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SAFETY & SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
25 February 1998
THE WESTERN PROVINCE POCOC : OPERATION RECOIL: briefing
Documents handed out:
Briefing of the Standing Committee on Safety and Security with regard to Operation Recoil. 1998-Welcome to the Briefing of the Western Province POCOC : Operation Recoil.
Here follows a summary of the presentation, further details can be found in the documents mentioned above:
Operation RECOIL was launched on the 23 October 1997 mainly to counter the insecurity among the population influenced by media-driven speculation about ‘war’ between gangs and/or Pagad. The concept of Operation RECOIL was premised on the principle of flooding flash-point areas with high-density security deployments by way of mobile visible patrols as well as cordon and search operations in order to flush out criminals in such flash-points areas.
At the advent of Operation RECOIL on the 23 October 1997 more than 1000 members were integrated from the following organisations:
• South African National Defence Force personnel (Local and from other provinces),
• Public Order Policing personnel (Local and from other provinces),
• PAGAD Visible Task Team members,
• Visible Gang Unit members,
• Gang Investigation Unit members; and
• PAGAD Investigation Team members.
The total manpower available at present in the province proactively/reactively deployed in Operation RECOIL is 811.
During the period 23 October 1997 and 31 January 1998 Operation RECOIL resulted in the netted total of 7437 arrests. It is generally considered that Operation RECOIL contributed to the containment of gang-on-gang violence and Pagad-related violence to fewer flashpoint areas than during the pre-RECOIL period.
THE WAY FORWARD
Operation RECOIL was initially expected to be terminated during the month of January 1998 but the violence perpetuated by the groups concerned is expected to continue in the immediate future and further measures need to be introduced in order to make stability in the area more permanent. Consequently Operation RECOIL will have to be extended for some time and additional strategic decisions have been made with the view of normalising the situation in a particular gang-ridden area. These measures, inter alia, include:
• Effective utilization of security forces,
• The expertise of the Visible Police Task Team to be retained and split into two separate units,
• An appointed committee comprising of members of the security forces, the Secretariat for Safety and Security, the departments of Justice, Welfare, and Correctional Services will look into the prevailing situation and devise ways and means to find a lasting solution for peace and security.
The normalising strategy forms part of the broader approach re the NCPS in this Province and will specifically link up the ‘Values and Norms’ and ‘Environmental design’ pillars of the NCPS.
MULTI-AGENCY DELIVERY ACTION MECHANISM [MADAM] FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION AND CO-ORDINATION OF PROVINCIAL CRIME PREVENTION PROJECTS
The NCPS recognises that one of the key challenges for government is the facilitation of local crime priorities in the context of provincial and national management. Unfortunately the NCPS does not provide clear guidelines for how prevention programs can be implemented at local level. Thus it was left to regional government to initiate and implement crime prevention programs and to devise an operational co-ordinating mechanism to facilitate this process.
The Provincial Government of the Western Cape subsequently adopted the multi-agency approach. In order to address the lack of co-operation and co-ordination between and within responsible agencies this structure mobilises civil society and other government departments to form part of the criminal justice system in a pro-active way.
FUNCTIONING OF THE STRUCTURE:
MADAM consists of four components functioning on different levels:
1. Representative Forums (An advisory and consultative component with no executive powers. This form has the potential to utilise and mobilise existing structures in the public and private sectors as well as in civil society.)
2. Co-ordinating Committee (This is a management component made up of senior officials within the criminal justice departments on provincial level, who are responsible for ensuring that the agreed projects are implemented effectively. Accountable to the representative forum)
3. Project Teams ( Sub-components of the above co-ordinating mechanism. Their composition varies from project to project.)
4. Process Management (The process management component still needs to be implemented but it is expected to provide expertise service to all originators of initiatives that serve to combat crime and the causes of crime.)
LEGISLATION TO COMBAT GANGSTERISM
Legal Services formulated as draft the ‘Gangsterism Prevent Act’. The main purpose of the proposed legislation is to discourage people from participating in criminal gang activity and from recruiting others to join criminal gangs. Minister Mafumadi has publicly indicated that he intends approaching Parliament with regards to introducing this legislation on a national level during the current sessions.
The rationalization of Security legislation is presently taking place. The South African Law Commission has a part of the process been instructed to review section 54 of the Internal Security Act, no 74 of 1982. (Section 54 defines and prohibits "terrorism") Amendments to the present Act or new legislation will most probably follow.
The following private sector organisations are being investigated by the Provincial Commissioner:
• ‘Rent-a-cop’ system – ‘Rent-a-Cops’ police Cape Town’s central business district and on the trains in the Cape Peninsula. Funded by local businesses and companies.
• ‘Obs-Watch’ – The Watch consists of 21 members who patrol Observatory's streets by foot and on bicycles. Initiated by businessmen and about 60% of the inhabitants of Observatory.
• Peace and Development Project - Initiated in Nyanga. Funded by the German government.
We believe that with the proven successful concept of operation RECOIL as far as the creation of stability of a certain area is concerned, coupled with the new approach to normalise the situation in that area with the support of MADAM together with the proposed new legislation to address the phenomena of gangsterism, we feel that for the first time in decades we are faced with a situation where jointly we can successfully eradicate the evil of gangsterism, perhaps forever from the Cape Flats.
Some questions were raised in order to clarify certain issues:
1. Are members of the Pagad movement also gangsters who are merely protecting their own drug dealing?
2. What legislation exists or is being initiated to curb unlicensed firearms?
1. One cannot say that members of Pagad are gangsters as many of them are concerned persons within the community. However there have been some instances of persons, whose names cannot be disclosed, who are paying Pagad and therefore none of their houses were attacked.
2. With regards to unlicensed firearms there is a legislation draft which has been at the minister's office where changes have been made regarding stronger measures that should be taken regarding illegal and unlicensed firearms. There is also a draft concept of recommendations regarding stricter measures on gangsterism (Prevention and Criminal Offences) where harsher sentences are to be imposed.
BRIEFING OF THE STANDINGCOMMITTEE ON SAFETY AND
SECURITY WITH REGARD TO OPERATION RECOIL
Operation RECOIL was launched on the 23 October 1997 to counter growing insecurity among the population on the Cape Flats influenced by media-driven speculation about "war" between gangs and/or PAGAD or vice versa. PAGAD attacks for the period January to August 1997 accounted for 111 such incidents, and gang on gang violence for 75 incidents. It is noteworthy that an analysis of both tendencies indicates that both peaked significantly during August 1997 at time when media-driven publicity speculated about gang retaliation against PAGAD was prolific (PAGAD - 42 incidents; gang on gang violence - 24 incidents.
BUILD UP TO OPERATION RECOIL
Prior to the launch of operation RECOIL the Provincial Co-ordinating Committee (POCOC) sought to integrate the efforts of normal visible policing, the intelligence process high density deployments and investigators into PAGAD and gang-related criminality into a co-ordinated operational focus on both tendencies. This POCOC driven effort managed to contain gang on gang violence and PAGAD-related violence to an average of 7.3 and 9.9 attacks per months respectively for the period January to July 1997.
OPERATION RECOIL - CONCEPTUAL DESIGN
The concept of Operation Recoil was premised on the principle of flooding flashpoints areas with high density security deployments by way of mobile visible patrols as well as cordon and search operations in order to flush out criminals in such flashpoints areas. It improved the South African Police Service's ability to synchronize and focus high density deployment in flashpoint areas as determined by weekly crime pattern analyses submitted by crime information managers at SAPS station and area levels, as well as strategic crime tendency analyses by both the Intelligence Co-ordinating structures at CIMC at provincial level. Daily crime information reports also guided operational planning on a day to day basis between weekly JOC meetings.
With the advent of Operation RECOIL on the 23rd of October 1997 this integrated operational capacity expanded to more than 1000 members inclusive of:
• South African National Defence Force personnel (Local and from other provinces)
• Local Public Order Policing personnel.
• Public Order Policing personnel from other provinces.
• PAGAD Visible Task Team members.
• Visible Gang Unit members.
• Gang Investigation Unit members; and
• PAGAD Investigation Team members.
The total manpower available at present in the province proactively/reactively deployed in Operation Recoil is as indicated below:
• Public Order (local): 273
• Public Order (from other provinces): 106
• Visible Policing (West and East Metropole): 100
• Visible Gang Unit: 70
• S A National Defence Force: 220
• Gang Investigation Unit (reactive): 23
• PAGAD Investigation Team (reactive): 19
SUCCESSES - VISIBLE HIGH DENS1TY OPERATIONS
Since the 23rd of October 1997 to the end of January 1998 the visible high density contingent of Operation RECOIL netted a total of 7437 arrests inclusive of the following serious crime categories:
• Murder: 175
• Robbery: 269
• Possession of illegal firearms: 181
• Hijacking of vehicles: 9
• Theft of motor vehicles: 298
• Drug-related offenses: 555
• Housebreaking (Residential and
• Malicious damage to property: 127
• Arson: 11
• Crimes against women and children: 1521
With the unprecedented peaking of gang on gang violence and PAGAD attacks during August 1997 such violence peaked into 24 gang on gang attacks in 15 gang flashpoint areas and 42 PAGAD attacks in 30 PAGAD flashpoint areas during that month alone.
After the launch of Operation RECOIL in October 1997 the number of PAGAD flash-point areas for both November and December 1997 was contained to an average of 8 PAGAD attacks in 4 flashpoint areas for both months. Gang on gang violence also declined to 11 attacks for November 1997 in 9 flashpoint areas from 33 attacks in 11 flashpoint areas. It is therefore evident that Operation RECOIL contributed to the containment of gang on gang violence and PAGAD related violence to fewer flashpoint areas than during the pre-RECOIL period.
THE WAY FORWARD :
Although Operation RECOIL was initially expected to be terminated during the month of January 1998, the existing crime pattern analysis, the entrenched gang culture per se and current intelligence reports pertaining to the above-mentioned groups, however, clearly indicates that violence perpetuated by these groups will continue on the Cape Flats in the immediate future. Although Mannenburg, Elsies River and Belhar are currently being identified as the main flashpoint areas, tensions amongst gangs do exist in some other areas as well. Past experience on the Cape Flats has also proved that gang and Pagad violence is often spontaneous and triggered for various trivial reasons, and so-called flashpoints or hot spots, therefore could shift in a short space of time.
We also are of the opinion that the basic concept of the operation as such to create stability in a area is sound, but it is obvious that we need something else to add value on a more permanent basis to successes in this regard. It was therefore consequently decided that Operation RECOIL will have to be extended for some time and apart from certain effective strategies and operational activities implemented during Operation RECOIL thus far, certain other additional strategic decisions were also taken with a view of not only to stabilise the situation, but eventually effectively normalise the situation in a particular gang-ridden area. These measures, inter alia, include:
The effective utilization of security forces, in the sense that the approach of sector policing will be implemented in those areas affected by criminality associated with the gangs.
The expertise of the Visible Police Task Team (originally referred to as the PAGAD Task Team) to be retained, have been split into 2 separate units, each under the direct command of the Area Heads : Crime Prevention of the East (30 members) and West Metropole (50 members) respectively. Co-ordination of their duties in cross-border operations in the greater Cape Metropolitan Area will, when necessary, be coordinated through the office of the Provincial Head: Crime Prevention and the daily Joint Operational Committees (JOC's). This will increase the Task Team's effectiveness and operational abilities.
After having stabilized the situation in an affected township, a concerted effort will be made to normalise the situation, in the sense that an appointed committee comprising of members of the security forces, the Secretariat for Safety and Security, the departments of Justice, Welfare, Correctional Services et cetera will look into the prevailing situation and devise ways and means to find a lasting solution for peace and security.
This additional strategic approach has subsequently been extensively discussed with the station commissioners in the affected gang-ridden areas on the Cape Flats. As the Secretariat for Safety and Security will have to play a crucial and leading role in such an envisaged normalising committee, the concept was recently explained to them in detail with a view of soliciting their support and understanding.
The concept was discussed in detail with the Director-General of the Western Cape Provincial Administration, Dr Neil Barnard, who is also the chairperson of the Interdepartmental Planning Group of Safety and Security in the province. He has accepted the idea as an important one and will now at the highest level take immediate steps to put the concept into practice. The other departments will have to participate as it is perceived as a joint venture and an integrated process by all relevant departments. It is of utmost importance that such a group be properly mandated and empowered by proper authority in the province. As the normalising process is a fresh concept, it is envisaged that after the security forces have stabilised a certain area or sectors, the appointed normalising committee will initially target a specific precinct as a pilot project as it would be a learning experience. The experiences so gained and lessons learnt could then eventually be put into practice in other affected areas.
The normalising strategy form part of the broader approach re the NCPS in this Province and will specifically link up the "Values and Norms" and "Environmental design" pillars of the NCPS.
MULTI-AGENCY DELIVERY ACTION MECHANISM [MADAM] FOR THE
IMPLEMENTATION AND CO-ORDINATION OF RROVINCIALCRIME
The NCPS recognises that one of the key challenges for government is the facilitation of local crime priorities in the context of provincial and national management. Regrettably, the NCPS does not provide clear guidelines and an appropriate strategy for how prevention programs can be implemented at local level. It was thus left to regional government to initiate and implement innovative crime prevention programs, as well as to come up with an operational co-ordinating mechanism to facilitate this process.
The Provincial Government of the Western Cape subsequently adopted the multi-agency approach as the key to successful local crime prevention and, after wide consultation with all sectors of civil society during the NCPS Summit, which was held in October 1997, established an action driven, quick-response mechanism to fight crime and the causes of crime in the Western Cape.
In seeking to address one of the most frequent obstacles to the successful reduction of crime, namely the lack of co-operation and co-ordination between and within responsible agencies, this structure mobilises civil society and other government departments such as Education, Health and Transport to form part of the criminal justice system in a pro-active way.
FUNCTIONING OF THE STRUCTURE
The structure, also known as MADAM, consists of four components, functioning on different levels:
This direction giving component has the ability to utilise and mobilise existing structures in the public and private sectors as well as in civil society. It is thus representative of all stakeholders and role-players from the political sphere, all levels of government, the NGO and business sectors, academic institutions, labour unions, the religious fraternity as well as youth, sports and civic associations. The forum has no executive powers but is an advisory and consultative body, which is accessible to any legitimate organisation / institution / structure with the will to become involved in the crime prevention process.
The main functions of the forum are to:
- establish and promote partnerships between government and civil society and raise awareness on the crucial importance of a holistic and coherent approach to carry out crime prevention programs;
- facilitate and promote the exchange of knowledge and experience with successful practices in the field of crime prevention;
- establish a permanent facility for interested civilian groups to turn to for advice and assistance on crime prevention matters;
- identify, as an integrated group, specific short, medium and long term crime prevention projects;
- designate government departments to lead specific crime prevention projects;
monitor and evaluate the progress and success of all projects undertaken.
The forum will be convened by the Minister of Community Safety, who will appoint for each meeting an autonomous person, who is acceptable to the community, for purposes of facilitating that meeting.
This management component of the structure has a co-ordinating function. This Management Committee is accountable to the representative forum, and is made up of senior officials within the criminal justice departments on provincial level, who are responsible for ensuring that the agreed projects are implemented effectively and efficiently. This process is facilitated by the Provincial Secretariat for Safety and Security, whilst non-governmental expertise is also brought in to supplement the process.
The Committee comprises the most senior government officials in the Province, such as the Director-General of the Provincial Administration, the Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service, the General Officer Commanding of the SA National Defence Force, the Attorney-General, CEO's of local authorities, the CEO of Business Against Crime in the Western Cape, the Chairperson of the Western Cape Provincial Police Board, and a representative from the NGO sector.
The Committee meets once every month to oversee and co-ordinate departmental crime prevention planning, oversee project implementation, develop performance measurements, synergise departmental contributions and monitor departmental performances and project progress. This includes inter alia
- ensuring an integrated and holistic government approach to crime prevention;
- setting performance standards and holding departments responsible for their achievement;
- developing and implementing frameworks for partnership, and liaising with interested and affected sectors of civil society;
- provide research, advice, information, expertise, capacity and co-ordinated performance indicators to all sectors involved in crime prevention initiatives;
- reviewing, re-strategising and re-allocating responsibilities if and when necessary, and
The Management Committee is also capable of being convened on an ad hoc basis and at short notice to address and remove serious blockages to interdepartmental co-operation and co-ordination and to deal with matters requiring urgent attention.
Provincial Crime Prevention Strategy Project Teams are established as project-based sub-components of the above co-ordinating mechanism. Their composition varies from project to project but usually includes a mixture of departmental officials and representatives / experts from relevant sectors of civil society. Rural communities are also encouraged and assisted to participate in the various projects.
Finally, a process management component still needs to be put in place. The process will provide an expertise service to all originators of initiatives that serve to combat crime and the causes of crime in the province as well as the provincial roll out of projects. This component will also provide for the integration and alignment of projects in order to achieve economics of effort on projects of similar type and to reduce competition for scarce resources. It is envisaged that the process management component will be largely technology driven, initially using IT resources and expertise obtained by collaboration with the business sector.
One of the greatest benefits of the MADAM as a whole is its cost-effectiveness. The structure has already contributed to a significant increase in efficiency by avoiding the duplication of services, using resources more effectively and thereby enhancing effectiveness.
The multi-agency delivery action mechanism can be seen as an important milestone in the first cycle of integrated policy-making and planning by this government and as such, the structure is widely accepted by all role-players. Its functioning will of course be refined and improved on the basis of contributions by all interested and affected sectors of civil society and role-players in government.
LEGISLATION TO COMBAT GANGSTERISM
Towards the end of 1997 we requested our legal component to look at the possibility of introducing legislation in the Western Cape to combat gangsterism. Legal Services formulated as draft "Gangsterism Prevent Act". The draft Act is modified on two American Enactments, namely:
- the California Street Terrorism and Prevention Act pt 1987; and
- the Florida Criminal Street Gang Prevention Act of 1996.
The main purpose of the proposed legislation is to discourage people from participating in criminal gang activity and from recruiting others to join criminal gangs. We believe that the proposed legislation is of national interest and should be introduced on a national level. Minister Mafumadi has already publicly indicated that he intends approaching Parliament in this regard during the current sessions.
The rationalization of Security legislation is presently taking place. The South African Law Commission has a part of the process been instructed to review section 54 of the Internal Security Act, no 74 of 1982. [Section 54 defines and prohibits "terrorism"]. Amendments to the present Act or new legislation will most probably follow. The Commission's investigation will apparently not be finalised within the next few months. As soon as new "Terrorism legislation" becomes available the provisions will be studied and used if possible in the fight against criminal gang activity.
The Provincial Commissioner will investigate the possible introduction of a "Rent-a-cop" system in other areas to combat the increase in property-related crime and to free up more SAPS members for the purpose of Recoil-type operations. A "Rent-a-Cop" system in Cape Town has been in place for more than two years under the auspices of a so-called section-21 company. Certain local business and companies contribute money to a centralised account from which the employees salaries are paid. These "Rent-a-Cops" police Cape Town's central business district and on the trains in the Cape Peninsula. The local system has in practice proved to be a valuable additional agent to ease the South African Police Service's workload as far as crime prevention is concerned. The local businessmen are ardent supporters of the Cape Town "Rent-a-Cop" system as it has over the time proved to be effective.
Other crime prevention agencies that are also in operation in the province are:
- In Observatory in the Woodstock policing area. The so-called "Obs-Watch" -also under the auspices of a section-21 company - was initiated by businessmen and about 60% of the inhabitants of Observatory some time ago. The Watch consists of 21 members who patrol Observatory's streets by foot and on bicycles. According to the Woodstock Station Commissioner the incidents of housebreaking and theft out of motor vehicles has dropped considerably since the Watch members started their duties in the area.
- The other crime prevention project was initiated at Nyanga. This project referred to as the Peace and Development Project is being funded by the German government. The training of 100 persons from the local community began in January 1997. They have their own building from where they operate. They were also issued with their own vehicles and uniform. A significant decline in incidents of crime were recorded after the trained members commenced their duties in the streets of Nyanga. A good working relationship exists between them and members of the local police.
The American Government has donated an amount of R240 000 for the training of about 100 neighbourhood Watch members. The local American Embassy in conjunction with the Western Cape Ant-Crime Forum, the Department of Criminology of UCT and officers of the South African Police Service's In Service Training will serve in a committee to oversee the training, which will commence shortly, and to manage the budget.
The Provincial Commissioner already entered into discussions with businessmen of
Khayelitsha and the Tygerberg area at the Tyger Valley Centre at Bellville regarding
the possibility and/or feasibility of establishing similar "Rent-a-Cop" agencies at
Bellville and Khayelitsha.
We believe that with the proven successful concept of operation Recoil as far as the creation of stability of a certain area is concerned, coupled with the new approach to normalise the situation in that area with the support of the Multi-Agency Delivery Action Mechanism [MADAM] together with the proposed new legislation to address the phenomenon of gangsterism, we feel that for the first time in decades we are faced with a situation where jointly we can successfully eradicate the evil of gangsterism, perhaps forever from the Cape Flats.
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