Briefing by SAPS on Department Budget

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19 February 1999
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

19 February 1999

Documents Handed Out:
Slide Presentation on South African Police Service: MTEF: 1999/2000 to 2001/02

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Safety and Security, Mr Molokone (ANC) has been called away on a foreign diplomatic service to Germany. He left parliament and the ANC determined a new interim committee chair would be named. Mr. Matthee (NP) voiced his disappointment with the opposition. He stated that the ANC in practice should at least discuss with the opposition its plans. The ANC apologized again; citing the urgency to appoint a new chair made such a decision necessary.

The next issue was also raised that the next joint meeting (which would discuss the effectiveness of Operation Good Hope) be closed to the public. The ANC voiced concern over the content of the report if the media was present. Mr. Matthee said that the NP generally opposes closed sessions. However, exceptional circumstances are present, and if the police cannot properly brief the committee with the media, then the meeting should be closed. The NP agreed to the meeting if the following conditions were met. The first was that the relevant MEC’s and commissioners were invited and second that the police themselves tell the parties that the information they would present was so sensitive that it warranted a closed meeting. The NP did not want to set a precedent, and on that basis they would agree.

The interim chair then asked Police Commissioner Bosman to proceed with his presentation on the current budget situation of the police force. Commissioner Bosman stated that this year, they asked for an additional R600, 000 from last years budget and got R200, 000. In the Financial Year 1998/99 they received an additional R438, 502, which was over the total budget allocated. For the Financial Year 1999/2000, the department has a 90 million Rand shortfall, which they believe is manageable. A breakout of the costs for administration, crime prevention, and detective services was shown through the Financial Year 2002; in the end, they balance crime prevention and detective service. In this year’s request, the department had to allocate for certain projects that need funding through the upcoming year. The Finance Department would consider additional funding for these projects throughout the year, but could not give the department additional funds at the present. These activities include policing the upcoming general election and the All-African Games.

Strategic Approach
The Department has outlined the following areas to conquer as part of its strategic planning. They are:
National attrition to reduce employees to 120,000-130,000
Implement a security guard unit which will release police from service and get them on the street
Replace police in administrative jobs with civilians
Increase recruitment measures for the reservist core
Redirect the money saved from decreased personnel to equipment and resources, equaling a 75%:25% ratio

The department is addressing the following areas in order to increase the effectiveness of the SAPS. They include:
Proactive measures to combat absenteeism
Increasing the numbers within the Security Guard Unit
Specifically training detectives

Each of the past years, the department has received an adjustment allocation from the Minister of Finance. As of yet, the department is unaware of what that adjustment will be. It is currently being negotiated. This budget for the Financial Year 1999/2000 represents a 3.6% increase from last year. Commissioner Bosman wanted to also make clear that the reports in the various media were incorrect. There was no decrease in funding; it was an increase, and SAPS is providing the committee with the correct figures. The administrative personnel amount has increased this year due to special projects such as Operation Good Hope, the elections, etc. Other increases have related to addressing the Y2K problem and updating equipment. The Commissioner concluded his presentation and then opened the floor to questions.

Mr. Matthee (NP) asked if it was correct to say the shortfall of the department’s budget was the 90 million plus the 281,843 indicated for special projects not allocated for? The Commissioner corrected him, stating that those projects are covered in the budget; it means that some other programs received less funding. Mr. Matthee then asked what projects/programs were reduced? He also stated that in the memo, which accompanied this year’s budget, that the nominal increase was roughly 5,05%. If inflation is roughly 6%, then there is a decrease in real financial terms. He also questioned whether the department had taken the goals outlined in the White Paper of Safety and Security into consideration and determined the costs. Mr Kahn (CEO of SAPS) said that the first question was difficult to answer, because of the various adjustments. This year’s allocation to the previous, was an increase of 5.8% in line with inflation. Although this amount was amended last year, we can not assume such measures again. Therefore, the safest assumption is that there was no real increase or decrease, once you consider inflation.

Mr. Tshivhase (Northern Province, ANC ) asked where the NCPS provision was in the budget allocation. He also questioned if there was a system that provided for performance measurement against money spent. Mr Kahn replied that the measuring how much bang for the buck is extremely difficult. The department has no special guidelines fundamentally; the priorities outlined in the White Paper (primarily increasing crime prevention and improving detection) are standards the department attempts to follow. Out of the total allocation, the SAPS has seen a tremendous increase in those two areas, and have saved over R400 million in personnel expenditures which was redirected to equipment upgrades. This is the first major step to increasing the quality of service. However, three major flashpoints occurred this year that were not budgeted for. These would include Richmond, the Cape Flats, and Tax Bonds. If flash points could be solved, it would save manpower and financial resources. In regards to the NCPS, it is correct to assume that it is funded within the total budget. Mr Kahn was quick to add that the national crime prevention plan does not only apply to the police department. It spans all levels and areas of government from National to Local organizations, and every portfolio committee needs to ask itself what can they contribute to decreasing crime.

Mr. George (ANC) praised the increased allocation for detective services. He inquired what amounts of resources were being diverted to the reservist core. Mr Kahn replied that when reservists join the core, they are classed into different categories. Once they are fully trained, they are sent in to the private sector and various communities. The SAPS’s responsibility to the reservists is to provide them with firearms and training. It is in the budget; however it is included in the uniform budget and firearms budget; not labeled under a reservist heading.

Mr. Matthee (NP) questioned the SAPS strategy in the Western Cape. He also made a note to the committee that the only two parties represented at the meeting were the NP and ANC, questioning if the other parties had indeed received notice of the meeting. Mr Kahn stated that the principles on crime prevention, if one was to place a monetary value on solving the problem, would cost R3 billion over several years. To solve this in 5 years would mean a 20% increase in the budget, which is impossible. But crime prevention, said Mr. Kahn, is not a matter of pouring financial resources into the police department. It is a process of altering the social consciousness of our nation, which is outlined in the White Paper. The R3 billion figures are estimating what every program highlighted in the White Paper would cost. The physical aspect of crime prevention is addressed in the budget, but solving the crime problem facing the Western Cape and South Africa will take more than increased person power and equipment.

Ms. Tyobeka (Eastern Cape, ANC) inquired about the caliber of the security guards and the role they play in the SAPS. Mr Kahn replied that the security guards are of the highest quality. They are energetic individuals trained by the SAPS. It costs the department between R27, 000 to R40, 000 to train them per year. It takes four weeks to train these individuals whereas a policeman completes his full training in four years. The SAPS currently has 10,000 security guards. The department hopes to increase this number, but currently, this is all the SAPS can afford.

Mr. Rockman (ANC) questioned the quality of service within the SAPS. As a former lieutenant in the force, he questioned what amount was being put aside for quality improvement measures for police in various communities? He also questioned the amount of money that was being directed to transforming the SAPS, the number of civilians currently within the force as well as the number of police. Commissioner Bosman replied that improvements to quality of service are represented in the total amount of the budget. It is the goal of the SAPS to continually improve its relationships to the community at large. Much is currently being done to change the mindset of the SAPS, but it is a slow process. One consolation is that the new recruits to the SAPS are of the highest caliber; they have excelled in all areas and so the SAPS is transforming itself from the bottom up. Top-down, the department is looking at focusing responsibilities, specializing, and area improvements. Transforming the SAPS is an every day priority; it does not fall outside of the overall scope to demand a specific line item. Programs such as cultural awareness and equity component are line-itemized. Of the current 128,000 individuals employed by the SAPS, 28,000 are civilians. The remainder is uniformed police.

Mr. Mathebe (ANC) inquired about redeploying additional forces to necessary areas. He also questioned how the personnel reduction would occur, and how many people would be retrenched. Mr Kahn replied that the strategy to reduce the police services evolved from this committee, which is why tremendous reductions have occurred over the last two years. These personnel reductions occur from the process of natural attrition, no retrenchments occur. The future declines will not be as large as this past year, and the force is not overly concerned. If the nation could decrease the number of flash points, then the number of SAP on the streets would increase, consequently solving the war on crime. Unfortunately, the department needs to invest a tremendous amount of manpower and finances to these areas, decreasing the number of police in other areas.

Mr. George (ANC) stated that the reduction of the police force has been discussed at length. If the committee feels that we need to reverse that policy, then another meeting on that topic should be scheduled for another date.

Mr. Fourie (NP) stated that the fundamental argument between funding hard-core prevention and detection remains. If the SAPS policy is to reduce the number of police only to achieve the 75:25 percent ratio, then it seems a bit silly. Many countries rate per police is higher that South Africa’s. His question focused on whether or not we currently have enough police to prevent crime, respond to the public, and investigate properly and to convict criminals. Mr. Fourie also stated that a year ago, Mr Kahn stated that to do their job effectively, the SAPS would need an additional R2-3 million just for crime prevention, or the SAPS may just as well throw in the towel. Mr. Fourie saw no increases from this government, and stated that he pitied the SAPS.

Mr. Bloem (ANC) asked Mr. Fourie to refrain from scoring political points in front of the audience. He believed this was the best budget presented by the SAPS. He was then cut off by the interim chair, which said Mr. Fourie had a right to stating his questions.

Mr. Radue (Eastern Cape, ANC) questioned why the department had underestimated the financial requirements of detectives in the MTF? He also wondered what the recent American training program for South African detectives would cost in our budget. Mr Kahn stated that detectives are already trained by foreign entities, and that is accounted for in the budget. He was unsure what the agreement last night amounted to in real terms; however he was confident that the department could handle it financially. The department is not underestimating detectives; over the next three years, the budget allocations between crime prevention and detective services equals out.

Mr. Oliphant (ANC) inquired where the line item was for the automated fingerprint information system. Mr Kahn replied that although this is one of the SAPS top priorities, there is currently no funding for such a program. The department is looking for more innovative ways to finance the project outside of operational costs. The negotiations are extremely sensitive, and he has been advised not to comment further on the project.

With that, the Chairperson thanked the SAPS and ended the meeting.


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