SAPS Western Cape 2018/19 Annual Report: discussion

Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport (WCPP)

26 November 2019
Chairperson: Mr R Allen (DA)
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Meeting Summary

WCPP Annual Reports 2018/19

The South African Police Service in the Western Cape (SAPSWC) made a presentation on its 2018/2019 annual report, and reported on the effectiveness of various programmes during the year under review.

Targets related to the administration were largely achieved. Critical issues involved the management of assets and human resources. SAPSWC reported an over-expenditure of the budget as a result of price escalations on some of the operational items, such as vehicle running costs.

There had been a reduction in serious crimes, including a reduction in crimes against women, although there had been a spike in the reporting of such crimes due to the awareness programme on gender-based violence (GBV). A similar situation had occurred in respect of crimes against children. There was an increase in assault crimes due to issues related to illegal firearms, the spatial design of communities and substance abuse, referring to both liquor and drugs.

Contact-related crimes had increased due to service delivery protests, “fees must fall” demonstrations and land invasions.  A reduction was reported for the first time since 2010 in respect of the trio crimes of car hijacking, robbery at residential premises and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Property-related crimes reported a sharp reduction, and the decrease had been consistent for the third time due to a solid partnership with the members of neighbourhood watches, community policing forums and private security.

Members asked what was being done about upgrading police stations, including introducing the latest technology; whether the dominant language of communities was considered when deploying police officers to an area; if population growth was monitored to ensure adequate policing levels were maintained; how police morale was boosted in the face of increasing crime levels; whether police received sufficient firearm handling training; what effect the Concourt judgment on the use of dagga was having on police efforts to combat drug-related crime; and whether it could be confirmed that the Western Cape SAPS was receiving relatively less funding than other provinces.

Meeting report

The Chairperson said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the annual report of the South African Police Service in the Western Cape (SAPSWC). Correspondence requesting the meeting was sent to SAPSWC towards the end of October, and the Committee had managed the get the date for the Parliamentary programme only last week, and SAPS had submitted the copy of the annual report late. Members were urged to receive the report in the spirit that the meeting would be the first of many engagements to follow with the SAPS in the Western Cape.

Mr G Bosman (DA) said that the report was received only late afternoon on the eve of the meeting, and as the result Members did not have sufficient time to study it. This would hinder robust discussion on the issues raised in the report. 

Ms L Botha (DA) concurred, and said she received the report only on the morning of the day of the meeting, and suggested that the Committee should consider a follow up engagement with the SAPSWC on the same matter soon.

The Chairperson acknowledged the issues raised by the Members, and said that it had been agreed with SAPSWC that these engagements should be held twice or more in each year.

Brig Preston Voskuil, Head: Organisational Development and Strategic Management, SAPSWC, agreed that the SAPS would oblige to the request for further engagement by the Standing Committee. It should suggest a date for the next meeting and make a request in writing.

SAPSWC 2018/19 Annual Report

Financial Statement

Brig Voskuil gave an outline of the three broad financial programmes of SAPS:

  • Administration, which was there to regulate the overall management of the department and provide centralise support service,
  • Visible policing, which was aimed at discouraging all crimes by providing productive and responsive policing, focusing on the 17 priority crimes; and
  • Detective services, aimed at contributing to the successful conviction of offenders through investigation and the gathering of evidence.

The Department had received an allocation of R843 million, excluding overtime. Unlike other provincial departments, the allocation excluded compensation. The Department achieved actual expenditure of R882 million by the end of the financial year.

Programme 1 (Administration) had received an allocation of R75.6 million and had spent R74.4 million (98%). Visible Policing had received R568 million, and spent R595.5 million (105%). Detective Services had received an allocation of R171.2 million, and spent R183.5 million (103%).

Overtime remuneration had an allocation of R28.8 million, and R28.7 million had been spent (100%). Goods and services had an allocation of R614 million, with expenditure of R653.3 million (106%). Transfers and subsidies had received an allocation of R10.9 million, and R10 million had been spent (92%). Payment for capital equipment -- predominantly vehicles and assets above R5 000 in value –had received an allocation of R189.2 million, and R190 million had been spent (100%).    

Expenditure overall amounted to 104.5% of the budget allocation.

Overall Performance

The Department had 139 key performance indicators against which it was being measured in the 2018/2019 financial year, of which 94 (68%) were achieved.

Programme1: Administration 

The programme had 50 performance indicators, and 42 (84%) were achieved.

Human Resources had 29 indicators, of which 23 (79%) were met; Asset management had nine indicators, and seven (78%) were achieved; Legal and policy services had achieved all four indicators; Organisation Development and Strategic Services achieved all seven indicators; and Technology management services achieved its one indicator.

Human Resource environment

The target for people with disabilities employed in the departmental staff establishment was 2%, which is a norm for the public service. The entity had achieved 2.4%, with a total of 456 in the departmental staff establishment of over 19 000 people.

431 commanders had been trained in labour-related matters, particularly the handling of grievances. This had involved 18 members of senior management, 60 middle management and 356 officer cadres. The target set for formal engagements with organised labour had been achieved. Five of the six planned bargaining council meetings were held successfully. The target for performance enhancement plans was achieved, with 19 300 performance enhancement plans being completed. The target for signed performance agreements for senior managers was also achieved. A total of 115 line managers had been identified as underperforming. The target of senior management performance assessment capture was also achieved. 41 line managers had been identified for poor performance and interventions had been made, with plans being developed and regular monitoring until the managers were brought back to an optimum performance level.

The target for the filling of all vacant post was 98%, and 19 424 posts were filled. 1 270 entry level posts were added, consisting of trainees who were still at the colleges. They would be graduating on 13 December and would be deployed to various police stations in the province.  

The province had received an allocation of 1 270 posts for visible policing, and all posts were filled. An additional 101posts were also allocated by the national department, and were also filled.  It had received an allocation of 109 posts for the promotion of detectives. 104 were filled and five were withdrawn due to the lack of candidates with the requisite skill and experience. With respect of vacant funded posts, the province had achieved 99. 9%. The gap was due to incomplete applications, insufficient experience and withdrawals. 

All 48 posts allocated for internships were filled and they had been placed at various stations for a period of six months, earning R6 000 per month. There was a requirement from the national department that the province should produce a provincial training plan, and this was finalised successfully. The target set for consultation regarding the training plan was not achieved, due to the inability of the training committee to find a suitable date to meet. A total of 300 police officers attended training, and all were found to be functional. 67 detective were also sent for training, and 65 passed and the other two failed. 156 officers were sent for specialised investigation training, and 155 were found to be competent on completion of the training. The majority of operational members were declared competent on completion of training on legal principles and handling of hand guns. The group constituted over 13 000 of the total staff establishment of 19660. A firearm training clinic was established for those who were found to incompetent.

Service termination documents had to be submitted to the national department within six months, and the province had achieved a 77.2% performance. The result was an improvement from the 70% in the last financial year due to regular monitoring and dispatching of teams to visit families to obtain outstanding documents. This was to ensure that all benefits were paid speedily avoiding a situation where families were left destitute.

400 out of 444 disciplinary cases were finalised within 60 days, which was the norm. This was achieved through regular monitoring by case managers which province had appointed to deal with the cases. Serious cases were allocated to the most experience presiding officers. With Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) investigations, all 176 investigations recommended were initiated, and 20 of IPID disciplinary cased were finalised within the required timeframes. One was also finalised during the financial year, but not within the 60 days.

The target of 1 756 bullet-resistant vest being purchased and distributed was achieved, but no further firearms were purchased by the province. The ratio of personnel to vehicles (3.5:1) was not achieved. The province procured 574 vehicles, and 288 were recommended for destruction. Legitimate invoices made ready for payment by the national department within 14 days. 80 000 invoices were paid during the financial year.

Actual expenditure on vehicles had been R40 million over budget, mainly due to increased costs for servicing and petrol. 12 early warning reports were generated, warning management of areas where over-expenditure required monitoring.  The province had a loss management system that helped to contain the losses and enable the management to effect consequence management were it was required. 

460 new civil claims were received and assessed within 90 days, and where there were judgments against SAPS, payments were settled within the 90-day period.           

Discussion

Mr Bosman wanted to know which programme of the SAPS was responsible for forensic investigations. He sought clarification about the budget for crime intelligence, which was not mentioned during the presentation. He asked about the cases of members who were given a dishonourable discharge, and the number of commanders who did not signed performance agreements. He wanted to know about the frequency of upgrading police stations, especially those building that have reached 20 years -- the nature of the upgrading projects, and whether they included new technology. SAPSWC was also asked to explain why the provincial budget did not reflect the item of compensation of employees.

Ms A Bans (ANC) requested SAPS to elaborate more about the 13 risks that were identified during the financial year, and whether the number of vehicles that the province had in its possession was affecting its effectiveness in addressing its needs dealing with the crime situation, especially in the rural areas of the province. Was the deployment of officers to different police stations taking the issue of the dominant language of the areas into consideration? More clarification was sought about the steps that were being taken regarding the station commanders who were found to be underperforming. SAPSWC had reported an over-expenditure on the budget, and that had excluded the budget allocated for overtime -- what would be the situation if the overtime was also included? She wanted to know about the 17 priorities that had been identified for visible policing.   

Mr M Kama (ANC) said that departments often showed a glowing performance picture on the programme which dealt with the administration and operations, but when one scrutinised the other programmes, especially those that were rendering services to people, they were found to be underperforming. He asked about the reasons that informed the setting of low performance targets, when SAPS had an opportunity to set target that were reasonable in order to propel better performance. A case in point was the targets that were set for programmes that were targeting the youth. Initially the target was set at 86%, but was reduced to 76% -- what were the reasons for the reduction? He further wanted to know whether issues relating to population growth and the escalation in crime levels were monitored regularly, and informed the deployment of personnel to accommodate these changes. During the Parliamentary visit to police stations, it was discovered that some of them, such as Laingsburg, had vacancies and had waited for a long period for the positions to be filled.  Further information was sought about the factors that were contributing to 280 service terminations by members.

Ms Botha complimented the SAPS for its response time to calls from the emergency numbers. She requested them to rate their performance in the relations to their success in achieving the vision and mission of the organisation. SAPS was requested to elaborate more about the planned interventions to boost the morale of its members during difficult times. Another question concerned the reported losses of bullet resistant vests, and what the reasons for the losses were.

Mr F Christians (ACDP) asked about the quality of the firearm handling training. He also requested SAPS to elaborate on reports that the Western Cape was receiving the lowest number of personnel, compared to other provinces. R5 million in funding had been made by the Western Cape Government for the SAPS, to support police reservists in the province.  

The Chairperson raised the issue of the reported strained relations between the Provincial Minister of Community Safety and the Provincial SAPS leadership. During the SAPS presentation to the National Assembly, 37 fraud and corruption cases had been reported -- could the Committee receive a report on the number of investigations into these cases that had been finalised? There was a discrepancy in respect of the reported reduction in crime, because the people on the ground were still not feeling safe. This discrepancy was discouraging members of the public from reporting serious crimes. Were interventions being implemented to restore public confidence in the police?

He further enquired about number of police buildings that were hosting family violence, child protection and sexual protection units, and what mechanisms were employed to keep the records of reported cases. He also wanted to know if the mechanism for reporting abalone poaching had been concluded with the Western Cape Government, since this was now a priority crime in the province. 

SAPSWC response

Brig Voskuil responded that forensic science and crime intelligence were both national competences. The regional units that were based in the province were reporting direct to the national principals, and the budget for the compensation of employees was also managed by the national office.

The province often experienced delays in filling vacant posts for some of the police stations due to the length of time involved in the recruitment process. The process took between nine months and a year, since it also included the training of the officers. During the period under review, stations such Laingsburg were also affected by this situation.

In most cases, service terminations were the result of natural causes such as death and retirement. There were only nine cases that were as a result of murder.

The issue with regard to the setting of targets involved targets being allocated to provinces by the national office.

The13 risks that were identified referred to the loss of assets, such as firearms and bullet resistant vest, detention management, death in custody docket management, and such. A separate budget was allocated for overtime, and it did not get included in the operational budget.

The deployment of officers in most cases did consider languages that were spoken in various areas, but also SAPS would like to encourage integration of the workforce. A yearly update of the human resource requirements was submitted to the national office in order to accommodate issues relating to population growth and the crime rate in areas. A new police station would be built in Samora Michel in order to alleviate the pressure on the Nyanga station. This was informed by considerations of the population growth and crime rate in the area. The National Commissioner had the discretion to increase the number of personnel.

SAPS members had an opportunity to attend an Employee Wellness Assistance Programme to boost their morale in difficult times. The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) office offers various wellness programmes, such counselling and debriefing sessions. It was hugely challenging to be a police officer, especially since the environment of crime was also escalating. The province was receiving a number of resignations, either due to on the job pressure or because of other opportunities elsewhere. It was standard practice in the province to set aside three days for each member to attend a pistol clinic for training in firearm handling.

It was difficult to comment of the issue of the reduction of the Western Cape provincial budget compared to other provinces. A report on population ratios per each member of the police would be submitted to the Committee at a later date. The offer of funding by the Western Cape Government for the reservists was highly appreciated. The province did not have a budget for police reservists, and the SAPSWC was engaging other stakeholders regarding the legality of such offers, looking at how this funding should be managed if received.  

A draft document had been developed to inform reporting on issues related to abalone poaching.

The province had 26 family violence, child protection and sexual offences units, and they usually shared offices with police stations and sometimes with cluster offices.

There were various interventions to deal with the issue of under-performing commanders. Some were sent for further training, and some faced disciplinary measures. Cases were handled based on prevailing circumstances under which each commander was operating. The dishonourable discharges were constituted by the number of officers who had criminal records.      

Visible Policing

The programme had a target of 54 performance indicators for 2018/2019 financial year. 32 performance indicators were met, six showed an improvement though the target was not met, and 16 were not achieved. There had been a reduction in serious crimes, although the target was not achieved. A reduction in crimes against women was also reported, but there was a spike in the reporting of such crimes due to the awareness programme on gender-based violence (GBV). A similar situation had occurred in respect of crimes against children.

The province reported increase in assault crimes due to issues related to illegal firearms, the spatial design of communities and substance abuse, referring to both liquor and drugs.

Contact-related crimes increased due to service delivery protests, “fees must fall” demonstrations and land invasions.  A reduction was reported in respect of the trio crimes of car hijacking, robbery at residential premises and robbery with aggravating circumstances, for the first time since 2010. Property-related crimes reported a sharp reduction, and the decrease had been consistent for the third time due to a solid partnership with the members of neighbourhood watches, community policing forums and private security.

Other serious crime also experienced a sharp decrease, except for commercial crime, which was due to negligence and ignorance related to the use of technology. 53% of arrests were achieved in respect of contact crimes. The province was targeting repeat offenders and had set arrest targets for each member of the police force. They were also prioritising technology to link multiple suspects to various crime scenes, to boost arrests.

Targets for crime relating to dealing with drugs were set for each station. The figure had dropped by 31%. The constitutional court judgment on the matter regarding dagga was leading to more incidents in related crimes. The province also gave instructions to target illegal liquor premises. There had been a setback, with many offenders paying a penalty fee to the Liquor Authority and then trading again, leading to the discouragement of members who had been working very hard to reduce offences in this area.

Strict measures were introduced to control the management of official firearms. Further enforcement was being undertaken to promote compliance by licence holders, firearm dealers and members of the private security companies. Firearms were the key generators of crimes.

Criteria to measure compliance at facilities providing victim-friendly services had be completed. 50% of members had to be trained for victim-friendly service. There had to be a standing instruction with regard to victim-friendly services at each of the stations.

Ms Botha suggested that the presentation should pause for now, allowing Members to submit written questions through the provisions of the provincial legislature.

Mr Bosman asked to what an extent the SAPSWC determined the turn-around time for various police departments to respond to death situations or incidents, and whether the provincial SAPS had a relationship with the Western Cape Liquor Authority in order to deal with the situation where legal liquor dealers were selling to illegal liquor outlets.

Mr Kama wanted to know about the impact of the constitutional court judgment regarding the use of marijuana on policing crime, such as dealing with the drug and the smoking of dagga in public places.

Mr Christians wanted the provincial SAPS to confirm reports made by the Western Cape Member of the Executive Council (MEC) and the Premier, that a significant number -- amounting to 45% of detectives in the province -- did not undergo basic training. The MEC had also reported that the norm for dockets given to each detective was around 50, but in the Western Cape each detective received up 200 case dockets. The other issue was the number of dockets that disappeared before matters that were contained in them could reach the courts. SAPSWC was requested to provide information in this regard.

Brig Voskuil responded that the target on lost firearms was always set at incremental bases to encourage members. With regard to the figures from the Provincial MEC, it would be difficult for the Provincial SAPS comment, since they did not have the methodology that was used to generate the figures in relation to the number of dockets given to each detective officer.

The Department had issued a legal instruction to the legal department of SAPSWC to study the constitutional judgment dealing with marijuana in order to inform strategies for effective policing of the matter. It had impacted on the number of convictions and arrests in respect of related cases. Cases of keeping marijuana in small portions had been struck off the court roll immediately after the judgment.  

With regard to the turnaround time for forensic services for death incidents, responsible officers were held to account provincially because of their rank, although their services were of a national competency. There were standing orders for pathology, forensic and DNA officers, and there was a standard response time for each of the services.

Actions/resolutions

The Committee adopted the following actions and resolutions:

  • Follow-up meeting with SAPSWC on 5 February 2020;
  • Information regarding the training of detectives;  
  • Report on docket ratios per detective;
  • Report about the number of dishonourable discharge cases;
  • Information about the forensic laboratory. 

The meeting was adjourned.     

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