Anti-Gang strategy: SAPS roll-out of units; NGO & community input, Minister present

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12 February 2019
Chairperson: Mr F Beukman (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met with the Minister of Police, South African Police Service (SAPS) and various civil society organisations to receive an updated briefing on the rollout of the anti-gang strategy. SAPS presented a progress report on the anti-gang strategy and rollout of units. The presentation addressed progress with implementation, projects and successes. There was also presentation of capability requirements, short to medium implementation, current provincial capabilities and narrative around the proliferation of gangsterism.  Members were informed of the envisaged capability of the anti-gang units and preliminary impact, implementation pillars.

COSATU presented its submission on the anti-gang strategy which spoke to the socio economic context, response to the crisis, inadequately resourced police services, community challenges and COSATU’s urged steps to follow.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POCRU) also presented its submission on the anti-gangsterism strategy noting that the strategy required a holistic approach as the challenge of gangs could not be solved by the police alone. Recommendations and demands of the union were also expressed in the presentation. 

The United Public Safety Front, Philisa Abafazi Bethu (PAB) Women’s Centre, Concerned Citizens of Cape Town and Moms Movement for Justice voiced their thoughts on the anti-gang strategy and general concerns of policing in the affected communities. Demands were clearly voiced such as a multi-functional forum, constant review and feedback provided, a Children’s Commissioner, for gender based violence to become a policing priority and that firearms be removed from communities.

The Committee questioned the structure of single control rooms, recruitment of personnel to the anti-gang units, results of the anti-gang strategy and the vetting of SAPS members especially in relation to the perception that SAPS members are often on the payroll of gang bosses. Other questions centered on the success of prosecutions after arrest and the relationship required between the Department of Justice and SAPS in this regard, school safety committees, environmental design solutions and if there is adequate political will to drive the activities of the specialised units. Members wanted a collaborative approach to address socio economic factors associated with gangsterism , questioned senior SAPS members involved in the trade of illicit drugs and goods at the Durban harbor and command and control points in SAPS. 

Meeting report

Chairperson Opening Comments

The Chairperson welcomed the Minister, the team from South African Police Service (SAPS) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). He said the meeting was to receive briefings on the progress on the anti-gang strategy from SAPS and also receive inputs from the CSOs on the anti-gang strategy.

The Chairperson noted this was not the first time the Committee was receiving a briefing by SAPS on the anti-gang strategy and the huge challenge of gangsterism – from 2015, the Committee has received continuous briefings on gangs and strategies over the various provinces. In December 2018 the Committee undertook an oversight visit to the Eastern Cape and brilliant briefings were received by SAPS in the Nelson Mandela Metro. Last year community groups marched to Parliament and handed over petitions to the Speaker – this was received by the Committee hence the Committee deciding to look into the matters today.

The anti-gang strategy and roll out of these units has been initiated in line with recommendations of National Development Plan (NDP). Today, the Committee would be updated by SAPS and get feedback from community groups. Focus would be on the elements within the jurisdiction of SAPS – an anti-gang strategy is only one pillar in the fight against gangsterism but there are many factors to consider in the narrative which cannot be addressed by the police alone. The Committee is tasked with finding out if SAPS is making progress on the anti-gang strategy, challenges and cooperation. The broader debate involves other stakeholders in a cohesive approach.

Implementation of the Anti-Gang Strategy

Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele, echoed the sentiments of the Chairperson in stating that the anti-gang units are not a silver bullet in dealing with gangsterism. SAPS must do as much as it can but one major challenge of policing is environmental design involving socio-economic matters such as schooling. There is a big role for communities to play.

Gen. Khehla Sitole, National Commissioner of Police, prefaced the presentation by noting the anti-gang strategy follows a nationally designed approach but is executed in the provinces according to the geographical approach. It is also executed through a stabilisation and normalisation approach. The first stabilisation process started in the Western Cape with Operation Thunder. The approach is intended to cover all provinces in two phases. The Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng require combat and were initiated first while the other six provinces, namely, KZN, Limpopo, Northern Cape,  North West, Mpumalanga and Free State, require prevention and would be launched at a later stage because anti-gang activities has not fully manifested yet in these provinces. A normalisation approach has been initiated in the areas where the gangs are fully operational. This also involves community mobilisation. The community policing strategy has been pronounced by the President in the State of the Nation Address – the strategy is expected to be executed through youth crime prevention and a traditional policing approach. SAPS have also initiated an analysis approach which can be escalated to research and shared with CSOs to assist with crime prevention.

Maj. Gen. Leon Rabie, SAPS Head: Strategic Management, took Members through the presentation noting implementation of the strategy is aimed at addressing gangsterism through the establishment of a dedicated and adequately resourced policing capability, involving stakeholders through a collaborative and consultative approach to policing. Capability requirements include human development, criminal justice processes, social partnerships and environmental design. Looking at implementation timelines, in the short term (2018/19) the aim was to develop the anti-gang in the Western Cape and ant-gang task team in Gauteng and the Easterm Cape. In the medium term (2018 – 2021) the aim is to develop anti-gang units throughout the country. The presentation looked at current provincial capabilities.

Maj. Gen. Rabie looked at the gang narrative noting gangs are self-sustaining and multi-dimensional criminal enterprises difficult to police through normal conventional policing methods. There is therefore a need for the establishment of dedicated specialised units.  Anti-Gang Units were established to respond to the identified threat. This was accompanied with the allocation of specialised competencies such as the National Intervention Unit (NIU), TRT, investigators, intelligence operatives etc. Training curriculum was developed to respond to threats and modus operandi. Operational successes have been experienced. Root causes around the pervasive spread of gangsterism include social/community factors, economic factors, psychological/individual factors, historical factors and criminal factors – gang violence and membership is multifaceted.

The presentation went through the envisaged capability for the anti-gang units in terms of operations, operational support and support. Successes have been recorded in firearms and ammunition recovery, disrupting drug supply, murders have reduced except in December 2018, five hit men were arrested and improvements have been made to witness protection with the help of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster. Implementation of the School Safety Strategy has led to functional schools where children attend school and children are safer in streets and parks. Although safety is still a concern in some areas, SAPS is looking at ways to address safety concerns by formalising relationships with other departments.

Looking at human development, 1536 schools are linked to police stations through School Safety committees. These School Safety committees consist of Department of Education representatives (where required), principals and school management, school governing bodies and SAPS and meet on a monthly basis. Awareness campaigns are conducted at schools by social crime prevention officers and anti-gang units (in identified problematic schools) as well as searches as and when required. Mobilisation of communities is achieved through Community Police Forums, Neighbourhood Watches and other community based organisations. Conventional policing methods are carried out through a targeted and geographical approach. There are specialised capabilities such as the Anti-Gang Unit and medium and high risk forces ensuring the correct “organisational fit”. The “Customer is King” project is aimed at enhancing frontline service delivery to communities and the project has been prioritised.

In terms of social partnerships, the community policing strategy was launched on 20 October 2018 with introduction of the Community in Blue Concept. The Traditional Policing concept was launched on 7 December 2018. The safer city model is currently in draft. The Youth Crime Prevention Strategy has been launched. The Spiritual Crime Prevention Strategy is carried out through mobilisation and interaction with the religious fraternity.

Environmental design factors impacting on the ability to police conventionally include a lack of basic infrastructure, poor lighting, lack of accessibility (no roads), spatial development (design and layout of residential areas), informal settlements and overcrowding. Preliminary engagements have been initiated with provincial government and highlighted to stakeholders at a Western Cape Safe conference.

Turning to the criminal justice process, there are formalised partnerships between police stations, including the anti-gang unit and Community Police Forums, Safety Forums, focusing on addressing gang related crime. The process of collection of information, for the purposes of analysis and directing operational forces, is well established. Early warning mechanisms are utilised to provide timeously alerts to operational forces. Dissemination of early warnings is provided to the relevant operational forces for deployment to hotspots. Current working arrangement with the Director of Public Prosecutions involves guidance and consultation on an ongoing basis to be considered. A formal Memorandum of Understanding  and the possibility of specialised gang courts and dedicated prosecutors needs to be explored

Implementation of the anti-gang strategy has also led to 76 registered operations in Gauteng, Free State, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KZN and North West that is currently being monitored through the National Gang Desk. In the six provinces, 66 gangs/suspects/syndicate, groups and ringleaders were identified and profiled for the Prevention of Organised Crime Act/Organised Crime Threat Analysis investigations. Successes on the Organised Crime Threat Analysis investigations process has been operationalised through the Provincial Organised Crime Secretariat (POCS) in Gauteng, Free State, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and KZN. Successes were outlined in Gauteng, Free State, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KZN by identified gang groupings, registered projects, arrests made and firearms and vehicles confiscated. Collaborative School Safety monitoring and evaluation teams were initiated in the Western Cape but are now in the process of being established at national and provincial level. The Junior Commissioner Programme is in operation at station and provincial level and targets youth at risk through sustainable programmes to promote early intervention against a culture of gangsterism. SAPS is playing a supporting role to the Community Safety Forums. A total of 70 members were inducted with training on gangsterism from the Eastern Cape (24), KZN (6), Gauteng (20), North West (10) and Free State (10) from 13 to 16 November 2018, SAPS is undertaking the following activities: establishment of an Integrated Anti-Gang Unit Training module, work-study to formalise anti-gang units in all nine provinces, continuous allocation of physical resources for the anti-gang unit, recruitment and selection of personnel for the anti-gang unit, integrity testing of SAPS officials and training and development of identified human capital is also on-going towards the anti-gang strategy.

Gen. Sitole said resources invested in the anti-gang unit include allocation of R10 million to Operation Thunder and redeployment of 150 officers from outside the Western Cape. The anti-gang unit has a strength of 193 members and 89 vehicles presently. A review of the personnel plan of SAPS has been initiated to complement the anti-gang strategy and 3 700 officers that graduated from the SAPS college have been distributed across the various formations. Recruitment has been reviewed to 5 000 per year from 300 per year to complement personnel plan shortages. There is migration from the strategic framework to a local government framework that includes moving resources for anti-gang combating purposes.

COSATU Submission: Anti-Gang Strategy

Mr Tony Ehrenreich, COSATU Western Cape Coordinator, said the submission would reveal the local experience of citizens and is complemented by the submission made to NEDLAC on Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act which hopes to institionalise the kind of partnership between police agencies and CSOs with the value that unions can bring to it. The concern of COSATU is that there are growing levels of criminality and killings across the nation. The local experience is real and the country needs to find a way to respond and deal with crimes urgently. The public is of the view that the police appears have not dealt with matters that concern them coherently and do not see the extent to the work done by SAPS and government because there is no coordination. COSATU agrees with SAPS that socio-economic challenges have led to a brutalised society – much of this is a consequence of apartheid and is evident in the decaying moral standards in society.

COSATU is of the opinion that a policing solution must include dealing with all problems in society. COSATU feels government should inform the public of what it is doing to address these challenges and support greater coordination and synergy within its agencies. COSATU welcomes the focus on the urgency of the anti-gang strategy and shares its objectives but is concerned with some areas of omission. An understanding of how government, the Minister and the Department hopes to deal with the matters would ensure COSATU supports coordination strategies. The union commended the appointment of Minister Cele who has brought a lot more enthusiasm. The union also appreciated the work of SAPS in policing, management changes and successes in the anti-gang war.

Socio economic challenges of rising unemployment, growing inequalities, deep poverty levels and loss of hope among young people has led to young people feeling excluded, deep levels of resentment, social fragmentation in families, and gangsters have become role models and provide resources in communities. Learners do not want to go through the discipline of studying because gangsterism seems more profitable. COSATU noted some of the solutions in schools were reactive to challenges instead of making sure learners are supported and make their way through school. The joint forum demands an end to gang violence in its communities, a responsive government that listens to its people, a government that ends corruption, communities evaluating police stations and station commanders, quarterly report back meetings by station commanders, that government implements a Children’s’ Commissioner, for SAPS to do more to implement provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, firing and charging of police officers involved in gang violence and that firearms be removed and banned from communities. COSATU also demands establishment of community safety forums in the province, that the Western Cape Provincial Commissioner be reviewed for levels of competency, independent reach and analysis of police resource allocation and a review of the war on drugs because it has not addressed the challenge and it remains the livelihood of gangs. The war on drugs should see addiction as a disease, criminalise distributors and drug lords and go easier on drug users to ensure they do not use drugs anymore. 20 years later, the lived in experience of people is that things are getting worse in the working class communities with more socioeconomic challenges such as crime and gangsterism in spite of the many interventions of government. Hence we need radical solutions that are in line with best practices to be part of the plans to address socioeconomic issues.

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) Submission: Anti-Gangsterism Strategy

Mr Nkosinathi Theledi, POPCRU General Secretary, said the anti-gang strategy and process of savaging communities was not a matter to be addressed by only police officers but by all communities. POPCRU demands that a task team made up of officers with specialised training, particularly in intelligence gathering, be created to ensure SAPS builds relationships with communities by empowering Community Policing Forums (CPFs), ensure rural police stations have adequate resources as the top- heavy SAPS does not allow SAPS to allocate resources such as CCTV appropriately in rural police stations and ensure criminal justice cluster departments do not work in silos but begin to synergise their efforts and resources to develop one comprehensive crime prevention and fighting strategy to deal with all form of crimes including gangsterism. POPCRU has noted with dismay that the strategy does not provide any tangible and concrete solutions to deal with the scourge of gangsterism and other form of crimes. It is a disintegrated and incoherent approach on implementation and coordination which is a recipe for failure. POPCRU calls on SAPS to develop a new strategy to fight gangsterism but agreed with the acknowledgement that the strategy needs to involve communities in the fight against crime.

United Public Safety Front

Mr John Cloete, co-founder of the United Public Safety Front, said the Front questioned the seriousness and commitment of SAPS and government to address gangsterism. He said activists expected government show respect to members of the community who put their lives at risk to end the activities of gangs. A gang workshop was held on 25 May 2018 and although a report of inputs and recommendation was promised, to date, it has not being received. Workers bore the brunt of violence to and from work. He called on government to address its lack of commitment to the strategy to stop gang activities specifically in Mitchell’s Plain as the United Public Safety Front might be forced to go violent as it seemed as if government only recognised violent protests. The United Public Safety Front demands an end to violence in its communities, demands a multi-functional forum that included CSOs, demands a government that listens to citizens and also demands that Station Commanders and senior managers be accountable to communities and agree to reviews every six months.

Philisa Abafazi Bethu Women’s Centre

Ms Lucinda Evans, Director, Philisa Abafazi Bethu (PAB) Women’s Centre, relayed to the Committee stories of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who were failed by the police and justice system. The group put on t-shirts which read “an injury to one vagina is an injury to all vaginas” which they used to draw attention to their plight. The question is when government will put words into action and would enforce legislation. She pointed out that when there were not shootings, girls were getting raped in communities. She spoke extensively of how sexual assault survivors needed specialised support from the police and the court system. She cited cases where a child was assaulted in Magaliesburg and the femur bone of a child was cut off. Women could not get a protected area to stay safe from their husbands who are assaulting them. She noted the Victim Support Groups in police stations did not have 24 hour volunteers. The PAB Womens Centre demands there be engagement with the Department of Social Development as social workers are needed in the victims support group and more safer houses need to be rolled out in rural areas. Cases on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) crimes should take priority and GBV activism should be the focus. A dedicated Children’s Commissioner is needed because court cases take as long as two years to resolve when child murder cases should be given priority by the Department of Justice. The PAB Women Centre demands lawyers that counsel rape survivors be trained and also demands that bail bonds not be granted to molesters and rapists.


Moms Movement for Justice

Ms Avril Andrews, Moms Movement for Justice, explained the Moms Movement for Justice is a support group for women who have lost their children as a result of being caught in gang crossfire. She referred to the #TotalShutdown march held in October 2018 which called for an end to gangsterism in Cape Flats communities and asked Parliament when the demands of moms would be heard. She questioned why, despite memorandums being handed over constantly, nothing positive was being done to change the problem of gangsterism in communities. The Moms Movement for Justice demands that firearms be removed from communities.

Mr Cloete, United Public Safety Front, called for resuscitation of Community Safety Forums that were previously in place. The presentation by SAPS showed that these Forums were running well when they are not. Resource allocations to communities must be guided and an independent researcher must be appointed to review resource allocation during apartheid. These findings should be made known to the public.

The Concerned Citizens of Cape Town activists said South Africa is experiencing a crime crisis of epidemic proportions. The Concerned Citizens of Cape Town have serious concerns about safety and security given high levels of violence, gang murder, attempted murder, rape and violence against women and children in the Western Cape, particularly the Cape Flats, which had reached alarming proportions. National SAPS was political and was dividing communities especially the police in the Western Cape. Concerned Citizens of Cape Town called for a single police service in communities and demands that SAPS launch an investigation into the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). Communities could not have SAPS units that worked in silos. Commitment by Government officials should not be mere electoral promises. It is demanded that SAPS work with the community and investigate the three cases against Mr Angus Mckenzie, a Bonteheuwel ward councillor – information on this would be handed over. The Concerned Citizens of Cape Town demands national government implement a Children’s Commissioner. There must be establishment of a multi-sectorial forum which includes CSOs that would monitor and implement projects and programs aimed at reducing levels of crime and violence especially gangsterism. Greater cooperation is needed between all spheres of government, policing agencies and metro policing forces, together with civil society, religious organisations, organised labour and other relevant government organisations.


Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) asked SAPS to describe the structure of the single control room for investigations on gangs because she was of the opinion that there should be control rooms in each province. She asked SAPS to clarify if there were any officers left from the former anti-gang unit that was shut down in 1996. She recalled the briefing indicated graduates from the police college were drafted into the anti-gang unit but she noted numbers of senior officers in stations were getting low – where was SAPS getting the officers that were being redeployed to the anti-gang unit? Was SAPS seeing a drop in murders, especially civilian deaths, as a result of the new strategy? She noted there were claims of SAPS members being on the payrolls of drug cartels so that these cartels can make a getaway before a raid is carried out. This is linked to the matter of vetting – how long would it take to vet SAPS members? She noted prison gangs were linked with street gangs as new inmates were forced to join and become fully fledged gangsters before being released – what is SAPS doing to address recruitments in prisons?

Mr J Maake (ANC) asked if there was any law that prevented people from belonging to a gang because if there was SAPS did not need to wait for people to belong to gangs, kill and rape people before it acted. He noted that in his village primary school children were being recruited into gangs – how would the anti-gang strategy stop the recruitment of child learners of primary school children into gangs?

Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) said the data on cases of sexual assault given by the Moms Movement for Justice did not seem to be correct because of efforts SAPS was putting in to deal with the situation. People sometimes forget to thank SAPS for its good work because of the situation they were passing through. In the briefing SAPS mentioned it had brought in new capabilities but the truth is that these capabilities existed before but they were deployed from other formations to beef up the new anti-gang unit. He asked the National Commissioner to state why it was taking long to convert arrests into prosecution as there was a need to prioritise cases linked to children and women. Also he asked if SAPS had collaborations with the Department of Justice and Correctional Services to form an integrated system that would allow dedicated prosecutors work on cases as part of the multidisciplinary strategy mentioned in the briefing. He asked SAPS to clarify if illegal groups were actually gangs. Was Project Impi, investigating gun smuggling and launched in December 2013 in the Western Cape, integrated into the inter-provincial value chain of the anti-gang unit?

He asked if the police could corroborate the feedback received from the Hanover Park community that there is a degree of stability and that citizens are able to sleep at night – in other words, is the anti-gang unit making a physical impact?  Is it true that 80% of the anti-gang unit is under organisational development? Is the Major Offensive Reaction Team integrated with the anti-gang unit? He asked POPCRU to explain the statement that the structural partnership with communities that was collaborative had collapsed and also to explain how SAPS was ‘top heavy’. In terms of the demand for the establishment of a multi-disciplinary safety forum, and since the CSFs are vital for the anti-gang strategy, the Committee must review how its voice would be incorporated in the SAPS anti-gang strategy.

Ms P Mmola (ANC) noted SAPS said 1 536 schools in the Western Cape were linked to police stations through school safety committees - she asked SAPS to clarify how many schools were not linked. SAPS said factors affecting conventional policing included environmental design specifically lack of infrastructure and this affected SAPS policing of gangs – she therefore asked SAPS to clarify if it had meetings with local municipalities to address the lack of infrastructure in the communities. She noted POPCRU claimed the majority of police stations in rural areas and townships did not have resources such as functional CCTV’s - she asked the National Commissioner to update the Committee on progress made on the installation of CCTVs in rural police and township police stations. She asked the National Commissioner to state reasons why cases in the Western Cape were pending for years.

Mr Z Mbhele (DA) said key matters that came out from this engagement were the basic pillars of police reform such as professionalisation, which the NDP speaks to, localisation of resources, which the National Commissioner had committed to but was being awaited, as well as specialisation which the anti-gang units were attending to. He recalled he had talked about these basic pillars of police reform for some time and they were not new. He asked the National Commissioner to clarify how the Committee and specifically gang violent affected communities would trust that conditions for normalisation efforts would be achieved as a result of the historic under-equipping and under-resourcing that continued to be evident from oversight visits and briefings. The under-equipping and under-resourcing status quo means normalisation efforts of building trust, when communities give tip-offs, information and intelligence that the police needs, is not been followed-up and therefore SAPS would not be able to sustain outcomes of the anti-gang strategy. He asked the Minister to assure the Committee there was adequate political will to drive activities of specialised units in SAPS for year-on-year programs. He asked the National Commissioner to comment on partnerships between SAPS Western Cape and the metro police of the City of Cape Town because there were allegations of non-alignment and lack of cooperation at a provincial level.

Mr A Sheik-Emam (NFP) said it was clear socio economic problems, use of drugs, alcohol and firearms led to the bigger problem of gangsterism. He supported the call to ban the use of firearms in communities. It is unfortunate that the sale of alcohol moved from shebeens to schools in communities. The departments that should deal with these challenges are not collaborating to solve challenges of alcohol abuse. He called for a more collaborative approach to address matters associated with gangsterism by solving socio economic challenges of housing and employment. He asked the Minister to state how SAPS would deal with challenges of manpower. He welcomed the introduction of a Children’s Commissioner but noted there was no collaboration between the Department of Justice and Correctional Services and SAPS. This lack of cooperation is seen in tax paid by citizens being used to provide legal aid to rapists and that the bail for child molesters and rapists is a mere R500. It seems as if SAPS is trying to arrest the rapist/molester while the Department of Justice and Correctional Services was trying to free the rapist/molester. He noted that when new officers come into SAPS they were clean and had no corruption tendencies but became corrupted when they start serving for whatever reason. He asked the Minister to state steps taken to continually vet officers. He noted that drug dealers and distributors were related to members of the community so it became difficult for informants to give information to SAPS because of the fear of repercussions. He also asked the Minister to state the percentage of arrests that led to convictions and the percentage of arrests of foreigners that committed crimes.

Mr P Mhlongo (EFF) said there were push and pull factors that affected a situation which need to be dealt with in order to get desired results. The Chairperson has emphasised in all meetings of the Committee that police pocketbooks must be used effectively to ensure there was evidence of activities of SAPS officers on a daily basis. He asked the Minister to clarify why a divisional police officer in Durban allowed illegal drugs and illicit goods to be brought in through the country’s harbour and peddled to Pretoria. He questioned the investigation of this Durban officer by senior management when the officer was still in office threatening junior forces not to give information to Members about illegalities going on in Durban. Illegal drugs and illicit goods is costing the country loss of revenue while some senior commissioners were holidaying in Mauritius due to moneys stashed by the Durban officer in question and making the officer a god. This has given South Africa a bad name because the drugs appeared at Walvis Bay and was linked to South African port of entry by Namibia.  He noted that CSOs talked about abuse on women and children. He related the story of a police official who was in exile in Zambia because he defended a woman who was being assaulted in KwaMashu – there was not a squad acting as hit men to try and track this police official down. He asked the National Commissioner to clarify if SAPS was protecting rapists and investigate the hit men squad. He asked why SAPS was rewarding criminals and pleaded that the Committee investigate the matter to ensure criminals in SAPS were put behind bars because they were dangerous to colleagues. The house of SAPS must first be cleaned to ensure the desired results were seen.

The Chairperson questioned the command and control points in SAPS and asked the National Commissioner to clarify officers responsible for gangsterism at national and provincial levels. He also asked the National Commissioner to list partnerships that SAPS had on the socio economic level.

Minister Cele appreciated the Committee for commending the work done by the officers of SAPS and those that were killed in the line of duty. SAPS were still working on the report on gangsters and would sent it to the United Public Safety Front when completed. He agreed to take up the challenge and get involved in the meetings and forums called by the CSOs. He agreed that a Children’s Commissioner should be appointed but stated the office in charge of child cases be joined to cases affecting women as well because they were interlinked. He said the impression stated by Mr Mbhele that communities affected by violence and gangsterism did not trust SAPS was incorrect because most of the time and resources was spent in the Western Cape because of the cries of the communities and prevalence of death. The Western Cape has the highest murder rate in the country while Gauteng leads in the rate of general crime. Hence Operation Thunder was initiated in the Western Cape and it entailed deploying officers from other provinces and formations. SAPS’ goal is to have specialised approaches to policing in all areas instead of a flat, normalised approach. In the Western Cape, there has been a pooling of capabilities and specialised units to produce the anti-gang units. Training must be developed for the anti-gang capacity so that more officers are produced. Preliminary impact has been said, for example in the area of Uitsig, and the aim is to now see this impact growing. There is the challenge of environmental design – an example of this is kids playing in the streets where they stand in direct danger of being shot. Shebeens are another major challenge – this is a provincial competence and an overarching legislation is needed in this regard. Some shebeens were given licences by the province and Liquor Licensing Board to operate mere meters away from schools. A lot of crime takes place around the shebeens such as abuse of women. People living around the shebeens complain that there is constant noise and bad behaviour. The Minister emphasised that the call around these matters were made on the graves of those that have died as a direct impact of these matters – this included police officers who have died in the line of duty. Another environmental design problem is CCTV cameras not working in areas such as Khayelitsha when in other areas such as Camps Bay, these CCTV cameras are fully operational. Community involvement in fighting crime is a 50 per cent requirement. CPFs are largely a provincial responsibility. All opportunities should be grabbed for communities to come together. No mother gives birth to a gangster. Another key challenge is that the gangs sustain the communities by buying kids clothes and providing food etc. There is also the problem of children not attending school – these are the factors that require attention and effort.

The Chairperson requested SAPS provide some answers in writing as time was running out.

Gen. Sitole acknowledged and appreciated CSOs for its inputs and promised that SAPS would investigate cases involving the two officers - he asked Mr Mhlongo forward details to him. He informed Mr Ramatlakane that the anti-gang unit capability in the Western Cape was already concluded – a work-study was underway to develop this capability in all the provinces. He said while listening to submissions from the CSOs it was evident all parties were ready to work together with SAPS and government. The national crime prevention framework would create platforms for government agencies, security forces and civil society – this was being worked on. This would be vital as SAPS needed these inputs. The President has called for support for community policing strategy and invited communities to work with the police to optimise this strategy. Inputs from CSOs are needed to close the gaps. The process would extend to the criminal justice cluster broadly in terms of resources and prosecution to ensure a collective service is rendered to the public. Remaining answers would be provided to the Committee in writing.

Contract of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Executive Director

The Chairperson tabled the letter from the Speaker of the National Assembly from the Minister of Police regarding the contract of the Executive Director of IPID. The matter now depended on the court outcome today. Members would deliberate on the changing of its programme in the coming two weeks to accommodate the matter.

Mr Mbhele suggested the Committee request a briefing from the Minister on the extension/non-extension of the contract of the Executive Director of IPID before engagements even though the Committee still awaited the court outcome. The Committee would then be able to understand the rationale and basis of the Minister’s argument.

The Chairperson said this would be discussed in subsequent meetings as it would be part of the process going forward.  

The meeting was adjourned.

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