Submissions were heard from various stakeholders and interested organisations in response to the inclusion in the draft Defence Bill that SANDF members serving with the SAPS should be given all police powers. Representatives from more than one branch of the SAPS, more than one unit of the SANDF, a military journal, a trade union, a church group, the Independent Complaints Directorate and various non-governmental organisations presented. Of the eleven oral submissions, five were opposed to the granting of policing powers to SANDF personnel working in support of the SAPS, and six were in favour thereof.
A SANDF representative from the team that had drafted the draft legislation noted that at first the phrase "all police powers" had been removed. However listing each and every possible police power that the SANDF personnel would be granted had resulted in a quagmire of what to include or exclude, hence the use of the current wording.
The Chairperson of the Defence Portfolio Committee, Ms T Modise, noted with disappointment the number of women present. She had expected more women to take an interest in these proceedings, however she was impressed with the number and quality of submissions received. Previously, the public had not been involved in defence matters, which was a shortcoming in the process, and this hearing hoped to go some way in addressing this.
SANDF members had been serving with the SAPS for some time and the next logical step seemed to be that such members be given protection under the law. The committee had invited comments from the public as a clause had been included in the new draft Defence Bill that stated that SANDF members serving with the SAPS should be given all police powers. The inclusion of this clause meant that the matter needed to be further discussed.
Acting Station Commander: Cape Town Central Police Station
Sr. Supt K Harri argued in favour of granting policing powers to SANDF members working in support of the SAPS. He noted that he addressed the committee in his individual capacity based on his various experiences working with the SANDF. Specifically, the powers of arrest and search and seizure should be granted to SANDF personnel. The assistance provided by the SANDF to the SAPS was invaluable since the SAPS were faced with problems of human resource, financial and logistical attrition. Certain regulations governing the deployment of SANDF personnel in support of the SAPS needed to be revisited though, including the replacement of the R4 rifle with a smaller handgun and the possible allowance of SANDF personnel to dress in civilian clothes where the type of duty demanded it. Usually soldiers should only be deployed in their units, the smallest size being a section (ten members) but latitude should exist for the deployment of individual members performing duties such as van crews with a uniformed officer and as court orderlies. This was one area where staff shortages were currently being experienced.
Gen C Viljoen (FF) asked whether the implications of using different types of weapons and performing different roles, had been considered in terms of the SANDF's training curriculum? Supt Harri agreed that there could be implications for the training curriculum. Further implications were that SANDF personnel might have to give evidence in court as well as make arrests when crimes were committed in their presence.
The chairperson noted that Supt Harri believed that granting policing powers to the SANDF would help the SAPS. Would this indeed solve the SAPS problems?
Supt Harri replied that it would go a long way towards improving the capacity of the SAPS. For example, they had to supply police personnel daily to the courts in order to supplement court personnel and these members could better be used in crime prevention.
An ANC member asked whether there were any other duties for which SANDF personnel could be used? Also, was there not a danger of permanence in what was being suggested? Supt Harri said that the role of SANDF personnel as support for the SAPS was a temporary one, not permanent.
An opposition member asked whether the SAPS had considered using private security companies to supplement SAPS personnel in court duties, noting that there was already a big burden on the defence budget? Supt Harri said that he thought this possibility might have already been investigated.
Gen C Viljoen (FF) asked whether there were not other regulations governing court orderlies, and would the proposed use of SANDF personnel in civilian clothes be in groups or individually? Supt Harri said that he did not know the answer to the first question, but as far as the second question was concerned, it would be in groups such as in a section.
The chairperson asked what Supt Harri thought would be the psychological effects on those criminally accused if the courts were remilitarised? Supt Harri acknowledged that there may be some effects but the counter-argument was that they would be providing a safe and secure environment for courts to perform their functions.
In conclusion, the chairperson commented that Supt Harri's comments were especially valuable, as he was a member of the SAPS.
Community Police Forum Board
Mr B Sibisi, Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Board Chairperson, argued in favour of giving policing powers to SANDF personnel operating in support of the SAPS. However major training in policing matters, effective communication, relations with the community, and upholding human rights would have to be given to such SANDF members. The SANDF members so deployed should be controlled at a provincial level and there should be oversight at this level too. The SAPS should be ultimately held accountable for policing and therefore should be the ones in command in any policing activity. SANDF members who were to be deployed in policing roles should be screened to see whether they can interact with the community, whether they have the right attitude and whether they had any previous disciplinary problems. SANDF members deployed in the community should dress in ways acceptable to the community, not in camouflage uniforms. A good relationship between the SAPS provincial committee and the head of the SANDF at a provincial level should be initiated including the involvement of SANDF area and provincial level leadership at Community Policing Forum board meetings.
ANC committee members, including the chairperson put a number of questions to Mr Sibisi, and Mr Sibisi answered these in Zulu. The chairperson summarised these questions and answers in English by saying that Mr Sibisi was suggesting that it was possible to retrain SANDF members in order to use them for public area policing. Furthermore he was arguing in favour of giving policing powers to SANDF personnel deployed in support of the SAPS in order to have the maximum possible impact on crime. The chairperson commented that Mr Sibisi's input as a member of the community-policing forum was appreciated.
Prof R Thompson argued against giving policing powers to the SANDF while working in support of the SAPS, saying that a demilitarisation of South African society was needed. There had to be a move away from the "war on crime" mentality and resulting militarisation of the crime problem. South Africa was currently headed in the opposite direction to what was desired in terms of the militarisation of the crime problem and was on a "slippery slope" in this regard. The Ceasefire Campaign was opposed to the remilitarisation of civil society and the use of SANDF personnel for policing on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. What was needed was a budgetary shift from the SANDF to the SAPS and other transfers of responsibility such as the use of the SAPS instead of the SANDF for border control duties.
Gen C Viljoen (FF) asked if Prof Thompson would agree that crime is unacceptable and that emergency steps needed to be taken to address the problem? Prof Thompson replied that they agreed that crime was unacceptable but using SANDF personnel to address the problem represented a Band-Aid solution to the problem of a serious wound.
The chairperson noted that Prof Thompson proposed a shift in budgets. Wouldn't this merely be a weakening of one area and strengthening of another? Prof Thompson replied that the SANDF had spent a great deal on weapons but had not reduced its personnel in line with the Defence Review. This would have to be done to reduce the SANDF's costs.
Ms Z Kota (ANC) asked if Prof Thompson agreed that the employment of the SANDF in support of the SAPS was at the moment unavoidable? Prof Thompson said that it had not necessarily been unavoidable and, in fact, perhaps could have been avoided. What was needed now, were drastic steps to increase the police's role in certain areas.
The chairperson said that what Prof Thompson was saying was that this was a civilian problem, not a military one. Also, he was arguing for the reduction of personnel in the SANDF, but would not this reduction of personnel result in increased levels of crime as more soldiers found themselves unemployed? Prof Thompson agreed that this may perhaps be the result but nothing has changed since the Defence Review identified the levels at which the SANDF should be.
The chairperson asked what exactly Prof Thompson meant by the remilitarisation of society? Also, how was it so that the deployment of SANDF personnel under the control of the SAPS meant that South Africa was sliding back into remilitarisation? Finally, what should the response be to communities in Kwazulu-Natal who were asking for the deployment of SANDF personnel for their protection? Should they be told that the issue was purely a police matter? Prof Thompson said that there must be a clear differentiation between what constituted policing protection and what constituted military protection. One possible reason why communities were asking for SANDF personnel specifically, was the historically unacceptable image of the SAPS. This had to be addressed urgently.
An ANC member asked what Prof Thompson recommended for situations where the SAPS had lost control? Prof Thompson replied that policing had to be improved, not a military solution thrown at the problem.
Mr L Ngculu (ANC) said that certain situations, as laid out in the Constitution, called for the deployment of the SANDF where the SAPS could not cope with a situation. Did Prof Thompson consider this remilitarisation and what did he propose as an alternative? Prof Thompson acknowledged that some situations do indeed call for the deployment of the SANDF but giving them policing powers on a permanent or semi-permanent basis did represent a general shift to remilitarisation.
Ms Z Kota (ANC) argued that there was no linkage between the degree of militarisation of the SAPS and the use of SANDF personnel in policing roles, yet Prof Thompson did link the two issues. Also, it should be remembered that the militarisation Prof Thompson spoke of, was not an event but a process. Prof Thompson disagreed, saying that the SANDF worked under the command and control of the police and this did represent remilitarisation.
Mr P Schalkwyk (DP) said that he agreed with a lot of what Prof Thompson had said, but that he did not agree that the SANDF should receive fewer funds. Instead, in light of the increased peacekeeping roles the SANDF would have to fulfil, they should receive more funds. Prof Thompson replied that peacekeeping should be an activity that is also demilitarised, since it was in fact more of a policing function than a military one.
The chairperson remarked that this was going off the topic somewhat of what the meeting was addressing.
Mr L Ngculu (ANC) remarked that Prof Thompson had suggested that the border control function be taken over by the SAPS. Was this not a huge function to hand over to the SAPS? Prof Thompson replied that it was a policing function. Furthermore, the practice of deploying soldiers on the country's borders was sending the wrong message to South Africa's neighbours. This function should be demilitarised.
The chairperson said that there had been a lot of discussion on the topic of border control as to was it in fact a policing function or should an entirely new force be responsible for this duty. One thing was clear though - the police could not cope with this requirement at present.
South African National Defence Union
Mr C van Niekerk, the Union's National Secretary, argued in favour of granting SANDF members policing powers while working in support of the SAPS. Noting that this was the first time a defence union had made a representation to Parliament, he stated that the South African National Defence Union (SANDU) had no objection to the utilisation of members of the SANDF in support of the SAPS. Members so utilised did however need protection under the law and should remain under the command and control of the SANDF. Furthermore, soldiers needed to be adequately trained in all policing aspects and should be allowed to maintain their image as soldiers as well as being paid overtime for such duties. SANDF members were currently the only personnel in the public service who were not paid overtime and this fact was having a negative impact on morale. He also said that when soldiers are used in roles supporting the SAPS, the expenses of such operations should fall within the budget of the SAPS, not the SANDF.
An opposition member asked where SANDF training in policing matters should take place and under whose command? Mr van Niekerk said that the SANDF did have its own military police that received their training within the SANDF. The training of members working in support of the SAPS could be done by the SANDF or in conjunction and agreement with the SAPS. Members acting in policing roles were usually infantry and they were currently frustrated because they lacked the powers of arrest and search and seizure.
An ANC member asked whether Mr van Niekerk did in fact represent the 25000 or so members of his union and if so, was it correct to say that these 25000 members had no problem supporting the SAPS? Also, was he a democratically elected representative? Finally, with respect to the command and control functions remaining within the SANDF, did this not represent a problem? Mr van Niekerk said that his union had battled to register as a union and had recently lost a court case related to its allowed roles as a union. The union did have democratic structures and he did in fact represent the 25000 or so members of the union. These members did not have any problems in principle, supporting the SAPS, as long as their rights were respected and they were given protection.
Another ANC member asked whether Mr van Niekerk was advocating police conditions for SANDF personnel working in support of the SAPS? Also, was it the support role specifically, for which the SANDF personnel wanted remuneration? Mr van Niekerk replied that the overtime issue was a very serious one for soldiers. His union saw no reason why SANDF personnel should not be paid overtime. SANDF conditions were different from SAPS conditions because, for instance soldiers stayed in their own bases when deployed.
Mr L Ngculu (ANC) asked how it was that Mr van Niekerk was asking for legal protection for soldiers, when at the same time they should retain their own command and control? Mr van Niekerk replied that what they were advocating was that the image of soldiers should be retained and that remaining under the command and control of the SANDF would allow them to keep the uniqueness of the SANDF.
The chairperson said that the SANDF is unique, but that it had undergone changes, including civil control over it. Was Mr van Niekerk saying that soldiers only wanted to be commanded by soldiers, because if so, that view would not be supported by this committee. What was being discussed was essentially a police operation, which had to have one source of command and control. Points 2(b) and (d) in the submission represented problems for the committee in this respect. Mr van Niekerk replied that he believed there was a misunderstanding of his viewpoint. Command and control by the SANDF should only remain up to the section level, which was ten men under the command of a corporal. Smaller numbers of SANDF personnel should not be put under the control of policemen. Under no circumstances would his union impact on operational capacity since they were not allowed to do that by law.
The chairperson said that, nevertheless, soldiers being under the control of soldiers and policemen under the control of the police represented two separate command and control structures, which was unacceptable. Mr van Niekerk reiterated that all he was saying was that as far as possible soldiers should stay under the command of the SANDF. For instance, where a company (136 members) was ordered to work under the SAPS, the captain of the company should go with them.
Gen C Viljoen asked whether Mr van Niekerk had himself been a soldier and was he fully at home with soldiers? Did he agree that the training and the organisation of the SANDF was different from that of the SAPS? With respect to command and control, did he think that what he was proposing would be the optimum situation? Also, were there soldiers under-utilised in bases and if there were, was this a serious problem and was it having a serious impact on morale? Could personnel retrenched from the SANDF be used as recruits for the police since they were already halfway trained as policemen?
The chairperson indicated that Mr van Niekerk should not answer the last question but that Gen Viljoen should instead direct it to the SANDF delegation. Mr van Niekerk said that he had served in the defence force for seven years, in the Air Force where he was a personnel officer. He agreed that training and organisation in the SANDF were different to the SAPS. Soldiers were under-utilised in their bases and although it wasn't at present a serious problem, it did affect morale negatively and sometimes even resulted in mischief.
The chairperson asked what kind of mischief, to which Mr van Niekerk responded with the example of SANDF personnel who had recently been discovered in a shebeen in uniform, with their rifles present. These soldiers had to be disciplined and the incident had made it into the media.
Mr E Mogale (ANC) said that he thought that since Mr van Niekerk was from a union, the implication would be that they were in favour of greater civilian control over the SANDF, yet his position was that SANDF personnel should stay under their own command. What was Mr van Niekerk's attitude towards civilian control over the army? Mr van Niekerk said that what he meant by maintaining the soldier's image, was that they must keep their existing uniforms and weapons amongst other things.
Mr J Mashimbye (ANC) made the point in response to Mr Mogale's question, that civil control was about elected people, such as this committee, not about trade unions.
Another ANC member asked what were the implications on rationalisations if it was true that soldiers were under-utilised? Should these be accelerated? Mr van Niekerk replied that his union was concerned about rationalisation but that he did not really have a mandate to address that issue.
A different ANC member said that if, as Mr van Niekerk said, the image of soldiers was to be maintained, would this not compound the problem of militarisation as identified by the previous submission, and would this not, in turn, hurt the image of the SANDF? Mr van Niekerk said that he believed that the SANDF had a better image than the SAPS. The SANDF was trained to use maximum force whereas the SAPS was trained to use minimum force. Because of this, soldiers needed to be retrained but Mr van Niekerk believed that they should stay in their uniforms and keep their image.
Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference
Ms Harrison, a researcher in this organisation, argued against granting policing powers to SANDF personnel working in support of the SAPS. She said that South Africa could not look to quick-fix solutions for deep-seated problems and that order was not a substitute for peace. Poverty and crime both needed to be urgently addressed. The use of the military in South Africa under Apartheid had historically created a bad image for security in general. Policing powers for the SANDF were open to abuse and defeated the ends of crime prevention. She proposed instead, that problems with the criminal justice system be urgently addressed, that the transformation of the SAPS be completed, including the provision of more personnel and better resources. If these measures were taken there would be a reduced need for the SANDF to support the SAPS.
Ms Z Kota (ANC) asked Ms Harrison what was her view on the fact that there were currently instances where SANDF members were deployed and had expressed the need for protection and policing powers. Ms Harrison replied that if they remained under the command and control of the SAPS, as indeed she believed they ought to, then they should not be granted policing powers.
Mr L Ngculu remarked that Ms Harrison was calling for transformation of the SAPS and this was appreciated, however at an operational level, there were command and control dilemmas. Ms Harrison replied that nevertheless, the SAPS should retain operational command and control.
Another ANC member asked, with respect to the budget allocations of the SANDF vs. that of the SAPS, did Ms Harrison agree with the allocations as they currently stood? Ms Harrison answered that rather than spending money on pre-emptive defence needs, money should instead be spent on improving socio-economic conditions.
The chairperson remarked that South Africa was currently not spending enough on defence needs. Was Ms Harrison advocating, in light of this, that even less be spent on defence? Ms Harrison repeated that SANDF budget allocations, which are not necessary for imminent defence, should go towards socio-economic needs.
Gen C Viljoen (FF) said that the aspect of researching crime was a very important point. He asked whether in Ms Harrison's view, the causes of crime had been sufficiently researched and should this be a function of the SAPS, the SANDF or some other body? Ms Harrison said that her organisation supported any attempt to alleviate the current crime situation. The causes and the symptoms of crime needed to be addressed in parallel.
Dr M Mogoba (PAC) noted his agreement with Ms Harrison's point of view, but added that South Africa had an extraordinary situation, which should perhaps be dealt with differently. He expressed the opinion that the SANDF and SAPS roles should be co-ordinated, not one put under the command and control of the other.
The chairperson in thanking Ms Harrison for her contributions and said that South Africa's moral regeneration programme was well underway and that Ms Harrison could probably make a valuable contribution to that programme too, which would be greatly appreciated.
Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD)
Mr T Tshabalala argued in favour of granting SANDF members policing powers while working in support of the SAPS. He said that he wanted to bring attention to the need for a civilian oversight role over the SANDF. If the ICD was to be the body that was responsible for this oversight role, it had to be given additional budget allocations. It would be vital to give SANDF members adequate training if they were to perform policing functions properly. Issues such as this had to be addressed before the ICD could lend its support to the granting of policing powers to SANDF members.
Mr L Ngculu (ANC) asked about the proposed use of soft-shell vehicles for the transportation of prisoners in order to avoid civil claims of injury against the SANDF. What exactly was meant by this and had the increased potential for prisoners to escape, been considered? Mr Tshabalala replied that, for those situations when the SANDF acted alone and might come across crimes being committed and hence need to make arrests, prisoners would need to be transported and vehicles suitable for this would be needed.
The chairperson commented that the proposed use of soft-shell vehicles for the transportation of prisoners in order to avoid civil claims of injury really "takes the cake!" How could it be so that soldiers were not injured travelling in these vehicles yet civilians suddenly were?
Mr L Ngculu (ANC) asked what was the ICD's perspective on who should ideally perform the oversight role? Mr Tshabalala replied that when the SANDF functioned with policing powers, there would have to be an oversight function put in place. It need not necessarily be the ICD that performed this function.
The chairperson asked Mr Tshabalala if it was correct that what he was saying, was that the ICD should have an oversight role over the SANDF, only when it was operating in a policing role, not all the time? Mr Tshabalala replied that it depended on what oversight structures currently existed within the Defence Secretariat.
An ANC member asked for Mr Tshabalala's perspective on lack of discipline by SANDF personnel? He replied that there had been situations such as that mentioned earlier, where soldiers had been in a shebeen in uniform with their rifles. He did not want to go into this issue at length though, because it was not for his organisation to deal with.
Mr J Mashimbye (ANC) asked for clarification of whether the ICD was for or against granting policing powers to SANDF personnel? A colleague of Mr Tshabalala's answered that the ICD was in favour thereof, but only for the short to medium term.
Dr M Mogoba (PAC) said that he was surprised that the ICD did not have a wealth of information on this matter already. He expressed the view that he supported joint operations. Security structures in South Africa had not completely got over their history, which was still a problem. He said that the ICD had not yet fully identified what categories of people needed to be brought into this process. Mr Tshabalala's colleague said that a wide number of people and organisations needed to be brought into the process including the Secretariat of Defence, the Department of Safety and Security and The Department of Correctional Services, amongst others.
Mr J Mashimbye (ANC) asked what the ICD experiences were thus far with respect to investigating SANDF personnel performing policing functions? Mr Tshabalala said that there had been only one example thus far of an investigation where an SANDF member was involved. They had investigated that member even though they did not strictly have a mandate to do so.
Mr J Mashimbye (ANC) said that there were currently problems with respect to abuses of power in the police. Would there not be more problems if the SANDF was granted policing powers? Mr Tshabalala said that perhaps there would be, but that these policing powers were nevertheless necessary and if needed, the ICD would perform the required oversight function.
Reserve Force Council: Western Cape
Lt. Col. J vd Westhuijzen, Vice Chairperson: Reserve Force Council, said that the Reserve Force Council and the commando units in the Western Cape were in favour of granting SANDF members policing powers while working in support of the SAPS. He quoted the example of insurance, saying that its purpose was preparing for the unexpected, which was the same reason he believed, why the SANDF needed policing powers. One of the problems of the current situation was that SAPS personnel had to be present whenever SANDF policing operations were underway, draining their manpower. Lt. Col. vd Westhuijzen said that he
envisaged a role for the Territorial Reserve, similar to that of the National Guard in the USA. The Territorial Reserve should be able to carry out its own policing operations with just one policeman present to actually carry out arrests so that SANDF personnel's time would not be wasted in court. Command and control should be through a joint operational centre and training of SANDF personnel should be in policing as well as military matters.
Mr N Gogotya (ANC) remarked that this presentation opened a whole "new can of worms!" Did Lt. Col. vd Westhuijzen see the Territorial Reserve operating outside the realm of the SANDF and what was the exact composition of the Territorial Reserve? Lt. Col. vd Westhuijzen said that there were a lot of misconceptions about his force. Its representativity was the best of all sections of the SANDF. It was part of the SANDF and could not operate outside of the SANDF.
Another ANC member remarked that this was a very important submission and that more time was needed to investigate adequately what the current situation was with respect to Lt. Col. vd Westhuijzen's personnel and what functions they currently performed.
The chairperson thanked Lt. Col. vd Westhuijzen for his submission and said that the committee would appreciate it if he could be available later, for further information.
Centre for Conflict Resolution
Dr L Nathan argued against the granting of policing powers to SANDF personnel while working in support of the SAPS. He said that, with limited exceptions, military personnel should not have policing powers. Conferring such powers on troops violated the democratic principle of military subordination to the civil authority. It also ignored the essential differences in orientation and training between armed forces and police services, and created the danger of human rights abuses and excessive use of force. An alternative approach would be the formulation of plans, which allowed for a withdrawal of the SANDF from policing tasks. Also, if troops were to be deployed in a policing capacity, their actions should at all times be subject to the authority of a senior police officer. There should be an appropriate division of labour between military personnel and police officers. For example, if a house was to be searched, soldiers could cordon off the area, but the police should conduct the search itself. Military deployment in policing roles should also be subject to suitable rules of engagement. A few exceptions to the limitation of military personnel in respect of police powers would be under a state of emergency or national defence, for law enforcement at sea, for military police when operating within the defence force and for the self-defence of soldiers.
Mr L Ngculu (ANC) asked whether Mr Nathan was actually saying that no policing powers should be given to the SANDF and if deployed they should fall under the command and control of the SAPS? Mr Nathan answered that that was correct, except for those circumstances identified. When they were to be used domestically, it should only be under the direction of a senior police officer and under the overall command of the SAPS.
Mr P Schalkwyk (DP) asked whether Mr Nathan interpreted the draft Defence Bill to mean that SANDF personnel, under current proposals, would have all powers of the police, including arrest, investigation etc? Mr Nathan agreed that this was his interpretation. The Bill was drafted far too broadly and as it stood, the wording needed to be severely restricted.
Gen C Viljoen (FF) remarked that, compared to historical situations, modern soldiers were better equipped to perform policing than ever before. He said that he was in favour of a phased approach and in fact agreed that the phrase "all police powers" should be removed from the Bill. Mr Nathan responded that he also agreed with a phased approach but did not think that one in fact existed at the moment, otherwise it would be possible to envisage the military no longer being used for policing. Looking at the causes of crime, they all needed to be taken into account under a phased approach.
Dr M Mogoba (PAC) said that Mr Nathan's paper had persuaded him somewhat to its views, but he believed that it was more applicable to a normal society, not South African society which needed drastic action. Perhaps what was actually needed was to find a middle ground.
Mr L Ngculu (ANC) asked if Mr Nathan was saying that the section on policing powers should not be included in the new Defence Act at all? Mr Nathan replied that he was not saying that there should be no legislation governing the employment of SANDF personnel under SAPS supervision, but that police powers should not be conferred on them, except for those situations already identified as exceptions.
African Armed Forces Journal
Mr I McIntosh argued against the granting of policing powers to SANDF personnel while working in support of the SAPS. He quoted a number of comparative examples of military forces being used in policing roles, from various countries around the world including France, Italy, the USA, Bosnia and Croatia. He said that there were lessons to be learnt for South Africa, from these countries, and that it was not necessary to "reinvent the wheel." Specifically countries such as Bosnia and Croatia who had experiences directly relevant to South Africa's situation, could provide valuable lessons. Furthermore, he could place the committee in contact with senior armed forces personnel from these countries who were very approachable and who could assist the committee.
Mr N Gogotya (ANC) asked for clarification on what was Mr McIntosh's position with respect to giving police powers to the SANDF? Mr McIntosh replied that he did not believe that police powers should be given to the SANDF unless absolutely necessary under a state of emergency or martial law.
Another ANC member asked how the SANDF compared with some of the international examples mentioned by Mr McIntosh? He replied that the SANDF was a very disciplined force and as an example of this, he urged the committee to visit the Heidelberg Army Base, which represented an excellent example of how a military base should be run.
The chairperson thanked Mr McIntosh for his views, which were very interesting, and for his information about overseas contacts who could potentially assist the committee.
Economists Allied for Arms Reduction (ECAAR)
Mr T Crawford-Browne argued against the granting of policing powers to SANDF personnel while working in support of the SAPS. He said that South Africa's police services had failed massively to fulfil their tasks, but that conferring policing duties on the SANDF would not work. He said that the entire purpose of the SANDF needed to be re-evaluated since there was no conceivable external threat to South Africa, its role in peacekeeping had shown to be limited and unsuccessful and repeating its historical involvement in policing duties under Apartheid, was clearly something to be avoided. He argued in favour of reducing the size of the SANDF and increasing the SAPS. The attempted transformation of the SAPS thus far, had clearly been disappointing and what was now needed was a massive restructuring and enlargement of the SAPS. He concluded by saying that the committee was deluding itself by thinking that the military could do the job of the police.
Mr L Ngculu (ANC) asked if Mr Crawford-Browne was against the very existence of the SANDF? Mr Crawford-Browne replied by saying that it was necessary to re-evaluate South Africa's security needs. Were they external or in fact, internal in the 21st century? ECAAR advocated the reduction of the SANDF and the expansion of the SAPS.
Ms Z Kota (ANC) asked for clarification on whether Mr Crawford-Browne was in favour of, or against, the granting of policing powers to SANDF personnel? Mr Crawford-Browne replied that he was against it.
An ANC member asked whether the committee was in fact dealing with pacifism in this submission, to which the chairperson replied, no, they were dealing with the issue of granting policing powers to SANDF personnel.
The same member asked what was Mr Crawford-Browne's view on the SANDF role in support of the SAPS? He replied that they were moving in the wrong direction since what should be happening was less use of the SANDF in support of the SAPS, not more.
Mr J Mashimbye (ANC) said that one of the ultimate aims of government was to boost the economy, but that the SAPS was not effectively contributing to this, hence there was the need to confer police powers on the SANDF. Mr Crawford-Browne replied that what had contributed to the stagnation of the economy, had been the over-use of the military, which had directly hampered economic growth. He advocated the decreased use of the military to increase economic growth.
Dr M Mogoba acknowledged that a society without any need for the military at all, was desirable, but that South Africa was certainly not in a position to achieve this at present. Furthermore, if there were capable military forces sitting in barracks under-utilised, that was not economically efficient at all, and had to be addressed.
South African Navy, and representing Department of Defence
Rear Adm. J Retief argued in favour of granting SANDF members policing powers while working in support of the SAPS. He said that the SANDF is involved in the National Crime Prevention Strategy, in respect of providing certain and rapid justice, as well as regional co-operation, providing stability and countering cross-border crime in co-operation with, and support of, the SAPS. The deployment of the SANDF in a role supporting the SAPS can only be executed as a secondary task of the SANDF. The SANDF should execute its tasks under its own command according to its own judgement and doctrine, but jointly planned with the SAPS. The SANDF will not become embroiled in the combating of routine crime but should concentrate on priority areas. The SANDF involvement in policing matters should not be a permanent state of affairs. Providing effective support for the SAPS necessitates that soldiers require the necessary policing powers to execute the task.
Mr L Ngculu (ANC) asked for clarification on where Adm. Retief stood, in respect of granting policing powers to the SANDF. Adm. Retief replied that, if the SANDF was expected to work in a policing role, then it would need policing powers.
Another ANC member asked if Adm. Retief envisaged any situations where SANDF personnel would be employed on their own? He replied that there would such situations but that it would only happen as part of a larger campaign co-ordinated with the SAPS.
Mr P Schalkwyk (DP) asked whether the workgroup formed to pursue strategies to withdraw the SANDF from policing roles, did in fact exist, and if so how far was it with its task? Adm. Retief said that it did exist but that it had not got very far with its task since the requirements for the SANDF to perform policing duties had actually been increasing instead of decreasing.
Ms Z Kota (ANC) asked for Adm. Retief's viewpoint on SANDF members having to take up time to testify in court? Adm. Retief replied that the SANDF wished to avoid this situation if at all possible but if it occurred, that would be because it was necessary. He added that he was part of the team that had drafted the legislation and at first they had removed the phrase "all police powers". Then they had tried to list each and every possible police power that the SANDF personnel would be granted but this had resulted in a quagmire of what to put in and what to leave out, hence the inclusion of the phrase with the current wording.
Mr J Mashimbye (ANC) asked if Adm. Retief thought that the ICD should be monitoring the SANDF when performing policing duties? Adm. Retief replied that when the SANDF operated within the borders of South Africa, it would be subjected to the laws of South Africa.
Mr H Smit (NNP) asked who paid for operations when SANDF personnel were deployed within South Africa? Adm. Retief replied that ideally, the funds would come from a budget that could be recovered, since the SANDF should not have to pay for policing operations, but in practice, the SANDF usually bore the cost.
Mr Ngculu referred to earlier comments by Lt. Col. vd Westhuijzen that on occasions, SANDF personnel manned roadblocks by themselves. What were Adm. Retief's comments on this? Adm. Retief said that the SANDF did not prefer this state of affairs, but since these situations did currently occur, the SANDF was asking for the committee's sanction of this.
Mr Ngculu remarked that the financial implications of the draft Defence Bill had to be examined carefully before it was put forward, as in the past there had been problems when this aspect was not properly investigated beforehand. The chairperson added that training must be re-evaluated, and asked Adm. Retief what his views on this were? Adm. Retief replied that training was already being addressed. With respect to the financial implications of this Bill, it was worth noting that policing operations were something which the SANDF did not budget for.
Dr M Mogoba (PAC) commented that expertise was not currently marshalled correctly in this process. He also made the point that a contingency fund was required to assist this process.
The chairperson thanked all those who had given submissions, adding that some of them would need to give further input the following week. She especially thanked the women present for their role in this process. She then closed the meeting.
- Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD)
- South African Navy, and representing Department of Defence
- Reserve Force Council: Western Cape
- Economists Allied for Arms Reduction (ECAAR)
- African Armed Forces Journal
- Centre for Conflict Resolution
- Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference
- South African National Defence Union
- Ceasefire Campaign
- Community Police Forum Board
- Sr Supt, K Harri (Acting Station Commander: Cape Town Central Police Station)
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
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