The Committee convened virtually to be briefed by the Department of Police on specific matters that the Committee had asked the Department to address to make contributions to the 2022 Appropriation Bill. The Appropriation Bill aims to divide the funds that have been allocated in the national sphere of government once the revenue Bill has divided the national revenue. The passing of this Bill requires the Committee to engage with multiple departments; hence the Committee requested the Department to appraise them on certain matters.
The Department took the Committee through its responses to the matters they requested appraisal. They explained to the Committee that the budget allocations had adverse impacts on their ability to fund posts and therefore adversely affected the Department’s capacity to fulfill its mandate. A pilot programme to establish desks for gender-based violence cases was initiated at the 30 hotspot police stations in the previous financial year. This programme has made significant progress. The legislative changes had adverse budgetary implications on the police because they did not receive additional funds to accommodate these changes. Several initiatives have been put in place to give effect to the national strategic plan on gender-based violence and femicide. These initiatives are showing progress.
The Department did underspend this financial year. The underspending in 2021/22 stood at R878.4 million. Measures have been put in place to ensure that underspending does not happen in the future. The judgement in Minister of Finance vs Afribusiness has stifled the police’s ability to contribute to the South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (SAERRP) and the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, and localisation of goods and services. However, the Minister of Finance has made an exemption that will allow the Department to contribute meaningfully. There are no legal impediments to the police achieving economic transformation. The police are renting their buildings from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.
The Committee raised concerns about the lack of functional gender-based violence desks in police stations and the number of police stations that are either dilapidated or still under construction. Committee Members understood that the police are currently leasing buildings but they would rather have the Department own the buildings, as this would help them better maintain the buildings and not rely on Public Works. Committee Members noted that the police are tackling crime, but they wanted to see them tackle more issues such as illegal mining, finance-related crimes and cross border crimes. The Committee also raised concern over the Department’s underspending.
The Deputy Minister noted that there are indeed challenges. However, leadership is determined to address them. He is mindful of the role respective spheres and departments of government play. He emphasised the importance of community participation in the Department's processes.
The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, welcoming the Committee, support staff, and guest delegates. The apologies were noted from Ms D Peters (ANC), Mr A Shaik Emam (DA) and the Minister of Police, attending a presidential imbizo in Mpumalanga.
Opening Remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson remarked that this meeting was the first time the Committee would interact with the Department of Police during this sixth administration. He explained that the Minister of Finance presents a few Bills the day he presents the annual budget. Among those bills is the Appropriation Bill. The Bills are taken to different committees when presented before Parliament; among those committees is the Standing Committee on Appropriations. The Appropriation Bill is the Bill that divides the funds that have been allocated in the national sphere of government. Certain departments are dealt with in passing this Bill, but not all – hence lack of interaction with the Department of Police during the sixth administration.
The Committee Members would like the police to brief them on particular parts of the appropriations going to the Department. He highlighted the Committee does not only deal with the allocation of money but also follows up on whether the money is used for what was intended for and government’s national objectives are being met by the resources Parliament appropriates.
He outlined the House rules for the meeting and then handed over to the Deputy Minister of Police for the briefing.
Briefing by the Department of Police
The Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale, began by thanking the Chairperson and confirming that the Department did not question why they had to account before Parliament, as they are essentially accounting to the people of South Africa. He appreciated the role that the Committee played. He corrected the Chairperson that it is not the first time SA Police Service (SAPS) has presented before the Committee. He then presented his delegation to the Committee and handed over to General Sehlahle Masemola, National Commissioner of Police, to proceed with the presentation.
Gen. Masemola greeted the Committee and handed over to Major General Leon Rabie, Component Head: Strategic Management, who delivered the presentation.
Maj. Gen. Rabie outlined his presentation as being two-fold. The first part would deal with the purpose of the presentation, and the second part taking the Committee through the 2022 allocations and matters raised by the Committee.
The purpose of the presentation was for SAPS to brief the Standing Committee on issues the Committee requested appraisal. The issues included:
1. The overall possible service delivery implications of the proposed allocation of R304.1 billion over the 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) relative to the 2021 budget estimates;
2. How the SAPS plans to spend the proposed additional allocation of R8.7 billion over the MTEF to rejuvenate and improve policing capacity in a manner that is both effective and economical;
3. The detailed time frames for the development of the action plan focus on the 30 police stations with the number of reported crimes against women and children; also, the timeframe within which this action plan is expected to be rolled out throughout all the South African police stations;
4. The budgetary implications and how the SAPS is strengthening its capacity in light of various legislative changes, such as the Criminal Law Amendment Bill;
5. How the SAPS is giving effect to the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Femicide;
6. Any other relevant information that may assist the Committee in processing the Bill;
7. Whether SAPS overspent or underspent on its allocated budget in the previous fiscal year; if yes, reasons for such over/under expenditure and corrective measures introduced to avoid this henceforth;
8. The contribution of the SAPS to the South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (SAERRP), Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), and localisation of goods and services;
9. If there are any legal impediments to the SAPS achieving economic transformation; if so, what are the proposals to address them;
10. Whether the SAPS is renting or owning the buildings/offices that it is occupying;
The 2022 MTEF allocations stand at R100.6 billion, including the 2022 MTEF indicative allocations of R96.8 billion and baseline increases of R3.8 billion.
Looking at the 2022 MTEF baseline spending trends for the previous and upcoming periods, the Department has excluded certain once-off allocations, such as the COVID-19 special funding – to provide a more accurate assessment of the annual growth. The current MTEF period (2022/23 – 2024/25) displayed an annual average growth of 2.7%, improving the previous period's 2.2% (2018/19 – 2021/22). The average annual growth for 2018/19 – 2024/25 is 2.5%.
Looking at the SAPS’s five financial programmes for 2022:
- R20.3 billion was allocated for administration.
- R51.7 billion for visible policing.
- R20.7 billion for detective services.
- R4.3 billion for crime intelligence.
- R3.4 billion for protection and security services.
- The average growth for all the financial programmes stands at 1.3%.
He addressed the Appropriation Bill and the specific matters that the Committee raised.
He began by explaining the service delivery implications of the 2022 MTEF allocations. The starting point of these implications is the substantial budget reductions on the compensation of employees (CoE) and goods and services over the previous MTEF. The reduced CoE baseline in 2021/22 required a reduction of ± 6000 in the staff establishment. Departmental spending over the medium-term will be concerning the core programmes with visible policing on more than 51% and detective service on more than 20%. The result of the baselines decreases from the previous MTEF year was that national competencies were reprioritised to allow for an increase in provincial baseline budget allocations. Compensation of employees will remain the largest driver of spending. The average growth over the MTEF period projects no real growth when inflation is discounted. The MTEF baseline reductions led to SAPS having 176 170 funded posts for the 2021/22 year, which was a drop from 182 126 funded posts in 2020/21. The funded posts are not commensurate with the policing demand, particularly in the operational environment – considering demands relating to population growth and demands in the country. Reduced staffing levels impact the SAPS and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation's (DPCI) core mandates. The SAPS cannot significantly extend its geographical footprint by establishing new police stations. However, additional funding allocated over the MTEF will allow for additional enlistments, ameliorating SAPS’ staffing challenges.
He turned to address the spending plans for the additional R8.7 billion. He stated that the allocation of R8.7 billion provides for:
1. The carry-through of Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council agreement 1 of 2021;
2. Rejuvenating and improving policing capacity through the appointment of police trainees and absorbing those who concluded their training into Constables;
3. Entry-level appointments to ensure optimal numbers on staff establishment;
4. An extensive basic training programme to ensure capable, trained police officials.
Maj. Gen. Rabie addressed the action plan to focus on the 30 police stations with the highest number of reported crimes against women and children. He stated that ten police stations had been identified as GBV hotspots in Gauteng, three in the Eastern Cape, seven in KwaZulu-Natal, seven in the Western Cape and one in the North West and Free State, respectively. Actions plans have been put in place for the 30 police stations that are GBV hotspot stations. The previous financial year, a pilot programme to establish GBV desks was initiated at the 30 GBV hotspot police stations. This programme has made significant progress. Going forward, the evaluation of the pilot of GBV Desks will be conducted. These evaluations will help develop a uniform implementation guideline across the country between April 2022 and December 2023. The evaluation will include the proper assessment of the resource implications that enable the GBV Desks' functionality to expedite services to victims of GBVF. It is anticipated that the evaluation process will take three to six months and that the SAPS is more likely to fully roll the process out in the 2023/24 financial year.
Maj. Gen. Rabie discussed the budgetary implications of the various legislative changes. He indicated that the introduction of legislative changes put more pressure on the police, as no additional funding was allocated to them. As a result, the Department is required to reprioritise existing resources to accommodate the changes. He used the implementation of the Cyber Crime Act as an example of budgetary implication. Implementing the Act is estimated to require 52 new Cyber Crime Units in all provinces, costing R102 million. He briefly gave a breakdown of the budgetary implications of the Criminal Law Amendment Bill. The DNA Act requires buccal samples to be taken from offenders on parole or under supervision by a court for Schedule Eight offences; the costs associated with this amount to R78.4 million. He also briefly analysed the budgetary implications of the Cybercrimes Act. The main cost drivers of the implementation over a five-year process amount to R480.6 million. Section 52 of the Cybercrimes requires the National Commissioner to establish a designated point of contact for the republic. The designated point of contact is estimated to cost about R3.9 million per year. He stated that the SAPS would revise its national Instructions and policies to align with the various legislative changes; the Department will develop a draft implementation plan for capacity building sessions regarding the amendments in the GBV-related legislation. In addition, SAPS will continue to educate and conduct awareness in all nine provinces as part of its strategy to facilitate capability development.
Maj. Gen. Rabie discussed the initiatives to give effect to the national strategic plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF). The listed initiatives by SAPS included:
1. SAPS developing a departmental GBV and Sexual Offences Action Plan to ensure that GBVF is addressed through a coordinated approach by all SAPS disciplines;
2. The establishment of national and provincial steering committees on GBV to monitor the implementation of the GBVF NSP;
3. The allocation of ±R1.3 billion on baseline activities related to GBV and the resourcing of FCS units;
4. The provision of R30 million to youth, children and vulnerable groups, including awareness campaigns;
5. The provision of an additional R70 million plus R30 million was allocated to provinces for prioritisation of GBV response and the strengthening of FCS units;
6. Proactive, awareness campaigns being conducted at schools, through social media and at events by the FCS units, in collaboration with Social Crime Prevention and other state departments;
7. Monitoring indicators such as the percentage increase in the detection rate for contact crime against children below the age of 18 and the percentage of case exhibits related to contact crime against women and children exceeding the prescribed timeframe;
He noted a progressive and significant down management of the DNA backlog within the FSL. Between quarter two of 2021/2022 to quarter four of 2021/22, the backlog was reduced by 38.71%, from 251603 to 154204.
Maj. Gen. Rabie focused on the additional matters that the Committee asked the Department to respond to. On the SAPS’s allocated budget in the previous fiscal year, he highlighted that the actual expenditure of the total SAPS allocation was 99.13% for the 2021/22 financial year. This was an improvement from last year's 95.90% spending. The underspending in 2021/22 stood at R878.4 million, and 98.98% of this was on specifically allocated funding. Measures for improved spending include regular monitoring, evaluation and timeous interventions to ensure realisation of services within an acceptable timeframe.
On the contribution of the SAPS to the South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery, he indicated that the judgement in Minister of Finance vs Afribusiness invalidated the Preferential Procurement Regulations (2017) that were issued in terms of Section Five of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act. Pursuant to this judgement, National Treasury advised organs of state that all tenders advertised on or after 16 February 2022 be held in abeyance and that no new tenders be advertised. This prevented the SAPS from fulfilling its obligations in terms of its mandate. However, the Minister of Finance exempted the SAPS from the regulations. The exemption is for the interim until National Treasury issues new Preferential Procurement Regulations.
On the legal impediments to the SAPS achieving economic transformation, he stated there were no legal impediments to achieving economic transformation. This is a result of the exemption from the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) provisions and the regulations as granted by the Minister of Finance.
Concerning the issue of renting or owning buildings/offices that the SAPS occupies, SAPS does not own buildings, as all buildings are vested under the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) – as it is the mandated custodian for all state-owned buildings. The SAPS is an occupant of the respective buildings, and SAPS leases a total of 1 143 assets from the state.
The Chairperson opened the discussion by congratulating General Masemola on his appointment as National Commissioner of Police. The Committee looks forward to working with him and his team.
The Chairperson highlighted that, though one percent may sound like a small percentage, it is a huge amount when the total allocated budget is R100 billion per annum. This means that the Department has underspent R1 billion.
Mr O Mathafa (ANC) thanked the presenters for the effort put into the presentation. The presentation is empowering and allows the Committee to do its work while being more informed. He asserted that the country is in a state of lawlessness, particularly in townships. What does SAPS feel about that particular assertion? He turned to page 12 of SAPS’s presentation, which stated that the baseline allocations would be prioritised in provinces with the highest incidences of reported crimes. Which provinces are those? How are the reported incidences of crimes identified as major issues requiring attention? He gave an example of the high rate of highway robberies in Gauteng. Has this crime been flagged as needing special attention, given how violent the crime has become and the rising number of fatalities related to the crime? If so, what is the strategy that is going to be implemented? Motorists have become vulnerable, and the perpetrators of the highway robberies are merciless.
Mr Mathafa turned to the issue of the budget reduction introduced to deal with goods and services and the compensation of employees. Has there been a drastic reduction in the personnel headcount within SAPS over the last five years? What notable impact has this reduction had on the SAPS’s core programmes? Can the SAPS share the current turnover rate for the Department and the top three reasons for this turnover rate? Can the SAPS furnish the Committee with the age profile of the SAPS workforce? It is important that the workforce is agile enough to do its work, given that the workers are on the ground a lot. He asked what the turnaround time is for investigating a rape case. Is there a system such as the 72-hour strategy to ensure that certain benchmarks in a case have been met?
He turned to the metrics used by SAPS to track its progress in tackling GBV crimes. Can SAPS provide the Committee with trends or movements in these indices so that the Committee can evaluate whether the current interventions are effective and if there is value for money as far as the budget allocations are concerned? Regarding the capital assets and the backlog on building police stations, can the Committee be furnished with the number of planned police stations, their planned location, and what issues are causing them?
There have been plans to build a police station in ward 77 in Tshwane. Is this plan still in the pipeline? If so, how far is this process? The current mobile police station does not allow for proper policing, and the community has been enquiring about that commitment. Can the Committee say that the number of the SAPS workers is in line with acceptable norms and standards in covering the size of our country's population? This knowledge will help the Committee know whether the current allocation will derive value for money because policing and community safety coverage will be sufficient based on the number of personnel and workforce in the SAPS. Can SAPS indicate the status of crime intelligence, seeing that underspending affects crime intelligence? Is it fully staffed, and does it have enough resources? He believed that most crimes that are spiking could be averted if the Department had ears and eyes within the communities.
Can SAPS management provide a view on the South African Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA) comments that the damages from the civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were exacerbated by the lack of urgent and immediate response by SAPS? What is the status of the purchase of Telkom towers seeing that it was earmarked to become the police headquarters? It appears that there were renovations but there was never a full takeover. There is a video circulating about a police college that is dilapidating. Are the contents of this video true? If so, who is responsible for maintenance of the college? If DPWI is responsible, then why have they left it to deteriorate to that extent? If it is not under DPWI, is it part of SAPS’s maintenance? If it is part of SAPS maintenance, how much of SAPS’s asset base has been devolved into SAPS’s purview for maintenance?
Mr X Qayiso (ANC) raised concern over the rampant crime and the destabilisation of communities by crime and gangsterism. He believed that combating gangsterism should have been part of a broader strategy to fight crime. Given that the amendment bill creates new responsibilities for the police, he asked to what extent the SAPS have readied themselves to align their services and capabilities with the Criminal Law Amendment Bill. He would have liked to hear more on the issue of illegal mining in the country. At what point will the SAPS deal with this matter? This particular crime affects the country's economy, and one would expect to already be a plan in the pipeline to deal with this.
What is SAPS’s rate as far as it can attend to the 30-day payment to their service providers? Is SAPS able to demonstrate that it consistently complies with the 30-day payment time to service providers? There has been an outcry about most departments’ payment turnaround time. Failure to meet the payment turnaround time should not be later discovered to be a factor in the Department’s underspending.
What plans and strategies have been implemented to tackle organised crime and taxi violence? More resources from the police are needed to tackle this. Can the rampant theft of copper and copper cables be looked into? What do the issues between the community policing forums and SAPS look like? Has there been any research done to determine whether SAPS can appoint volunteers or broaden the community forum to create a big network that collaborates with the police? If so, what would the financial implications of such research be? How many police stations have been built by SAPS in the last five years? How many of those are still being constructed? Has SAPS begun with the digitisation of sensitive information in its work?
Ms N Ntlangwini (EFF) highlighted the danger of being a woman in South Africa and the lack of protection by the police from it. She raised concern over Nyanga police station being one of the police stations that does not have a GBV desk. It is concerning that when certain things are reported to the Committee, they are not there in actuality. What oversight does SAPS have regarding establishment of GBV desks? She found the lack of actual GBV desks in police stations alarming and disappointing to women in South Africa.
She asked what consequence management has been put in place concerning the underspending to prevent it. She was alarmed by the estimated R800 million on underspending. Should the evaluation processes on spending not have been put in place earlier? The underspending is not reflective of a department tasked with protecting communities. She requested disciplinary action for the underperformance and underspending.
She also requested an investigation into a case in Durban where security guards and metro police pointed live ammunition at students. It is concerning that students are being pointed at with live ammunition by the police. She asked what work and research the Police Department has done to move away from leased buildings and ensure that the buildings currently used by SAPS are fit for use. When last was proper oversight done to ensure that all police stations have rape kits? The lack of rape kits is letting the women of South African down. She was not pleased by the lack of GBV desks.
Mr A Sarupen (DA) agreed with Ms Ntlangwini's concern about the lack of GBV desks. GBV desks in his constituency have been set up but are not functional. He brought to the Committee's attention that the KwaThema police station is in bad condition, SAPS cannot operate from it, and the Department of Labour is shutting it down. The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) said that it could not fix the station as the station belongs to the municipality. However, the contract between the DPWI and the municipality provides that DPWI must take responsibility for that building. He is disappointed that the DPWI misled the Committee on that matter. What are the officials doing about the KwaThema police station? Are temporary structures going to be put in place? Crime levels in the area are spiking.
He raised concern over the large amount spent on VIP protection. Cost of VIP protection is a large chunk of SAPS budget. What is SAPS doing to contain the large amount spent on VIP protection? Government spends more money on VIP protection than on land reform.
The Chairperson raised concern over the SAPS’s recruitment strategy. There is generally an outcry in the rural areas when the recruitment of police officers does not reach those areas. What is the situation in this regard? How does the Department ensure that those areas are not marginalised? He agreed that SAPS’s resources are not where they are meant to be. Does SAPS believe it is getting value for money from the resources that Parliament appropriates and allocates to them and that the resources are being efficiently used? Are there areas where the Department believes it can save financially? He also raised concern about money leaving the country through sophisticated financial manners such as profit shifting. What is SAPS’s take on this matter? What is the SAPS doing about the matter? Would SAPS say that they are equipped to deal with this matter?
He raised more concern about cross border crimes and hijacking. Has SAPS collaborated with law enforcement agencies of other countries? How successful have those collaborations been?
He asked whether SAPS thinks renting a building from the DPWI is an optimal option. Would they do better if they were to own and be responsible for the buildings? How many new police stations have been built in Soweto, Botshabelo, Khayelitsha, and Umlazi in the past 20 years? These stations are among the highest growth areas in the country. How much business does SAPS do with Denel? Are there any items that SAPS purchases from them? Who manufactures the equipment that is used by SAPS? This question is important for localisation and the growth of the economy. How well is SAPS equipped to deal with crowd control?
National Commissioner Gen. Masemola started off the answering session.
On whether the country is reaching a state of lawlessness, Gen. Masemola replied that the country had not reached that stage, as civilians still cannot do day-to-day activities with the infrastructure supporting those activities still intact. Some indications of a lawless state are there, especially when a person monitors social media and sees certain videos circulating. Measures are being taken in this regard. He listed SAPS responding in mines in Orkney, where people are carrying firearms, as an example of where arrests were made and SAPS successfully responded to indications of lawlessness.
On illicit mining, the theft of copper and steel, and extortion at construction sites, he replied that SAPS had established a "Critical Infrastructure and Economic Combating" task team that will culminate into a unit to tackle these issues in a year. Eighteen District Municipalities have been identified where these issues persist, and the task teams are focusing on those issues on a full-time basis. Task teams will be established by the end of this month. He was confident that the issue would be tackled as the teams would consist of SAPS members and members from other institutions such as Metro Police and PRASA officials.
On the level of rampant highway crimes, Gen. Masemola replied that the levels had subsided but are now rising again. The provincial commissioner of police in Gauteng has put more personnel on those highways to arrest criminals.
On the rampant gangsterism in the Western Cape, he replied that the province is one of the provinces where the SAPS has extra capacity to combat murders in the townships and assist the anti-gang unit. Arrests have been made but the crime is growing. There is also a growing problem of extortion, and SAPS teams have been assigned to tackle extortion.
On the relationship between the police and the Community Policing Forums (CPF), General Masemola replied that SAPS has picked up a problem in the relationship between the police and their communities, as most communities have disowned the current CPF structures. As a result, a decision has been taken to rebuild CPF. The renewal process includes the communities and local police re-electing their CPF representatives.
General Masemola said that it is a struggle for people to continuously volunteer on stipends. The secretary of police, who intended to take over CPF, is working on the stipend matter, and they will be better placed to speak on this matter. He noted that they are indeed working on measures to tackle this.
On GBV desks, General Masemola replied that SAPS started establishing these last year, starting with the top 30 police stations and then to all police stations. All provincial commissioners were directed to establish these CPFs. The Department is currently in the process of auditing which stations do and do not have these desks. The audit is being processed. When it is discovered that a station does not have these desks, the relevant provincial commissioner will be required to account. He admitted that the national Department is yet to audit all the stations to ensure that they have GBV desks. The process of auditing is starting.
On the issue of moving away from leased buildings, General Masemola replied that the SAPS would prefer to move away from leasing buildings and rather own the buildings themselves. The SAPS works with the DPWI and this slows down the process. This is one area of underspending, and it is attributable to the DPWI. The Police Portfolio Committee recently had a meeting with the Minister of DPWI and the Minister of Police to try to resolve the blockages regarding the construction and renovations of police stations. Many police stations have been construction sites for several years while police are still working at those stations. This is not healthy. General Masemola and the Director-General of the DPWI will meet to resolve these issues. Property related issues stifle police work in most areas in the province.
On purchasing Telkom Towers, Gen. Masemola confirmed that SAPS indeed purchased the towers in 2016. The building consists of ten towers, and SAPS is currently occupying only one tower that is not 100% ready for occupation. Many repairs still need to be done on the other nine towers. The DPWI has been engaged in this matter, and the Department is currently leasing buildings on a month-to-month basis. DPWI has promised to repair these buildings, but they have yet to deliver on their promise. There are also more than 20 buildings that belong to municipalities. One of them has dilapidated, but SAPS cannot repair the buildings since they belong to the municipalities.
On the status of crime intelligence, General Masemola said that there are many staff shortages. Posts have been advertised, and some are currently being filled.
On SAPS’s view about the lack of immediate response by SAPS during the civil unrest in KZN, General Masemola replied that police were indeed on the ground. The police reached a point where they had to decide which areas they would be able to protect. Capacity of public order allowed for only certain areas to be protected. SAPS tried their best to do what they could do. Capacity matters are currently being addressed. Ten thousand new recruits are being trained in the current financial year, and 4 000 of them are going to public order police. R10 million has been set aside for protective equipment and R150 million to ensure that the additional 4 000 public order recruits have resources when appointed to the force.
On whether SAPS is purchasing from Denel, General Masemola replied that the Department wants to support state-owned companies, of which Denel is one of them. Usually, ammunition is purchased from them. However, currently, there are paperwork and legislative problems with Denel, and the Director-General of National Treasury has been engaged on this matter. Denel's issues make it difficult for the Department to work with Denel.
The Chairperson asked General Masemola to expand on the legislative problem that the SAPS is facing with Denel, as that is an area of interest to them as lawmakers. Parliament is expected to bail Denel out; however it cannot do its business because of legislative issues.
General Masemola explained that Denel is currently not tax compliant and cannot get a tax clearance certificate. The Department is prepared to support them should someone exempt them and allow them to get money from the state while in their current state. However, Denel's tax non-compliance poses an issue as legislative prescripts require SAPS to do business with tax compliant persons, which Denel is not.
Lt. Gen. (Adv) A Khan, Acting Deputy National Commissioner: Support Services, addressed the issue of illegal mining on behalf of Legal Services. She replied that a legal task team comprises relevant environments such as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the mining industry. A draft Bill has been put in place in this regard and is currently sitting for further comments from the relevant environments.
Major General TC Sithole, f/Divisional Commissioner: Supply Chain Management, responded to the Olievenhoutbosch planned construction matter. Nine letters were written to the DPWI after the Department engaged with the community as the city of Tshwane owned the erf. Authorisation was needed from the DPWI for the Department to acquire the land. The Department is yet to receive a response to these letters.
On the backlog of police stations that were meant to be constructed in the previous financial year, Major General Sithole replied that there are stations on site clearance, planning and design and execution. There is a backlog of 28 stations in the execution phase. To fix this backlog, there are plans to complete three stations in the current financial year, seven in the 2023/24 year, 13 in the 2024/25 year and eight in the 2025/26 financial year. Police stations where construction is currently taking place are: oSuthu in KZN, one in Northern Cape, Ennerdale Gauteng, and Kanana in North West. Two police stations have been approved by the BAC, and constructors will be on site; these stations are in Moyeni in the Eastern Cape and Tshiame in the Free State. The remaining stations are awaiting finalisation of the documentation on the appointment of contractors.
Major General Sithole highlighted that the KwaThema Police Station had been leased from the municipality. There have been talks with the DPWI to repair the KwaThema Station and acquire land to build a new station. She confirmed that the condition of the station was a crisis. Help from the DPWI was sought to acquire the buildings to turn them into state-owned buildings for the SAPS for SAPS to do the maintenance. However, the problem has still not been solved between the DPWI and the municipalities.
On the number of buildings that have been devolved to SAPS, Maj. Gen. Sithole replied that there are currently 289 devolved police stations. Of those, 270 were devolved during the devolution process, and more police stations were built – leading to the current 289 stations.
On the number of stations built by SAPS in the last five years, she replied that out of 21 stations built in the last five years, 12 were built by the DPWI and nine by the SAPS. She also attempted to address the number of stations built in the past 20 years in Soweto, Botshabelo, Khayelitsha, and Umlazi. She will confirm the number in writing to the Chairperson, as she could not recall all the locations the Chairperson asked about.
On the 30-day turnover rate for the payment of service providers, Lt. Gen. Puleng Dimpane, Chief Financial Officer, indicated that the Department’s performance stands at an average of 99.76%. There are disputes over invoices that would need to be resolved, but the performance average stands at 99.76%.
On the large amount spent on VIP protection services, she indicated that VIP protection services fall under Programme Five (Protection and Security Services Programme), which provides protection and security services to all entities. Compensation is a prominent element for all protection and security services with a significant overtime cost. The small increase in this programme results from the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) agreement.
On underspending, Lt. Gen. Dimpane replied that underspending was 98% on earmarked or specifically allocated funding in the main environment, which is forensic evidence and Information Technology. The Department depends on parties such as SITA on many projects not concluded. The Department pushed to pay all the invoices on the system but those procurement processes not concluded between the Department and SITA had an impact on the Department utilising those specifically allocated funding. There were deliveries not made. The Department worked hard with management to put contracts in place; orders were made yet deliveries were still not made at the end of the financial year due to lead times that took time. Some of the equipment is specialised, and it took time for service providers to deliver.
On the ICJS and the rollover funding that contributed to the underspending: there was a slight impact on the COE, slight impact on concluding HR processes and slight deviation on anticipated number of personnel losses that impacted the underspending on compensation of employees. The Department strives to ensure that they put systems to monitor the budget issue. In terms of division visible policing, the spending was 99.99%; only a small amount of 0.4% underspending was left behind.
Major General E Mavundla, f/Divisional Commissioner: Technology Management Services, responded to the question of SAPS digitising sensitive information. SAPS is on a transformational journey to being more modern and digitised. The SAPS recognises the digitisation in government services while prioritising transforming into inclusive digitisation. Departments such as Home Affairs assist with the digitisation of certain services such as criminal records and security clearance. She stated that SAPS recognises that digitisation will not happen overnight, but it is being prioritised. The current services that the SAPS use to store information are being improved in the meantime. The ageing infrastructure poses a challenge, and infrastructure needs to be refreshed and readied to digitise information.
Major General Busi Temba, f/Divisional Commissioner: Human Resource Management, confirmed a notable decline in the workforce. The decline is at 88.4%. Most declines are coming from the administration programme, which is at an 11.7% decline and the visible police programme, which is at a 9% decline. Reasons for exiting include retirement, members pursuing better opportunities outside the organisation and ill-health related retirement.
On the age profile of the SAPS workforce, she replied that there is a high concentration of workers aged between 25-49 years. This is complemented by new recruits aged between 19-24 years of age. This is still acceptable and allows members to be agile enough to combat crime. A gap of no new entry-level recruits was realised in the previous years. SAPS is trying to balance a young and agile workforce and a skilled experienced one.
On the recruitment strategy that potentially marginalises people from rural areas, she replied that SAPS uses different measures to reach out to different settings throughout the country. The recruitment drive includes advertising in newspapers and on the SAPS website, convening local imbizos in rural areas and advertising in provincial newspapers.
On the turnaround time for rape cases, Lt. Gen. L Ntshinga, Deputy National Commissioner: Crime Detection, replied that there is no specific turnaround time for rape cases, as all GBV cases are prioritised. Factors that influence the turnaround time include: whether there is a suspect, whether the suspect has been caught, and getting the suspect’s DNA results. A project with the NPA has been established since last year to tackle GBV cases. The courts have postponed a total of 8 412 cases to be prioritised. Of the 8 412 cases, 519 cases identified serial offenders.
On the issue of enough CSC stock for rape cases, she replied that all contracts are in place. The provinces submit weekly reports, and those reports show enough stock. It is perhaps the case that the rape kits are not kept in every station but rather in the accounting stations. Rape kits are not kept in CSC stations because they will expire, and it is best to keep them in the accounting station for the SCS to retrieve them there. The last reports provide that there are enough kits in the stores.
On crime intelligence’s capacity, she replied that the Department is currently capacitating crime intelligence. A total of 836 post promotions, 102 security guard posts, 23 handymen posts, and 86 posts for intelligence analysis and coordination have been advertised. Interviews have been done for general workers, posts for polygraph members are in process, and 19 SMS Brigadier level posts have been advertised.
She confirmed that crime intelligence does run undercover projects and network projects across borders on cross-border crime. Stolen values are recovered, but repatriation of the values poses a problem due to different laws between countries, and the SAPS is working on that in its operations.
Dr Godfrey Lebeya, National Head: Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), said the DPCI also felt the impact of personnel leaving the organisation. The loss of more than 529 personnel over the last three years is a challenge. In the last financial year, 48 people have left the DPCI to join the greater SAPS. People have left for better opportunities, leaving the remaining people with a heavy workload. Currently, 1 500 investigators are expected to carry 22 000 cases, of which 13 000 accused persons from those cases are in court.
On illegal mining, he added that the DPCI also runs projects to tackle this. The DPCI secured 342 accused persons in court in the last financial year.
On the issue of illicit financial flows, he replied that the DPCI always looks at the financial flows in all investigations it conducts, focusing on those taken out of the country and those laundered in this country. The DPCI also observe arrests at various ports of entry into the country. Their work is done with other role players such as SARS (South African Revenue Services).
Dr BM Zulu, Divisional Commissioner: Human Resource Development, addressed the issue of the status of Tshwane academy. Covid-19 is a contributing factor to the dilapidation of Tshwane Academy. The academy was understaffed during this period. It relies on the assistance of trainees to ensure that the academy is well maintained; this was not possible during the Covid-19 period. Some of the pictures that came up included the buildings. Maj. Gen. Sithole spoke of forming part of the Tshwane Academy in SAPS's infrastructure maintenance plans 2022/23. Contractors are planning to renovate those building plots. The situation has improved; the plots and buildings are being maintained, and training is taking place.
Lt. Gen. Masemola replied to Durban security guards and metro police, who pointed live ammunition at students. SAPS will investigate the matter and return to the Committee with a written answer. He will also return to the Committee with a written answer about the number of police stations buried in certain identified areas and answer the GBV desk matter as soon as they are done auditing the desks.
Deputy Minister Mathale noted that there are indeed challenges. However, leadership is determined to address them. He is mindful of the role respective spheres and departments of government play. He emphasised the importance of community participation in the Department’s processes. He expressed his confidence in the SAPS’s ability to respond to the challenges they are faced with and in the leadership of the National Commissioner and Minister Cele. He fully agrees with the many issues that the Committee Members raised, and he applauds them for raising those matters. He believes that Members of Parliament have first-hand information about issues being dealt with by the Department, which allows the executive to respond to those issues properly. He said that the executive branch of government could only work better when it collaborates with public representatives and society.
The Chairperson said that SAPS’s challenges affect other departments too. It is very important that there should be no law that impedes the works of other departments. He believed that SAPS sometimes takes too long to respond to the criminal activities raised in the meeting. He used the absence of police during the dismantling of PRASA infrastructure in broad daylight in 2020 as an example. SAPS needs to work on its responsiveness.
He requested that the National Commissioner follow up on the Denel matter. He requested further information on the matter of vehicles being found across borders. What is happening with that matter? The Committee should be kept in the loop. The Department must resolve its problems with the DPWI, as they impact service delivery. Interdepartmental matters must not be dragged on for too long. There should be urgent interventions. These meetings are part of a wider process.
The Committee considered and adopted outstanding meeting minutes.
The meeting was adjourned.
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