Petitions: consideration

This premium content has been made freely available


11 March 2020
Chairperson: Ms T Joemat-Petterssen (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The meeting considered or reviewed six petitions.

The South African Police Services (SAPS) reported on the details of a petition regarding the re-enlistment of former members of the Ciskei and Transkei Police. It transpired that the petition arose from complaints that were originally made almost 30 years before and which had previously been considered by the Committee in 2018. A representative of the petitioners asked for the assistance of the Committee in resolving the matter, as all approaches to the police management structures had met with a consistent refusal to re-enlist them. The Deputy Minister undertook that the Department would revisit the issue and come back to the Committee with an expanded explanation. Members questioned what other efforts had been made to resolve this issue over 30 years, as some petitioners were now in their sixties. The Chairperson assured the petitioners that the Committee would not leave any stone unturned until it got to the bottom of the matter. She wanted the matter to be closed.

The Police Services provided an update on the petition of Mr Basson, whose son was shot and killed during a gang-related incident in Lentegeur in 2018. Mr Basson had petitioned the National Assembly, complaining about the lack of investigation and feedback regarding this matter. Progress was now being made and this had been communicated to Mr Basson regularly. A warrant of arrest had been issued in early March 2020 as there was now an alleged suspect. Some Members were unhappy that full information had not been shared with the Committee. The Chairperson pointed out that the Committee meeting was recorded and public. The Committee did not want to jeopardise the case by insisting on details. This had been considered and treated sensitively. She had been in contact with Mr Basson and he was very happy that the Committee had not let him down. SAPS was to give regular updates to the Committee.

The Committee considered presentations on a petition from residents of Ba-Ga-Maidi in North West Province to investigate and prioritise the reopening of the Kokomeng Police Station. The police station was burned down in 2018 during service delivery protests. The Deputy Minister said that when communities burn down state assets these will be replaced, but not as a priority. The MP who submitted the petition on behalf of residents, Mr S Seitlholo, said the Committee should visit the area to understand the situation on the ground. Some Members asked questions about the signatures appended to the petition, some of which seemed to have been written by one person. The Chairperson said that in future Members should pay close attention to the rules set by Parliament for the submission of petitions from the public. All Members agreed that it was unacceptable for communities to burn state assets when there were service delivery problems. This applied to police stations, clinics, libraries or schools. The Department of Public Works had already convened bid adjudication meetings for rebuilding the burned building at Kokomeng. But the scheduling of the work will follow the projects already in the queue for funding. The Police Commissioner for the North West said that crime rates in the area had declined and that additional resources had already been deployed in the Taung area. The service delivery protests were entirely unrelated to police matters.

The Acting Provincial Commissioner: Gauteng, presented a response to three petitions from residents of Kempton Park, Actonville, and Wattville on weaknesses in local police performance. He reviewed the crime and policing profiles in these areas between 1 April 2019 to 31 January 2020.

Members questioned the accuracy of the information provided as it contradicted answers given to questions in the House by the Minister. The police representatives said that the discrepancies were to be expected because the Minister compared past financial years, while the presentation covered the latest information up to January 2020.

The establishment of a fully-fledged police station at Wattville (as suburb within Actonville) had been approved and was prioritised on the User Asset Management Plan.

The Chairperson objected to the way that certain Members were abusing petitions. Matters that could be settled with email answers or questions in the House were being brought to the Committee and were absorbing valuable time. Members responded that it was the right of citizens to petition Parliament and that it was the Speaker who referred petitions to the Committee. They had to be dealt with and each deserved adequate time. Petitioners asked for matters to be taken further when questions posed to Ministers and Departments had not been answered to their satisfaction

The Chairperson made a ruling that the Committee receive a written update on all of the petitions [referred to the Committee by the Speaker] every month. She also said she would report back on the possibility of the Committee meeting more frequently.

Meeting report

The Chairperson apologised for being late as there were no traffic lights in her area due to load-shedding. She apologised for there being no light or microphones and wanted the Committee to understand the position of the Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale – if the Deputy Minister needed to be at the Cabinet meeting then he would be excused and was allowed to leave. Concerns were raised that the Deputy Minister had become a Deputy Minister of the Committee and was not attending Cabinet meetings when he was required to do so. Apologises were recorded for Ms M Molekwa (ANC), Ms Z Majozi (IFP), Dr P Groenewald (FF+) and the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele. She acknowledged the presence of the SAPS delegation and one of the petitioners. She welcomed the guests and informed them that they were free to speak in whichever language of their choice when they were given opportunity to address the Committee. She mentioned that there were petitions that the Committee would be considering and that extreme incidences of violence had been experienced over the weekend. Matters were raised in the House and a statement had been issued on behalf of the Committee, concerning what had happened in Khayelitsha over the weekend. Copies of these statements had been sent.

Mr A Whitfield (DA) raised a procedural issue. If the recording devices were not working, how would the meeting be recorded?

The Chairperson said that the meeting was being recorded by Ms Babalwa Mbengo, Committee Secretary, and Dr Irvin Kinnes, Content Advisor, from the front table. She asked if the Committee was happy with this or whether they wanted to continue the meeting at 10h00.

Mr Whitfield said that it was fine as long as the meeting was being recorded.

The Chairperson added that if Members felt uncomfortable, they were allowed to make their own recordings.

Mr Whitfield said that he did not intend on recording the meeting.

Ms J Mofokeng (ANC) asked about a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services.

The Chairperson agreed. She asked if everyone was happy and if there were any further queries.

The Deputy Minister asked when he could be excused.

The Chairperson said that the Deputy Minister was excused and would be allowed to leave at any moment – even now. Today the Committee was chasing him away as they understood his predicament. The Committee could not compromise his attendance at Cabinet meetings as this would not be acceptable. She asked if the Committee could move on to the consideration of the petitions. When looking at the agenda, the item on the reenlistment of former members of the Transkei and Ciskei police was the last petition to be considered. She requested that this item be moved up, as a representative of the petitioners was present.

Ms Mofokeng seconded the proposal.

The Chairperson asked if the Committee would be happy moving the item up on the agenda so that the representative would be allowed to leave. This was so that they did not have to sit through all of the other presentations. SAPS would be allowed to give their presentation – there should be hardcopies of this presentation. After which, the petitioner would be allowed to engage with the Committee on the petition.

Presentation: Petition: Re-enlistment of the Former Members of the Ciskei and Transkei Police

Lt Gen Bonang Mgwenya, Deputy National Commissioner: Human Resource Management, SAPS, introduced the SAPS members. Lt Gen Lineo Ntshiea, National Divisional Commissioner: Personnel Management, SAPS, presented the SAPS response to the petition regarding the reenlistment of the former members of Ciskei and Transkei police. She said that the presentation covered an overview on the background, the applicable regulatory framework (criteria for reenlistment or exclusion), applications for reenlistment, a reminder of the appearance before the Committee on 23 October 2018, a brief analysis of each individual application and consultation and feedback.

Before 1994, there were 11 separate police agencies in South Africa i.e. the former South African Police (SAP), and the police forces of the Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei (TBVC States) and the Self-Governing Territories. On 25 January 1995, in terms of Proclamation No. R.5 of 1995 covering the SAPS Rationalisation, members of the former SAP, TBVC States and Self-Governing Territories, were appointed as members of the SAPS. Subsequent to the amalgamation, posts for re-enlistment were advertised from time to time. Only former members from the SAP, the TBVC States and the Self-Governing Territories, who met the requirements stipulated in the advertisement, were invited to apply. Former members from the TBVC States, who were dismissed dishonourably or who did not meet the requirements stipulated in the advertisement, were not re-enlisted.

The reenlistment criteria are found in Regulation 11(b) and 11(2). Former members must:

  • Have been appointed as a member of the South African Police Service (SAPS), in terms of the Police Service Act, 1995, or must have been a member of the former SAP, TBVC States or Self-Governing Territories
  • Have successfully completed basic police training and relevant functional police training courses, where applicable, for operational posts
  • Have a good disciplinary and attendance record, during their former employment
  • Be in possession of at least a Grade 12 (Senior Certificate) or higher qualification.
  • Have at least a valid light motor vehicle license (code B)
  • Be a South African citizen of which documentary proof must be furnished
  • Be proficient in at least two of the official languages, of which one must be English
  • Submit himself or herself to a medical examination, as determined by the National Commissioner
  • Undergo a psychological assessment, as determined by the National Commissioner and be found to comply with the profile of a police official
  • Not have any tattoo marks, which will be visible when wearing uniform and not be irreconcilable with the objectives of the SAPS
  • Have no previous criminal convictions, and/or pending criminal, disciplinary cases and such person shall allow his or her fingerprints to be taken and allow background enquiries to be made.
  • Not have been declared unfit to possess a firearm
  • Be prepared to be deployed, based on the needs of the SAPS, which may include having to relocate at one’s own expense and or to accept a post away from one’s current place of residence that could result in reasonable travelling
  • Not be involved in any business or activity that will be in conflict of interest with the integrity of the SAPS
  • Be willing to undergo a refresher course or any other training, as determined by the National Commissioner

Reenlistment exclusions: Applications from former members, who left the SAPS under any of the following circumstances, will not be considered:

  • Retirement (early retirement or compulsory retirement age)
  • Dishonourably discharged and/or dismissed from the SAPS
  • Left the SAPS, pending the finalisation of a disciplinary enquiry and/or criminal proceedings
  • Left the Public Service with a severance package
  • Left the SAPS, due to ill-health retirement/medical boarding

The first complaint on the application of the reenlistment criteria was received by SAPS National Head Office during February 1995. The complainants were advised to liaise with the SAPS Recruitment Officer, Port Elizabeth. Applications received from members for re-enlistment were considered and not approved, as they did not meet the requirements or were discharged dishonourably.

The Committee (of the 5th Parliament) was briefed on 23 October 2018, on the petition regarding the re-enlistment of the former members of the Ciskei and Transkei Police. The Committee agreed that a delegation from the SAPS would be assigned to engage with the former members. A team from the Division: Personnel Management visited the Eastern Cape Province, on 8 February 2019. The former members were asked to submit documentation with additional information that could assist the SAPS to deal with the matter. The meeting was attended by Mr Sibongile Twalo, Speaker’s Office, Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature, the SAPS Delegation and 27 former police members.

The presentation included summaries of the situation of each petitioner in the light of the re-enlistment criteria.

After the consultation and feedback a comprehensive report and response, signed by the National Commissioner, was forwarded to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on 29 April 2019. The report re-iterated that former members did not meet the requirements for re-enlistment and the status quo is maintained.

Presentation by the representative of the petitioners

[Former] General Mongezi A Qongqo, Chairperson of the Forum of former members of SAPS, Ciskei and Transkei presented a two page document.

The forum members left police service between 1990 and 1994. In 1995 they noticed that there were some of their former colleagues in the police service who were reappointed back into the service. They then approached the then Provincial Headquarters in Port Elizabeth seeking clarity on the matter. They later received a response addressed to them through their then chairperson, Mr Velaphi from the then National Commissioner of Police, General G Fivaz, in March 1995. The letter addressed the issue of reenlistment of officers who applied for reemployment to the service. Subsequent to the response by the Commissioner they applied for reenlistment through the provincial office in the Eastern Cape. They went for medical check-ups, were cleared for reemployment and were advised to wait for placement.

On observing that some of their colleagues were reemployed in the service, and also that new intakes were being made, they kept on enquiring from their provincial headquarters as to the status of their application but their meetings never yielded any positive results. The provincial commissioner advised them on 8 August 2013 that their applications had been dealt with and that they were not favourably considered. They then interacted with the SAPS national office and were also advised that their case was thoroughly investigated and their applications were not successful. The matter was according to that office considered finalised.

The forum is of the view that they were discriminated against as some of their former colleagues, particularly those from SAP, were reappointed while they were left without any satisfactory explanation. Their understanding of the minutes issued by the then National Commissioner in March 1995 is that the dispensation of reenlistment was explicitly applicable to the SAP, Transkei and Ciskei. The forum’s appeal to Parliament was that the reenlistment for which they have been consistently making follow ups on since 1995 deserves further consideration.

After the forum left the National Assembly on 23 October 2018, the police national head office delegation led by Major General Govender, together with the provincial delegation led by Major General Kunene, attended a forum with them on 7 February 2019 at Griffiths Mxenge head office Eastern Cape. The delegation addressed them about their grievances for not being reenlisted. They were dissatisfied about the outcome of the deliberations. It appeared that the police relied on Regulation 11 A which applied to the new applicants for no reenlisting the forum, instead of Regulation 11 B which was applicable in their case. Furthermore, they are aware that there are members in the forum who left the service before some of them who were reenlisted. Also, while their applications were kept in abeyance, there were other applicants who were absorbed into the service. The forum therefore appealed to the Committee to reconsider their case as they were not satisfied with the decision from SAPS.

Discussion and Response

The Chairperson asked if Gen Qongqo had anything else to add as she could see that he had a lot to say.

Gen Qongqo said that there was a problem with SAPS. Upon making enquiries about the former police members, he agreed that they had been dismissed under the previous system. The problem faced now was with the requirements of amalgamation, grade 12 and age. When the forum had had a meeting with Major Gen Govender they told him that they were not happy because they had been told to go for psychometric tests as former police members. These tests had been conducted but the forum was refused. The problem was that during the process of reenlistment the former police were discriminated against as there were only black policemen there. There were other policemen who needed the same job, but it would be found that these other people were being reenlisted within the province aside from the forum. In the last meeting with Major Gen Govender, Gen Qongqo had asked Major Gen Kunene how the matter was going, as there were 90 relatives and friends of the National Commissioner who had been absorbed into the police services despite never having been policemen at all. He was sure that their reenlistment was not the same the forum’s, and that people were being recruited back into the service daily. A lot of enquiries had been made, and he had been referred back to Regulation 11(1) A. At the time of the forum’s complaints, they were not referred to Regulation 11(1) A as all former members of the TBVC States’ police were to be considered in the matter, irrespective of education, qualification and age. At the time the forum members were still fresh and would have been 34-years-old when the matter was started. SAPS was always siding with Regulation 11(1) A requirements but were not considering other problems. SAPS was not investigating things in the right way and were just doing what was good for them.

The Chairperson said that Gen Qongqo was to continue speaking and take his time. This matter had been coming on for a long time and continued to come back to the Committee. He had spoken to the previous Committee and the previous chairperson and he was still unhappy. Now, he was coming to the Committee again and the Committee would give him sufficient time to speak. Members were listening very carefully and might just ask him for clarity on what they did not understand. This Committee listened to people’s problems.

Gen Qongqo said that Colonel Kinana did not leave the police service in 1994, he left in 1983. However, according to the information it said that Colonel Kinana left in 1994. SAPS was not considering what they were doing to the former members or what the problem was, as they would just get a pen and write whatever they felt like writing. In the case of Major Gen Govender and Colonel Sihlahla where they had promised to do psychometric tests for the forum, Colonel Govender at the time and Colonel Olivier did not want the former members at all and had written minutes saying that the members were not accepted in this regard. The forum had made contact for assistance in this matter because there was a racial attitude in this regard – some members were being reenlisted on a daily basis. When Major Gen Kunene was asked about this, he said that he had accepted instructions from above. He had also asked Major Gen Kunene how a senior high-ranking officer could follow instructions that she knew were wrong, unlawful and unjustifiable, as she could then not be trusted in this regard. Furthermore, the forum was complaining about the matter of qualifications. In terms of age, Gen Qongqo was 60 years old now and had started the matter when he was between 29 and 34-years-old. Year after year he was fighting this matter, but whenever the forum went to any commissioners (provincially and nationally) they would all give the same response. They were told that the matters had already been discussed and finalised in the meeting on 23 October 2018. If the case of dishonourable discharge applied to the forum, why were there fresh members in the service. In the past, members were not allowed to voice anything and were restricted by the police. These requirements were now being applied to the forum but were not applied to those people who were wanted to join the police. On 18 June 2013 Major Gen Ntshiea was at another police station where they were complaining about the same matter. When he tried to talk to Major Gen Ntshiea he was asked how he knew that she was there. SAPS did not want them to get close with the generals to prevent them from finding out what was happening with the reenlistment of former members. He had explained that he did not dispute that the members of the forum are now old by age but their age was caused by the long period that they had waited. Major Gen Ntshiea had taken his letter and he had given her all of the information that he had, including the name of a former forum member who was reenlisted in 2004, stationed in Cape Town and was now a sergeant. This is what made the forum very unhappy, as some people who were reenlisted even had criminal records. For example, Gen Qongqo himself had a criminal record and he agreed that policemen with criminal records were not wanted. To give a clear explanation as to why he was no longer a policeman, he explained that during the apartheid police system he was called a terrorist because he kept complaining about the wrongdoings done to black people by the railways at that time. He had joined an association and was so active that he was dismissed from the service without any reasons. He had not made a statement to being classified as a railway police as municipality and railway police were not wanted. However, even then there were members from the municipality who were taken into the service because they are close with people at the provincial and national office. He provided an example of a police dog who was trained to chase people and said that he was just a human being himself. When a police dog was trained, if a white man released the dog he would run after a black man with dirty clothes – this was never done to white people. How little was the forum thought of if it was said that they could not adjust themselves to the new dispensation. Gen Qongqo had spoken to another general who had said that his hands were tied by the national office. When getting to the national office, they would say that their hands were tied by the provincial office. When going to the provincial office, they would refer you back to national. SAPS was playing a game of hide and seek at all times. He had showed them that he had undergone multiple training courses, including 12 months of military under the Ciskei government. The general had even been his major but did not know him when confronted. Why were generals saying that their hands were tied but made arrangements for their own colleagues to join the system? Was it because certain forum members were not politically connected? There was a lot of assistance that could be provided in this regard. There were letters from ministers with no response, and which could be shown to the Committee. This was not the first time that it was done. SAPS was being defended in the wrong way and were just hiding away. SAPS had asked why the forum would not just leave the matter as it was going nowhere. Sometimes responses were received from people the forum did not even know. Gen Qongqo then went to the Office of the President, then President Jacob Zuma, and lodged a complaint concerning what SAPS was doing because crimes were being committed on a daily basis by senior members of SAPS. How could there be reliance on someone with such serious allegations that he himself had never had?

The Chairperson asked Gen Qongqo what recommendation needed to be made as the Committee wanted to get to the bottom of this. What did he want from the Committee? If it was unfair dismissal why did he not go to the Labour Court?

Gen Qongqo wanted the Committee to provide whatever assistance they could regarding the matter. The reason why the forum had not gone to labour court was because there were members who were had never gotten to labour court but were assisted by the police instead. This was why the forum kept on fighting for this matter in hopes that SAPS would listen to their problems if the Committee spoke. The forum wanted to Committee to assist them. If there were investigations to be concluded, this was to be done by someone else and not by the office of the police, because the police would extract whatever they could to discredit the forum. There was nepotism in the province, as 19 people were reenlisted in the Eastern Cape who had never been policemen before. The forum wanted any assistance as they were old now – he was 60 years old and a family man. In the media he saw members who were older than him, without grade 12 but reenlisted on a daily basis. He then mentioned members who he had evidence on, as he had opened a case with the Eastern Cape Intelligence to thoroughly investigate this case. He was not going to court over this matter, as presently he wanted the Committee to take a decision to assist the forum.

The Chairperson said that she was trying to understand and allowed the Deputy Minister to comment.

The Deputy Minister confirmed that there had been an interaction with the petitioners and that further work needed to be done on the submission. He requested that the Department be allowed to go and do further work and come back with an expanded explanation as to why certain members were discharged or dismissed. This was the proposal which was presented before. If it is the case where a member was expelled for asking questions, this information needed to be obtained to provide an explanation. More could be done.

Mr Whitfield said that to be relentlessly pursuing a matter like this for 30 years demonstrated a very sincere and correct conviction that SAPS is not taking the matter seriously. He did, however, have questions for Gen Qongqo. With respect to the last 30 years, what had he done to capacitate himself with respect to the minimum criteria? Gen Qongqo obviously rejected the fact that he had to comply with certain qualifying criteria, but what had he done in respect of grade 12, driver’s licence etc. to demonstrate that he was serious about reenlistment? Is his intention now to be re-enlisted after 30 years? Was this the intended outcome of the process? Was he looking for compensation and in what format was this to be applied? To be pursuing a matter for 30 years and to be getting a consistent response indicates that SAPS is certainly on the same page with respect to the permissibility of his application to be reenlisted and that they had not accepted it. Why had Gen Qongqo not pursued other measures to find redress in this matter? What were the circumstances that prevented him from taking SAPS to court on this matter if the conviction is so strong? In terms of SAPS, the Committee was to insist that a list of names be provided to the Committee in terms of the allegations made by Gen Qongqo regarding the other people from the same Ciskei government who were reenlisted post-1994, as well as whether these people had actually qualified in terms of the criteria. This would allow the Committee to satisfy itself on the allegation that those people were brought back into SAPS post-1994 but may also have been [previously] dismissed or unable to meet the criteria. This was a very serious allegation. If it was the case then the Committee was to have this information so that they could consider [if there were differences between] those who were reenlisted from the same government service and those who were not reenlisted. Mr Whitfield wanted a comprehensive list of those members who had not been reenlisted and the reasons, equally also a list of those who were reenlisted from the same time period alongside the reasons therefore and whether they qualified in terms of the criteria. This was the heart of the issue: that some were treated one way and other were treated another way. This was an issue of fairness and once the Committee had this list in front of them, they would be able to assess the validity of the complaint.

Maj Gen O Terblanche (DA) said that he fully aligned himself with what Mr Whitfield had mentioned and the approach that he had suggested. He was glad that the Deputy Minister had supported the statement that the police needed to revisit the whole issue again. He recommended that a person from another province be brought in from a human resources environment, to allow for a fresh view. This was to be someone who had not yet dealt with the issue. A team could even be compiled as the police had very competent people. He wanted to ensure that Gen Qongqo would get a fair assessment of the situation.

Mr H Shembeni (EFF) said that his problem was with the reenlistment as SAPS was to reenlist a person who was once a police officer. When it was said that 19 people who had never been police officers had been reenlisted in some areas, how did this happen? This needed to be checked on. When it came to qualifications, he could not understand. He had seen and even knew the policeman who Gen Qongqo was talking about. Was this policeman still a police officer?

Gen Qongqo explained that he joined as a constable and was now promoted to sergeant which was a higher rank – but he was still a policeman.

Mr Shembeni said that he was looking at the criteria which was to be used, and that qualification could not be spoken about. There were a lot of police officers who were enlisted or amalgamated from the former TBVC States, of which a lot of them did not meet the standards. He remembered people who were at AG Grey who became police officers – some of them were high-ranking officials and some were from municipality. He knew of these people, most of whom were colonels. So, he could not understand what had happened to the forum. Following this issue and not receiving a response for 30 years, what were the recommendations? What was the Committee to do? He did not know where the Committee would be going from here so as to find out who had done what. 30 years was a long time. When looking at what Mr Whitfield had asked regarding Gen Qongqo’s capacity, Gen Qongqo said that he went to a detective course etc. which were some of the things wanted but lost. Something needed to be done.

Ms P Faku (ANC) mentioned that the Eastern Cape was her home, but this did not mean that she was biased. She was disappointed that the matter had taken so long, but also appreciated what had been presented. Time be would be taken by SAPS to investigate more individually. The Committee needed to appreciate this as 30 years could not be taken to investigate something – she could imagine that Gen Qongqo was traumatised by this whole process. Mr Whitfield was saying that when one believed in one’s convictions it was difficult to let go. The Committee had the responsibility to ensure that the matter is closed. [56:54 – 57:38 no translation provided] Gen Qongqo was to give the Committee copies of all of the documents so that it could be handed over to SAPS. Gen Qongqo was raising critical issues in terms of legislation, saying that Regulation 11 B was to be qualified. SAPS was to look into it and say that if the forum met the criteria of Regulation 11 B then they would be considered. She agreed with Mr Whitfield that the Committee needed to get the names of all of the policemen who were appointed and why. This needed a thorough investigation because some people could not be reenlisted and others refused. The Committee needed to listen carefully to the reasons why some police officers had been dismissed. If there were any SAPS staff who were being corrupt in terms of choosing their staff members, this needed to be looked into. This matter needed urgent attention and perhaps the Committee needed a monthly report from SAPS to ensure that the matter is closed. A valid point was why certain decisions had been made, as reasons had to be given.

Ms Mofokeng appreciated the way forward from the Ministry, in that there needed to be further investigation. As much as she was happy about that, she was worried about one thing. The provincial legislature [in the Eastern Cape] had a petitions unit and it was good that there was someone from the Speaker’s Office present as she had many questions. This matter had come to Parliament in the previous term and she had asked herself about the processes. The legislature’s petitions unit was supposed to have helped the forum craft their matter and give them recommendations. Another thing she did not understand was how many people were women in the group over 30 years. These people were not seen or spoken of, as they were with families. How this matter was attached to showed that there was something that was not right. There were many things that she trusted and, through her leadership, she knew that there were many capable women in the police services. She had seen many police officers coming in and out, but within this unit she was sure that they would investigate not only as police, but as human beings and as mothers. There were many sensitive issues that needed further investigation. She was worried that some people received preferential treatment in being employed and others did not. This needed to be refrained from, and it was to be noted that this happened to some police officers at the age of 42 who were 70 years old now. In terms of the unfair dismissal in TBVC States, she was sure that this worried about as this was complex. She was talking about the person who was actually on the ground and who had fought for this country, which was something she had no doubt of. What was important was that this was the forum’s recommendations and she wished that the legislature had the responsibility to actually be able to assist in the investigations by being the foot soldiers of the police. She and the Deputy Minister both had a background as Members of the provincial legislature, so they knew what was to happen here. She was eager to hear what the Speaker’s Office was going to say. She was happy that the Speaker’s Office was present and active but felt that they had to do more to assist the process. She agreed that there were to be reports from SAPS every now and then on the progress of the petitions. She was sure that the Deputy Minister and Lt Gen Mgwenya would be able to give the Committee a close assessment of where they were and how they were doing, as well as provide a list of all those who had been there so that people could not say that they were fighting only for themselves. Men and women fought for this country, and this was something that needed to be respected. The outcome should be for everyone.

Ms S Patrein (ANC) repeated that the police should be given an opportunity to go and investigate and come back to the Committee with details on the meeting.

Mr Twalo said that he had been partly covered by the Deputy Minister but that he would raise a few things. Firstly, in terms of qualifications, there was an issue that whenever meeting with petitioners, the petitioners would say that they knew of someone [without qualifications] who was in already and ask why they [petitioners] were not. With the proposal that there must be some investigation, the Office of the Deputy Minister and the whole Ministry would investigate and come back with something. In terms of the issue on the recommendation from the Speaker’s Office, some background is that the greater part of the petition was not with the legislature. The forum had always dealt with the provincial office of police. The matter was referred to the then Minister, who mandated two officials to come from his office and meet the petitioners. The officials narrated all of the issues that had been raised and went back to the Minister to report, but the changes within the Ministry thwarted the whole exercise. When it came to legislature again now, the legislature felt that they did not have oversight over the national police and that it was to be referred to Parliament so that the Committee could deal with it. This was why, up until now, there had been no response.

Ms Mofokeng was glad that this was clarified. She wished to recommend that, in the proposals that were being given, the legislature should also look at the psychological health of the forum due to the fact that one could see that there were problems. She did not know how, but the psychological health had to be looked at when dealing with this matter. She thought that it was taxing and she did not one day want to see someone fainting because of this matter.

The Chairperson apologised to Gen Qongqo for the matter not having reached her hands. She assured him that the Committee would not leave any stone unturned until they got to the bottom of the matter. If this meant that the Committee could not assist, they would tell him that now they had done everything. He was to be assured that the Members would not allow her to forget about him. The new team, including the Minister and Deputy Minister, would be looking at the matter, which would be in good hands. The police would be given a specific timeframe in which they would be required to come back to the Committee and report. For something to take 30 years was half of his lifetime battling the matter. Would he allow the Committee time to attend to the matter and get back to him as soon as possible? If need be, the Committee would respond in writing. The Deputy Minister would also be asked to meet with a team in the province, so that there was assurance that the matter was being taken seriously. She wanted this matter to be closed.

The Deputy Minister asked if the leadership of the institution would be allowed to make some comments.

Lt Gen Mgwenya said that she was humbled by what had been said. SAPS was taking this matter very seriously and it was important to clarify on the issue of amalgamation. Several members of the police forces from the TBVC self-governing States and SAP were all amalgamated [into SAPS] irrespective of qualification. However, during the amalgamation there were some people who were no longer in their respective agencies because they had either been dismissed or resigned. These former employees who had applied for reenlistment had done so after the amalgamation process. The amalgamation process had included every member from the respective agencies [who was still employed at the time of amalgamation]. When an opportunity had been given for reenlistment [of people who had resigned or been dismissed before amalgamation], requirement criteria were set up. There were some people who did not meet the criteria and thus did not receive an opportunity to be reenlisted. This would be dealt with in line with the directive for SAPS to dig deeper and understand where it had been said that a member had been dishonourably discharged. SAPS would then get to know what the charges were at the time. SAPS had a record of what some forum members had done but in a number of cases, no information could be found when looking at the record. SAPS needed this assistance to bring the matter to a finality. Regarding those who were said to have been reenlisted but who did not meet the criteria, a list would be requested so that SAPS could go into the records and give feedback to the Committee. Other than those allegations regarding the people who did not meet the criteria, another allegation concerned those who were reenlisted yet they were never members of any police services. SAPS requested that a list of these names also be furnished so that they could go into their records which would inform them on whether a person was a member before the amalgamation or not and provide feedback to the Committee. Should SAPS discover during the investigation that members had gone against the code of conduct, such members would be dealt with in terms of the disciplinary process. The SAPS Ethics Committee was responsible for the discipline of SAPS and committed to ensuring that investigations were done to determine how each person was affected. SAPS appealed to them to cooperate in providing assistance, as the records that SAPS had only allowed them to obtain that which they had come up with. She would make it her responsibility to ensure that this was done properly so that SAPS could give feedback. SAPS would also be requesting assistance from the legislature.

The Chairperson was sure that it could be agreed that the matter was being left in capable hands that would be reporting to the Minister. If there were still any questions or concerns, Lt Gen Mgwenya provided assurance that she would personally be involved in this. Any questions or concerns were to be given to the team and there were now processes in place that would listen to the forum.

Mr M Waters (DA) asked if it would not be best if the Committee gave the police a date by which to report back to the Committee on the progress made on the matter.

The Chairperson had previously said that the police would be given timeframes. She would engage with SAPS and the Deputy Minister on the particular timeframes, so that Lt Gen Mgwenya could give the Committee the progress. She did not want to give Gen Qongqo false hope because, if a timeframe were to be given and not met, this would create even further anxiety. In the Committee’s response to the forum, they would provide the timeframe.

Mr Whitfield thought that it would be reasonable to make the timeframe within the next term. The Committee was getting feedback from previous petitions and an agreement had been reached on the Basson matter in the past.

The Chairperson was sure that Members realised that if petitions got to her, she consistently provided updates on what happened to petitions. An update report on the petition to the Committee by a member of the public, Mr Basson, was also to be received that day. When petitions were received, she expected responses on a monthly basis. The Deputy Minister knew that he had been giving the Committee monthly updates on what was happening. Could there again be a response on a monthly basis so that the Committee knew what was happening?

Gen Qonqgo wanted to add one point and give clarity on how he had been discharged.

The Chairperson said that she did not want to interrupt him but that all of that information was to be given to Lt Gen Mgwenya when the investigation was being done. He was to keep all of his documents, as all that the Committee was telling him today was that they had escalated the matter and that every month SAPS was to tell the Committee what they would do. She asked Gen Qongqo whether he was happy with this.

Gen Qongqo said that he understood now.

The Chairperson asked if Gen Qongqo wanted to say anything to the Committee.

Gen Qongqo thanked the Committee as he never expected this outcome after waiting 30 years. One of his colleagues was supposed to be with him today but he was no longer here anymore – the forum was old now. It was not that he was crying, but he had a lot of emotions. SAPS spoke about the forum in the wrong way, as if they were criminals. Today, he felt very comfortable because the Committee would thoroughly look at the matter with no stone unturned. Under the apartheid system he was called a terrorist, but today he was still suffering under a democratic country. This was why he was fighting this matter alone, from then until now. In the way that the matter was being treated, he had no rights at all. Some policemen remained a constable while other policemen ranked higher and higher yet knew nothing about the job. He thanked the Committee again.

The Chairperson was glad that Gen Qongqo was happy that the Committee would take care of this matter and asked that this be conveyed to the team that he represented. She also asked him to convey their sincere apologies for it having taken so long for them to get to the bottom of the matter. Gen Qongqo knew where to find the Committee as they would not run away. Members would be present and if not, the Deputy Minister and Lt Gen Mgwenya had committed themselves to the matter.

Gen Qongqo asked if the previous submissions had been received?

The Chairperson said that all previous submissions and documents would be gotten to the bottom of, because she would insist that this was done.

Ms Faku said that Gen Qongqo was to keep his copies. She added that SAPS at a national level was to respond to issues. She did not want to say that he had been failed at a provincial level as he had been failed at national level. Space would be given for the police to do their work.

Ms Mofokeng thought that generally when things were wrong SAPS would be blamed. There were individuals in the past police services that did not do their job and in this case, it was very clear that any matter that went to national level started within the province. The blanket issue of police services failing people was incorrect, as it was only certain policemen who were not doing their work – and it had to remain this way. There were good men and women in blue who were doing their job, but it might be found that some people who were worked with were not like that. The Committee needed to start here in saying that they had been failed somewhere by certain police officers.

The Chairperson concluded that all of the Members who were present would ensure that SAPS was also kept abreast of all of the petitions to be addressed today. Their email addresses are with the Secretariat, and that they did receive responses directly. While Gen Qongqo was leaving the venue, she asked for the short update on the Basson petition.

Update on the petition of Mr Basson

Mr Whitfield asked if Mr Basson was present.

The Chairperson said that the Committee was receiving an update which would be sent to Mr Basson in writing.

Mr Whitfield asked if the Basson matter could then be left to the end as there were certain Members who had not dealt with this.

The Chairperson explained that the update would be very short and that she was just doing it while the previous petitioners were leaving.

Maj Gen Bafana Linda, National Head: Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences, SAPS, provided an update on the Lentegeur murder case (Basson matter). The petition by Mr Basson was a murder case. The son of the complainant, Mr Basson, was shot and killed during a gang-related incident on 28 July 2018 at 17h15, at 45 Marygold Street Lentegeur Mitchell’s Plain. Mr Basson submitted a petition to the National Assembly, complaining about the lack of investigation and feedback regarding this matter. Mr Basson also lodged a complaint against the police in August 2018, that was just one month after the incident had occurred. The complaint was investigated by Lentegeur police station, and at that stage the investigation was at an infant stage. One suspect was identified, arrested and brought before a court. The case against him was withdrawn as there was not enough evidence to pursue the matter against him. He was later also murdered. Meetings were held with Mr Basson on 28 August 2018, 11 September 2018 and 9 October 2018 where feedback on progress was provided. Due to the serious nature of this matter and the complexity of it, the case docket was escalated to the provincial anti-gang unit in November 2018 where an investigating officer was appointed to investigate the case further. Information was provided that two unidentified suspects were already killed after the incident, several statements were obtained, nicknames of possible suspects were given, but no facial descriptions were given. The case docket was perused at a provincial level by the head crime investigating services, which was the Deputy National Commissioner for crime detection in November 2018, where he was satisfied that the investigation was taking the right direction. Another meeting with Mr Basson took place on 1 December 2018, and another suspect was identified in addition to the previous suspects who were murdered. The docket was also escalated at a national level where it was perused and analysed by the organised crime component at national office of the Deputy Commissioner: Detective Services, with specific instructions which elaborated more tasks to be undertaken by the investigating officer by January 2020. The investigating team was in the process of finalising the mentioned instructions. The commander of the anti-gang unit was closely monitoring the process on the execution of the tasks given. Instructions had been given to provide the Deputy Commissioner’s national office with the progress on a monthly basis, so that the Deputy Commissioner would be able to report to the Committee. What was not in the report was the latest progress on the matter. The individual identified had already been known to SAPS, and at the beginning of March 2020 the magistrate had signed a warrant for him to be arrested. SAPS knew who he was and was pursuing the matter, which was good to know because there was now a face to the person being pursued. Secondly, on 3 March 2020 feedback had been given to Mr Basson in terms of the progress that SAPS had made. Even though the investigation was at an advanced stage, SAPS was embarking on unconventional methods of investigation, which linked the suspect to the case. SAPS did not want to have a similar situation where an arrest was made and the state declined to prosecute because the person could not be linked to the crime scene.

Discussion and Response

Major Gen Terblanche said he was a bit disappointed. The Committee had had a long briefing on the history of this case. The Committee’s interest lay mainly with what had happened after the Committee had Mr Basson in the room. Sufficient information had not been given. The fact of the matter was that a warrant of arrest had been issued. There was a suspect, a warrant of arrest was issued, and apparently the magistrate that issued the warrant of arrest was not trusted because SAPS was in no position to make such arrest because they did not want to risk the case [being withdrawn] again. This is what he understood. Did SAPS have a warrant of arrest? What was outstanding? SAPS had not told the Committee a lot so Major Gen Terblanche was not convinced that a lot of progress had been made. Further clarity was needed.

Mr Shembeni said that as far as he knew, you applied for a warrant of arrest after you have done a thorough investigation. When taking the docket to SAPS for a warrant of arrest, it meant that the case was done and this person was to be arrested and brought before a court to be tried. A warrant was not applied for if the investigation was not done. If the warrant was there, there was no need to wait for this person to be killed before being tried, because every day they killed each other. The suspect was to be arrested and tried.

Ms Faku did not know how the Members had captured the presentation. What was important was that the Committee was to understand that not all of the details would be given to the Committee because of the sensitivity of the matter. For example, it was to be remembered that even if there was a warrant of arrest issued, perhaps the suspect was nowhere to be found. She appreciated that at least a warrant of arrest had been issued and did not want to ask for more detail.

The Chairperson agreed that the Committee did not want to jeopardise the case. If there were details, it was not be given as the meeting was recorded and public. This had been considered and treated sensitively.

Mr Whitfield had heard the same presentation and disagreed with the other Members. He was pleased that Mr Basson had received feedback and was kept in the loop because it meant that the Committee was doing its job in ensuring that SAPS kept the original petitioner informed of the developments. There had been some developments and progress, but obviously Mr Basson and the Committee would never be satisfied until someone was arrested. He drew the Committee’s attention to the last time that they had had this presentation, which was specifically deferred because of confidentiality. Unfortunately, in an incident like this, he could imagine that there was an active investigation now that the warrant had been issued. SAPS had indicated that there had been unconventional methods deployed. He believed that it would unfair of the Committee to ask what these methods were in order to secure a conviction. Perhaps he was wrong. He wanted to stress the point that, provided Mr Basson was satisfied that he was being kept in the loop, it was the Committee’s responsibility to ensure that Mr Basson was satisfied. Perhaps it would be good for the Committee to reach out to Mr Basson and indicate that they had received feedback and ask whether he was satisfied that he received indicated progress. This information from Mr Basson would help the Committee. Mr Basson was incredibly emotional and it had been a very difficult meeting for the Committee.

The Chairperson said that she would not expect the Deputy Minister to give any further feedback on this matter. She had been in contact with Mr Basson and he was very happy that the Committee had not let him down. SAPS was to give regular updates to the Committee. It was to be remembered that this was not done in the last Committee meeting as there was not enough time, which was why she referred it to today. However, in the meantime the Committee had written to Mr Basson and he was happy that he was being kept abreast of matters. The same would be done with the previous petitioner and following petitions to be received.

Consideration of Petitions: North West Province

The Deputy Minister commented on the petition for rebuilding the police station in North West which had been burned down during service delivery protests in 2018. This matter was the last item on the agenda. The view of the Department was that property that was damaged must be fixed, but in terms of priority it would be queued last. If a police station was burned, a new one would not be built immediately. These areas would have to wait as those next on the list would be prioritised. State property could not be damaged with the expectation that SAPS would replace it with immediate effect, as this would not be done. He knew that there was a report before the Committee which indicated that there was a bid and that it was being adjudicated. [Perhaps this created the impression] that this repair would be done the next day. This was not going to happen and was not agreed with. if a police station was burned then it meant that it was not needed, as it was not the police station that was the problem but something else. He needed to speak on this issue because by the time it came into the discussion he might have left already. It was thought that Members needed to be brought up to speed in terms of thinking. It was not that the burned police station would not be responded to or that it would not ultimately be fixed, as it would be fixed. However, this was not an urgent priority as it was not needed. This was the attitude of the Department.

The Chairperson asked for an indication on whether the Committee wanted to hear the Kokomeng presentation next, as the Deputy Minister had done an introduction. Or was the Committee happy that it be dealt with as the last matter?

Mr Whitfield said that it was the Chairperson’s prerogative, but that the Deputy Minister had made a very decisive position on the issue which contradicted the purpose of a petition. If members of a community petitioned the Committee, it meant that they wanted a police station and it was also impossible for every person of the community to have burned the police station. There was a debate to be had about the position that the Deputy Minister had taken in contradiction to what had been the response from SAPS – it had now become a more complex issue. Respectfully, he did not think that it was well thought through.

Lt Gen Sello J Kwena, SAPS Provincial Commissioner: North West, presented the SAPS response to the petition submitted to the National Assembly on 9 March 2020 by Mr Isaac Sello Seitlholo, MP: Call Upon the Portfolio Committee on Police and the Minister of Police to investigate and prioritise the reopening of the Kokomeng Police Station at Ba-Ga-Maidi, in the Taung Policing Precinct in the North West Province

Kokomeng is a satellite police station. It was set alight during a service delivery protest by community members on 16 April 2018 and sustained extensive damages. The SAPS had to withdraw services at the satellite as the facility was now unusable. The matter was handed over to the Department of Public Works (DPW) for repairs. The Regional Sub Bid Adjudication Committee of DPW met on 4 March 2020 and approved the repairs of Kokomeng Police Station. The Project Manager appointed by the DPW is in the process of appointing a contractor. The Project Execution Plan will be submitted to Provincial SAPS: Supply Chain Management when finalised.

Lt Gen Kwena provided a demographic overview of the area. The estimated population as at 2019 midyear was 124 609. The total area covered by the police station is 1,303 km which is divided into four sectors. There were two sector commanders and two crime prevention vehicles were being utilised. Further demographics were:

  • Community profile – unemployment rate of 49%; 106 informal settlements/villages; 70 schools and 26 174 learners; 17 clinics; and 41 South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) pay points
  • Firearms, Liquor and Second-hand Goods (FLASH) Profile – 189 firearm owners; 16 bottle stores; 138 liquor premises to consume alcohol; and 7 registered second-hand goods dealers
  • Transport – 1 railway station; 16 taxi ranks; 1-1000 daily influx of commuters; and 2 main and arterial routes
  • Commerce, Sport and Recreation – 8 shopping centres; 112 tuckshops and spaza shops; 4 banks; 9 sports and recreational grounds; and 7 sport stadiums
  • Court information – 4 active court rooms

In terms of the deployment of Human Resources, 131 staff were in place against the 133 complement granted. Support staff were 20.83% more than the planned complement while staff allocated to other tasks were below complement - visible policing (-03.41%), detective work (-19.05%). Overall there was a -22.58% decrease of in the number of vehicles in use (34 granted, 21 in use). In the 2019/2020 financial year, six additional vehicles were allocated to the Taung Police Station. The station has already received three of these vehicles during August to December 2019.

A crime overview compared the reporting period, 1 April 2018 to 31 January 2019, versus 1 April 2019 to 31 January 2020. The following crime categories showed a decrease: Contact crime 6%; Contact-related crime -12,9%; Property-related crime -8%; Other serious crime -3%; Robbery aggravated 29%; and Sexual offences -100%. Crimes, dependent on police action, decreased by -16%, for the reporting period.

Regarding actions and interventions from 1 April 2019 to 31 January 2020: The North West province has been plagued by community protest related to service delivery issues. Due to the state of criminality and instability since April 2019 in the province additional resources where provided by the National Commissioner to stabilise crime hotspots. In the Pudimoe Cluster, which includes the Taung police Station an additional 24 police officials were deployed as a stabilisation group to address the crime and policing challenges for a period of six months. The Taung SAPS was upgraded from a Lt Colonel Station to that of a Colonel, this implied that more resources were being diverted to provide a policing service. An additional Colonel and two Lieutenant Colonels were allocated after the upgrading of Taung Police Station. 24 constables were placed at Taung Police Station over the last two financial years. The operations conducted included: 1,514 patrols; 1,188/1,251 stop and search; 0 cordon and search; 8 roadblocks; 14 vehicle check points; and 65 crime awareness campaigns. The compliance inspections conducted included: 1 in terms of the Firearm Control Act; Liquor Act:390; Second-Hand Goods Act: 93.

Discussion and Response

Lt Gen Mgwenya added that what SAPS could say in terms of the current situation was that there was generally a reduction in terms of all categories of crime – in particular community reported crimes. SAPS was in a position to institute Section 205 of the Constitution – this was currently being done where there were sufficient resources allocated. This also extended to executing those responsibilities at Magogong.

Lt Gen Kwena highlighted the issue that one of the villages was Magogong, which was number two in terms of priority for satellite police stations. The whole policing precinct of Taung had 106 villages, some of which were over 40 kilometres away from the police station. The focus area for now was thus to have a satellite or checkpoint in Magogong village for affidavits etc.

Mr I Seithlolo (DA) started by saying that fundamentally everyone agreed that any community that burned down a public institution was [committing] an incredible crime in itself because it affected so many people. He urged the Deputy Minister and Committee to go to this area, as one particular village was being spoken of. He heard an emphasis being placed on satellite police stations, and he could not understand how this could be a satellite and not a fully-fledged operational police station in a population of more than 20 000 people that were residing in 12 villages. The fundamental concern that he had in respect of the Deputy Minister’s utterances, was that it was as if the social ills found in communities were to be ignored. He read the response that he had received from the Minister in respect of the first ministerial question he had asked. He had all of the details in terms of police stations, how many vehicles there were per police station, the ranks etc. because the Minister was able to provide this to him. It was agreed that the police station was not fully-fledged and was a satellite. The case number was 111/04/2018 for the incident that had led to the torching of the particular police station. He was also aware that the matter had been referred to DPW and that the intention was to reactive the satellite police station as soon as DPW had repaired the building. To hear, contrary to the responses that he had received from the Minister, that this particular satellite police station was not a priority, completely contradicted both the response that he had received from the Minister in respect of the building being handed over, as well as the second response that he had received from the Minister dated 11 November 2019 which he had only received in 2020. DPW was engaged with the officials that visited the station and, according to DPW, the suppliers were requested to submit quotations before 15 October 2019. Feedback from the Department was awaited with regard to when the refurbishment would be executed. The SAPS presentation indicated that the meeting took place and that there were agreements in respect of the police station. He asked for clarity so that when he went back to communities to give them feedback [he would have to report] that they would not be getting a police station and that the people who were in actual fact responsible for torching the police station were not known. Because the police station was burned down – and it was uncertain where the case was at or whether someone had been arrested since 2018 – the communities would have to suffer the consequences of having to travel at least 40 kilometres from Kokomeng to go to the nearest police station which is in Taung. It was unprecedented that such comments could be made without even going to the ground and seeing what the challenges are. This is most specifically in relation to the fact that there was a case that had been opened, but he had not received a response from the Minister that someone had been arrested or that there was an investigation at this stage. He urged that a very rural municipality was being spoken of here – such municipalities did not have adequate road infrastructure They were a community that, when calling SAPS to report a crime, they would take two to three days to go to these people or hardly ever come. Indigents had to spend money out of their own pockets but had no money to go to the police station in Taung which was 40 kilometres away. 12 villages were affected by a lack of policing. He had asked whether [the Department] had any intentions of making sure that there was a temporary satellite police station until such time that DPW had refurbished that particular building. The response from the Minister was that there were currently two vehicles which had been allocated to Kokomeng satellite police station, which were patrolling in the services area of Kokomeng satellite police station to deal with the complaints from the community. This was due to the absence of a replacement satellite Kokomeng police station, which would only be reopened when the damaged building was repaired by DPW. He confirmed and urged the community to go the specific village that he had been talking about, as there had never been sight of the vehicles mentioned by the Minister. Whose responsibility was it to ensure safety in our communities? It was SAPS, and this was known because it was why the petition came to the Committee and not to the province. He urged that there be a certain level of caution and responsibility taken, if comments were to be made that affected over 20 000 community members. For all that he knew, it was three people who had burned down the police station. It was understood that it was a counter within society, where communities resorted to destroying public property. He agreed with the Minister that this was unacceptable, but to suggest that it is because they do not need a police station is a different matter altogether. Further mention needed to be made that this supposed satellite police station was not even working at the time that it was burned down. He had indicated as much in the report submitted to the Secretary of the Committee. From 2014 people had been struggling to access that police station. It would be remiss of him not to highlight the inputs that had been given by communities there. To even suggest as far as alleging that certain officials of SAPS came to those particular satellite police stations drunk, meant that they could not even assist the community. This was why it was important for the Committee not to hear this from him, but to do down there and see it for themselves, because he did not want it to be seen as though he was advocating for a case that was not there. He had indicated the reasons in the report that he had given in respect of the demographic’s imperatives, socio-economic imperatives, and statistics included in the report submitted to the Committee. He would have imagined that if this police station was not a priority, then why would the presentation on the ministerial responses require quotations which were supposed to be submitted on 15 October 2019?

The Chairperson said that Mr Seithlolo was repeating himself. Mr Seithlolo should firstly thank the Committee for listening and for highlighting this petition before even suggesting that they go to the area. The Committee was listening to the petition and giving everyone an opportunity to speak, and once they had familiarised themselves case with, they would take certain decisions. The Committee was first to be respected for listening to the case.

Mr Whitfield said that the Chairperson had unceremoniously stopped the Mr Seithlolo from speaking. If was fine that Mr Seithlolo was repeating himself, but the Chairperson had not even asked out of courtesy whether he had concluded his submission. In the interests of fairness, Mr Seithlolo was to be asked whether he had concluded his submission. If the Chairperson wanted Mr Seithlolo to thank the Committee and praise the Committee this was fine, but Mr Seithlolo and the previous petitioner were very passionate about an issue that affected an entire community. Mr Seithlolo was here to present on behalf of the community and he was cut – this was unacceptable.

The Chairperson explained that she did not say that that would be last opportunity given to Mr Seithlolo. However, Mr Seithlolo had started repeating himself but this did not mean that everyone else would not be given another opportunity to speak.

Maj Gen Terblanche said it was unacceptable that the police station had been burned down. Note needed to be taken that apparently what had been heard was that there was service delivery protests. People were unhappy with the services rendered by police in that area. What had been heard in the meantime was that Taung police station had been upgraded and adequately staffed, and a presentation had also been given on the reduction in crime. Positive things were happening here. His colleagues had then made a point about the community, and he did not think that the Deputy Minister meant it in the way that it came over. The police had the responsibility to police the area, and there were even mixed messages. It had been heard that the police station was not a top priority anymore, and then it was heard again that apparently some officials from DPW were in the process of finalising tenders and whatever. What is the conclusion? He thought that what the recommendation would be was for the police to go back there and determine exactly what was needed to police the whole area properly. Can this be done from Taung? Would other police stations be built? If yes, where and when? Would the services rendered by Taung be substituted by satellite police stations? Where and when? It could not be accepted that the Deputy Minister had meant what he said because there could not be a situation where people were told that two people had been naughty so the whole community would suffer. This could not be the case. The police had some homework to do here and would have to come back and tell the Committee exactly how they intended to police that area properly in future.

Mr Shembeni asked whether the satellite police station worked. Was it functional? He understood that it had been burned but seemingly, from the information that he had, the satellite station was there but it never worked.

Ms Faku thought that it was important to acknowledge the petition but that it was also important for the Member who had submitted the petition to know their roles or requirements for a petition. The petition was to be signed by the petitioner or petitioners themselves, but when looking at the register, one person had written the register with the same signature with different names. [The register is not included in the electronic documentation.] This was worrisome. It was important for the Committee, who had emphasised this issue, that they must never at any given point politicise issues that were important – especially crime related issues. There could not only be one person signing as this was unacceptable. If Members could go to the back of the document it would be seen that the signatures were done by one person. Why was this the case? Why was the petition even allowed? A petition could be written by one person, but fake documents were not to come to the Committee. She agreed with the Deputy Minister, that there could not be people burning police stations who then wanted rebuilding to be a priority. This meant that people were being encouraged to burn state property. Even after the Deputy Minister had made these remarks, the provincial SAPS had said that crime statistics had decreased in the area. This was appreciated, but part of the presentation said the satellite office was given over to the DPW for renovations. This meant that it was not being condoned that people burn down property, but it was to be appreciated that SAPS was doing some work when it came to repairing the satellite office. She hoped that these people who were bringing petitions to the Committee could also help the Committee to find those people who had burned down the police station – it was not be one way. If you burned down a police station, the community members knew those people who had burned it. If this was a service delivery protest, but you went to the place that was supposed to protect you and burned down the police station, then this was very contradictory. A Member had said that the satellite station was not working, but if it was not working then why would it be wanted? This petition was to be distributed in the correct way. When looking at the submissions, she was not comfortable. It would be important to request that provincial SAPS go and have community meetings with these people so that the Committee could get the correct information. When looking at the document, the same person had signed the same document. In future, before bringing petitions to the Committee it was to be ensured that the correct process was followed.

Ms Mofokeng hoped that when dealing with petitions it started with looking at the petitions to Parliament documents. It was correct to say that even if these people had not signed, this was supposed to have been done for them as a right. For them to bring things that mispresented themselves was very wrong. She wanted Mr Whitfield and Maj Gen Terblanche to understand that this could not be right, and she would show them that each page had had someone who signed. All of the signatures of different surnames were signed the same – this was wrong. A Member could bring a petition to the Committee without going for many things, but there was a responsibility there now. The Secretariat could also provide assistance in the province. A meeting of the community needed to be called to show them what kind of petitions they were getting. It was not that SAPS did not want to help, but there was a contradictory report as the police station was actually not working and now, they had burned it. The Deputy Minister had said that if people burned schools and burned libraries, it meant that they did not want to be educated, and in this case the communities were burning police stations so they did not want to be assisted. The communities could not by petition say that they were going to force government to actually build a police station as this took 10 years. It was not being denied that there was a problem here, but the Member was to go back and call a community meeting. The community was to be asked about those who were protesting and address what the protest was about and why there was no petition [about those matters]. If there was, the Committee was to be told about this. At the moment she felt for these people, but she was disturbed by a petition like this where there was one person and one handwriting. This was not to be allowed. Members were saying that this was right, but if they wanted to do their job within the DA then the right petition was to be submitted and accepted. The challenge was thus what people were signing here.

The Chairperson said that the procedures for dealing with petitions were set out in the rules of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. These rules would not be read to the Committee. The nature of the request being made was clearly indicated. The rules clearly intended the details of the petitioners should be included, which could be signed by the petitioners themselves. The chairperson also had the right, according to the rules, to decide otherwise. As the Chairperson she was deciding that all of the petitions would be heard. Petitions submitted by Members would be dealt with in the same manner in which members of the public were dealt with. Members of the public had the right to go to Members to assist them with the format and content of the petition – these were the rules. Members had the right to bring petitions to the Committee, and as a Chairperson she had decided that the Committee would listen to these petitions. This was why she said that Members were to be thanked for listening to the petitions. If she had insulted anyone, she apologised.

Mr Waters said that he would not be defending his petitions. He thought of clarifying the rules of Parliament because, as it was known, communities could not submit petitions to Parliament directly. All petitions to Parliament had to come through a Member. It was thus the responsibility and duty of Members to submit a petition when asked to. He referred the SAPS officers to pages 11 and 10 respectively of their presentation, where they had said that crime was reduced. Was this because no one could go and report crimes because they had to travel at least 40 kilometres to report a crime? Many people in rural areas do not have transport and it costs them a lot of money to travel 40 kilometres. They also mentioned that they had to send in 24 extra officers as a stabilisation group because of crime, yet it was claimed that crime was reduced. Why were extra police officers being sent in for stabilisation? This seemed contradictory. On page 5 they spoke about a population of 124 609 people in the area. Of this, how many people burned the police office? Did SAPS have any idea? Obviously, there were police officers at the police station when this incident happened, so there should be some indication. Was it 124 000 people? Was it 1, 10, 100 or 1000 people? How many people had been arrested thus far in connection with the arsonist attack?

Ms H Ismail (DA) highlighted that residents did not sign a petition unless something was really an issue for them, and crime was really an issue for all of South Africa.

The Chairperson interrupted to say that Members had correctly pointed out that when looking at the petition, one person had signed on behalf of others. Any legal document required that one signed for themselves. It was thus not to be engaged on who signed, who had not signed and who should not sign. The correct thing was that if a person could not sign, they were to make an ‘x’ and a commissioner of oaths would verify it. In this petition it was very clear that one person had signed on behalf of many others. This was thus not to be engaged on.

Ms Ismail made a suggestion, since there was the dilemma between the police station being there or not being there at a particular timeframe, that the Committee move forward to assist the community on something positive. Going forward, could the Minister or this Committee assist the residents until a solution was made to provide police services just for visibility and to make it easier for people to get to SAPS?

Mr Whitfield said that in the interests of de-escalating the tensions, he wanted to stick to the facts and did not want to rehash the issue of the petition. He was pleased with the ruling as matters could have been escalated in the meeting. It was simply not true that one person had signed for everyone, as there were signatures and names that matched in handwriting.

The Chairperson explained that she was referring to some of the petitioners.

Mr Whitfield wanted to make it very clear for the record that there were many signatures that were signed by the person referred to in the petition.

The Chairperson asked that the matter of signatures be laid to rest.

Mr Whitfield said that he wanted to acknowledge that the Member was correct, but only partially. Not the entire petition was signed by one person.

The Chairperson said that on the matter of signatures she had already made a ruling and the matter of signatures was not to be discussed. Not all signatures were the same person, which was what she had said. She asked that the Committee stick to the matters of substance.

Mr Whitfield said that there were two other issues. One was that the dramatic decline in reported crime occurred because there was no satellite police station available for community members to open cases or report crimes. The Committee definitely needed clarity on this and whether police were in fact patrolling the community. The other issue was the conflict between government and SAPS. The government was represented by the Deputy Minister, saying that bad behaviour would not be rewarded by prioritising the [rebuilding of the] satellite police station. The State was represented by DPW and SAPS saying that as of last week a regional sub-bid adjudication committee of DPW held a meeting on 4 March 2020 and approved rebuilding the police station. Then there was the Minister, who gave his [Mr Whitfield’s] colleague similar information ,but the Deputy Minister appeared to make a political ruling in this matter that it would not be the case. It was important to understand a time-line about appreciating the Deputy Minister’s concerns about service delivery protests to understand the implications of the meeting that had taken place the previous week. Had the adjudication committee had wasted its time? Would the process now be stopped? Who was going to stop it? Was SAPS going to issue an instruction to the DPW [that they were] no longer interested in concluding the bid adjudication process for the renovations? To what extent is political interference playing a role in what is a state-driven process as set out in the presentation? The 4th of March was the previous week, progress had been made, and it appeared now that that progress had been halted.

Mr Seithlolo said he had spoken earlier in direct response to the Deputy Minister’s remarks which were contrary to the information he had received from the Minister. He was thankful to the Committee for receiving the presentation and for prioritising the petition for discussion by the Committee. He did not mean in any shape or form, and he was not aware, that his remarks were politicising the issue. He wanted to know where exactly in his remarks he had politicised the issue. This was a very important issue. Perhaps he should have left the suggestion that the Committee was to provide oversight to the said area so that it did not seem as though he was saying things out of his own selfish gain in this regard. He knew that the Chairperson had ruled on the matter of signatures, but he had never looked at the petition – he only received and submitted it as this was his responsibility. He did not double check the signatures. It was also to be noted that a very illiterate community was being dealt with, so it could be that someone decided that there were five people and just wrote all of them down without understanding that this was something that should not be done. He thus apologised in this regard.

The Chairperson accepted the apology. The Committee had ruled that the signatures on the petition were wrong, but next time he was to be more careful. Mr Seithlolo apologised and the matter of signatures would not be repeated again.

Mr Seithlolo asked questions about whether Magogong would be prioritised. What was the actual position of this specific police station? What was the report that had to come out?

The Chairperson said that the unfortunate part was that Mr Seithlolo would think that she was interrupting him again. He would have a choice to continue speaking, however, the Deputy Minister was leaving soon, so she asked if Mr Seithlolo wanted the Deputy Minister to partially answer the questions after which he would be given another chance to speak, or if he wanted to continue speaking now?

Mr Seithlolo said that that was in order.

The Deputy Minister said that he was very comfortable with the position that the Committee was taking. All Members were saying that it was completely unacceptable to damage state property. This was the view being held and was the view that South Africa has to adopt. This was also to be the view of communities, irrespective of what made them happy, as they were not to vent their anger at objects that had nothing to do with their problem. Facilities were to be respected. The Department came to the Committee to account to Members and say how they thought things should be done. Members would then interact with the ministry and they would influence each other. This was how the matter would go forward. Mr Waters had asked a question regarding who burnt the police station, and it was answered saying that there were three people who burned the police station. This information was known by a Member, which was a very good thing because it meant that these people were to be handed over to the police and arrested. The community was never to allow criminal elements to come and stay with them when there were genuine problems being raised in their protests. Criminal elements must not hijack this process and go and engage in acts that would ultimately affect the community. The ministry would be happy that the community isolate those individuals who had done this and ensure that the law took its course as far as they were concerned. The processes outlined by the Minister were clearly processes that said that, internally, administrative processes were being done. There was no conflict between what he had said and the responses that the Minister had given – none whatsoever. This included the report that said that there had been bids considered for repairing the burned building. This was not being contradicted. The ministry was simply saying people who damaged property of the state were not to damage it one day and wake up the next morning with the property fixed. Things were not to be this way. The statement was not in any way saying that they should shy away from their responsibilities. Communities who burned facilities would then require the Department to go and fix it, but services would be provided first to those next in the queue. Everyone was present to say what they are thinking of. It would help if Members had seen what was presented, engaged with it and heard what they were saying. If this could be looked at differently it would provide help. This was how the Committee worked when they had come in and it should work the same going forward. He knew that he had not answered all of the questions but it meant that areas needed to be visited and looked at.

The Chairperson said that government had taken a stance to say that communities should not burn down or vandalise government property. This was not only police stations, it was school and other property too, so the Committee could not provide help on this. It needed to be clear and the statement was to be sent very quickly that the vandalisation of state property would not be condoned. It set communities back and created an unnecessary vacuum within communities – whether it is a school, clinic, police station or library. Such acts of vandalism were to be condemned as illegal and the police were there to protect and enforce the law. So, not matter how angry a person was, they had no right to vandalise state property. Everyone was in agreement on this. She thanked the Deputy Minister for assuring the Committee that he would reconsider and look at the conditions on the ground. Whether one prioritised and how one prioritised were separate matters. However, the Committee was in agreement with the police and would repeat that no police station should be burned. The Committee accepted that the Deputy Minister had Cabinet meetings on a Wednesday and this was to be respected in allowing the Deputy Minister to leave.

Mr Seithlolo was glad that it was in the context that the Deputy Minister had said what he said because he would have been very unhappy. He indicated that he did not know who had burned the police station down, as he was just making an example. He just mentioned that it could have been three people but he did not know who they were. He would have been the first person to take them to SAPS if he knew who they were. He would await the responses from SAPS in respect of where things were headed, but he also wanted a response, in terms of the statistics provided, as to why there were still satellite police stations where populations in 12 villages around Kokomeng police station need service. Why was there persistence in continuing with satellite police stations and not a fully-fledged police station? A full police station would make sure that crimes were reported and services rendered on a daily basis without people having to wait two or three days to report a crime at the nearest police station? This has been the case because of the nature of the police station. He heard that Mogogong police station was in place, but it was not why the Committee was here about although he appreciated the fact that they would also receive a satellite police station.

Maj Gen Terblanche added that, when hearing about DPW and what they were doing, apparently, they were just about ready regarding tenders etc. The important issue was whether the police would be funding this. Funding was coming from the police and authorisation from the public, so this was something he had to mention. If this was important then the funding needed to be decided on. If fully-fledged police stations were rather going to be built, then investigations would need to be done on exactly where these would be built.

Lt Gen Mgwenya said that a feasibility study had to be conducted for the building of a police station. The provincial commissioner indicated that erecting another satellite police station was in process, and these processes were informed by a feasibility study or there were study investigations. Further, the need for the building of a police station would also be determined by further feasibility studies. Note would be taken of the inputs from the communities in the villages, but a decision would not just be made to erect another police station, as this was informed by the analysis of statistical information and all information that would go into the work study investigation. Her understanding was that the Member had said that it took two to three days to attend to complaints. In terms of the Annual Performance Plan (APP), the attendance of complaints was a priority. There were categories of crime and turnaround times for attendance of complaints, of which two to three days was not amongst those. Should there be particular cases where attendance to complaints had taken two to three days, the Department would appreciate if such information were brought to their attention so that they could look into it. In terms of the information and records that SAPS had, they had indicated that they were currently able to execute their mandate in terms of the Constitution. Amongst others they had also made visible how the Taung police station was capacitated. In executing their responsibility, SAPS would ensure that there was continued visibility which would ensure that those people were being serviced even if they were currently disadvantaged because of their police station that was burned. It was also agreed that the fact that the satellite police station was erected was determined by the need of those affected people who had to travel a distance before they could get serviced. This also spoke to the accessibility study which had been conducted.

Lt Gen Kwena said it had been stated that a satellite station had been burned because members of the community were striking because they had not received services from the police. He said that this was not so. The service delivery issues that were the reason for the strike had nothing to do with the police in actual fact. Despite this, the police station was burned in the process. He had indicated that Taung police station had 106 villages that it was serving. It received six vehicles in the financial year that was coming to an end – three had been delivered and the other three were on their way. The reason why crime went down in Taung was as a result over the three years that had been mentioned, where an additional 25 members joined. When a police station is upgraded, there are more resources which can be distributed to ensure that criminality in a particular space is effectively acted against. It had to be said that before [the Kokomeng station was burned] there were very few members in Taung and the police and satellite stations were functional. It is alleged from community members that sometimes members of the police were intoxicated. If members are said to be intoxicated in a particular police station, SAPS could not in the same breadth say that it was not functional or that there were no members. Intoxicated members could not be functional but this was another issue to be spoken about. The satellite police station might not have every day and every night, but there were people manning the satellite police station. There was also record in terms of placement which showed who was working when, and this could also be requested by the Committee. On the question about what was needed for the police station to work properly, additional members, additional vehicles were being sent to address issues etc. The Members might not have seen police officials at Kokomeng 24/7, because there were 106 villages in and around the Taung district. There had been community meetings where these questions were being asked. Even in January 2020 there had been community meetings. Members would know that there were two villages, Kokomeng included, where there was a retaliation between communities. The police constantly intervened with the two communities to bring order between them. Another question was whether crime seemed to reduce because there was no ability to report crime. He indicated that even if there was a reduction of crime, it did not mean that crime was completely obliterated in the area of Taung. There would constantly be criminal activities reported that the police would need to continuously attend to. On why 24 officers needed to be sent for stabilisation, this was because of a result of the shortages that were experienced. Crime was high in and around Taung. It was because public service protests could not be managed that there was a need for SAPS to send an additional 24 members to Taung. They ensured that the situation was normalised and that criminality was stabilised. On the question of how many people burned the police station, this was responded to and if he remembered correctly, a Member indicated that they knew of three people who burned the police station. Immediately after the meeting, he would meet the Member so that he could receive these names.

Mr Whitfield knew that it was not procedural to interrupt the speaker, but the Member had clarified this. He asked that it not be assumed that the Member knew the individuals. It may have come across in the wrong way, but the Member had gone back and clarified that he was making an example in that it could have been three people. The records could be checked afterwards, but he asked that the Committee not go down this road after the Member had already clarified his position.

The Chairperson said that Mr Whitfield was correct and asked Lt Gen Kwena to conclude.

Lt Gen Kwena went onto the last issue on the three days that appeared in the APP in terms of the time SAPS took to respond to complaints. Three days was unprecedented and this was perhaps something that needed to be looked into. On the question of who was providing funding, and whether it was SAPS or the DPW who were doing the current renovation, he indicated that it was the DPW.

The Chairperson made a ruling that the Committee receive asked for a written update on all of the petitions every month. All petitions would not be solved that day. If things were to continue in this way, it would mean that she would have to listen to the remaining three petitions at another sitting. Could the Committee be allowed to receive an update on this matter in a month’s time? Monthly updates would be received until the Committee was satisfied that they had gotten to the bottom of the matter. Was everyone happy with this ruling?

Mr Seithlolo was happy with this ruling and thanked SAPS for their presentation and submission. He indicated that there were men and women in blue who worked very hard every day – on of which was his wife.

The Chairperson said that Mr Seithlolo was to tell his wife that the Committee thanked her as well and thanked him for mentioning that he was gender sensitive. She liked men who acknowledged that women were very powerful within the family.

Consideration of Petitions: Gauteng

Maj Gen Andre Wiese, SAPS Acting Provincial Commissioner: Gauteng, presented a response to the petitions from residents of Kempton Park, Actonville, and Wattville and reviewed the crime and policing profiles in these areas between 1 April 2019 to 31 January 2020. [For details please refer to the attached presentation]

Three petitions had been submitted to the Speaker of the National Assembly in 2019:

  • Petition submitted by Mr M Waters, MP: The residents of Kempton Park, call on the National Assembly to investigate chronic inadequate visible policing and shortage of vehicles, at the Kempton Park Police Station
  • Petition submitted by Ms H Ismail, MP: The residents of Actonville, call on the National Assembly to investigate the high crime rate and drugs, the provision of police kiosks and police vehicles in their area
  • Petition submitted by the Ms H Ismail, MP: The residents of Wattville, Actonville, call on the National Assembly to address the escalation of crime, including gender-based violence and violence against children, and the need for a police station in their area

Discussion on Kempton Park and Response

Mr Waters thanked the Committee for dealing with the petition from Kempton Park residents and for the timeous invitation of two weeks’ notice. It was the first time he had ever received notice for a meeting that long in advance. In talking to the presentation, what he had to say was not a reflection on Major Gen Wiese but more to do with the station commander and what was happening on the ground. Kempton Park was ranked the 24th police station in the country and was supposed to be part of the aerotropolis. The Minister of Finance spoke about the aerotropolis in his speech the previous week. This was going to be a shining light for all to see. In Kempton Park, the aerotropolis was called the ‘trashotropolis’ because it was a disgusting place to actually live in at the moment. When looking at page five of the presentation and the number of vehicles per sector it said one. There were currently six sectors. He knew this to be false and Major Gen Wiese had been misled by the figure. There were only three vehicles for six sectors, when there should be twelve vehicles for six sectors. Ideally, every sector in the country should have two vehicles patrolling at all times. There were thus only 25% of the required vehicles in Kempton Park. This was why crime was out of control. On the number of members per sector it said two, and he hoped that this meant two members per shift, not just two members for six sectors – this was quite vague.

Maj Gen Wiese said that this was two per vehicle.

Mr Whitfield said that there should be four people in two vehicles patrolling at all times in each sector. This provided an indication of how drastic the human resource levels were at Kempton Park. When looking at page eight with regard to visible policing, the figure of 160 people doing visible policing this seemed like a lot. It provided the impression to the layman out there that there 160 people with boots on the ground doing visible patrolling at given shifts divided into four – but this was not the case. He wanted Major Gen Wiese to unpack how these 160 people were actually allocated as frankly many of their boots did not hit the tarmac at all. If there 160 people visible policing, why did Kempton Park not have two vehicles with four people in each sector running 24 hours a day? There were clearly enough members to do so. When looking at visible policing, there were 28 vehicles, so why then was it said that there were 6 vehicles patrolling when there were 28 for visible policing? There seemed to be contradictions throughout the presentation. On page 10, with regard to the crime, one could walk around Kempton Park and ask people whether they felt like crime was reducing at these levels, as these levels were quite impressing. He wished crime was being reduced at this level. If crime was being reduced at this level, why did the presentation say that crime dependent on police action increased by 15% if crimes were being reduced at this level? This would mean that if the figure were true then police would not be needed and there would be a decrease in police action as was seen in the North West presentation. This was another contradiction that he wanted explained. He did not want to make a political speech as time was running out, but in September 2019 when the last figures had been released, there was an increase in rape in Kempton Park of 29.5%, and an increase in sexual assault of over 18%. There was an 88.9% increase in attempted murder, an increase in gender-based violence, common assault, and robbery with aggravated circumstances. He could not believe that the figures on page 10 reflected the reality on the ground – it was not true. He reiterated that Major Gen Wiese was not on the ground at Kempton Park as he was at the provincial office. In the past, police stations were inspected on an annual basis by either a provincial or national level. This did not happen any longer because of the lack of resources at that particular division. With Kempton Park being in the worst 30 police stations in the country, one would expect that the police would have a plan where the worst 50 police stations in the country got inspected on an annual basis until they move out of that bracket. This Committee and the provincial committee were to receive those reports for interrogation on why police stations were not functioning properly. He suggested that this be something the Committee looked at in requesting these investigation reports and interrogating the police about them and why certain police stations continuously underperformed while others excelled. Kempton Park was supposed to be part of the aerotropolis and this was an embarrassment to them.

The Chairperson said that these petitions had been prioritised. She could have left them until after the budget hearings. When she asked the police to give her further information, it was not because she was dismissive but because she took petitions very seriously. The Committee could attest to this. When she received petitions, she took it very seriously and received monthly updates. If Members were unhappy with responses or did not receive all of the responses required, she would insist that [SAPS} went back and brought proper information to the Committee. She might not call the petitioners back to the Committee but would certainly have the officials of the Committee communicate with them. She was also available, so if any direct communication was needed, she did respond to messages and requests. The police were to bring back information on this matter.

Ms Faku thought that the issues Mr Waters raised in terms of the crime overview given in the presentation and the summary found at the bottom was quite contradictory. She wanted an explanation on this before she could ask any further questions.

The Chairperson asked if the Members wanted this information first before they asked any questions.

Maj Gen Terblanche said he was covered by Mr Waters’ remarks. He thought that this information was needed because obviously only then would the Committee be able to make a proper decision.

Mr Whitfield agreed but did not want a back and forth. Mr Waters had asked a bunch of questions and covered a whole lot of issues that would have come from the Committee. The Kempton Park area was constantly raised as being in the aerotropolis demarcated area. This was a very strategic, economic hub for our country. He was interested to hear from SAPS whether Kempton Park was included and prioritised as a precinct given the importance of that economic area. Last year there had been a joint Tourism and Economics meeting, and the issue of tourist safety had been raised as there had been incidents outside O.R. Tambo coming in and out, of tourists becoming victims of crimes. He was not sure whether this overlapped with different precincts, but the principle was that Kempton Park was at the centre of the key economic hub in the country. If it was not being prioritised as such, why not?

The Chairperson said that, before responding, there had been a court judgment for the Social Justice Commission which spoke to the resources at police stations. She would request that the judgment be found.

Lt Gen Mgwenya commented on the issue of the judgment on the allocation of resources. There had been a judgment, subsequent to which SAPS was currently reviewing the criteria with regards to the allocation of resources. Having said this, she wanted to talk to the issue on whether Kempton Park was one of the priority police stations. In South Africa there was the top 30 crime work police stations. Also, in every province, the province was expected to have their top 30, but could add other police stations which were regarded as priority – of which Kempton Park was amongst. There was also an issue raised that spoke to inspections previously conducted. Inspections within SAPS were still being conducted. At some stage the name of the inspectorate was changed and there had been management intervention whose responsibilities were to go to police stations and do those inspections. Major Gen Wiese would indicate with regards to Kempton Park, when the last an inspection had been conducted. She indicated that SAPS was aware that after the announcement of the reduction of the compensation budget, that there were reductions in numbers in terms of human resources. However, within SAPS they were also introducing unconventional methods of policing to ensure that they are still able to police. At some stage, in particular the previous year when the crime statistics had been released, the picture looked gloomy in Kempton Park. Amongst others, it could have been attributed to the fact that SAPS at some stage did not have a provincial commissioner. After the appointment of the provincial commissioner, SAPS then started to see change, hence the reductions in crime that Major Gen Wiese had reported. It was not there yet, but there was optimism around the picture of Kempton Park changing.

Maj Gen Wiese emphasised what Lt Gen Mgwenya had said. There were 40 high crime stations in the province, which had been identified by the Provincial Commissioner. These high crime stations were being focused on every day – Kempton Park was one of them. By national decisions, another 16 police stations had been identified in terms of high contract crimes. The Committee could take his word that Kempton Park was being focused on. He had gone there personally on 31 December 2019, New Year’s Eve, where he visited and patrolled the area himself. It was almost 24h00 when he found the station commander just next to his police station. Going on to deployment, it was true what Members had said. There were supposed to be six cars, but the province did not always have six cars. He had checked the deployment in the day and it was to be remembered that it differed every day. Today, there were five sector cars deployed and another four cars to complement them from crime prevention. The figure of 160 on page nine was not wrong. The 160 was the total number of visible policing i.e. uniformed people stationed at the police station. This included the people working at community service centres, the six vehicles, FLASH members, crime prevention and sector policing. It was not only the shift people. So, out of the 160 people there would be more or less 25 people per shift multiplied by four. There would therefore be between 100 to 120 people doing classic policing, which included people to the administration and registering of dockets, as well as the visible policing cars that were attending to complaints. SAPS would not try to mislead the Committee in terms of statistics. When looking at the crime that was quoted, this was from April 2019 to January 2020 in comparison with April 2018 to January 2019. When looking at the official statistics where the Member pointed out that crime had increased and it did not correlate with the picture presented, it was to be remembered that this was talking to the crime statistics that had been released in the previous financial year. Here, in the presentation, was a strict comparison with the previous 11 months up until the 11 months ending January 2020. When compared it could be assured that this was factually true. Looking at the crime dependence on police action that was said to have increased, if it said that it is increased then this referred to the drunk drivers that had been caught and taken to court. The firearms and drugs seized were spoken of. When this increased it was actually good news for SAPS. If it decreased it meant that the police had not gone out there and done crime prevention. This was a crime prevention activity, so when it increased this was a positive to SAPS and did not refer to the other crimes referred to. In terms of what SAPS did regarding inspecting police stations, he likewise thought that the Committee would want to see whether they did inspect. The last inspection was 25 November to 4 December. He had a copy of more than 92 pages which he could forward to the Committee so that they could see every police station that had been inspected in detail. All 40 police stations in terms of priority were done in the previous year. The National Inspectorate was ever requested for assistance, they had helped in the Tshwane district and in the coming financial year they would provide assistance on focus on 39 police stations to do thorough inspections there.

The Chairperson asked Major Gen Wiese to conclude as she was expected at the Chair of Chairs meeting. He would be given limited time to conclude.

Maj Gen Wiese responded to the priority of the hub, which SAPS was definitely taking note of. There were big malls developing in Glen Marais and warehouses being developed around O.R. Tambo. Thorough note was taken of this.

The Chairperson said that the rest of the responses would be sent in writing. The Committee was to be fair to Ms Ismail who still had two petitions. At 13h00 she (the Chairperson) would be leaving because at 12h30 she was expected to be at a Chair of Chairs meeting. All outstanding information would be sent to Members and she would make sure of this. Mr Waters was given a right to conclude.

Mr Waters wanted a copy of the thorough investigation report on Kempton Park, which was done in December 2019. He also wanted a breakdown of the 160 visible policing officials and how they were allocated. Major Gen Wiese could obviously not give these numbers as he did not work at the police station.

The Chairperson asked if Mr Waters accepted that this was a work in progress.

Mr Waters agreed that everything was a work in progress.

Maj Gen Wiese continued his consideration of petitions presentation with regard to Actonville and Wattville police stations – Wattville being a suburb, located in the Actonville policing precinct and being shared by sectors one, three and four. The Wattville hostel is located, in Sector one. The Rooikamp, Emlotheni and Emoyeni informal settlements, are located in Sector three. Sector four includes the Harry Gwala informal settlement. All the informal settlements are without basic municipal services. The establishment of a fully-fledged police station at Wattville was investigated. The work study investigation was finalised, approved and prioritised on the User Asset Management Plan (UAMP). [For details of the statistics, please refer to the attached presentation]

Discussion on Actonville and Wattville and Response

Ms Ismail highlighted that the crime in Actonville and Wattville had been a sore issue for years, and she was glad to have been given the opportunity to highlight the issue. With the presence of SAPS she tried not to take too long. When looking at page 14 of the slide, the demographics said that there were four sectors and one vehicle per sector. She was concerned about the responses received from questions to the Minister and what was stated on the presentation – this was not always the truth. There were discrepancies in numbers. From the replies to her questions, it said that there were three sector vehicles. This was very worrisome to her as this was stated in black in white. There were four sectors between Actonville and Wattville, but she was told that there were four sector vehicles yet the answer sheet said that there were three sector vehicles. What was the actual response? She highlighted that many residents complained and were not getting any assistance from police stations but would get in contact with her as councillor of the ward. To gain some insight as to why she was highlighting the sector vehicles, when she would call the police station to say that there was a callout from somebody with an intruder in their house, she would indicate that SAPS was urgently needed because someone could be murdered. The response from SAPS was that the vehicle was attending to a problem at Shoprite and that only once they were finished, they would go to the house to attend to the problem of an intruder. This was an issue that needed to be dealt with addressed because in the process of SAPS attending to one issue while there was another issue in the very same sector, the sector vehicle is unable to reach both places at the very same time. This was now a problem concerning the safety of residents. On page 15, a matter of concern was that there was a major socio-economic problem in both Actonville and Wattville. When looking at the liquor stores, they were not complying with the bylaws of municipalities. The bylaw said liquor store must be at least 500 metres or so from a school, park or place of worship, but the liquor stores were within 20 metres. How did the Liquor Board and SAPS deal with this? These were issues where children were being seen with beer bottles in their hands. When it came to the deployment of human resources, there was a discrepancy between what the presentation said and the responses she had received to her questions. To highlight the crime issue and why she was so worried about visible policing, at 17h00 on the past Monday there were three assassinations that had taken place. In broad daylight the car just pitched up next to another car and shot three guys dead. This was a problem when there was no visible policing in the area. The presentation said that there was a total of 120 officers granted, In the responses she had received to her questions to the Minister, she received an answer that there are only 106. On the point of assisting or trying to get clarity, there used to be police reservists at the Actonville police station. When she asked for a total breakdown of how many policemen, a full breakdown was given but there was no mention of police reservists. How do you decide whether you are removing a police reservist from a police station and transferring them? What is the decision making to appoint a police reservist at the Actonville police station? This would really assist in visibility. On page 19, gender-based violence was a major issue. When looking at Actonville and Wattville there were many women who ran through the railway line as TransNet was there before. Unfortunately, young girls and women were getting raped here, therefor it could be seen that rape had increased.

The Chairperson asked if this could Ms Ismail’s last question. She cautioned Members not to use petitions in this way. Members had opportunities to ask questions to the Minister in the House. There was not enough time to ask so many questions. She asked that the Committee’s time not be abused. She had been very patient and would be losing patience with Members who abused the Committee to ask questions that should be asked in the House. This was not done in other committees so was not to be done in this Committee.

Ms Ismail apologised but explained that when the presentation was before Members, they would automatically scrutinise it. She was to cut to the chase and highlight the issues that had been brought to her attention in a public meeting held with the residents of the area.

The Chairperson said that Members had opportunities to ask these questions in the House.

Ms Ismail wanted to highlight that what she had to say was part of the petition heading on the drugs and drug syndicates in the area. She was not looking at the presentation, she was highlighting an issue.

The Chairperson said that she was leaving quite soon as the meeting was supposed to be done. She listened very carefully, had been very patient, and asked that the Committee not be abused.

Mr Whitfield knew that the Chairperson needed to leave but asked for some clarity. How was Ms Ismail abusing the Committee? If she had one more question it would not hurt if she just asked the question which related to the petition. Other Members had been able to ask questions and Mr Waters had listed many questions. SAPS was still here and it was 12h40. The meeting would be done in 10 minutes.

The Chairperson said that the meeting would fall apart. She had said that she was very patient, Mr Waters and Mr Seithlolo had been given a lot of time. If a lot of time was given, this ate into the time of the Committee. She asked that the patience of the Chairperson not be taken for granted. Ms Ismail was allowed a last question.

Ms Ismail said that the petition stated that the Committee was requested to address the high crime rate in Actonville and Wattville and increase the number in police kiosks and trained policemen due to the issues on the ground. Was there any way that SAPS and the Committee could address the issues noted on the petition to address the high crime rate?

Ms Faku thought that what had been outlined was important going forward, especially for Members sitting in the Committee. If there were issues brought forward, the Minister at least had to be engaged. An email could be sent to the Minister on other issues. She was not saying that the matters that were raised were not serious, but the Minister, Deputy Minister and Provincial Commissioner were first to be engaged with because there were these platforms. As a Member of Parliament, she spoke to all of these people as she had the right to do so. This was a waste of time. People had travelled from far away to listen to things that could have been resolved over a short period of time. The issues that were raised by Mr Waters were different to Ms Ismail’s, which could have been raised in an email. If there was no response to the email, then the process of petition would have to be gone through. SAPS was to respond via email. If issues were not raised it came back to the Committee, which she could not understand. If reservists were needed then the Provincial Commissioner needed to be spoken to. If there was a need for community outreach programmes, Members were to write this to the relevant ministers and be brought as petitions.

The Chairperson thought that Members were reaching the stage where they were abusing petitions. There were generally two types of petitions: a special petitions and public or general petition. A special petition was when an individual made a specific request or asked for personal relief from the State which was not authorised by law. This is such as access to pension or the concerns from the previous petitions. A public petition was when a group of people with similar interests request general relief or redress of a grievance. Each and every member of the country had the same grievance of gender-based violence. Did this mean that each constituency and each ward was going to petition the Committee? As a Member what was being requested was impossible and would not be able to be dealt with in a petition. She would then have to allow all Members to come to this Committee and present petitions. She made a ruling that responses would be given back in writing and told Mr Whitfield that the Committee might sit without a chairperson very soon.

Mr Whitfield thought that the comments were noted and did not want the Committee to make the Speaker’s job their job. If the Speaker sent petitions to the Committee they had to be considered. He asked that the Chairperson take this up with the Speaker’s Office. If the Chairperson believed that these petitions were invalid, which was the sense that he was getting, perhaps this needed to be taken up with the Speaker’s Office and not the Committee. Obviously, there were members of SAPS and resources being used to deal with this. The other issue was that Members asked questions to the Minister in terms of Parliamentary questions which was 100% correct. Sometimes the responses that Members received were not satisfactory. Members would then go back to the community who would indicate that they wanted the issue to be taken further. This was where a petition emanated from. The other issue was that as a Member of the Committee he had written more than six or seven letters to police and never received a response. Respectfully, petitions were a legitimate channel for communities to raise their grievances through Members. The contents and concerns of the petitions were noted but Members could not be dismissive of petitions sent to the Committee. He thought that this needed to be taken up with the Speaker’s Office because it was not the first time that the issue had been raised in the Committee today. If the Speaker was sending invalid petitions to the Committee then this needed to be taken up with the Speaker. However, the petitions were sent to the Committee, the Committee dealt with them and gave Members and opportunity to respond and have an engagement. He knew that the Committee had run out of time and he accepted that there would be written responses to Members, but he asked that the Committee not be dismissive of the content of the petitions brought to the Committee.

The Chairperson said that she had been very patient and prioritised petitions. She said this consistently. There was not a single petition that she had overlooked. Members knew that there were matters of gender-based violence that the Committee had to address alongside a number of other matters. However, there were processes to addressing them. For example, and not to be dismissive, if the Committee had to listen to all of the petitions on gender-based violence then the Committee would never get done with their work. When she responded to the public, she told them that gender-based violence would be dealt with and responded to as a Committee. This was why she said that there were certain matters that the Committee could not sit and respond to. She was spending time on this so that it could be understood that parameters needed to be set for these petitions. She took it clearly that she should speak to the Speaker and that the Committee had a definite way forward on how they were going to deal with the matter of petitions. Thus far, she had been very lenient and patient with petitions. She thanked Ms Ismail for bringing the petition and assured her that the Committee would respond to the petitions on a regular basis.

Lt Gen Mgwenya said that in terms of the discrepancies that had been raised, it was said that there had been discrepancies in the responses received from the Minister’s responses and the information presented. SAPS would have to get the information referred to, a comparison would be made, and SAPS would respond to it if there were discrepancies to be found. In terms of the liquor stores that were next to schools, SAPS did not have the mandate of deciding as to where or when to issue liquor licences. SAPS mostly relied on the Liquor Board that would have issued those licenses after which SAPS would execute their responsibilities. SAPS agreed that in some instances this made it very difficult, including for SAPS members to execute their responsibilities. In terms of the issue of reservists, reservists were continuously identified as a need in SAPS because it was believed that they were a force multiplier. To this extent SAPS recently advertised vacancies for the reservists and would be adding to the current numbers.

Maj Gen Wiese explained that in terms of deployment there were to be four vehicles at the sectors, not three. In terms of the question raised on the new police station: feasibility study had been concluded and resources were being awaited. Page 26 of the presentation mentioned that it was completed. In terms of the kiosk, there was no kiosk available at Actonville but there was one adjacent. Whenever a station commander needed a kiosk, they were to ask the neighbouring stations for the kiosk and they could utilise it. Note had been taken of this and he would talk to the Minister of the Executive Council’s office to ask if another kiosk could not be allocated here. Regarding the unfortunate incident that happened the past Monday at 17h45 where three Indian males had been shot, at a high level he had been instructed that the investigation was being dealt with at a provincial level. A preliminary investigation indicated that it was related to gangsters, thus both the suspects and victims were trying to be profiled. It was then found that it was for sure gang related. The district commissioner had also attended the scene as and when it happened on Monday.

The Chairperson explained that she was not rushing anybody. She repeated that she had been extremely patient and thanked all Members for their patience. She thanked the police for their responses and knew the Deputy Commissioner, Deputy Minister and Minister would be reported to. She thanked SAPS for their presentations and their report on Basson – the Committee recognised that progress had been made. She also thanked SAPS for sending her monthly updates as Committee Members asked for regular updates. She was to be borne with as a chairperson as everyone had items that they wanted on the agenda but she did not have sufficient time. This was unless the Committee resolved to meeting two or three times a week. This was an option to be discussed in the next meeting – whether a meeting should be scheduled for a Tuesday and a Wednesday. It was becoming very difficult for herself and the Secretariat to manoeuvre a plan of action. Members were also to understand that they had not done an oversight visit in a long time. Members were expected to do oversight visits and were to remain focused. The Committee programme should still include oversight visits, the Committee was still to go to budget hearings and she was to be borne with. She would come to the Committee with a proposal in terms of the Committee having to meet more than once a week.

The meeting was adjourned.

Share this page: