The Committee expressed its concern on the unauthorised publication of the Notice in terms of the Firearms Control Act in the Government Gazette. Despite the Committee’s lack of approval, the Department had published it. This undermined the Committee. The Deputy Minister apologised for the Department's lack of cooperation.
The Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (CSPS) presented its Annual Report. It received a clean audit for the second year in succession. CSPS achieved a performance score of 78% against its set targets. It revealed a slight performance decline and under-spending due to unfilled vacancies.
Members said the large number of vacancies was worrying. They requested a report on the oversight of police stations as more details were necessary. The presentation did not include information about challenges. Why was only one police station report compiled in a whole year? Lack of office space should be solved as soon as possible to allow filling of vacant posts. CSPS needed to be aware of potential budget cuts due to continued under-spending in the last six financial years. More details on the School Safety Plan were requested as it was inconsistent with the information received the day before from the police. The insufficient training of Community Police Forums was discussed as was the progress towards a Single Police Service. Members inquired about the cooperative relationship between the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Metro Police. Members expected more detail on CSPS programmes and activities since the presentation was only a high-level summary of the Annual Report. The Committee requested a progress report on the proposed legislative changes to the Firearms Control Act.
Prior to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) presenting its Annual Report, it informed the Committee about the current allegations in the media about IPID officials in Gauteng who had closed down cases prematurely between 2012 and 2014. The matter had been addressed internally; disciplinary action had been taken against one official, another had resigned. A criminal case had been opened for defeating the ends of justice. Since one of the suspects had attended an arbitration last week, the issue was back in the media. An internal investigation by the Integrity Strengthening Unit was conducted in all provinces to rule out similar cases of manipulation. The final report would be released on 18 October. IPID would present the confidential report to the Committee on 23 October.
IPID’s Annual Report revealed a significantly improved performance. Yet, IPID said it was greatly underfunded, which negatively affected its oversight mandate. In addition, an increased workload had led to a backlog over years. Although many cases were referred to the National Prosecuting Authority and to SAPS, only a few cases were taken up and ended in criminal conviction or disciplinary action. IPID received an unqualified audit opinion with findings due to unauthorised and irregular expenditure.
The Committee agreed that the media allegations should only be discussed after receiving the final report. The final report should be submitted to the Committee immediately after its release. Members were worried that the allegations damaged IPID’s reputation. IPID experienced a confidence deficit. If there was internal misconduct, IPID had to face the consequences. It needed to be absolutely open and transparent. Members asked if manipulation incidents occurred only in Gauteng or if more cases were known in other provinces.
Members were mostly concerned about the critical underfunding and the low conviction rate in relation to the number of IPID investigations and referred cases. Of 2044 referred cases, only 91 resulted in a criminal conviction. The backlog was serious. This also raised the question of performance measurement. IPID should measure its performance against quality-based instead of quantity-based targets. Then, Members demanded an accelerated appointment process for the permanent Head of IPID. Temporary leadership avoided responsibility. This matter would also be addressed on 23 October.
Members gave recommendations to improve the presentation content by avoiding percentages and providing details on programmes and irregular expenditure and implementation of section 23 of the IPID Act.
The Chairperson welcomed Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale and noted apologies from the Minister of Police.
Ms J Mofokeng (ANC) asked why the Notice in terms of the Firearms Control Act had been published in the Government Gazette without prior approval by the Portfolio Committee.
The Chair accepted the question even though the matter was not on the agenda. The Committee was concerned that the Firearms Control Act Notice had not been brought to the Committee’s attention.
Firearms Control Act Notice publication
Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale, agreed to improve the interactions between the Department and the Committee. The Notice in terms of the Act had been discussed, but not in the Committee. It had been submitted to the Speaker’s Office who was supposed to send it to all relevant committees before it was published in the Gazette. A committee meeting had been convened to brief it on the Notice but the Committee had demanded the Minister or Deputy Minister to be present. The item had not been processed by the Committee. This created unnecessary tensions between the Department and the Committee. Referring to an incident with Mr P Groenewald (FF+), the Deputy Minister highlighted the need for improved communication. Communication was the basis for effective work. He acknowledged that the matter of the Gazette should have been handled better. In future, the Department would take the Committee through all its steps to avoid surprises. He apologised on behalf of the Department. The Department did not act in the manner to which it had actually committed itself. It should cooperate and collaborate more.
The Chair clarified that the Minister had referred the Notice in terms of the Firearms Control Act to the Speaker’s Office who had then sent it to the Committee. The Committee had dealt with the matter and did not approve it. Instead, the Committee had referred it back to the police with comments about outstanding issues that needed to be addressed. In fact, the Committee did not even accept that the presentation go ahead as Members were unhappy about activities in the North West province. The Chair had written to the Minister and to the Speaker that the Committee did not approve it and requested improvements. Yesterday, the Committee was surprised to learn about the publication of the Notice in the Government Gazette. The primary requirement for publication in the Government Gazette was the approval of the relevant committee. Hence, it was only valid if approved by the Committee. That was the legal process. The Committee was concerned that it had not been involved in the process. The events created the impression of undermining the Portfolio Committee.
The Deputy Minister was willing to respond to the concerns and suggested a date next week to clarify the matter.
The Chair noted that this was not a dialogue between the Deputy Minister and herself. She recalled that during the last meeting on the Firearm Notice matter, the lack of public participation had been raised. More public consultation with stakeholders was needed. An update on this matter should also be included in the next meeting.
The Deputy Minister proposed a meeting for next week.
The Chair agreed and accepted the Department’s apology. The matter was closed and the meeting continued with its outlined agenda.
Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (CSPS) 2018/19 Annual Report
Mr Alvin Rapea, Secretary for Police, CSPS, introduced his team including members of the new CSPS Audit Committee. The CSPS mandate was derived from the South African Constitution and its main tasks included civilian oversight of the police service and policy advice to the Minister. He presented the organisation’s vision, mission and values as well as the legal background and organisational environment including employment stats. The Annual Report provided information on achievements and performance.
Ms Bilkis Omar, Chief Director: Policy and Research, CSPS, presented the performance of Programme 1: Administration, Programme 2: Intersectoral Coordination and Strategic Partnerships, Programme 3: Policy Development and Research, and Programme 4: Civilian Oversight, Monitoring and Evaluation. She measured the performance against set targets and gave reasons for deviation from the targets. Overall, CSPS achieved a performance score of 78% against the set targets. This meant a performance decline of 3% compared to the previous year. After summarising the overall performance, she listed the strategies to overcome areas of underperformance.
Mr Tumelo Nkojoana, Chief Financial Officer, CSPS, gave an overview of the financial budget. He pointed out the Secretariat’s under-spending with 94.4% expenditure of the total allocated budget. He presented the department expenditure per programme and economic classifications. The biggest bulk of the budget went to compensation of employees, followed by goods and services. The expenditure trends revealed a persistent material under-spending due to open vacancies. On the audit outcomes, CSPS achieved a clean audit for the second year in succession. The Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) noted seven issues of concern. The main findings referred to material under-spending and non-compliance to B-BBEE. CSPS crafted action plans and correctives measures to address these findings.
Ms P Faku (ANC) noted an impressive performance. Yet, she was concerned about the low number of employed persons with disabilities and low rate of women in senior management. She noted that not all targets were achieved. More clarity was needed on the unfilled vacancies.
Ms Mofokeng commented on the non-compliance with B-BBEE. She recognised that corrective measures were underway, but asked for more details and a progress update on the 31 October deadline for improvements. She agreed with Ms Faku about the rate of employed women. A 50-50 gender balance was expected. There were a lot of capable women. The same held true for disabled people. Workers with disabilities were very important since they could contribute a lot. She demanded concrete absolute numbers on employed persons with disabilities. Percentages were not helpful. She requested a report on the oversight of police stations as a number alone was not enough, more details were necessary. That was also true for Community Safety Forums (CSFs). The presentation did not include any information about challenges. She requested more details. The Secretariat should elaborate on the School Safety Plan - what was that? The Police had informed the Committee yesterday that 1300 school were not working together with the police on improving school safety. Had CSPS shared its School Safety Plan with the police and the schools? Kids were killing each other in schools on a daily basis.
Mr O Terblanche (DA) commended CSPS for the informative presentation. He was worried about the decline in achievement, both in performance and in expenditure. He questioned the given explanation for under-spending. The excuse that posts could not be filled due to a lack of office space was unacceptable. No government department had sufficient office space; it was the responsibility of CSPS to make other plans. If there was no space, how would the newly created HR Committee be accommodated? What was the task of the HR Committee? Then, the 100% performance achievement in the one programme was on a very low basis given the targets of only one or two reports or workshops. More reports and research were required to identify problem areas to see what was needed. He was concerned about the continued under-expenditure in the last six financial years. CSPS should be aware that its budget would be cut in the future. It would have to re-negotiate to get the same amount again, as apparently it did not need the money. It should keep this in mind. On Community Police Forums (CPFs), he asked about outstanding training. Was it done? He visited quite a few police stations himself and some of the visited station did not have training for the CPF. Members of the CPFs were not trained. Was civilian oversight done according to set guidelines? What oversight did CSPS do? What was checked and controlled in the overseen police stations?
He asked what happened to the funds for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) Judge and the DNA Board? Was it still available? Was it sent back? On the skipped meeting with IPID, why was the meeting cancelled? Only one individual person was suspended, not the whole office. Mr Terblanche asked why only one police station report was compiled in a whole year. He himself had managed to visit ten police stations. One report was not satisfactory. He requested more details on the campaigns – such as how was a crime prevention campaign done? The CSPS was not an expert in this field. Was it done with the assistance of the police? He asked for more information on public participation and how its irregular expenditure addressed and managed.
Mr A Whitfield (DA) had a question on the workshop conducted with the Metro Police. What was the response of the Metro Police? Were there any objections or problems? Could they be resolved? He would like to know if any of the Metro Police Chiefs opposed the vision of a Single Police Service? Yesterday the National Police Commissioner had informed the Committee about the Rural Safety Plan that would be launched tomorrow in Limpopo. Was the Committee invited? What was CSPS role in creating the plan? Was there any input from the CSPS? Were any grass-root initiatives and communities included in making and executing the plan? On a Hawks investigation, was the investigation concluded? Had any criminality been established through the investigation? Why was the matter settled out of court? Was the internal investigation into Routledge Modise finalised? Were there any disciplinary actions? What were the findings of that investigation?
Mr Whitfield asked about the three bills that were referred to the Minister. He was particularly interested in the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill. When had the Bill been submitted to the Minister? What was the progress? He asked the Chairperson to invite the Minister to inquire about the Bill, as he did not get any response. This spoke again to the previously mentioned frustrating cooperation between the Committee and the Department. Responding to Members of Parliament should be the basis for good working relations.
The Chair clarified that the members of the Committee were invited to join the launch of the Rural Safety Plan tomorrow in Limpopo. The invitations were received. She apologised that she did not communicate that clearly. She assumed that Members would not attend the launch since the Committee had a meeting tomorrow. Nevertheless, Members were free to attend the launch; otherwise provincial representatives would be sent.
Ms Mofokeng inquired about the progress towards achieving the Single Police Service. She noted the joint workshop with the Metro Police. How was the progress on the proposed legislative changes to the Firearms Control Act that were approved by the Minister,? CSPS should take the Committee through the process in detail. Referring to page 21 of the presentation, she asked CSPS to share the IPID provincial recommendations that were supposed to be implemented.
Ms S Patrein (ANC) highlighted the lack of consistent monitoring of the audit finding on material under-spending. A timeline was needed for filling the open vacancies. She suggested adding a timeline for the audit action plan addressing the fifth audit finding.
Mr Rapea acknowledged the problem of the low number of employed persons with disabilities. The percentage number referred to one individual person. Hence, CSPS was far from achieving its 2% target. It had even gone backwards due to the resignation of an employee with disabilities. The matter should be solved in partnership with organisations for people with disabilities. In contrast, CSPS was doing well in the appointment of women and gender equality in general. There was a 48% female rate in senior management. This indicated good progress. Then, for the first time, CSPS conducted a centred report on all police stations in the country, except for one station in the rural Free State. This report would be shared with the Committee. The focus of the report was on the top 30 nationally and provincially worst performing police stations. The oversight report would improve the performance of the police.
Mr Rapea stressed the difference between the CSFs and the CPFs. The former were established within municipalities. CSPS provided capacity-building to CSFs if requested. But basically, the local municipalities together with the Metro Police were responsible for community safety. The biggest challenge was the lack of legislation governing CSFs. Municipalities complained about CSFs and did not want to establish them as they were unfunded. A draft amendment policy was underway for CPFs. The idea was to include CPFs into the CSPS. However, that could only happen if the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act was amended. CPFs were still governed by the SAPS. The transfer of CPFs had also financial implications since the mandate had to be moved together with funding. These financial implications were being assessed. Another draft policy dealt with the neighbourhood watches and whether to include them into the CPFs.
On the performance decline, the financial administration targets were not achieved. Yet, the performance rates for sub programmes ranged around 98%, which was not too bad (page 9). It was close to achievement. Targets were rather set high, instead of setting targets low only to achieve them easily. Moreover, he claimed that the Chief Financial Officer had exaggerated the problem of office space. But still, there was not sufficient space for new employees. He invited the Committee to visit the Secretariat to see it for themselves. The Department of Labour already indicated that it would close the Secretariat down due to the lack of space. A new office had been allocated to the Secretariat. It was to be shared with the Department of Arts and Culture. But given the Department’s merger with the Department of Sports, it needed the entire office alone. Consequently, CSPS had to look for new accommodation. Progress was underway; Mr Rapea was confident that a new office would be found soon, probably next year. Nevertheless, the lack of space had an impact on employee morale.
Back to the training of CPFs, a training manual was prepared. The problem was that so far not all members of CPFs were trained. Only educated members who completed grade 7 received training. The new training strategy should accommodate all members, regardless of their education level. The old training model, developed by the University of Witwatersrand, did not take into account level of education.
Deputy Minister Mathale wanted to make sure if the education level of grade 7 was an estimation or a fact. No false rumours should be spread. Only facts should be communicated.
Mr Rapea replied that he would ensure to clarify the exact level later on.
Ms Omar addressed the questions on the Single Police Service. The relationship and cooperation with the Metro Police was much better now than it used to be. The Soccer World Cup in 2010 served as a prime example of a good collaborative relationship. There was positive progress in integrating the Metro Police into SAPS. Meetings were held quarterly between the Metro Police Chiefs and SAPS to address issues. Yet, there was not much public participation and consultation. Metro Police Chiefs were not happy about the appointment of the National Police Commissioner as it seemed to undermine the municipalities. These issues were already submitted to the Secretary of the Minister to reach consensus. But the workshop for implementing the Single Police Service Policy Framework, hosted by the National Police Commissioner, was very successful. The policy framework was a result of the Committee’s demand for a collaboration strategy for SAPS and Metro Police. The policy framework was well accepted. On the working relationship with the Department of Transport and National Traffic Law Enforcement, processes needed to be harmonised. Further engagement was required. All in all, to answer the question on the progress towards the Single Police Service, phase three had been finalised.
The School Safety Protocol had been signed in 2011 by the Ministers of Police and Basic Education to address school safety. SAPS and CSPS reviewed the protocol and challenges were identified. For instance, one of the protocol’s requirements was the assignment of each school to a police station. But the review showed that not all schools were linked to a police station. Another problem was the lack of intervention plans for schools. Then, in 2015, the National School Safety Framework was launched, which included a broadened scope of safety. It included not only the Departments of Police and Basic Education, but required further inter-departmental cooperation. Safety involved more than two departments. CSPS assessed the Framework and recommended implementing it.
Ms Mofokeng asked for clarification on the School Safety Plan. Yesterday, the police had reported to the Committee that 1300 schools were not assigned to police stations. Could Ms Omar confirm that? The names of these schools were needed. Secondly, the CSPS mandate was to advise the Minister of Police and SAPS, not to reach consensus. CSPS should provide research and advice; reaching consensus was not its task.
Ms Omar explained that the review report found that a number of schools were not linked to specific police stations. Reaching consensus referred to the Single Police Service Policy Framework. To address issues with the Metro Police, CSPS had transferred the matter to the Secretary of the Minister. The Minister should solve the issue.
Ms Mofokeng requested an answer to her question on the legislative changes to the Firearms Control Act, especially since there was already a court ruling on this matter. Were there any consultations with stakeholders like gun free organisations? The report did not provide details about consultative meetings with stakeholders. It was irritating since Members of Parliament received emails and whatsapp messages from stakeholders interested in the Firearms Control Act. These issues should not be dealt with between individuals but as a collective. CSPS had to consult with stakeholders to stop the lobbying.
The Chair read out the paragraph on legislative changes in the Annual Report on page 21. She highlighted the sentence stating that the Firearms Control Act had been unconstitutional. She said that the Committee had been very patient and was committed to cooperation. She warned that the good will of the Committee should not be overstretched. The Committee should not be undermined; its good will should not be taken for granted. She did not want a hostile environment in the meetings. She asked for a full response to Ms Mofokeng’s question.
Adv Dawn Bell, Chief Director: Legislation and Legal Services, CSPS, clarified that the Annual Report was inconsistent. On page 21, paragraph 2, in line 2, the word “not” was missing. It was supposed to say “not unconstitutional”.
The Chair was shocked as this was CSPS's own Annual Report.
Mr Terblanche had a serious problem with this error. The documentation could not be trusted. Could the Committee trust the CSPS documentation at all?
The Chair declared it a serious, fundamental fraud. It was a legal ruling; a constitutional matter. The court ruling was a very critical part of the CSPS oversight mandate. CSPS did not bring it to the Committee’s attention. She demanded an explanation for this error.
Mr Rapea admitted the wrong information. The word “not” was missed out. The first paragraph explained it correctly. If the delegation had been aware of the mistake, it would have informed the Committee about it. He acknowledged the fault and apologised.
Ms N Peacock (ANC) emphasised that the Annual Report was already published. An apology did not change the fact that wrong information was published. Citizens that read the report would not get an explanation.
The Chair requested that the Annual Report should be revoked. This was a legal matter; CSPS could be taken to court on the basis of its Annual Report. If the Committee discovered the error, the public would also pick it up. She made clear that the Members of the Committee indeed read all the submitted documents, even when they arrived late. The thick Annual Report had been submitted only this morning. The Committee did not complain when thick documents only arrived on the day of the actual meeting. But now, the Annual Report was submitted late and incorrect. This was unacceptable. She accused CSPS of taking advantage of the Committee; it was disrespectful. Members had to spend nights reading the documents. The CSPS documents did not inspire confidence. Confusing constitutional with unconstitutional was not a simple matter. It was not a political but legal matter. She suggested a revocation of the document. The Committee should be provided with a progress report on the Firearms Control Amendment Bill to see which stakeholders had been consulted.
Ms Mofokeng said that CSPS should go through the whole Annual Report and correct all mistakes. CSPS and the Committee were not here to fight but to work with each other to make South Africa better.
The Chair closed the agenda item and asked for the response session to be continued.
Mr Nkojoana addressed the lack of office space. CSPS had been created for 80-90 workers. At the moment, it employed 140 people. The prevailing office space constraints had already led to movement of the ICT sector into the office kitchen. He explained the funds for the DPCI Judge and the DNA Board were under-spent as the institutions were unable to fill vacant posts. However, funds for vacant posts could not be reallocated. If they were not used for the compensation of employees, they had to be sent back to Treasury. The newly created HR Committee would be accommodated by prioritising specific vacant posts. There was a prioritisation of posts due to the limited office space. Only posts that were necessary for the effective functioning of the Committee would be filled. Then, CSPS had applied at the National Treasury to authorise the irregular expenditure. Unauthorised expenditure would be sent to Parliament for authorisation. There was a serious backlog at Treasury on the authorisation of funds. It was lagging behind. CSPS did not know when its outstanding amount would be authorised, hopefully before the end of the financial year. He elaborated on the need for the HR Committee. While the CSPS department for Civilian Oversight, Monitoring and Evaluation took the responsibility for external oversight, the HR Committee was responsible for internal monitoring.
Mr Phillip Mahlangu, Chief Director: Integrity and Governance, CSPS, answered the questions on the AGSA finding of non-compliance with B-BBEE. In fact, CSPS had complied with the B-BBEE requirements. However, a late-submitted report in 2017 caused the AGSA finding of non-compliance. In the current financial year, the procurement process had been completed according to B-BBEE guidelines. On the on-going internal investigations on Routledge Modise, the investigations dealt with the former boss of the Hawks and of IP. The internal investigation had been completed and recommendations were given. However, the person suspected of irregular spending had left the department prior to the start of the investigation. On the issue of wings, the internal investigation outcomes had been reported to the Hawks. The case was now registered as a criminal case and the prosecutor was consulted.
Adv Bell gave an update on the three bills that were mentioned in the Annual Report. The Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill had been passed by Parliament and submitted to the Office of the President. In quarter one of the financial year, the Firearms Control Amendment Bill was approved by the Minister. In quarter three, the SAPS Amendment Bill and the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism and Related Activities Amendment Bill were approved by the Minister. The Second-hand Goods Amendment Bill was signed off by the Minister. In terms of regulations, the SAPS Amendment regulations were published in the Government Gazette in the second quarter. In the third quarter, the regulations on the National Deputy Head of DPCI and Provincial Head of DPCI were published in the Government Gazette. Finally, she gave the timeline of the DNA Amendment Bill.
Mr Benjamin Ntuli, Chief Director: Strategic Partnerships, CSPS, addressed the training of CPF members. CPFs were governed under SAPS. The current training neglected two things: the human rights implications and the CSPS’s overall oversight over SAPS. In partnership with the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authorities (SASSETA), CSPS wanted to upgrade the curriculum and bring the CPF training up to standard. The search for a service provider who could supply the training took a long time. Only after the second call for service providers, the University of Witwatersrand offered its service. The University developed a high-level training programme that left out ordinary members of the CPFs. The CSPS wanted to address this and reviewed the training programme together with the University and SAPS. But SASSETA already announced that it would only cater for educated CPF members above a certain threshold, meaning Matric and above. The training for members with lower education levels was not funded. CSPS was still in the process to provide training also for these ordinary members. A meeting with CPF boards from all provinces and provincial secretariats was going to take place on 5 November to address the matter.
Mr Terblanche highlighted that Mr Ntuli had just confirmed that there was no proper training for CPFs. How could that be? Someone must have drafted this training programme and someone must have signed it off? Who would take the responsibility for that? Now, the CPFs ended up with a useless training. When would the training be improved?
Ms Mofokeng appreciated the feedback. The responses were honest and transparent. The explanations clarified the summarised information in the presentation. This took the work of the Committee forward. SASSETA should be invited to the next meeting with CPFs, which would be held in the Western Cape. The challenges with SASSETA should be discussed. One did not need a degree for dealing with crime on the ground.
Mr W Mafanya (EFF) thanked CSPS for the insightful information. He reminded the Committee that crime was a very emotional subject. But here, crime was dealt in a technical and bureaucratic matter. He was surprised about the lack of office space. CSPS was not a small or medium-sized enterprise, but a government institution. How could a government institution at this level not have a proper office? This did not inspire confidence. In fact, CSPS could not perform. These were serious challenges that needed the Committee’s intervention. Besides, CSPS faced inter-departmental problems. But the biggest failure was that CSPS monitored its performance and identified problems without finding solutions. He claimed that even the Deputy Minister seemed baffled by the just received new information. He suggested that the Committee should visit the CSPS office to address the challenges and find solutions.
Ms Faku argued that the explanation on the lack of office space should be accepted by the Committee. The delegation had already explained it twice. The merger of the Departments of Arts and Culture and of Sports had changed the plans. Now, a new office needed to be found.
Ms Peacock recommended compiling a list of requirements to become a CPF member. This would avoid the problem of training. CSPS should write a regulation including criteria and qualifications needed to serve in the CPF.
Ms Mofokeng requested a consistent report on the CPFs, as now there was no uniformity between the information received yesterday and today. Secondly, she asked for a progress report on the allegations on IPID. A follow-up report was needed. Misconduct in an institution trusted by the public had to be punished strictly.
Mr Ntuli gave an overview of conducted campaigns. Hotspots for crime prevention campaigns were identified by the annual crime stats. Campaigns were conducted in collaboration with partner organisations. For instance, regarding cybercrime, CSPS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the South African Banking Risk Information Centre. In partnership, information was compiled and printed on pamphlets, which were then distributed in communities. Another example was alcohol abuse in mining areas whereby MoUs were signed with local municipalities, Aware!org, provincial liquor boards and South African Breweries. The campaigns aimed at closing down illegal taverns and regulating opening times. The operational environment of taverns also needed to be improved by installing lights and providing sanitary installations. These basic regulations for taverns decreased the number of criminal activities. Hence, the anti-crime campaigns were informed by facts. On the Rural Safety Plan, CSPS signed a MoU with the South African Farmers Union to integrate the Union’s members into the crafting of the safety plan. Members were encouraged to attend meetings to express their interests and needs, so that they could be assisted. The same held true for traditional leaders who allowed illegal hunting. These MoUs resulted in programmes that eventually contributed to the Rural Safety Plan.
Mr Takalani Ramaru, Chief Director: Civilian Oversight, Monitoring and Evaluation, CSPS, clarified the CSPS oversight mandate. He explained that CSPS conducted one centred report on all police stations in the country. An agreement with the provinces provided data from each and every South African police station. Thus, the report gave a national picture. It would be forwarded to the Committee. Reports on individual police stations could be provided as well. In the last financial year, CSPS staff managed to visit all 1143 police stations, except for one in the Free State. Yet, the focus was on the top 30 non-performing stations and crime hotspots. The visits of police stations were guided by the Police Oversight, Monitoring and Evaluation Framework. The National Monitoring Tool and Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool were also applied. In addition, tailor-made and customised guidelines were used to assess the performance of police stations. On the cooperation with IPID, monthly joint meetings were held. CSPS and IPID identified rape in police stations as a pressing challenge. The issue was how to categorise rape – as misconduct or criminal offence – and how to sanction the police officer.
Ms Mofokeng wanted clarity on the number of 65 police station oversight reports. A list of all visited police stations should be shared with the Committee. Members of the Committee came from different provinces and thus needed details and names of the police stations of each province. The issue of policing and crime should not be politicised. She also requested a report on the oversight of IPID to be informed in the upcoming discussion on the allegations against IPID.
Mr Ramaru would ensure that the reports would be made available.
Mr Rapea clarified that the education level and qualification of CPF members was not checked. He corrected that CSPS had a MoU with the National African Farmers Union, not South African Farmers Union. Most notably, he declared that the information on page 21 of the Annual Report was correct. It was a misunderstanding; the Committee and the delegation had confused themselves. There was no need for a revocation. A previous court ruling on the matter was unconstitutional, not the Firearms Control Act. Hence, the paragraph was correct.
Mr Whitfield affirmed that it was 100% correct.
The Deputy Minister was happy that the matter was resolved and clarified. He observed that the CSPS delegation got overwhelmed by the Committee’s questions. Members of the delegation should double-check the information that they publish because once it was published, it was hard to correct. Delegation members needed to relax and present. During the response session, they got confused and it appeared as if they did not know their tasks. But in fact, they were very competent and knew exactly what they were doing. CSPS faced challenges like lacking office space, but it was performing well. Moreover, he rejected the idea of setting qualification and education criteria for becoming a CPF member. This would not be possible. CPF members should be ordinary community members. CSPS should tell service providers exactly what type of training it expected to improve the efficiency of CPFs. The training should provide a basic understanding of policing and of basic processes in police stations. The lack of office space was within the range and responsibility of CSPS to solve it. Finally, stakeholder consultation was a legal requirement. He agreed with the Committee. Therefore, stakeholders of the Firearms Control Act would be consulted. Nevertheless, this would not end the lobbying; Members of Parliament would still receive emails and messages as they were law makers. He joked that they should send messages back. The Deputy Minister thanked the Committee for its robustness. Its comments and feedback helped CSPS to improve.
Opening Remarks by Deputy Minister
The Deputy Minister thanked for the opportunity to present IPID’s Annual Report. IPID was an independent organisation in the Department of Police, mandated by the Constitution. It was responsible for ensuring a professional police service and creating a safe environment for South Africans.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) presentation
Mr Victor Senna, Acting Head of IPID, stated that IPID was in the forefront to fight corruption, but was greatly underfunded. An increased workload had led to a backlog over the years. He outlined the key achievements and successes for 2018/19. The overall performance improved significantly from 65% to 83%. An intake comparison showed the numbers of received cases in each province. The data on IPID recommendations versus convictions over the last five years revealed a lack of prosecution and a serious backlog at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Corrective measures were in place to address the irregular expenditure found by the Auditor General. Internal investigation was finalised and disciplinary action was taken against the officials who caused the irregular expenditure.
Mr Senna addressed the media allegations that IPID officials had closed down cases prematurely. The allegations started in 2012 when a complaint was filed at the Public Protector. The Public Protector cleared the allegations. However, they were repeated in 2014. The then Head of IPID was ordered to conduct internal investigations. The investigations found that cases were prematurely closed in Gauteng. Disciplinary action was taken against one official, and another resigned. A criminal case was opened at SAPS for defeating the ends of justice. Afterwards, the internal investigation was extended to all provinces to rule out further cases of manipulation. The final report would be released on 18 October. He stressed again that the incidents happened in 2012-2013 and were internally addressed. The Standard Operating Procedure was revised. In addition, IPID’s Integrity Strengthening Unit inspected all documentation in each province to rule out irregularities. AGSA also inspected all dockets again and validated the information in the Annual Report. Now, the allegations came back in the media. Mr Senna said that IPID had already explained the matter to the previous Portfolio and Select Committee in the Fifth Parliament. IPID was totally open and transparent. He encouraged Members of the Committee to ask any questions for further clarity. IPID accounted to the Committee and the Minister.
Mr Patrick Setshedi, Acting Chief Financial Officer, IPID, presented the financial statements. IPID’s unqualified audit opinion was explained. He summarised the programmes’ expenditures. Finally, key disclosure areas were identified such as irregular expenditure. Measures to improve accountability were put in place.
Ms Suzan Letlape, Director: Strategy and Performance Monitoring, IPID, gave a high-level summary of the performance in 2018/19. She emphasised the significant overall improvement. She went on to present the performance of Programme 1: Administration. She measured the performance against set targets. The vacancy rate of 10% was the only target that was not achieved.
Mr Matthews Sesoko, Head of Investigation, IPID, presented the performance of Programme 2: Investigations and Information Management. Performance was measured against set targets. In total, 2044 criminal cases were referred by IPID to the NPA. IPID was still awaiting a response from NPA in 1475 cases. 2337 positive and negative recommendations were referred to SAPS. 29 recommendations were referred to the Metro Police. Then, the SAPS and Metro Police feedback to disciplinary matters were explained. He concluded by outlining strategies to overcome areas of underperformance.
Mr Sesoko also addressed the media allegations. He emphasised that the allegations dealt with a former employee who had been dismissed by IPID’s ethics committee in 2013. This employee had attended an arbitration last Friday. Therefore, the issue was back in the media. It was not a surprise. The employee had leaked information to the media between 2012 and 2014. In 2016, an internal investigation had been conducted by the Integrity Strengthening Unit in all provinces. As a result, one employee had been dismissed and one employee had resigned in Gauteng. A criminal case was opened for defeating the ends of justice in 2018 and the NPA would decide on it soon. The final report would entail the outcomes of this internal investigation. The premature closing of cases was due to lacking understanding of investigative procedures. The former employees misunderstood the investigative process. Their understanding was completely false. Mr Sesoko explained the investigation process: after conducting the investigation on the ground and collecting data, reports were compiled and presented to the managers. The managers would go through the dockets and review the reports. Reports were assessed according to standard operating procedures. Each case needed to be updated in the case management system. One manager could review 10 to 20 reports a day. The premature closing of cases was thus a result of misinformation. Instead of leaking information to the media, the former employees should have asked for further information on the investigative process.
Ms Mamodishe Molope, Chief Director: Compliance Monitoring and Stakeholder Management, IPID, presented the performance of Programme 3: Compliance Monitoring and Stakeholder Management. Performance was measured against set targets. All targets were achieved or exceeded.
Ms Vivian Selauli, Director: Internal Audit, IPID, presented the analysis of AGSA findings and the implementation of corrective measures. The audit outcomes improved with a reduced number of findings. IPID got an unqualified audit opinion with findings. She elaborated on the 31 AGSA findings and explained the strategies to address the findings, including timelines. IPID faced budget constraints as it was underfunded. Available funds needed to be prioritised. Another finding was improper record-keeping since there was no functioning record management. The budget constraints affected IPID’s oversight mandate. Consequently, some provinces had to be prioritised while others were neglected. Some provinces had not been visited in three years. On the media allegations, she stressed the point that AGSA would find any irregularities. Even if employees were corrupt to the core, this would be revealed during audit time. She assured the Committee that any published data in the Annual Report was validated by AGSA.
Mr Senna concluded that IPID was very open and transparent. Internal measures were put in place so that case manipulation would never happen again. The allegations should not affect the good work of the investigators. Investigators worked night and day, and sacrificed a lot.
The Deputy Minister welcomed that IPID raised the media allegations even though the matter was not on the agenda. IPID performed very well. But the allegations created the impression of a confused, corrupt institution. This was not true. IPID’s work spoke for itself. It had an impact; its presence was felt. Therefore, it needed more material support. Stronger interaction between the IPID Head and the National Police Commissioner was already arranged. The appointment of the permanent IPID Head would be finalised soon.
The Chairperson highlighted that the final report on the allegations should be immediately submitted to the Committee after its release on 18 October. Only then could it be fully analysed. For now, Committee Members should avoid judgment. Due to the media allegations, IPID experienced a confidence deficit. The public trust in IPID had been compromised. The media reports were worrying as they negatively affected the image of IPID, resulting in a damaged image of the police and government institutions in general. Thus, IPID now had to be totally open and transparent. It needed to open its books and allowed itself to be scrutinised without any excuses. If there was internal misconduct, IPID had to face the consequences. The Committee would review the report seriously to ensure that the matter had been efficiently addressed and to guarantee that the alleged behaviour did not persist within IPID. For now, the Committee Members’ input should be fair and balanced without judgment. However, she allowed the Committee enough time to ask questions on the matter to regain confidence in IPID.
Mr Whitfield demanded clarification on the allegations as the presentation entailed inconsistent information. The Acting Head Senna had stated that two incidents of case manipulation had been identified, while Director Selauli had assured them that misconduct was ruled out by internal audit.
Mr Senna explained that the allegations dated back to 2012-2016. They had been investigated and incidents in Gauteng were found where cases were closed prematurely. Action had been taken against two officials. One of the officers resigned, while the other was dismissed and a criminal case had been opened. A final report on the matter was still in process. IPID would not hesitate to act if more cases in other provinces would be revealed.
Ms Selauli clarified her previous statement: any published information was verified by AGSA. If misbehaviour was conducted, it would be detected during internal audit. Published IPID stats could not be manipulated; they were validated.
Mr Whitfield thanked them for the clarification. He stressed the importance of the Committee’s interaction with IPID. IPID formed the baseline for a professional and honest police service in South Africa. The allegations should not be taken lightly and he appreciated the transparency of the Acting Head. It was only fair to wait for the final report, which should be presented to the Committee directly after its release. It should not only be sent but presented to the Committee, to allow for an in-depth analysis. Yet, he was glad that the allegations had been elevated in the presentation. So far, IPID did not perform well in communicating and responding to the media reports. Contradicting information had been released by the spokesperson and other IPID officials. A consistent communication strategy had to be developed that was open, clear and honest.
Mr Whitfield raised the lack of a permanent IPID Head. Temporary leadership avoided responsibility. Without permanent leadership, there was no permanent accountability. The appointment deadline for a new Head had first been in July, then September. Now, it was scheduled for November. IPID should stick to its timeline and accelerate the appointment process. Was a new Head going to be appointed before the end of the year? Another area of concern was the critical underfunding of IPID. This had to be prioritised in the Committee to boost internal oversight. The public should be given no doubts in IPID’s ability to perform properly. Moreover, he criticised the definition of targets. Targets should assess quality instead of quantity. IPID should aim for a higher conviction rate. Currently, the conviction rate was very low in relation to the number of IPID investigations and referred cases to the NPA. Why did the NPA decline to prosecute? Could IPID affirm that the low conviction rate was not due to poor investigative work? Targets needed to be improved to actually measure the impact of IPID’s work. The performance improvement from 65% to 83% was astonishing. What were the reasons for such a remarkable improvement? Were future targets adjusted and increased accordingly? So many targets were exceeded despite the critical under-resourcing. Were quality-based targets going to be introduced? He asked for a specific date when the final report was to be presented to the Committee.
The Chair announced that IPID would present the final report on 23 October. The report should be confidential. The appointment of a permanent Head would also be addressed that day. The Committee expected a detailed briefing on the appointment process. Due to this open vacancy and the media reports, IPID was facing a serious credibility challenge. The Committee had reasons to question IPID as many members had lost their confidence in the body.
Ms Mofokeng gave recommendations to improve the content of its presentation. On the matter of increased workload, she expected more details about employment stats. The presentation should include numbers of staff members, resignations, job interviews and data on employment equity. Then, the Committee could see where the challenges were. On its referred cases to NPA, IPID should explain the terms: disciplinary conviction, criminal conviction and negative recommendation. She requested clarity on measures to deal with the irregular expenditure. While the presentation included AGSA recommendations on how to address irregular expenditure, no further information was provided about the irregular appointment of Ms Botha (page 8). A follow-up on the matter was necessary.
On the presentation of the financial statements, she suggested to summarise the outcomes in a graphical illustration to help understanding. On page 20, she asked for more details on each programme. The very brief summary and use of percentages did not reveal much information about the actual performance. She referred to page 42 as a good example of how to use percentages in combination with absolute numbers. Absolute numbers were needed as percentages cover up information. On page 26, the percentages were confusing. On complaints, did IPID give feedback to the people that reported incidents? When complaints were filed, IPID should provide feedback. People would start rumours and allegations if IPID was not able to provide follow-up information on complaints.
She agreed to await the final report on the allegations. However, she had many questions. Most pressing: why did IPID re-employ a person who was dismissed before? She would be going to investigate this re-employment as soon as the report was out. On programme performance of provinces, there were no details, just numbers. The Committee worked with communities and names, not with statistics. On stakeholder management (page 41), the provided percentage did not tell anything. Columns with details on specific stakeholders would be appreciated.
Ms Faku was concerned about the referrals to NPA and SAPS on page 5 and the lack of completed cases. Why was there such a low response and delay at NPA? How did IPID measure its performance? On the basis of referred cases or completed cases? Moreover, workers were employed without following the Pension Funds Adjudicator (PFA). How did this irregular employment came about? On which government level did it happen? The presentation did not state any details. She pointed out another principle of government procurement: you do not spend what you do not have. However, IPID could not pay its invoices within 30 days due to lack of finances. Why did IPID spend what it did not have in the first place? She inquired how rape by police officers was categorised: as misconduct or as a criminal offence with subsequent prosecution?
Mr Terblanche commended IPID for its clean audit. It should keep up the good work; the Director for Internal Audit was very passionate about her mandate. He was positively surprised by the remarkable improvement in performance from 65% to 83%. Yet, he requested clarity on the referral of cases to the NPA. 2044 cases were referred to NPA, but only 91 resulted in a criminal conviction. Why? IPID should only refer cases that were likely to be taken up by the NPA. Did IPID forward cases that were poorly investigated or unfounded? IPID should not overflow NPA with cases. The backlog of NPA was serious. It needed to be pursued and checked up on. He criticised the current ratio of IPID investigators to SAPS 1:1130 since not all police officers were criminals. It should only include received cases. The ratio was skewed. He also expressed concern about the vacancy rate. IPID needed to be capacitated. A lot of money was spent at the end of the financial year. Why was that?
It was necessary to wait for the final report about the allegations in the media. He asked if the incidents were limited to Gauteng or whether they were also found in other provinces. In addition, he was worried about the credibility of the on-going investigation. Was it only done by IPID itself? There was a credibility problem if IPID investigated itself. This needed to be cleared up to restore public trust in IPID. In conclusion, he demanded a reduction in irregular expenditure which was at a sizable amount.
Mr H Shembeni (EFF) congratulated IPID for its good performance. Yet, he questioned J88 reports (medical reports) as IPID’s excuse for delayed cases. J88 reports were issued immediately by doctors. They could not be the cause for outstanding investigations. He asked about the implementation of Section 23 of the IPID Act. Was it implemented? If not, why? There should be an alignment of IPID investigator salaries with SAPS. What was the progress in this matter?
The Chair asked that Ms Faku's questions be addressed as she had to leave the meeting.
Mr Senna replied that the irregularly employed official was at government level 11 and the irregular employment happened due to missing contracts. Previous three-month contracts were extended for another three months without approval of National Treasury.
Mr Sesoko explained the referral of cases to NPA and SAPS. Based on the outcomes of IPID’s investigations, IPID decided whether to refer the case or not. If there was evidence of committed crime or misconduct, the case had to be referred. IPID was an investigative body mandated to conduct independent and impartial investigations. Therefore, it did not measure its performance based on convictions, but based on conducted quality investigations that were decision-ready. The decision to prosecute was taken by the NPA, not by IPID. IPID did not have control over convictions in court. Hence, it could not be held accountable by the number of convictions. That was not its mandate. IPID’s job was to find out if a police officer did something wrong or not. A positive recommendation meant that the police officer was cleared of all charges; a negative recommendation implied misconduct by a police officer. He mentioned that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had argued that even prosecutors could not be judged on convictions but rather on finding the truth. Besides, IPID was the only body investigating the police. Police officers were familiar with the prosecution and justice system and thus could delay the process with technicalities. This explained the long duration of processes.
Mr Setshedi replied about the delay in invoice payments beyond 30 days. For the last three financial years, IPID reported accuracy in meeting its contractual obligations. However, with the recent budget cuts by National Treasury, IPID could not fully meet its contractual obligations. This caused outstanding invoices which had to be paid in the next financial year.
Ms Faku suggested that these responses should be included in the report.
Mr Sesoko added that rape by police officers was a criminal offence followed by legal prosecution. But it was simultaneously categorised as misconduct. Hence, in such a case, IPID would make a dual referral to NPA and SAPS.
Mr Shembeni asked about the initiatives in place to fill open vacancies. And on what basis did IPID prioritise certain cases?
Ms Peacock indicated that most issues raised by Committee Members were actually included in the full IPID Annual Report. Owing to the high-level summary in the presentation, some information was missing. But the answers and graphical illustrations could be found in the full report. It also included an audit action plan to address the audit findings.
Mr Senna stated that as a leader, he would take in all positive and critical comments. He apologised for the incoherent communication between IPID and the Committee. He appreciated the inputs by Ms Mofokeng. The IPID delegation would take her comments into account when compiling the next presentation. The feedback helped IPID to improve its performance. On the irregular appointment of Ms Botha, IPID approached the Labour Court to solve the matter. The Court could either legalise or dismiss the appointment. The implementation of section 23 of the IPID Act was in progress. The legislation demanded that IPID officials were treated the same as SAPS officials. SAPS was not in favour of the alignment, there were several discussions. As the differences could still not be resolved, IPID would approach the Minister to speed up the implementation of section 23. On the open vacancies in senior management, short-listing and interviews were in process.
Mr Sesoko gave more information on the low conviction rate. Many cases were declined by NPA since there were no witnesses except for other police officers. It was highly unlikely of police officers to offer testimony against one of their colleagues. But every successfully conducted IPID investigation was presented to the prosecutors, even if the evidence was weak. The decision to prosecute was with NPA, not IPID. Cases were not referred to NPA when the victim could not identify the suspect. That was the only exception.
Mr Sesoko clarified that the internal investigation was conducted by the Integrity Strengthening Unit. This would maintain credibility. The IPID Act provided for the Unit to control the work of IPID officials. The Unit was not located within the programmes; it was independent and separate from IPID. Thus, there was no influence on the investigations. The media allegations were limited to two incidents in Gauteng. However, the soon to be released full report covered all provinces. Until the report was released, IPID could not confirm other cases. It was not known yet. But it could also not be ruled out that more incidents would be found.
On the J88 reports, the problem was that many victims did not immediately go to a doctor after the assault. Or they went to private doctor and opened a case later. Then it was IPID’s responsibility to get the report from the doctor or clinic. This caused delays. Mr Sesoko also explained the methodology used to prioritise cases. Due to constraint resources and enormous workload, IPID had to prioritise certain cases. IPID did not have sufficient capacity to investigate all cases directly. Hence, the importance and impact of the reported case mattered. Cases of rape, death and corruption as well as cases concerning women and children were prioritised. Though, others would be still dealt with.
Mr Setshedi recognised that the budget constraints affected IPID’s independence. Due to a lack of finances, IPID relied on SAPS in some areas. That compromised its independence, as it was actually mandated to control and investigate SAPS. This was an identified weakness. He confirmed the late procurement in the financial year. This happened when funds were depleted already during the financial year and funds needed to be reallocated. Then, IPID had to apply for internal fund shifts at National Treasury. The approvals for the reallocation were often only issued towards the end of the financial year.
Adv Marianne Moroasui, Chief Director: Legal Services, IPID, expanded on the legal matter of section 23. The last court order from the 20 August gave IPID a certain timeline to implement section 23. Every 20th of each month, IPID had to submit an explanatory affidavit to the court to indicate the progress. IPID’s task team had three months to implement. She suggested that members of labour unions should be part of the task team.
The Deputy Minister announced that IPID would update the Committee on the appointment, shortlisting and interview process on 23 October.
Mr Terblanche highlighted that the Head of Investigation, Mr Sesoko, had just confirmed that there might be the possibility that more incidents of manipulation and misconduct would be found in other provinces.
Acting Chair Mofokeng recommended that IPID should identify its shortcoming so that it could receive assistance from SAPS.
The Deputy Minister emphasised that the success of IPID speeded up the professionalisation of SAPS. However, IPID’s ultimate goal was also the reason for its closure. As soon as SAPS was professional and efficient, IPID would fulfil its mandate and would become redundant and irrelevant. IPID was the police service of the police to detect police officers’ abuse of power and authority. It needed to be capacitated to speed up the process. The existing tensions between IPID and SAPS needed to be erased as the police should become a platform for honest interaction. Addressing IPID’s challenges benefited the police service and that in turn benefited society. He appreciated the interaction with the Committee. The feedback made IPID wiser and more effective. The comments raised would be taken into consideration and would be integrated in the next presentation. The advice was taken in good spirit. The Deputy Minister apologised for his absence at the follow-up meeting tomorrow.
The meeting was adjourned.
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