Narcotics Bureau; NCPS; House of Traditional Leaders: briefing

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15 September 1999
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

15 September, 1999

Documents handed out:
Synopsis of the Drug Trends as Observed by the South African Narcotics Bureau (extract below)
"Reducing Crime and Violence: Dealing with the Causes and Opportunities."
Amended Committee Programme (see below)

The South African Narcotics Bureau spoke on its functions and the main challenges facing the unit in its fight against drug-related crime. Two of the main challenges proved to be the lack of finance and personnel. The Secretariat of Safety and Security briefed the committee on the National Crime Prevention Strategy and focussed on domestic violence and firearm control. The National House of Traditional Leadership made an appearance to establish links with the committee in the hope of future co-operation in the legislative process.

The chairperson, Mr George (ANC), opened the meeting and commented on the need for the committee to be briefed about the problems facing the South African Narcotics Bureau (SANAB). As South Africa has become a target for drug lords world wide, it is vital that the situation be addressed.

South African Narcotics Bureau (SANAB)
Mr Mason (Commander of the South African Narcotics Bureau) gave a briefing on the South African Narcotics Bureau, its structure, functions and challenges. He identified the challenges as having to work with severe financial and personnel constraints

Mr Fivaz (National Commissioner of Police) asked Mr de Beer (assistant commissioner) to highlight some of the practical problems the unit was experiencing.

Mr de Beer referred to budgetary constraints as playing a large role in curbing the effectiveness of the unit. The unit had to close down a highly effective chemical irrigation programme that helped to control the cultivation of drug producing plants, owing to lack of funds. Other operations are also very expensive. A single investigation, as permitted by the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, costs the unit R300 000. The unit's vehicles are also in dire need of repair.

Other challenges to the unit are the vulnerability of ports of entry and the lack of personnel capacity at these ports. Johannesburg International Airport alone is in need of a least another 30 personnel. West African nationals play a large role in drug-related crime and thus the issuing of refugee status to West Africans needs to be reviewed.

Questions and Answers
An ANC member asked what exactly was the strategy to combat drugs.

The National Commissioner responded that the dedicated team of detectives in SANAB, working all over South Africa focussing specifically on the drug problem, constituted a large part of the strategy. The effort to create a proper intelligence base was another aspect of the strategy as well as bilateral, multi-lateral agreements and protocols.

There were various questions relating to corruption within SANAB specifically.

The National Commissioner replied that the police service was dedicated to rooting out corruption in its ranks and that the unit was as clean as could be expected given the nature of human beings. He said that those in the unit were subjected to polygraph and psychometric tests. He added that the police were the only branch of the civil service with as many as ten anti-corruption units and they are active in attempting to root out corruption in their own ranks. In the light of pervasive corruption in all agencies all around the world, Mr Fivaz felt that the problem was being adequately addressed. He warned against the perception that the police service was riddled with corruption.

A member from the New National Party enquired as to SAPS's feelings on decriminalisation of certain drugs.

The police came out against the idea, feeling that it would exacerbate the drug problem. Mr Mason pointed out that according to the UN Convention of 1988 South Africa had a responsibility to prevent the abuse of even so-called soft drugs.

Various questions were asked concerning co-operation with other organisations, including government departments, intelligence agencies and other branches of law enforcement.

Mr Fivaz responded that co-operation across the board was a priority for the unit.
The police are also very involved with the drafting or amending of legislation that affects law enforcement.

Mr Goniwe (ANC) asked where SANAB had been while Mr Wouter Basson had been committing his crimes and drug laboratories were being set up.

The Commissioner responded that they had been unaware of Mr Basson's activities at the time and that had they been aware they would have acted.

Mr Goniwe was adamant that the unit had indeed known about these illegal activities.

The Commissioner gave his personal guarantee that this was not the case.
He maintained that had it been the case, surely this would have come out in the TRC hearings.

Mr Goniwe remained unsatisfied on this point. He also queried whether transformation was a priority for SANAB.

The Commissioner responded that it was and that he was in full agreement with the Minister's priority of achieving representivity in top positions by December 1999.

Mr Goniwe went on to question the police on why information about drug peddling that was common knowledge to the public, was unknown by the police. He also wanted to know why the briefing had not mentioned partnerships with the community.

The Commissioner emphasised that should the public have such knowledge that it was their responsibility to report it to the police. Drug-related crime is a public issue. He also stated that SAPS was committed to building relationships with the community and hoped that the relationships would continue to improve.

The chairperson thanked SANAB for their presentation. He reiterated the concern about corruption in SANAB because of the vast amount of money involved in the drug trade. This made SANAB detectives especially susceptible to bribery. He requested that SANAB submit a written document detailing their anti-corruption efforts, their plans to deal with personnel incapacity and budgetary constraints. In his opinion lack of funds should not be used as an excuse.

National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS)
Ms Holtmann (Chief Director of Communications in the Secretariat) gave a slide presentation, called "Reducing Crime and Violence: Dealing with the Causes and Opportunities." [This presentation will be made available on 17/09/99.]

Questions and Answers
Mr McIntosh (DP) asked whether the issue of Aids-related orphans had specifically been addressed in the NCPS. The reply was that this was not the case. Youth in general had been the target of various studies.

Mr McIntosh enquired further as to the state of the NCPS.

Mr Azar Cachalia (Secretary to the Crime Prevention Unit) responded that a policy document was to be tabled before Cabinet that same day.

An ANC member asked whether there was conclusive proof that South Africa has the highest rape rate in the world.

Ms Pienaar (from the Secretariat) replied that this was believed to be the case, but because of under reporting this could not be conclusively proven. However, given the number of reported rapes and the incidence of under-reporting it is probable that South Africa has the highest or one of the highest rape rates in the world.

The committee agreed that the issue would be revisited once the policy document was available to the committee.

Social Development Committee of the National House of Traditional Leaders
The chairperson of the Social Development Committee of the National House of Traditional Leaders drew attention to the formation of the House in April 1997 under Section 2 of Act 10 of 1997. She also emphasised the Constitutional protection given the institution of traditional leaders.

The chairperson felt that traditional leaders had a role to play in the new democracy and wanted to establish a relationship with the parliamentary committees in order to give imput into the legislative process. The House requested that they be kept informed of the agenda of the portfolio committee.

With regard to safety and security, it was felt that the tribal police had a role to play in crime prevention in the rural areas and that they should be integrated into the South African Police Service. She also requested that mobile police stations be deployed in rural areas.

Another member of the House requested that Community Policing Forums be reinstated or restructured in the rural areas. He raised the issue of stock theft, the issue of demobilising freedom fighters left over from the anti-apartheid struggle and the issue of upgrading customary courts. He closed by reiterating that crime was every citizen's responsibility.

Mr McIntosh (DP) requested that the House return with concrete proposals.
The meeting was adjourned by the chair.

Appendix 1:
Synopsis of the Drug Trends as Observed by the South African Narcotics Bureau
The following trends in drag trafficking to and from South Africa for the period July 1998 to June 1999 have been identified by the South African Narcotics Bureau. For ease of reporting the occurrences have been divided into drug groups, allowing the various role players to identify their specific field of interest.

1. Cannabis
Cannabis remains the primary drug of abuse in South Africa. Of particular concern in the past year has been the increase in the amount of seizures being made in Europe, particularly the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, which were smuggled from South Africa, either via couriers on airlines or by means of sea-freight. The majority of the Cannabis originated in Swaziland, where it is compressed and packed and then smuggled into South Africa for shipment to Europe. Notable successes have been reported by Johannesburg International Airport and Sanab, Durban in identifying and arresting couriers. It has not been possible to profile couriers as they come from a wide variety of different nationalities including Bulgarian, Namibian, Nigerian and South African. Postal packages have also been identified on route to the United States.

2. Methaqualone
Methaqualone continues to be the second most widely abused drug in South Africa. Recent investigations and seizures have indicated both an increase in Iocal manufacture of the drug and of occurrences of importation.

The extent of local manufacture is estimated from the information derived from the chemical monitoring programme and registered projects currently under investigation. The latest illicit laboratory seizure has indicated that the traffickers are being forced away from the traditional chemicals utilised in methaqualone manufacture, and are being forced to perform more involved chemistry, which in tuna lowers the percentage yields and purity of the methaqualone, thus lowering the overall profitability of the operation. This is still an isolated occurrence, but it is a trend one expects when a successful chemical monitoring programme is in place.

In addition, suspected manufacture of methaqualone in countries in the SARPCCO region is suspected and investigations in that regard are currently underway.

The occurrences of importation are, of more concern, as two sea-freight containers were recently seized in Durban and Johannesburg respectively containing a combined total consignment in excess of 2 million tablets. The tablets were of the highest quality and the method of concealment was extremely professional with the tablets being machine sealed in peanut packets, which in turn were packed in carton boxes, indicating the contents were peanuts. The origin of the containers, and presumably the methaqualone was Guanzhou Industrial Area in mainland China. Chinese citizens were also arrested in connection with the containers in South Africa. Investigation in Connection with the two containers is continuing in both South Africa and China in an attempt to identify the group or groups responsible.

3. Cocaine
The trafficking of cocaine in South Africa is a problem which is synonymous with the West African National criminal groups operating in the country. Seizures continue to occur on a regular basis at Johannesburg International Airport, with again a wide variety of individuals being employed as couriers making profiling extremely difficult.

Variations in the methods employed by traffickers have been identified, with a consignment of 100 kg cocaine, dissolved in rum, being seized in a container at City Deep. The Consignment allegedly originated in Colombia, and has been linked to a combined WAN/Colombian group.

An increase of cocaine being sent through the post has also been detected, with a tendency to route the mail articles to neighbouring countries for importation to occur to South Africa via the land borders. Successful controlled deliveries have been conducted in this regard with Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Information on the purity of the cocaine seized is currently not available, but the reported abuse of the "crack" form of the drug is increasing along with the areas of activities of the WAN groups. Successful operations were conducted in Port Elizabeth, an area not previously associated with WAN activity, and an entire WAN group was arrested and their activities in the area terminated. Increased WAN activity has also been reported in Pretoria and the Mpumalanga.

4. Heroin
Limited seizures of heroin have been reported from ports of entry. Two SAA crew members have been arrested attempting to take heroin to the United States.

Information received from welfare and rehabilitation groups and researchers would indicate that the abuse of heroin in the country is increasing, although seizure data cannot support this statement.

Reports received from the DEA reveal that they suspect that South Africa is being utilised as a major conduit for heroin being smuggled into the United States, although they have no seizure data to substantiate that statement.

5. The Amphetamine-type Stimulants (ATS)
ATS abuse appears, from seizure data, to have remained constant. An increased involvement of WAN groups in the trafficking of those substances has been detected which has not previously been noted.

Local ATS manufacture has been identified by the chemical monitoring programme and an illicit methamphetamine laboratory operation was terminated in late 1998.

6. Actions
The following have been prioritised by Sanab:
i. West African Nationals
ii. Chinese involvement in criminal activity in South Africa
iii. Container traffic
iv. Couriers travelling through airports
v. Trafficking through the post
vi. Illicit laboratory activity

The South African Narcotics Bureau is currently co-operating with the UN, Border Police as well as various other role-players in providing training for capacity building at sea ports. One course has already been presented in Durban and the other is to be presented during September. This office also had various discussions with these role-players to establish a team consisting out of the following role-players; Border Police, Customs and SANAB to detect, investigate, seize and control container traffic.

West African National and Chinese involvement:
The South African Narcotics Bureau and numerous role-players established a committee on instruction of Divisional Commissioner Schoeman, under chairmanship of snr superintendent Pretorius to address the problems caused by illegal aliens' involvement in organised crime.

Illicit Factories:
By direction of Assistant Commissioner de Beer a team consisting out of organised crime members was formed to investigate illicit factories. Through the Chemical and Precursor Monitoring Programme various Successes have been achieved.

Couriers and trafficking through the postal system:
The South African Narcotics Bureau in conjunction with it's DOCLO'S stationed abroad as well as the DEA and UK customs is on a daily basis busy with profiling and Co-operating therefore numerous successes have been achieved.

Cannabis Eradication Programme
Due to discussions held between Various role-players the cannabis eradication programme is to commence during September 1999. Eradication will commence in Swaziland and will also cover KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.

The following have been prioritised by SANAB:
i West African Nationals
ii Chinese involvement in criminal activity in South Africa.
iii Container traffic
iv Couriers travelling through airports
v Trafficking through the post
vi. Illicit laboratory activity

Appendix 2:

"Reducing Crime and Violence: Dealing with the Causes and Opportunities."

15 September 1999

Introduction to the NCPS

NCPS was approved by Cabinet in May 1996 -

New paradigm for dealing with crime:

• Increase in crime cannot be overcome using only law enforcement and the criminal justice system

• Effective operation of CJS require improved co-operation and alignment of activities between departments.

• Institutions of state must work with civil society to overcome crime.

Achievements of NCPS

• Departments working in a more integrated manner with joint planning and implementation

• Integrated Justice Systems project - Awaiting trial prisoners in project

• Border Control

• Victim Empowerment - redressing balance between victims and offender

• Reduction of escapes

Challenges for the NCPS

• Reactive versus preventative approaches

• Issue of recidivism not adequately considered

• Overall strategic framework linked to departmental plans and budgets

• Relationships, partnerships and co-ordination

• Evaluation and learning, problem identification and analysis

• Poor communication - how to maximise as a tool for NCPS

New concepts for NCPS

• White paper on Safety and Security:

New institutional arrangements

New approaches to crime prevention

Co-ordination structures

• NCPS review 1999 proposals:

Problem-solving framework

Multi-agency solutions utilising a "toolbox" of methods of crime and violence prevention

Focus on violent crime and repeat offenders

Views expressed by new Cabinet

- Firearms top priority

- Violence Against Women & Children

- Improved Investigation and Prosecution

- Corruption In CJS

- CJS efficiency and co-ordination

- Organised crime

-White collar crime

- Social crime prevention

- Local crime prevention

- Vehicle crime

NCPS Governance

• Governance structures:

Ministers, DG's, DDG's

Partnership based on policy

Role of NCPC

• Communication

GCIS cluster concept - Secretariat convenes Crime Prevention and Justice Cluster

New approach agreed by NCPS DG's and Ministers

• Ongoing programme to improve and integrate CJS

• Disciplined focus on the national priority crimes

• New emphasis on information, intelligence and evaluation - to generate knowledge-driven approach to crime reduction

• Expanded programme of local crime prevention

• Address poverty and socio-economic factors that influence crime

• Reduce market for stolen goods

Revised Priorities

• Firearm crime as priority for the coming 3 years - culture of violence

• Organised Crime

• White-Collar Crime: Part of the planning for the launch of the "scorpions", forensic capacity

• Vehicle Crime - good example of market interventions

• Corruption in the Criminal Justice System

• Interpersonal Violence focussing on:-

Family Violence (Domestic Violence);


Young men as the most frequent offenders and victims of violent crime

Current programmes

• Firearms

• Domestic Violence

• Victim Empowerment

• Integrated Justice System

• Border Control

• Vehicle Crime

• Local Crime Prevention

• Youth Violence


Domestic Violence

• Implementation of new Domestic Violence Act

• Protocols and guidelines for all relevant departments

• Targeted local pilot programmes - Welfare

• Public Awareness

• NCPC responsible for ongoing risk analysis and management

• Ongoing evaluation until 2004

Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act

• Effective from 15 December 1999

• Justice lead Department

• Regulations and National Instructions

• Training:

September to December 1999

SAPS & Justice officials

• Review of training January to June 2000

Protocols and Guidelines

• Service level agreements:

• Offender rehabilitation - Correctional Services, Health, Welfare.

• Victim empowerment - Welfare, Health

• Early childhood development - Education and Welfare

• Exploring disincentives for poor service delivery

• Training component for implementation of guidelines



  • Theft of firearms doubled since 1994
  • Increases 1994 - 1998:
  • murder with firearm: (1994) 11 134 - (1998) 12 298
  • robbery with firearm: (1996) 51 004 - (1998) 74854
  • Murders decreased overall, murder with firearm increased to 49% of all murders
  • Robbery with firearm increased to 85% of serious robberies



  • 45% of firearm homicide victims are young men 18-29 years
  • 30% are men 30-39
  • 75% of firearm homicide victims are young men aged 18-39
  • 85% of perpetrators are young men aged 16-39 years
  • Most lethal firearm violence is between young men



  • Estimate total 500 000. (Very unlikely to exceed 1 million)
  • 14 636 SAPS arms lost or stolen 1990 - 1999. Total SAPS losses 22 425 (JIT audit)
  • No or poor TBVC records
  • Imports from neighbouring states
  • Home made
  • Corrupt dealers

Control of Firearms and Ammunition

  • Outline of firearm crime and the problem
  • Strategy to deal with firearms
  • Control of firearms
  • Main points of policy
  • Communication plan


  • Most firearms used in crime come from theft and loss of private and State firearms.
  • Most guns used in crime are handguns 57-72% of murders
  • Top 10 makes seized = top 10 makes licensed
  • Few handguns in caches in Mozambique or RSA
  • Use of AK47 decreasing in favour of R1-4-5:
    • Seizures of AK47s and ammunition down sharply
    • Border controls improved and guns are diverted to Great Lakes and DRC
    • AK ammunition hard to get: R1-4-5 from State



  • Theft and loss from private owners and the State: figures for 1998
  • Firearms reported stolen 23820 (most from offices or vehicles)
  • Firearms reported lost 6400
  • Firearms recovered 20702
  • Survey found firearms lost or stolen from 4% of private licence holders not reported
  • SANDF losses/thefts usually not reported to CFR
  • Audit in progress on some security companies


  • Leakage from legal to illegal
  • Now largest source of illegal firearms. Decrease number of legal guns
  • Irresponsible use of legal guns:
  • Large % of homicide takes place in or around home or bar/shebeen
  • Association with alcohol and drug abuse
  • 38 000 cases of pointing a firearm or negligence in 1998


  • Joint Investigation Team mandated by Cabinet to audit State firearms
  • Review computerization of SAPS and SANDF firearm control systems
  • SANDF should inform SAPS of firearms lost or stolen or outcome of investigations



  • Legal sales diverted to criminals
  • Control amounts for possession and annual purchase
  • Permit for hunters, sport shooters etc.
  • Link all dealers to CFR database on-line
  • Only allow purchase by licence holder with that calibre of gun
  • Problem of sales by State sports clubs


  • Intelligence fragmented and incomplete
  • Policy for SAPS IFIU's not yet signed:
  • Strengthen communication and coordination between national and provincial units
  • Crime investigators generally do not trace who provided firearms
  • Hijacking IDOC tracing guns used in hijacks
  • Guns often circulated for crimes: not "1 man - 1 gun - 1 crime".
  • High rate of hits on IBIS


  • Cut off sources of new illegal arms
  • Theft and loss of privately owned arms: tighten controls and create culture of responsible ownership
  • Theft and loss of State-owned arms: tighten controls and information
  • Illegal imports: improve border control, intelligence and profiling
  • Home-made arms
  • Corrupt dealers: tighter controls and stiffer administrative and criminal penalties


  • Recover illegal arms in circulation
  • SAPS operational plan:
    • Intelligence; IFIUs; Designated Officers; etc.
  • Voluntary surrender: legal and illegal arms
    • Compensation
    • Limited amnesty (only works with local community involvement)
  • Cooperation of communities:
    • Information to SAPS
    • Community actions to recover and hand in arms



  • Regional strategy
  • Reduce weapon flows in the region
  • As long as there are major flows which move towards areas of demand (now DRC), there will be supply pressure on RSA borders. Urgent to act now on regional strategy and border control in advance of peace deals for DRC and Angola
  • Joint intelligence on trafficking, routes, brokers
  • Act should prohibit brokering unless with NCACC permission


  • Public and political support
  • Strong political will to control the problem
  • Reduce demand for guns
    • Young men: manhood
    • Resolving disputes
    • Self-defence



  • Research
  • Understand the problems
  • Occurrence of crimes
  • Attitudes
  • Sources and types
  • Monitor and evaluate
  • Legislation
  • Policing and enforcement
  • Strategy


  • De Deur (Vaal) check on CFR database:
  • good example of local initiative
  • 218 addresses listed in Central Firearm Register were visited by local SAPS
  • 24 had no gun safe: false declaration to get licence
  • 51 false addresses or address not found
  • 18 changed address and not notified to CFR
  • 24 charged and warrants to seize firearms


  • National survey of 2 000 licences by SAPS (Gauteng results still awaited)
  • Audited licences issued 1982 - 1999
  • Serious problems with database:
    • 55% addresses changed and not notified to CFR
    • 15% false addresses
    • 4% had at least one gun lost or stolen and not reported to SAPS or CFR
    • 2% sold and not reported to CFR



  • Strengthen police powers
  • Create new offences
  • Tougher sentencing guidelines
  • Firearm free areas
  • Strict controls on possession of arms
  • Strict controls on possession of ammunition
  • Strict control of dealers and security companies



  • Register State firearms at CFR
  • Prohibition of private ownership of certain firearms and ammunition
  • Limits on number of arms which may be owned for self-defence (especially handguns)
  • Limits on amount of ammunition
  • Permit system
  • Self-policing of hunters, sport shooters, collectors



  • Layered licensing system:
  • Personal competence certificate (responsible, criminal record, drugs or alcohol etc.)
  • Licence to possess a specific firearm
  • Single application includes processes
  • Raise age to 18
  • Masakhane principle for cost of licence
  • Upgrading of CFR
  • Designated officers at major SAPS stations



  • Layered licensing: licensing of the person and gun
  • Checks
  • Age
  • Renewal of licence
  • Cost of licence
  • Prohibited categories of guns and ammunition
  • Limits on number of guns owned
  • Limits on carrying in public
  • Limits on amount of ammunition



  • Controls and inspection of dealers
  • Controls and inspection of security companies
  • Imports
  • Brokering
  • And other areas



  • New police powers immediately on promulgation
  • New offences immediately on promulgation
  • Firearm free areas immediately on promulgation
  • CFR upgrading implemented by June 2001
  • Audit and re-issue June 2001 to June 2003/4
  • New licence process for new applications starts June 2001
  • Prohibited firearms surrendered within 12 months of promulgation
  • Persons to dispose of excess arms by 2006



  • Support
  • Annual audit: use capacity in local authorities etc. if SAPS doesn't have resources
  • Gun-free areas
  • Harsher sentences
  • Control security companies



  • Disinformation campaign by some groups to derail legislation
  • Anti-control groups not large: mainly dealers
  • Unconfirmed reports of USA involvement
  • SA Gunowners Association published sections of working draft on its website
  • Pressure from Anti-gun Lobby not to delay controls on firearms and legislation
  • Communication objectives: to motivate informed and responsible support for stricter gun control; to reduce tolerance for the culture of violence.



  • Emphasize that the legislation is only one component of Government strategy to reduce the proliferation of firearms and firearm crimes
  • SAPS operations being intensified. Give high profile to demonstrate that Government is serious about controlling illegal firearms
  • Accelerate audits of security companies
  • Accelerate audit of State firearms



  • Reduce demand for possession and use of firearms
  • Focus especially on young men
  • Mobilise partnerships across government, NGOs, CBOs and CPFs, based on the achievement of common objectives
  • Mobilise local authorities to control sale of alcohol associated with firearm crime


Appendix 3:


Friday 03 September 1999
1. Consideration of Committee Program
2. Briefing - Transformation Process in the SAPS
3. Briefing - SAPS budget

Wednesday 08 September 1999
Briefing - by SAPS and Security Officers Board (SOB)

Wednesday 15 September 1999
1. Briefing by the Narcotics Unit

2. Briefing on the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS)

3.Discussions with the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL)

Friday 17 September 1999

1. Briefing and discussions on the SAPS budget - follow up meeting

Tuesday 21 September 1999

1. Briefing on Crime Intelligence

2. Briefing in border policing and

3. taxi violence


Wednesday 22 September 1999
1. Briefing on CIDs (Criminal Investigation Department)

2. Briefing by Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) and

3. Discussions with Banking Council of South Africa

Current indications are that the Arms and Ammunition Bill will be introduced in Parliament towards the end of September.

Mr. M E George (Chairperson)
Contact Person: Lungisile Pakati


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