Department of Community Safety and Western Cape Liquor 2018/19 Annual Reports: deliberations

Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport (WCPP)

11 October 2019
Chairperson: Mr R Allen (DA)
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Meeting Summary

2018/19 Annual Reports

The Committee was briefed by the Western Cape Liquor Authority on its 2018/19 Annual Report. The presentation highlighted the challenges within the industry such as late applications, incomplete applications and advertising costs. Research shows that gender-based violence is largely fuelled by alcohol which is too easily accessible and too cheap. Another challenge is the supply of alcohol to illegal distributors. This requires working with law enforcement and other state departments to combat underage drinking and binge drinking. The Minister was in attendance and highlighted the issue of self-sustainability of the entity and the impact of alcohol on safety in communities.

Members raised concern on the issue of self-sustainability and asked what strategies have been put in place to address this challenge. Members also raised concern on the high rate of binge drinking amongst the youth, lack of recreational alternatives and the sale of alcohol in schools. Members raised concern that the entity’s organisational structure fails to reflect the demographics of the province. Members raised the issue of zoning rights and trading hours of outlets in communities. Members also raised concern that there is no control and regulation over illegal operations of liquor outlets. The issue of resignations, employment equity and awareness interventions were also raised as concerns. Members asked about the impact of the increase in the penalty fee and road safety measures to deal with the high levels of drunken driving.

The Committee was briefed by the Western Cape Department of Community Safety on its 2018/19 Annual Report. The presentation highlighted the issues of gender-based violence and gang violence amongst the youth. Organisations such as the Neighbourhood Watch and community police forums play an integral role in communities and the Department wants to provide training to them. The Department has achieved its tenth clean audit and has achieved 97% of its predetermined targets.

Members asked whether the safety plan includes rural communities. Members raised concern on the conditions and safety of police stations, the relationship between the police and the Department of Social Development in removing children from unsafe homes and efficiency in community structures. Members also raised concern that interventions to fight crime is not being extended beyond the Cape Metropolitan. Members asked for a report on the outcomes of the Safer Western Cape conference. Members raised concern on the high rate of drug related crimes and asked what interventions have been put in place to remove harmful drugs from communities.

Meeting report

The Chairperson opened the meeting and greeted everyone in attendance.

Mr Albert Fritz, Minister: Department of Community Safety: Western Cape, greeted members and said it is important for the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA) to be self-sustainable through generating its own revenue. Alcohol has an impact on the safety of communities. The WCLA must have measures in place, such as revoking liquor licenses of offending liquor outlets, to generate safety in communities.

Mr Simion George, Chief Director: Security Risk Management: Western Cape, said the issue of self-sustainability is important. The WCLA is close to improving its regulations but the involvement of the community itself is crucial to achieve improvement. On safety, the WCLA cannot generate an income to offset the harms caused by alcohol but instead can limit the harms through the regulation of the alcohol industry. Certain conditions must be enforced once liquor licenses are issued.

Presentation by the Western Cape Liquor Authority

Mr Thembalihle Sidaki, Chairperson: Western Cape Liquor Authority, said the Board has been formed and the process of appointing the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the entity is being addressed.  

Mr Ronald Kingwill, Deputy Chairperson: Western Cape Liquor Authority, noted the issue of self-sustainability. The revenue stream is two-fold. Firstly, the initial licence fees go directly to the Treasury and funds have to be applied for by the WCLA. Secondly, fines and penalties go directly to the Board and is defined as its own revenue. The Board carries a lot of costs because of the inefficiency of the industry. This includes late applications, incomplete applications and additional advertising costs within a limited budget. These challenges need to be addressed when looking at the issue of self-sustainability. The industry must carry and contribute its share.

Ms Laurine Platzky, Board Member: Western Cape Liquor Authority, said the WCLA’s work is based on an alcohol harms reduction approach. The White Paper was passed by Cabinet in 2017 and the legislation process is underway. While the WCLA waits for legislation to be finalised, it operates in ways that try to reduce the harms of alcohol. Research shows that gender-based violence is largely fuelled by alcohol which is too easily accessible and cheap. As a result, the WCLA has focused on recommendations by health organisations to address the issue of youth and binge drinking. It also engages with law enforcement when it comes to the supply of alcohol to illegal distributors. This is because there are no regulations around underage drinking and the trading hours.

Discussion

Mr M Kama (ANC) asked for an explanation of the challenges experienced by the entity in attempts to issue out liquor licences to qualifying outlets. On Game Changer areas, can details be provided of interventions that have been taken and their impact on communities? In the areas where interventions are implemented there are no recreational alternatives. What is being done to promote recreational activities? Did the entity have any input in the recently adopted Bill that allows the sale of alcohol in schools? What is the role of the Department in ensuring the entity delivers its mandate?

Ms L Botha (DA) asked if there are any gaps in achieving the entity’s mission.

Mr F Christians (ACDP) said the Western Cape has the highest rate of binge drinking amongst the youth. What are the entity’s interventions to deal with this challenge? How do you deal with the extended trading hours of liquor outlets, especially those that operate on Sundays close to churches and schools? On self-sustainability, when will the entity be self-sustainable and how will it get to that point?

Mr M Xego (EFF) said the organisational structure of the entity does not reflect the demographics of the province. There is only 1 African male and no previously disadvantaged females. The focus area of the entity is on the youth but there is no representation of them in the organisational structure.

Mr G Bosman (DA) asked what strategies are put in place to attain self-sustainability. Is the Department going beyond increasing fines? How do you ensure that local authorities are included in the plans of the entity? What were the challenges experienced by the entity in maintaining relations with sub-councils, specifically those in the rural areas?

Responses

Mr George replied that funds are generated through the application process and fines are imposed on outlets that fail to operate within the conditions set out by the entity. The Treasury has advised on processes to be implemented in the next financial year that will be extensive in achieving self-sustainability. The focus is to add meaning to liquor licences and to ensure licence holders comply to regulations. A big challenge is controlling and monitoring the illegal liquor operations. This requires a collaboration with law enforcement. To ensure the success of such a collaboration, the funding model needs to be revisited to generate more funds.

Mr Jacobus Louw, Board Member: Western Cape Liquor Authority, replied that many of the unlicensed liquor distributors are situated in residential areas. The biggest barrier is the issue of zoning rights. The local government need to be engaged with on this issue in order to bring the illegal outlets into a regulated sphere. The Drakenstein local municipality is at the stage of developing a policy that will enable outlets to apply for licences. The City of Cape Town is also in the process of rolling out a policy but discussions around this are still taking place.

Mr Lukas Muntingh, Board Member: Western Cape Liquor Authority, replied the issue of compliance in Game Changer areas has been addressed. Inspectors are appointed on a contract basis to deal with regular inspections and to increase compliance levels. Prosecutions also deal with the illegal distribution of liquor and this yielded many successes. There is a positive impact from the police who provide feedback of high compliance levels. There are regular visits in the night time as well to inspect who liquor is being sold to. In this regard there was an improvement when it comes to minors. The success led to the process being distributed to other areas that have similar challenges.

Mr Philip Prinsloo, Communication, Education and Stakeholder Relations: Western Cape Liquor Authority, replied the entity partnered with the Department of Education (DOE) to address the challenge of binge drinking by going into schools and engaging with the youth through various programmes. There is also an engagement with liquor licence holders by training and educating them on the risks of serving alcohol to underage youth and alerting them to the fact that licenses can be revoked if these regulations are not complied with. There is a challenge where adults buy liquor and sell or share it with underage persons. The community needs to take ownership and cooperate with the entity to deal with this issue. The size of the liquor industry makes it challenging for the entity. The entity is small with limited funds and resources to attract the youth into its programmes. On recreational activities, the DOE embarked on an after-school programme but the progress of this is uncertain. The entity has engaged with municipalities to inform them of the alcohol harms reduction approach and to look for ways to link trading hours and zoning rights to the Game Changer areas and the White Paper.

Mr George replied there are 2 vacancies within the entity. For the 2018/19 period, 1 of the positions was headed by an African woman. Processes are underway to fill the position of the CEO. Youthfulness within the organization is represented adequately. There is an Employment Equity Plan (EEP) in place to ensure that representation is fulfilled.

Ms L Platzky replied there is a challenge of bridging the processes between the old Act and the new Act. The focus is on the alcohol harms reduction mandate and established stakeholders are industry based. The focus has shifted onto institutions such as community policing forums and local drug and action committees. There hasn’t been any gaps but rather challenges in bridging the entity’s mandate.

Mr Kingwill replied the Department is committed to ensuring the entity achieves its obligations. The Department’s ‘open office’ policy and quarterly meetings has strengthened the relationship between itself and the entity. Ministers have also attended Board meetings and this is a relief for the entity.

Discussion

Mr Bosman asked for clarification on the application process for a liquor licence. How does the entity deal with applications that are submitted on behalf of an applicant? The service received at the National Liquor Policy Council is commendable.

Mr Christians said a gap exists where a municipality grants a licence that requires the employment of more inspectors in that zone. This gap needs to be addressed. State departments need to work together to address the issue of zoning and trading hours of liquor outlets in communities. On the high levels of binge drinking amongst the youth, what steps have been taken to address this?

Mr Xego asked for the EEP to be provided to members. Why are black women only employed on the ground?

Mr I De Jager (AJA) said there are still too many illegal operations of liquor outlets and no control over this. There are no impactful measures being taken. There are also no after-school programmes in certain areas. This challenge requires immediate attention and intervention.

Ms R Windvogel (ANC) said the presentation notes various programmes in communities. Are they rural-based? 

Responses

Mr Prinsloo replied that rural communities are included into the entity’s programmes. There is a door-to-door campaign and partnership with local municipalities to identify the challenges. The entity has linked people to the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) programme in their communities. Binge drinking remains a challenge but the entity has prioritised partnerships with the local government, DOE and the Department of Social Development (DSD) to address it. The success of this depends on the community too.

Mr George replied the entity will maximize existing systems to deal with the impact of alcohol in communities. It needs to be clear on the challenge of binge drinking. There needs to be an interrogation into the issuing of liquor licenses that has negatively impacted communities. On organisational structure, the CFO was a black woman. There is a challenge of appointing inspectors and funding this initiative. On the application process for a liquor license, it is a complex process so members of the public ask consultants for assistance. Going forward, the public need a platform in the decision-making process of the entity.

Discussion

Mr Mvimbi said the focus of the entity seems to be solely on African and Coloured areas. Have you thought of inspecting Long Street? The activities and behaviour of people in Long Street is similar to that of Gugulethu and Khayelitsha. Do the liquor authorities inspect these areas? The police harass liquor outlets but what is the role of the liquor authorities?

Responses

Mr George replied the entity has limited funds and its operations are complaint-based. Long Street is one of the areas that is inspected. The police is relied upon to deal with unlicensed outlets while the entity deals with licensed outlets and ensures their compliance to regulations.

Minister Fritz replied there is a link between the alcohol problem and the high rates of murder in areas such as Khayelitsha, Nyanga and Gugulethu. This does not mean areas like Long Street are not given any attention. The Liquor Licensing Tribunal should implement stricter measures to allow the suspension and revocation of non-complying license holders. An overall approach needs to be taken to deal with the challenge of binge drinking. The CEO position is vacant and the salary will be reviewed to attract candidates. The entity is looking at finding inspectors to work closely with the local government and the police to increase its impact in communities.

Discussion

Mr Kama noted the entity’s situational analysis of the impact of alcohol abuse in communities. What responses have been made and what performance targets have been put in place to deal with the issue? Who are the members of the Liquor Licencing Tribunal? What is the working relationship between the police and the Tribunal?

Ms A Bans (ANC) asked how far the entity is with implementing strategies to overcome its areas of underperformance. The presentation does not indicate strategies put in place by the Tribunal to deal with non-complying outlets.

Mr Christians said the penalty fee has gone up to R100 000. Has this been an effective measure? Is there more control since the increase of the penalty fee?

Ms Botha asked if the communities in Citrusdal are included in the entity’s programmes. How does the information published in the entity’s newsletters filter down to the communities the entity has visited? The presentation shows overachievements in the number of persons who have been reached through an awareness intervention. Have these targets been reviewed for the next financial year?

Responses

Mr Prinsloo replied challenges were identified and targets set into the 5 year strategy. On whether there was a visit to Citrusdal, this will be reported back to members. The awareness interventions require engagement with licence holders and communities. The measurement of licence holders is done through training where attendance is marked and then it is linked back to when holders contravene regulations. Big supermarkets requested training for their employees on liquor licence regulations and this was an achievement for the entity.

Mr Louw replied members were appointed into the Tribunal with the section 24 Committee running on a weekly basis. This has made a significant difference within the Tribunal. There is a police member in the Tribunal because the police play an integral role in providing information. With every application, the Tribunal requests a report addressing all the relevant information to the application. There cannot be a policy that allows the Tribunal to revoke licences. The increase of the penalty fee has been effective.

Mr Muntingh replied there were incidents of minors consuming alcohol and ending up in hospital. As a result, the entity has ensured it conducts regular visits and inspections. The increase of the penalty fee has reduced the issue of non-compliance. The non-licenced operators are being referred to criminal courts and the Tribunal works closely with the prosecutors.

Discussion

Mr De Jager said alcohol abuse is one of the main contributors to road accidents. What is the plan to control drunken driving? What is the penalty for the over consumption of liquor? 

Mr Kama asked how the entity balances economic opportunities that come with alcohol distribution.

Ms Bans commended the entity for appointing the section 24 Committee. Can members be provided with a view of the appointed members and the structure of this Committee?

Responses

Mr George replied the appointment of the Committee is outlined in the Act. The Board engages with different organisations to nominate people for relevant positions. The function of the Committee is to support the Tribunal and the names of the appointed members will be made available.

Mr Louw replied the section 24 Committee is not a separate entity. Members of the Committee hold the same status as the Tribunal.

Ms Platzky replied the alcohol balanced approach is referred to in the White Paper. When looking at the national statistics and cost benefit analysis, the costs outweigh the benefits of alcohol distribution. The industry needs to be regulated in order to allow economic growth.

Mr Fritz replied the increase of road safety measures is important. As part of the entity’s safety component, it will be working closely with the Minister of Transport and Public Works to implement impactful measures. A big issue is the selling of cheap liquor that poses a harm to communities.  

Discussion

Mr Mvimbi asked for clarity on the equity target and employment status of the entity.

Mr Bosman asked what the overall strategy of the entity is when it comes to the number of resignations.

Mr Kama asked for clarity on the strategies put in place to respond to the issue of resignations. The reasons behind them is because of salaries and benefits.

Mr Christians said the number of resignations within the entity suggests there are no growth opportunities for employees.

Responses

Mr George replied the entity needs to build strong structures that are not reliant on individuals. It needs to find strategies to respond to the issue of salaries and resignations.

Presentation by the Department of Community Safety

Mr Fritz said it is important to look at the strategic position of the Western Cape government specifically when it comes to the safety plan. The Neighbourhood Watch (NW) programmes and community police forums are very important to the Department of Community Safety. These organisations play an important role in the community and the Department wants to provide training to them. The issue of gender-based violence needs immediate attention. The Department will continue to form partnerships with non-governmental organisations and other community organisations to support women. A collaborative approach needs to be taken with all state departments to achieve safety in communities. The youth also needs intensified attention to address the issue of gang violence. The Department is commended for achieving its clean audit.

Mr Gideon Morris, Head of Department: Community Safety: Western Cape, said the Department is proud to have received its tenth clean audit. It has achieved 97% of its predetermined targets. The court ‘watching brief’ has become a national project and has been extended to the City of Cape Town. The Chrysalis Academy is accredited with collaborations in the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal. Gauteng is also looking at having similar programmes. The reward system for firearms has led to a 32% increase of illegal firearm confiscation.

The Chairperson said there is a consensus amongst members that safety is the responsibility and priority of everyone.   

Discussion

Ms Botha commended the Department for achieving a clean audit. On the NW programmes, were there any members who paid the ultimate price? What have been the challenges and successes in achieving its mission?

Mr Christians commended the Department for doubling its expenditure towards the NW programmes. It is important not to be too hard on these programmes because many of them have little to no resources. How was the budget allocated to the percentage of prosecutions? Does the Department reward people who do good in communities? Are there programmes to ensure those who do good remain on the right side of the law?

Mr Xego asked if there is a rural safety plan with its own budget. How is the Department efficient when the Lingelethu West Police Station in Khayelitsha had a high rate of armed robberies? How does the police station protect the community when it is also vulnerable of being robbed? The state of the police stations in Laingsburg are shocking. What is the relationship with the Department of Public Works in ensuring that police stations are safe and in good condition? The Department claims to have seen a 188% increase in fines around Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and parts of Nyanga. What is the meaning of this increase? The competency training of officers was not conducted because of the shortage of ammunition. Is it part of the future of the Department to ensure that all police officers carry firearms?

Mr Bosman asked if the court ‘watching brief’ can be expanded by including the DSD in the Department’s strategies. On the enforcement division, can the police get involved with the DSD around cases of removing children from unsafe homes?  

Mr Kama commended the Department on its clean audit. The focus should now be on translating the good governance into communities. The Minister has put a greater emphasis into building sustainable relationships between communities and policing structures. How does the Minister ensure practically that the focus is not on who is elected but rather on the efficiency of the structures in communities? The easy access to alcohol is one of the reasons why overconsumption and abuse is high. The marketing of alcohol is everywhere. How does the Department deal with alcohol consumption in schools? Can the report of the findings of the review conducted in police stations be provided to members? Does the recently adopted community strategy address the gaps identified in community structures?

Mr Mvimbi asked what the difference is between community police forums and the NW programmes. The interventions that are made to fight crime and alcohol abuse in communities like Gugulethu and Nyanga need to be introduced in areas like Long Street too. Crime is not unique to the townships. The Western Cape is big and these interventions should be extended to areas outside of the Cape Metropolitan.

Ms Windvogel asked for clarity on how much was spent on the Safer Western Cape conference. What were the resolutions of the conference and will it be repeated in the future?

Responses

Mr Fritz replied the Department needs to provide efficient service. Politics must be removed from community structures and safety. The NW is small to avoid it being centralised by other departments. The Department has worked well with schools to the extent that some schools, especially those affected by gang violence, created their own Safety Committee Act and have looked at ways of generating money. The court ‘watching brief’ has been effective in working with prosecutors. Programmes like the Chrysalis Academy promote good behaviour amongst the youth. The Department does not deal with police stations being robbed. It is the responsibility of police operations to ensure safety.

Mr Morris replied the NW has decreased because accreditation is only valid for 2 years. The accreditation process was an expectation of a partnership. The biggest risks were paying the NW’s for their work and keeping a clean audit. The Department is currently looking at an adjustment to its funding model to cater for the NW initiative. There is a national rural safety plan that has been driven by the police. In schools, a risk assessment tool has been implemented as a national tool. On the court ‘watching brief’, it is aimed at holding police officers accountable for their actions. This has led to disciplinary action against 26 police officials and the arrest of an investigating officer. The aim is to drive cases to court and have successful prosecutions. On the use of alcohol in schools, a principal cannot permit an event that has alcohol on school premises.

Discussion

Mr De Jager asked what the accreditation period is for the NW programmes.

Ms Windvogel asked what the cost of the conference was, the resolutions that came out of it and how they were implemented.

Mr Morris replied the conference cost around R1 million and a full report on it will be made available.

Ms Botha spoke in Afrikaans.  

Mr Morris replied in Afrikaans.

Ms Botha spoke in Afrikaans.

Mr Morris replied in Afrikaans.

Mr Fritz replied in Afrikaans.

Ms Windvogel said people need value for their money. Mr Morris should know the resolutions made and implemented after the conference.

The Chairperson said a report on it will be made available to all members.

Ms Botha said the presentation shows that 1000 people were trained through the Chrysalis Academy but only 925 completed it. Did those who didn’t complete it re-apply?

Mr Kama asked what the unemployment statistics of the Western Cape are. What are the statistics of the removal of children from unsafe homes? The Department said it was in the process of drafting a report on the outcomes of the conference. How far are you with this process?

Mr Christians noted the Department’s strategic goals. How are you going to roll out these programmes with limited funds and powers? On the number of priority schools supported with safety interventions, how are there only 3 achievements? Is there headway with reporting on the inefficiency of the police?

Mr Bosman said there’s a focus on crime prevention but no engagement with people who leave correctional services and want to restart their lives in communities. It is important to acknowledge the struggles people with criminal records encounter when seeking employment or starting up their own businesses. On drugs, the Western Cape has a very high rate of drug related crimes. What are the new ideas and innovations of dealing with the inflow of drugs? Drug control must go beyond drug busts. What are the collaborations taking place to ensure harmful drugs are removed from communities?

Responses   

Mr Morris replied the Department has no statistics on the number of children taken out of unsafe homes but this information can be made available. It is incorrect to equate unemployment with crime because there are many people who are unemployed but do not resort to crime to make ends meet. Unemployment is part of the social ills of society that need to be addressed and dealt with independently from crime. The Department’s strategic goals form part of the effort to tackle the social ills in society such as building safe public spaces even with its limited funds. There is expertise that will be implemented to help create a link with parole boards. A bigger challenge is having people released from prison and coming into communities that are entrenched with gang violence without proper structures to promote their rehabilitation process. The report on the outcomes of the conference is done and will be made available. On drugs, the K9 Unit is an innovative way to control the inflow of harmful drugs in communities. The most used drug remains alcohol. On the Chrysalis Academy, students do not re-apply because they drop out for medical reasons. Many are addicted to heroine and the medical staff are not up for the challenge of dealing with this.

Discussion

Ms Botha noted the safety partnerships that reached 25 526 young children. How many of them applied for the Chrysalis Academy?

Mr Kama said unemployment should not be equated to crime. The biggest challenge has been dealing with gangs that are able to recruit young children. There are many things being done to reduce crime but crime is still increasing. Who are the members of the Provincial Safety Advisory Committee? Can a report on its work be provided to members? What are the challenges with the placement of Chrysalis Academy graduates?

Mr Christians said the Chrysalis Academy does not secure employment for its graduates. The Department should investigate and engage with private institutions on this issue. How does the K9 Unit benefit communities effectively?

Ms Windvogel spoke in Afrikaans.

Responses

Ms Yashina Pillay, Chief Director: Secretariat Safety and Security: Department of Community Safety, replied training opportunities for the youth amounted to 1106 because the Department believes in individual growth. The number reflected in the target is the number of programmes rather than individuals in the programmes.

Mr Morris replied there’s a strong relationship between unemployed youth and gangsterism. If money is transferred from the Department to an entity, the functionality of that entity needs to be demonstrated. There are over 18 000 NW programmes across the province and appointing staff to monitor these programmes would cost a lot of money. Technology seems to be the favourable solution to monitoring and controlling these programmes. Every student that graduates from the Chrysalis Academy gets a 1 year paid placement. It is then the Department of Economic Development that has taken the responsibility of ensuring the graduates get permanent work after their year of paid placement. 

Discussion  

Ms Botha asked how the Department keeps its staff focused.

Mr Kama said the internship programmes are important but there is a concern of the possible abuse by those who move from one internship to another. On the employment of people with disabilities, how is the Department performing when it checks itself against other state departments?

Mr Christians noted the reasons for employee resignations. The insufficient progression possibilities is a poor reason for resignation when people can apply for bursaries to improve themselves. Can the Department explain the incapacity leave structure and system further? How does the Department weigh it’s progress against other state departments?

Mr Mvimbi said the Department must improve its demographic representations to particularly reflect disabled people.

Ms Botha noted the issue of sick leave. How is it structured?

Responses

Mr Morris replied interns move through the system and are given different opportunities. The Department is mindful of being too dependent on interns.

Ms L Govender, Chief Director: Management Support: Western Cape Department, replied the Department is doing well but there are no figures at hand to compare with other departments.

Mr Morris replied the insufficient progressions is amongst the younger groups. As a small Department, there are not as many opportunities like other state departments. On incapacity leave, 1 person had serious cancer.

Ms Botha asked for a summary of employees that used their sick leave with an exclusion of their names on the report.

The Chairperson thanked members for the questions raised and the Minister for being in attendance.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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