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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
18 August 2004
COMMITTEE REPORT ON VISITS TO EASTERN CAPE AND GAUTENG: ADOPTION
Chairperson Ms M Sotyu (ANC)
Documents handed out
Preliminary Draft Report on Committee Visit to Eastern Cape and Gauteng - not available for public
The Committee had visited police stations in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng to experience conditions there. Their findings would inform a report for those provinces' National Executive Committees (NECs) on proposed actions. The main issues discussed were the racial equity transformation of the police force. Some police stations were understaffed and others had major problems with management and infrastructure. Transfers of police officers between stations were also noted as a concern. The Committee's report was adopted.
Mr Maziya (ANC) suggested they first discuss the conduct of Committee Members. He had been very disappointed with the way in which certain positions were taken. There were some press statements issued and he felt that it was not in anyone's power to make a statement on behalf of the Committee unless it was the chairperson.
Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked if it was possible to schedule a meeting to discuss how Members should conduct themselves. The Chairperson said they would discuss Members' conduct in the next meeting.
Eastern Cape visit
Mr Jakielsohn (DA) reserved the right to comment, since he had not been on the tour. He asked if he could submit comments before the end of the week because he first had to discuss the document with Members of his party that had gone on the tour.
The Chair responded that any Member could hand in written comments to his office before the end of the week.
Mr Maziya said that he had gone through the report and that it is in order. He then asked if they could move to adopt it.
The Chair asked if someone would second this motion. The Committee then argued that, since Mr Maziya was the only Member that had gone on this tour, he was the only one that could second the motion.
Mr Ndlovu said that because of the technicalities of the report, it was necessary to discuss it as most Members had not gone on the tour. The Chair said they should do so page by page.
Mr Ndlovu asked for an update on police force restructuring (Resolution 7 of 2002). He wanted to know how this matter was being tackled, as there seemed to be many problems. He asked how the follow-ups were conducted.
Ms Van Wyk (ANC) said that the implementation of Resolution 7 and problems pertaining to the follow-up had already been discussed.
Mr Ndlovu raised the concern about people being given money to visit areas and implement changes but not using the funds for that purpose. What would happen to such people, he asked.
The Chair stated that the point of the meeting was to carefully finalise recommendations to be made to provincial departments.
Mr Ndlovu proposed that because of time constraints, Members should raise specific problems, rather than going through the document point by point.
Mr K Meshoe (ACDP) raised concern with the 1 376 vacancies in Eastern Cape police stations. He asked if members of the police force should be allowed to take severance packages when there was a shortage of staff. The Chair responded that the provincial department was looking into this issue.
Mr Ndlovu raised concern with the issues that the South African Police Union (SAPU) raised concerning resolution 7.
Mr Maserumule (ANC) said that a common pattern could be seen in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng. It was clear from the document that both provinces struggled with the same issues.
Ms Van Wyk expressed concern over the fact that transformation had not been achieved through resolution 7 and that was why the South African Police Union still had major issues with the resolution.
Mr Maserumule inquired about the effectiveness of the management of the provinces. He also questioned the effectiveness of the provinces in making use of the institutions that gives skills training to police. The Chairperson said that the issue had been dealt with.
Mr Maziya commented on the problem of transformation. There needed to be a better representation of black faces in all provincial police structures. There needed to be a mix of people at the top in all provinces. The Chairperson noted the problem was similar in most police stations.
Mr Maziya mentioned Butterworth police station as one of the more problematic stations. The station commander reported that all "useless" people were sent there and this caused heavy friction. He asked if anything had been done to resolve the situation.
The Chairperson said that a follow up was needed to determine if the situation had changed.
Mr Maserumule asked if the practice of promotion to the top was still happening, because it would not address the problem of ineffective officers.
Mr Ndlovu inquired about the recruitment of new police officers. It was his concern that although officers resigned they were not replaced by new recruits.
Mr Maziya answered Mr Ndlovu by saying that it was a trend in the police service that if a person resigns he is not replaced and that is why the numbers have not been increasing up to now, but the gap is closing between resignations, deaths and new recruits. Mr Maziya also mentioned that there was a need for programmes to be in place to replace someone immediately. It was also noted that the Committee needed to raise the issue of new recruits only filling the gaps with management.
Mr Ndlovu asked why they could not train more police officers in this country to start moving beyond only filling the gap.
Mr Maziya said that they had been told that there are facilities to train only 7000 police officers in a year. The training institutes did not have the capacity to train more people.
Mr Meshoe asked if the unions had actually completed their report.
Mr Maziya replied that they had some meetings earlier, but that the unions was late in handing in their report but in the end the process had been completed and the unions commented on resolution 7.
Mr Maserumule asked what head office's involvement was in the visits to the provinces. He said that if they went along on the visits they might be able to give more thoughtful insight into all the problems.
Mr Maziya replied that when they go on visits to the provincial offices the NEC only sends one or two officials to accompany them.
Ms Van Wyk said that the NEC officials that went along on these visits made life difficult for the rest of the people because they had never been in a police station, which is problematic because they did not know how it operated.
Maziya mentioned that the NCOP should sit in at the meetings and give an idea of what was happening in the provinces that would make the provincial visits easier and more effective.
Mr Maziya raised the issue of the Alberton police station. The station was build many years back and reflected the size of the community at the time it was built. Since then the population has grown and the station is too small to be of service to the community. The current station is the size of a house.
Mr Meshoe emphasised the fact and said the area population was currently 1.7 million.
Mr Ndlovu asked what had happened to the plans to build another station adjacent to Alberton.
Mr Monareng said the reasons to build another station may not be sufficient and that the current station should rather be expanded.
Mr Maziya responded to Mr Monareng's comment and said that there was no room to expand the current station. The Chairperson emphasised the point and said they should rather build a bigger station.
Mr Ntuli (ANC) said that there must be rules that pertain to the size of the community and the size of the police station that must serve the community.
Mr Diale (ANC) said that the problem was not one of building a bigger station but rather a case of a shortage of staff, and that the matter should be followed up. He also mentioned that the issue of re-employment should be raised with the provincial offices.
The Chairperson agreed and was satisfied that all the recommendations had been discussed.
The meeting was adjourned.
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