In a virtual meeting, the South African Police Service (SAPS) presented the latest crime statistics to the Committee for the second quarter of the 2021/22 financial year, which covered the period from July to September.
SAPS reported an overall decline in crimes across South Africa. This was attributable to the ongoing stabilisation and normalisation interventions which had been intensified throughout the provinces and the country. The decrease in robberies was attributed to the 72-hour activation plan and partnership with private security companies, and the Safer City and counter strategy modus operandi.
While the statistics indicated an overall improvement in crime, this did not bring much comfort when sexual offences, rape and murder continued to increase. Concerns were expressed on the increasing murder of women and children, which indicated that South African women and children were unsafe. SAPS noted that more effort was needed to address this issue and to ensure a turnaround. It had already reached a turnaround on the DNA matter which would greatly assist it to address issues of rape, assault, sexual offences and gender-based violence (GBV). Since SAPS had made arrests in those areas, the statistics had started to improve.
The Committee heard that the new category of kidnapping would often make headlines only when it involved ransom and extortion, although it also included other forms, such as kidnapping by a hijacker, or a kidnap for rape. The Department was trying to broaden this category as it was unfortunately not captured accurately by the media. The threat of kidnapping also extended to neighbouring countries. A multidisciplinary approach which involved a multi-dimensional team would be used, and all the resources would be engaged to resolve such cases.
SAPS was aware of the new modus operandi of ATM bombings, as it had received reports that ex-military combatants from the neighbouring countries were involved in some instances, and had smuggled explosives designed for bombing ATMs, cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies and illegal mining. The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) was working with SAPS members to address this matter. It had considered various interventions and an integrated approach with the Department of Defence to take the ex-military combatants head on.
The Minister, Deputy Minister, National Commissioner, the Whip and the Chairperson, had agreed to meet regularly to engage on the crime statistics. The Committee acknowledged that SAPS had a long way to go and that it was faced with many challenges. However, its achievements should be recognised, including the good work that it had done under difficult circumstances.
The Chairperson welcomed the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele, and thanked him for bringing the crime statistics before the Committee in this virtual meeting.
She informed Members that it was her suggestion to the Minister, that the Committee should receive the presentation in the meeting, as she wanted the statistics to remain confidential until he released them later in the day. This would therefore not be a long meeting, as the Minister and the National Commissioner (NC) had to formally release the statistics after this meeting.
She thanked the House Chairperson for agreeing to allow this meeting, as it had taken a decision that meetings could be held only in the Committee’s allocated time slots.
The Minister said the Deputy Minister (DM) of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale, had sent apologies as he was involved with other responsibilities.
The Chairperson noted the DM’s apology.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) said the political parties were still trying to find each other, and that negotiations were continuing. He would therefore have to leave this virtual meeting at 10h00 to attend another meeting to try to ensure that municipalities got to work.
The Chairperson said that there was not much time, and that Rev Meshoe should finalise this matter.
Rev Meshoe said he would do his best.
The Chairperson asked the Secretariat to note any other apologies.
The Committee Secretary confirmed that she had received apologies from Mr M Shaik Emam (NFP), Dr P Groenewald (FF+), and Ms M Molekwa (ANC).
The Chairperson noted the apologies. She said Dr Groenewald was also engaged in negotiations, and the Committee understood that this work would be over by next week, which meant that all Members would be back in the meetings. She accepted Ms Molekwa’s apology, as she was ill.
She invited the Minister to introduce the SAPS delegation before commencing with the presentation.
Minister’s opening remarks
Minister Cele thanked the Chairperson for the introductory remarks, and confirmed the South African Police Service (SAPS) team would not present for too long. He invited the NC and the team involved with the crime statistics from July to September 2021 to take the Committee through the presentation. Members would note that July had been a very bad month, which had affected the country’s stability and would definitely impact on the crime figures.
He was glad to meet with the Committee before the actual release of the statistics to the public. While there had been challenges, and the history of the issues had been addressed, SAPS was satisfied that it could finally work in unison on these matters.
In the interests of time, he handed over to the NC to lead the presentation.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister for his opening remarks. The Committee appreciated the fact that the Minister and the NC had been able to coordinate this presentation.
She reminded Members that although the Committee had the quarterly crime statistics, it still required them in an annual report. The Minister and the NC would discuss the annual crime statistics, and the necessity to meet that requirement.
She handed over to the NC to lead the presentation.
SAPS briefing on Q2 crime statistics
Introduction and overview
General Khehla John Sitole, National Commissioner of Police, introduced the South African Police Service (SAPS) delegation. He was joined by the Deputy National Commissioners, the National Head of the Hawks, all nine Provincial Commissioners, Divisional Commissioners for the operations, and Section Heads of Statistics and Research, who were all in attendance.
He handed over to Major General Sekhukhune to lead the presentation.
Maj Gen Thulare Sekhukhune, Component Head: Crime Research and Statistics, SAPS, said the subjects were grouped into themes, and each theme would outline murder, attempted murder and other categories within one subject.
He provided an overview of the crimes that had been reported to the police between July to September 2019/20 compared to 2020/21. He said Members should note that those statistics were what SAPS had when it released the quarter two crime statistics of the previous financial year. He clarified that the column on “Count Difference” indicated if there had been an increase/decrease in a particular crime phenomenon. The yellow columns showed the comparison between the 2021/22 and the pre-Covid period – this assessed what the crime picture would have been if there was no Covid-19 period when it compared that period to the Covid-19 period.
An increase of 1 056 more bodies were recorded, or brought to the attention of the police. This was a 20.7% change. When compared to the pre-Covid period, this would have been a 13.2% increase.
Murder had increased across the three months from July to September 2021. The Western Cape was the only province that had recorded a decrease in murder during this period.
On the causative factors for murder, attempted murder, and assault with commit grievous bodily harm (GBH), different sample sizes had been drawn, as the analysis was done on live dockets. In some instances, the docket would still be under investigation and access to it would be restricted, which meant that the limited data on the system would be the only information that could be extracted. This was why purposive sampling was used, as it provided an idea of the causative factors within each crime phenomena. However, the samples were not intended as inferential samples which could be inferred back to the population. Although it was large samples which brought SAPS closer to the total population, or a kind of census, it provided a fair and almost accurate representation of the causative factors that led to the phenomena under investigation, such as murder, attempted murder, and assault with GBH.
The top five causative factors for such crimes were attributable to arguments/misunderstandings that were not domestic related; mob justice/vigilantism; robbery; retaliation/revenge; and gang-related.
Sexual offences had increased by 541 -- a 4.7% increase. The pre-Covid period would have been a decrease of 12.9%.
9 556 cases of rape were reported, an increase of 634, with a 7.1% change.
Sexual assaults decreased by five cases from 1 758 to 1 753.
Robbery with aggravating circumstances
Robberies at residential premises had decreased across all three months. 5 372 cases were recorded -- a decrease of 388, or 6.7%. The Free State and Mpumalanga were the only two provinces that had recorded an increase in cases, while all other seven provinces had recorded a decrease in cases of robberies at residential premises.
Cases of robberies at non-residential premises had decreased across all three months. 4 867 cases were recorded -- a decrease of 70, or a 1.4% reduction. The Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and the North West province all recorded an increase in cases, while the other five provinces recorded decreases.
Robbery of cash-in-transit (CIT) had reduced to 52 from 64, which was a 12% decrease.
Maj Gen Sekhukhune identified under this category of contact crime: murder; attempted murder; rape; sexual offences; robbery with aggravating circumstances and common robbery; and common assault and assault with GBH.
The increase in July 2021 had led to an overall increase in contact crimes in South Africa. The only two provinces that saw a decrease in these crimes were Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.
Overall, contact crimes increased by 1%, or 1 324 cases.
Of the top 30 police stations with contact crimes, three provinces featured in the top 30. Half of the stations within this 30 emanated from Gauteng. The Western Cape had eight stations, and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) had seven.
Selected contact crimes against women and children
This category also involved murder, attempted murder, and assault GBH of women (over the age of 18) and children (boys and girls up to 17years old).
Murders of women increased by 64, to a total of 833 cases recorded. Attempted murders of women increased by 82, which amounted to a total of 1 555 cases. Assault GBH increased by 398 to a total of 11 824 cases reported.
Murder of children increased by 69, giving a total of 287 cases. Attempted murder of children increased by 36 – a total of 283 cases -- and assault GBH increased by 61, which meant a total of 1 670 cases was recorded.
There were 49 cases fewer than the previous comparative period. However, rape cases had increased in both August and September 2021, with 743 and 60 cases respectively.
While all other seven provinces recorded an increase in cases, the Northern Cape and the Western Cape had both recorded a decrease in cases.
The Temba police station in Gauteng, the Thohoyandou station in Limpopo, the Lusikisiki station in the Eastern Cape, and the Inanda station in KZN recorded the highest incidents of rape.
400 rape cases were domestic violence-related, meaning the victim and perpetrator had a relationship.
At the national level, the total count of rape cases had increased by 634 cases. or 7.1%.
Maj Gen Sekhukhune explained that this category did not include kidnapping only for ransom or for extortion purposes, but also involved instances where a person was hijacked. For example, if a perpetrator opened the car door of a victim and pointed a gun instructing them to drive to a specific location, this was considered kidnapping, as the victim was denied the freedom of movement. This would then be kidnapping, with carjacking.
Kidnappings could also happen together with rape, where a woman would be taken to a particular location, locked up, and raped over a period of time. In such instances, the case that would be reported would be the rape, together with the denial of the victim’s freedom of movement. In other instances, drug hijacking could also result in kidnappings.
For kidnapping crimes, the cases had increased across all three months. Overall, an increase of 445 more cases were recorded in South Africa. Except for the Eastern Cape, Free State, Northern Cape, and the Western Cape, all five other provinces recorded an increase in kidnappings.
On the causative factors/circumstances in kidnapping, a sample size of 1 620 was drawn across the nine provinces. Maj Gen Sekhukhune emphasised that the statistics for specific provinces would not necessarily be comparable. This meant that if eight hijacking-related kidnappings happened in the Eastern Cape, this did not indicate that it was doing worse than the Free State. These were independent studies from independent samples that were drawn within the specific provinces.
The Chairperson interject to ask Maj Gen Sekhukhune not to go into all the details in the interest of time, as Members still had to raise questions.
Maj Gen Sekhukhune noted the Chairperson’s request. He outlined Slides 37 to 41, and concluded the presentation.
(See attached document for full details)
The Chairperson thanked Maj Gen Sekhukhune and the Minister for the presentation.
She asked Gen Sithole to add remarks before allowing the Minister an opportunity to comment on the presentation.
National Commissioner’s remarks
NC Sithole said that the crime statistics reflected a better picture than the previous quarter’s performance, and complemented the previous reports provided by SAPS. He attributed this change to three key issues:
- the ongoing stabilisation and normalisation interventions which had been intensified throughout the provinces and the country;
- the decrease in robberies attributable to the 72-hour activation plan partnership with private security companies; and
- the Safer City, and the counter strategy modus operandi.
With the top 30 police stations, the Department was dealing with the profile analysis, the root cause and modus operandi metrics, and the rapid service delivery access strategy to reduce the profile weight. These processes were all ongoing.
The Chairperson thanked the NC and handed over to the Minister.
The Minister commented that the situation was changing, but when matters such as sexual offences and rape continued to increase, this did not provide much comfort, regardless of all the changes that were happening. The SAPS should really work on this.
There were many other related issues involving other departments of government, particularly the Department of Human Settlements, such as environmental design, housing, numbering and working together with local government bodies, and these were some approaches helping to address the crime situation.
SAPS would provide the report on the rape statistics to the Committee soon. The Department had achieved a turnaround on the DNA matter, which would greatly assist it to address the issues of rape, assault, sexual offences, and gender-based violence (GBV). Since the SAPS had made arrests in those areas, it believed that it had started to improve the relevant statistics.
As the new category of kidnapping had been explained, this was unfortunately one category that would usually make headlines only for the ransom and extortion involved. However, other forms of kidnapping were also very terrifying, such as being kidnapped by a hijacker or kidnapped for rape. The SAPS was trying to respond to those issues and to broaden this category, because it brought fear and pain to many South Africans, which was unfortunately not captured by the media as it was often regarded as unimportant.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister for his comments and invited Members to engage with the presentation.
Mr A Whitfield (DA) said it was encouraging that the Minister had made some broad comments about the turnaround in the DNA crisis. Could the Minister inform the Committee what gave him such confidence on this matter? He asked the Minister to explain and provide some details on how the situation had been turned around so that the Committee could have some insight into how those statistics would be impacted by the turnaround in the forensic laboratories.
Mr O Terblanche (DA) asked the SAPS how the sample sizes were determined for the causative factors.
What was the status on the implementation of the 2016 White Paper on safety and security, to ensure a holistic approach to crime prevention and crime fighting?
Had the crime statistics data dissemination policy been developed?
Mr W Thring (ACDP) said it was encouraging to see a decrease in certain crimes, such as robbery at residential and non-residential premises, CIT heists and stock theft. What did the Minister consider to be the contributing factors for the decrease in crime in residential premises, including non-residential? He understood that the decrease in residential premises was potentially due to more people being at home because of the lockdown. What were the attributable factors to the decrease in crime at non-residential premises?
The Minister had made reference to the July unrest as a contributor to the increase in crime. The police were clearly overwhelmed and had been unable to attend to many of the crime scenes, as reflected in the statistics. What measures were in place to ensure that proper riot control measures were in place going forward?
The rape and murder statistics were certainly a cause for concern, as the Minister had observed. The murder of women and children was undeniably increasing, as there had been huge percentage increases -- 7% for women and about 30% for children. This clearly indicated that women and children in South Africa, specifically in quarter two, were not safe. What interventions were in place to address this, to ensure that these figures did not increase in the third quarter?
Mr H Shembeni (EFF) said that capturing crime on the Case Administration System (CAS) and the Integrated Case Docket Management System (ICDMS) was the first crucial step to ensure reliable crime statistics. The ICDMS had been plagued by various challenges and delays. How many police stations had implemented this system? This was the second time he had raised this question. He believed that if there were outstanding police stations that had not implemented it, this had now been rectified. What were the current challenges with the further rollout and implementation of the ICDMS? When would the CAS be phased out?
The unfounded cases were not explained. Did the crime statistics contain any unfounded cases? Did the SAPS verify all quarterly statistics prior to release?
What was the Minister doing about the non-performing police stations, specifically the commanders and crime prevention heads of those stations? He said that at some stations, for example, some employees had worked there for more than five to ten years, yet no work was being done as crime continued to increase. This indicated that the person did not care if crime increased or decreased. What steps was the Minister taking to ensure that a person appointed to a position actually performed? How were these employees being rated? He said that some of them fought with subordinates daily about giving them a rating of one or a two in the Performance Enhancement Process (PEP). If the subordinates received such a low rating, what were the senior officials getting? Why were some getting promoted, while the subordinates were not being promoted?
The bombing of ATMs and robberies in big shops such as jewellery stores had become a recent trend, which seemingly involved a group of more than 10 to 30 people with rifles and bombing materials. What was being done about his? What measures were in place to combat such crimes? He had raised this question as he had personally experienced and witnessed this happening around the Nkomazi area. For example, a police officer was shot and killed and two stores opposite each other – the Patel’s, which was the biggest hardware store in Nkomazi, and Horn Africa supermarket -- were bombed last week at the same time. The information indicated that over 30 people were involved and that it would have been a risk for SAPS members to try to intervene in that situation. How would SAPS confront those criminals with such firearms and assault rifles in their possession?
Mr Shembeni said he had not heard anything about what was being done about the taverns that were not complying with the lockdown regulations. Were they closed down or not? There were popular taverns in some areas where Covid-19 restrictions were not adhered to, but were not closed down, which meant that the regulations were not being followed and the taverns would open and close whenever they wished to. What was the SAPS doing about this? Had it lost the battle with those tavern owners?
National Commissioner’s responses
NC Sithole thanked Members for their constructive questions. He would address the strategic questions and the Operatives would respond to the rest. The Department would provide written responses to the questions where it did not have the information available.
On the White Paper on Crime Prevention, at this stage a draft National Crime Prevention Framework had been completed by the Ministry, and presented to the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS). The operationalisation of the framework was a priority of the JCPS Cluster. He confirmed that the operationalisation of this White Paper had already commenced.
Part of the interventions that had led to the decrease in crimes in non-residential areas was due to latest initiative called "the Country in Blue," which had enhanced the visibility of police officers to prevent crime. Complementary to this, "the Community in Blue" was another intervention attributable to the decrease, as the numbers of this intervention increased daily throughout the country, which complemented the SAPS everywhere. The security company partnership also complemented this visibility. The Safer City pilot technology was another intervention that assisted SAPS, and its implementation was ongoing. The intensified crime detection processes assisted SAPS to remove prominent criminals within a short period, which complemented all the interventions.
On the non-performing commanders, SAPS had ordered a review of the performance management system to include performance penalties. Those performance penalties would include disciplinary action; deployments and redeployments; and on a positive note, where necessary, it would include training and retraining. Within the restructuring and reorganisation, it was also assessing the profiles to ascertain if it was suitable for a person to be in that particular position. If the profile was not suitable, and was more suitable for a different post, that person would be moved to that post.
On the ATM bombings, NC Sithole confirmed that SAPS was aware of this new modus operandi. The first intervention it had undertaken was to assign the modus operandi analysis centre to provide a deep analysis of this particular method. SAPS had received reports that ex-military combatants from the neighbouring countries were involved. In response to this, it had activated the medium and high-risk forces as an element of the activation plan for a quick response. He confirmed that he had personally engaged with the Department of Defence to discuss the possibility that should a military operative form part of the modus operandi, this would require an integrated approach with Defence to take the military combatants head-on. There had been a trans-national response, where SAPS had agreed with neighbouring and other countries abroad for support, and for Interpol to provide a response to these particular crimes, as the majority of them involved a trans-national modus operandi.
Deputy National Commissioners’ responses
Lt Gen Mr Sehlahle Fannie Masemola, Deputy NC: Policing, responded on the issue of the mitigations to the July 2021 unrest. SAPS had started a training course called First Responder Training, and had identified high priority police station precincts to train members as first responders. It had already trained more than 7 000 members to date from police stations, provided them with first responder resources, and was continuing with the training. SAPS had prioritised the police stations where it anticipated that issues might emerge, such as those next to national key points, or next to shopping malls, and so forth.
On the non-performing crime prevention heads and police station commanders, the Provincial Commissioners would continuously evaluate station commissioners and all supervisors. Consequence management was in place for those that did not perform. Station commissioners would assess members and give them ratings of one or two because they were also being assessed, and were given similar ratings.
To deal with the ATM bombings and robberies of hardware stores and shops, SAPS had embarked on a nationwide festive season operation, and all the provinces were involved. It also had medium to high-risk teams that liaised with security companies to undertake operations in these areas. It had achieved many successes. For example, there had been a CIT in Kempton Park on Saturday 13 November, where people were arrested. Four suspects were also arrested in Silverton, with many rifles and shotguns. Tactical response teams (TRT) were in all provinces countrywide which was part of the medium to high-risk forces that were undertaking operations, focusing on the serious crimes that police stations could not address on their own. This included its Airwing, which supported these forces.
SAPS would like to know if there were areas where taverns still did not comply, so that it could address this challenge. Many taverns were dealt with on a weekly basis, and some were closed for non-compliance, arrested or fined. Some liquor would also be confiscated due to non-compliance with either the current curfew, or with the conditions of their liquor licences.
Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga, Provincial Commissioner: Eastern Cape, SAPS, said she would address the questions about the forensic science laboratory (FSL) and the kidnappings.
She assured Members that everything was operating smoothly in the FSLs. The part for the machine that did not work had arrived that day (19 November), and the performance check was being undertaken. This meant that all of the machines were now operating in the laboratories. In the Cape Town laboratory, 2 000 cases a day were done, and with the availability of the contracts, it was no longer struggling to get the consumables. These consumables were being received when they were needed. This meant that the FSL's usage would outnumber its suppliers', as it was working at a very high rate and the suppliers were unable to match its pace. However, the FSL was pushing them to deliver on time. The backlog had dropped from 180 191 to 97 664, which was a huge decrease, and it continued to decrease every day. She was satisfied that the laboratories were operating properly.
The immediate threat of the kidnappings had already been identified, and she had instructed the crime intelligence commanders. Counter Intelligence was leading a progressive intervention plan that would take the form of an intelligence-led stabilisation plan, which would also be a part of the organised crime threat assessment (OCTA) strategy. Lt Gen Ntshinga explained that when it did the analysis, it had discovered that the threat was not only in the country, as it extended to the neighbouring countries as well. It would then follow the approach of OCTA so that it could focus on the level fives of the criminals. OCTA units at the provincial level were being capacitated to operate fully. However, the teams that would run on the identified serious crimes would be established for now. The plan was for all the provinces to establish a task team that would run on kidnappings, so that it did not have to rely on only one mechanism. All the provinces would be able to run on the cases of kidnappings on their own, but would be supported at the local level on difficult cases. This would be a multidisciplinary approach, and all the resources would be engaged to solve the cases. A multi-dimensional team would be involved from the moment a case was reported so that no time would be wasted to solve a case by waiting on a specific unit.
Lt Gen Francina Ntombenhle Vuma, Deputy NC: Asset and Legal Management, SAPS, responded to Mr Shembeni’s questions on the ICDMS and CAS. Currently, the ICDMS was implemented at 999 police stations out of 1 157, and the remaining police stations were 158. The distribution of implementation of the ICDMS at police stations per province was:
- Eastern Cape: 139 out of 197
- Free State: 107 out of 111
- Gauteng: all 144 stations
- KZN: 156 out of 186
- Limpopo: 75 out of 104
- Mpumalanga: 80 out of 90
- North West: 66 out of 83
- Northern Cape: 81 out of 91
- Western Cape: all 151 stations.
The ICDMS was fully implemented in only two provinces. The challenges involved issues of the infrastructure which was supposed to be upgraded. The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) had been tasked since the beginning of 2020 to put a contract together. However, it continuously cancelled the process of awarding the bid. The Department had had a presentation, written letters, and even presented to the Deputy Minister in October on the number of challenges it faced with SITA putting together the contract. It had even tried to have a meeting with the Executive Caretaker, but the meetings had been postponed several times. A meeting was scheduled for this week, but unfortunately the Executive Caretaker could not attend because he had left the Department with the very same executive who could not assist. The meeting was postponed because SITA did not produce a response on the issue of all the contracts that were not finalised. She clarified that the only challenge was the infrastructure upgrading, and that SITA was not cooperating.
Lt Gen Dr Godfrey Lebeya, National Head: Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) responded to the question on the ATM bombings. The DPCI was involved in dealing with the ATM bombings, which was part of the CIT processes. It was also working with the rest of the SAPS members who normally arrived at the scene first. Some successes had been registered with both the CIT robberies and the ATM bombings, including the explosives involved, some of which had emerged from the neighbouring countries. For example, there had been the recent conviction of those who had brought the explosives from the neighbouring countries which were used in bombing the CIT vehicles at the ATMs, as well as in the illegal mining industry. During quarter two, 34 arrests had been made of those who were involved in CIT robberies. He confirmed that two more suspects had been arrested for possession of explosives which were intended either for bombing ATMs, CIT robberies, or illegal mining.
He noted Mr Shembeni had indicated that some SAPS members had been attacked. During quarter two, 32 suspects had been arrested for their involvement in police killings. By Thursday 18 November, one of the suspects involved had been convicted of two counts of murder.
The Chairperson thanked the Department for its responses and allowed Members to raise follow-up questions.
Mr Shembeni said the Department had not responded to his question about the unfounded cases in the crime statistics.
The Minister said that Maj Gen Sekhukhune would respond to Mr Shembeni’s question, as NC Sithole had experienced issues with his connectivity.
Maj Gen Sekhukhune said that the question was directed at the Crime Registrar on the Dissemination Policy of the crime statistics. He confirmed that the Crime Registrar had an office of standards and policy development, where it was developing policies to cover the value chain of all statistical production. The Crime Statistics Dissemination Policy (CSDP) and the Crime Statistics Revision Policy were among the policies that had been developed by the Crime Registrar. The objective of the CSDP was to regulate the way the statistics would be presented and disseminated, including complying with the recommendations from the Statistician General's Data Quality Assessment team, whereby a pre-release calendar would be developed. He confirmed that it had already done this, and from the Crime Registrar’s side, the CSDP was ready and waiting on the required approvals.
The sample sizes for the causative factors were not drawn randomly. The ideal situation for crimes such as murder, attempted murder, rape and assault GBH, was to have a complete enumeration so that the different causative factors could be attributed to the whole population. Unfortunately, most of these cases were normally live cases where the samples were drawn from, and some were managed and investigated by the detectives. The Department usually aimed to use the ICDMS. For example, it had extracted a sample of 5 176 from 6 136 total murders -- an 84% sample size for murder -- indicating that this on its own was almost a complete enumeration. The sample size for attempted murder was 93%, which was almost a complete enumeration as well. The reason why the Department did not indicate it would do a complete enumeration was that it would have to impute in the instances where item non-responses were found, which was a tedious task. It aimed to do a purposive sample with the objective of providing a fair idea from 84% of the murder cases that had been registered for the causative factors, as it was not intended to be used for inferential purposes.
On the cases closed off as unfounded. SAPS did not remove the cases that were closed off as unfounded, specifically for the quarters, because in some instances it took months for a case to be closed off as unfounded. For example, several cases would be closed off as unfounded in quarter two, whereas those cases had actually happened in quarter one. This meant that the quarter one crime statistics should be revised to close those off as unfounded. This was where the revision policy came into play, which enabled SAPS to revise the statistics that had already been published. To compensate for this, the Department planned to do an annual report. This report would have ample time to lock all those cases that had been closed off as unfounded, review them, finalise them based on if they were indeed unfounded or not, and produce the annual report. To date, the annual report had been tabled in Parliament, but SAPS had requested that it should be embargoed until the Minister released it.
The Chairperson said she would not take further questions. If Members had any follow-up questions, they should send them in writing, and they would be forwarded to the Minister and to the NC.
The Chairperson concluded the meeting. She said this had been a very good start, but the Committee should refine the processes of its questions. There were several questions that were policy issues which the Committee needed to relate to, as some of them involved the Committee’s type of processing of some of the statistics.
She informed NC Sithole that the Committee would engage at a later stage on matters which involved the Statistician General and how these statistics were verified -- the country’s population data, and the per capita ratios of contact crimes.
She requested the Minister to encourage SAPS to release its annual crime statistics in conjunction with the quarterly statistics. This would have a positive impact on the crime analysis and transparency. She said the Committee wanted the annual crime stats, but this could be discussed in another meeting, as it was aware that he had to prepare for the release of the statistics to the public. The Chairperson wished him well for the events that would be unfolding during the course of the day.
She handed over to the Minister to add closing remarks.
Minister’s closing remarks
Minister Cele agreed that this engagement was a good start, but many things still needed to be refined. Members should note that their questions sharpened the SAPS, as it would implement many things after those questions had been raised. While some of the questions sounded robust at times -- as if the Committee was at war with the SAPS -- he assured Members that SAPS was working to improve on those issues and to achieve turnarounds from those questions.
One of those turnarounds was the DNA issue which Lt Gen Ntshinga had outlined, which was an important matter to Mr Whitfield. The Minister assured Mr Whitfield that a lot of hard work and time had been spent on this matter with management and the DM, who had contributed by spending a lot of practical time at both the Western Cape and Gauteng laboratories. Some of the things that had contributed to this turnaround was that of the 24 people that had worked with the SAPS, 20 of them were now interns; it had extended the working hours from eight to 16 hours; the cubicles where submissions were made were always staffed; all the contracts were ready; the sharing of resources between Pretoria and the Western Cape was working very well; and money was available for overtime to ensure sufficient staffing. The latest overall figure that the Minister had received about a week ago was that the backlog, as well as the new cases, had been reduced from 240 to 216, which would augur well for issues such as GBV.
In response to Mr Shembeni on the issue of the shebeens, the Minister said he had gone to many communities and in all of those, including in Limpopo where he had visited a week ago, there were more shebeens than any other institution or amenity such as schools, churches, clinics and spazas put together. This was one issue that applied to all communities, whether it was in Umlazi, Limpopo, Lebowakgomo, or Orange Farm in Gauteng. The major problem was that other structures such as councils and liquor boards did not really implement any measures against this, even the so-called legal shebeens which overwhelmed communities. This was one area where SAPS required assistance from Members. However, it did not have an overarching Act on the question of liquor, as every province had its own, and this created a major problem for the police. For example, Gauteng had 16 laws to govern alcohol. Since it was legal to sell 150 litres without a licence in the Western Cape, shebeen owners would buy only 149 litres to avoid allegations of committing a crime. These were some of the issues that needed to be worked on to be controlled better, as alcohol contributed to the high rate in crime. The SAPS would return to speak on this issue.
He presumed Members would have noticed that for some reason, the Western Cape was green in all the categories, and that they would have found the reason for this. The SAPS was continuing to work with its allocated resources to yield good returns. He clarified that this was not automatic; it was due to the work that had been done.
SAPS noted the Committee’s guidance and counsel to refine the things it would be dealing with going forward, including its statistics, and would provide responses to the high murder rate of women and children. The Minister said that this was discomforting, and that more effort was needed to address this issue to ensure that it achieved a turnaround.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister for the presentation to the Committee. It acknowledged that it put the SAPS under pressure, as it undertook its oversight role very seriously. The Minister, the DM, the NC, the Whip and the Chairperson had agreed to meet regularly. She said they did not have to fight their battles publicly, as they were able to manage and resolve several problems. She assured the Minister that the Committee was not fighting him -- it was simply undertaking its constitutional responsibility to do oversight. However, it took the matter of crime statistics very seriously, particularly in the different provinces, and it noted that the Western Cape was doing very well.
She thanked the Provincial Commissioners for always assisting the Committee and for availing themselves to Members when they visited their provinces, as she was always assisted when she visited the North Cape.
The Chairperson released the Minister to continue with the process of releasing the crime statistics.
She thanked Members for attending the virtual meeting, and commented they would receive the presentation. The Committee would engage on the process matters at a later stage.
She said she had complimented the SAPS when she received the Auditor-General’s (AG's) report, but this had not been received very well. The Committee acknowledged that the SAPS had a long way to go and that it was faced with many challenges, but those achievements should be recognised even if it was one success story, including the good work that it had done under difficult circumstances.
The meeting was adjourned.
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