Independent Complaints Directorate Budget: briefing

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17 May 2006
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


17 May 2006

Chairperson: Ms M Sotyu (ANC)

Documents handed out:
National Treasury Budget Priorities
Preliminary Goods and Services
Independent Complaints Directorate presentation

National Treasury and the Independent Complaints Directorate met with the Committee to provide information on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for the Directorate. National Treasury provided background information on fund allocation to the ICD and the procedure to allocate additional resources. Detail was provided on current resource allocations within the Directorate and the rate of finalisation of cases. Skilled officials were required to improve operating effectiveness, in particular, suitably qualified investigators. The Directorate’s budget was outlined and provincial expenditure explained. Plans to improve the information management system were explained. Key challenges were conveyed and monitoring and research targets provided.

Members asked various questions including why the Directorate’s budget details were submitted late, levels of expenditure on personnel, effective proposals to address case backlogs, why supervision of investigators was necessary, the need to improve levels of reporting by the police and the need for enhanced management skills.

National Treasury presentation

Mr P Van Schalkwyk (Director-Defence Services) explained the fund allocation process for the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD). Requests for additional allocations to departments and entities had to be considered in line with key government priorities. The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) input from the Independent Complaints Directorate had been delayed. 70% of the ICD budget was currently allocated to personnel expenditure. The rate of finalisation of cases had to improve and the backlog had to be reduced. The ICD processed 2.7 cases per month as opposed to the Public Protector’s rate of 13.7 cases. A retention strategy was required to retain experienced and competent investigators. Information and research had received an increase in budget allocation. Expenditure on goods and services was too high and a reduction could result in additional funds for investigators. The Committee should evaluate performance in relation to performance targets. The increase in complaints had to be understood within the context of the South African Police Services (SAPS).

Ms J Sosibo (ANC) asked whether the ICD’s failure to source additional funds from National Treasury was due to the late submission of the MTEF budget.

Mr Van Schalkwyk responded that only R106 billion was available to all government departments during the past financial year and specific government priorities had to be applied. Additional allocations had to be used for planned purposes and not utilised in other sectors. The MTEF budget was for a three-year period. Sound motivations had to accompany requests. Underperformance should not be blamed on lack of finances but on management inadequacies. A Ministerial Committee made the final decision on requests for additional allocations.

Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) noted that the ICD had diverted funds away from personnel for the past three years and asked why Treasury had continued to allocate funds if a concern existed. Clarity was sought on specific recommendations for management improvement.

Mr R Jankielsohn (DA) noted that the comparison between the ICD and the Public Protector was problematic as different functions were performed. The ICD focused on crime scenes related to police work whereas the Public Protector dealt with corruption and abuse of power.

Mr Van Schalkwyk replied that the ICD was independent from the Treasury but recommendations could be forwarded based on observations and evaluations. Figures provided by Treasury were recent statistics.

Ms Sosibo asked whether additional funds would be allocated to address backlogs.

Mr Van Schalkwyk stated that a request could be forwarded to deal with backlogs and Treasury was aware of the situation. The Committee should seek detail from the ICD on measures to fill vacancies. Backlogs had to be identified and addressed. National Treasury sends the ICD reports identifying weaknesses and proposing recommendations.

Independent Complaints Directorate presentation
Ms E Verster (Chief Financial Officer) provided detail on expenditure for 2005/6 and explained the proposed MTEF budget. Provincial expenditure was elucidated. Detail was presented on preliminary expenditure on goods and services. An increase in Travel and Subsistence expenditure had been recorded. The forthcoming Annual Report would provide exact detail on the nature of expenditure.

Rev Meshoe sought reasons for the dramatic increase in travel expenditure. Clarity was requested on the use of consultants and contractors. The case finalisation rate of 28% was problematic given the high allocation in the budget to salaries. He asked how the finalisation rate could be improved.

Ms Verster stated that consultants had been used in the finance section to assist with the transformation of the accounting system and further detail could be provided. Contractors such as cleaners and security had been employed. The majority of increased travel expenditure was due to investigations in the provinces.

Mr S Mabona (ICD) declared that the ICD required a large budget due to its service orientation. The case finalisation rate had to improve but original targets had been unrealistic. A competent management team was needed to monitor the work rate of investigators and provide supervision.

Rev Meshoe asked whether investigators were performing poorly and why supervision was needed.

Mr Mabona stated that enhanced supervision was necessary to improve the level of investigations. The workload of assistant managers tended to compromise their supervision duties. Supervisors were needed to check the quality of cases.

The Chairperson noted a different version of events between National Treasury and the ICD on certain issues.

Mr Mabona stated that four Directors would be appointed soon and two senior investigators had been appointed in the Western Cape.

Mr Jankielsohn asked why input on the MTEF budget was delivered at the last minute. He asked what the national office budget increase would be spent on and sought clarity on the attendance fee expenditure.

Ms Sosibo asked what the finalisation of cases target was and whether the R 31 million additional request was for the establishment of 24 satellite offices.

Ms Verster responded that R7 million would be redirected to the Department of Public Works to arrange accommodation. The late submission of MTEF details was due to the resignation of the Deputy Director responsible for the budget. Attendance fees were used for short training courses and workshops.

Mr Mabona stated that cases that could not be finalised within the first six months of the financial year would be incorporated into the following year. 44% of misconduct cases had been finalised. 63% of priority cases were finalised. The finalisation rate per province would be provided in due course.

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked how 24 satellite offices could be opened if requested funding had to be allocated to other commitments.

Mr Mabona replied that satellite offices would not be opened at this stage due to inadequate funds. Additional funding was needed to open the offices. R4 million had been provided to fund the appointment of 24 investigators and four provincial directors. Satellite offices were needed to improve accessibility by communities.

Mr Ndlovu asked where the additional R4 million was being sourced from.

Mr Jankielsohn stated that more detail was required on the additional costs needed to render proposed changes to the operating structure.

Ms Verster responded that the establishment of satellite offices and the acquisition of additional vehicles would consume the majority of additional financial resources but costs would reduce over time as infrastructure was set up.

Mr M Dlamini (Senior Manager: Information Management System) provided information on the programme objectives and plans to enhance information technology. Monitoring and research targets were outlined. An investigation was underway into reasons for the backlog in case finalisation. Detail on deaths during police operations was provided. Key challenges were explained.

Mr Jankielsohn noted the high number of shooting deaths in the Free State and asked whether more resources could be provided for rural areas to improve reporting levels.

Mr S Mahote (ANC) suggested that an improvement in reporting could result in a higher backlog of cases that would appear counterproductive. Skilled individuals had to be appointed to management positions to improve efficacy.

Mr Ndlovu sought clarity on the purported need for improved reporting by both the SAPS and the various municipal police services.

Mr Dlamini stated that police in rural areas tended to ignore complaints or fail to report cases and such practices needed to be discouraged. Resources should increase proportionally with increased reporting to deal with the additional workload. The additional 24 investigators would assist with the increased case load and strive to reduce the backlog. The SAPS should inform the ICD of any contraventions of rules and regulations and Area Commissioners had been approached to improve reporting.

The meeting was adjourned.


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