Cases closed under “special closure”: IPID briefing, with Minister; Basson Petition

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27 November 2019
Chairperson: Ms T Joemat-Petterssen (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

“Special Closure”: the high-water mark of IPID’s cover-up
Firearms Control Act: Notice 1527: Amendment - 13 December 2019

The Portfolio Committee on Police met with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to discuss the status of investigations into irregularities at the watchdog relating to premature closure of cases. The Committee also heard a petition by Mr Cornelius Basson relating to the pace of investigations into his son’s murder. The Minister of Police was present.
IPID informed the Committee that it had received a commitment from National Treasury to assist its investigation into premature case closures through the provision of additional forensic investigators. The investigations related to longstanding instances of IPID cases being closed before the completion of due process had been fulfilled under the “Special Closure” provision. IPID’s Integrity Strengthening Unit (ISU) had struggled to keep to deadlines relating to the investigation, which had led to IPID reaching out to National Treasury for assistance in terms of human resources. The addition of external forensic investigators was also thought to enhance the credibility of the internal investigations.
The initial deadline for conclusion of the investigations had been set to 18 October 2019, the findings of which would be presented to the Committee on 23 October 2019. However, as of 27 November 2019, the two-member Integrity Strengthening Unit had only dealt with 35% of the prematurely closed cases.
Many of the investigations that had been closed were situated in KwaZulu-Natal. Irregularities that had been found in the investigations that had been closed included case files that had been closed without technical reports, case files that had been investigated by the South African Police Service (SAPS) prior to them reaching IPID, and where IPID had failed to investigate the cases further prior to closure. These instances suggested proper investigative processes had not been followed.
In terms of consequence management, a criminal case against a perpetrator had been opened in Gauteng, with one of those implicated resigning, while another had been dismissed from IPID.

Members were unhappy that investigations had commenced in 2016 and were still ongoing and questioned why the investigative capacity of the relevant unit had not been augmented with human resources from National Treasury sooner. They were concerned that investigators were able to close cases without properly investigating them.
The Committee heard a petition from Cornelius Basson and family regarding their son, Chad’s, murder in 2018. He and his family had struggled to raise awareness about the case, feeling that there was a lack of communication about progress in the case, as well as a lack of commitment to investigating the case on the part of the police. The SAPS delegation did not conduct their intended presentation due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing case. After hearing Mr Basson detail efforts to receive communication on progress made in the case, the Committee resolved to receive communication on case proceedings as the first agenda item of every sitting of Committee meetings – an unprecedented occurrence.

The Minister informed the Committee that a new permanent Executive Director would be appointed by March 2020 and he hoped the integrity of the body would have been restored by this point.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks
The Chairperson welcomed everyone and outlined the agenda for the meeting.

Apologies were noted.

The Chairperson stated that this was the Committee’s last sitting of 2019. It would deal with the IPID “Special Closure” investigations and the petition of Mr Basson.

Remarks by Minister 
Mr Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, said the question of when a new IPID permanent head would be addressed if it was raised in the meeting.
The Chairperson asked Minister Cele to pre-empt the question and inform the Committee of the process.
Minister Cele said the process of appointing the new head was continuing. He had approached two minsters to form a panel to do so. He wished to involve stakeholders across the Security Cluster. The advertisement for the position had been done. However, the pool of potential candidates was too thin.
The Chairperson handed over to IPID for the presentation.
Briefing by IPID on Progress Report on the Internal Dockets Investigation conducted on case closed under “special closure”
Mr Victor Senna, Acting Executive Director, IPID, said there were issues of capacity in the investigations into allegations of premature closure of cases (in the media it had been referred to manipulation of cases). IPID had appeared before the Committee in September 2018 and had committed to finalise the investigation by October 2019. The Integrity Strengthening Unit (ISU) had requested an extension past October 2019. It had been highlighted in that meeting that it was a complex investigation being done by the ISU, which was comprised of two members. He had then written to National Treasury for assistance in the form of forensic investigators.
35% of the ±1600 cases had been finalised. The four smaller provinces’ (Limpopo, North West, Mpumalanga, and Free State) investigations had been finalised. KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) held the bulk of cases requiring in depth investigation (over 1000 still to be investigated).
He emphasised that the incidents had occurred between 2012 and the IPID Act coming into effect. At that stage action had already been taken for cases identified in Gauteng. The presentation would touch on what had been done since then to strengthen internal controls.
Mmamodishe Molope, Head of compliance monitoring, IPID dealt with the progress made regarding internal investigations into cases allegedly prematurely closed under “Special Closure”.
Alleged closure of cases prematurely under “Special Closure” conditions at IPID had been brought to light in the media. “Special Closure” referred to a system generated process which enabled IPID’s provincial management to complete and close cases that did not require referral to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) nor held recommendation to SAPS.
Background to the “Special Closure Investigation”
In 2016, the former Ethics Officer, IPID, Amar Maharaj, had received a whistle-blower report containing allegations of IPID cases being incorrectly closed under “Special Closure” at IPID provincial offices in Gauteng and KZN. Due process had allegedly not been followed in the closing of these cases through the use of “Special Closure”. Mr Maharaj had sent the whistle-blower’s report to the then Executive Director of IPID, requesting an investigation into the allegations. IPID’s ISU took on responsibility for the investigation.
Scope of Investigation
The scope of the ISU’s investigation was to investigate cases closed under “Special Closure” in Gauteng and KZN. In the process, the ISU was to identify all loopholes in the process that may have existed, people who were to be held accountable for transgressions of any IPID policies, or of procedures that were in place at the time of the cases being closed. The scope of the investigation was later expanded to include all provinces in South Africa, so as to determine the extent of the problem at IPID.
Investigation Process
The investigation process had begun with communications to provincial IPID heads requesting the handing over of all case files that had been closed under “Special Closure”. A physical inspection of all case files that were made available followed with the exception of Kwa-Zulu Natal.
This meant that not all cases had been inspected, officials had been unable to investigate all files available, but the ISU team had moved to a case management system and had identified all the cases for each province with a list of alleged cases per province within this. Not all those implicated were provided with the opportunity for right of reply. 
As a result of the investigations thus far, IPID had implemented quality control measures relating to its Investigative legislative frameworks and procedures, such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and the Criminal Procedure Act. Moreover, there had been consultation with the Head of Investigations at IPID.
KZN had the highest number of case files that had been closed under “Special Closure”, amounting to 1259 out of the total provincial cases of 1661. KZN, Gauteng and the Free State had the highest numbers of outstanding case files for investigation, amounting to 879, 92 and 61 case files of the outstanding 1081 respectively.
Preliminary Findings
Abridged preliminary findings were that only two officials had been implicated thus far. In some cases, case files had been closed without technical reports. Moreover, case files had already been investigated by SAPS prior to collection by IPID. In some cases, standard investigation operating procedures had not been followed.
No irregularities had been found in case files closed under “Special Closure” that had been investigated in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the North West, and Western Cape Provinces. However, not all relevant case files had been made available in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng and the Western Cape. Not all relevant cases had been inspected yet in KZN.

Consequence Management
Much of the consequence management had taken place in Gauteng despite the majority of cases being in KZN. A criminal case had been opened: one implicated official had resigned from IPID and another had been dismissed.
Challenges to the continuing investigations remained human and financial resource constraints. Investigators also faced competing priorities due to the magnitude and complexity of the investigations.
Way Forward
It was suggested that IPID and its ISU be afforded sufficient time to adequately conclude the investigations by being able to investigate all relevant case files, interview all implicated officials and complainants. In order to do so, it was critical that the ISU be provided with the necessary human and financial resources so as to be able to conclude the investigation. IPID had approached National Treasury in this regard. Treasury had committed its own forensic investigators to assist the ISU’s investigation. Going forward it would be imperative to ensure that complainants did not remain unavailable as had repeatedly been the case thus far.
IPID viewed the allegations of premature or incorrect closure of cases under “Special Closure” provisions in a serious light. Such occurrences were in conflict with the mandate and values of IPID and tainted its image. The investigations had to continue to ensure justice for complainants and victims of the irregular closures.
In order to maintain the integrity of the IPID investigations, IPID would ensure that all relevant cases were investigated, and would institute the requisite consequence management against guilty parties and officials who were implicated.
Mr Senna said IPID would do everything possible to conclude the investigations with integrity. It was a complex investigation that had begun in 2016, two years before he had joined IPID.
Minister Cele said it was always funny when the investigators were being investigated. He was pleased with the impending availability of more human resources from National Treasury who had expertise in such matters. This would give further integrity to the outcomes of the investigations.

Ms P Faku (ANC) appreciated the response from Minister Cele. The report was not pleasing – IPID could not have 30% of cases resolved. There were clearly human capital issues.
KZN and Gauteng were the important provinces. On slide seven it mentioned the expansion to all other provinces, despite low numbers. Why expand the scope of the investigation and not focus on provinces with serious issues?
Not all cases of the investigations had files presented. There was a contradictory statement in the presentation that had said that files had been obtained from all individuals implicated.
In light of National Treasury adding more investigators; the number of investigators that would be added and which provinces they would be deployed to should be communicated to the Committee.
There were issues of extensions; a time frame needed to be given to the Committee to measure progress.
Mr A Whitfield (DA) thanked the Minister for clarifying the appointment of the new IPID head; the question was inevitable. The Committee had hoped this would be done by November 2019. Minister Cele’s explanation about the quality and quantity of applications was acceptable. How many applications had been received for the position? To what extent had the office taken steps to ensure the appointment process was as inclusive and transparent as possible?
It had been a disappointing presentation. The Committee had been given the impression that it would receive the report in October 2019. The Committee knew that IPID had resource issues; these were valid concerns and reasons for why the report had not been finalised. But if investigations had commenced in 2016, why had the investigative capacity not been augmented with human resources from National Treasury sooner? Why had this not been done at the outset of Mr Senna’s tenure? Possessing only two investigators should have clearly been seen as insufficient to address the task at hand much earlier in the process
He echoed Ms Faku’s point about the irregularities relating to the prioritisation of cases. KZN was clearly the most important province in terms of the number of cases – why had attention been shifted away from it during the investigation? This created further suspicion in the eyes of the Committee that something was seriously wrong with IPID’s “Special Closures”.
The IPID presenter had repeatedly referred to “’alleged’ special closures” throughout the presentation. Mr Whitfield understood from the presentation that “Special Closures” were system generated, was it not therefore the case that cases either qualified as “Special Closure” or “decision ready” or was there some other qualification he was unaware of – they could not qualify as “alleged special closure”? It was a semantic question.
During the course of investigation, had any of the two investigators’ work been interfered with or come up against resistance? What were the reasons for some case files being unavailable? 
Mr O Terblanche (DA) welcomed Minster Cele to the meeting.
He was concerned that the investigations had begun in 2016 and was still ongoing. IPID only had the capacity of two investigators on a part time basis to complete the investigation. Was the Committee expected to wait for another five to ten years?
The Committee had been informed of special investigations in terms of IPID’s legislation in the presentation. He was unaware of the legislation and would be acquainting himself with it presently.
Regarding the intention to bring in people from National Treasury, it presented a possibility to strengthen the team. It would provide IPID with a platform to build investigative capacity in-house.
In terms of the investigation, what was the normal process that was followed? Based on evidence contained in documents concerned, would the correct decisions be taken?
In terms of consequences, there had only been one criminal case opened, one resignation and one dismissal since the investigations had begun. He understood that the investigation was described as “technical and complex”, but an explanation needed to be given to the Committee. There were certain generalised key elements across criminal investigations.
‘Independent’ independent investigators were needed. At the moment the Committee had been told that some people were “unavailable” while others had simply not submitted dockets. What was being done about these kinds of people who could manipulate the process?
What had the two person ISU squad been doing prior to the investigation coming to the fore? What had they been doing before the whistle-blower had acted? Were they functional? They had been unable to identify misconduct until the whistle blower had come forward.
Apparently the ‘process’ was to conduct spot checks. The presenter had told the Committee that not all dockets had been investigated.
Mr H Shembeni (EFF) said this was an issue of capacity. Two investigators were as effective as zero. One docket required a lot of work. Complainants were members of the community in most cases; they did not know what was happening within IPID, they could only follow by seeing results. There had been no feedback.
It was important to get investigators. There were instances of interferences and foot dragging in the investigations thus far. Capacity needed to be augmented.
Ms N Peacock (ANC) asked what the correct ratio of appointees would be to make IPID a success. The Committee’s mandate was to monitor and ensure success and it needed tangible targets to do so.
In terms of irregularities and the case files closed without technical reports, if cases were closed without technical reports, how would there be a process to look into if there was not a technical report? She understood that this showed no closure to the case.
Mr P Groenewald (FF+) said Minister Cele was always welcome and was one of the few Ministers who attended Committee meetings.
The presentation had dealt with serious cases such as assault, corruption, firearms and death. It was a serious matter.
Slide four referred to “allegations of special closure” and cases were “allegedly” closed. Looking at the presentation, these ‘allegations’ were true. What was the practice at the moment? IPID had these cases. Did IPID still continue to categorise cases under “Special Closure”? What steps had been taken to avoid reoccurrence in the future.
In terms of investigations, on page 11 it was stated that “irregularities found included…”. If the Committee was to be provided with the figures involved here, it would provide a better picture.
Mr E Maphatsoe (ANC) aligned himself with his colleagues. The issue of the IPID head needed to be resolved. The question had been raised in Parliament. The pool of applicants had been underwhelming.
There were clearly capacity problems given the extensions over five years. He stressed the importance of communication in situations such as this in order to better understand what was being dealt with.
He proposed to Minister Cele to agree to an extension of the investigation, but as long as the capacity was not at IPID, the situation would remain the same, and this needed to be taken into consideration. IPID needed assistance.
Mr Whitfield said the investigation had been focused on special closures. Had IPID investigated decision ready cases?
The quality of decision ready cases provided by IPID needed to be high in order to ensure convictions.
Minister Cele said the IPID approach was shaped by the outstanding process of amending the law. He hoped that when it happened it would be able to give better clarity on the relationship between the IPID head and the ministerial office. There was currently a black area between police and IPID reporting to the Minister.
In terms of IPID being a punitive versus a corrective body, it should seek to provide guidance to the police on how better to do their job.
He had requested the speed in which IPID undertook cases to investigate to be augmented as the investigation harmed police workforce numbers of those who were not criminals.
Whatever the outcome of the new law, he hoped IPID would be there to do their job.
The first round of applicants had been 19 candidates. It was a shallow pool. It had included owners of private security companies who felt that such credentials qualified them to oversee the police. The second pool had been 47 candidates. He hoped the new head would be finalised by the end of March 2020. It had initially been put at the end of October 2019. He did not want to “cross legislative time”. He was hopeful for a resolution.
Mr Senna said he wanted to restore the credibility of IPID before handing over to the new permanent Executive Director. This was one of the reasons for approaching National Treasury for assistance in the investigation. It was possible to finalise cases by the end of 2019 with the additional capacity.
Mr Matthew Sisoko, National Head: Investigations, IPID, responded to the issue of special closures. Slide 11 was dealing with preliminary findings of the investigations. The issue of special closure was dealt with in slide three, it was not within the OEC environment. It was a systems process. The process of special closure had been abused. Hence slide 11’s reference to preliminary findings. IPID’s SOPs were very clear. When SAPS had conducted an investigation, IPID could not accept this as sufficient to close an investigation. To complete the investigation, IPID had to follow its own processes.
Regarding Mr Groenewald’s question of the process undertaken by IPID, there were possibilities for enhancement which had been examined by IPID. Investigators were from a police environment. IPID tried to mimic their investigative terminology in terms of process complementarity. Policy and system changes had been implemented.
When the AGSA conducted audits on IPID; it also audited dockets according to the examination of the process of investigations and completion thereof. This was according to performance information. The AGSA examined the processes relating to performance information. IPID’s internal audit also conducted similar investigations to check decision-readiness. When an annual report confirmed performance information, it showed that the AGSA had shown satisfaction with decision ready investigations of those dockets that had been examined in line with SOPs.
Of the 1600 cases already identified, not all were necessarily improper. The final report would provide an actual breakdown.
It was not possible to close a case without a technical report. IPID could make disciplinary recommendations to SAPS without a technical report, however. This did not mean decision readiness.
In terms of the complexity and technical nature of the investigation, the investigation was done by the ISU within IPID. The ISU was divorced from Mr Sisoko’s unit at IPID to ensure integrity. The ISU had to examine each docket and compare with SOPs to determine compliance. This was why the ISU consulted with Mr Sisoko’s unit to ensure understanding of processes that were followed. 
All investigations went through management at IPID before conclusion. It was not investigators who signed off, it was provincial management. The resignation had been a provincial manager who had been supposed to ensure processes were properly followed before signing off.
Mr Senna responded to the question of why IPID had not requested National Treasury to assist when he had begun acting as Executive Director. He had initially received feedback from the ISU that it would be able to finalise the cases independently. It had only been when he had informed the ISU that IPID would need to present findings to the Portfolio Committee on Police that they had requested additional resources and extensions.
In terms of whether there had been complaints regarding interference, in the Free State, they could not find certain case files. Gauteng had issues that had preceded his tenure where there had been some instances of refusals to cooperate through the submission of affidavits.
The Chairperson noted Mr Basson’s presence and apologised for keeping him waiting. His item was next on the agenda.
Mr Whitfield said the IPID Amendment Bill had been passed by Parliament and sent to President Ramaphosa for assent. It entailed clarification on the removal of the head of IPID from office. The process would be made clearer and gave Parliament a more proactive role in oversight. The amendment however failed to deal with the appointment of the IPID head. He asked Minster Cele if he was satisfied with transparency in the appointment process for the new IPID head. Would the final makeup/membership of the selection panel be communicated to the Committee to ensure no question marks regarding process? It presented a unique opportunity to strengthen the arm of IPID while reassuring the public that the appointment would be done on merits.
Mr Terblanche said he did not wish to enter a back and forth debate about systems problems. It could not be said that the system was the cause of integrity issues. All data captured on the system was inputted by human individuals. The systems problem argument did not carry water. 
On the AGSA matter, the Auditor General was not an experienced investigator; it did not necessarily even have a legal background. The auditing process was only able to determine whether certain steps had been taken in investigations that it examined. This was not satisfactory to determine that due process had been followed on investigative matters.
The Committee had been told that the provinces had been told to look into the matter as well. While it was good for them to do bulk of the work, it needed to be an independent investigation.
There was a problem with command and control. When there was a vacant position; it needed to be filled.
The Chairperson asked whether complainants received responses.
Mr Senna said the provinces did provide regular feedback to complainants.
Mr Shembeni asked whether there were any instances where IPID had struggled to get affidavits from implicated members. If yes what was done about it?
Ms Peacock asked Mr Senna about only finding out that the ISU was unable to conclude investigations in time when he had been informed to appear before the Committee. There appeared to be a shortage of human resources. How regularly were reports from the ISU received to gauge progress? This went back to her previous question on the ratio of appointments needed to solve problems.
Mr Groenewald asked of the preliminary findings from the 580 file inspections, was there a breakdown?
Mr Maphatsoe said there appeared to be dishonesty amongst IPID investigators. He asked Mr Senna whether that observation was correct.
He asked for a better understanding about getting “independent investigators” when IPID already existed. He was getting confused. His understanding was that there was a shortage of investigators.
Ms Faku said that Mr Maphatsoe had covered her points regarding the integrity investigation unit and specialised individuals outside of investigations at IPID. She suggested that early in 2020 the Committee meet IPID again, and that IPID take the Committee into its confidence regarding investigation processes.
She said Mr Senna had raised an issue when he informed the Committee that he had only realised ISU needed extra staff members when he had told them he was coming to the Committee. This suggested the need for a thorough investigation and analysis of the issue sectors at IPID and the assistance that was needed.
Ms Peacock had an observation. Some members had questioned whether it was important to still have IPID. It was still important to have IPID. It had been established with good intentions. There were expected shortcomings in any institution. The Committee needed to assist in finding ways and means to make IPID successful.
Minister Cele said IPID needed to be independent from the police and there needed to be independent investigators to monitor IPID’s operations. This meant it was a case of needing independent people for internal investigations, which was why the ISU was a separate branch of IPID. One could not investigate oneself. Capacity still needed to be improved, but because the allegations were against IPID, the assistance from National Treasury would add integrity.
IPID had an institutional structure and individuals that came and went within the institution. There were, for example, laws made because Mandela was president because it had been thought he would be there forever. They needed to look at the institution and cut off individuals in the analysis. They seemed to be in agreement that the institution was there to stay. The best individuals were needed to run the institution. This was the question that was being raised. The best they had as a process of getting the best individuals at IPID was the law. This needed to be transparent, but it could not be more transparent than was stipulated by the law. Transparency could not go beyond law; it would be in contravention of law. Problems began when legal process and stipulations were not followed. Until the law changed, there would be transparency in terms of adherence to the law. 
In the Portfolio Committee on Police, there was sometimes an emphasis on the slip ups of SAPS. Sometimes unfair stick was placed upon the police. He hoped that one day there would be oversight of the entire chain, rather than one segment of the justice cluster. He had read that since 2014, 50 magistrates had been arrested; yet focus remained on criticising the police. This led to frustrations of the police. For example, in 2018 during the high state of cash in transit heists; the excellent job done by police had been largely understated, and 233 of the perpetrators had been released on bail. 15 bombers were also released on bail. It was not the police that gave bail to these perpetrators. Lawyers and prosecutors met without the police and guided bail proceedings. Moreover, killings were also perpetrated by parolees who were not released on parole by the police. He had previously suggested an imbizo of all the chains of criminal justice structures in order to be working to a point where all stakeholders, such as correctional services were involved, including prosecutors, magistrates etc. He urged everyone to keep to the law and check the process based on the law.
The Chairperson voiced a response to the concerns of Minister Cele, which the Committee shared. She would be requesting an urgent peace, security and stability cluster meeting early in 2020. The Committee had been consistently asking for such a meeting. This included Justice, Home Affairs, State Security, etc. She urged the Minister to raise similar sentiment when in cabinet subcommittee meetings about the matter of joint oversight.
Mr Groenewald said the issue raised by Minister Cele had been mentioned in the Committee’s BRRR reports where Deputy Minister Mathale had been present. Mr Groenewald had said that the Committee would have to ensure it assisted police services, with specific reference to the criminal justice section. Justice and correctional services were part of the problem. There needed to be a focus on both sides (police and criminal justice). He agreed that the Committee would take the hands of the police services to see what could be done to enhance crime fighting in the country. The Committee was committed to ensuring crime fighting together in South Africa; it affected everybody The Committee would support the police services. This did not mean the Committee would not criticise where it was warranted.
Mr Senna agreed that the AGSA was not an investigator. This was why the ISU had been established. The members of the ISU were investigators. IPID was beginning to build additional capacity in terms of integrity strengthening. The process was ongoing. The Department of Public Services and Administration had been consulted to assist in IPID’s capacity to inspect dockets and identify gaps and irregularities.
The Chairperson concurred with Minister Cele. The legal opinion the Committee had was on the firearm amnesty matter. The final notice of the amnesty would be published by the Minister and there was no legal need for it to be referred back to the Committee. It could be done as a courtesy notice. Sending the Committee final notice would give the Committee closure on the matter and final oversight. From there, regular oversight meetings would be conducted.
Minster Cele said he was on the same page. The Ministry and police felt there was nothing wrong with updating the Portfolio Committee going forward. There were other potholes on the firearm amnesty matter going forward, but they could be overcome. The circulation needed to be reduced. The idea was that illegal firearms did not come back. The current figures suggested they in fact did come back. It was a chicken and egg situation. Reporting back to the Committee on the matter would be reasonable. SAPS was gearing itself to crack down hard when the illegal firearm amnesty ended (May 2020).
The Chairperson said the Committee would be having regular oversight meetings on the firearm amnesty matter. She thanked Minister Cele for the willingness to report regularly on the matter and for his availability.
She conveyed the Committee’s condolences to the family of the Chief of Staff, Nonkululeko, who had lost her mother that morning.
She issued thanks on behalf of Minister Cele and the Committee to Mr Willem Basson, Chief Director: Strategic Planning: Civilian Secretariat for Police Services (CSPS), who was retiring.
She referred the Committee to the next agenda item which was a petition dated 7 July 2019 received from Cornelius Basson. He complained that he and his family had struggled to find assistance for the family’s criminal proceedings in the wake of the murder of their son, Chad Basson. The Speaker of the House had referred the matter to the Committee to deal with from the perspective of its mandate. The Committee’s response needed to be tabled in a report for the House. She would not enter debates about the merits and demerits of the case, they were not investigators. The Committee would be listening to the complainant and the police. The process and consideration of the petitions were governed by Chapter 14 of the Rules of the National Assembly, 337(d), which stated that the Speaker could table written instruments including special petitions referred for consultation in Committees.
The IPID delegation was excused.
Consideration of Mr Basson’s Petition
The Chairperson introduced Mr Basson to Minister Cele and the Committee.
The SAPS delegation introduced themselves. The delegation was comprised of: the Divisional Commissioner: Detective Services, Lieutenant General TC Mosikili,  the Acting Provincial Commissioner: Western Cape, Lieutenant General SC Mfazi, the Deputy Provincial Commissioner: Crime Detection, Western Cape, Major General JA Veary, Brigadier LS Malahlela of the Executive Secretariat: Office of the National Commissioner, Colonel KB Steyn, Parliamentary Liaison: Strategic Management, Lieutenant Colonel Kinnear, the Provincial Anti-Gang Unit, Western Cape, and the Secretary for Police Service, Alvin Rapea.
Mr Basson Presentation
Mr Basson introduced himself and asked if his wife could join him in front of the Committee so as to support one another. He thanked the Committee and Minister for the opportunity they had provided.
The Chairperson said it was not a court hearing and the family should feel comfortable.
Mr Basson said that the following day was approximately 16 months since his youngest son, Chad, had been murdered. In the wake of the murder, he had begun to feel like a “step child of the Republic of South Africa” due to the response he and his family had received from the police in the investigative process.
He provided a background on himself, being an activist as a former leader in the textile union in the Western Cape. He later went on to be involved in a predecessor to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU), the treasurer of the Lentegeur Community Health Committee, the Chairperson of the ANC branch in Lentegeur, a member of the Parklands school governing body, as well as a member of the Parklands Anglican church governing body. He felt that, while “not complaining”, with he and his family having put so much into the country, they deserved more in terms of a response from SAPS in the investigation into their son’s murder as law abiding citizens and strongly involved members of the community.
Since 28 July 2018 he had recorded the dates and each and every activity and interaction taken with SAPS since his son’s passing. He had been repeatedly interacting with several of the members of the SAPS delegation that were present in the meeting. He apologised for potentially confusing some of the SAPS titles, it was not out of lack of respect. He showed the Committee a poster of his son. He was a son of the soil like his father, a son that every parent could be proud of. It was no surprise to the family that he had lost his life protecting others. He had been killed two weeks before his 20th birthday. He had matriculated from Parklands High with distinction. What made it worse for the family was having to go through trauma every day since the murder.
The Chairperson asked Mr Basson to focus on the content of the case to familiarise the Committee with the matter. The Committee had all the compassion for the family, which was why they had called them to the final meeting of the year. This was why they were listening to the impassioned description of Chad Basson. But the Committee wanted justice. This was the opportunity to speak to this many senior police members. She asked for as much information as possible so the Committee could help the family find closure.
Mr Bassoon said his son had attended a 21st birthday party on the night of his murder. He did not know many of the people at the house he attended the party at. Near the end of the night he had been sitting outside the venue with some friends when a white VW golf with yellow number plates drove past and spoken to the group asking if they belonged to a gang. The vehicle had driven off when they said they were not and returned to see a member of a rival gang looking over the fence and began firing at them. His son had been killed in the ensuing shootout trying to get people to safety. The first thing that had upset the family when they arrived on the scene to find their son already dead was that the investigating officer had said to them “without witnesses there is no case”. They felt the timing was inappropriate. Two weeks after the incident, the owner of the house had to go to the local police station to inform them that there were still bullet casings on the scene to be collected. This gave the family the feeling that the case was not given the importance it deserved. He had then begun the process of trying to contact the police to follow up through all levels of the chain of command, writing letters and emails to the police, media, political parties and relevant parliamentary and executive stakeholders.
He had been everywhere and felt alone at many times. The detective assigned to the case was overworked or disinterested. All names of potential witnesses and suspects had been obtained by the family, and they had little contact with the detective. The only communication was the detective contacting the family to ask if there was any new information every five months. More recently, most likely due to the pressure of the impending appearance before the Committee, the family had felt more appreciated as they had been contacted more frequently and received regular communications.
He felt the Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) had displayed selective justice and had treated Chad’s case as a cold case throughout the whole period, giving it lessened importance. This was backed up by the formation of the Chad Basson Foundation which supported other members of the community who had lost children to gang-related violence and were struggling to see progress in investigations. They were not asking to bend the law; they were just asking for equal justice. The family was still trying to find closure. He ended every letter he wrote with “for my son until my last breath”.
 The Chairperson thanked Mr Basson for speaking on behalf of Chad Basson. The Committee did not want to jeopardise the ongoing investigation by receiving details from the police’s presentation that may jeopardise the case. As a mother, activist and woman, she assured the family that it had the Committee’s support. There would be regular follow-ups once the matter had been placed on the Committee’s agenda and had its attention. She said that day “their son was smiling” and they should be proud of how far they had come. The Committee admired the steadfast pursuit of the case. No parent should go through what the family had endured. 
Minster Cele said it was an active case and it was therefore sensitive to discuss as it was an open Portfolio Committee meeting.
Mr Groenewald asked for quiet outside the Committee room.
The Chairperson acknowledged the input of Minister Cele.
Minister Cele said it was not a closed Committee. Once something was said in the meeting, everybody had a right to write and would know what had been discussed. Several aspects of the proposed SAPS presentation left him concerned about the sensitivity of the active investigation. He said that in the Western Cape, too many people did not want to talk. It was a problem. Many suspects or witnesses were dead or unable to be kept by the police. He asked for the Committee’s input; was it not jeopardising an active case by addressing the details in a presentation? He understood the pain of the family but did not want to talk about the case and jeopardise it.
The Chairperson said Minister Cele was correct. She did not wish to jeopardise the case in any way. No operational matters or related information should be discussed. She supposed that what was in the presentation was what the police were happy to present and had been approved by Minister Cele.
Mr Groenewald wished to make a suggestion. It was not proper for the Committee to begin asking specific questions. He said that clearly more feedback was wanted by the family. He asked if the family would be satisfied if the Committee took the decision to receive updates from SAPS before each Committee meeting, to be communicated to the family. This would serve as assurance that there would be proper feedback. It would be adding an extra control to the process. It was a suggestion.
The Chairperson welcomed the suggestion.
Mr Terblanche agreed with Minister Cele. He did not think the presentation compiled by the police would serve much point. He had read through the documentation and he could debate potential shortcomings in the presentation and questions regarding investigation. He was not going to do that. The Committee needed to revisit the case to investigate once and for all. He was not suggesting that it had been improperly investigated. But he had been confused when reading through the presentation of which constable or officer had been involved at each stage. 
Mr Whitfield agreed and supported Mr Groenewald’s proposal. He said it was an unprecedented measure of involvement to elevate the matter to the first item on the Committee’s agenda. He hoped it would go a long way to remedying Mr Basson’s feeling that he was a stepchild of the Republic. 
He recommended that Minister Cele compile all correspondence and feedback on the matter in writing for the Committee and the family. He had raised the issue previously about the lack of correspondence regarding police matters. The issue was systemic and needed to be taken more seriously.
The question he had around the response from SAPS was a technicality. In the second last paragraph it read “Until the matter was finalised” and the following sentence read “the matter was finalised”. This was important to clarify. There needed to be no ambiguity. The investigation had not been finalised, the petition to bring the matter before the Committee had been finalised.
The Chairperson asked for correction of the technicality.
Ms Faku appreciated the efforts of the Basson family. She assured the family that the supreme law of the country said all were equal before the law, they should not feel mistreated. She said that Minister Cele was an active Minister and was committed to the case. She asked the family not to give up on the police. The system was faced with many challenges, but they were working towards solving them.

The Chairperson said the family had appeared before a very respected minister who would leave no stone unturned. They were committed to getting to the bottom of the matter.
Minister Cele took the suggestions made by the members of the Committee.
The contradicting paragraphs in the SAPS statement would be remedied. The issues relating to the petition had been finalised within the Ministry of Police, but the SAPS case remained ongoing.
It did not help if there was progress in a case if it was not communicated to those involved. He understood this point. Everyone lambasted the police over communication. There were, however, some very good things done by the police that were bypassed.
He did not know how he had not been contacted by Mr Basson out of all the people he had reached out to. Yet he was there that day.
He reminded Mr Terblanche that the Uyinene case had been broken by a Constable. He had been so tired from the case that he could not make a statement directly after the case had broken. SAPS had been in communication with Uyinene’s family on a daily basis. This would be corrected from ministerial level.
The Chairperson said that Minister Cele was supposed to be in Cabinet and had sat through the matter. This showed that it had been escalated to that significant a level. She asked if the family was happy with the process and whether they had any responses.
Mr Basson said they were not angry with the police. They were just seeking closure. They appreciated the hard work that had been done thus far. The family appreciated the small steps. They did not want final results immediately; they just wanted to be kept in the loop.
He voiced a correction towards the Minister. The accomplices had been killed, not the witnesses of the murder.
He had an issue that the next Portfolio Committee meeting was the following year only – this was a long time.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would still demand that it be sent reports throughout this period. It would be attended to.
Closing remarks
The Chairperson reminded the Committee of the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women. Minister Cele had been involved in the Safe Festive Season campaign. She asked those present at the meeting to observe a moment of silence as a show of respect for the murder of Precious Ramabulana.
In closing, the Chairperson said the Committee had done something for someone losing hope. Seeing the family’s spirits looking lighter after the proceedings made the Committee’s work worthwhile. She thanked Minister Cele for his hard work in relation to that.
The Committee still had to discuss Mr Groenewald’s programme for 2020 oversight visits. This particularly related to the firearms conference.
Mr Groenewald said he had a serious problem. He had just received a gazette with the notice of firearm amnesty being publicised. The gazette only provided for three stations on the annexure; the Committee had specifically said that all 46 stations needed to be publicised. He asked Minister Cele if this was correct? He said that the gazette on the amnesty he had just received was incorrect. 

The Minister said it would be amended.
The Chairperson apologised to Minister Cele for Mr Groenewald raising a substantive matter at the end of the meeting.
Minister Cele said the Chairperson was incorrect to call Mr Groenewald “Mr”. He was a general. Being a general meant it was not their choice, it was like being an ambassador. He said the matter raised by Mr Groenewald would be rectified. He had not been at the previous meeting where it had been discussed. The amendments would be made if they had been agreed to in the meeting.
The Chairperson said Mr Groenewald was correct.
Mr Groenewald said he was a “politician now”. They could make it “Doctor Groenewald” as well.
The Chairperson joked that “Honourable, Doctor, General, Mr Groenewald” always had the last say.
The meeting was adjourned.

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