White Paper on Safety & Security: discussion

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18 August 1998
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


18 August 1998

Documents handed out
Draft White Paper: In Service of Safety 1998 – 2003

Commissioner Eloff of SAPS voiced concerns around the White Paper with regard to control of the the SAPS budget, the Crime Prevention Units and the Community Police Forums (CPF).

Political parties were asked to submit their concerns by 21 August 1998.

Views on the White Paper by the South African Police Service (SAPS)
Commissioner Eloff of SAPS said that SAPS was in agreement with the White Paper. However he noted three aspects for concern, namely:
1 Crime Prevention Unit – he felt that this terminology created a perception that it was an operational unit only. Its name should therefore be changed to Social Crime Prevention Unit. The reason being that it is crime prevention that addresses social issues. He also felt that the Social Crime Prevention Unit must be established and empowered through legislation.
Community Police Forum (CPF)
He sees the CPF as a partnership between the community and police. He is skeptical that strengthening the relationship between Local Government and the Community Police Forum is a good idea (page 28 of White Paper).
Institutional Reforms at National Level – he felt that if the diagram is left as it is, it will not be able to be implemented unless all regulations and legislation are reviewed before implementation.

Other important issues noted:
The determination and allocation of the budget has been moved from the National Commissioner to the Secretary for Safety and Security.
Two separate accounting officers
The need for two budgets
Restructuring the Head of Department into a single department whereby the Commissioner would be the head of SAPS
The problem of putting all the power (money) in the hands of the Secretary and not that of the National Commissioner.
A single amount must be given to the Department and a portion must be given to SAPS
In terms of the distribution and control of the budget, it should be seen as a joint exercise between SAPS and the Department of Safety & Security. SAPS will put forward their needs and will be allocated sufficiently in terms of money. Mr Eloff said that the Secretary of Safety & Security should have control over what was allocated to him in terms of money and the National Commissioner will then in turn have control over what was allocated to him. He did not agree with putting the money completely in the hands of the Secretary.

Questions and comments by committee members:
A committee member commented on the National Institutional Reform Diagram, saying that the diagram (pg 24) should remain as it is in the draft, because that is what is needed in a democratic country. The Secretary performs a specific purpose for civilian control and this control over defence forces has always been a part of the Constitution. The committee member agreed that for implementation, a review of regulations and legislation must take place, however the possibility of two budget votes would make no sense.

Some committee members agreed that the terminology of Crime Prevention Unit must be changed and now include the word "Social" as it may, as in the past, confuse police workers as well as the community. At the operational level crime prevention units are already implemented and this social crime prevention unit might confuse ground levels where these operations are being done.

An issue of concern raised by a committee member was that local government must be a part of the Community Policing Forum venture because soon municipalities will have the function of crime prevention through municipality police.

However feelings were that local government has not yet developed sufficiently for this to happen. Also most of the community involved are working on a voluntary basis whereby they donate time and resources. There is a concern that this support might be lost. In broad Community Policing Forums, communities feel that they are not adequately involved in crime prevention. The importance here is to build trust between the police and communities and ensure that there is an active role for civil society.

In response to the query, will not politics creep into the Community Police Forums if they are so closely linked into government, it was noted that politisation is a part of the Community Police Forums as the heads of CPFs are appointed by the government after all.

A concern was expressed by the drafting committee regarding funding the CPF. The drafting committee was not sure whether it would be a good idea to have a uniform way of funding for a structure such as the CPF. Alternately one could look at a transitional funding method which entails resourcing it in a way that disadvantaged projects are.

A committee member wanted to know what data is available regarding how many CPF centers there are, how they are funded and whether they are successful or not? He was told that a budget team is appointed to investigate such matters.

Further comments by members:
Something has to be done about resources in disadvantaged areas as they are still not taken care of. Government must take responsibility for seeing to the resources of CPFs and not rely on private funding as CPFs are not non-governmental organisations. An account must be taken of what services they are going to provide and how they are going to do this.
There is a lack of goals set in terms of time. It is much too broad. How can one bring this policy down so that people can understand and make it seem as if it is not far-fetched. There is nothing in this document to say how it is going to be communicated to communities yet this is very important.
A detailed implementation strategy is needed where one sets objectives and targets to reduce the number of violent crimes.
Too many police officers are killed – is it possible to increase the penalty so as to ensure that people do not kill police officers by making it a high priority crime?

The chairperson of the Security and Justice Select Committee, Mr M Moosa, requested that all political parties submit proposals on points of concern by Friday 21 August 1998 and consult the PMG website for previous hearings.


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