The Western Cape Community Safety Department presented the adjustments to Vote 4, as tabled in the Provincial Revenue Fund’s Schedule. The purpose of the meeting was to deliberate on the findings in the Schedule. The overall adjustment was R112 million and the reason provided by the Department was mainly the R130 million which was earmarked for the law enforcement advancement project.
Law enforcement was a leading topic of discussion, as the Committee asked questions such as how much of the R130 million adjustment would be allocated to salaries? Would the officers be assigned strictly to the City of Cape Town, and not to other municipalities? Would the labour law rules on employment equity be applied, and would the officers receive life insurance cover? The re-allocation of the neighbourhood watch funds towards advertising and travelling costs was also addressed. The Committee was told that community police forums were funded only if they were performing their statutory duties in terms of Section 18. If they did not perform, then the money would be withheld.
Vote 4: Community Safety -- Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill
The Department of Community Safety said the Department had a budget of R339.3 million available, which had been adjusted to R441million. Emphasis was placed on the R130million which was earmarked for the Law Enforcement Advancement Project, to further justify the overall adjustment amount.
The Chairperson said the task at hand was to table the entire Vote 4 from pages 53 to 64.
Ms A Bans (ANC) referred to Page 53 point 4.1 regarding provincial policing functions. She referred to an amount of R130 million, and asked where it was derived from, and which departments were affected by it. What were the underlying reasons for vacant posts not being filled as anticipated? She asked what the vacancy rate in the Department was and how many posts were not filled. On Page 59 point 4.2 which related to the underspending due to the delay in filling vacant posts, she asked ask how many posts were being referred to, and if the posts would be filled? With regard to provincial policing functions, what measures would be put in place to fast-track the spending of funds by the Department?
Mr M Kama (ANC) referred to page 53, table 4.1 with regard to budget cuts in other programmes, and asked how the budget cuts would impact the actual programmes in question. On Page 56, programme 2.5, he noted the section relating to”less funds acquired for Community Police Forum (CPF)” and additional funds allocated to marketing material in relation to the CPF annual general meeting (AGM), and asked for clarity in this regard. He requested the Department to elaborate on Page 58, 3.1 which pertained to less funds acquired for Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) volunteers. He requested further clarification on the section relating to additional funds acquired for donation requests. He asked which plan specifically, was being referred to, with reference to Page 59, 4.2 on the appointment of Investigators in support of the safety plan.
Ms R Windvogel (ANC) referred to Page 54 table 4.1, and asked for a breakdown of the R146 million allocation. She asked how much the other municipalities were receiving, and how much would be allocated to the Metro. She noted the budget allocations on Page 58, 4.1, and asked what the reasons were for using funds that were allocated to neighbourhood watch for advertising and travelling costs.
Ms L Botha (DA) referred to pages 56 and 57 and asked for clarity on the term “salary related expenses.”
Mr F Christians (ACDP) referred to the section on less funds being allocated to CPFs. He recalled the previous problem, where CPFs did not comply to certain standards, and asked if this had been resolved and if the lower fund allocation was a direct result thereof. He noted the R130 million allocation on Page 60, and wanted to know how the funds were being managed, and asked if it would not be more feasible to transfer the funds to the City of Cape Town and have them manage the project instead.
Mr C Dugmore (ANC) made reference to the Premier’s media announcement on the “Boots on the Ground” project, where he had referred to 3 000 law enforcement officers who were earmarked for this project. He also referred to the speech of the MEC of Finance, where reference was made to 1 000 law enforcement officers. How much of the R130million adjustment would be allocated to the salaries of these law enforcement officers? Would they be assigned strictly to the City of Cape Town and not to other municipalities? What would they be paid? How much of the R1.3 billion budget would be allocated to law enforcement officers, and how much would be allocated to infrastructural upgrades in the communities and to youth development strategies?
The Department replied to Mr Dugmore’s question on law enforcement, and said that it was a learner programme, and that a commitment had been made to appoint the first 500 officers during the last quarter of the current financial year. Page 13 of the Government Gazette provided a detailed breakdown of the spending in this regard.
The City of Cape Town was required to provide the Department with a detailed business plan by the end of December 2019. Following a meeting between the Minister of Community Safety and the Premier, they had met with the National Secretariat and another meeting had been scheduled for 10 December with Legal Services and the South African Police Service (SAPS), as well as the National Secretariat, to resolve the protocol agreement between the provincial and national SAPS, to link the different programmes pertaining to the law enforcement enhancement project. The R130 million adjustment included money that would be allocated to the first 1 000 law enforcement officers. The City of Cape Town would also allocate funds towards the enhancement project. which was subject to a Council meeting for finality.
Regarding Mr Christians’ question, any transfer payment agreement plan would be accompanied by a business plan, and the business plan would include the conditions of the transfer. The conditions had not been finalized. There was a request from the Department that the officers be stationed at the top ten murder stations. The deployments must be evidence-based, and part of the agreement was that SAPS would divulge where and when these resources would be required.
He replied to Ms Bans question that the allocation was made by Treasury, and that the Department did not have the required information on where the R130 million was derived from.
Regarding Mr Kama’s question on budget cuts, the R2.3 million on Page 66 in Table 4.1 was made up of R1.6 million that had been allocated to CEI priority projects. The additional R700 000 would be allocated to a staff initiative of volunteer staff that were based in the safety kiosk to certify documents. He said that the Department was confident of meeting their predetermined targets.
Regarding Ms Windvogel’s question about the R146 million, all the money would be transferred to the City of Cape Town. In addition, the Department would allocate between R1.2 million and R1.5 million to each District Municipality. A budget allocation of R4 million each had been made to two municipalities, which would secure three teams of six units for dogs that would assist on the N7 and N1 highways.
Regarding the payment of the CPFs, the Forums were required to report on their activities in terms of Section 18 of the Police Act, which required them to promote transparency between the community and the police. Their activities may include newsletters or Facebook posts. They were required to submit evidence that they were performing their statutory duties in terms of Section 18. If the CPFs performed, they would get paid and if they did not perform, then the money would be withheld. The money that was withheld would translate into funds that were underspent as a result of lack of performance by the CPFs.
Ms Bans was advised that the current vacancy rate figure was 9.3%, and 47% of their budget was spent on employment costs.
The Department referred to Page 58, 3.1, indicating that additional funds were allocated in support of religious programmes, and the programmes were run during the December school holidays. 139 agreements had been signed, and the programmes were benefiting over 14 000 youths.
The Department elaborated on the transfer of the neighbourhood watch funds, and advised that there was a spending model for neighbourhood watches. They had successfully run the EPP model to CPFs for seven years, and provided starter kits for the neighbourhood watches. They in turn had decided how to allocate the money -- for example, to purchase boots instead of bicycles.
On the matter pertaining to the EPWP volunteers, the Committee was advised that they were comprised of students that were placed in jobs after graduating, and were paid a stipend. A conditional grant of R3.6 million covered this expense.
Regarding Ms Bans’s question relating to provincial policing functions, the measures include a transfer payment agreement which would focus on the murder stations.
Mr P Marais (FF+) referred to the Department’s protocol agreement with national government, and asked how this would function and whether it was subject to approval by Parliament. In addition, he asked what the employment criteria were for the 1 000 officials, and whether labour law played a role in terms of employment equity, and whether the Department would run background checks on the candidates. He asked if the Department would be prepared to suggest a name change of this force to the City of Cape Town in a bid to allow freedom of movement, as the metro police force was restricted to certain areas by law.
Mr M Xego (EFF) raised the matter of compensation of employees, and referred to Page 55 through to Page 59. He asked what the Department’s challenges were pertaining to the filling of vacancies.
Mr Marais interjected by asking if the Department had considered including life cover for the CPFs.
An official from the Department addressed Mr Marais’ questions and advised that they had an open recruitment process. He added that he agreed with Mr Marais’ sentiments on employment equity and appointing quality staff that were the best qualified for the job. He advised that the Protocol Agreement was still in its infancy stage, and that the criteria were still being developed on the basis of the labour law requirements.
On the matter of life insurance, he replied that Treasury instructions prohibited the Department from taking out insurance on employees, and that a possible solution was to transfer funds to the relevant entity, and the onus would be on them to introduce an insurance plan for their employees.
In response to Mr Xego’s questions, he replied that when the Budget was drafted, they could not anticipate vacancies in the event of internal appointments. He added that it was a general problem, where posts were not filled at the end of a financial year.
The Chairperson thanked the Department for their cooperation and wished them well for the festive season.
The Chairperson asked if the Committee was in support of Vote 4 for the Department of Community Safety in the Schedule of the Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation Bill 2019.
Mr Bosman and Ms Botha supported the Vote, which was adopted.
Committee Minutes and Quarterly reports
The Committee minutes of Ocotber 17 and October 22 were considered and adopted.
The Committee’s quarterly reports for April to June, and July to September, were considered and adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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