The Portfolio Committee on Police and the Select Committee on Security and Justice met with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on its annual plan and budget for 2020/21. This was a continuation from a previous meeting and IPID began by responding to outstanding questions. The Deputy Minister of Police was in attendance.
The Committees determined that the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and the Ministry of Police were in contravention of legislation by failing to appoint a permanent head of IPID in February 2020 after a protracted saga of appointments and dismissals of acting heads. The Committee debated the length of extension period that the Minister be allowed in order to appoint a permanent head, with some members suggesting one month due to the numerous delays, while others wished to amend legislation to remove the appointment process from the Executive entirely, into the hands of Parliament, to assure IPID’s independence based on extension of principles outlined in the Robert McBride judgement (McBride v Minister of Police and another). The Committees resolved to allow the Executive three months to find a suitable candidate for permanent head of IPID as Executive Director.
The Committees voiced discontent at the state of instability IPID was enduring as a result of the non-appointment of a permanent head. Many members identified the appointment of a permanent head as critical to ensuring IPID functioned more efficiently and effectively in pursuit of its mandate, which was noted to be of particular importance during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The Committees emphasised the importance of finding a candidate who was fit and of proper quality to take the position, urging the Department not to compromise quality in order to find a candidate within three months, particularly given the length of the period where the position had not been filled leaving little excuse of inadequate time constraints.
The Committees also discussed the North Gauteng High Court’s judgement made by Judge Hans Fabricius (Khosa judgement) from 15 May 2020 which had voiced concern about the role of the leadership of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster in relation to allegations of brutality and abuse by members of the SANDF and the South African Police Service (SAPS). The Deputy Minister of Police, Cassel Mathale, said that the SANDF and SAPS would comply with most of the demands of the Khosa judgement, such as drafting a code of conduct to govern SANDF and SAPS activities during the COVID-19 lockdown period, which would be signed by the Executive of both bodies by 22 May 2020. Deputy Minister Mathale said that aspects of the Khosa judgement would be appealed, however.
The Deputy Minister and IPID were asked to submit answers to outstanding questions in writing.
The Chairperson said the meeting would begin by finalising a previous unfinished IPID meeting. She would allow IPID to present opening responses before opening for the first round of members’ questions. After responses, the Committees would be allowed further rounds of questions before moving on to deal with the Khosa judgement matter.
She said that Deputy Minister Mathale would join the meeting late. Minister Cele would not be present. Some members of the Select Committee on Security and Justice would join late from another Committee meeting, while others would have to leave early for another meeting.
The whips, Mr AB Gxoyiya (ANC; Northern Cape) and Mr E Maphatsoe (ANC) had been excellent during the period in assisting the Committees.
The meeting would begin with IPID summarising their written responses to questions from the previous meeting. Thereafter, there would be another round of questions from the members. She would then take comments on the Khosa judgement.
Briefing by IPID
Mr Patrick Setshedi, Acting Executive Director, IPID, outlined IPID’s written responses to the 13 May 2020 Budget Hearing.
The Chairperson said the Committees did not want the presentation again. They wanted the responses to the questions.
Question One was asked by Mr AG Whitfield (DA) on Programme Two’s budget constraints, and why they had not been adjusted downwards. In the new APP, the targets had been merged under performance indicators.
The Chairperson asked if the responses had been sent to the members.
Mr Setshedi said they had.
The Chairperson asked for succinct presentations.
Mr O Terblanche (DA) was concerned about not having the Minister or Deputy Minister present in the meeting.
The Chairperson said Deputy Minister Mathale would join the meeting after the press briefing.
Question Two was asked about the majority of IPID budget spending being on compensation of employees and how this was planned on being more efficient. IPID was reprioritising high impact cases such as death and rape within the limited allocation.
Question Three was asked by Mr H Shembeni (EFF) about the removal of two indicators. The strategic plan and APP had been developed in consultation where IPID had been advised to report on them in the annual operational plan.
Question Four was asked by Mr A Shaik (NFP) about the budget and capacity constraints in achieving IPID’s objectives. IPID was continuously striving to reduce expenditure on non-core budget items to do so.
Question Five was asked by Mr P Groenewald (FF+) on how IPID distinguished between COVID-19 cases and normal cases. The cases of COVID-19 related to all cases emanating from COVID-19 operations from SAPS and Metro Police members.
Question Six was asked by Mr Terblanche about budget constraints and the re-opening of satellite offices accompanied by personnel reductions. The numbers of personnel had been decreased due to budget constraints but the reopening had been informed by the distances that had been needed to be travelled by investigators to conduct investigations, as well as the high rates of case intakes in those regions.
Question Seven was asked by Mr G Michalakis (DA; Free State) on how IPID would address the increase in complaints due to declining resources. IPID allocated resources based on the size of the province, the case intake, and the number of investigations allocated to each province. The Free State had been allocated relatively more investigators.
Question Eight was asked by Mr S Zandamela (EFF; Mpumalanga) on the reallocation of building being rented or bought by IPID. IPID would be renting the building identified through the Department of Public Works.
Question Nine was asked by Mr K Motsamai (EFF; Gauteng) on the problem of outstanding cases. IPID was committed to investigation and completion of all reported cases. IPID was considering the establishment of an intervention team to assist the provinces where necessary.
Question Ten was asked about addressing IPID’s capacity constraints. IPID was focusing on reducing expenditure on non-core items to reprioritise spending on high impact cases.
Mr Shaik thanked IPID for the presentation. He said it was clear, however, that the response was not satisfactory. This was perhaps to the fault of IPID itself. There were significant challenges in doing justice to investigations, particularly in terms of time and resources at IPID.
The average of 25 complaints, received by IPID, were substantially increasing as a result of COVID-19. The COVID-19 situation was expected to continue for a year. What was going to be done about the backlog? What percentage of complaints received by IPID against SAPS members were related to corruption?
Ms M Mmola (ANC; Mpumalanga) asked about slide 24, strategic plan; where it said cases had increased from 1304. When had cases been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for decisions on whether to prosecute or not, and were there follow ups on referrals?
About the increase in number of disciplinary cases received by IPID, could the Committees receive a detailed record of the cases in writing?
Mr Shembeni asked how many cases of corruption of top management officials of SAPS were being investigated by IPID. How long had these cases been under investigation? What were the outcomes of these investigations? Were there any consequences where members were being arrested or dismissed among the SAPS top management as a result?
Mr Terblanche voiced concern as the Committees were clearly dealing with an underfunded and under-resourced department.
The Minister had failed in his duty. An Executive Director for IPID needed to be appointed. The process had been ongoing for four years. Minister Cele needed to explain to the Committees what was being done to rectify the situation. It was a failure to South Africa and the Committees.
Mr Groenewald asked whether the Committees could ask questions about the Khosa judgement in this round of questions.
He voiced dissatisfaction and asked how IPID defined a “COVID-19 operation”. The statistics provided covered the period of the lockdown. IPID had then distinguished between the lockdown period and cases related to the COVID-19 operation, what was this distinction? For example, if there were unlawful arrests; how was it distinguished if the arrests were COVID-19 related? How many cases had been submitted to IPID during the period?
Replying to Mr Groenewald, the Chairperson said that the Committees had three hours for the meeting with only 30 minutes used up. They had sufficient time to get to the details of the Khosa judgement. This was the reason she had arranged the follow up meeting with IPID. However, if members wished to include questions regarding the Khosa judgment in their first round of questions, they could. The Committees had been speaking about the appointment of the IPID head; it had been a bone of contention. The meeting still had two and a half hours, however, and members had “no planes to catch” as far as she was aware.
Mr Whitfield thanked the Chairperson for creating the opportunity to revisit the IPID presentation.
About IPID’s decision ready targets in relation to the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) , how would these be determined? Was IPID in collaboration with APCOF to improve the achievement of targets? The targets appeared to be a “copy and paste” exercise from previous APPs.
On case docket inspection targets being set at five, what was that indicator “about”? Why was the target of only five case docket inspection targets per year set?
What was the optimal budget required for IPID to be able to operate at full capacity? This figure should include a projection required for a full staff complement and being able to ensure the adjustment of targets upwards in order to deal with the case backlog at IPID.
Mr Maphatsoe said the issue of the IPID head had been raised. Representatives from the Executive were not present. He asked whether the Committees should not wait for Deputy Minister Mathale to join the meeting before addressing such matters. If Deputy Minister Mathale was present, he would raise his question. The issue of the IPID head really had been a lengthy matter. IPID could not perform optimally without the matter being resolved. The matter also tied in to the general shortage of staff within IPID. In the previous financial year, the Committee had pledged to support IPID in getting more funding to achieve its mandate. The issue of the IPID head required the Executive to be present. The Committees could not allow the matter to continue. It had been ongoing over two years – the Ministry had been allowed to head hunt. If you head hunted, you knew the person that you wanted. There could not be a failure in such a lengthy head-hunting process. He wished for the Committees to raise the matter very strongly in order to give the Executive a time frame. This could be, example, giving the Executive one month to fill the post of the IPID head.
Mr Maphatsoe’s second issue was that in their previous meeting, the Committee had said to IPID not to bring cases that were not finalised to the Committee whilst they were still being investigated.
When IPID was called before the Committees to clarify, sufficient information would be to provide the number of cases that were still under investigation at IPID. IPID needed to keep the Committees informed about the numbers of cases that were under investigation. But only when cases were finalised, did IPID need to appear before the Committees with the specifics about cases, particularly regarding the findings. When bringing cases that were still under investigation, IPID could not say anything about the details. This made it difficult for IPID, particularly as it linked to vacancies at investigative level.
He pleaded that the issue of the IPID head be returned to when Deputy Minister Mathale entered the meeting. If the appointment did not yet have a timeframe, the Committees could provide the Ministry with a time frame. Mr Maphatsoe wanted the appointment made by the following month.
The Chairperson said that IPID would not be able to respond to questions regarding matters of the appointment of the Executive Director. Mr Maphatsoe had raised a relevant point in this regard. She had noted that all members had asked questions in relation to the matter in the meeting thus far. As it was a joint meeting of the NA and the NCOP, the Committees had “more muscle”, and should take the opportunity to give the Ministry a strict deadline within which to appoint a permanent head of IPID. It would be a failure of the Committees’ oversight if this was not done. It had been recorded in the Khosa judgement that IPID was inadequately funded and had a shortage of trained personnel to carry out its mandate as it was unable to investigate complaints efficiently. She asked how the public could have faith and confidence in IPID given these constraints.
When discussing the Khosa judgement in relation to the number of cases being reported to IPID during the lockdown period, the Committees were told the cases were “being investigated”. When such investigations involved instances where journalists were being chased and victimised, for example, the Committees had “no way to turn a blind eye”. It was time that IPID provided the Committees with indications of what was being done on cases, even if these were under active investigation. These details did not necessarily need to compromise the investigations; the Committees simply required certain details regarding plans of actions with investigations so as to ensure the evasion of answering could not continue.
Ms Mmola asked whether the IPID delegation felt there was stability at IPID; particularly in relation to the constant changing of Executive Directors at the entity. Was there stability in the organisation?
Ms J Mofokeng (ANC) supported the point raised by Mr Maphatsoe. The Committees needed the Executive to be present to deal with the issues of IPID. This was not only about the head of IPID – it was a matter of stability within IPID itself in terms of its working relationships. She was particularly concerned about the changing of leadership. The Committees should be doing something among the members. She asked the IPID delegation if they had grievances, who was dealing with them?
On the matter of cases, she said the Committees should receive the cases as they came in per police station, per province, in order to be able to monitor progress and caseload demands. IPID had no case monitoring system. With this system the Committees would be able to follow in relation to what was reported in the media regarding IPID’s progress on cases. For example the police had chased a man who had fallen and had a heart attack. Then IPID had said it was not their problem. The Committees needed a schedule and plan with regard to cases from IPID.
She said the Committees could also not “throw everything” at Mr Setshedi regarding issues at IPID.
Ms Z Faku (ANC) agreed with the whip (Mr Maphatsoe). Even in the 2016 judgment between the Minister of Police and Mr McBride containing rulings on the IPID head it had requested Parliament to review the act concerning the appointment of the head of IPID.
For the Committees, it was an important time frame for the appointment of the IPID head to be in place. IPID needed stability, there was currently none at all. The Committees could not hold people ‘acting’ leadership positions accountable. Parliament had also not adhered to the 2016 Court judgement which had given 24 months to amend the IPID Act.
She understood that IPID was trying to do its best given the circumstances. IPID was operating under a severe caseload with significant financial constraints. IPID should in particular have the capacity to respond to sometimes spurious media allegations with an internal communications department.
She said that the Committees could not lie and say they were happy with what was happening to IPID. The IPID permanent head needed to be appointed within a set time frame. She was unhappy with the Executive not being present at the meeting.
The Chairperson asked Ms Shaikh to wait with her questions until IPID had responded. She said that there were overlaps in IPID’s previous presentation and the matters that needed to be addressed in relation to the Khosa judgement but there was sufficient time to take all of the members’ questions.
She would ensure that Minister Cele received a recording of the meeting to be made aware of the urgency of matters that were being raised by the members. She would also ensure that the Ministry would respond to the questions raised in the meeting.
Mr Setshedi said that the IPID management team would come in to respond to aspects of the questions in more detail after he had covered initial responses.
About Ms Faku’s question regarding quality assurance on investigations, some of IPID’s cases had been noted as “prematurely closed”. He had issued a directive to IPID provincial heads to ensure that they conducted thorough investigations. He had extended the scope of the directive to confirmation of statistics and information so as to assure a quality assurance role. The IPID National Committee would also look into cases before they were pronounced as closed.
About Ms Faku’s questions on communications, Mr Setshedi agreed. Communication was a part of IPID that was lacking. IPID had recently lost its Director of Communications. Mr Setshedi had seconded an interim appointment from the Eastern Cape branch in the meantime, while IPID had finalised the appointment of a new permanent Director of Communications who was set to start on 1 June 2020. Mr Setshedi felt that the communications issues mentioned by Ms Faku would improve after that date. He agreed that some accusations directed at IPID that were made by journalists were unfounded and needed responding to.
Concerning the details of cases, he appreciated that the members realised the capacity challenges and financial constraints faced by IPID. The decision had been taken to address high-impact cases within IPID. The decision had been taken so that, for example, where IPID was called to investigate cases where one was a death and the other involved an assault, IPID would in theory have the capability to be able to address the death case immediately. This was not to say the matter of assault was not important, but IPID had to take the current resources into consideration.
On Ms Mmola’s question of cases referred to the NPA, the cases had been referred to the NPA and IPID had received a response. This regularly came in the form of a monthly report. Mr Setshedi said he would be able to share the details of such cases with the Committees.
On the disciplinary cases in writing that were recommended to SAPS, he said they could be provided to the Committees by the following week. These contained the detailed disciplinary cases recommended to SAPS and the responses.
On the matter of stability at IPID, Mr Setshedi said the only issue in terms of personnel was the IPID head. Other open positions within the organisation had been filled the moment they became vacant. Therefore, ordinary positions within IPID were stable. The more pressing issue was that of capacity. According to the IPID Act, IPID was to have no less than 535 investigators, at that time IPID only had 391 members in such positions. Mr Setshedi said that IPID required more investigators to deal with the number and volume of cases at the organisation.
About the corruption question posed by Mr Shembeni, IPID was working with the NPA investigative directorate. A meeting was scheduled for the following week to look through all the relevant cases together. IPID would be checking the progress on corruption made with regard to top members of SAPS.
On the matter of distinguishing between lockdown COVID-19 cases and other cases for IPID, when defining COVID-19 cases, IPID had referred to all cases that had occurred during COVID-19 operations. There were other cases that had occurred outside this period. Other cases had occurred, for example, before lockdown but had been brought to IPID during the lockdown. These were not part of IPID’s COVID-19 operations.
On Mr Shaik’s question about the limited capacity at IPID and being able to deal with registered cases, there had been an increase in numbers due to COVID-19. IPID had followed the lockdown instructions by initially using a skeleton staff contingent. However, due to the increasing numbers of cases that were being referred to IPID as a result of COVID-19, Mr Setshedi said he realised that he needed to release a directive that brought all of IPID’s investigators back to work. This return had been contingent on PPE provision in all provinces but had been undertaken.
On Mr Whitfield’s question about APCOF, Mr Setshedi said APCOF was one of IPID’s external stakeholders and the two organisations had engaged on a number of occasions. The two had been scheduled to meet regarding IPID’s APP but the meeting had been derailed by the COVID-19 lockdown. Mr Setshedi said that they were planning a new meeting in order to incorporate input on the APP.
On the question of whether IPID knew how much funding it wanted in order to achieve fully-fledged capacity, Mr Setshedi said IPID’s Expansion Strategy had been presented to the previous Portfolio Committee and National Treasury. The Strategy covered projected increases in IPID’s footprint in all provinces that was costed at around R230 million in the previous financial year. The figure could change given it being a new financial year. He offered to avail a copy of the Strategy to members.
About Mr Maphatsoe’s question on cases still under investigation, Mr Setshedi said he was not in a position to discuss much about cases that were still under investigation. He could only share what had been done by IPID. This could include death cases related to COVID-19 and what IPID had done and the death status post mortem reports.
On the Chairperson’s question about the case of the journalist in the Free State, Mr Setshedi said that IPID had done their best on the case. A team had been dispatched . The journalist’s phone had been turned off. IPID investigators had then contacted the relatives of the journalist to try and get hold of them. After being unable to do so, IPID had issued a statement asking the journalist to contact IPID nationally or at provincial level. This had been done the previous day. IPID had also assured the journalist that if they felt their life was at risk, they should make IPID aware of this and IPID would ensure all necessary protection measures were taken. Mr Setshedi said it seemed that the journalist had fled the country to Lesotho.
On the last question by Ms Mofokeng about requesting a report of cases from IPID, Mr Setshedi said IPID did have a report with details of all cases that had been reported to IPID, with classifications of cases, the police stations concerned, and the case numbers and the progress that had been made. He had instructed it to be sent to the secretary the previous day. He could also share the report with members if it had not yet been received.
Mr Setshedi asked his team to fill in any gaps in his responses with additional details.
An IPID member responded to the question on decision-ready cases by Mr Whitfield in terms of quality. IPID did have decision-ready dockets which were currently with the courts. Some of these decision-ready dockets had indeed been returned with instructions from the courts requiring them to be further addressed in terms of quality. Before these reports were qualified as decision ready, they would be checked by IPID’s provincial management levels. Supervisors gave instructions to investigators before the reports were referred to the provincial head to be determined as decision ready. A report would be compiled for the attention of the NPA once it was deemed to be decision ready. Other matters were referred to SAPS for a decision. He acknowledged that there were instances where a case was referred and matters within it needed to receive further attention. Due to the magnitude of cases it was sometimes difficult to respond to such instructions requiring further attention in a timeous manner due to the volume of cases IPID received. He did have the figures of the numbers of post-decision ready cases in dockets. The IPID provincial offices were doing their best to try to ensure that all cases received attention.
Mr Shaik thanked the colleagues from IPID for the responses. He said that they had not responded to his question on what percentage of cases were currently corruption-related at IPID.
Further, he asked what percentage of IPID’s cases concerned gender-based violence and the theft of firearms.
How independent did IPID believe it was? Did IPID experience interference with or reluctance from certain witnesses? These could be interferences from SAPS officers, or higher authorities from within SAPS, for example, that tried to suppress investigations.
He asked what IPID’s view was, after conducting many investigations, on the root cause of the attitude and behaviour of SAPS members when it came to violent acts towards members of South African society. For example, the attacks on members of the public at mosques in Mpumalanga. SAPS had gone to arrest those in violation of the law at the mosque, but this had been preceded by a verbal attack on the members at the mosque. He asked whether there should be provision of ongoing training to SAPS members to allow them to better understand what their responsibility was. He said SAPS was employing people who desperately needed a job. He had suggested introducing such training in schools from the tenth grade, which could tie in to a diploma in policing. SAPS needed people with a passion and understanding of policing.
Mr Shaik asked whether IPID was following up on cases reported to the NPA in order to see that their hard work was not being done in vain. He asked whether the state was able to go through the Asset Forfeiture Unit and recover money. What percentage of those being investigated were still operating and what percentage were suspended, especially in serious cases of corruption?
He said the Committees were not yet touching on the Khosa matter.
The Chairperson opened for further questions.
Mr Whitfield thanked Mr Setshedi for his refreshing responses. However, there was an issue of case dockets that had not been responded to. He had asked what the purpose of the indicator was and why the target had been set so low.
The issues of the Khosa judgement overlapped with what the Committees and IPID were currently discussing. He thanked the Committee’s Research Department for producing a report on the Khosa judgement. It contained an important principle for the Committees to make note to ask Minister Cele to appoint the head of IPID. The Committees also knew from the McBride judgement that there were constitutional principles that the Minister could not be involved in removing the head of IPID because such actions related to interference in IPID’s operations, thereby undermining its independence. The Committees needed to be cognisant with this when considering the matter of the appointment of the IPID head. Many had felt the McBride judgement had not gone far enough. He suggested the Committees should appoint a research team to deal with the matter. As long as the Executive maintained power over the appointment of the head of an independent watchdog, the entity’s independence would remain in question. This was particularly important in when considering the Committees were dealing with a culture of police abuse within a militarised police services. There was no respect of IPID from SAPS. He feared that the role the Minister played in the appointment of a head of IPID led to a culture of impunity in SAPS officers, when they should in fact fear conducting inappropriate actions. He urged the Committees to take note of the principles of the McBride judgement.
The Chairperson said that the McBride judgment had already been mentioned in the meeting. Ms Faku and Mr Maphatsoe had mentioned the fact that it had occurred in 2016. The Constitutional Court had ordered Parliament to look at the defects of the IPID Act. It had mandated a response within 24 months. This deadline would have been in 2018. It was four years later, and the matter had still not been finalised.
Mr Groenewald said that what the Chairperson had just said was a serious allegation against the Portfolio Committee on Police. The matter had to be looked into. The Portfolio Committee had certain obligations as well as powers.
The Chairperson provided some background. The amended Bill had lapsed at the end of the Fifth Parliament. The Bill was revived by thw NCOP last year, passed by that House and referred to the President for assent. The matter had been discussed with President Ramaphosa. Currently, the Parliamentary cycle that was required had been completed. Parliament should not be completely blamed for the Bill’s lack of completion. What Mr Whitfield was saying was correct. The Committees needed to determine whether a permanent head of IPID should be appointed immediately or wait for the Presidency’s deliberations on the Bill.
Mr Groenewald said the Committees needed to follow up with the Presidency.
He was dissatisfied with the answer of his question regarding what was defined as a COVID-19 operation. After IPID’s answer, he had more questions than before. He understood that cases that had occurred before lockdown had been added to the statistics. He quoted that IPID had included “received cases related to COVID-19” from 26 March to 18 May 2020”. Less than 50% of complaints received in the period were COVID-19 operations. What did IPID define as a COVID-19 operation? He needed a clearer definition of what a COVID-19 operation was.
Had IPID been approached by Minister Cele or Police Commissioner General Sitole with specific reference to the Khosa case? There should be a mechanism in place where the public could lay complaints with regard to torture. Were the Minister and Commissioner going to play a role with regard to IPID’s investigation on the Khosa matter?
Mr Terblanche said he was glad to see that Deputy Minister Mathale had joined the meeting.
The Chairperson welcomed Deputy Minster Mathale who was coming from a media conference. She said the press conference had gone very well.
Mr Terblanche said he wished to make an addition. He said that the DA had been flooded with complaints against IPID and the police. These reflected the inaccessibility of IPID to the public. This was a serious concern.
Ms S Shaikh (ANC; Limpopo) said it was important in terms of the Khosa judgement relating to IPID that questions regarding the stability within IPID needed to be investigated further. This related to the suggestions around providing the Minister with a time frame for the appointment of a permanent Executive Director of IPID.
There had been discussion around the amendment, as per the Constitutional Court judgement, of the IPID Bill. As the Chairperson had indicated, this had been passed by the NCOP. In terms of the appointment of an Executive Director, it would be in line with what the Constitutional Court had indicated as the Court had provided interim relief until Parliament could act due to the ending of the Fifth Parliament. When the appointment was made, it needed to be in line with the Constitutional Court provisions. She agreed that there was a need to impose a time frame around the appointment. However, the independence of IPID needed to be paid close attention to.
On the IPID Amendment Bill, it was in IPID’s APP, she needed an indication from IPID of what their plan was and the timeframe of when they thought the Bill would be referred to Parliament.
She said that Mr Setshedi had indicated that the IPID expansion strategy had been presented to the Portfolio Committee previously and had indicated that a budget of R230 million was required. For the current budget, what percentage of the Expansion Strategy was being addressed with what had been allocated with the current IPID budget?
Ms Faku thanked Mr Setshedi for the way he had responded and his hands-on nature. The Committees also understood that there were gaps within IPID. These included the capacity issues and the appointment of a permanent head. She was happy that Deputy Minister Mathale was present. The Committees wanted a time frame for the appointment of a permanent head. If there was no one responsible to respond at IPID, it would never get operational.
On the Khosa matter, there were three issues that the judge had requested. It had been commanded that SAPS members did not torture anyone. Had the orders granted in terms of the judgement been implemented? The Khosa judgement gave an indication of what the Committee had been pressuring IPID to finalise.
She pleaded with the Committees not to pressurise IPID to investigate cases; IPID needed to be given full freedom to conduct its investigations properly. In some cases IPID needed to reopen cases. Sometimes there was too much pressure put on IPID to close cases too quickly.
She hoped that the Khosa case was an eye opener for IPID. It was important when doing investigations that IPID was thorough. She requested that IPID reopen any cases with red flags.
The Chairperson asked whether Deputy Minister Mathale or IPID wished to respond first.
Deputy Minister Mathale said IPID should respond first.
Mr Setshedi greeted Deputy Minister Mathale.
On the issue of definitions raised by Mr Groenewald, the IPID Chief Director of Investigations would answer this in detail.
On the Khosa matter about whether IPID had received an instruction from the Minister based on the Khosa judgement, the answer was No. IPID had updated Minister Cele on its position. Resources that would be used to create a freely accessible mechanism and a special investigation should, in IPID’s view, rather be used to address the organisational constraints under the national state of disaster.
The Court recommendations for IPID had been completed for Metro Police on 22 May 2020. The SAPS recommendations would also be completed. IPID had submitted the investigation report that day to the Court. IPID was a mechanism that was better placed to investigate all cases in regard to its mandate.
On the case docket management question asked by Mr Whitfield, it had not been responded to. He handed over to his team to provide a response.
A second unidentified member of the IPID delegation addressed the question on why there were only five case docket inspections as a target. IPID had an Integrity Strengthening Unit whose responsibility included case docket inspections. This was a way of ensuring the integrity of IPID investigations. The Unit perused all dockets to ensure that standard operating procedures were adhered to by investigators. However, it was a two-person unit. The target of dive inspections was therefore due to the financial and capacity constraints. The members of the Unit could not move to all nine provinces in the country due to the financial costs. Therefore, the target was that the members visit five of the nine provinces each year to inspect all the dockets within the provinces. The Unit also had additional responsibilities, such as investigating unethical conduct, making it even more difficult to get to all nine provinces and ensure a reasonable turnaround time.
The first unidentified member of the IPID delegation returned to the issue of the definition of COVID-19 cases. It was understood that when lockdown had been pronounced, law enforcement agencies had been given responsibility to enforce the laws of the lockdown. COVID-19 cases for IPID were therefore those where law enforcement agencies had been enforcing those regulations of the Disaster Management Act. There were other cases that had been alluded to that had occurred in months prior to the lockdown period but these had only been reported to IPID during the lockdown period. These were not classified as cases related to the enforcement of COVID-19 regulations.
On the corruption cases question asked by Mr Shaik, he was unsure whether the question was about old cases where all the others were reported relating to corruption, or whether they were those that had occurred during the lockdown period. During lockdown, there had been 19 cases of corruption reported to IPID for investigation. Those related to the enforcement of COVID-19 regulations amounted to 12.
Mr Setshedi said, on Ms Shaikh’s strategy question about how much had been allocated in IPID’s current budget allocation, none had been allocated. The IPID Expansion Strategy had always been submitted to National Treasury as separate from its regular budget.
On the matter of interference from and the relationship with SAPS, there were monthly meetings with SAPS to discuss the recommendations made by IPID. There was engagement where there were challenges about the implementation of recommendations. These took place on a monthly basis.
On Mr Shaik’s question about any challenges faced by IPID in terms of interference with witnesses, IPID was not aware of any challenges from the witness point of view. The only challenge during lockdown had been when witnesses were quarantined. IPID investigators had then been unable to get to the witnesses due to the movement restrictions. Otherwise there were usually no challenges in that regard.
About the follow ups on statistics related to the NPA recommendations, the figures could be made available. These included all recommendations made by IPID to the NPA and the responses by the NPA. He said the digital report could be given to the Committees.
Deputy Minister Mathale apologised for joining the meeting late.
Mr Maphatsoe wished to raise a point of order. He wished to put forward issues to Deputy Minister Mathale and reiterate issues that had been raised about the appointment of the IPID head. He said the Committees were unhappy in the manner in which the Executive was moving. He said it was going too slowly. The Executive had been given over two years to make an appointment.
The Chairperson asked to first give Deputy Minister Mathale the opportunity to respond. If this response did not satisfy the members, they would be given another opportunity for questions.
Deputy Minister Mathale asked the Chairperson to summarise the matter mentioned so he would be better able to respond.
The Chairperson said she had specifically asked not to respond to the matter at that time because the Committees were still to discuss the Khosa judgement and it would come up then. She knew Minister Cele was going to challenge Khosa judgement.
The Committees had been proposing to give the Minister one month to make a permanent appointment. They had been concerned with repetition when discussing the Khosa judgement. Deputy Minister Mathale could respond to members in the next round of questions.
Deputy Minister Mathale said it was good to know that the Ministry would be given a month as a decision made by Parliament. This ensured it was an issue that that Ministry needed to respond to and would ensure they were concluding it within a time frame. He said it was within the Committees’ rights to express such an opinion and take a decision to make the Executive comply, which was helpful. Thereafter, any challenges with implementation could be reported back on by the Executive.
If the Khosa judgement was yet to be discussed, he asked to be informed of the questions that had been raised before he had joined the meeting.
The Chairperson said there would be another round of questions for the Khosa judgement. She asked whether Deputy Minister Mathale wished to speak.
Deputy Minister Mathale said he would explain what was being done about the Khosa judgement. In the Khosa judgement, the complainant had sought a restatement of the law. This concerned the Police Act and the Criminal Procedure Act and how they related to police attitudes towards the community.
Section Six of the judgement spoke to what the first and fourth respondents needed to do. This concerned both the Ministers of Police and Defence who needed to ensure internal investigations into the incident, accompanied by reports, to be sent to the Court by 4 June 2020. Of particular concern within Section Six was section 6.1.1. regarding the treatment of Mr Khosa. Here, the Department agreed with the Court ruling, and would not appeal the matter and would comply with the orders.
While Mr Terblanche had said the entire judgement was being appealed, it was in fact Section 6.1.2. of the judgement on what was supposed to be done in response to the incident that was an issue. This concerned an internal investigation into the incident by the first and fourth respondents, into the treatment of any person whose rights may have been infringed upon during the state of national disaster by the SANDF, SAPS, or Metro Police departments. The issues of the merits and demerits of this section would be argued in court. The Department was complying with the rest of the judgement. He said they would respect the law, rules and code of conduct.
The Chairperson thanked Deputy Minister Mathale and opened for questions.
Mr Whitfield thanked Deputy Minister Mathale. He asked for clarity about his point on the Committees’ responsibility to deal with the appointment of the head of IPID. He said the Committees had an opportunity, considering the implications of the McBride judgement. The Committees had the opportunity to rectify the issues at IPID based on the principle of independence. There were many views on the matter. He asked the Chairperson for clarity whether the Committee had resolved to give the Executive one month to appoint the IPID head and the position of the Committee in relation to amending the legislation on appointment of the IPID head. The Committees needed to write legislation to protect the work of IPID. He asked Deputy Minister Mathale to respond to the instruction by the Committees to appoint a permanent head.
Mr Groenewald thanked Deputy Minister Mathale for his responses. In terms of the appeal, it did not make sense because the investigation was under time constraints and therefore could not comply with the 4 June 2020 deadline. But the matter was sub judice so it could not be commented on.
He was still awaiting the COVID-19 operations definition.
To Deputy Minister Mathale, he asked whether IPID was involved in the establishment of a mechanism for the public to lay complaints. Had such an instrument been formulated and established?
On the regulations or guidelines issued to SAPS members with regard to treatment of the public vis a vis torture, the section on arrest and use of force had been approved on 19 May 2020. The guidelines had been clearly laid out. In particular it had been emphasised that arrests could not be made in order to punish or harass. However, on social media it had come to his attention that a woman had been brutally arrested in Strand in the Western Cape. He wished to ask Deputy Minister Mathale how to ensure that when members of public were arrested, that Metro Police in the specific case but the Police in general, would not simply arrest in order to punish or harass members of the public.
Ms Faku said the Committees needed to give the Department at least three months to appoint the permanent IPID head.
Mr Terblanche wished to check whether the Committee was taking the decision for the appointment of the head of IPID. He strongly supported Mr Whitfield and that the Committees seriously needed to consider amending the Act to bring it in line with “a proper piece of legislation” to ensure all appointments and dismissals at IPID were dealt with in a proper way.
It was clear from IPID that the Department was seriously out of funding. What had been done in the interim?
The Chairperson apologised, saying the one-month deadline for the appointment of a permanent head of IPID had just been a proposal.
Mr Shaik hoped that IPID was not threatened by Deputy Minister Mathale’s presence.
The Chairperson asked Mr Shaik to withdraw the comment.
Mr Shaik withdrew the comment.
He said his question on the undue influence from senior management into the investigation of the conduct of SAPS officers had not been responded to.
He said it was urgent that the appointment of a permanent head of IPID happened or the amending of the Act happened soon. He said the Committees and IPID needed to be guided and urged by the current situation in the country under COVID-19.
Mr Gxoyiya wished to comment on the one month given for appointment of a permanent head of IPID. He said it was good to clarify the matter. He wished to say to Deputy Minister Mathale that given he had already accepted the allocation of the one month to conclude the appointment on behalf of the Department, whatever was being done needed to be ensured that it was undertaken as a thorough process. They needed to be able to recruit the best person who was suitable for the position. This would ensure that there would not be an issue of speeding up the appointment process and then later regretting the decision after appointing someone who was not up to the task
Ms Mofokeng commented on the DA’s suggestion to amend the Act. This would prolong the process. She suggested the Committees go on what had been proposed by Ms Faku which was to give three months for appointment. Meanwhile, the Committees needed to ensure that Mr Setshedi remained in office as acting head of IPID until that time. They did not want to see more “chopping and changing”. She said the members were not in the Committees alone, they were sent by their organisations. Some needed to go back and consult their organisations before deciding on how to vote in the meeting, as was being proposed by Mr Whitfield.
Ms Faku said Ms Mofokeng had covered her. She understood that the independence of IPID was necessary. The Committees could not take decisions in the current meeting. She also disagreed with changing the Act to allow the Committee to appoint the head of IPID.
Mr Shembeni thanked Deputy Minister Mathale. He requested that justice be done to South Africans when the appointment of the permanent head of IPID was conducted. Something was not right at the Department. It was being deliberate in its delaying on the appointment of the permanent head. IPID could not have such a long period without a leader at such an important institution. Moreover, IPID lacked the necessary budget, and capacity. The right person needed to be appointed to head the organisation. The Committees and the Department needed to get the right people in the right places after all the years without a head at IPID and “forget about politics”. They should not protect people (within SAPS), they needed to get people in the right place (at IPID).
Mr S Zandamela (EFF; Mpumalanga) said the suggestion that the Committees ensure a timeframe from the meeting by Deputy Minister Mathale of when the permanent director of IPID would be appointed was important. He had not heard a response from Deputy Minister Mathale.
Ms Shaikh said giving the Department three months to conduct the appointment of permanent Executive Director was a reasonable amount of time.
In terms of amendments to the Bill, there was a proposed amendment to the Bill that the Department had in their APP. She asked Deputy Minister Mathale for direction on when the Department thought that the Bill would enter into a Parliamentary process.
Mr Maphatsoe appreciated that the Ministry had managed to implement the Court judgment even though they were appealing aspects of it. He said at least they had implemented most of the judgement.
He seconded Ms Mofokeng’s point. It was not possible to have stability in a department where people “acted as directors for two months” before being removed. Such processes would also confuse subordinates at IPID. He said they could not go on changing acting heads of IPID. This affected the performance of IPID. It was important to ensure stability first.
The Department had been given two years to finalise the matter. He agreed with the three month time frame to appoint a new head. It was the Committees’ duties to do oversight on the Executive. Since forming for the Sixth Parliament, the Committees had done well in their actions, except on the matter of IPID. IPID lacked support, budget and capacity. If IPID had a permanent head appointed it would provide stability.
Ms Mmola said she had asked Minister Cele when the IPID head would be appointed. She had been told the position had been advertised but the right person had not been received. Had the position been re-advertised? How would the position be filled under lockdown conditions?
The Chairperson said in terms of the Act, in order to comply with it, the time frame stipulated therein brought to a close the appointment period to the end of February 2020. The head of IPID was supposed to be appointed by the end of February 2020. Minister Cele had returned and asked for an extension, indicating there would be a head hunt. It was now already three months down the line. Extensions had already been granted; it had been a long process. She asked the members to follow the process meticulously. She agreed that the Department could be given another three months but s it would be the last extension. The legal deadline of the appointment of the IPID head had been the end of February 2020.
Deputy Minister Mathale appreciated the Committees being considerate in their interactions with the Department. He said that spirit needed to be maintained in the future. He took seriously the advice that had been given. He would take a leaf from the interaction to improve the work of the Police Department.
He had said previously to Mr Setshedi that IPID was an institution where, if all stakeholders “joined hands” to do the work effectively, once it became effective it would ensure the police did their work properly. IPID existed because of the problems of police conduct. Once IPID was able to work properly, it would no longer be necessary because it would mean that it had ensured correct police conduct. It was a task that was able to be achieved by working together.
One issue that was not appropriate to talk to had been raised by Mr Whitfield. Otherwise, he felt that the Committees giving the Department three months to conclude the process was reasonable. He would take the sentiment back to the Department and convey it when he interacted with Minister Cele to ensure bringing finality to the matter. He agreed that the matter of the permanent head of IPID needed to be concluded and was long overdue. It was unacceptable. The sooner it was settled the better. He said his colleagues at IPID would agree with this.
On the matter of which mechanisms were available to report problems, he said there were several publicised phone numbers. These were helping the public report cases to the police. There was the SAPS Crime Stop number beginning with 086, members could also tip off the police using the MySAPS app, and the contact numbers for the gender-based violence command centre had also been posted.
IPID also had community interaction programme which helped to inform people of what they did. Many of the cases that IPID dealt with were ones that had been raised by the public, including the Khosa case. He was not saying that all cases IPID dealt with were ones that had been raised by the public, but it was one aspect that IPID relied upon to stay informed. Another example was the social media case mentioned by Mr Terblanche. When instances such as that had not been seen (by the Department or IPID) he was happy to be alerted of such matters by the public. There were also forums and platforms that had been created by SAPS and he asked the Chairperson that he be allowed to provide the Committees with the information by provinces so that the members could know who to contact themselves. He also wished to include a directory of contact details of SAPS members from the Minister of Police to various station commanders so that the Committees and people of South Africa knew who to contact when encountering issues.
On the matter of ensuring the police did not conduct themselves inappropriately, the judgement had ordered a joint proclamation by the Ministers of Defence and Police to communicate with all law enforcement officers on how they were expected to conduct themselves in a humanely manner. Any inappropriate actions violating the Constitution would be decisively dealt with by the authorities. IPID would be included in enforcing this adherence. However, he knew that punishment was not the best way of correction. Members needed to be trained in such a way that when passing from training into the field, they knew how to conduct themselves without needing a supervisor to be checking up on them. Therefore, a combination approach was required.
The period was not easy that, 25 years into democracy, the Department had to deal with the Khosa experience. The fact that a citizen was “killed or died” because of what the security forces had done was not what the people of South Africa were supposed to experience at this point in democracy. He did not want to shift the blame by saying it was because of apartheid; SAPS needed to become the pride of all South Africans.
On the question of when there would be an amendment of the IPID Act brought to Parliament, the plans said it would only be able to be presented in the first quarter of 2021.
The three-month extension period for the appointment of the permanent head of IPID was appreciated. The Department would try to respond to that deadline.
He asked Mr Setshedi to respond to the issue that had been raised by Mr Shaik about undue influences in IPID from SAPS.
On the question of the details about the head-hunting process that had been undertaken, the Department was not left with one single person. The process was to head hunt, interview, and recommend from a pool of eligible candidates that had emerged from the head-hunting process. These people were assessed based on recommendations made by a panel.
When proceeding into Level Three lockdown restrictions and lower, the department would be able to conduct more head hunting measures again as personal interaction was able to come back into play. However, following the physical adjourning of Parliament, he could never have imagined having virtual meetings of Parliament, as well as passing the Money Bill virtually. This meant that he could foresee interviewing candidates virtually in the future as well. Without this, it would be unlikely that the appointment would be concluded within three months. The appointment process would be thorough. He would ensure that the final candidate that was chosen from the pool would not be a difficult one to accept. IPID was not a creation of a mistake, it was necessary to have IPID to assist in the professionalisation of SAPS. IPID was like many other instruments that had been created in the democratic dispensation to bring about a government that South Africans wanted. Institutions with the capacity to assist the police needed to be created. IPID needed to be independent, robust, and able to work properly. He spoke on behalf of Minister Cele when saying that he wanted a vibrant and able IPID to ensure the police could do their work and ensure the people of South Africa could feel safe in their own country.
Mr Setshedi, on the amendment matter raised by Ms Shaikh, said there had been a meeting with the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (CSPS) as part of the dual process between IPID and the CSPS on 24 March 2020 to examine Ministerial inputs. Once finalised, the outcomes would be submitted to the JCPS Cluster. Once that was done, it would be submitted to the members of the Committees.
On the question of undue influence in IPID asked by Mr Shaik, he said that since his appointment as acting Executive Director, he had met with his team to ensure that they were acting without fear or favour. This meant that even he could not become involved in investigations to ensure independence. Investigations were mainly undertaken by the heads of provinces within IPID. Recommendations from the discussion had been sent to SAPS and the NPA.
The Chairperson said there were issues with IPID’s line.
Ms Mofokeng thanked Deputy Minister Mathale for mentioning the contact details of the Department. These mechanisms would remain beyond COVID-19. Regarding the toll-free numbers provided, were SAPS officers trained on matters of conflict resolution? She said that SAPS members were also human beings. Were they provided with opportunities for debriefing? She asked what happened after gender-based violence cases were reported. Did they go to court? She said the hotlines needed trained operators.
What was planned for Departmental best practices? Were officers trained on conflict resolution? Calls to hotlines needed to be immediately linked to the system.
Mr Gxoyiya said he amplified Ms Mofokeng’s views.
The Chairperson said the members were unable to hear Mr Gxoyiya.
Mr Gxoyiya said that Ms Mofokeng had “read his mind”. He had wanted to raise the issue of the relationship between IPID and the management of SAPS in terms of being able to communicate expectations of behaviour of police so as to be proactive and prevent things from happening instead of being reactive.
He said psychologists and social workers needed to be employed. He was unsure that police were being trained adequately. Were there measures in place to ensure the police did not react to provocation with anger?
The Chairperson said they had lost Mr Gxoyiya’s connection.
Ms Faku addressed the matter of the journalist in the Free State and further requested that Mr Setshedi needed to do more in the investigation. She said that IPID knew the person had a place of employment and needed to “go to look there”.
On Mr Terblanche’s issue on the DA receiving cases of police torture, why were the cases going to the DA? She asked whether the cases should not be sent to members of Parliament so that they could be conveyed to the relevant Minister. There should be no political party allowed to interfere with IPID.
She appreciated that Deputy Minister Mathale had raised the issue of upholding the South African constitution. People should not run away from the police. But she did not wish to paint the police with one brush, some police did great work. But the people needed to be protected from the bad ones.
The Chairperson said the meeting had ten minutes left.
Ms Faku supported Ms Mofokeng’s points that had been raised about gender-based violence. She said that while there had been a reported decrease in numbers of gender-based violence since the lockdown movement and consumption restrictions, there needed to be improvement on how people could report cases of gender-based violence, such as through increasing awareness of the toll-free hotlines.
Mr Maphatsoe said he was worried that the DA was receiving complaints. When starting as a Portfolio Committee, the members had said they did not want to politicise crime. The Portfolio Committee was important. He urged against politicising the Committees; members needed to do oversight work.
The Committees had not been vocal enough in support of SAPS when receiving reports of SAPS officers getting killed. They had interrogated all departments of SAPS, but when SAPS members were killed, they were not stood up for. He wished the Committees to stand behind the police when such events happened.
Mr Terblanche wished to respond to the issues of the DA receiving complaints. He said the DA was not canvassing people. People were phoning the DA because they were not receiving responses from the police.
Mr Groenewald wished to say that when Deputy Minister Mathale had urged the members and the public to make use of the contact avenues he had mentioned, Commissioner Sitole was the only person who always responded to him when he made contact. When General Sitole was busy, he would always make an effort to follow up with Mr Groenewald at a later stage. Mr Groenewald appealed to Deputy Minister Mathale to “practice what was preached”. If he was telling people that telephone numbers were available for contacting the Department, he needed to ensure he did follow up.
The Chairperson said she agreed. She said the Minister and Deputy Minister were also very good at responding.
Mr Shembeni said he wished to explain what being police officers entailed. To be a police officer; it was a calling in its nature as far as he understood. However, in many cases with SAPS, it seemed to just be people seeking employment and trying to close a gap of youth unemployment in the country. This was a difficult task and situation to align with the principle of a career as a police officer being a calling. There needed to be a lot of support. He asked the Committees whether it had been considered to visit the police colleges as part of Parliamentary oversight visits to find out exactly what was expected of officers and what was being provided in their training. Being a police officer was a difficult job. People in SAPS were being killed every day, as had been said by Mr Maphatsoe. This was painful. The Committees needed to start by seeing what was happening in the police colleges, such as whether people were supposed to be there or simply closing the gap of unemployment.
The Chairperson said that the more members spoke, the less time there would be for responses to the questions.
Mr Motsamai said he was happy for the work of the police. However, in Gauteng where he was staying, people were playing soccer or dice and breaking lockdown restrictions, and the police needed to respond to stop this.
The Chairperson interrupted and said that Parliamentary services would close down the meeting as they were running over time. She informed Deputy Minister Mathale that she wanted the outstanding responses to the issues raised in the meeting in writing.
Deputy Minister Mathale thanked the Chairperson and said he accepted the proposals. He said the Chairperson did not even need responses in writing, for the members had made suggestions to him on what needed to be done. For example, making phoning in for gender-based violence related issues calls be more integrated into the system at SAPS and in rape cases making sure there was a system in place to allow victims to speak to someone within that space; these suggestions would be taken on board.
There was a need for IPID and SAPS to interact in such a manner as communicated by the members. It was important. There needed to be a legal framework on how to work together.
The Chairperson interrupted and said she had meant for Deputy Minister Mathale to wrap up, not summarise.
Deputy Minister Mathale said the issues that members had raised were suggestions. He was happy to welcome them and would endeavour to always be contactable.
The Chairperson thanked the Deputy Minister and the IPID delegation. She said the meeting had been a fruitful debate. It had covered matters at IPID relating to COVID-19, debates on the IPID budget, as well as the Khosa case. She added that she did in fact want an update from Deputy Minister Mathale, not just acceptance of the suggestions. This was for how far progress was on the Khosa matter especially.
She said there would be a meeting the following Wednesday where budget reports would be adopted, and the firearm amnesty would be discussed.
She said she wanted an update and report backs then on the Miggles Investigation as well as the journalist who had been accosted by the police n the Free State from the Ministry. She did not want the feedback to simply tell the members that the journalist had fled the Free State. She said the police could certainly not get away with harassing individuals and members of the media. IPID could do more in relation to this specific matter.
The meeting was adjourned.
Joemat-Pettersson, Ms TM
Dodovu, Mr TSC
Faku, Ms P
Gxoyiya, Mr AB
Maphatsoe, Mr ER
Mathale, Mr C
Michalakis, Mr G
Mmola, Ms MP
Molekwa, Ms MA
Motsamai, Mr K
Shaik Emam, Mr AM
Shaikh, Ms S
Shembeni, Mr HA
Sileku, Mr IM
Terblanche, Mr OS
Whitfield, Mr AG
Zandamela, Mr S
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