A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
5 April 2005
DEPARTMENT STRATEGIC PLAN AND BUDGET: SECRETARIAT FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY, SA POLICE UNION, AND POLICE AND PRISON CIVIL RIGHTS UNION BRIEFINGS
Chairperson: Ms M Sotyu (ANC)
Documents handed out:
National Secretariat for Safety and Security PowerPoint presentation: Budget 2005-06
National Secretariat for Safety and Security PowerPoint presentation: Annual Plan 2005-06
POPCRU and SAPU joint presentation document
Consideration of Approval of Minister’s Notice of Firearms Amnesty
Government Gazette Notice: Firearms Amnesty
The SA Police Services briefed the Committee on the extension of the Firearms Amnesty. They provided Minister Nqakulu’s Notice of the amnesty’s extension from 1 April to 30 June 2005 that Parliament had approved.
The Secretariat for Safety and Security then gave a budget briefing that the Committee agreed was a great improvement on their last report on 9 March. That report had been too technical and this one was simpler. The SA Police Union (SAPU), and the Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) then gave a joint labour presentation. The SAPS responded to some of the issues raised.
Extension of Firearms Amnesty
Director Jacobs, SAPS Assistant Commissioner, briefed the Committee on the extension of the Firearms Amnesty. There had been a rush to turn in firearms at the end of the amnesty period, as word-of-mouth had convinced gunowners they would not be prosecuted. NGOs, including Gun Free South Africa, had also called for an amnesty extension. He gave figures for legal and illegal arms handed in during the amnesty, and criticised the media’s comparison of figures for legal and illegal firearms that had been handed in. Legal firearms were potentially illegal ones, and their being turned in was also a success. He provided the Committee with Minister Nqakulu’s notice of the amnesty’s extension from 1 April to 30 June 2005, which Parliament had approved.
Mr R Jankielsohn (DA) said that in the amnesty only the handing in of illegal firearms was relevant as legal firearms could be handed in at any time. He pointed out that the amnesty would only be valid if approved by Parliament. Last time the Minister had to withdraw his announcement of amnesty as it had hot yet been approved. Parliament needed to send a message of support, but they also wanted to know well in advance, so as not to have to retrospectively approve.
The Chairperson commended the police for their good job on the amnesty. The extension was adopted by the Committee, though not by the IFP.
Department budget briefing
Mr A Soman (Director: Legal Secretariat for Safety and Security) and Mr M Rasegatla (Secretary for Safety and Security) gave a budget briefing. The report stated that the chief function of the Secretariat was oversight of the SAPS. A significant amount of funding had been allocated to a monitoring tool which had been piloted was being piloted. The secretariats’ budgets might appear low, but projects would also involve provincial level funding.
Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) did not understand the difference in the Secretariat’s Budget presentation between allocations 2.4 -- " Critique service delivery at station level on the basis of Batho Pele principles" – and 3.1 "Assessment of the rate and extent of implementation of Batho Pele within SAPS at the station level". Similarly there seemed to be overlap in funding for policy information in programs 5 and 6.
The Secretariat replied that point 3.1 was related specifically to the issue of transformation; the phrase "at the station level" should be dropped from the sentence. Ms van Wyk (ANC) added that transformation needed to be examined at a national level too. She had noticed that the SAPS and Secretariat were seated apart; this was important as the Secretariat needed to maintain a professional distance from the SAPS in order to critique it.
Regarding the perceived overlap in funding between programs 5 and 6, Mr Soman said there was no duplication. Legislation had to be informed by policy; the policy development process was a separate matter.
Mr A Maziya (ANC) asked for the specifics of the School Safety project listed in program one of the presentation. Regarding the allocation of funds for meetings with the Minister in Cape Town, why did they not meet with him in Pretoria, since he spent half his time there? What were the consultations fees for? Mr Booi (ANC) also wanted to know more about consultants’ fees and why cluster meetings were so expensive.
The Chairperson too asked why the Secretariat met with the Minister so much in Cape Town and not in Pretoria. They responded that the figures for meeting costs were based on past experience and present expectations; most meetings were in Pretoria. The Secretariat did not always have the requisite expertise for particular issues and needed contingency funds for consultants. Mr Rasegatla gave an example of needing advice on a legal matter. Mr Ndlovu (IFP) pointed out that there were already funds allocated for legal services. Mr Rasegatla said sometimes legal expertise was needed in matters beyond litigation. For instance, the Minister had asked them to investigate the correctness of the current situation whereby SAPS disciplinary processes were independent of criminal courts.
The School Safety Project was driven by the Deputy Minister. Other organisations too were working for a safer environment more conducive to education and the Secretariat had engaged with the Minister of Education.
The Chairperson asked if there was a specific budget allocated to the provincial secretariat. How was the national secretariat popularising itself? The response was that the National Secretariat was completely independent of the provinces, whose budgets were determined by the provincial executives. They popularised themselves through engagement with the public and by explaining their role and identity.
Mr Maziya (ANC) moved for the adoption of the Secretariat’s report and Mr Booi (ANC) seconded. The Chairperson noted that this report was a great improvement on the last.
POPCRU and SAPU joint submission
The SA Police Union (SAPU), and the Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) apologised for the late arrival of their document. (The Chairperson noted that they had known about this presentation for three weeks.) The unions then expressed their gratitude at being invited to Parliament and asked that they be present at SAPS presentations too. They would like to be involved in the initial development of the budget. Their relationship with management was unsatisfactory and they criticised the delayed roll-out of funds for salary adjustments and the shortage of psychologists and social workers in the SAPS.
Regarding the unions’ desire to be part of the budget development, Mr Booi (ANC) noted that most often the Department made a submission to Treasury, and that it was Treasury who made the decisions.
Ms J Sosibo (ANC) asked for details of the R600m allocated for salary adjustments that had not been spent. What had happened? Also what were the vehicles mentioned in the POPCRU/SAPU presentation? Regarding their involvement in the budget, were they not given reports after Parliament meetings?
The Chairperson asked the SAPS to respond to the matter of the R600 million that the POPCRU/SAPU presentation said had been allocated but not spent.
Mr Ndlovu (IFP) asked about scarce skills recruitment and why there were so few psychologists and social workers given the stressful nature of police work, and its ripple effects on police families.
Ms van Wyk said that the police had received a 34% salary increase over the past three or four years, and jokingly asked if the public could then expect at least a 17% increase in service delivery. Could the Committee bargain with the SAPS for an increase in service delivery? What were the international responsibilities that the SAPU/POPCRU presentation referred to? What did they mean by "user-friendly" in their request for more user-friendly vehicles? There was too little support for personnel; what provisions were
being made for HIV positive members of the SAPS?
International responsibilities included the extension of protection services within SADC and the deployment of police at harbours. "User-friendly" denoted vehicles with first-aid kits, bullet-proof windows and air-conditioning (this was necessary in situations where it was dangerous to open windows). Cars needed to safely carry dangerous equipment. SAPS did have a procedure for dealing with HIV/AIDS in the workplace, but too little attention was paid to HIV and it was impossible to estimate how many people were HIV positive. This impacted badly on service delivery. Commissioner Singh (SAPS) said that productivity and salaries were to be linked and a performance management system would have to be instituted.
Mr Mziya (ANC) wanted to know more about the relationship between the unions and management, commenting that one would think that after ten years of democracy and 15 years of a police union, management and the unions should have a good understanding. He mentioned personal incidents that reflected badly on the police. He had recently visited a police station on a Sunday morning and half the police on duty were drunk. What was the unions’ role in ensuring discipline? The POPCRU/SAPU report had not addressed this. The Chairperson added that this was an important issue as unions did have a role in regulating behaviour. The unions said they had expelled people for poor discipline. They apologised for the unions’ failures in disciplining their members. They noted that union employees should become more involved in the community by working as police reservists or for the Community Policing Fora (CPF).
The Chairperson stressed that POPCRU/SAPU and management had to meet with each other in order to work effectively. Why could the good relationship between POPCRU and SAPU not be extended to the SAPS?
The unions conceded that there were problems with the relationship between them and management and that a lack of good interaction led to non-resolution of issues. The Chairperson noted that too many complaints were brought to the Committee: those presenting were adults and knew their own responsibilities; it was not enough to simply complain.
Commissioner Singh (SAPS) responded that the unions varied in stating that the money allocated for salaries was six million and six hundred million. The SAPS’s own document stated a figure of R618 000 000. She was surprised by the unions’ stance. They had known that the money arose from an agreement signed at the Bargaining Council and that it was for housing allowances to be introduced from 1 January 2005, over a four year period, as well as for the increased state contribution to GDPF for personnel to be dispensed from 1 April 2005. The SAPS were merely a line department and were awaiting guidelines from the Ministry. The unions’ claim was a misrepresentation. Over the past three to four years the SAPS had made sure the vehicles they issued were equipped for their areas; they no longer issued Chicos to the rural areas. The budget was largely up to the Treasury, but as members of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council, the unions could make inputs in the budget process via the NEDLAC process and gain an audience with the Minister of Finance.
Regarding the unions’ claim in their presentation that recruitment tended to take place at the tail-end of the financial year, there were fixed intakes in January and July and there was monitoring of recruitments. Regarding the lack of social workers and psychologists, the unions’ statistics were incorrect. There were 279 social workers and 170 psychologists. There were also trained trauma debriefers and a disease management program. The Law prevented disclosure of HIV status, so it was impossible to know exactly the number of employees affected. In 1999, SAPS had used the Metropolitan Doyle model in their planning. The Department of Public Services and Administration had also done an impact analysis. They already had studies on losses. Management could not accept the unions’ admission that there was a failure in ensuring discipline: the SAPS had procedures in place and intensive training. The unions’ presentation gave mixed signals about their relationship with management; they had spoken of "sound labour relations". Regarding the passing on of documents to organized labour, on 23 March (before the unions were invited to Parliament), management had provided them with documents and asked them to send their financial people to speak with management’s. Management had issued two invitations for meetings and had had no response. Information was always available to the unions.
Commissioner Ndaba (Head of Labour Relations, SAPS) said they had had a successful workshop last year at which the vice-presidents of both POPCRU and SAPU had been present. There would always be times when management and the unions differed. Regarding scarce skills, the SAPS invited divisions to say where they had skill shortages.
The Chairperson said to Commissioner Singh that it was all very well having a good mechanism for discipline on paper, but what was happening on the ground showed that there was a huge problem with discipline. The Committee had visited police stations and discovered this themselves. There was good discipline only when the police knew they were to be visited. When the Chairperson had visited the Worcester police station two months ago, no one was in uniform. It was imperative for those presenting to Parliament to be as honest and open as possible, and not to be defensive. The last time the provinces had been called in, all those present had said the same thing and had clearly been prepped to do so. The Western Cape and Gauteng, which the Committee had visited, were "the only ones who were honest". There was nothing more important than the truth, and neither SAPS nor POPCRU and SAPU should deceive the Committee. She agreed that the unions should be present when the SAPS came to Parliament.
Ms van Wyk agreed with the Chairperson that meetings would be much more productive if those involved were less defensive and encouraged everyone to work together.
The Chairperson noted that the reasons offered by the SAPS for the non-distribution of the increment did not seem unsatisfactory. The Committee was not satisfied with the manner and criteria of the increment. The Chairperson declined the Commissioner’s request to respond.
The meeting was adjourned.
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