In a virtual meeting, the Committee received a presentation by the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), which highlighted that the South African Police Service (SAPS) had received an unqualified audit opinion for its 2020/21 financial performance. The Committee welcomed the overall improvement in the police portfolio's audit opinion, with the Civilian Secretariat of Police and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority receiving clean audits, while SAPS and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate had received unqualified audit opinions with findings. The Committee was of the view that this improvement showed that the implementation of audit action plans could be beneficial. The stability at senior management level could also be considered as a key pillar in improved audit outcomes.
The Committee commended the SAPS achievement of 70% against its overall performance targets, taking into account that the impact of Covid-19 was the main contributor hindering the attainment of targets. It urged SAPS management to find workable solutions to challenges presented by the pandemic to ensure that targets were met and people were made to feel safe through effective and visible policing. It also called on the Department to deal urgently with the backlogs that existed at the Central Firearm Registry and at the forensic laboratories.
The Committee remained concerned that there were lingering issues relating to contract management and compliance with legislation. It advised the SAPS management to pay special focus on this area in their efforts to achieve a clean audit in the forthcoming financial years.
AGSA audit outcomes for Police Portfolio
Mr Andries Sekgetho, Business Executive, Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), presented the audit outcomes of the police portfolio for the past two years. He said the overall outcomes in the portfolio had improved over a three-year period, with 50% of the audits obtaining unqualified opinions with material findings and the other 50% achieving clean audits.
The Department of Police (DoP) had addressed the qualification area from the prior year on network assets and achieved a financially unqualified audit opinion. This may be attributed to the strong financial reporting background of the chief financial officer (CFO), who had been in the post for two years. However, it continued to have material findings on compliance with legislation and in respect of performance information.
The audit outcome of the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSPS) improved from unqualified with findings to a clean audit, as they had addressed material findings on compliance, thereby increasing the number of auditees with audit outcomes that were financially unqualified, with no findings on performance information and compliance with legislation.
The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) maintained a clean audit from the prior year.
Ms Mmule Thipe, Senior Manager, AGSA, presented a detail analysis of the three focus areas -- credible financial reporting, credible performance reporting, and compliance with legislation.
Turning to the irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, she said the total irregular expenditure identified amounted to R2.4 million, of which R1.7 million was incurred by the DoP. An amount of R600 000 in fruitless and wasteful expenditure was identified, of which 87% was incurred by the DoP. A further R3.5 billion of DoP irregular expenditure was still under investigation and not included in the R1.7 million reported. Most of its irregular expenditure resulted from non-compliance with Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) requirements, and local content and contractual requirements not being met.
There had been an overall regression in supply chain management (SCM) compliance.
(See attached document for details)
The Chairperson said the 2020/21 financial year fell within the strictest restrictions of the Covid-19 lockdown. It was known that this had placed a significant strain on the resourses of the South African Police Service (SAPS), both directly and indirectly. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, SAPS had received an unqualified audit opinion with findings. There had been various matters of emphasis that had been reported to the Committee by the AGSA. What the Committee could note was that the overall performance had improved in the 2021 financial year, compared to the previous year. It could only be said that there was still room for improvement and as highlighted, there were a number of challenges which needed to be attended to and focused on.
The Department had achieved 73% of its performance targets at the end of the 2021 financial year, and the only area which had performed at a lower rate was the Detective Services programme. The poor performance of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) sub-programme had to be attended to, but the Committee knew that quite bit of work had been done at the FSLs. The Department had spent over 95% of its budget, and there were findings of material under-spending. The oversight role of this Committee was that of assessing the performance of the entities, taking into consideration the objectives to produce a budgetary review and recommendations report (BRRR).
Gen Khehla Sitole, National Commissioner, SAPS, thanked the AGSA for their cooperation and the stance which they had taken with regard to compelling SAPS to improve the situation. He acknowledged the audit committee and top management for the hard work that had been done. After every AGSA report, he had personally introduced the audit response action plan, which was now a principle instruction which SAPS was following. It was with this audit response action plan that SAPS had taken note and provided a response to all of the findings. It had also been decided to review the performance management system so that the audit process could be fully aligned to the performance management system, to ensure that there was consequence management where there was non-compliance. Certain findings were declared as misconduct, especially where there were repeat findings.
One of the biggest areas as outlined by the AGSA was the unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. This was also linked to various other aspects and factors, which included corruption. For this, the clean-up campaign had been introduced and had worked well. The internal control framework had been reviewed and a new enterprise risk management strategy had been introduced. What helped SAPS the most was the contract management strategy. With the establishment of the contract management committee, these senior managers dealt with quite a lot of the areas. The investigations were also complemented by a discipline strategy that had a three-dimensional approach, as well as the integrated resource management strategy.
SAPS would continue to strive for a clean audit, to move from the unqualified report and escalate to a clean audit. SAPS would work together with the AGSA and push everyone within the SAPS to ensure that everyone pulled up their socks and worked toward the clean audit.
The Chairperson congratulated and thanked the National Commissioner and his team, including the Deputy National Commissioners, Lt Generals Dimpane, Ntshinga, Masemola, Vuma and Lebeya, the Director of PSIRA, Mr Manabela Chauke, the Secretary for Police, Mr Alvin Rapea, the Provisional and Divisional Commissioners, and especially Lt Gen Johannes Riet, who had been singled out in many meetings to urge that there must be an improvement in supply chain management.
Deputy Minister's comments
Mr Cassel Mathale, Deputy Minister of Police, said that the SAPS delegation was proud to appear before the Committee, having achieved an unqualified audit report after an intense programme. As the Chairperson had already said, one of the people who had been given a “whip” before the Committee was Lt Gen Vuma, as well as other members of the delegation. The delegation had made a commitment when they appeared before the Committee last year that they would work diligently to improve the situation. He was pleased that they were able to appear before the Committee today, with confirmation from the ASGA that there had been an improvement. However, much more still needed to be done.
There were issues that the AGSA had raised in the presentation, including the role that the internal audit committee of SAPS played in this space, which was indeed the product of a collective effort. The Secretary for Police, Mr Alvin Rapea, collectively ensured that the SAPS were where they are. The SAPS was not out of the woods, as there were still teething challenges within the organisation. There were issues that the audit committee had raised with SAPS, and there would be continuous interaction with top management to ensure that these matters were dealt with.
The work of the audit committee, in terms of how they were structured and how issues must be interfaced with, was clearly outlined in the audit committee charter. This was approved last year by the audit committee, the National Commissioner and the Minister of Police. Of course, it must be reviewed annually and was currently in processes to ensure that it was interfaced in a manner that enhances and strengthens the capacity and ability to sustain the audit outcome. This was not only to improve the audit outcomes, but to also improve the quality of service that SAPS provides to the people. Once people respond positively to the work of the police on the ground, that was the day that they would be happy, as indeed it had sustained and improved the ability to do the work.
It was not only the success of the police to have arrived at this situation, but it was also through the efforts of the Chairperson and Members of the Committee. The AGSA had correctly said that in order for this audit outcome to continue to be what it was and improve, the Committee had a role to play to monitor how SAPS did the things that have been identified by the AGSA. The Committee and SAPS must work together as a team to improve on these processes. It was a proud moment for SAPS, and for the men and women in blue, who could at least walk with their heads held high because the Department of Police could get an unqualified audit opinion. He thanked the AGSA, the SAPS delegation led by the National Commissioner and the Minister.
The Chairperson thanked the AGSA team for their hard work, and said that the Deputy Minister of Police had also been instrumental in assisting the Committee in attending to the number of challenges. This was a proud moment for the Minister of Police, and the Committee wished to congratulate him up front for assisting and providing leadership to SAPS in this regard.
General Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, said that it was a proud moment but also a moment of fear, because it was cold and lonely up there. As one kept going up, one may find oneself lonely and become a good target for snipers. The higher one was, the more vulnerable one was to snipers. Snipers could be anything that one needs to avoid, and the attacks could be internal within an organisation, or external, so one must try to make sure that one strengthens one's stay up there. That proud moment needed to be guarded jealously and protected. The methodologies and all other structures that had assisted this organisation to be where it is, also needed to be protected.
When interacting and talking to the AGSA team, he believed that it should be a jealously guarded secret that the management listens, rather than being defensive. The management should listen, correct and respond to what had been pointed out. He reiterated that internal structures had been beautifully placed to deal with the Department, and this should not be disturbed but enhanced. Sometimes it was not comfortable to be told that it was not doing well internally, but he urged that whether one agreed or not, that correction must be made. As the team, the police were not always comfortable times, and there were times when boxing really took place -- sometimes there were bloody noses between and among themselves. It had not always been a rosy path to get where they were, but so long as the outcomes looked as they were, they would continue to do so and sometimes get in a corner and box one another for the best outcomes.
The Minister referred to the presentation's mention of the lack of progress to address the prior year's root causes, and said that the police needed to pay serious attention to slide 17, as it was informed by what was found in the national plan, where the South Africans should not be told that they were safe but should feel that they were safe. It would be a good day, when agreement on these key indicators with material findings were reached. The disagreements over key indicators with material findings was a big debt on the percentage reduction in the number of contact crimes and the percentage reduction in the number of contact crimes against women 18 years and above, etc. The SAPS needed to work really hard to ensure that the next time the AGSA team returns ,they reach agreement on those key indicators. This was because those agreements were also a contract with ordinary South Africans, especially regarding issues that had been raised time and again, such as the question of firearms that were stolen/lost and the impact of stolen/lost firearms on the communities. These questions were concentrated and need to be answered by the SAPS.
He concurred with the Deputy Minister, and thanked those who “whip” the SAPS now and again, such as the Committee Chairperson and Members, and keep SAPS in line. These outcomes made SAPS feel good, but there should be no regression; SAPS should move forward and make South Africa proud. SAPS should not tell South Africa that it was safe, but it should make South Africa feel safe. He added that at times the chief financial officer's (CFO’s) office seemed too strict, but when one sees such outcomes one was reminded that those people were doing their work.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would keep insisting on the timeous implementation of the recommendations of AGSA. With the reports on the progress of material irregularities, the Committee would oversee and influence the progress that the Department was making. If there were any failures, the Committee would hold the Minister accountable. The Committee had done its oversight work and there were times when it had been very harsh. It would continue doing its work with the type of relationship that had been built up, and she knew that the Department could move towards an unqualified audit without any findings -- effectively a clean audit.
Mr O Terblanche (DA) said that one must always give credit where it was due, and congratulated the Department on the audit outcome they had received. He was concerned about the areas where no supporting evidence was given, as this raised the question of whether it was really true. This needed to be focused on so that evidence was provided where needed. In all of the environments there had been a huge improvement, but there were still issues involving contract management, and it was worrying that there were still cases of non-compliance with legislation, which was a very serious situation that would have to be addressed.
There were investigations that had gone on for several years with no apparent movement, no outcome and with serious allegations against members. He asked what was going to be done to deal seriously with these allegations. In the area of discipline and consequence management, at face value it seemed that there was a reluctance from the police’s side to apply consequence management to discipline members for the things that they had not done or had done wrongly. The irregular expenditure numbers were skyrocketing and not even catered for in the budget, so it was really a risk. He asked for clarity on this matter.
Mr H Shembeni (EFF) referred to the nature of the Department's irregular expenditure, where the majority had resulted from non-compliance with the PPPFA requirements, local content and contractual requirements not being met. This took place within the supply chain, and there seemed to be no improvement with the issuing of contracts. He asked if there were still problems of issuing contracts to the contractors that did not meet the requirements, and if so, then consequent management must be implemented. The majority of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate's (IPID’s) irregular expenditure resulted from the appointment of employees where proper processes were not followed. He questioned how this occurred and why there were still departments that could not hire people in the correct manner, as this meant there were people in the wrong places at the wrong time, doing the important work of investigating the police.
Mr A Seabi (ANC) asked the AGSA if their audit had taken into consideration the impact that Covid-19 had on everything that SAPS had to do. He asked for clarity on the R3.5 billion in irregular expenditure that was still under investigation. He referred to the IPID, and asked when the CFO vacancy would be filled. He was worried about the comment on the lack of progress to address prior year root causes. The Minister had said that the Department needed to move forward and get even better results, but if the prior year root causes were not addressed then there would be a problem of getting results that were better than now. On the nature of IPIDs irregular expenditure, he asked if this referred to an irregular appointment of contractors or an irregular appointment of staff. He congratulated SAPS, led by the Minister, for the improved audit outcome achievement.
Gen Sitole said that the clean-up campaign that he had alluded to had a criminal investigation dimension and a departmental investigation dimension, which were both being implemented concurrently. There was no compromise with consequence management. The consequence management had been extended to the performance management system, where the non-response or reaction to audit findings and performance misconduct were also declared. SAPS had taken note of the concerns raised about discipline, but he would also like to indicate that there was quite a lot of action that had been taken with regard to discipline and towards making sure that the organisation moved towards a clean audit, and some actions had been very harsh.
The outstanding investigations were dealt with by SAPS, IPID and National Treasury, who work together in an integrated multi-disciplinary approach. Efforts to speed up the investigations in its capacity had been increased. On the unauthorised expenditure still repeating itself, there was a possibility that the unauthorised expenditure pertaining to contracts could be affecting some of the previous investigations and might relate to those investigations not being finalised. SAPS would ensure that it would take action as it identified those discrepancies and irregularities. The outcome today had been realised because of the non-compromise and zero tolerance of maladministration, corruption or any deliberate violation of any sections of the law. Section 81 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) had been added as an investigative approach to recover any loss by the state on any of these incurred expenditures as the result of serious and deliberate misconduct by members.
Ms Thipe responded to Mr Terblanche’s question relating to the non-compliance in the supply chain management environment. It was a concern that had been raised, but it was also important to note that the repeat findings had also been looked into. In prior years, there were multiple findings related to non-compliance, but in the current year there were about three paragraphs in the audit report that related to non-compliance issues, Although there was still concern, there was some reduction in that regard.
In response to Mr Seabi, she agreed that there had been consideration of the impact that Covid-19 had on SAPS. The AGSA team had worked very closely with Maj Gen Rabie’s office and Lt Gen Dimpane’s office, which had accommodated the AGSA team when they could. During the time of the Covid-19 restrictions and the country’s unrest, they were not able to assist but there were discussions and negotiations on the different timelines, hence the report was not signed on 31 July but had been postponed to the end of August.
The R3.5 billion of irregular expenditure that needed to be investigated was attributable to the findings that were raised by the AGSA. In addition, the AGSA had to consider National Treasury’s guideline, where it had been given the opportunity to go and investigate the irregular expenditure. In the top part of the financial statements, on the main note, there was about R1.7 million in irregular expenditure disclosed in the current year, and about R1.3 million relating to the overall balance of irregular expenditure. The irregular expenditure to be investigated was the R3.5 billion. After such a finding was raised, management had the opportunity to respond to those findings and had the responsibility to investigate those irregularities to determine if they agreed whether it really was irregular expenditure or not. National Treasury had given the Department three months to investigate this. The AGSA had signed the report on 31 August during the period of this investigation, but during the interim the AGSA should be provided with the outcome of the investigation.
On the performance reporting, there had been a lack of progress on some indicators, such as the indicators relating to contact crime and firearms. Last year there were no indicators relating to the number of contact crimes against women and children, so there was some regression in that environment.
Ms Mokhithi Seketa, Assistant Manager, AGSA, said the irregular expenditure had involved local content when procuring goods and services -- making sure that the procurement was mainly made from those companies or industries that employed local people and produced their goods and services within the country. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) had guidelines that were used when issuing a tender or a quotation, where there was a need to communicate for instance that from this tender, they would need 10% that was procured locally, or maybe 100% that was locally procured for furniture. These percentages differed according to different kinds of goods and services. One may find that in some of these instances, the procurement of local content was not specified upfront, which would then result in non-compliance with this regulation.
As for the contractual requirements not being met, this was not necessarily a direct AGSA finding, but what management had identified during the year was that some of these contractual agreements were not met for different reasons -- maybe a contract had expired, or maybe the procurement of a service did not have proper approval from the relevant authorities. There were a lot of different reasons, but later when management elaborated on this they could then explain the different kind of contractual agreements that had resulted in this finding.
Mr Stanley Mafunyiswa, Senior manager: Regulatory Audit, AGSA, referred to the irregular expenditure of IPID. If one looked at the financial statements, there were basically two incidents of irregular expenditure and they both related to human resource-related incidents. The first incident of irregular expenditure was the danger allowance of about R75 000 that was not paid in line with resolution 1 of the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC). The second incident involved an employee who was appointed to the National Specialised Investigation Team (NSIT), but the employee had not met the specific requirements of that job, which was not in line with the requirements of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). The irregular expenditure was therefore the salary that had been paid to that employee, which at year end had amounted to R637 000.
Ms Thipe expressed appreciation to the Department and the Committee for accommodating the AGSA during a difficult time. The CSPS & PSIRA had still been able to give the AGSA some of the information within two to three days, and even during the weekly closing of SAPS buildings, they were able to grant an additional building for AGSA to use to fast-track the audit. The work was now mostly with the Department and PSIRA to maintain the audit outcome and maintain the best practices.
SAPS 2020/21 annual report
Maj Gen Puleng Dimpane, CFO, SAPS, presented the overview of the Department's spending performance, which was materially affected by Covid-19.
Programme 1-- Administration:
There was lower than linear spending mainly because the Covid-19 lockdown regulations prevented the movement of SAPS employees and delayed procurement processes.
Programme 2 Visible Policing:
The allocation of baseline reprioritisation towards Covid-19 expenditure which was required from SAPS, additional funding of R3.7 billion, roll-over funding for personal protective equipment (PPE) and baseline reductions during the adjustment estimate process were provided for within this programme. There were reduced spending levels on Covid-19 projects, and Department of Public Works (DPW) invoices were slightly lower than anticipated. The lockdown regulations that prevented the movement of SAPS employees between provinces and delayed procurements, all impacted on spending levels.
Programme 3 -- Detective Services:
The Integrated Criminal Justice Strategy spending was very low as well as other items similarly affected by the lockdown regulations that prevented the movement of SAPS employees between provinces and delayed procurements.
Programme 4 -- Crime Intelligence & Programme 5 -- Protection and Security Services:
There was marginal under-spending on both programmes, with lower than linear spending mainly as the lockdown regulations prevented the movement of SAPS employees between provinces and delayed procurements.
Maj Gen Leon Rabie, Head: Strategic Management, Crime Intelligence, presented the 2020/21 overall performance overview.
● Programme 1: Administration -- 80.95% of targets achieved; 19.05% of targets not achieved.
● Programme 2: Visible Policing -- 73.08% of targets achieved; 26.92% of targets not achieved.
● Programme 3: Detective Services -- 58.62% of targets achieved; 41.38% of targets not achieved.
● Programme 4: Crime Intelligence -- 83.33% of targets achieved; 16.67% of targets not achieved.
● Programme 5: Protection and Security Services -- 100% of targets achieved.
Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI)
Lt Gen (Dr) Godfrey Lebeya, National Head: DPCI, said that the DPCI had not prepared a separate presentation, as the presentation by SAPS had covered the portion by the DPCI, but in future it would prepare a separate presentation for their programme. The areas of performance of the DPCI that had formed part of the SAPS presentation had addressed areas of serious corruption in the public sector and referred to trial-ready case dockets. The DPCI had performed successfully in all of the areas in which it measured itself. When one noted the nature of the cases that had been dealt with, it was clear that they were serious in nature.
Most of the arrests involved more than one person, which was why there were currently more than 13 000 accused persons who had been taken to court. Looking at the various elements, there were a total of 357 dockets for serious corruption within the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster.
The DPCI had looked into the clandestine laboratories that had been dismantled to try to minimise the availability of drugs in the public space.
The trial ready case dockets for serious commercial crime was an area that involved a lot of work and formed more than 30% of the workload on its own.
The DPCI had performed satisfactorily in cyber-related cases.
In terms of the guilty verdicts, this portion was dealt with by the criminal records centre. The DPCI also internally measures the conviction rates to ensure that the cases are monitored until they are properly finalised in court.
The Chairperson said she agreed that the DPCI would need a separate presentation, because the Members had often asked for more information.
Mr Terblanche asked Lt Gen Lebeya if the DPCI would have a separate budget in future. Regarding the SAPS spending performance, all of the programmes were underspent. For instance, visible policing underspent by R2.6 billion, and detective services by R996.7 million, yet these were very important areas of proactive and reactive policing.
The Committee had heard in the past that the National Commissioner had received a letter from the President informing him that his possible suspension was under consideration. From what was understood from the media, the National Commissioner had exhausted all possible legal avenues. What was going to happen next? There was another predicament where two of the senior SAPS officials were also apparently involved. The National Commissioner had to consider possible disciplinary steps against those members, but the National Commissioner was now himself compromised. How was this going to be dealt with in future?
Some of the underspending that was very concerning was, for instance, the forensic laboratory services that spent only 7.3% of their allocated budget. When referring to the forensic labs, the detective services was the only programme that underspent, mainly due to the non-performance of the forensic labs. Apparently they had not met any of their targets and this had therefore had a severe impact on the detective services. Only 8.9% of the allocated budget was spent on training and 61.7% on buildings, which was really concerning.
On irregular expenditure, for the previous four financial years there was just one trend which was upwards, facing north, and something really needed to be done about that. He asked SAPS what the Department had done to address the significant historic irregular expenditure. SAPS should also explain the amount of non-compliance to court orders, where civil claims had been paid resulting in interest incurred, which obviously led to fruitless and wasteful expenditure. 10 689 civil claims had been registered, amounting to R16.7 billion. Everything was not as rosy as they had been led to understand.
He reiterated that the poor performance of the detective services impacted on the crimes against women and children. Why had the predetermined objectives and the issues that the AGSA had raised in the past not been implemented? He asked when the backlog for firearm licences and competency certificates would be cleared. The Members were flooded with questions from members of the public who had not been able to get their firearm licences sorted out.
At the end of the financial year, the forensic labs' backlog had increased to 300 722 cases, which was really worrying.
The Committee had interviewed people for the Critical Infrastructure Council. He asked when these people would be appointed.
Mr Shembeni asked how the SAPS had underspent in visible policing, especially since there were more police officers deployed in the visible policing capacity during the Covid-19 lockdown, compared to other periods. SAPS had also underspent on laboratory services -- what items were covered under this expenditure? R534 million had been spent on the vehicle theft units -- what was the stolen vehicle recovery rate? What was the value of the recovered vehicles? How many vehicles had been forfeited to the state? How many vehicles would be destroyed? R617 million had been spent on stock theft units. How much stock had been recovered, and what was the value of the stock that was recovered?
He referred to the arrest of Advocate Malesela Teffo on 1 November, which was voting day, and asked why this person had not been charged. There was no docket, he had not been in court and had been assaulted and denied treatment. When he was arrested, he had been taken directly to Kgosi Mampuru prison -- was that the procedure? Seemingly, it was the Provincial Commissioner of the Free State who had given the instruction for the arrest of Advocate Teffo. He asked what was happening with the treatment of this particular advocate, because it seemed as if the situation was going back to the apartheid era, where whistleblowers or people thought of as being a problem to the state must be dealt with, but this was a democratic South Africa. If this advocate represented the people in a court of law, then everything must go through a court of law. There was nobody that was above the law who must decide this by himself. One could not take a person into custody without a warrant -- this had just been spoken about -- and then become involved in civil claims because of the actions of individuals trying to cover up for other people. These incidents involve politics, especially in Free State, where all of this started. Commissioner Motswenyane should give an explanation of what had transpired. Why had this advocate been arrested without having been given a docket? The warrant officer that arrested the advocate had been appointed on 21 August 2021, and his identification certificate had been signed by the National Commissioner. He asked for clarity on what was happening with this matter.
Ms L Moss (ANC) asked what steps had been taken to address the significant history of irregular expenditure within the Department. How would it strengthen the supply chain management? Those dealing with the supply chain must understand the PFMA and the guidelines that National Treasury prescribed for them to have a successful unqualified report, without any outstanding matters.
She asked SAPS to report on the progress made regarding the 823 incidents of irregular expenditure amounting to R3.475 billion, which was under assessment. She was concerned about the gender-based violence (GBV) in Khayelitsha. She and other Members had visited Khayelitsha on 7 September, and it was very sad to hear from the community that Khayelitsha was understaffed and under-resourced with police vans and so forth. She asked what would be done to address GBV. The community and Community Police Forums (CPF) were very committed, but GBV in Khayelitsha ws increasing day by day. South Africa had only one police service, which was the SAPS. It was not acceptable that there were parallel structures in this country.
Mr Seabi said that the underspending, especially under visible policing, was really a matter of serious concern. He asked what intervention the Department would be making to ensure that it minimised underspending. The underspending of R2.6 billion on visible policing was really a blow.
He asked the National Commissioner whether SAPS have a service delivery improvement plan. In the past two years, it was understood that SAPS could not recruit new police officers, perhaps because of Covid-19. What was the plan moving forward with regard to the recruitment of police officers?
He asked that the Committee be briefed about the process of restructuring within the SAPS.
The Chairperson asked if National Treasury had approved the request to roll over the unspent funds to the current financial year. What amount of funds had been requested to be rolled over? She asked that the Department indicate why they did not use the adjustment period more effectively to shift funds away from items such as goods and service -- like catering and consumable supplies -- to avoid the significant underspending realised at the year end. The Committee was concerned about the underspending.
The escalation in irregular expenditure must be addressed. The Department should provide full details on its historic irregular expenditure. It should indicate whether it had engaged with National Treasury to condone this historic irregular expenditure, and what challenges existed.
The performance management system of the Department should be reviewed to provide assurance that the reported performance was the actual performance, and so that the performance could actually be verified. Mr Seabi had already addressed the question on the restructuring of SAPS, and she agreed that there would need to be a session to discuss the restructuring, because there seemed to be endless problems with the restructuring and the manner in which it was being done.
She thanked and commended Lt Gen Masemola for the work that he and the Provincial Commissioners for KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng had done.
Mr Shembeni read a list of police officers who had been fired from SAPS, and had then gone to court and won their cases. However, until today these police officers had not yet been reinstated. He asked what was happening with these police officers, because it had been too long and they were supposed to report back on duty. A number of letters had been written to the Committee, the Minister and National Commissioner with regard to these police members. Some of them had lost their houses and some of them had died because of the treatment that they had received from the SAPS after winning their arbitration and getting court orders to say that they must be reinstated.
The Chairperson said that Mr Shembeni had asked very specific and detailed questions. She requested that he send it in writing to her so that she could follow-up and ensure that each and every name mentioned on the list had a response.
Gen Sitole said that more detail would follow to provide the reasons why SAPS had underspent. Even if SAPS had wanted to spend those funds within the visible policing programme, this would have not been allowed by the prescripts. It would have amounted to either unauthorised or irregular expenditure. The steps that would be taken was to ensure that visible policing remained within the operational budget. The reason why it was decided to place more money into the visible policing programme was because about 70% of the SAPS establishment was within the visible policing environment. At the beginning of Covid-19, there many casualties of members affected by Covid-19 and as a result those funds were put back. The Integrated Resources Committee would be directed to see if those funds could not be shifted to the administration, and the SAPS would need to approach National Treasury to get authority to utilise or divert those funds to somewhere else.
On the underspending for forensic services, there were capital projects that were suspended as a result of Covid-19. Certain service providers could not provide those services as a result of the lockdown restrictions. The Integrated Resource Committee was working on this, and they would come up with various measures, working together with the CFO, to correct this.
He said it needed to be indicated that Lt Gen Motswenyane, who was the Provincial Commissioner of Free State, did not have anything much to do with the arrest of Advocate Teffo. Advocate Teffo had been arrested due to a warrant of arrest issued by a court of law in Gauteng, and that case was investigated from Gauteng. The only difference was that he was arrested either on the day that he was coming or going back from Free State, and the instruction had come from the Free State. Gauteng would be able to give a fuller report on this particular matter, but SAPS was prepared to provide a report in writing. He had been correctly informed that there was a warrant of arrest, which had been legally issued by a court of law.
SAPS were taking steps to ensure that it reduced or eradicated irregular expenditure in future, including the corrections in the supply chain. The contract management committee and Integrated Resource Committee were working on the reduction of irregular expenditure, the review of the internal control framework and the introduction of other mergers – including investigations and strengthening of the internal control framework. This process was currently in progress and part and parcel of making sure that SAPS no longer incurred irregular expenditure. Most of the irregular expenditure came from the past, and the majority of it came from investigations. As soon as those investigations were finalised, then SAPS may also be able to dispose of about 80% of the irregular expenditure.
The concerns raised about gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in Khayelitsha would be relayed by Lt Gen Masemola. There was a service delivery improvement plan in order to make sure that SAPS provides an immediate response. This particular service delivery improvement plan looks at the various areas, including the alignment of the performance management system, so the AGSA response was part and parcel of the SAPS performance management.
Regarding the status of the fired SAPS members, he concurred with the Chairperson and agreed that Mr Shembeni should share the list of those names in writing. More detail would be given by Lt Gen Ntshinga. As National Commissioner, he did not want to fight court battles with members. Where members had clearly won a case, it might not be necessary to have any delay, but when there were valid legal facts that such a case must be taken on review, then such a case could be taken on review. He requested that SAPS be given an opportunity to provide a full report to cover all of the names on the list.
The Chairperson said an article had been published in today’s Daily Maverick which referred to SAPS commanders who had ignored an instruction to discipline brutal cops. It said that the circular was issued 8 October, and speaks to the lack of adherence to disciplinary regulations. It appeared that inappropriate and excessively lenient disciplinary sanctions were imposed for guilty findings, despite the seriousness of the misconduct. The inconsistencies of sanctions negated the integrity of SAPS to manage discipline, and undermined any effort to enhance the professionalisation of the organisation. She asked that when SAPS respond, that they provide some response on their discipline management.
Maj Gen Dimpane said that the DCPI was still funded and specifically allocated funding within programme 3, under the sub-programme of specialised investigation. Engagements with National Treasury in this regard had taken place, and there was still the view that the specialised investigations should remain within programme 3.
She confirmed that SAPS had applied to National Treasury for the rollover of funds for an amount of about R2.712 billion, and approval was received from National Treasury for R1 billion in this particular regard. There had been a reprioritisation within the baseline in the early stages of the financial year, which essentially catered for Covid-19. There were two budget adjustment processes that SAPS had undergone during this financial year. In terms of underspending, 79% of that amount was actually related to earmarked funding that could not be utilised for other purposes. Measures had been put in place to address underspending, such as consensus and accountability sessions to strengthen the monitoring mechanisms and avoid a recurrence of underspending.
The particular items where there was underspending by the FSL involved mainly goods and services, such as consumables, communication, contract tasks, fleet services, travelling and subsistence and machinery and equipment.
To counter irregular expenditure, SAPS was working around the clock with supply chain management, and there were programmes that had been put in place. There was a post-audit action plan that had been developed immediately after the release of the auditor’s report. There were also engagements that SAPS intended to have with National Treasury, to assist with clearing those particular transactions under assessment. There were awareness campaigns to educate those who were responsible at the station and provincial level, to ensure compliance to the rules and regulations. When there was a clear indication of negligence, it was dealt with according to the relevant disciplinary processes. There was a programme that had been drawn up by the Divisional Commissioner of Supply Chain Management to deal with these particular issues, as well as further engagements with National Treasury to begin to clear most of the issues that were troubling.
Lt Gen Francinah Vuma, Deputy National Commissioner: Asset and Legal Management, said that the irregular expenditure came from prior years. The AGSA expected SAPS to go back to the entire population of the organisation and deal with all of the irregular expenditures that existed in the previous years. In the 2020/21 financial year, SAPS had employed service providers who were able to assist with identifying and conducting all of the investigation for determination as to whether those amounts were indeed irregular expenditure or not. Due to lockdown regulations last year, they could not complete the exercise and the work overlapped through to the current financial year that was under review. There were therefore still some issues that required to be finalised, as highlighted by AGSA. Committees and guidelines had been put together to monitor and ensure that SAPS continuously conducts workshops and educates the members up to the station level. It had taken long to finalise some of the matters, as SAPS was a huge organisation.
It was true that SAPS had not recruited for the past three years. In the previous financial year, there has been the issue of lockdown regulations, but during the year SAPS had also received budgetary cuts. In order to address the issue of capacity at the operational level and to capacitate the stations, SAPS had recruited reservists. 2 500 reservists had completed their training by the end of December 2020. SAPS was also recruiting another 1000 reservists and 2 000 Public Service Act (PSA) personnel. According to National Treasury guidelines and the budgetary cut, it had been highlighted that SAPS had more PSA personnel than it should. So instead of SAPS recruiting externally and in order to manage the budgetary cuts, it had been decided to recruit from within the organisation and top up on the salaries that were already being paid. The personnel would be going to the college for training on 23 January 2022.
Regarding the list of SAPS members who were fired and won their cases, but had not yet returned to work, although they may have won their cases, there were two processes that run concurrently. There was a disciplinary process that concludes the case on the merits that were submitted during the disciplinary process. The person would also go through the legal system that took its own course.
Some of the irregular expenditures had come as a result of contracts that were not concluded appropriately. While the investigations were still pending, there were contracts that had not yet been stopped in terms of the law, and there was a need to approach the courts so that they could be nullified. They could not be nullified until the investigations were finalised, so they still appeared on the system and because the contracts were still being paid for, they contributed towards irregular payments.
The Chairperson said that Lt Gen Vuma had taken over from the late Lt Gen Sindile Mfazi. The Committee wished her well, as it was a very difficult position, but they knew that she was up to the task. She thanked Lt Gen Vuma and Maj Gen Dimpane for the detailed responses.
Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga, Deputy National Commissioner: Crime Detection, SAPS, said that SAPS had developed a recovery plan that was aimed at addressing the backlogs at the laboratories which had impacted on the organisation's ability to deliver service to the victims of crime. SAPS had reenlisted 20 interns who had been reappointed and were at work, and had also allocated 20 posts for interns as advertised, and they were expected to commence on 1 December. The service was running smoothly and members were all back at work. The crime detection shift system had been established to ensure that the service was running 24/7, and those who were working on weekends were paid overtime. This had resulted in a very good situation at forensics, because there was a backlog of 88 754 cases in September, and currently the number of cases was 24 431. The recovery plan was monitored on a daily basis and she could therefore confidently say that very soon, the backlog at the forensic laboratories would be a thing of the past. Monitoring was happening at all levels on a daily basis.
For crime detection, there was a turnaround strategy with a recovery plan to focus on performance areas that had not been achieved, specifically with the cases of women and children and GBVF. The implementation of a cold case strategy was being looked into, particularly where suspects under GBVF had not been arrested. There was a weekly monitoring of wanted suspects for GBVF. Things were starting to change, and by the end of next quarter there would be a drastic change in crime detection. The team of detectives were "all hands on deck" and aiming for service excellence. They wanted people to feel the change and to feel safe.
The Chairperson informed Members that she had to attend another meeting, and Mr Seabi would continue to chair the meeting.
Lt Gen Ntshinga said that the crime detection unit had appointed designated officers at the provincial level to monitor the taking of buccal samples and outstanding fingerprints on a weekly basis. The monitoring of systems was also in place. The team of detectives were committed to turning things around.
The Minister asked Members that he be excused for another engagement, and said that the Deputy Minister would be present for any further response.
Lt Gen Sehlahle Masemola, Deputy National Commissioner: Policing, SAPS, said that there was an action plan in place to deal with the backlog at the Central Firearm Registry (CFR). However, now and then it was impacted by Covid-19, and it would also be affected by the move from Veritas to Telkom Towers. This would affect performance, but the staff would try to ensure that this was minimal.
On the concerns about GBV in Khayelitsha, there had been training on GBV which had started in the Western Cape. The top 30 GBV stations in the country would be prioritised, but they would include all the police stations in the Western Cape. The Khayelitsha police station had recently been given a mobile police station, and for now there were 30 police members who would man the mobile police station who would be used mostly in Macassar. This should assist in alleviating the work load at Khayelitsha police station.
Lt Gen Lebeya said that in the annual report, the endnote indicates that a separate programme should be established for the DPCI, and this was being addressed. It indicates that the National Commissioner shall ensure that the annual report of the performance of the DPCI be included as a distinct programme. It also indicates that the National Commissioner shall include a report in respect of the performance of the DPCI, compiled by the National Head, as a separate programme. There was an obligation for a separate programme, and there had been communication in this regard. He urged the Committee to look at the report that was submitted to the Chairperson on 19 October 2016, where the Acting National Commissioner had indicated on page 21, paragraph C, the developments on this matter.
Lt Gen Sally Khan, Divisional Commissioner: Legal and Policy Services, SAPS, said that the state of civil claims that Mr Terblanche referred to were the figures of civil claims that were registered for the period 2020/21. She emphasised that this was for the number of claims that had been registered, but not necessarily paid. The figure of 10 689 was the number of claims, and the amount claimed was R16.7 billion. This figure needed to be read in relation to the number of claims that had been paid for that period, which amounted to 2 899 claims for which an amount of R367.2 million had been paid. As much as the claims were very high, if one compares it to the claims that had been paid, which was also high, the difference was great, as it was in the millions. If one compared this to the previous financial years, the position was still the same.
Regarding the interventions that were being undertaken to reduce incidents relating to civil claims and managing civil claims, a project had come to an end. The deliverables that were not achieved in that project had been carried over into an intervention plan, so the interventions were ongoing. On the particular instances regarding arbitration matters, as raised by Mr Shembeni, SAPS would await the list of names and respond as they had done in the past on this particular matter.
Gen Sitole referred to the media article that had been cited by Chairperson, and said that there was a conduct committee which was constituted of senior officers. If there was an outcome of the disciplinary process that did not satisfy, or where the sanction did not match the misconduct, then such a disciplinary matter would be reviewed. The service delivery improvement framework consisted of recovery plans, the response action plans and the corporate renewal strategy.
Deputy Minister Mathale said that the National Commissioner and his team had responded to the questions appropriately. The impact that Covid-19 had had on the overall ability to do certain things was a reality. This meeting was being held virtually precisely because of the impact of Covid-19, which had made it difficult for SAPS to do business in the manner that they were used to. This was the second year, and there was no idea for how long it would carry on, as there was a fourth wave that might seemingly come. In order to get out of this situation, all South Africans needed to be encouraged to vaccinate so that an immunity was reached, and then South Africa could go back to the normal way of doing things, which was important as a country and as members of the SAPS. He encouraged Members to preach this in their respective constituencies -- to join the President's call that everybody must be encouraged to vaccinate.
The Department was equally concerned with the concerns that Members had raised with regard to the under-expenditure that had occurred. Although there were explanations, this did not mean that the Department cared less. It did care about the under-expenditure because this was a society that must be served. In order to provide services to the people, the Department needed to spend the resources that it had been given. For whatever reason the resources were underspent, it concerned the Ministry and this matter had been discussed with management, led by the National Commissioner. The things that had made it difficult to spend must be improved on. Systems had been put in place in all areas within SAPS to ensure that all hands were on deck. Members must be assured that the Department was focusing on the goals at hand. There might be issues that seem as if they were impacting on the ability to work, but the SAPS team was in full steam -- all players were on the field and all were working.
The other processes that the Presidency was dealing with that affected the National Commissioner, were not affecting the Department's ability to do its work. This process should be given its own time and space, as the President was dealing with the matter at hand and it would be resolved. The Department was working collectively as a team, and it had been observed that the National Commissioner had responded to questions, together with the team, so the Department was a full complement and a full team who were at work and wanted to show South Africans that they were doing what was necessary and expected of them, which was to create an environment for South Africans that was conducive for them to carry on with their daily activities.
There were challenges, but the Department was ready to deal with the tasks at hand. He was confident that if the Department continued in the manner it had in the recent past, then it would only improve in the manner that it was able to serve the people. The backlogs were there, but there would be a difference and they would be overcome. The Ministry was committed with management to ensure that the Department sticks to the plan that was developed to respond to the queries that the AGSA had raised, so that it sustains and improves the quality of the audit outcomes of the SAPS budget.
Mr Seabi noted that Mr Terblanche’s question about critical infrastructure had not been answered.
The Deputy Minister replied that Parliament had adopted the recommendations of the Committee. Through the Speaker, Parliament must communicate the decision of National Assembly with regard to the Critical Infrastructure Council, so that the Minister could implement it . As soon as that was done, whatever appropriate step that needed to be taken and the process through which this need to go through, would be done. This process would not be delayed any further.
Mr Seabi said that all of the questions had been answered, but some would need more detail. He reminded Mr Shembeni to share the list of the cases that he had referred to, so that the Chairperson could follow-up and the National Commissioner could respond in more detail. It was agreed that there would be a full presentation on the restructuring project, which the National Commissioner would prepare as directed by the Chairperson. The recovery plan would have to be presented and monitored, so that the Committee could be assured that the issues raised by the AGSA would be addressed. He informed the National Commissioner that there might be a need to present the Service Delivery Improvement Plan, so that Members were aware of how the Department intended to deal with that plan.
Gen Sitole expressed his appreciation for the members of SAPS, especially for the sacrifices made during the election. He thanked the Committee for the support that they always gave SAPS and for always keeping them on their toes. At times, the Committee was hard on SAPS, but there was always a sense of belonging and the Committee ensured that SAPS did the right thing. He assured the Committee that next time they would return with a better report.
He was proud to be part of the team that had appeared before the public representatives and presented a report that was better than last year. He was happy with the unqualified report which although with findings, was a good start. He encouraged the Department to soldier on and work together as a team, to make SAPS an institution that South Africa could be proud of, not only with a clean audit but with the service that it provided to the people. SAPS had to earn that respect and much more still needed to be done.
Mr Seabi congratulated SAPS on what they had achieved, and said it was only when they worked together that they could do more. There were issues that had not been dealt with to their conclusion which would be followed-up. He thanked the AGSA office for the presentation, and reminded SAPS that the AGSA were available to assist them to ensure that the recommendations were carried through.
Adoption of Minutes
The Committee considered and adopted its minutes of 25 August and 31 August 2021.
The meeting was adjourned.
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