently spoke to the union wanting to take SAPS management to court for not consulting on establishment of the unit – why did management fail to consult the union? In response, a signed letter from Lt. Gen. Mgwenya was sent which said no anti-gang unit has been launched in the Western Cape. He found it troubling that if the National Commissioner sanctioned such letter, it would counter what the President spoke to. Has the President been misled? He also heard the Western Cape launched a Rapid Reaction Unit – this sounded as if it would run in competition to what the President launched. It would make more sense for these units to be integrated. He asked about the personnel and vehicles which are supposed to be attached to the SAPS gang unit. He said his questions were best answered by the Minister. The letter penned by Lt. Gen. Mgwenya was akin to treason because it went against the words of the head of state – this is a big problem as the country is run by the President and his Cabinet. He expected straight answers to his direct questions. There might be a need for the Committee to investigate what actually happened. His case rested on the speech of the President when he launched the anti-gang unit. The situation was more troubling when one considered that people on the Cape Flats did not sleep peacefully but that there has been much relief because of the unit. Even the union, in going to court and rejecting the establishment of the unit, was rejoicing in the pain of those in the Western Cape at the mercy of gangs. The union swore allegiance to the country. It would be good to pose some of the questions on the Western Cape Rapid Reaction Unit to the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner.
Gen. Sitole responded that when the President spoke, it became policy because the President is the Commander-in-Chief of SAPS. The strategy on the anti-gang unit is SAPS policy. The establishment of the units is clearly contained in the strategy. During the launch, it was explicitly said the gang units were still in task team formation. What still needed to follow is processes relating to labour and formal establishment. Once the establishment was final, an approved work study would be signed off. The President was not misled to pronounce on the gang units in terms of the strategy. The process of formalising the gang units continued – it starts in the Western Cape and would extend to the other provinces, including Wentworth in KZN. The anti-gang unit responds to the gang problem the country currently faced. The units should not be judged by the point of departure but by the destination – this is what the President spoke to. Formalising the gang units is also an integral part of the revival of specialised units within SAPS. He reiterated that when the President spoke it became policy of SAPS.
Mr Ramatlakane agreed that the President speaks policy. The Committee supported the unit and would continue to speak to the unit, not the task team. He asked if the unit/task team was registered. He also sought a response to the Rapid Reaction Unit launched in the Western Cape.
Gen. Sitole said only the President’s policy stands – nothing else. He did not have a full report on the unit launched by the Western Cape. Provincial Commissioners had discretion to respond to a particular situation faced in the province to deal with crime as long as it did not change national policy. Such intervention would cease once the immediate problem has been addressed. He highlighted that there is police language and public language – it is important that language be used which can be understood by the public. The internal work study has been completed. Policy of the President stands.
Ms Mmola asked what steps were taken against the SAPS members who did not apply for vetting and in the case of members’ clearance being denied. In a meeting with the Committee in March 2018, the National Commissioner said failure to apply for security clearance would result in revoking the employment contract – did this happen?
Mr J Maake (ANC) sought more information on the vetting applications especially the time involved in which application must take place.
Gen. Sitole said the renewal was similar to a gun licence. There was a policy gap where the HR policy did not yet dictate that the onus is on members to renew. The HR policy was reviewed – as a result, there has been a change of policy when it comes to promotion and recruitment.
Ms Kohler Barnard found that similar figures were presented when the Committee met with SAPS on the matter of vetting in March 2018 on people at the top who were denied clearance. At the time, Gen. Sitole said he would be changing regulations so that vetting took place before promotions happened – has this happened? What is done when a member of the upper echelon is denied clearance? If there was denial of clearance, the member would essentially not be able to do what he/she was paid to. She asked for the detail of how many family members of Mr Richard Mdluli were put into crime intelligence – she knew of a wife, ex-wife and about seven children but she also heard there were many more. In an answer to a parliamentary question, she was told Mr Mdluli could not be criminally charged because certain things were classified. She read the report by Maj. Gen. Mark Hankel and Chris de Kock but asked who declared none of the information could be used to charge Mr Mdluli formally for the misuse of safe houses, taking family members overseas and looting of the slush fund – is someone protecting Mr Mdluli?
Ms Kohler Barnard asked if the anti-gang strategy would be focused on Wentworth in KZN, which is an area known for major gang activity or if other areas in the province come to light. On the matter of borders, how closely did SAPS work with the SA National Defence Force (SANDF)? She has video footage of the border at Pongola where the SANDF stands by as people simply dip under the fence from Swaziland into SA. The SANDF was told it could not do anything but what is SAPS doing? She did not think the borders were taken seriously.
Gen. Sitole responded that SAPS shifted from manual applications to e-vetting. Some members experienced a few system challenges in getting their applications through but guidance was provided to assist these members. There is a written ultimatum that if a member did not submit the vetting application, HR processes would kick in – the member would then be left with seven days. The Act provides for 30 days in which members can apply for condonation to the Minister – if this was not done, HR processes would kick in.
Turning to the matter of Mr Mdluli, legislation prescribed who has the mandate to investigate in the same way not anybody could declassify a document. Only the Inspector General of Intelligence and Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence could direct the National Commissioner to declassify a document – no one else could because of the national security risk. Such processes must be done within the framework of the law – this was the only caution. There is no protection of individuals under investigation.
Gen. Sitole said there are integrated management meetings between SAPS and the SANDF covering working cooperation on borders, national security and other internal matters talking to the JCPS Cluster. There is also the Border Management Authority. He would check on the areas highlighted by the Member.
The Chairperson raised the matter of consultation with the unions on the establishment of the anti-gang unit – there is a need to relook at the SAPS management structure which engaged with the unions. It cannot be that an internal defect leads to the defeat of an internal policy – the Committee needs assurance on this.
Gen. Sitole responded that lessons were learnt from the matter – the matter was first raised while he was in Dubai but immediately upon his return, he engaged with the executive of the unions. The functionality of the SSSBC was emphasised in these meetings. SAPS respected the labour process. Further updates could be provided to the Committee.
The Chairperson concluded the session by noting the Committee acknowledged the important vetting project – a follow up report would be received next year. SAPS must deal with any member who fell short of the necessary criteria. The Committee wished SAPS well for its safer season operations. The Committee supported the introduction of specialised unit, as outlined in the NDP, and welcomed the anti-gang unit which is important. The National Commissioner must ensure administrative processes are ironed out so that the units can be extended to other provinces. The Committee welcomed the successes of the unit in the Western Cape.
Consideration of the Legacy Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police for the Fifth Parliament 2014-2018
The Committee went through its Report by page by page.
Members made a number of grammatical amendments and had very brief discussions on a few points in the Report. The Chairperson noted that Members were free to draft alternative wording to any sentences they felt could be amended.
Ms Kohler Barnard said Bheki Cele could no longer be referred to as a General as he was fired and did not have this right anymore. She checked this with the top structure of SAPS.
Mr Ramatlakane said that once one was a National Commissioner, one would remain a General.
Ms Kohler Barnard said she checked this carefully and found that once a National Commissioner is removed before the end of his/her term, one loses that right to be called a General. Mr Cele also lost his pension and was stripped of his rank. She urged the Committee to check this for themselves.
The Committee agreed to check this.
The Chairperson noted that the Report contained a condensed version of key recommendations of the Committee over the five years and grouped within themes. If each recommendation was included, the Report would run into hundreds of pages.
Ms Kohler Barnard suggested the Report recommend the next Committee start work on the appointment of a new Executive Director for Independent Police investigative Directorate (IPID) as the incumbent’s term would be ending in early 2019.
The Chairperson pointed out the process could potentially still be initiated by the current Committee.
It was recommended the Report say “appointment of the Executive Director when the incumbent’s term ends, as per the Act”.
Ms Mabija wanted to know why the Committee did not conduct oversight visits to Limpopo.
The Chairperson said the Report said only six of the nine provinces were visited by the Committee. It could be recommended to the new Committee that it start with the provinces not visited by the current Committee during its term.
Ms Mabija noted that Limpopo was contained in the programme of the current Committee but it was never visited and she wanted to know why.
Ms Mmola suggested the Committee organise such visit in January 2019.
The Committee’s Content Advisor explained the Limpopo visit did not take place as the parliamentary programme was subject to many changes. He was not sure if there was provision for Committee oversight visits next year.
The Chairperson said it is possible to approach the House Chairperson should there be an urgent reason for the Committee to visit the province. The matter would be monitored. The two international study tours of the Committee replaced the oversight visit to Limpopo.
Ms Mmola appealed for the Committee to approach the House Chairperson to facilitate the oversight visit to Limpopo as there are many challenges in the province.
It was agreed the Report would be sent to Members via round robin but the Report was adopted in principle with amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (HAWKS) - selected High Profile Cases
- SAPS - Establishment of Anti-Gang Capability
- SAPS - Progress Report on the Safer Festive Season
- Media Statement: Committee Concerned about Turnaround Time in Prosecuting Corruption Cases
- SAPS - Progress by SAPS on Lifestyle Audit and Vetting process
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