Portfolio Committee on Police
Minister of Police on 2019 Annual Crime Statistics (continuation)
18 September 2019
Chairperson: Ms T Joemat-Pettersson (ANC)
Documents handed out:
SAPS - Police Recorded Crime Statistics
This was a continuation of the 12 September briefing by the Minister of Police and the South African Police Service on the latest crime statistics (April to March 2018/19) released last week. The statistics were presented according to categories of crime, breakdown per province, as well as compared to previous years.
There was an increase of 2.6% for contact crime, which includes an increase of 3.4% for murder, 4.6% for sexual offences and 4.1% for attempted murder. Rape increased by 3.9% and sexual assault by 9.6%. The provinces of Gauteng and Western Cape led in the number of contact crimes, such as murder, which could be attributed to these being the most populous provinces in the country. SAPS spoke about the causative factors of murder, which include social ills, dysfunctional families and relationships, greed, abuse of alcohol and substances, and proliferation of firearms. Most murders and attempted murders happened over the weekends, particularly at night and closer to month end. Domestic violence was highlighted. Domestic violence, gangs and arguments were the main factors that led to murder. Other statistics included farm murder, the killing of police members and environmental crimes.
SAPS called for joint action to fight crime in South Africa. The root causes must be targeted and that goes beyond its mandate and reach, which speaks to the need for engagement with other departments.
Members asked about reporting crime statistics more frequently; deployment of human resources to tackle crime over weekends; use of statistics in SAPS planning; killing of off duty police members; effect of budget cuts on SAPS activities; branding of police cars; employment of social workers and psychologists to assist police officers; relationship between Community Police Forums (CPF) and provincial SAPS; firearms; SAPS plans to tackle GBV; profiling and prosecution orders; a national summit to discuss crime. The Committee requested the provinces present action plans for fighting crime; an inter-cluster engagement; review of legislation to address GBV; and a clear explanation of the budgets for intervention.
The Chairperson noted that this meeting was a continuation of the debate on the Annual Crime Statistics, released by the Minister the previous week. The President’s subsequent call for a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces to discuss gender-based violence (GBV) and violence in Gauteng, in particular, places enormous responsibility on the Committee to respond to the call of the President. It is the first time in the history of South Africa's democracy that a President, rather than the Speaker, has called for a joint sitting, which indicates a matter of national importance.
As a Committee, they have to actively respond to the President's call and to the nation's call. The response is no longer about discussion. The response will have to be active, including a consideration of finances and budget. There needs to be an actual response on the ground, in each police station, in each area, in each region. The Committee wants budget, action plans, and no longer discussion.
The crime statistics were met with widespread criticism, a just criticism. Increases were recorded in all categories of contact crime, especially sexual offences, including rape. The focus must be on murder and sexual offences and the response to this. This follow-up meeting will attempt to analyse the overview of 2018/19. These crime statistics under discussion are already dated since it does not include the last six months. If the last six months were included, the Chairperson believes that the picture would not look better, it would look worse. In this interaction with the National Commissioner and the team, the key concern will be sexual offences. These sexual offences cases in 2018/19 increased by 4.6%; rape increased by 3.9%; attempted sexual offences 3.9%; and context sexual offences by 2.7%. It is difficult to compare data. In some instances it relates to averages, and in others it is different.
The Chairperson highlighted the importance of understanding the manner in which the statistics are aggregated. He welcomed the Minister and asked if it is correct to use crime statistics to estimate if there has been performance or underperformance. The South African Police Service (SAPS) should indicate what steps are taken to prevent manipulation of the statistics and what factors are used to determine the performance of police stations. Are these statistics not vulnerable to subjective decisions made by officers who capture the statistics?
The Chairperson referred to comments made last week in the Committee that gender-based crimes are often not reported and incidents where GBV is reported but not indicated as such. The Committee needs an explanation why police officers refuse to open a criminal case under a particular category and what kind of response the Committee should provide. The Minister and his team have the Committee’s unconditional support in the fight against violence and crime. The Committee’s oversight role complements the work of the Ministry of Police and the South African Police Service (SAPS). It is not a battlefield and they should not fight each other but work with each other.
Introduction by Minister of Police
Minister of Police Bheki Cele apologised on behalf of the Deputy Minister. He was to attend the memorial service of a police officer killed on duty last week. SAPS had been requested to give a briefing on how to improve by using these crime statistics. The goal is to use the analysis to make life better for the South Africans who live in fear and those who are abused, especially women and children. There is the need to work together in finding solutions: the police, the committee and society.
Gen Khehla Sitole, SAPS National Commissioner, noted that the national statistics are dating back ten years since 2009/10 and the provinces show the last two years. SAPS will provide a response in the form of action plans and touch on the challenges it faces. The intention is not to make these challenges the problem of the Committee, but to indicate how SAPS is trying to deal with this situation.
Maj Gen Norman Sekhukhune, Head: Crime Registrar, provided the 10 year trend for the17 community reported serious crimes. Of the Top 30 police stations for these reported crimes, 12 are in Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape with 9, Kwa-Zulu Natal with 4 and the other provinces contributing one station each. Limpopo in the only province that does not have a station in the Top 30.
Gauteng leads when it comes to contact crime, but its population and the influx of people to this province need to be taken into account. The same applies to the Western Cape. For the Top 30 contact crime stations 16 are in Gauteng, 8 are in Western Cape, 4 in KZN and one each in Mpumalanga and Free State. Ten of the Top 30 contact crime stations recorded decreases. The highest decrease of 525 cases was realized at Nyanga police station.
Looking at the 10-year trend for murder, 2011/12 had the lowest number of 15 554. The increase between 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 was 6.9% but this increase has slowed to 3.4% the past year although the murder rate is still increasing. Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape lead. This could be attributed to the fact that these are the most populated provinces. Nyanga station had the highest number of reported cases of murder, although it has come down by 6.2%.
Causative factors for murder include social ills, dysfunctional families and relationships, greed, abuse of alcohol and substances, proliferation of firearms, as well factors related to social and criminal behaviour. Domestic violence, gang-related and arguments/misunderstandings were the main causative factors for murder in 2018/19. Most murders happened over the weekends, particularly at night and closer to month end. More victims of murder were killed with firearms and knives than any other instrument. Attempted murders follow a similar trend to murders: similar causes, same provinces, same weapons and same days and times of the week.
Nyanga Station (Western Cape) had the highest number of cases of murder; Bishop Lavis Station (Western Cape) leads on number of cases of attempted murder; and Inanda (KZN) is the top station for assault GBH.
There was a decrease of 9.4% in the murder of members of the police service from 2017/18. Most of these police officials are killed off-duty.
When it comes to murders occurring at farms/smallholdings, there were 47 victims and 21 of them (44,7%) were between 60 to 69 years (of which 72.7% were female). With the available information it was possible to establish that 15 (31,9%) were occupants at the property, 11 (23,4%) of the victims were farmers, five (10,6%) victims were the owners, four (8,5%) victims were employees, and two (4,3%) were tenants.
Gauteng leads in number of crimes against women and children, followed by the Western Cape. Contact crimes against children increased by 3.9%. Contact crimes against women increased by 1.2%. These crimes were disaggregated for each category of crime.
There were 15 024 children in conflict with the law for serious contact crimes.
Trio crimes consist of the following types of crime: carjacking, robbery residential and robbery non-residential. The only decrease was in robbery at residential premises by 0.8%. More carjackings are happening in the townships and inner city than any other area. With robbery at residences, victims were mainly threatened with firearms and knives than any other instrument.
Sexual offences data for the past three years was compared, as well as a provincial overview given. Tables were shown for the Top 30 police stations for sexual offences and then specifically for rape with number of cases shown for the past five year and decrease or increase in number for the past year.
Contact-related crime includes arson and malicious damage to property. These two crimes are closely related and involve damage to or the destruction of another person’s property (often to punish such a person or entity) or to damage one’s own property (for insurance claims). Protests pre-elections in different areas of the country might have helped with the upwards trend in damage to property.
Stock theft increased by 2.9%. More incidents of stock theft are happening in the rural areas where most gates are not locked at the kraals.
With environmental crimes, rhino and elephant poaching has gone down, while pangolin, marine and fishing-related crimes and abalone poaching increased.
Mr A Whitfield (DA) was grateful for the presentation and asked if Crime Statistics is now able to produce reports on a more frequent basis. If not, why not? He asked what SAPS’ response will be to the fact that 60% of murders happen over weekends, especially in terms of redeploying human resources. On rural crime what kind of firearms are used in the farm murders. Stock theft costs a lot in terms of agricultural production. What is the SAPS safety plans for this? What direct responses will SAPS give to stock theft?
Dr J Groenewald (FF+) thanked the Minister for the figures on farm murders, which had been requested for a long time. He asked how the police define incidents. On the murder rates, he reiterated the seriousness of murder, and said that the figures from 2011 up until the present indicated an increase of 35.15% for murders, despite the presentation’s emphasis on the slowdown in increase in 2018/19. He asked why the Committee does not get the ratio per 100 000 and the raw figures of all statistics as they did in the past. It would be useful for comparisons. Why don’t we use the 100 000 ratio? Can we request that as well as the whole figures? He asked how the Police uses the statistics in crime fighting. For instance, he mentioned the promise of crime statistics data dissemination policy. Does that policy exist and can the Committee receive that policy? Statistics should be used in policies to fight crime. He asked if the Police looks at the South African victims of crime survey. If they do, how do they integrate the statistics to take action?
Mr O Terblanche (DA) thanked them for the presentation and said it is very alarming. The Minister has recently admitted that the police have been dropping the ball. What have you done with the information from previous crime statistics? What measures have you taken to ensure this situation changes? The Minister promised the Committee that things will be better next week. Mr Terblanche expressed his concern with that. The Police have other systems of statistics but they seem to be waiting for the Annual statistics to inform themselves and take action. He asked if the Police make interventions before that. On the deployment of resources over weekends, especially in Gauteng and the Western Cape that have the highest numbers, are the crime statistics going to be used to get resources and target murder. He asked if the Police have managed to connect handed-in firearms to crimes committed and if people have been arrested based on that information. He asked why the majority of police members are killed while off duty.
Mr H Shembeni (EFF) asked why illegal shebeens which are supposed to be closed down are not being closed down. He asked why hotspot crimes do not seem to be prioritised by the Management Information Centres (MICs). He asked what happens to a firearm when a person who had the licence dies.
Mr A Shaik-Emam (NFP) said that it is very disappointing that SAPS is not acting even with all the evidence, the reports, and the work done by the Committee. He mentioned Woodstock Police Station and its shocking conditions, and suggested that the Committee to do an inspection there. On carjacking and hijacking, he asked if the Police have engaged with other departments, such as Transport, on car licensing corruption that takes place. These crimes involve fake documents and these vehicles leave the country. He asked if the budget cuts are going to affect SAPS service delivery. He commented that during Committee oversight in the Western Cape, it was noticed that the relationship between police officers on the ground, the Department of Justice and Correctional Services is not good.
Mr W Mafanya (EFF) said that 90% of the Top 30 stations are in townships or black areas, indicating that economy does affect crime. The majority of blacks, in general, are poor and jobless. A much broader approach is needed by engaging other departments to deal with such matters, such as the Department of Basic Education. The problem is the root causes that make a person become a criminal. Engagement with other departments and ministers is needed to target these root causes.
Ms Z Majozi (IFP) thanked them for the report. On increasing rape and murder in provinces such as Gauteng, she asked if the Minister deals with each province individually – given their differences – or holistically. We are faced with a lot of social ills in our community. She reiterated the need for a summit with other departments so that they can assist each other in fighting crime. She asked if the police investigate if protection orders had been issued previously, when investigating murder, especially with regards to domestic violence.
Mr E Maphatsoe (ANC) asked about the implementation of the Tactical Response Team (TRT) in townships. That, in a sense, had brought a little bit of safety to people in townships. That used to change the statistics, but unfortunately there was some heavy-handedness by some of them. They were doing a good job, and most people with a negative attitude about them were precisely those committing crime. He said that the police need to strengthen their investigation programme.
Ms P Faku (ANC) said that before she went on oversight in the Western Cape, she had a totaly different view of the Police Ministry. Afterwards, she had a clear understanding of the huge responsibility that the Police have. She thanked the men and women in blue for doing a wonderful job under very difficult circumstances. As a Committee, they have assess SAPS to ensure that the root causes of such crimes, the social factors behind these crimes, are addressed: dysfunctional families, social ills and young people in conflict with the law. It is important to kill the root causes. Lack of education and other factors are the main cause why people are committing crime. People are complaining that when they go to police stations they are turned away. What we want SAPS to do is to ensure that in each police station there are at least social workers. SAPS needs to have that partnership with the Department of Social Development and have social workers at the police station 24 hours. There was also the need for psychologists for staff members, because it’s very difficult to work under those circumstances. After visiting the Western Cape she realised that there is a challenge of overpopulation. SAPS needs to speak to the Western Cape provincial government about human settlements. The Community Police Forum (CPF) members raised their relationship with provincial SAPS. There is no relationship at all. When the CPF needs assistance from the provincial government, they do not get it from SAPS. She asked what the SAPS plans are about the increase in sexual crimes and domestic violence. She asked for an indication of convictions for child-on-child crime.
Ms J Mofokeng (ANC) added to the comments on domestic violence and for checking on the trend of how many women have been killed after taking out protection orders. Last time the question on the domestic violence register was not answered. Are they used or not in police stations? If they are used, she asked if the Committee could get the list of how many registers there are, how many people have been registered and what the trend is. She asked if SAPS checks on population size when statistics are done, especially Gauteng. Population size must be considered when SAPS elaborates on its plans to fight crime so that deployment is done in the right way and the operation is better. She asked about the Brooklyn Police Station in Tshwane. It is the only police station that reported serious high-profile crimes. She asked why Brooklyn. It is used by organisations that are against this government, it is not a secret. People come from far to open up cases in Brooklyn. Why Brooklyn? She asked about CPFs. When the Committee were in the Western Cape, they discovered that there is a fight between the CPFs and the neighbourhood watch. It was amazing to find out that most CPF chairpersons are women. She was excited to see those women preventing crime. To her surprise, most of those women come from families of gangsters or with family members in prison. Are we going to be able to start vetting these people? We cannot have a CPF chairperson who has such links. The police are not communicating with CPFs because they know that somebody is a gangster. CPFs are supposed to be functional but they are not actually. These CPFs are supposed to play a central role in the 17 community reported crimes.
She asked if the Minister agrees that a careful look at the Firearms Control Amendment Bill is needed. There was contradicting information between SAPS, stakeholders and the Committee. There must be a consensus on firearms control. She asked why SAPS has unbranded cars all over.
The Chairperson said that these crime statistics strengthened the view that South Africa has one of the worst figures for sexual offences, where 41 583 men and women were raped during the last financial year. Another figure said that 2 657 children were involved in some form of rape. The crime statistics strengthened this view and sexual offences have increased over the years. We see today the President has called a joint sitting. It’s the first time in post-democratic South Africa that the President, rather than the Speaker, calls a joint sitting of Parliament. What do we say as a Committee about this unprecedented outcry? How do we fight the war against women and children? If these people were placed in one city, you could say that every single person in that city has been raped – men, women, children. It is a war. Minister, do we have to review legislation? Is the legislation that we have adequate? Secondly, do we have enough resources that we can make available? Should we make additional resources available? Should we appeal or take a decision? What is required of us to have a meaningful impact on GBV? South Africa is tired of talking and people want to see meaningful action. Does that action start with a summit as the Members have asked for? She asked what advice the Minister can give to the Committee and what advice he is giving to the President on this.
Minister Cele said that at the funeral of young Uyinene, he had asked that people keep the level of anger and activism where it is, but deal with women issues as women issues rather than faces and names. A picture of the shooting of six young girls (aged between 18 and 26) in Philippi in July become his barometer. So much less noise, if any, was made about that because not too many of us knew about them. How many women have died after Uyinene? It should not be that way. This question of this anger and this level of activism must be dealt with as women’s issues not faces or names. Is this all the work of the police? Girls being attacked by their own uncles, fathers and classmates at schools make this question broad. What do police do when you are along in the bedroom with your girlfriend or your boyfriend? The understanding of this scourge must be broadened instead of narrowing it to only the police. As South Africans, he agreed they are not where they are supposed to be in dealing with these matters.
On the question of the domestic violence register, there are few things that the Police need to look at. SAPS is calling women activists to address the South African male next week. What do women expect from the male police officer as they enter the police station? It must be put it in a way in which the police officer will remember what is expected by women when they come to the police station. They are trained in the college, but the experience on the ground is the best one. One activist he spoke to argued that it won’t help to revisit the cases that were closed, but it would help to find out why and how these cases were closed. She suggested the training of more women to deal with this and he agrees with that. When a woman comes to report a rape case and it is graphically noticeable, it does have a psychological effect. If more women are trained, without womanising this issue, better conditions are created to take care of that reporting. If the first stage of the report does not take that woman on board, this becomes a problem for the case going forward. At times, a victim needs to be graphic for the case to be to dealt with at a later stage, then these women end up giving up. What can we do to make life easier for women to take this forward? Minister Cele said two things he learnt from his father is that men must work for their fatherhood and men who cannot handle their women should walk away forever, but never put their hands on them. One thing that needs to be dealt with is the family component. The abuse of woman is a broad issue and a daily occurrence.
Minister Cele said that the SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit is doing a beautiful job even with all the sea of trouble faced. He suggested that the Committee give the Unit the opportunity to present the work they are doing. It is an important issue for the moment, the women’s issue. It gives some satisfaction to know there are good things happening, though not enough.
On quarterly crime statistics reports, the Minister replied that SAPS is discussing the change in frequency. For instance, the statistics reported now are already six months down the line. How much has the pattern changed since then? SAPS is discussing it, maybe not quarterly reports, but there are discussions on that.
Minister Cele replied that SAPS does respond to the crime analyses. It works around what is happening. What has been the problem in Tshwane is that people die over weekends and around alcohol, so SAPS deployment must talk to that. SAPS has been working on its advisory services to listen to people. People talk about the relevant deployment.
On illegal firearms, Minister Cele replied that most of them are actually legal firearms. They come out of shops being legal, whether they are for state agencies, the police, private security companies or individual South Africans. He mentioned the case in Port Elizabeth, where the domestic worker sold 87 firearms after the owner of the firearm shop fell sick and was hospitalised. By the time the owner left hospital, the business was shut because all the firearms had been sold. It goes back to the law and what the law says about that. Although this happened in Port Elizabeth, some of those firearms are in the Western Cape. It’s a question of strengthening the law. There needs to be a separation between the Firearms Control Bill and the Firearms Amnesty Request. The amnesty request was tabled in Parliament on 21 August with the Speaker and the Committee Chair. He does not know why the Committee deferred it. This time it was not from the side of the police and he requested the Committee look at the amnesty request. Why the amnesty? People who feel like they do not need them anymore, can hand them in, but those guns are always checked. If that gun has been used somewhere, the person will have to explain it. Unfortunately most guns that come in are legal firearms.
Minister Cele replied that they need to look at the victims of crime survey and make comparisons so that they can work with every party on those matters.
Minister Cele replied the police still have to unpack what happened from 2009/10 up until this point. The trend of crime statistics is that it moves a thousand down every financial year. It started in 1994 at 31 000 and it has moved down a thousand per year. In 2008/09 there were 18 000 murders, but in 2009/2010 there were 16 000, so that trend was broken. In 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 were 15 000 murders and from 2012 onwards it took off upwards. Somebody will have to unpack what happened and is trying to correct that.
Minister Cele replied that they are working on the visibility of the South African Police. Are we where we’re supposed to be? They agree that things cannot stay where they are and must be reversed. Most analysts would say that crime overall has decreased in the last ten years, it is the murder that is going up. The murder increase stagnated in the last financial year, and the 1 320 cases were halved by 686. Murder must be dealt with like the other crimes were dealt with, such as house robberies. It is doable through concentration and working together.
Minister Cele replied that there is no way he can say resources are enough. SAPS will have to work with what it has and live within its means. It has been agreed that any form of budget cutting will affect police performance.
On the relationship amongst the cluster, the Minister replied that it is not yet where it is supposed to be. Unfortunately the police are very exposed, because they are the coal face of the population. The day before he signed a document which recommended that 200 police officers are charged before the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). He does not think other departments are checking themselves like that – to recommend that their own must be put before the NPA. Last month, for instance, four magistrates were arrested in South Africa, but nobody talks about their arrest. Minister Cele suggested that there should be a joint parliamentary committee meeting where the whole cluster could explain themselves, from the Police to the Correctional Services. Minister Cele mentioned a notorious man arrested in Pretoria and given 93 years but after 10 years there are rumours of him getting parole. These things frustrate the police. This criminal comes out and does the same thing again, because he knows he is not going to stay in prison. Minister Cele reiterated that the committees should have a joint meeting and the cluster explain their services.
The Minister has requested SAPS find out why more police are killed off duty. That is a worrying trend. There are several cases of officers killed off duty who put themselves on duty. They honour them for staying on the job wherever they were.
Minister Cele replied that he does not know alcohol outlets should be dealt with by the police. The department dealing with economic development must be asked that question. Why are they giving licences until 4am in the morning and expect the police to work on that? When the community is complaining and the police goes to these places, owners show their licences that state they close at 4AM. According to the Minister, these shebeens should not be opened. A lot of under-18s are found in shebeens and, although it is a legal requirement not to carry guns or knives, people are shot within the precinct. Some of them sell illegal substances. Minister Cele said that the liquor boards have to work together with them in keeping the law.
The Minister said that two weeks ago the police raided a R200 million drug factory in Mpumalanga. The farm was bought and converted into a drug factory. There were two machines that each produced 16 Mandrax tablets every two seconds. The raw material was in Diepkloof, Soweto, but the order was made for the Cape Flats. If the police is provincialised, it will not be able to deal with such things as it will break down its overarching dealing with organised crime in the Republic of South Africa. The criminal that was given 207 years last week in Westbury in Gauteng originates from the Western Cape. He has been running a gang in the Western Cape but he has moved to run it in Westbury. The Minister mentioned the big Interpol conference about the world of drugs. There are drug dealers who own submarines to cross the seas and there are wars being fought on high waters to block them. Last week it was found out that Americans have online prescriptions done in SA for medication they cannot get in the USA. That shows how sophisticated it is. He mentioned that elephant and rhino tranquiliser is being mixed with cocaine and that kids that use it never wake up the next morning. Those are the things that may find their way into South Africa. International Relations are important. A container carrying a legal banana cargo was found to have 85kg of cocaine last week in Port Elizabeth. Two of them were meant for Western Cape and two for Durban. SAPS needs to work internationally, nationally and provincially. The Minister called for local and provincial governments to work with SAPS to help it with environmental design.
Minister Cele said that what is happening in Cape Town does not happen in Constantia or Hout Bay, it happens in Khayelitsha. If people from Khayelitsha are taken to Constantia, they will not kill one another the next morning. Working to end crime without improving conditions is not going to happen. People must live like human beings to behave like human beings. As the South African Police, we shall do our work within the constraints of the broader government. He called on Education, especially Basic Education. Gangsters have a bigger call on the community than Social Development or Basic Education. The crime challenge must go beyond the Police. He is glad that Cabinet has decided to make crime a government-wide issue. Just like the President has called for a joint sitting, Committees must have joint meetings when dealing with crime and ask: what are you doing in your portfolio to bring crime down?
On the police officer killed in the shebeen, the Minister said that the police were trying to respond to crime when the officer was shot dead. When it shuts down shebeens, SAPS is attacked for not understanding the economic situation in the community. Minister Cele said that shebeens are centres of death and hard work is needed to ensure people are safe.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister for his detailed responses before he had to leave the meeting.
SAPS National Commissioner response
Gen Khehla Sitole, SAPS National Commissioner, commended the Committee for their initiative, especially getting everyone together. Everybody is aware that the country is trying to find a security solution to a societal problem. The ratio is higher on the security side and lower on a societal response. He cited chapter 12 of the National Development Plan that says, “The collapse of the national crime prevention strategy led to SAPS being an all-purpose agency with an overstretched mandate impossible to fulfill”. What is missing now is a National Crime Prevention framework in South Africa. This platform will give the country the opportunity to address both the root causes as well as the modus operandi and the symptoms that lead to crime. There needs to be a National Crime Summit about that.
Gen Sitole requested four things that go with this. One is the need for an inter-cluster engagement or coordination. The National Crime Prevention framework affects all departments across government, but these departments belong to different clusters. If this cluster takes the initiative on cluster engagement, by the time of a Social Summit all departments will be part of that. He requested that the process be undertaken by the cluster. There needs to be a Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) cluster framework, which is in the process of design at the present moment. The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) asked me to come and do a presentation on the crime statistics at a workshop they are having. They want to deal with the JCPS framework. Gen Sitole suggested that this cluster needs a JCPS framework that can relate to a National Crime Prevention framework.
The Minister has indicated that SAPS is participating in an international drug conference coordinated by Interpol. One of the aspects already raised at that conference is the importance of a transnational organised crime approach to drugs. A transnational crime prevention framework is missing and SAPS has pointed that out to them. As a country, South Africa needs to interact with other countries, because the modus operandi is new. The use of elephant tranquiliser is a new modus operandi and he believes it is on its way to SA. One of the gaps which Interpol has identified is the absence of an International Modus Operandi Analysis Centre, which they are buying from South Africa. The way to fight new modus operandi is to remove the opportunities so it does not find its way in. One of the simplest examples that SAPS always puts forward is that, by taking young people out of reach, no criminal operation is going to work, because that is their most precious resource.
Gen Sitole said that, once these frameworks are in place, crime will never be a security issue only. Policing is less expensive if the root causes are removed. He cited the stabilisation intervention Operation Thunder in the Western Cape as an example of how expensive policing is. Since its start last year up until now R90 million has been spent on it. That is how expensive the intervention is, because it is financing both the root cause as well as the hard core policing. The root cause part is not responsibility of the police.
Gen Sitole said that environmental design is gradually deteriorating. The more it deteriorates, the more it poses danger to policing and crime gets out of control. It must change. Family structure in the society is diminishing, and that is our last line of defence in society. By working together to protect the family structure from further deterioration, society can be saved. On societal issues, Gen Sitole said that injured spiritual values are reaching an irreparable stage. An intervention is needed where people work together and mobilise one another.
Gen Sitole said that the Committee must be given numbers related to resources. SAPS does not want to make it a problem of the Committee, but it wants the Committee to take note. SAPS is not only raising challenges but putting interventions in place to address them. In terms of the latest SAPS visibility study, the shortage at police stations to address visibility is 62 000. Over and above the 62 000, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) is functioning with a 50% less structure. It has degenerated from 5 000 to about 2 500, but their current shortage to respond to crime now is 2 800. With this shortage, DPCI can never reclaim its position of being an elite investigation organisation. [2:39:55 inaudible]. If all these figures are added, it results in about 7 230.
Gen Sitole said that, when SAPS says shortage is a reality, it does not expect government to respond and address it at once. The President announced an increase of 7 000 trained per year. What we have now at the colleges is 5 000 and they are coming out in December to be distributed and get into the field. Gen Sitole has signed off the advertisement for 7 000 more for next year. He issued an instruction for maximum deployment of reservists to serve as a force multiplier. In the traditional policing concept that SAPS has recently introduced, it is mobilising traditional leaders and kings across the country. SAPS has initiated the recruitment drive where it intends to absorb all the traditional policing capacity, using the reservist concept as well as the community. The goal is to enhance visibility. The same applies to the farming community, where the same concept is going to be applied.
Gen Sitole said that SAPS has decided that, with the embargo on the compensation budget, it will contract the services of former members, especially in the investigation department. A number of senior officers in crime detection are leaving, but some of them are former teachers, advocates or others graduates. SAPS is going to contract them and it wants to move the majority of them to the Detective Academy. The Detective Academy should start kicking off officially in the coming financial year. Their services are going to be contracted to assist the police with complex dockets and investigations. That will be across the spectrum. Additionally, SAPS has opened re-enlistment to all those members who left the service while they were still able to. Gen Sitole reiterates that he does not want to make it either the Committee’s or government’s problem. SAPS wants to address matters and come up with initiatives. If people are contracted, it is a move away from a compensation budget to goods and services because the compensation of employees line item is the challenge at present.
Dealing with crime surges over weekends, Gen Sitole replied that, due to the shortage in numbers, SAPS deploys to all the hotspots, but they are left with open areas elsewhere as the numbers cannot cover that. Criminals are aware of that and exploit specific areas. They are aware of the growing spatial development. SAPS is trying to increase the numbers to address that. This is talking to the basic policing model, the three dimensional approach which talks to policing strategy. Innovative policing is looking at root cause analysis. The root cause analysis capacity in government has not yet matured. However, SAPS has tasked its Modus Operandi Analysis Centre to work together with Statistics and Intelligence to produce root cause analysis reports. Gen Sitole suggested that, in the future, a single root cause analysis report is tabled to the Committee, so that it can see which crimes are committed that are based on root causes as well as how criminals exploit root causes to invent new modus operandi.
On GBV, Gen Sitole replied that SAPS has reviewed the anti-rape strategy and introduced a sexual and gender based violence strategy. What is on the forefront now is the upgrading of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit. As the Minister said, it is one of the units that makes SAPS proud nationally but its capacity is limited by the numbers. The first thing, under this strategy, is the upgrading of that capacity. Secondly, SAPS has activated the cold case strategy and is developing the cold case capacity within FCS. There is a joint exercise between SAPS and NPA for this kind of analysis. Senior detectives are working with the NPA team to finalise the cold case report, table it and sign off the work study. The specialised units SAPS intends to upgrade are the FCS and the Stock Theft units. SAPS is looking at activating one out of the six additional units approved, that is the Murder and Robbery unit. It is making the GBV strategy a cluster strategy with NPA and Justice and closing all the current loopholes to address the problem.
SAPS is calling for a National Consultative Forum, a committee of all the CPF Provincial Board Chairpersons in the country. They have an intervention in the Western Cape to address the community policing dynamics which are there. SAPS is working with them on the summit. Soon the Community Policing Strategy of the Western Cape will be formally launched. On the conflict between neighbourhood watch and CPF, Gen Sitole replied that they are not two structures in conflict. One structure is the child of the other and the child should not be in conflict with the parent. That’s what the strategy is addressing. Neighborhood watches are executed under the banner of Community Policy and that is what the National Consultative Forum aims for at the moment. Domestic violence is a priority. One of the reasons why SAPS wants a National Crime Prevention framework is to have a multidisciplinary performance management system so that everyone can measure themselves in terms of one single framework.
Gen Sitole said that SAPS has tasked Intelligence Statistics and the modelling centre to come up with hotspots and deal with the ranking of hotspots. There are going to be national, provincial and local hotspots. In each province, hotspots will be determined by the nature of modus operandi applied in that particular province, which must then respond to the crime that is generated by that particular modus operandi. It must respond to the modus operandi in question, so that it will never be the same. That uniqueness will be depicted by the Provincial Commissioner’s action plan. Then each province has an action plan to respond to crime. These action plans are not the same, because they are designed according to what they are responding to, which is the challenges of that particular province.
In the rural environment, Gen Sitole said SAPS is working on the development of rural policing infrastructure. The first thing is the establishment of community-based mounted units, which were showcased in the Eastern Cape yesterday, when the President was there. The district policing plan includes the traditional resources that are being generated from the communities. Service centres and mountain units include horses that have been donated by the community.
On the victims of crime survey, Gen Sitole said that SAPS has agreed with Stats SA that, since the crime statistics are now going to be ratified by Stats SA, it will be released together with the victim survey, because it is conducted by Stats SA. Within the National Crime Prevention framework, the central proposal is the Fusion Centre. In this centre, one of the most important structures is the Integrated Research Centre, where research collection will be done looking at all the findings about policing to see if SAPS could have responded to them. That is linked to the Modus Operandi Centre to produce new interventions. The Modus Operandi Analysis Centre needs training and development. Criminals analyse the police training standards and competences and lift up a new modus operandi beyond that. Continual research on new curriculums will put SAPS a step ahead of them.
The Chairperson said that once the National Commissioner had left a committee meeting abruptly, but promised to come back with action plans. She hopes that one realises that when the Committee called for action plans, it was particularly because the country and communities are tired of talk shops, they want a definite programme of action. The National Commissioner said provinces already have these action plans, so she called on all provinces to consolidate them. If that means all the Provincial Commissioners need a session to present their action plans, the Committee humbly requests it. The crime statistics are pointing to areas in provinces for which the Committee wants clarity. Members have the right to know what is happening in a specific province. The Committee has already done an oversight visit in the Western Cape and the next one will be in Gauteng. There are many requests for us to visit police stations and that programme will be discussed later today. The Chairperson suggested that, with the constituency period starting at the end of that week, Members could agree to visit police stations, whether unannounced or pre-arranged. The Committee now really understands the need for these action plans. The public is tired of talk shows.
Gen Sitole suggested that the Committee calls provinces of national concern. The Committee might not be able to have all nine provinces presenting their action plans on one day. He suggested that the Committee decide on three provinces that are national concern, to present their action plans. Secondly, if the Committee has time, it may be interested to listen to the Provincial Action Plan of that province where the Committee is doing oversight. It may not help the Committee to look at a Station Action Plan before looking at the Provincial Action Plan, as part of holding the station accountable is to have access to the provincial plan. All nine provinces do have action plans, apart from the Divisional Commissioners, who have action plans. The National Action Plan is captured in the Annual Operational Plan (AOP), which can be presented.
Lt Gen Ntombenhle Vuma, Deputy National Commissioner: Asset and Legal Management, replied that the branding of police vehicles is an ongoing process. Currently there are 4 161 vehicles in the whole country in the process of being branded. A breakdown per province can be provided. The process will be finalised toward the end of November. New deliveries are anticipated and they will follow the same branding process.
Lt Gen Bonang Mgwenya, Deputy National Commissioner: Human Resource Management, replied that there are a total of 620 employees involved with health wellness within SAPS. That number consists of 217 chaplains or spiritual welfare officials, 201 social workers and 135 psychologists. There are occupational therapists. They ensure that SAPS members are taken care of in terms of counselling. There is a psychosocial network of doctors in partnership with SAPS medical aid services, where SAPS members who are not comfortable with being serviced internally get an opportunity to consult with external professionals. The National Instruction makes it mandatory for members of high risk units to go for counselling every quarter, whether they like it or not. Additionally, when members are exposed to traumatic incidents, they are given counselling in the police stations. More than that, within a period of 48 hours, SAPS members are compelled to go for a debriefing, though some are a bit hesitant to do that.
Lt Gen Lebeoana Tsumane, Deputy National Commissioner: Crime Detection, replied that indeed profiling should happen on arrested people. When a person is arrested, the first thing is fingerprinting, to ensure that this person has been profiled. It might be the case that this person is involved in more than 10 or 20 cases. That is how SAPS detect serial rapists and killers and that is why provinces have to share information. That is what should be happening. The rate at which it is happening is unsatisfying, but SAPS need to ensure it takes place in detection plans.
On cooperation with the NPA and the judiciary, Lt Gen Tsumane replied that meetings are taking place. At a national level, Justice and SAPS are participating in meetings of the National Efficiency Enhancement Committee (NEEC). The types of cases being dealt with and the kind of cooperation with the NPA and the judiciary are discussed. There are special meetings with provinces and at national level from time to time, where technical issues of investigation are discussed. For example, in its meeting with the NPA it discussed the preparatory process that needs to be in place before presenting to court; information on what type of reports and how long they are; and about outstanding cases withdrawn in court. If these meetings do not take place, the prosecutors are not able to confidently present their cases in court.
Lt Gen Tsumane replied that when a person is arrested and the profiling and registration are done, it will indicate if there was a protection order against this person. That assists SAPS in opposing bail. Ultimately, the presiding officer will decide if a person should get bail. If that happens, whilst having one or two protection orders, then it means the bail conditions would be very stiff. SAPS is trying its best because of the outcry in the country. It is making sure members are well-trained to be able to convince the presiding officer that they cannot give the person bail. The protection order should be brought forth to help the investigating officer present the case in court and avoid the person getting bail.
On intelligence-driven investigations, Gen Tsumane replied that, as detectives in South Africa, they should not only be talking about, but it should be happening. There are certain cases that you cannot do without having intelligence at the centre. For major investigations SAPS has to deploy intelligence capacity to assist and guide the investigation. There is the prosecutor guided investigation (PGI). Intelligence is at the centre of predictive policing as well as crime detection. The first capacity that should be deployed is crime intelligence.
Gen Tsumane replied that some cases are very difficult and complex and they do need forensic pathologists, although there are not enough in the country. However, that is the mould or the way in which things should be done and SAPS will look into that. This is being discussed at conferences.
On the conviction rate for cases where children are involved, Gen Tsumane replied that the FCS is the specialised unit which seeks to deal with that, although they do not have enough people. SAPS can do better in that regard.
Gen Tsumane replied that the vetting of crime intelligence CPFs should be looked at. Some of these people come into this space with ulterior motives, but whoever comes into the space where the police are operating should be vetted. Though the capacity of crime intelligence to vet is a bit limited, it is something SAPS is taking note of and that should be prioritised.
Gen Tsumane replied that Crime Intelligence, Forensics and Detective Services should be coming with a complementary crime detection plan to ensure provinces are assisted in their action plans in fighting gangsters. The plan consists of dealing with repeated offenders and parolees.
Lt Gen Seswantsho Godfrey Lebeya, National Head: Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), mentioned that DPCI is conducting investigations on bogus doctors. While one investigation had been completed, counter-allegations had been raised. There are allegations of corruption against those involved in the investigation and prosecution decision-making. The one matter will be forwarded back to the prosecutor and SAPS expect a decision on that soon.
Gen Sitole added that the Western Cape is going to be the first to run a vetting project for CPFs. It will be linked to the review of community policing in the province.
Lt Gen Sehlahle Masemola, Deputy National Commissioner: Policing, replied that firearms of the deceased are kept at the Master of the High Court and some families do take them to police station, where they are kept until the licence is applied for. If there is no application by the families within a reasonable amount of time, SAPS give the family notice that the firearm is going to be destroyed. Those that are in police stations then go through the process of destruction. It takes longer for those that that are at the Master of High Court.
On the question of crime over weekends, Gen Masemola replied that SAPS has crime combating operations, stabilisation operations, specifically in the bigger provinces: KZN, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng. SAPS are in the provinces assisting in stabilisation operations. The main operation is stabilisation, but there are affiliate operations which SAPS deploys over weekends with the assistant of reservists. Some of the specialised units that we are not using during the week are employed.
Gen Masemola replied that each police station has a domestic violence register. One register is used for the public, and one used specifically for SAPS members. If SAPS members do not assist the public, a report is given to the station commander or a senior, stating that there was non-compliance, they get reported and steps are taken against those members of the police.
Gen Masemola replied that SAPS does engage departments, such as Social Development, about drugs. It is not fully integrated yet. SAPS have not reached the level where they want to be, but they are working towards engaging all departments, especially Social Development, Basic Education and Human Settlements to work together. Different departments have related problems with drugs. Addicts that need to go for rehabilitation and do not become a problem because they fall back into drugs.
On the closing down of taverns by designated police officers, Gen Masemola replied that stations do operations targeting closing those taverns. If the station where taverns are identified does not have enough capacity, they partner with either the cluster or the next station. Some taverns re-opened due to different liquor laws in different provinces. A shebeen, of course, remains a shebeen. There is a problem of resurfacing.
Lt Gen Mondli Zuma, Provincial Commissioner: Mpumalanga, said he wanted to give the context and the perspective of the situation in provinces without defending the status quo. What was experienced in the last financial year, which is still under review, is that in the build-up towards the elections there were inter and intra-party tensions that led to the escalation of violence. That resulted in some cases of malicious damage to property and public violence. There was an escalation of service delivery protests where some acts of violence were unprecedented in their proportions, and that resulted in various cases of assaults and other crimes committed during those violent protests. Common robbery has gone down because it was suppressed by the actions and collaborations between provinces and national, and amongst provinces themselves. There has been an impact on the illicit mining and the proliferation of firearms that resulted from that. Provincial police are working together with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to form a committee or a unit. There are task teams in the provinces to deal with this scourge of illegal mining.
Gen Zuma noted about wildlife crime that there has been a slight downward trend in poaching, but that is because there have been skirmishes between law enforcement and the poachers. This resulted in the number of firearms recovered in those areas. The firearms retrieved from the poachers reflect the good work done by the police. The focus now is on izimbiso where communities are mobilised to assist the police. At the same time, there is cooperation from stakeholders, with whom the police have monthly meetings.
Gen Zuma said that although rape and sexual offences have escalated, the detection and conviction rate on those cases have been very good. Investigators have been achieving sentences, including life sentences. He said that the Minister had suggested that the Committee give them an opportunity to present, which will show that as much as these crimes have been committed, there has been an appropriate reaction.
Gen Zuma said that murder happens mostly amongst those who know each other and who are in settings beyond police reach. They are influenced by drugs, alcohol abuse and misunderstandings amongst people but law enforcement does have systems in place such as enforcing the Drug Master Plan.
The Chairperson commended the Operational Response Services Division and asked Divisional Commissioner Mkhwanazi to bring a more detailed analysis when he comes back. The Chairperson proposed that another session is held with the Police.
Ms Mofokeng asked for a follow up on her question about the Brooklyn Police Station.
Mr Maphatsoe commented that the Committee must not just sit as an opposition to SAPS, but do something as they are part of the society. On the SAPS National Commissioner comments about the DPCI shortage, if this shortage is not spoken about, the society outside looks at the police negatively. As a Committee, we do not want to use crime statistics for political gain, but as a societal issue that is affecting all of us and must be attacked together with the Police. DPCI staffing is at 50%. The criticism is going to come that SAPS is not doing its work because the shortage is not talked about. He commended the advertisement and the re-enlistment plan. He reiterated that Tactical Response Team (TRT) parades reduced crime and changed the mindset of people in Soweto, especially the young ones. He suggested that the TRT be reviewed. Crime is affecting particularly the Africans.
Mr Maphatsoe said that he thinks that illicit mining is not taken very seriously. He is not sure Crime Intelligence has the information of what is happening with illicit mining, because it is organised crime. He asked SAPS to address the concerns raised by the South African people. One of the reasons why people end up taking the law into their own hands is because crime is not addressed when people report it. People blame the police for inaction although it might be the NPA.
Mr Shaik-Emam asked if SAPS has put a mechanism in place to ensure that each station can have a full report where police vehicles are at any given time, together with the tracking report. Very often police vehicles are parked at people’s houses, shops or schools and yet SAPS complains about resources. He asked if there is a process in place to ensure that the same detective does not handle matters involving the same criminals.
Remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson provided a summary of the requests presented in the Committee, and asked for the Member’s and Commissioners’ indication as to whether they agree with it.
1. The need for an inter-cluster engagement which would be the Peace and Security cluster which consists of Police, Defence, Justice and Correctional Services, Home Affairs, State Security and International Relations. Finance and Public Works are important too but they start with that cluster.
2. The Provincial Action Plans which target specific areas will be presented to the Committee. Three provinces will be prioritised. Action plans need target areas, specific areas for immediate action, medium-term action and long-term intervention.
3. The Committee needs a clear idea of the budgets for intervention. During the Committee oversight in the Western Cape, SANDF raised the concern about budget to extend the stay in the Western Cape. The President has subsequently extended their stay until next year. This Committee would not be doing its oversight work if it does not ask about the budget for interventions.
4. There is a shared, strong feeling that there should be a crime summit.
5. The need to review legislation to assist in addressing the scourge of GBV and crime.
6. The need for vetting of CPFs and neighbourhood watches. If SAPS is going to consider engaging with them on a significant basis, this community participation should be vetted. The KZN government has launched a programme where communities are deployed to schools, which is quite an interesting phenomenon.
Gen Sitole agreed with the summary and confirmed that is the way in which SAPS would like to avail information and account to the Committee. SAPS is going to work on the information based on the summary provided.
Gen Sitole replied that of the interventions in place, one spoke about the a revival of medium and high risk forces, including the Tactical Response Team (TRT), National Intervention Unit and Special Task Force. The situations will determine which forces are to be used, but the police is increasing the capacity of medium and high risk force which include TRT. The specialised units are coming back together.
Gen Sitole replied that he recently had a meeting with the Director General of Mineral Resources and his team where the establishment of a Police Mining Unit was agreed upon. There is currently a work study that must respond on illicit mining, so that unit will be in action very soon.
On addressing the concerns raised by the people, Gen Sitole replied that SAPS has activated Community Policing and is presently busy with the Western Cape Crime Summit. It will formally introduce the service charter to communities, as well as the service promise, so that concerns are translated into service delivery priorities.
Gen Sitole replied that SAPS has the automatic vehicle locator (AVL) system to track the vehicles. There was once a contract problem with it, but he trusts that SAPS supply chain and the CFO have reworked it. All vehicles are monitored by AVL for optimal utilisation for operational purposes, and that includes locating vehicles during operation when there are complaints.
Gen Sitole replied that SAPS tries as much as they can not to use the same detectives for the same criminals. The repeat offender profile is rapidly growing and it is actually trying to come close to the total number of cases carried by one investigator. If a repeat offender is one of the profiles that we need to work together on so that we correct it. On the question of parole, it is over carrying problems. Every system is overloaded. The reason why SAPS supports the inter-cluster and the National Crime Prevention framework is to unlock what is happening. SAPS is looking forward to the commitments that were made and the direction that the Committee has given. SAPS is going to work extremely hard.
Gen Sitole undertook that within seven days Visible Policing and the Inspectorate will have gone to Woodstock police station. They will check it and provide a report.
Lt Gen Elias Mawela, Provincial Commissioner: Gauteng, replied that SAPS allows people to report cases at any police station they feel comfortable at, irrespective of the scene of crime. Once the case is registered, it will be referred to the police station where the crime took place. The geographical position of the Brooklyn Station needs to be taken into account. It is responsible, amongst others, for the Union Buildings and 57 embassies and foreign missions. Due to its location, the majority of the people staying there prefer to go to that police station to report cases.
General Sitole stated that SAPS is going to task an inspectorate in supporting the province in finding and dealing with the root causes.
The Chairperson thanked the National Commissioner and all the generals who attended the Committee.
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