Independent Complaints Directorate Committee Report, Committee Programme: adoption

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17 August 2005
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


17 August 2005

Ms M Sotyu (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Committee Draft Programme for 3rd Term
Committee Report on Independent Complaints Directorate
ANC Recommendations regarding Independent Complaints Directorate Report

After meetings with the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) National Office and Provincial Heads, the Committee had decided to table a report to Parliament for debate, highlighting their concerns and recommendations about perceived problems in current ICD functioning. These included:
- an investigation into travel expenditure of the ICD National Office
- submission of research reports to the Committee
- provision of sufficient information and statistics by the ICD
- decentralisation of some powers
- consulting ICD employees in the development of policies
- development of a new staff retention policy
- training opportunities for ICD staff
- obtaining policing powers
- a performance audit by the Auditor General
- annual meetings with the ICD provincial heads
- restructuring the ICD and separating the legislation under which the ICD and South African Police Service were functioning.

After some discussion, the Committee unanimously adopted its report on the ICD to Parliament. During the discussion on the Committee Programme, Members agreed to propose to the Chairperson in writing that they move the oversight visit of Friday, 9 September to Wednesday, 24 August. The Committee otherwise adopted the Programme.


Committee Programme
The Acting Chairperson said the arrangements for 24 August would change. They would only have a briefing by the Minister, as they would discuss the Committee’s recommendations on the ICD at this meeting.

Mr R Jankielsohn (DA) asked for the Minister’s briefing topic. The Acting Chairperson promised to check with the Minister’s office. She knew the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act would be one of the topics.

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked why an oversight visit had been scheduled for Friday, 9 September. The Committee secretary, Jeremy Michaels, said Fridays were the alternate day for the Committee’s meetings if the need arose. He said the Committee would be back at Parliament by 0900. Reverend K Meshoe (ACDP) suggested that they shift the meetings scheduled for August 24 or August 31 to accommodate the proposed oversight visit of 9 September. Mr Jankielsohn agreed with Reverend Meshoe’s suggestion. The Acting Chairperson said that she would put a request through to the Chairperson to move the visit of 9 September to 24 August.

Mr Jankielsohn said the Committee should raise more issues with the Minister during the proposed meeting. The Acting Chairperson said she would relay this request to the Chairperson. The programme was adopted with its proposed changes.

Committee Minutes
The Committee Clerk’s minutes for the 1 June and 22 June 2005 meetings were adopted without alteration. Minor changes were made to the minutes of May 27 and June 10.

Committee Report on Independent Complaints Directorate
This report stemmed from meetings with the ICD National Office and Provincial Heads. After these meetings, the Committee had decided to table a report before Parliament for debate, highlighting its concerns about perceived problems in the current functioning of the ICD. The purpose of the report was also to make recommendations to assist the resolution of the identified problems.

The Committee identified the following problems:
- Travel expenditure
- Submission of reports
- Presentation of ICD statistics
- Lack of detail in reports
- Lack of data in reports
- Distribution of the budget between national and provincial offices

The Provincial ICD heads had highlighted the following problems:
- Staff shortages
- Accessibility
- Community outreach
- Measures to attract, recruit and retain staff
- Centralisation of decision-making powers of National Office
- Discrepancies between provincial offices
- Policies
- Policing powers and appointment certificates
- Training
- Anti-Corruption command
- Relationship with South African Police Service (SAPS)

Mr Ndlovu said the sections of the report dealing with "lack of detail" and "lack of data" seemed to be addressing the same thing. The Acting Chairperson said she would prefer to leave it as it were, as there was a slight difference. Mr Ndlovu accepted the ruling.

The Acting Chairperson said the Committee should discuss their recommendations before they adopt the report. She suggested that they add other parties’ recommendations to those of the ANC, which would then become the Committee’s recommendations.

Mr Jankielsohn said many of the ANC’s recommendations were already in the document. The Acting Chairperson agreed, but still preferred to take them point-by-point. Mr Jankielsohn did not mind adding additional information to the report. The Acting Chairperson agreed that it might be good to have additional information in the report. Mr Mahote said it would provide the reader with background.

ANC recommendations

Travel Expenditure:
The Committee was not satisfied with the explanation provided by the ICD’s National Office regarding its high travel expenditure and discrepancies in travel expenditure between provinces. The Committee recommended that travel expenditure should be investigated by the Office of the Auditor General to determine the relevancy of the expenditure in relation to the mandate of the ICD.

Submission of reports
The ANC’s recommendation required that all the ICD’s research reports and recommendations to the SAPS management had to be submitted to the Committee within one month of completion. It should also be tabled before Parliament within the same period.

Mr Ndlovu asked if they were referring to the SAPS who should submit reports to the Committee. The Acting Chairperson said they could change the wording to make it clear that the ICD should submit the reports.

Mr Ndlovu complained that the Committee did not receive reports from the ICD. He asked who should present reports. The Acting Chairperson said they could clarify it further, but she did not deem it necessary. They were establishing procedure. Reverend Meshoe said they should take it for granted that the ICD Director would submit the reports.

Mr Jankielsohn asked if they could remove the words "within the same time period", as they could be committing themselves to handle it within one month. The Acting Chairperson said it was a rules issue; once the report was tabled in Parliament, it would be referred to the Committee. She agreed that the wording needed some work.

The Acting Chairperson said she did not want reports dealing with individual cases. She would like to add the words "affecting management and procedures" to the recommendation. Mr Jankielsohn suggested that "policy" should also be added. The Committee agreed.

Provision of Information
The Committee were dismayed that it seemed that the ICD only provided them with information that depicted the ICD in a positive light. The ICD should ensure that all reports to the Committee contained sufficient information and detail and would be received by the Committee at least one week prior to the scheduled briefing.

Presentation of ICD statistics
The Committee would monitor the implementation of the agreement by the ICD’s Executive Director to ensure that all reports would present statistics sufficiently detailed to reduce possible misinterpretation.

The Acting Chairperson said they should add the recommendation to "Presentation of Statistics by ICD".

Decentralisation of some powers
The ANC recommended that provincial heads should be empowered to approve overtime for staff, a person responsible for communication should be identified in each province and provincial offices should be able to recruit and appoint entry-level staff and interns.

Mr Jankielsohn suggested, with regards to recommendation for recruitment, that the Committee should add the words "in consultation with National Office". Mr Ndlovu differed: there would be a report to head office after the recruitment, and consultation would take unnecessary time. The Acting Chairperson thought they were getting involved in unnecessary things. They had to be careful not to go beyond their mandate. The procedure was not the Committee’s problem. She suggested that they leave the wording. Mr Jankielsohn warned that it could backfire and that they were already interfering. Reverend Meshoe could not see how the words "in consultation" could be problematic. It could be helpful. Mr Mahote agreed with Mr Ndlovu and suggested that they leave the words unaltered. Mr Jankielsohn said they could leave it, but then the Committee could not question the head office on the provincial offices’ recruitment. The Acting Chairperson said they could not pay a person a director’s salary if they did not give them any responsibilities.

Provincial offices and operational employees should be consulted in the development of policies that affected their daily work. This would ensure that policies reflected the concerns of the people affected by them. Policies should be reviewed regularly to ensure relevance to current practice. Policies that caused discontented staff (such as the overtime policy) should be reviewed and negotiated. Policies that were the result of public service regulations, rather than ICD policies, should be explained properly to staff.

Mr Ndlovu asked what the last sentence meant. The Acting Chairperson explained that the ICD should communicate to investigators that the overtime problem was caused by public service regulations.

Attraction and retention of staff
A retention policy had to be developed and fairly applied to both national and regional levels. The possibility of upgrading posts to ensure the ICD’s ability to attract skilled staff had to be explored. They had to focus on reviewing entry-level salaries, particularly for Investigation and Complaints Registry and Monitoring.

Ms S Rajbally (MF) said they also had to look at the environment the staff were in, not only salaries, to ensure that they were meeting the requirements of the staff.

Training opportunities
Newly appointed staff had to participate in induction training within their first three months of employment. Staff should attend identified training courses annually. Some training should be decentralised to provincial level.

Policing powers
Delays in obtaining policing powers had to be urgently addressed by the National Office.

Budgetary concerns
A performance audit should be conducted by the Office of the Auditor General. This audit should focus on:
- distribution of the budget between national and provincial offices
- high travel budget for the National Office
- disparities in provincial office accounts for travel
- budget reporting in general

Mr Jankielsohn said the Auditor General should also ask if the ICD’s budget was adequate. Mr Ndlovu did not think there was a complaint about the ICD’s budget. Mr Jankielsohn suggested that they also put in a bullet point stipulating that the Auditor General should also review the ICD’s budget allocation. Mr Ndlovu differed with Mr Jankielsohn. The Committee had no right to compile the ICD’s budget. He said Mr Jankielsohn made the right point at the wrong time. Reverend Meshoe said the problem was not the amount of money, but how the ICD used it. The Acting Chairperson said the ICD should have come to the Committee if they did not get enough money. She also said that the problem was that the Committee’s policing of the ICD was not up to standard. It was not the Auditor General’s place to do so.

Annual meeting with provincial heads and quarterly reports
The Committee would schedule annual meetings with the provincial heads to discuss problems and identify resolutions to these problems. The Committee would also request quarterly written reports from each of the provincial heads.

Monitoring implementation of recommendations
The Committee would monitor the implementation of these recommendations to ensure that the problems were promptly resolved. The Committee also expected a progress report on steps taken by the National Office to address these concerns within three months after the tabling of the report in Parliament.

Restructuring of the ICD
The Committee recommended that the Minister of Safety and Security:
- should look at the feasibility of developing separate legislation to govern the functioning of the ICD, instead of retaining this in the SAPS Act
- review or capacitate the ICD to effectively fulfil its mandate in terms of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA)
- remove the monitoring of station audits from the responsibilities of the ICD and ensure that the Secretariat was capacitated to fulfil this function
- review the necessity for the newly established Research Unit
- review the placement and function of the Anti-Corruption Command in terms of national and provincial distribution of resources
- review or capacitate the ICD to fulfil its role in cell inspections
- do a feasibility assessment for the establishment of satellite/district offices and finding creative solutions, including the allocation of areas to the ICD offices based on geographical proximity rather than clear borderlines and the use of district offices of the Secretariat by ICD staff

Mr Ndlovu asked why the Secretariat had been included in the recommendations. The Committee should talk to the Minister about the issue. They should ask the Minister to separate the ICD from the SAPS. He said they should look at the last line properly. The Acting Chairperson said the Minister had referred to both the Secretariat and ICD in his Budget Speech. Reverend Meshoe asked why the Committee would want the ICD to use the Secretariat’s offices when the latter was also underperforming. The Acting Chairperson said the Secretariat should be empowered. Referring to the SAPS Act, The Acting Chairperson said it was not the first time separate legislation for the SAPS and ICD had been discussed. The Minister should explain why this could not be done. The ANC’s view was that the body policing the police, could not operate under the same legislation.

The Committee recommitted itself to the necessity of the ICD’s work. The ICD’s existence was an important tool in monitoring the SAPS and transforming it into a truly democratic police service.

Mr Jankielsohn asked if the term "democratic service" should not be replaced by "accountable service". The Acting Chairperson said it could be changed.

The Acting Chairperson asked if there was anything the other parties wanted to add.

Reverend Meshoe asked for an official inquiry. They had to know what was happening in the National Office. The Acting Chairperson said the performance audit of the Auditor General would include it.

Mr Jankielsohn requested that the reports from the Provincial Heads of the ICD accompany the report to Parliament. The Acting Chairperson said it would not a problem.

Mr Ndlovu asked when the polished report would be available. The Committee Secretary said it would be available the next day.

Mr Mahote moved for adoption and Reverend Meshoe seconded. The report was adopted with amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.


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