Draft Safety And Safety White Paper: hearings

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04 August 1998
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


4 August 1998

Documents handed out
Comments on the draft Safety and Security White Paper were submitted by:
Eastern Cape Provincial Hearing Report
Free State Provincial Hearing Report
Western Cape Provincial Hearing Report
Northern Cape Provincial Hearing Report
North West Provincial Hearing Report
Gauteng Provincial Hearing Report
Mpumalanga Provincial Hearing Report
Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Hearing Report
Northern Province Provincial Hearing Report

The object of the meeting was to listen to the summary of submissions presented at provincial hearings by relevant provincial organisations and community-based organisations on the draft White Paper on Safety and Security.

Presentation from the Northern Province
Public hearings in this province took place in July and were a success. The province welcomes the white paper. Funds must be made available for the correct implementation of this white paper. The province raised some issues which need to be attended to:
- anti-corruption initiatives
- visibility of police: the problem here was a lack of police vehicles and the remoteness of the area.
- the role of the Bill of Rights in the police service: perception by police that it ties their hands.
- harassment of crime victims by defence lawyers especially if the victim‘s knowledge of law is limited.
- parole: victims not involved in the process of parole decisions.
- resources for social policing needs to be addressed
- question of representativity not sufficiently addressed
- municipal policing: dependent on whether particular municipal has enough funds
- private security: the draft white paper is silent on this, however private security companies are mushrooming and their role is not clearly defined.

Northern Province accepts the notion of accountability as well as the separation of powers between Provincial Commissioner, MEC and Secretariat.

Questions by committee members:
Clarity was requested on resources for visible policing and social crime prevention.
The response was that the location of the present police stations was not based on community needs but on past Apartheid practices. The resources in certain police stations was extremely poor in that they did not have phones, fax or even electricity.

What about crime in the border area?
Response: The possibility is that the province may be used as a transit zone for gun-running, drug smuggling etc.

What effort needs to be made in order to accommodate victims and what does it mean to involve victims when granting parole?
Response: The constitution of the parole board must be relaxed so as to allow victims to participate.

Presentation by the Northern Cape
The Northern Cape held public hearings. Submissions at the public hearings were made by various organisations, government departments, NGOs and CBOs.

Points raised at the Northern Cape held public hearings:
- The Department of Agriculture commented on visible policing as farmers are susceptible to attacks therefore it recommends that there must be high density policing.
- Local government structures recommend that laws should be enforced regarding the ownership of guns.
- The Northern Cape Agricultural Union noted that the implementation of programmes often fails because of lack of funding. The SANDF and farmers have together devised a plan that must be incorporated in the draft white paper. National legislation should be passed to ensure the SANDF has a greater role to play in crime prevention. The agricultural unions should be included as partners in police management by the draft white paper.

Questions could not be asked of the presenter as he was not personally present at the public hearing when the submissions were made.

Presentation by Gauteng province
The only political parties that made submissions at a provincial level were the National Party and the Democratic Party, other parties would make submissions at national level.

The DP focussed mainly on crime prevention. They proposed that the office of CPU be in the State President’s office and not in the Minister’s. They further proposed that there should be a contract between the MEC, premier and the president and should the first two not perform, the president must be empowered to remove him from the office.

The NP proposed that the death penalty be brought back.

POPCRU proposed transformation at management level within the SAPS

Community Police Forums comments: there seems to be no national framework regulating them and they were not clear as to their role. They complained about being left out of the cluster of organisations mentioned in the draft white paper.

Department of Welfare comments: there is no policy on the handling of children in custody who are under the age of 14.

Questions by committee members:
Clarity was sought as to the relationship between the MEC and the provincial police commissioner. The response was that NGOs and CBOs didn’t raise any issue on that.
With regard to co-ordination did the province consider rural policing? Rural communities did not make submissions and therefore it was impossible to comment on their behalf.
Who must co-ordinate Community Police Forum; and on the question of contracts, as they are already in existence, has the status quo been considered? The response was that the was no decision on who must co-ordinate the work of the community police forum. There was no view on the question of contracts.
From the hearings is there any feeling that the draft white paper is going to achieve its purpose? It depends on the availability of resources; at the hearings people did not actually deal with the white paper but spoke about their general concerns.

Western Cape province presentation
The police force has embarked successfully on transformation. Suggestions as regards the draft White paper were:
Magisterial boundaries, policing precincts and municipal boundaries need to be co-ordinated geographically.
Crime investigation dealing with violence against women needs to be re-engineered.
The moratorium on recruitment should be scrapped for the purposes of visible policing and to substitute for the uniformed police who are earmarked for transfer to the detective branch.

The draft white paper is silent on the future roles of the national and provincial secretariat. The establishment of municipal police has its own complexities as no additional income will be granted instead it means a great expenditure.

Eastern Cape province presentation
The following issues were raised at the provincial hearings:
The community police forums should remain independent from local government.
Municipal boundaries have to match magisterial boundaries with regard to municipal policing.
The white paper should outline community police strategies in rural areas to include traditional leaders and tribal authority.
The provincial secretariat feels that white paper does not clearly state their role .
The House of Traditional Leaders are concerned about visible policing in rural areas and recommend foot patrols.
Community police forums should be enhanced and given more powers.
Victim support: increased use of women officers in rape cases; victims should be given opportunity to object to granting of bail at bail hearings.

What was the motivation for community police forum’s chairs not to serve on the crime prevention forums at local government? Response : This suggestion comes from the community policing board and it was not for us to pass judgment on it.
Is there no means other than foot patrols to heighten police visibility?
Response: These are inaccessible areas and therefore foot patrols should be encouraged.

The meeting was adjourned.


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