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SAFETY AND SECURITY AD HOC COMMITTEE
2 June 2004
INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS DIRECTORATE & SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE UNION INPUT ON BUDGET
Chairperson: Ms M Sotyu (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Independent Complaints Directorate presentation
Independent Complaints Directorate statistics
South African Police Union presentation
Department Budget Vote 25
The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) briefed the Committee on its objectives for the 2004 / 2005 financial year such as the investigation of deaths in custody as a result of police action and police corruption. One of ICD's projects included the development of a Code of Ethics for every department in the Directorate derived from the principles of ICD's Code of Conduct. Committee Members were concerned about the increased rate of misconduct and serious offences by police officials during April 2003 - March 2004.
The South African Police Union (SAPU) briefed the Committee on its aims and objectives. SAPU's strategic focus had remained the same since 2002 being organised crime, serious and violent crimes, crimes against women and children and improving service delivery.
The ICD delegation consisted of Adv. K Mckenzie, Mr T Tshabalala and Ms E Verster.
Members expressed concern about the increase in misconduct by police. In addition, the effectiveness of ICD in monitoring the SAPS was questioned. There was unanimous agreement that ICD be invited again to appear before the Committee because many issues had not been addressed due to time constraints.
Mr B Sigidi, President of SAPU, made his organisation's presentation. He highlighted SAPU's aims and objectives and commented on the SAPS' budget allocations.
With regard to special dispensation for SAPS employees, SAPU recommended that 65% of the workforce be rewarded and not 20% only. Approximately R100 million was budgeted for incentives and rewards to motivate excellent service delivery.
The first discussion was between the Committee and ICD.
Mr D Dlali (ANC) referred to the statistics provided by ICD on the increase in incidents of misconduct by police over the period of April 2003 - March 2004 and asked what the reasons were for the increase and whether there were recommendations for combating the situation.
Mr. Mckenzie said that if the Committee referred to the report on ICD's spending priorities for the 2004 / 2005 financial year, it would be clear that an increase in filing of criminal complaints and the appointment of skilled investigators to study those complaints took precedence. It was necessary to complete investigations efficiently so that corrupt police could be identified and punished.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) said he was unsure whether police received sufficient education on how to behave when arresting persons and questioned their awareness of human rights such as the right to be treated with dignity.
Ms A van Wyk (ANC) questioned the effectiveness of the ICD because, although it had civilian oversight of the SAPS, there had been an increase in the amount of deaths due to police brutality. She was worried that after ten years of democracy when the transformation of the SAPS should be well advanced, such negative statistics were still prevalent. She felt the ICD had to be invited to a Committee meeting again because many questions still had to be addressed.
Adv. Mckenzie said she believed that ICD was effective in its work. That was evident from the report on the outcome of finalised cases (presentation paper) for disciplinary action that had been sent to the SAPS. There were only four convictions from these cases. She said that the organisation could only make recommendations to the SAPS on how to proceed with cases such as police misconduct but could not enforce those views. She also said there were a backlog of disciplinary cases and that a task team was being formed to assist police in alleviating that problem.
Mr S Ntuli (ANC) asked when families of deceased prisoners were notified and how long it took for the body to be handed to the family. Adv. Mckenzie said that families were immediately informed and that there was a standing order that all deaths in police custody be reported to the ICD. If that order was transgressed ICD would act as the family liaison and an investigator from ICD would keep in contact with the family to assist them during the process where a loved one had passed away.
Mr. Ntuli also referred to suicides by hanging using belts and asked if prisoners' belts were being removed when they entered prison. Adv. Mckenzie said that prisoners had their belts when they were taken into custody but that such negligence had to be rooted out in order to decrease the number of prison suicides.
Mr G Mngomezulu (ANC) asked if bursaries were only available to ICD employees or whether their spouses and family qualified as well. He also wanted to know whether there was a specific field of study that had to be followed.
Adv. Mckenzie replied that the bursaries were restricted to personnel and that the field of study had to relate to that person's work. She said that money had to be repaid if the employee failed the course and that career counseling was provided to ensure a 100% pass rate.
One of ICD's projects for 2004 / 2005 was to implement a Code of Ethics to strengthen internal integrity and a Member asked if the report had been presented to the Committee. Adv. Mckenzie replied that the Code of Ethics had not yet been formalised but would be further developed during the current financial year.
The Chair said that ICD would soon be called back to answer more questions posed by the Committee.
The second discussion was between the Committee and SAPU.
A Committee member asked if any SAPS members were involved in the murders of prisoners in custody and if so, what internal disciplinary action would be taken against them. Mr. Sigidi said there were police members who were involved in the killings and that those implicated were involved in disciplinary hearings.
Another member asked what method had been used to calculate the R200 000 death grant per official in the approximately R30 million budgeted for death grants for 150 police officials. Mr. Sigidi said that no problem had been found with the ratio. However, the grant amount should be increased on a yearly basis to at least R250 000 per SAPS official because one had to consider the family of the deceased and the increasingly high cost of living.
Mr R King (DA) wanted an explanation for SAPU's request for a special salary dispensation for SAPS members. Mr. Sigidi said that although the entry educational requirement had increased from Grade 10 to Grade 12 in 1997, the entry salary level had not been renewed. Therefore, if the standard of education for entry into the SAPS had increased, salary levels also had to be increased.
Mr L Diale (ANC) was very passionate about the shortage of police vehicles in rural areas because police could not perform effectively if the necessary means were not provided. Mr. Sigidi said that he was aware that there had been poor distribution of resources such as the case of 4X4 vehicles being distributed in Pretoria (perfectly tarred roads) and Golf Chicos were sent to rural areas. He said that vehicle distribution had not been done intelligently.
Mr R Jankelsohn (DA) asked whether the death grant could also be applied to officers who died while off duty. Mr. Sigidi responded that he respected the opinion of many who believed that police officials were on duty for 24 hours. However, the grant could not cater for those killed off duty because their deaths sometimes had nothing to do with them being police officials.
The meeting was adjourned.
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