In a virtual meeting, the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) presented its 2020/21 annual report, and was commended by the Committee on obtaining its third consecutive clean audit. It had also achieved 86% of its annual performance plan (APP) targets.
The Committee received presentations from the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (CSPS), PSIRA and the Parliamentary Legal Service, to address the progress of various pieces of legislation. The Committee indicated that it wanted to see the Amendment Bills converted into Acts before it completed its term of office.
The Committee resolved to give the CSPS more time to consider public comments on the Firearms Control Amendment Bill. This decision was based on the need to achieve consensus. There had been a tremendous pushback on the Bill. The Chairperson did not think that this matter had been dealt with adequately, and there should be much more consultation with the public.
The South African Police Service Amendment Bill, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Amendment Bill and the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill would be the three priorities for the Committee.
Members were pleased with the progress on the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill. This had been championed by the Committee since 2019, and it had taken an unacceptably long time for it to get to this point. A Member commented that this would have a tremendous impact on the country’s criminal justice system.
The Chairperson said that the Committee appreciated the work that had been done by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA); with another clean audit, it had done particularly well. It commended PSIRA for the sterling work that they continued to do, and for the sustained audit record. If she complimented them, it did not necessarily mean that they did not have to try harder, but it meant that there should be sustained clean audits.
She said that Ms P Faku (ANC) was no longer a Member of this Committee, as she had been elected deputy mayor of the Buffalo City municipality. She had played an integral role in the work of this Committee, and they would send her their congratulations.
In a meeting last week, she had requested that the Committee be provided with the annual crime statistics, not just the quarterly crime statistics. It was supposed to receive the annual crime statistics, as they were collated from the statistics for the different quarters. If Members agreed, she intended to do this on 8 December. This time, there should be a presentation, so that the Committee could do an analysis of the crime statistics.
The Committee had been invited to a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education on 3 December, to address the matter of violence at institutions of higher education.
After the PSIRA presentation, she would later allow PSIRA to make an input on the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act, which had been assented to by the President. This was long overdue, as Members had requested that she meet with the President’s team on this, which had been done. The President had finally assented to this, and she would like PSIRA and the Deputy Minister to explain to the Committee what it meant and its implications for the country.
Adoption of Minutes
The Committee considered its minutes of 10 and 17 November 2021. A few names needed to be added to the attendance register. The minutes were adopted with the corrections.
Deputy Minister's comments
Mr Cassel Mathale, Deputy Minister of Police, thanked the Committee for the opportunity to account on what PSIRA had been doing for the 2020/21 financial year. He was proud to indicate that the board, the chief executive officer (CEO) and management of PSIRA had been consistent in their management and had consistently appeared before the Committee to present a clean bill of health. This team of men and women had consistently improved on their services to the country.
This had been a very good year for the Department in its entirety. This improvement was not only through the efforts of the Department, but was a product of the interaction that it had with the Committee. Its advice was taken earnestly, and the Department improved, based on the critique that the Committee gave it from time to time. It was always enriching to appear before the Committee. He thanked the Committee for always keeping the Department on its toes, and for the guidance that made it possible for them to improve on their work. He thanked PSIRA for the good work and for presenting another clean audit.
He agreed that the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act, 2014, had taken a very long time for it to be assented to. The Committee, everyone concerned and particularly the President, had had a role to play. Appreciation should be expressed to the President and Cabinet for being decisive on this piece of legislation, because it was very important and crucial for the transformation of the sector and for ensuring that it was controlled by majority South Africans. The situation now was that there were certain structures that were predominantly controlled by foreigners. He was thankful to the President for providing leadership in this regard, to ensure that there was transformation in this sector. It would be in the best interests of the country in the long run.
PSIRA 2020/21 Annual Report
Dr Leah Mofomme, Chairperson, PSIRA, appreciated the congratulatory message. She said that during the performance report period, there was no council for PSIRA. Mr Manabela Chauke, Director: PSIRA, and his team had worked very hard to ensure that there was still continuous governance, even in the absence of the council.
Mr Chauke presented the outcomes. A third consecutive clean audit had been obtained. 86% of the annual performance plan (APP) targets had been achieved. PSIRA had also done well in terms of prosecutions, with 1 038 successfully finalised prosecutions in the 2020/21 financial year.
Mr Stefan Badenhorst, Chief Operating Officer (COO), PSIRA, presented the performance information, and reported that 25 out of the 29 (86%) output indicators were achieved.
Performance per programme:
● Programme 1 (Administration): 91% of targets achieved.
● Programme 2 (Law Enforcement): 100% of targets achieved.
● Programme 3 (Training & Communication): 86% of targets achieved.
● Programme 4 (Registration): 50% of targets achieved.
Ms Mmatlou Sebogodi, Deputy Director: Finance and Administration (Chief Financial Officer), PSIRA, presented the financial information. Although PSIRA had obtained a clean audit, there were two matters of emphasis. Firstly, there were material impairments with regards to the financial revenue model; material impairments had increased due to the inability of security providers to service their debt. The second matter of emphasis was the concerns of contingent liability, which would be addressed by the panel of legal experts who assisted with the cases as and when they came on board.
Total revenue had increased by 0.4%, compared to 31 March 2020. Expenditure had decreased by 9% due to cost containment measures implemented. The surplus for the year ending 31 March 2021 had amounted to R3.4 million, compared to a surplus of R2.32 million as at 31 March 2020. PSIRA-owned cash holdings had increased by 188%.
(See attached document for details)
Mr A Whitfield (DA) congratulated PSIRA on the clean audit. It was important for the Committee to note that the PSIRA council had not been reappointed within the legislative framework. This joined a list of ministerial failures to comply with the legislative framework, including the appointment of the Executive Director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and the DNA Board. This was a very serious oversight by the Minister. He would welcome an opportunity for the Committee to interrogate the Minister on the reasons for failing to comply with legislation insofar as these important structures were concerned.
He asked PSIRA whether they had received any concerns, comments or correspondence from their members with respect to the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act, and whether they saw any potentially positive or negative aspects of the Act and its impact on private security in the Republic.
He asked whether PSIRA had submitted comments to the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service (CSPS) in respect of the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, and whether they had any concerns regarding the impact of the Bill if it should become an Act. What would those concerns be?
Regarding the Central Firearms Registry (CFR), it appeared that PSIRA had a special way that the rest of South Africa did not, in order to get licences for firearms. It was reported that nearly 1 800 firearms were licensed. It was not clear whether PSIRA had an agreement or a sort of preferential treatment agreement with the CFR in terms of expediting licences for private security firms in the industry.
Mr O Terblanche (DA) congratulated PSIRA for the clean audit. Referring to the Minister's failure to comply with the legal aspects of appointing the new PSIRA council; he recalled that in a previous meeting with the CSPS, on 17 November, he had also raised concern that the Secretary of Police Service's contract would soon expire, and whether that would be dealt with effectively and timeously.
In South Africa, there were a total of 2 577 138 registered security officers, and a total of 11 195 registered security businesses. There were only about 550 000 security officers currently employed. He asked what had happened to the other registered security officers. What were they doing? Within a depressed market, not necessarily for the security industry, he found it quite interesting that all of these companies were still surviving.
PSIRA was a defendant in a number of legal actions where the outcome was obviously unpredictable. He asked to what extent PSIRA made provision for whatever may happen with those cases -- for instance, if they should have to pay out large amounts of money to meet the rulings in those cases.
He asked what the reasons were for the increase in fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
PSIRA was dependent on the cooperation of the police. How they would describe the quality of their relationship with the South African Police Service (SAPS).
He asked what role and contribution PSIRA had with regard to the "Eyes and Ears" initiative, which was the crime prevention initiative with SAPS and Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA).
The Chairperson addressed the Deputy Minister, and said that the comments made by Mr Whitfield and supported by Mr Terblanche related to the Committee being very concerned about these councils that had not been appointed/reappointed within the legislative framework. One could not defend the law if one did not implement the law.
She requested that the names of the Critical Infrastructure Council be presented to the Committee. The names had already been presented to the Speaker, but they needed to come before the Committee for endorsement. There were a number of timeframes which were not being met, and not being respected. The firearm amnesty came to an end quite a long time ago. There was now a vacuum without a firearm amnesty. A number of people were now falling outside of the law, but they were not breaking the law intentionally. This was actually making it difficult for them to comply with the law. She informed the Deputy Minister that they were creating their own headaches, and they could not continue as if it was business as usual.
Ms Z Majozi (IFP) asked if PSIRA knew about the complaints regarding people being beaten up by security companies. In terms of the firearms amnesty, she asked whether PSIRA had consulted with the security companies to find out if any of their members were in possession of illegal firearms, and who were perhaps also foreigners, who did not belong on the registry of PSIRA.
She asked if the debt collectors who assisted with the material impairments were succeeding with the collection of money due to PSIRA.
She congratulated PSIRA for once again getting a clean audit. She believed that this was one entity within the Department that would not disappoint and would always get a clean audit.
Ms M Molekwa (ANC) congratulated PSIRA on obtaining a clean audit for three consecutive years, and encouraged them to continue to raise the bar high. She referred to the operation led by PSIRA and SAPS, that had discovered that some security companies employed undocumented foreigners. She urged them to continue with this operation, because the majority of the crime committed in this country was committed by undocumented foreigners who were untraceable. She believed that PSIRA’s collaboration with SAPS would contribute positively towards fighting against crime in this country.
Mr H Shembeni (EFF) also congratulated PSIRA for their third consecutive clean audit. PSIRA had paid almost R10.13 million in 2019/20 and R6.45 million in 2020/21 for criminal background checks on security officer applicants. He asked why PSIRA paid for the criminal background checks, and if it was not the responsibility of the applicants to pay for their criminal background checks.
He referred to the small security businesses, with zero to five security officers employed and struggling to get contracts, which was affecting revenue collection. What percentage of debt involved the small security businesses? What was the number of small security businesses in operation? What was the average amount owed by these companies?
How many security guards were killed during 2020/21 per province? How many civilians were killed by private security guards during 2020/21, and how were those guards held accountable?
Of the 1 377 criminal cases that were opened against the non-compliant service providers, 473 had been were successfully finalised. How many security guards had been successfully prosecuted during 2020/21? What were the offences, and what sanctions were imposed?
Ms L Moss (ANC) said that during 2019/20, PSIRA had 12 employees on a fixed-term contract, which had increased to 36 employees on a fixed-term contract in 2020/21. She asked that PSIRA explain the increase in the number of contract employees. What was the average duration of service of a contract employee?
She asked what kind of partnerships or projects PSIRA had.
Deputy Minister's comments
Deputy Minister Mathale said that he had taken note of the comments regarding the appointments that had happened beyond the stipulated time. It was a matter that had to be improved on, to ensure that things were done as prescribed. The Ministry must indeed be exemplary.
The President had signed the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act 2014 into law, and Section 20(2) addressed the issues of ownership. However, after presentation, there was an understanding by the Minister of Minister of Trade and Industry, the Competition Commission and the Minister of Police, that this particular aspect would need to be reviewed. This meant that a process would unfold in Parliament to review Section 20(2) that deals with ownership, so that particular section would not come into effect as the Act gets implemented. Section 20(2) would go through a process of review, ultimately leading to an amendment. The CSPS could speak on this further, as they had worked closely on this particular aspect of the legislation. PSIRA was also party to the processes, particularly regarding the regulations.
Mr Chauke said that PSIRA had received some questions from members within the industry regarding the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act, who largely wanted to know when the Act would fully come into operation and what would be required to comply with it. He concurred that Section 20(2) may have to be reviewed.
PSIRA had partly assisted in the drafting of the Firearms Control Amendment Bill. Therefore, any comments that PSIRA had would have been submitted in that regard.
He clarified that there was no special arrangement between PSIRA and the CFR for the issuing of firearms licences. PSIRA did not issue licences at all. The role that PSIRA played was the role of verifying whether companies that had applied for licences were registered with PSIRA and were compliant before they were issued with licences. The feedback in the annual report referred to how many of those companies had been given the green light, and how many had been declined.
The issue of being involved in litigation at all times was inherent in the nature of the work that PSIRA did. PSIRA was a regulator, so it expected to be sued and it expected to sue, in terms of where the law was being enforced. PSIRA’s decisions affected quite a lot of companies and people, and therefore it expected to be challenged. It had been like this over the years. PSIRA did make provisions for such challenges. It had recently developed a policy as well as a framework that would allow it to make contingency liability provisions for those legal matters. The policy had been analysed by PSIRA’s audit and risk committee, and it was also submitted to the Auditor-General (AG). PSIRA was confident that when it made those assessments and assumptions that it was clear and guided by certain principles.
The current litigation cases against PSIRA were mostly frivolous. To date, PSIRA had never paid any company any fees whatsoever. Most of the cases that PSIRA had were cases that it was able to defend successfully, because the law was quite clear.
Ms Sebogodi said that the debt collectors had assisted PSIRA in collecting overdue debt. It had been able to collect more than 100% of what it had budgeted. PSIRA would still continue with debt collection to collect the overdue debt. The debt collectors assisted on a fee model, where PSIRA paid on the collection of debt.
Regarding the percentage of debt among small security businesses, she replied that there were a total number of 11 613 security businesses, of which small security businesses numbered 9 476, which formed 82% of the debt book. The amount relating to the 9 476 was R84 million, but the current debt for this financial year, up to 180 days, was R59 million, so the debt was not too old. R59 million out of the R84 million was current debt, so it was not overdue debt. The 82% was accounted for by the small security businesses.
Mr Badenhorst commented on the quality of PSIRA’s relationships, and said it generally worked with different departments within SAPS, but from an operations perspective, particularly more with the local police stations, with which PSIRA had a very good relationship with in respect of the operations and activities of the law enforcement department. PSIRA also worked with the CFR, where it believed there could be a significant improvement in the relationship. Although there was a working relationship with the CFR, one of the issues that PSIRA had been requesting was to get access to the database in relation to the firearms within the sector. These were the discussions taking place between PSIRA and their SAPS colleagues, to improve the relationship and to improve regulation.
The primary role of PSIRA in terms of the "Eyes and Ears Initiative," was to ensure that the private security industries that participated in these initiatives were legitimate and could act in that environment to become a valuable partner to SAPS. PSIRA’s activities were mainly concerned with the legitimacy of the private security industry that played an active role in the community policing structures. Its role was to ensure that the private security industry was legitimate and that the staff deployed were registered and trained.
Responding on the allegations of security companies beating up people, PSIRA did receive complaints about security companies or security officers who overstepped the bounds of what they could and could not do. These matters were investigated by PSIRA’s law enforcement department. In cases where there was criminal activity, then the security officer’s registration was suspended and ultimately withdrawn, depending on the nature of the conviction in the criminal court, and also depending on the conviction for improper conduct by PSIRA’s own internal prosecution process.
Illegal firearms were identified from time to time during PSIRA’s activities. As highlighted in the annual report, PSIRA’s inspectorate also conducted inspections at businesses that were licensed for firearms; PSIRA did verifications on the number of firearms and whether they were licensed, and whether people were competent in the use of those firearms. PSIRA submitted this report to the CFR and in cases where any irregularities were found, the SAPS was notified to open a criminal case.
Regarding the fees paid for criminal record verification, PSIRA did make use of a third-party provider appointed by SAPS for the criminal verification checks for all applicants or natural persons applying for registration. A fee was paid to this third-party provider, but it was important to note that the application fee that PSIRA imposed on the natural persons applying included the cost associated with the screening fee for the criminal record verifications.
He was pleased to announce that there had been a very positive engagement with the Integrated Justice System (IJS). PSIRA had made an application to the IJS Board at the beginning of the year for it to be recognised for integration into the system, and that authorisation had now been given. Very soon, PSIRA would have direct access to the IJS, which was working with the integration of the Criminal Record Centre of the SAPS, and this would result in PSIRA going directly through the IJS.
Information on the number of security guards killed and the number of civilians killed by security guards was not available now, but could be presented at a later stage. PSIRA did engage with the Department of Employment and Labour on this, because all injuries on duty etc. were reported to them, and PSIRA received this information via them. PSIRA would also engage with SAPS to find out the number of civilians killed by security guards. The current amendment Act would compel security companies to report those numbers to PSIRA, particularly with regard to the discharge of firearms and fatalities, etc. So these numbers would be available, and PSIRA would then be able to report them in future, independent of other departments.
Mr Chauke said that PSIRA was not involved in the firearms amnesty processes -- that was the domain of SAPS.
Referring to the average duration of employment for contract workers, he said most of the contract workers were interns that normally work with PSIRA for a year. After this, they were either employed or they resigned and got employment elsewhere. However, PSIRA had a very good record of hiring those that it had worked with, and in most cases it hired the interns that already worked there.
Ms Sebogodi said that the instances of fruitless and wasteful expenditure had been investigated. There had been two main fruitless and wasteful expenditure in PSIRA’s books -- where consequent management had been implemented, and the two employees that were charged were both dismissed. Other instances of fruitless and wasteful expenditure were very small, but PSIRA had implemented internal controls to ensure that it did not incur such instances. A fraud forensic unit assisted in investigating and ensuring that there were internal controls in place to eliminate a recurrence of fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Chauke and his team for the sterling work that they had done, including the very good presentation and responses given. The next presentations would be on the legislation, including the ascension of the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act, 2014, and what this would mean for the Committee in terms of the work that needed to be done. There were quite a number of steps that had to be followed, such as the regulations that were needed.
On behalf of the Committee, she thanked Mr Alvin Rapea, Secretary for Police, whose contract ends on 20 December. He had shown the Committee that irrespective of the tremendous pressure put on him, he had responded by improving the pace at which he did his work and the quality of work delivered. However, she reminded the Deputy Minister that the his term was coming to an end, and asked that these concerns be conveyed to the Minister. The Committee was in the middle of dealing with important pieces of legislation, and would want these amendment bills to be converted to Acts before the Committee completed its term of office.
Deputy Minister Mathale expressed his appreciation to Mr Rapea for the sterling work he had done, for the leadership he had provided to the institution, and his immense contribution to legislation and policing work in general.
He had taken note of the comments and observations by Members, especially when dealing with the PSIRA presentation. The entity would try its best to comply with the regulations and guidelines that were there in terms of how it should process those issues.
Mr Rapea said he was humbled by the words of gratitude. He was grateful that he had been given the opportunity to lead the CSPS and to function in this big ministry. After 20 years, it was like graduating, because of what he had learned and the experience that he had gained in this portfolio.
CSPS Legislation Progress Report
Adv Dawn Bell, Chief Director: Legislation, CSPS, covered the following:
South African Police Service Amendment Bill, 2021
The Bill was reviewed and amended, taking into account the public comments. It seemed improbable that the Bill could be submitted to Parliament during this year, but it was planned to have it submitted to Parliament early in 2022.
Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Amendment Bill, 2021
The reviewed Bill was submitted for provisional certification in terms of constitutionality to the Office of the Chief State Law Adviser (OCSLA), and the provisional certification opinion was received on 16 November. It was foreseen that the Bill may be approved for submission to Parliament early in 2022.
Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2021
More than 118 000 public comments had been received on the Bill. The Chief State Law Adviser had been requested for a legal opinion on the constitutionality of the deletion of sections 13, 14, 17 and 18 in the Principal Act, and a response was awaited.
Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill, 2021
The Bill was presented to Cabinet on 3 November, and approval was granted. The final certification opinion of the Bill had been requested from the State Law Advisers.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate Amendment Bill, 2021
The drafters had to go back to the drawing board and redraft the Bill. Emanating from comments, the Bill was resent to the OCSLA for an opinion.
Second Hand Goods Amendment Bill, 2021
The Bill had been drafted. The Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) report was being considered by the SEIAS unit in the Presidency.
Stock Theft Amendment Bill, 2021
Internal consultations on the Bill were ongoing. Comments had been incorporated into the Bill, whilst the SEIAS Report was being populated.
Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act, 2014
The President had assented to and signed the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill, 2014 on 23 September. PSIRA would draft Regulations to the Act and submit it to a joint drafting team consisting of legal officials from both the CSPS and PSIRA.
Critical Infrastructure Protection Regulations
Members of the Council had been appointed. Appointment letters had been dispatched.
(See attached document for details)
Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act, 2014
Mr Chauke spoke about the overview of the implementation plan. If the Act was to be put into operation, there were a couple of administrative functions that needed to be performed:
● Section 20(2) dealt with ownership and regulations, and there were two steps that needed to be taken in this regard. Firstly, there was a need to prepare regulations within a period of six months before the commencement of the Act; and secondly, to verify ownership of security businesses within a period of two years.
● The exemption advisory committee must also be appointed by the Minister, and this must happen within six months of the commencement of the Act.
● The section that dealt with the renewal of registration needed to be done within two months, and the Act required this process to be implemented within two years.
● There were processes that dealt with training which also needed specific time periods.
● These regulations, particularly those that dealt with the different percentages of ownership, must come before Parliament to be processed. Most of the regulations needed to be processed through Parliament within 15 months of the commencement of the Act.
● PSIRA was currently trying to outline how many drafts it had, while working with the CSPS to start drafting the rest of the outstanding drafts. The drafts would be taken through the process of consultations, as well as the process of certification through the OCSLA, and then ultimately brought before Parliament.
Constitutionality of S13(7)(c) of SAPS Act 68 of 1995
Ms Telana Halley-Starkey, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, presented the legal opinion that she had drafted for the Committee.
● On 22 October, the Constitutional Court had found that section 13 (7)(c) of the SAPS Act was inconsistent with the Constitution.
● Although the power to cordon-off an area in section 13 (7)(a) of the SAPS Act was an important mechanism for SAPS to discharge its constitutional mandate, S13 (7)(c) of the SAPS Act infringed on the right to privacy (S14 of the Constitution). It gave the police carte blanche to enter any home within a cordoned-off area.
● Section 13(7)(a) and (b) were constitutionally compliant, but a portion of section 13(7)(c) did not pass constitutional muster – the portion that permits warrantless searches of a person’s home, vehicle and any receptacle or object in the cordoned-off area.
The Constitutional Court had therefore severed the unconstitutional part of section 13(7)(c), and provided a read-in. As a way forward, the Committee could ask the Department of Police what it intended to do, or introduce a Committee Bill, as there was a “policy” and the wording provided by the Court.
(See attached document for details)
The Chairperson thanked Ms Halley-Starkey for the informative presentation and the way forward. There were indeed certain things that the Committee needed to do, and the advice was taken very seriously.
She was of the opinion, and would like to propose, that the Committee hold back the Firearms Control Amendment Bill. This would allow SAPS to consult sufficiently so that the stakeholders and people did not flock to Parliament and to the Committee with all of their complaints. There was a tremendous pushback on the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, and she did not think that this matter had been dealt with adequately. She believed that there was still much work that needed to be done. If Members agreed, she suggested that they hold back on the bill. The CSPS should focus on the SAPS Amendment Bill, as it needed to be fast-tracked, and Section 13 (7)(c) of the SAPS Act had been found to be unconstitutional and had to be corrected.
She thought that the SAPS Act, the IPID Amendment Bill and the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill should be the three priorities for this Committee. It was the custodian of overseeing the implementation of the law, but the police could not enforce the law if they broke the law. The police had to oversee the implementation of the law, and if they were guilty of offences off-duty, then it was a serious concern to this Committee. She did not favour bringing media matters to the Committee, but what had been reported in Gauteng was that 500 police officers were still in their positions, even though they were faced with charges of murder, rape and domestic violence, which was really shocking.
She urged the Members to send her detailed inputs in writing on those pieces of legislation that the Committee wanted to have passed. It was time for the Committee to put pressure on the CSPS and SAPS to get these amendment bills through as soon as possible. She expected detailed inputs from each opposition party, and she would remind Members if they had not sent her these detailed inputs. The Committee had to oversee this process and be serious about doing the work to ensure that these Acts were in line with the Constitution.
Mr Whitfield said that he fully supported the Chairperson’s recommendation to postpone dealing with the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, especially given the complexities and sensitivities surrounding it. He thanked the CSPS for their work on the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill, which was an issue very close to his heart, as well as the Committee’s heart. This had been championed by the Committee since 2019, and it had taken an unacceptably long time for it to get to this point. However, it was here, and it was going to make a tremendous impact in the criminal justice system. This was something that the Committee could be incredibly proud of, once it was passed into law.
He agreed to send detailed inputs regarding the IPID Amendment Bill. Something that was perhaps being overlooked, was entrenching the independence of the IPID within the IPID Amendment Bill, specifically the manner in which the Executive Director was appointed. He would submit these detailed inputs to the Chairperson so that the Committee could make this important amendment to the Bill.
He thanked Ms Halley-Starkey for the presentation regarding the unconstitutionality of Section 13(7)(c) of the SAPS Act. Regarding the way forward, he asked if the shortest route to correct the statute was for the Committee to correct the SAPS Amendment Bill once it came before it. Alternatively, he would propose that the Committee seriously consider introducing a Committee Bill, because this may be the quickest route if it could not amend the current draft of the SAPS Amendment Bill.
The Chairperson added that this Committee would be held responsible if it oversaw any Act which was unconstitutional. She would follow up with the Parliamentary Legal Services, the Ministry and the CSPS. She would collate all the comments from the Members and present them as a package, and ensure that certain amendment bills were prioritised. She said that Mr Whitfield had been consistent in asking for the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill, and the Committee would fast-track this.
The Committee had had serious discussions regarding the weaknesses and flaws of the IPID Act, and what it had commented on must be built into the structures of the amendment bills. The CSPS had already indicated that they had made the amendments to the SAPS Amendment Bill. The Committee had already been engaging with the CSPS on the outcomes of the Constitutional Court. Members were doing a lot of work outside of the Committee and behind the scenes.
She informed the Deputy Minister that the Committee wanted to build sufficient consensus around these amendments. There was no consensus around the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, and there should be consensus before it was taken to Cabinet and before it was brought to the Committee. There should be much more consultation with the public on this Bill.
Mr Terblanche said that he would certainly submit detailed inputs. He did not have much to say, because he had been covered extensively by Mr Whitfield and the Chairperson, and he agreed with what had been said. He would like to request that the Committee receive updated reports on the legislation, as he had found the presentation by Ms Halley-Starkey very informative.
In terms of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Regulations, members of the council had been appointed, but the Committee had not received any information in this regard. He asked for an update on this.
The Chairperson agreed that she had asked for an update on the Critical Infrastructure Council, and that the Committee should receive the update within this week. She reminded the Deputy Minister to inform the Committee of the names of those who had been appointed.
Mr Shembeni read Section 13(7)(c) of the SAPS Act, and asked what was meant by the “receipt of the written authorisation.” He stressed that there must be a clear understanding of this, in order to protect the police officers in cordoned off areas.
Mr A Seabi (ANC) agreed with Chairperson’s remarks on the way forward, and how the Bills would be processed. He said that the presentation regarding the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act, was not detailed enough. He suggested that there should perhaps be a special meeting to brief the Committee on any processes that might need to be followed. He also suggested that the CSPS should provide the Committee with a progress report on what they would need to do to implement the Act. He said that the Committee would need to have a schedule so that it could track the progress of the Bills that it would prioritise.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Seabi for the direction which he had given the Committee. She would like the Committee to be clear on what it still needed to address, and what it would prioritise, for when they reconvened as Parliament. She took seriously everything that was sent to her, and Members should send her their inputs on the amendment Bills. She urged them also inform her on what they would want to have prioritised in the Committee’s programme.
Deputy Minister Mathale said he had taken note of the comments that Members had made. Any matter that needed a response would be appropriately and timeously responded to.
Mr Rapea referred to the SAPS Amendment Bill, and said that the CSPS had already made amendments in the draft Bill to address the Constitutional Court judgment, but if there was a process that the Committee would like to follow to fast-track the matter, the CSPS would be amenable to that. The CSPS would be open to have a joint presentation with PSIRA to brief the Committee as requested.
With regard to the list of members appointed to the Critical Infrastructure Council, he said that the Minister was away, so the list of the names might not be able to be sent to the Committee within this week. However, the Minister would definitely submit the list of the fully constituted council as soon as possible.
The Chairperson said that the Members had two weeks to submit their inputs to her.
Mr Chauke said that he was looking forward to working with the CSPS to ensure that the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act was brought to implementation. There was still a lot of work that needed to be done, especially in assisting Parliament to consider those regulations that would support the legislation.
Ms Halley-Starkey agreed that the SAPS Amendment Bill already included the amendment to Section 13(7)(c). If the Committee wanted to introduce a Committee Bill, then it should approach the Department to see if the amendment, as suggested by the Constitutional Court, was workable and implementable. The written authorisation was mentioned in Section 13(7)(a), which was the written authorisation by the National or Provincial Commissioner of Police. In instances of stop and searches, SAPS would not invoke Section 13(7), but would rather invoke Section 21 and Section 22 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, which allows for searches, whether warranted or warrant-less.
The Chairperson said she would certainly write to the Parliamentary Legal Services to commend Ms Halley-Starkey for the work she had done. She thanked the Ministry’s staff and the Committee’s staff for responding to all of the work of the Committee, especially the work that happened behind the scenes. She said that if the Covid-19 regulations allowed, Members would meet in person early next year to strategise and plan, as it would be time for the mid-year review.
Mr Shembeni expressed his concern to the Deputy Minister about the crime rate in South Africa and the attacks at police stations, especially the recent attack at the Malamulele police station in Limpopo, where firearms and ammunition had been stolen. He feared that the police stations were under attack, because he had raised this concern last week about the robberies in Mpumalanga. He questioned how criminals were able to rob police stations and what this implied for the safety of communities. He asked what SAPS would do about this, because it was escalating, and warnings had been made after the July unrest.
He referred to the arrest of Adv Malesela Teffo, and said that it was really a matter of concern. He questioned how someone could be arrested for trespassing in a public area. He would like the Committee to look into this matter, because it had become a big concern.
The Chairperson said that she had made the decision for the annual crime statistics to be brought to the Committee before recess so that it could have an opportunity to analyse and interrogate the crime statistics on 8 December. The crime statistics were quite shocking and horrendous. The Committee had to deal with them in more detail.
She informed Mr Shembeni that the arrest of Adv Teffo was a top priority, and that the Committee would engage SAPS on that matter.
The Deputy Minister said that he had taken note of the concerns that Members had raised. These were issues that were regarded as a priority. The attacks on police officers or on the institutions of government were treasonous acts. SAPS would work to ensure that it placed the necessary infrastructure at its stations so that the issue of security was attended to.
The Chairperson said that the Committee’s oversight work had been intensified. There needed to be strict control over gender-based violence (GBV) and other forms of crime. Before the Committee went on recess, it would evaluate its work according to the crime statistics. The work of the Committee had two priorities -- one was to reduce crime, and the second was to ensure that all of its legislation served the people and Constitution of this country. This work was done without fear or favour or any form of prejudice. The Committee was there to oversee the law and to listen to all political parties. She thanked Members for their cooperation.
The meeting was adjourned.
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