SAPS Transformation; National Crime Combatting Strategy: briefing

This premium content has been made freely available


30 May 2001
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

30 May 2001

Relevant documents:
Transformation in SAPS presentation document (document not available)
National Crime Combating Strategy presentation (See Appendix)

Chairpersons: Mr M George (NA); Mr J Mahlangu (NCOP)

The SAPS briefed the committee on their transformation process. Key transformation initiatives are organisational restructuring, a human rights focus, human resource management and
budget and resource management.

The committee seemed impressed by the various programmes and plans that the SAPS had in place but nevertheless felt that the actual realisation of these initiatives was lacking as the delivery of services do not reflect the changes that are supposedly taking place in the SAPS. Members raised issues that were of concern to them such as the slow reaction times of police and the poor infrastructure at some police stations.

The committee was also briefed on the SAPS's National Crime Combating Strategy. The strategy has a multi pronged approach that covers specific areas of crime. As before members were impressed by the great measure of successes that various strategies and operations had achieved but once again expressed their concerns that the crime situation in South Africa seems to remain unchanged.

Transformation in the South African Police Services (SAPS)
The National Commissioner of SAPS, Commissioner Jackie Selebi in a brief overview of the transformation process, stated that transformation was undertaken in order to ensure the better management and the optimal usage of resources and personnel in SAPS.

Commissioner Eloff continued that the transformation must be viewed in the context of South Africa's background and legacy. Prior to 1994, SAPS consisted of eleven agencies that were geared towards maintaining the system of Apartheid. The emphasis had been on reactive policing instead of problem solving. The old SAPS structures and functions were designed to suit the old bureaucracy, which was very conservative in its approach to transformation. He said that barriers to transformation were the magnitude of the task, the lack of clear strategies, no guarantee of success and also the lack of funds.

Commissioner Motle emphasised that the approach required setting a vision for policing and the police. Amongst other things there was a need to design an integrated change plan and to implement a code of conduct. New areas had to be kick-started and the whole process had to be monitored. A strategic plan for the period 2000 - 2001 was implemented with the aim of combating crime. Its focus was on two areas: policing and organisational priorities.

Key transformation initiatives are:
- organisational restructuring
- human rights focus
- human resource management and
- budget and resource management.
The SAPS has also embarked on a service delivery improvement programme, which has a bottom-up approach. The idea is to improve service delivery to communities at local level.

Commissioner Eloff detailed some of the initiatives touched on by Commissioner Motle. After 1994 restructuring included the amalgamation of the eleven agencies into one SAPS. There was a phasing out of 92 districts in favour of the implementation of 43 areas. This was done to place more police at grass roots level. Members were retrained and redeployed. This included the re-organising of specialised units to be moved down to local levels. In the past the SAPS expenditure had been mostly on personnel but at present there is a balance between expenditure on personnel and operations. There has been a redistribution of resources and the Public Finance Management Act has been implemented. The SAPS information system is also being overhauled. For example in the past it took 4-6 weeks for fingerprints to be checked, now it can be done in 48 hours.

Commissioner Singh emphasised that human resources are a priority of the SAPS. It has consequently developed a strategic plan for the period 2000 - 2001. The focus is on optimising the use of personnel, developing and implementing human resource policies (HIV/AIDS, promotion and recruitment), institutionalising performance management, developing and implementing an employee assistance programme, institutionalising a professional service-rendering ethos as well as implementing affirmative action.

Director Siyabi noted that the SAPS was not oblivious to the notion of equity that was sweeping the newly democratic South Africa. The Employment Equity Act has been implemented in order to improve the representativity of blacks, women and the disabled in the SAPS. The effort has been structured in the form of a plan that has been registered with the Department of Labour. All units in the SAPS have to submit business plans for scrutiny detailing their employment equity initiatives. Some of the initiatives in keeping with the idea of employment equity are the elimination of racism and discrimination, improving labour relations, women empowerment policies and national instruction on implementing employment equity. The improvement in representativity has especially gained impetus over the last four years as more blacks have been filling management positions. The SAPS has a special anti-discrimination unit to monitor any discriminatory practices.

Commissioner Lombard stated that transformation had also permeated training of SAPS personnel. A Training Strategic Management Plan had been set up to facilitate the process as great discrepancies existed in the past as to whom were given training opportunities. Training had also taken place in the management of crime statistics so as to obtain more reliable crime statistics and to perform more effective crime prevention planning. Other training initiatives include community policing, crowd management and even victim empowerment as it relates to the Domestic Violence Act. The SAPS has also become more sensitive to human rights issues. In the past they were involved in human right abuses now they are trying to prevent these. Major policy changes had been made on issues such as torture. Programmes have been initiated to train and inform SAPS members on human rights issues. A pilot project has also been initiated on training SAPS members on the issues of xenophobia and racism and the treatment of non-nationals.

Commissioner Eloff concluded that the process of transformation is always going to be ongoing as the SAPS has to keep up with the times. A great deal of effort still lies ahead but the "SAPS ship has been turned and is on due course".

[All the committee members' questions were asked in a block and a single response by SAPS was given and as a result some questions remained unanswered]
Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked the following questions:
- Is the top management in the SAPS still predominantly white?
- Does the training include training on the Constitution and how it affects the police?
- Were there any problems when the eleven agencies were amalgamated?

Commissioner Eloff remarked that the Constitution remains the cornerstone of the SAPS transformation process. They had not really encountered problems with amalgamating the eleven agencies. However it did delay the implementation of the transformation process.

Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) asked:
- Are there any black female commissioners?
- What is being done at grass roots level about crimes against women and children?
- What is being done about the delay in reaction times of the SAPS? In townships people wait up to one hour for the police to arrive.

Commissioner Selebi stated that there are many black female commissioners. He conceded that lots of work has to be done on equity.

Commissioner Motle said that he was one of the highest-ranking officers who is stationed at a police station (Mamelodi). It was his choice to set an example to other officers. He emphasised that the need exists to start picking up policing at local levels. Regardless of difficulties, service delivery must be improved.

Commissioner Selebi noted that the late reaction of police is as a result of the infrastructural legacies that have been left behind by the old order. The SAPS is located far from the actual crime-ridden areas. It is a priority to start placing resources where they are needed.

Adv Gaum (NNP) asked if there are going to be increases in personnel this year and if so what are the numbers of the increases? He also asked if there is going to be an increase in the number of detectives and to what extent are they to be trained. He noted that on the 12 April 2001 a briefing by the Justice Cluster had stated that the moratorium on crime statistics would be removed by June 2001. He asked for a specific date for its removal.

Commissioner Selebi stated that the increase in personnel is largely increases in civilians being taken on by SAPS who could perform administrative work done by functional units. He stated that there is nothing to suggest that there is a change in position on the moratorium on crime statistics. The dates given by the Minister has not been changed.

Adv P Swart (DP) asked:
(i) Why has nothing been said about the shortage of SAPS vehicles? Is the issue resolved?
(ii) What is the current position of the SAPS on discipline and misconduct?
(iii) Have the transformation of the specialised units been finalised?
(iv) How technologically advanced is the SAPS on DNA testing and finger printing? Are we on par with the rest of the world?

(i) Commissioner Eloff pointed out that the SAPS had received additional funding for vehicles.
(ii) Commissioner Selebi stated that they are the only government department who opens up a docket when there is a wrongdoing. Investigations are undertaken irrespective of the rank of the guilty person. For example all thirteen members of the Motor Vehicle Theft Unit were arrested for running a motor vehicle theft ring.
(iii) Commissioner Selebi stated that the reason why specialised units had been disbanded was because they were not being optimally used. There were inequities in the workloads of personnel. In keeping with the aim of optimally using personnel, members of the specialised units were redeployed at police stations where they were needed. He added that these specialised units had been seen as the elite, not because they were predominantly white but because they had unlimited resources to their disposal.
(iv) Commissioner Eloff stated that the new computerised finger printing system would be fully operational in ± 12 months time. He added that he had personally motivated the request for funding for the new DNA system. R26m had been received to get the project off the ground and an implementation plan is in place.

Mr M Booi (ANC) asked:
(i) How much training do policeman at police stations receive?
(ii) What is being done about the spiraling increases in incidents of rape?
(iii) What is being done about cellular phone fraud?

Commissioner Selebi stated that the issue of rape is sensitive and a great deal of discussion needs to be had on the subject. However that what makes the SAPS work more difficult is the fact that 40% of incidents that are reported are withdrawn. He was well aware of cellular phone fraud but that they are looking into the issue.

Ms E Lubidla (Northern Cape, ANC) asked following questions:
(i) She had recently returned from the Eastern Cape and had found the management, training of officers and condition of equipment in police stations totally appalling. What is going to be done about it?
(ii) What is being done to address the problem of case dockets going missing?
(iii) Does training of police take place at provincial level?
(iv) Related to affirmative action, is it both men and women who receive training to handle domestic violence cases?

(i) Commissioner Selebi stated that the Committee and SAPS could discuss ways of addressing the problems in various areas. He pointed out that by way of example that they had to close down a detective branch in Umtata because detectives were not doing their jobs. The problem is that there are too many highly ranked officers and too few constables in SAPS who are willing to get their hands dirty.
(ii) He said that dockets do not get lost, they are stolen and sold. Perpetrators are paid up to R25 000 and the guilty ones are not the police alone.

Mr J Mahlangu (Chairperson of NCOP) asked the following questions:
- He was concerned about the disappearance of children. Is there a syndicate dealing in the illicit trafficking of children?
- Does the SAPS sometimes experience problems with jurisdiction?

Commissioner Selebi assured the Committee that according to their information the disappearance of children have been isolated incidents and is not part of a child trafficking ring.

National Crime Combating Strategy
The presentation by Commissioner Buys was divided into five strategies and each is to run for the period 2000-2003. These are as follows:
(i) High crime areas
Commissioner Buys stated that the aim of the strategy is to stabilise crimes in these areas. He was confident that they had surpassed all expectations by stabilising crime in these areas in under a year ie April 2000 - April 2001. In some areas crime had decreased by up to 20%, in others crime had merely stabilised and in the rest of the areas crime had increased by neglegible amounts. Commissioner Buys stated that factors that were important to their success were the efficient use of their personnel and smooth running of their operations. The issue was one of service delivery versus crime combating. The two are totally seperate from one another and it is difficult to strike a balance between them. Commissioner Buys pointed out that the efforts of the police are made difficult by the fact that crime is spilling over from the high crime areas into surrounding areas, especially in the Gauteng. If their efforts were not to be in vain they would have to start ignoring borders and co-operate with one another. The SAPS has updated their information bases in order to identify perpetrators faster and with more accuracy. They have also prioritised certain police stations for special operations. Sector policing is also being encouraged and Crime Prevention Units (CPU) have been set up. Commissioner Buys emphasised that there is a link between social crime prevention and socio-economic development. It is for this reason that the SAPS have in dark high crime areas installed lights and telephones in order to empower communities.

(ii) Organised Crime
Commissioner Buys stated that the SAPS had its focus on neutralising threats and destabilising organised crime syndicates. The strategy had been predominantly intelligence driven so as to be able to identify the guilty parties behind such syndicates. Intelligence profiles had been updated to facilitate this process. There had also been a restructuring of specialised units the consequence of which was the emergence of Organised Crime Task Teams (OCTT). Linked to the OCTT was the formation of anti corruption units to combat corruption within the SAPS. Intelligence driven border control was put in effect, as organised crime knows no boundaries.
Commissioner Buys emphasised the many successes achieved in oraganised crime by the SAPS.

(iii) Special Operational Concepts
Commissioner Buys pointed out some of the special operations of the SAPS in combating various types of crimes. The SAPS had Operation Slasher to combat gangsterism, Operation Greed for heists and robberies and Operations 1001 Dalmations and Crimbin to address serious and violent crimes. Commissioner Buys seemed proud of the success rates of these special operations. He added that The SAPS have also instituted a Rural Protection Plan to combat crimes in rural areas.

(iv) Crimes Against Women and Children
Commissioner Buys stated that it is an area of immense importance to the SAPS. The focus is more on sensitising SAPS members on how to treat victims of these crimes. The SAPS have already trained 20 000 members and it is hoped that an additional 30 000 members would be trained by the year 2002. They have an integrated preventative strategy working hand with NGO's (Non Government Organisations) to address issues on rape and sexual offences. Special projects have been initiated to train females in self-defence.

For statistical detail on the above strategies please refer to the attached document.

Commissioner Buys concluded by stating that on security related issues they are engaged in an operation to deal with taxi violence as well as putting measures in place for the protection of magistrates and judges as a result of the recent spate of urban terror attacks. He added that a nationally based Rapid Deployment Unit would be put in place so that they can be deployed wherever they may be needed.

[All the committee members' questions were asked in a block and a single response by SAPS was given and as a result some questions remained unanswered]
Mr A Maziya (ANC) asked:
- Why is there only one Child Protection Unit for all of Germiston and surrounding areas?
- How do confiscated weapons find their way back to criminals?
- Why are members of the SAPS allowed to take official vehicles home?
- Why is it when emergency numbers are called, one is referred to other police stations?

Com. Selebi conceded that there is a need to increase the number of Child Protection Units. He said that the only way confiscated firearms are able to find their way back to criminals is if they hold up police stations. He added that the SAPS regularly destroy tons of firearms.

Mr P Zondo (ANC) asked:
- What is the SAPS doing about criminals from overseas? Is the SAPS working with Interpol?
- How many crime syndicates are still operating?
- Is Operation Exodus still in existence?

Adv A Gaum (NNP) asked:
- In the presentation reference had been made to figures on convictions. What are the figures for arrests that have been made? Are there discrepancies in the figures for arrests and convictions?
- Were case dockets opened against the three accused in the plot against the President. Has additional evidence on the case come to light?

Commissioner Buys stated that 2.4 million cases are reported and that 560 000 of them eventually make it to court. He emphasised that of the 560 000 that go to trial 260 000 persons are convicted. He stated that the SAPS have little control over the processes in the criminal justice system.

The Chairperson stated that it was unfair to ask the National Commissioner questions on his investigation of the plot. He ruled that the questions should not be answered. The Minister would at the end of the investigation answer all necessary questions.

Mr Gaum insisted that it should be up to the National Commissioner to decide whether or not he wishes to answer the questions.

The Chair asked Mr Gaum not to test the authority of the Chair and Mr Gaum acknowledged the Chair's ruling.

Adv P Swart (DP) asked:
- R14 billlion had been spent on crime control in South Africa and yet the SAPS had only managed to stabilise it. Adv Swart asked for an explanation.
- Why was no mention made of Operation Crackdown? Was it a failure or a success?
- What is the relationship between SAPS intelligence and the National Intelligence Agency?
- What assurances are there that the activities of the SAPS are within the scope of the law?

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked:
- What is the SAPS's relationship with international law enforcement agencies?
- Why is the Rapid Deployment Unit to be stationed in Pretoria? Why is it not stationed in one of the other provinces?
- How do the SAPS feel about the Vodacom 112 emergency number?

Commissioner Buys stated that it must not be misunderstood that the Unit is to remain in Pretoria at all times. They would always be deployed in other parts of South Africa.

Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) asked what would the Rapid Deployment Unit be doing when they are not deployed in the provinces. He also asked what the time frame is for action to be taken on the issue of emergency numbers.

Ms A Van Wyk (UDM) stated that gangsterism in the Western Cape is very serious. She felt that the issue of urban terror must not be looked at in isolation but must be looked at in the context of gangsterism. Is gangsterism part of organised crime?

Commissioner Selebi stated that successes of the strategy against urban terror should not be played off against other strategies such as that dealing with gangsterism. The strategies are dealt with separately even though they may be connected in certain ways. Gangsterism has always been on their agenda and that they have stemmed the flow of drugs into South Africa. He emphasised that results would only be seen in the long term.

Mr P Mathee (NNP, KZN) asked what is the situation regarding the new Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

The Chair replied that the Ministers of Justice and Safety and Security are dealing with the issue. There are problems.

The Chair asked whether the six months' training for SAPS members is adequate. He felt it totally inadequate. He also asked about the allegations of racism in the Western Cape.

Commissioner Selebi stated that the problem of racism is faced from time to time. He felt it inevitable that isolated cases would crop up now and again. The aim of the SAPS is to be more proactive and to be less reactive.

The meeting was adjourned.
National Crime Combating Strategy (NCCS)

May 2001- Stability
Continue operations
-Intelligence profiles
-Intelligence driven operations
-Prioritisation stations for special operations

May 2001 - Normalisation
-Social Crime Prevention
-14 x Presidential Stations
-Sector Policing 340 stations
CPU's 50 x stations
-CPU training
-Community Involvement
- Air supported Reaction Forces
- 43 x Police Areas / 33 x Aircraft -
Area Intervention Units
- 43 x Police Areas

Stabilisation crime
-Certain stations major decreases crime up to 20%
-Other stations stabilisation and increases

April 2000 to 17 May 2001- STABILITY
- Serious Crime: 198 034
- Other: 339714

Seizures / Recoveries:
Vehicles: 16 643
Firearms: 22 501
- Dagga: 154913 kg
- Mandrax and Ecstacy: 180 355 tablets
- Cell phones, Computers, TV's, Video Machines, Sound Systems,
Household Appliance etc: 1 039211
- Counterfeit money:
R5 797 197

- Operation 1001 Dalmations
20 000 arrests
- Operation Crimbin

Operation Slasher
(Western Cape March 2001 - May 2001)
- Arrests: 1 238
- Seizures, Confiscations:
* Firearms: 85
* Vehicles: 41
* Ammunition: 1 157
* Drugs:
** Dagga: 112kg
** Cocaine: 1.04 kg
** Ecstacy and Mandrax: 10 710
- Role out other Provinces

Operation Greed
(Gauteng, Northern Province, North West, Mpumalanga - January 2001 - March 2001)
- Arrests: 138
-Cooperation Agreement SAPS I BCSA

Rural Protection Plan
(April 2000 to April 2001)
- Arrests on Scene / After Incident: 334
- Analyses RPP:
* Comm of Inv
* Operational measures i.e.
Home and Hearth, Air support, Reservists etc.

OCTA - May 2001
- Intelligence Profiles / Intelligence Approach
- OCTT/ Restructure
Specialised Units
- Border Control (i.e. Intelligence driven)
Cross Border

OCTA - APRIL 2000-APRIL 2001
- Arrests: 3 430
- Seizures, Confiscations R3, 3b

Operation Makhulu
Makhulu I
(South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe -August 2000)
* 224 x vehicles
Makhulu 2
(Swaziland, Mozambique, Lesotho -October 2000)
*275 x vehicles
Makhulu 3
Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia - May / Jun 2001

Operation Rachel VII
(Mozambique May 2001)
* Firearms 1 383
* Ammunition 177 000
* Arms: Morters. Projectiles, Rockets hand grenades, Tank / cannon rounds mines, Mortar tubes, Launchers etc
* Cannabis eradication
(Swaziland - May 2001)
108 hectares value R7.5m

Operation Black Mamba (March 2001)
- Arrests 40
- Seizures
* 45 x vehicles
* Parts / 40 x cases
* 4 x firearms

Operation Sandpad
(September / October 2000)
- Arrests 21
- Seizures
* 85 vehicles
* 23 000 exhibits
* 11 000 spares
* + 1000 vehicles chopped)
Operation King Protea
(May 2001)
- Arrests 44
- Gold involved 2 kg

STRATEGY: Crimes Against Women and Children
Domestic Violence
- 20000 members trained I Add 30 000 trained March 2002
Rape and Sexual Offences
- Integrated Preventative Strategy
Special Projects
Thohoyandou- training females
Temba- Safer schools
Galeshewe- Emang Mmogo (Youth and knives)
Service to Victims
- VEP training
-Community based victim support:
- 72 stations Gauteng
-Mpum. 30X stations by March 2002
- FCS Units (Jan - Dec 2001)
- Number of cases
Convictions: 1 920
Years imprisonment: 12 551
Lifetime sentences: 61
- Seizures (Images of Child Pornography) 25 640

Disaster Management
- Plans refined
- Exercises

Security Hot Spots
- Eastern Cape
- Western Cape

Rapid Deployment Unit
- Pretoria Based

Security Tendencies
Operation Wheels (January - December 2000)
Arrests: 271 (i.e. Western Cape)
- Special Operations be-legal and recap
Operation Lancer (Western Cape)
- Cases before court: 100 Accused in custody: 49
- Accused on bail: 19
Successful prosecutions:
Mansoer Legget: 11 x life improsenment and 73 years
Dawood Osman: 32 x years effective
Ishmail Edwards: 25 x years effective
Protection Operations


No related


No related documents


  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: