Heritage Western Cape Council; Department of Community Safety on its Policing Needs and Priorities programme

Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport (WCPP)

20 August 2019
Chairperson: Mr R Allen (DA)
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Meeting Summary

The Director of Museums, Heritage and Geographical Names, told the Committee that Heritage Western Cape (HWC) had the ability to establish committees. Currently, these comprised the Archaeology, Palaeontology and Meteorites Committee; the Built Environment and Landscapes Committee; the Impact Assessment Committee; the Inventories, Grading and Interpretations Committee; and an Appeals Committee. In order to be considered as a member of the HWC Council, the candidate had to be a South African citizen, must be a permanent resident in the Western Cape, and have knowledge of and qualification, experience or interest in subjects related to heritage resources management. The term of office of the current Council would expire on 31 October 2019.

Members asked the Department to explain what was meant by “diverse cultures”, as well as the “national character.” Was permission was needed from the Department before Spatial Planning and Architecture could proceed with certain tasks. Since spatial planning changed the face of the city, what were the powers of the Department were when it came to town planning? Was the Council currently facing any litigation?

The Department of Community Safety briefed the Committee on its policing needs and priorities (PNP) programme. The PNP process had enabled the Department to engage and consult with communities regularly, and capture their concerns. This had been brought to the attention of provincial and national authorities. PNP engagements were well attended and attract the members of organisations and public officials who were key stakeholders in the field of safety and security. The safety plans provide a local level plan of action to guide the work of the community, police and government. There was evidence that many PNP recommendations had been implemented, such as the safety kiosks, as well as showing that several local municipalities had addressed the relevant PNPs that were within their jurisdiction.

A Member suggested that if the Police Minister refused to assist the Department, the Committee could report the Minister to the Public Protector or the Human Rights Commission for failing to meet the Constitutional mandate.  Also, what legislation had been passed in the past five years to ensure that the rights of the Department over the police were preserved, because according to the Western Cape Constitution, it had a mandate to monitor police conduct, and to assist and assess the effectiveness of visible policing, and this was not happened. It was also unclear whether SAPS had incorporated some of the PNPs, and more feedback and clarity was needed because the Community Safety Act was there to help them.

Meeting report

Heritage Western Cape Council shortlisting process.

Dr Mxolisi Dlamuka, Director: Museums, Heritage and Geographical Names, said the National Heritage Resources Act, 25 of 1999, empowered the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) to establish a Provincial Heritage Resources Authority which would be responsible for the management of the relevant heritage resources within the province. Provincial Heritage Resources Authorities were established as body corporates capable of suing and being sued in their corporate name. Heritage Western Cape had been established in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act and the Western Cape Provincial Regulations on 25 October 2002.

The National Heritage Resources Act authorises the Provincial Heritage Authorities to perform functions such as advising the MEC on the implementation of the Act or relevant provincial or municipal legislation; protecting and managing the heritage resources in a province; maintaining data bases on heritage resources in accordance with national standards; and determining the competence of local authorities to manage heritage resources in accordance with the national system for the heritage grading of local authorities.

The Western Cape Provincial Regulations prescribe that Heritage Western Cape (HWC) shall be under the management and direction of a Council. The Council serves a three-year term, must meet at least four times per year, and the term of office of the current Council expires on 31 October 2019.

The HWC had the ability to establish committees. It currently had the following committees: Archaeology, Palaeontology and Meteorites Committee; Built Environment and Landscapes Committee; Impact Assessment Committee; Inventories, Grading and Interpretations Committee; and an Appeals Committee.

Regulation 2 provides the manner with which the Council must be appointed. According to this regulation, the Provincial Minister must invite the general public to nominate persons for the appointment as members of the Council. Once such nominations have been received, the Provincial Minister must refer them to the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee must then compile a shortlist of candidates from the nominations received and submit it to the Provincial Minister.

In order for one to be considered as a member of the HWC Council, the candidate must be a South African citizen; must be a permanent resident in the Western Cape; and have knowledge of and qualification, experience or interest in subjects related to heritage resources management. Archaeology; anthropology; architecture; town planning; urban design; geology; paleontology; history; law; and intangible heritage were all key areas covered by the HWC.

When appointing members, the Provincial Minister must take into account cost-effectiveness and efficiency; effective administration and service rendering; capacity in the specific categories of heritage resources to be managed in the Western Cape; and cultural, geographical and demographic considerations.

Discussion

Mr G Bosman (DA) commented that the advertisement on page 17 of the document did not include the key areas covered by the HWC, as on page 9. Was there a reason as to why the advertisement was not specific in terms of which professional groupings they were recruiting from?

Ms A Bans (ANC) asked about the process of appointment. She was under the impression that this process had been done prior to them entering office, but upon looking at the advertisement in the document, this was not the case, so she wanted clarity in this regard.

Mr P Marais (FF+) complimented the Department on the fact that they had not presented an academic document. The simple language used in the presentation was commendable in light of the fact that these documents should be drafted in a manner which would be easy for the general public to understand. Making reference to the introductory quote on the first page of the document, he asked the Department to explain what was meant by “diverse cultures”, as well as the “national character”. He also addressed the requirements of members and their areas of expertise, and asked the Department if permission was needed from them before Spatial Planning and Architecture could proceed with certain tasks. Since spatial planning changed the face of the city, he wanted to know what the powers of the Department were when it came to town planning.

Ms L Botha (DA) had a question concerning litigation, and asked if there were any actions currently against the council.

The Chairperson latched on to the question of Ms Botha, and asked the Department if the research authorities had been sued.

HWC’s response

Dr. Dlamuka said that the questions raised by Mr Marais were issues which had to be dealt with on a daily basis. The question of nationhood was a frequent topic of discussion. This country came from a history whereby people were made to think in terms of indifference. South Africa had adopted a National Development Plan (NDP) which seeks to engineer the idea of a non-racial South Africa, where people see themselves a South Africans, while not disposing of the idea of diversity. What was referred to as the “South African nation” was characterised by many individual cultural identities, being able to gain recognition as equal parts which make up one collective South African identity. This was what the Department was trying to do when they try to preserve heritage sites -- they try to ensure that heritage is used as a tool to build social inclusion.

Addressing the questions concerning the powers of the HWC, she said when it comes to town planning, according to section 38 of the act, if there were any development plans which exceeded 5 000 square meters, Heritage Western Cape must be approached for commentary. During the process of commentary, the HWC would look at the social landscape and how the development was going to blend with this landscape.

There were cases which were currently open against the council, but because they were a corporate body, the cases would be dealt with when the new council came into office.

Regarding the areas mentioned in the document but not in the advertisement, the reason for the key areas not being included was because of space. However, these were included in a link, as well as on nomination forms

Further discussion

Mr Bosman asked about the work done by BELCom, specifically around certain developers who want to build condominiums and apartment blocks in areas such as Wynberg. The frequent concerns raised by municipalities were that members of these communities feel that they do not have much of a say when it comes to appealing the decisions of these developers.  How could members of the public be made to better understand the work of BELCom and the HWC, and how they could they better interact and engage with these two entities?

Mr Marais wanted to know who should be consulted when heritage sites were demolished. Should it be the community that lives close to the site, or should it be the community to which the site had value and significance from a historical perspective?

Mr M Kama (ANC) said that he would prefer a broader discussion on how to balance economic interests with heritage interests. He asked the Department what the time frames were for when the Committee was expected to submit the shortlist of candidates.

Ms Botha wanted to know how many resignations had been made in the previous term of the Council.

The Chairperson asked the HWC if they could provide the Committee with a budget, to see how money had been spent.

HWC’s response

Dr. Dlamuka said that they would inform the Committee on what had been spent on HWC and HWC activities, as well as how many resignations had been made during the last term.

On the balance between economic interests and heritage interests, he said this was not an easy balance to maintain, but that the Department tried to infuse the notion that public policy was based largely on a trade-off between the two competing interests, and sometimes one had to look at the bigger picture. This was something the Department had to deal with frequently.

When it came to the demolition of heritage sites, the Department engaged in consultation with affected groups and persons, and asks them for comments.

Department of Community Safety: Policing needs and priorities

Ms Yashina Pillay, Chief Director: Department of Community Safety, said the legal mandate for the policing needs and priorities (PNPs), Sections 206(1) and 206(2), of the Constitution requires:

  • The national Minister of Police to determine the national policing policy after consulting provincial governments and taking into account the policing needs and priorities of the provinces.
  • The provincial executive (MEC) must determine the policing needs and priorities of the province.
  • National policing policy may make provision for different policies for provinces after taking the needs and priorities of the province into account.

The Constitution did not specify how often the PNPs should be determined, nor how this should be done.

Section 23 of the Community Safety Act of 2013 requires that the MEC must report annually to the Provincial Parliament on his findings regarding the policing needs and priorities; Provincial Parliament must refer the report to the standing committee, where it must be considered and debated; the standing committee may hold public hearings and request representations from stakeholders with an interest in the report; the Provincial Commissioner and the executive heads of municipal police services must be given an opportunity to respond to the report, the comments received and the findings; the findings and comments of the standing committee must be taken into account when the MEC formulates the recommendations on policing needs and priorities for approval by the Provincial Cabinet.

The MEC must submit the approved policing needs and priorities to the national Minister, to be taken into account when the policing needs and priorities for the Province were formulated in terms of the Constitution.

Various methodologies had been utilized for the annual determination of PNPs. These include desktop research of South African Police Service (SAPS) documentation, annual reports, operational plans, presentations and budgets; media reports; critical commentary and literature on policing, crime and safety issues; demographics, statistics, integrated development plans (IDPs) and provincial government data.

Based on the workshops, findings and analysis of the Department, an annual PNP report had been compiled and submitted to the Minister of Police, the national and provincial commissioner, all provincial MECs and departments. It was distributed to key stakeholders and was available on the Department’s website.

The research had been published and was a marketing tool and information source for the public and stakeholders. The previous year’s report had been distributed at the PNP workshops the following year.

The 2017/18 PNP report had been submitted to the standing committee in terms of S23 of the Community Safety Act (CSA), and after incorporating its comments, had been submitted to Cabinet.  The draft report had also been forwarded to the Minister and Secretary of Police.

Since 2018, the PNP had also been a standing item in the Ministers and Members of Executive Council (MINMEC) report and meeting which was chaired by the National Minister of Police.

When it came to marketing strategies to inform stakeholders of the PNP’s, advertisements in newspapers and radio advertisements were used to inform stakeholders. In addition, bulk SMS invitations and reminders were sent to target groups, and email invitations were also distributed.

Telephonic mobilisation was used to secure attendance, and there was correspondence with SAPS to ensure participation. Currently the reports were published on the website for the public to access, and hard copies were distributed widely at public events and to key stakeholders.

When dealing with the development of safety plans, the provincial strategic goals and new strategic priorities focus on ensuring that the Department supports the building of safe and cohesive communities.

It had been argued that the PNPs should have a wider ambit than a narrow policing concern, and should include looking at the intersection of the functions of many municipalities and many provincial departments to contribute to safer communities.

Challenges the Department faced included a lack of monitoring mechanisms to see how the PNPs were addressed/incorporated into operational plans or annual performance plans by various institutions.

The PNPs were conducted during the course of the financial year, but were not complete before the SAPS annual performance plan (APP) was compiled. However, due to the long term nature of the issues raised, this should not prevent SAPS from taking such PNPs into consideration in their planning for future years. It was unclear whether SAPS provincially or locally incorporates the PNPs into their station plans.

Some of the recommendations were duplicated year-on-year and were similar to policing plans, though a direct influence was not clear.

Despite these challenges, the Department had seen a lot of success. Since there was no predetermined manner for determining PNPs, the Department was continually striving to find an optimal way to determine them.

In some ways, most crime patterns remained stable, and many of the PNPs identified were similar to previous trends. However, the Department had also focused on specific safety threats in different years. In 2018/19, the focus was on gender-based crime, drugs and commuter safety.

The PNP process had enabled the Department to engage and consult with communities regularly, and capture their concerns. This had been brought to the attention of provincial and national authorities. PNP engagements were well attended and attract the members of organisations and public officials who were key stakeholders in the field of safety and security.

The safety plans provide a local level plan of action to guide the work of the community, police and government. There was evidence that many PNP recommendations had been implemented, such as the safety kiosks, as well as showing that several local municipalities had addressed the relevant PNPs that were within their jurisdiction.

Discussion

Mr Bosman asked about the planning schedule for 2019, and whether the PNPs had considered the notes and recommendations made by Members of the previous Parliament.

Ms Botha wanted to know whether a safety plan for the West Coast had been submitted and, if funds had been allocated for this, how they had been spent.

Mr Kama had a question about the safety plans, and wanted to know whether there were safety plans in the various district municipalities. To what extent had the community been involved in the planning of the safety sessions, because one of the complaints was that the community had not been involved previously.

Mr F Christians (ACDP) raised a concern regarding the challenges mention in the presentation, and wanted to know if anything was being done about them, especially when one considered the fact that it was unclear whether SAPS had incorporated some of the PNPs. He sought more feedback and clarity on these points because the Community Safety Act was there to help them, and it was of utmost important to ensure that these challenges were overcome.

Ms R Windvogel (ANC) also was also concerned about the list of challenges, especially the lack of monitoring systems, and asked the Department how they planned to see that these challenges were met.

Ms Botha wanted to know who the role players had been during the engagement with the West Coast.

Mr Marais said he had always heard that the Department had asked the police for more assistance. In the Constitution, section 12 says that everyone had a right to freedom and security of person, which included the rights to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources. Therefore, if the Minister refused to assist the Department, he wanted to know why they did not report the Minister to the Public Protector or the Human Rights Commission for failing to meet this constitutional mandate.  Secondly, Mr Marais wanted to know what legislation had been passed in the past five years to ensure that the rights of the Department over the police were preserved, because in chapter 8 of the Western Cape Constitution, the Department had a mandate to monitor police conduct, and to assist and assess the effectiveness of visible policing, and this was not happening. He therefore asked the Department what they planned to do about passing a law to activate these powers conferred on to them in the Western Cape Constitution.

Department’s response

Mr Gideon Harris, Head of Department: Department of Community Safety, said that the planning schedule was provisional, but he assured the Committee that they would be informed of any changes timeously.

Regarding the involvement of the community police forums (CPFs), he said the current forums had now come to the end of term of their office, and that selective annual general meetings (AGMs) would be held in September. The Department had consulted with the electoral commissions, as well as with the national secretariat.

The Department did not have the power to call the police to account to them, but the Standing Committee did. The Department therefore suggested that the Committee assist in this regard, and engage with the police at least quarterly.

Mr Harris said that he was confident that all municipalities had safety plans, but it was the quality of these plans that needed attention. As the Department received the safety plans from the district municipalities, they would table them with the Committee in order for them to scrutinize them. Consulting with the community was one of the more difficult tasks, so the Department focused on the statutory bodies, which were the people in the communities who were part of the parole forces, the CPFs, etc., as opposed to trying to meeting with the general public. However, it also communicated broadly with NGOs which were also involved. The incorporation of SAPS in the safety plans had not been as successful as desired because it had been very difficult for the Department to do an audit as to whether all of the safety aspects of the PNPs had been incorporated. The Department planned on overcoming the challenges they were faced with by nailing down the specifics of the PNPs.

The Western Cape was the only province that had a Community Safety Act, and although there was a lot of work to do, the Department had been considering a number acts and bills, and would also review the Community Safety Act this year.

The Public Service Commission report had been tabled and given to the police. The matter had been put before the Equality Court, which had ruled against the police, and the Department was now a respondent to the mediation process. The police now had the opportunity to bring forward their plans that address the affordability of additional resources.

Mr F Christians (ACDP) said that he still had concerns regarding the incorporation into SAPS. The expectation was not to visit all police stations -- the point was rather that there should be a mechanism in place where the police stations themselves reported back to the Department.

Mr Marais said it was time that the Western Cape drafted an anti-gang act, since the acts of gangs were no different to terrorism.

Ms Amanda Dissel, Director: Department of Community Safety, said the Constitution did not mandate the Minister -- and ultimately the police -- to report directly back to the Department, and this was why there had been trouble with introducing such a mechanism. However, the Department had been in meetings recently where they had looked at the constitutional mandates in this regard, and planned on doing a more thorough investigation into why incorporation had not been at the desired level.

Mr Bosman suggested that the Committee needed to write to the Police Commissioner to update them on what the impact of the military deployment had been and going forward, what staffing plans were being put in place and whether there was going to be a change on the way policing happened.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

 

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