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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
12 October 2005
SA POLICE SERVICES; NATIONAL SECRETARIAT FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY ANNUAL REPORTS: BRIEFINGS
Chairperson: Ms MM Sotyu (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Annual report of the South African Police Service 2004/2005 (available at www.saps.gov.za)
Presentation by the National Secretariat for Safety and Security
The South African Police Services (SAPS) briefed the Committee on its 2004/2005 annual report. The SAPS stated that overall the police had made many improvements from the previous year and were making a big effort to further improve in the next fiscal year. Most of their targets had been met and it was felt that the police were doing a good job with the resources they had. The National Secretariat for Safety and Security presented the Committee with its annual report and financial statements for 2004/2005. It was agreed that questions from the Committee on the latter report would be directed to the Minister at a later date.
The National Commissioner of the SAPS, J S Selebi presented the SAPS annual report. The Commissioner stated that this past year the SAPS had increased the recruitment of personnel to enhance their crime prevention strategies. The aim was to have 165 850 personnel by March 2008 and presently they were meeting that target. To date, they had increased personnel numbers to 148 970.
He stated that the capacity of the SAPS had improved and crime levels had been reduced. There had been a reduction in case preparation from 110 days to 71 days. Serious crimes such as sexual offences had been prioritised and several thousand illegal firearms had been destroyed.
The SAPS had also made considerable improvements in border control by the activation of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System which had improved investigative and detective capacity as well as the relationship between crime intelligence and detectives.
The Commissioner stated that disadvantaged areas in South Africa were receiving more funds for crime prevention.
Lastly, the Commissioner indicated that preventing sexual offences had become a big priority. Programmes to address violence against women and children had been prioritised for implementation in the high contact crime police station areas and nodes of the Urban Renewal and Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme.
The Divisional Commissioner: Financial and Administration Services, S Schutte presented the financial statements to the Committee. He stated that all deadlines and guidelines for financial reporting had been met. He reported that all spending objectives had been met and targets had been achieved.
Mr D Bloem (ANC) asked why the number of stolen cars recovered had decreased. He also wanted clarity on the number of cases going to court. He commented that 23% seemed low and asked what they were planning to increase this number. He also asked if the 30-day target had been met.
The Commissioner stated that the decrease meant that police were doing their job. Reductions were not negative, but positive.
Mr R Jankielsohn (DA) wanted to know about accountability for payments to informants by crime intelligence. Had there been an audit of this?
The Commissioner responded that there was an auditing process, but that discussions about that could not take place in this forum due to confidentiality issues.
Mr Jankielsohn also wanted to know about the shortage of personnel specifically in the forensic and criminal records divisions. How were they going to budget for compensation packages and body armour? Female officers were still not equipped with proper vests which was a big problem.
The Divisional Commissioner responded that there was a lack of personnel and that it needed to be addressed, but personnel increases were based on programme needs. He stated that the forensic and criminal record departments required increases. R80 million had been set aside to buy body armour which would work effectively for women.
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) asked if performance contracts with station managers had been signed and expressed concern over management at station level. Were there plans to strengthen the training of station managers?
The Commissioner stated that contracts had not yet been signed. Part of the problem was poor organisation and not enough resources at the stations. Station managers were expected to deal with all matters at the station and were simply overloaded. Three months ago they had instituted a programme to maximize resources and strengthen local structures. Decision-making powers would be given to the local stations so that resources were utilized effectively.
Mr M Booi (ANC) asked what was being done in rural areas to strengthen crime prevention.
The Commissioner responded that there were certain areas that needed more support. The police in these areas, if needed, could call on the "bigger" departments for help. There had been improvements from last year.
The Commissioner stated that many of the questions asked by Members of Parliament were far too in-depth for the police to answer without many months of research by a special task force. They simply did not have the budget for that.
The Committee reviewed the financial statements of the National Secretariat for Safety and Security. It was decided that questions would be put to the Minister at a later date.
The meeting was adjourned.
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