At a virtual meeting, the Committee convened to consider and adopt its oversight report on its visit to the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Another item on the agenda was for the Committee to consider and adopt its outstanding minutes for its previous meetings.
Consideration and adoption of the Committee’s oversight report: As part of the NCOP’s programme, the Committee conducted an oversight week under the theme of “Mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent public violence, looting and destruction of property” during the recent civil unrest over the period of 09 to 18 July 2021. The Committee, in collaboration with the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, focused its attention on the KwaZulu-Natal Province. Members focused on the Committee’s observations and recommendations as outlined in its oversight report for the various entities with which it had engaged. The Committee duly adopted its oversight report after it was considered by Members. There were no abstentions or reservations raised regarding the adoption of the report.
The Committee considered and adopted various sets of minutes for meetings held in 2021.
The Chairperson convened the virtual meeting and welcomed Members in attendance. The purpose of the meeting was for the Committee to consider and adopt its oversight report on its visit to the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Another item on the agenda was for the Committee to consider and adopt its outstanding minutes for its previous meetings.
As part of the NCOP’s programme, the Committee conducted an oversight week under the theme of “Mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent public violence, looting and destruction of property” during the recent civil unrest over the period of 09 to 18 July 2021. The Committee, in collaboration with the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, focused its attention on the KwaZulu-Natal Province.
Report of the Select Committee on Security and Justice on its oversight in terms of mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent public violence, looting and destruction of property with a particular focus on the KwaZulu-Natal region and oversight visit to the uMzinto Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal Province
Members focused on the Committee’s observations and recommendations as outlined in its oversight report for the various entities with which it has engaged.
Regarding the South African Police Services (the SAPS), the Committee observed the following:
- The Committee noted the resources and capacity challenges in respect of the number of the Public Order Policing has been decreasing since 2012, as compared to the growing South African population that is currently standing at over 59 million people.
- The Committee noted the need for more police stations as the population in communities are growing.
- The Committee noted that 9 out of 14 police helicopters are grounded which creates a challenge in terms of resources.
- The Committee was pleased with the working relationship between the Community Policing Forums (the CPFs) and the SAPS.
- The Committee noted that in respect of the confiscation of groceries at freeways, the allegation of police officers taking those for themselves would be investigated.
- The Committee noted that in respect of the firearms confiscations: Those were taken for ballistic analysis purposes as there are allegations of shootings by security companies during the unrest.
- The Committee noted that the SAPS is engaging the National Prosecuting Authority (the NPA) when it comes to cases awaiting decisions and are working on the matter.
- The Committee noted that a Peace committee has been established and that the Department of Police is working within a 6-month timeframe to identify programmes to integrate those communities.
- The Committee noted the commitment of the SAPS, when it comes to the stolen ammunition which is being investigated by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the DPCI).
Regarding the Department of Correctional Services, the Committee observed the following:
- The Committee noted that the unrest situation was a turning point in our country; it was abnormal and had profound implications for the country.
- The Committee expressed concern for the officials who had been held hostage by the inmates and requested the Department to ensure that the officials receive the required psychological support following the incident. In addition, the importance of rehabilitation which should always be a key outcome of the Department of Correctional Services was reiterated.
- The Committee emphasised the need for greater emphasis on social cohesion to ensure partnership and ownership so that everyone has the necessary capacity to address any future challenges.
- The Committee noted the progress made by the KwaZulu-Natal division, when it comes to the vaccination of inmates which stands at 79 338 (63%).
- The Committee emphasised the need for the Department to put measures in place when it comes to the safety of the female officers as they were under attack.
Regarding the NPA, the Committee made the following observations:
- The Committee noted that the NPA had assessed training needs during their investigations and had conducted training with the SAPS, the DPCI and the Detective Forensics Services. Members of crime intelligence also attended these training sessions which greatly assisted with investigations.
- The Committee noted that cyber capabilities are seriously lacking within the SAPS and the DPCI. Much of the unrest happened on social media and governmental departments were concerned about manipulation of social media posts. Due to the fact that the Cybercrimes Act 19 of 2020 is not yet in operation, they had to use the Electronic Communications Act 36 of 2005.
- The Committee noted that the Integrated task team which was operational at the provincial and court level was established to ensure that initial blockages within the system were addressed. The structure is led by DOJ and senior prosecutors and this task team has been effective in ensuring the efficient movement of cases through the system and this has resulted in the normalisation of operations.
Regarding the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (the IPID), the following observations were made:
- The Committee noted that the use of rubber bullets during incidents of unrest is utilised in accordance with strict guidelines, which provide for the use of rubber bullets to disperse crowds.
- The Committee noted that the IPID has insufficient capacity to be in all areas. The IPID has put a plan in place to have offices in different districts and they have already negotiated with the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Community Safety to assist with the provision of more office space and the discussions are at an advanced stage.
- The Committee noted that the Department of Police experiences delays with forensics as this is dependent on the SAPS and the Department of Health.
In addition to the above observations, the Committee made recommendations to each of these entities on ways to improve its responses in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Regarding the SAPS, it was recommended that the entity should ensure that it has adequate resources in the future to address any event of this magnitude. The SAPS should improve its POP capacity within the province and ensure effective training to all POP members. The SAPS should ensure that police stations are sufficiently resourced, and that effective training is rolled out to police officers at police stations. The SAPS should strengthen its relationships with the CPFs to ensure effective co-operation in crime fighting efforts within communities. The Committee requests that it be furnished with the report on the investigation into the stolen ammunition being conducted by the DPCI. The SAPS should continue to strengthen its working relationship with the NPA and with the JCPS cluster as a whole. The SAPS should furnish the Committee with a detailed report after conclusion of its investigations into the unrest. The MEC should ensure that the peace committee operates effectively to restore social cohesion within communities affected by the unrest.
- Regarding the Department of Correctional Services, the Committee requires a detailed report with clear recommendations after it has completed its investigation into the incidents which occurred at the uMzinto Correctional Centre. In addition, the Committee requires a report pertaining to the death of a female Correctional Officer at the Leeuwkop Correctional Centre.
- Regarding the NPA, the Committee requested that the entity provides Members with an update on the restorative justice cases upon finalisation and any additional information through trials, guilty pleas, and fines. The Committee recommended that the NPA conducts continuous follow up with the SAPS in respect of cases that have been struck off the court roll in order to ensure effective analysis and to address any gaps or challenges in respect of investigations. There is also a need to increase engagement and coordination between the NPA and the SAPS at district levels to deal with operational challenges. The Committee recommended that the NPA furnishes the Committee with an update on these engagements moving forward The Committee encouraged the NPA to continue to strengthen its working relationship with the other governmental departments within the JCPS cluster.
- Regarding the IPID, the Committee recommended that the entity should work closely with the SAPS and the Department of Health to address the delays in forensics. The Committee directed the IPID to communicate with the SAPS and the NPA to address any challenges in relation to the investigation of cases. The Committee requested the IPID to furnish it with an updated report, upon conclusion of its investigations, on the recommendations made by the IPID and the actions undertaken in respect thereof. The Committee encouraged the IPID to work closely with the relevant governmental departments within the cluster to strengthen relationships to ensure the success of investigations.
The Committee duly adopted its oversight report after it was considered by Members. There were no abstentions or reservations raised regarding the adoption of the report.
Consideration and adoption of outstanding minute
The second item on the agenda was for the Committee to consider and adopt its outstanding minutes for its previous meetings.
The Committee had to consider and adopt its minutes for the meetings held on 05 March, 10 March, 19 April, 19 May, 21 May, 26 May, 02 June, 23 June, 23 July, 28 July, 06 August, 11 August, and 13 August 2021. All sets of outstanding minutes were duly adopted by the Committee.
The Chairperson thanked Members for their contributions and attendance during the meeting. She noted that the Committee’s oversight report was duly adopted along the outstanding minutes.
The meeting was adjourned.
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