22 Feb 2021: North West Intervention: SIU, NPA, Hawks, IPID & Ministers input
Legacy Report of Ad Hoc Committee to Inquire into North West Section 100 Intervention
Section 100 National intervention in provincial administration
The purpose of this virtual meeting was for the Committee to reflect on the reports tabled by law enforcement agencies in connection with the Section 100 Intervention in North West province during its previous meetings, and to identify revised focus areas for the various law enforcement agencies involved.
The Committee was of the view that the information presented by the National Prosecuting Authority, the Special Investigating Unit and the Hawks needed to be augmented to enable Members to effectively carry out its mandate of oversight. Its foremost concern had been the slow pace of prosecution by law enforcement agencies against people identified by various reports into the financial management within the province, and the diagnostic report that had necessitated the Section 100 Intervention. Members were not satisfied that the cases on which the various law enforcement agencies reported, had been focused more on municipalities and less on the provincial departments that had been put under administration. They also had doubts about their capacity to conclude cases through the criminal justice value chain, from reporting a case to its successful prosecution.
Members felt they required more information from the agencies to have a clearer picture of consequence management in the North West province. Apart from further engagements, the Committee resolved to send specific questions to individual agencies in order to guide their collective interactions. It requested information on the cases that had been withdrawn, and reasons for their withdrawal. Members acknowledged that the criminal justice value chain process was often protracted, but they were of the view that more needed to be done to accelerate the legal process to ensure that justice was served -- and was seen to be served. The Committee remained cognisant that these law enforcement agencies were independent and were created according to law. However, the centre of the Committee’s mandate was to ensure that consequence management was implemented against perpetrators of malfeasance.
The Chairperson said the purpose of this virtual meeting was for the Committee to reflect on the reports tabled by law enforcement agencies during its previous meetings. The second item on the agenda was for a briefing by the Content Advisor on the revised focus areas for the law enforcement agencies, including identifying the focus areas for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the Commercial Crime Unit of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), and the Hawks.
Reflection by Committee Members on tabled reports
The first item on the agenda was for the Committee to reflect on the reports tabled by law enforcement agencies during its previous meetings.
The Chairperson opened the discussion by stating that concerns had been raised in last week’s meetings regarding the reports by the law enforcement agencies. The general observation was that Members were not satisfied with the information received. These law enforcement agencies had played a critical role in the recovery of the North West province, and the purpose was to provide the Committee with valuable information to fulfil its oversight mandate, as given by Parliament.
Ms C Visser (DA, North-West) said there had been various types of cases that were not covered by the law enforcement agencies. The Committee was essentially looking for information relating to investigations and cases opened in relation to where the money of the province was misused.
The Chairperson said that the Committee expected the law enforcement agencies to be comprehensive in their reports to Parliament, and to provide the Committee with the required information.
Mr K Mmoiemang (ANC, Northern Cape) said that most of the cases relating to the Section 100 intervention in the North West province had been remanded to the SIU. However, the SIU had erased certain areas of the investigation that were still ongoing. There was still a lot of work to do for the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) that had been appointed regarding the Section 100 Intervention.
Ms Visser said she did not know how the Committee would measure the effectiveness or success of the Section 100 Intervention if the Committee did not receive a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and implementation protocols. The IMTT had had the opportunity to sit with officials from the province around a table and discuss the strengths and weaknesses in the province, including a discussion on what was wrong within the North West. There must be compliance by all the provincial Departments and its administrators to ensure the Committee could exercise its mandate. She asked the Content Advisor to supply the Committee with the documents from the IMTT regarding its discussions with the province.
Mr S Zandamela (EFF, Mpumalanga) said that one of the reasons there had been an intervention in the North West province was because of its deteriorating financial situation resulting from a non-compliance with legislation and the recommendations of the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA). The law enforcement agencies had failed to respond to the findings made by the AGSA and the National Treasury. It was concerning that the reports focused more on municipalities and less on provincial departments that had been put under administration. It was also problematic and frustrating that the law enforcement agencies refused to respond to the questions by the Committee that probed for the details required by Members. The Committee was disappointed with the approach taken by these law enforcement agencies.
Mr E Nchabeleng (ANC, Limpopo) said that if the problems experienced with the law enforcement agencies were not resolved timeously, it would have a significant impact on the Committee’s ability to adhere to the timeframe that had been set for reporting back to Parliament on the Section 100 Intervention. He proposed that the Committee could arrange a closed meeting with the law enforcement agencies in order to acquire the necessary information without further delay.
The Chairperson said that the biggest concern was the extraordinarily little information given to the Committee by the Hawks, in particular. The other law enforcement agencies, such as the NPA and the SIU, had at least attempted to provide an overview of the number of cases it was dealing with and the status of its investigations relating to the Intervention. However, the NPA’s limitations were that it had been slow in finalising its cases and had not provided the Committee with reasons why certain cases had been withdrawn or nor prosecuted. There was a significant degree of capacity issues within the NPA. It was genuinely concerning that these law enforcement agencies were not sharing the required information with Members.
Ms Visser said that that was the problem -- the Committee was not receiving a MOU and implementation protocols that would see to it that the efficacy and transparency of the Committee was upheld during the course of fulfilling its mandate. There was no reason that matters or investigations that had already been discussed in other Parliamentary committees could not be discussed with Members who were appointed to evaluate the success of the Section 100 Intervention in the North West. It raised the question as to whether these law enforcement agencies were truly investigating all the matters relating to the financial misconduct and widespread corruption in the province.
Mr I Sileku (DA, Western Cape) said that Members were not entrusted by the law enforcement agencies with the requisite information, as it might be perceived as if the Committee was hostile towards them. It was very concerning that almost no information had been presented regarding the ten provincial departments that had been placed under administration in terms of Section 100 of the Constitution. If the requisite information was not obtained from the law enforcement agencies, it would be exceedingly difficult for the Committee to advocate and lobby for additional support for these agencies when reporting to Parliament.
Mr D Ryder (DA, Gauteng) said that he felt that some of the briefings by the law enforcement agencies had been disingenuous and aimed at misleading the Committee. It was clear that there were bottlenecks in the investigations that had inhibited the finalisation of the cases before the law enforcement agencies. The Committee had to be informed of the challenges that these agencies were facing in finalising their investigations and cases. Members realise that the criminal justice value chain process was often protracted, and that the cases may take a number of years to conclude. However, the information presented by the law enforcement agencies was not sufficient to enable the Committee to fulfil its mandate.
Mr Mmoiemang agreed with the concerns raised by Mr Ryder, but cautioned that the Committee must respect the independence of these law enforcement agencies.
The Chairperson concluded that the Committee should remain cognisant that these law enforcement agencies were independent and were created according to law. However, the centre of the Committee’s mandate was to ensure that consequence management was implemented against perpetrators of malfeasance.
He said that the following were the recommendations of the Committee in this regard:
The Committee expects all law enforcement agencies to use the diagnostic reports which detail the problems of the North West crisis in relation to the allegations of fraud and corruption which had been uncovered by the AGSA, the National Treasury and the IMTT.
The law enforcement agencies must use these reports as a way of looking at the cases they were investigating and must use the findings of the AGSA specifically in respect of what they uncover.
The law enforcement agencies must work with the National Treasury in their conduct of the forensic investigations to enhance their work.
The capacity of the various law enforcement agencies must be strengthened, and additional support provided to enable them to fast-track the investigations relating to the Section 100 Intervention.
The Committee must be furnished with the MOUs entered into between the IMTT and the various provincial departments, to enable Members to understand the scope of the work and what was outlined as priorities.
The Committee must be enabled to follow the recommendations of the Fifth Parliament and the previous composition of the Committee.
Members must be provided with the number of cases under investigation, to which provincial departments these investigations relate, and the monetary values that were involved.
Members must also be provided with the number of withdrawn cases and the relevant reasons.
Briefing by Content Advisor
Mr Phelelani Dlomo, Committee Content Advisor, presented his research input regarding the oversight report of the Committee.
Committee observations from its meeting with the IMTT
The Committee had meetings with the IMTT in February 2021 with the aim of receiving progress reports on the Section 100 Intervention. The aim of this briefing was to specifically report on the observations of the Committee with respect to the briefings held on 15 February 2021.
The recommendations from the Committee related to disciplinary action taken against transgressors, the progress and details of criminal investigations, a lack of compliance and good governance and financial management, the need to develop legislation to guide the implementation of a Section 100 Intervention, and the development of an exit strategy to ensure the Section 100 Intervention was sustainable.
The Committee had made the following observations:
Although matters were still outstanding, the IMTT had made good progress in the North West province, especially given the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which had made things difficult and posed specific challenges for the affected departments and administrators to do their work properly.
That due to the number of outstanding matters which still need to be addressed by the intervention team, the IMTT had reviewed its earlier decision to terminate the intervention by the end of the 2020/21 financial year, and the Committee welcomed the extension of the intervention period, which would be reviewed in June 2021.
That the legislation to enable the effective implementation of the intervention was under way. However, this would still need to be presented to the State Law Advisors and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) for the socio-economic impact assessment in 2020/21.
There was a lack of urgency in the filling of funded vacant positions with capable and professional expertise in order to ensure stability and progress in the province, particularly in the provincial Department of Health, which was affected by labour unrest as a result of vacancies not being filled. Members of the unions had also raised the matter in their submission during the Committee oversight visit in 2018.
There had been an improved matric pass rate, despite the fact that schools had been closed for five months due to unrest. It had been informed that all the matriculants were moved to a safe place during that period, hence the province had managed to maintain a good pass rate.
That the presentation did not indicate whether there were any cases or charges against the former Premier of the North West, since the transgressions and irregularities had happened under his leadership. The Committee had further noted the fact that the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Human Settlements would provide more detailed report around the challenges which had emerged from the merger that resulted in the JB Marks Municipality being placed under administration (Section 139 of the Constitution).
That there were serious outstanding issues that still needed to be addressed before the Section 100 Intervention could be terminated. More concerning was the fact that some of those issues seemed to be time consuming and extremely far from completion, such as the filling of posts and supply chain management processes.
The slow movement in relation to investigating and prosecuting cases emanating from the Section 100 Intervention by law enforcement agencies, as well as recovering funds lost to the state as a result of maladministration and corruption.
That there was no clear and articulated exit strategy for the intervention team to terminate the process in a sustainable and constructive manner and to ensure that there was no collapse of systems and processes once the intervention has been withdrawn.
That all North West personal protective equipment (PPE) alleged cases that took place in some municipalities were being investigated by the law enforcement agencies, particularly the SIU and the Hawks.
That the learner transport and security contracts were complex and had been posing major challenges for the province since 2010. The law enforcement agencies were going to provide progress made regarding unlawful contracts that had been awarded in this regard.
The Content Advisor drew Members’ attention to the research input compiled regarding the Committee’s oversight report (see attached document for details). This outlined the observations and recommendations of the Committee during the briefings it had received since its inception in the Sixth Parliament.
Focus areas for law enforcement agencies
The Committee compiled and adopted briefs that outlined the key focus areas for each law enforcement agency regarding its required progress reports relating to the Section 100 Intervention. These briefs would be circulated to the law enforcement agencies ahead of the Committee’s future engagements with them.
It resolved to send specific questions to individual agencies in order to guide their collective interactions. Some of the questions where the Committee required further information included:
How many cases emanating from provincial departments under the Section 100 Intervention had been referred to the NPA for prosecution, and how many of the referred cases were deemed prosecutable?
What were the challenges or factors that were delaying the finalisation of cases?
How many of the investigated cases handed over to the NPA had been returned for further investigation or returned for compliance with the law, in order to meet prosecutorial criteria?
Had any allegations been levelled against the SAPS-officials regarding interference in the work of the Section 100 Intervention team in the North West?
The meeting was adjourned.
- Media Statement: Ad Hoc Committee on Section 100 Intervention in North West Province Requests More Information From Law Enforcement Agencies
- Research Input to Oversight Report of the Ad Hoc Committee
- Asset Forfeiture Unit focus areas - revised
- Committee Observations from the IMTT Meeting 15 Feb 2021 v2
- Focus areas for the DCPI Hawks presentations - Revised
- Focus Areas for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate - Revised
- Focus Areas for the National Prosecuting Authority - Revised
- Focus Areas for the SIU Revised
- NW IMTT Progress Report to NCOP Feb2021
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