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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
10 October 2006
DEPARTMENT 2005/06 ANNUAL REPORT: BRIEFINGS BY PARLIAMENTARY RESEARCHERS AND NATIONAL TREASURY
Chairperson: Ms M M Sotyu (ANC)
Documents Handed Out:
Summary and Analysis of the Annual Report of the SAPS for 2005/06- Parliament Research Unit
Annual Report of the Independent Complaints Directorate 2005/2006- Parliament Research Unit: Part1; Part2 and Part 3
Legislative Oversight through Annual Reports- National Treasury: Part1, Part2 and Part3
Presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security- National Treasury: Part1 and Part2
Portfolio Committee Workshop on Safety and Security’s 2005/06 Annual Report: presentation: Part1 and Part2
Portfolio Committee Workshop on the 2005/06 Annual Report: Part1 and Part2
Legislative Oversight through Annual Reports
The Committee received two sets of briefings on the 2005/06 Annual Reports of the South African Police Services and the Independent Complaints Directorate. Presentations were made by the Parliamentary Research Unit and officials from National Treasury.
Members raised concerns about the ineffectiveness of the Directorate and incompetence of its personnel, the ambitious policies and programmes of the Police Services which never materialised and the “cut and paste” approach applied by both departments using previous years’ annual reports to compile the current one. It was agreed that the Department of Safety and Security, the Police Services and the Directorate would appear before the Committee to answers these concerns.
Presentation by National Treasury on Oversight Role of Parliament
Mr Nols du Plessis (National Treasury) presented on the oversight role of Parliament, specifically the role of the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security. Departments are constitutionally required to produce strategic plans setting out performance measures. Departments as a minimum requirement should compile their annual reports. A referral to Section 92 (3) (b) of the Constitution was made, which states: “Members of Cabinet must provide Parliament with full and regular reports concerning matters under their control”. Legal requirements enshrined in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) were also referred to.
The National Treasury utilised the annual reports for planning purposes. Part of the annual report process is to ensure that in future departments improved their performance. It is important for National Treasury to make recommendations in order for the departments to improve and for service delivery to improve. The focus is on how the entity can deliver services better in future. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) is responsible for corporate governance of departments and public entities. Another duty of SCOPA is to deal with any unauthorised expenditure. The PFMA required departments to fully utilise their financial resources.
It is quite important that at the beginning of the interrogation and evaluation process there is a clear understanding of the oversight role of the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security. Committee researchers play a vital role in assisting Members in evaluation.
The National Treasury noted that departments copied the previous year’s reports and only changed numbers, hence technical focus and oversight of entities’ performance was very important.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Du Plessis for his presentation and acknowledged the improvement in the report from the previous one.
Mr M S Booi (ANC) asked if tabling of annual reports are covered by the Rules of Parliament.
Mr du Plessis answered that he did not think it was currently part of the Rules.
Mr S B Ntuli (ANC) asked whether Safety and Security’s annual report has been tabled.
The Chairperson said that Mr Ntuli spent much of his time on the Portfolio Committee on Defence and he was therefore not aware that the report has been tabled. It was tabled late and the Committee needed time to scrutinise it before the Department appeared before it.
Mr V B Ndlovu (IFP) asked whether there are examples of Parliament finding that the Executive had not performed their duties satisfactorily.
Mr du Plessis was not aware of any such examples.
Reverend K R J Meshoe (ACDP) asked for an explanation of “excessive expenditure”.
Mr du Plessis said that “excessive expenditure” is a terminological issue and to link it to a specific amount would be difficult.
Presentation by Parliamentary Researcher on a Summary and Analysis of the Annual Report of the SA Police Services (SAPS) for 2005/06
Ms N Dollie’s presentation was intended to assist the Committee in its oversight over the Annual Report and Financial Statements of the SAPS for 2005/06. The presentation identified key technical problems with the Annual Report. There were some errors in the SAPS report which should have been rectified during the quality control process. The table on page 27 outlining the targets for visible policing was used to illustrate some errors in the report. The Report did not indicate whether the targets have been met or not and the targets mentioned are only those mentioned in relation to national expenditure. The presentation described the extent to which the Department’s activities for 2005/06 were aligned to governmental priorities, specifically those outlined in the 2005 State of the Nation Address.
The presentation further summarised and analysed the extent to which the Department achieved its targets set for 2005/06 per programme and identified some concerns and questions around the performance of the Department for 2005/06. Charges and murder rates for crime and murder were not correlating in the Report. The SAPS were still struggling to meet gender equity targets. Concerns were raised with regard to the Visible Policing targets and it was noted that there is a tendency in the SAPS to use visible policing as a catch-all for other projects. Funds during the financial year were diverted from the Visible Policing Account to other projects. Although 108 victim friendly facilities were established and members of the SAPS trained in Victim Empowerment, there were concerns about the ‘claimed’ initiatives. Many police stations cannot implement sector policing and to some extent the lack of capacity and resources were the main reasons. A concern was raised about crime statistics and their credibility. The Criminal Record Centre and Forensic Laboratories programmes also showed problems.
The presentation dealt with the report of the Auditor General for 2005/06 which focuses on the financial performance of the department. The SAPS received an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor General for 2005/06. The budget of the SAPS has increased substantially over the last few years and is set to increase further over the next Medium-term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
Mr L N Diale (ANC) said that the SAPS had not made any impact in his constituency area. Projects that were supposed to have been launched had not and he complained about poor service delivery.
The Chairperson stopped Members from asking questions and said all questions would have to be directed to the SAPS. It was the Committee’s duty to question and scrutinise the SAPS.
Presentation by Parliamentary Researcher on the Annual Report of the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) 2005/06
Ms C Silkstone’s presentation unpacked the legislative mandate of the ICD. It further provided an overview of the 2005/06 financial year. The issue of human resources capacity was raised several times as being problematic. It was questioned whether the ICD had sufficient human resource capacity to undertake investigations while still being able to maintain its monitoring capacity. If this were not the case, the Committee would have to ask what the ICD intended doing to combat this problem. Lack of capacity is an issue which affects services rendered to rural areas. The ICD does not report on its case backlog, it only reports on cases it receives. There is still a problem of case referral to other units within the ICD.
The ICD had spent a large amount on consultants and it needed to provide more details. There is a vacancy rate of 13.7% in the ICD. Higher vacancy and turnover rates are generally assumed to impede the organisation’s capacity to fulfil its mandate. Allegations were made against ICD in respect of travelling and subsistence expenditure, as well as recruitment. The allegations were tabled with the Public Service Commission (PSC) for investigation on 19 November 2004. The PSC Report had not been released at the time of the Audit Report. The ICD was too ambitious and was struggling to meet its ambitious goals.
Ms X C Makasi (ANC) agreed that the ICD policies are ambitious and are not being carried out. None of the ICD`s four programmes were implemented fully. The Committee could not see any progress.
The Chairperson stressed that Members must direct their questions at the SAPS and ICD when they appear before the Committee.
The Chairperson afforded two National Treasury officials dealing with the Department of Safety and Security to make presentations on the SAPS and the ICD. In the interests of time, no questions were allowed.
Presentation by Ms Nonceba Mashalaba: Overview of the Department of Safety and Security: Expenditure Trends and Analysis
Ms Mashalaba acknowledged the fact that her report and the report by the Parliamentary Research Unit were very similar. Annual reports measure or track both financial and non-financial performance against targets. The quality of the Annual Report of the Department of Safety and Security was “an embarrassment”. Percentages for deviation from target on collection of revenue are incorrect. There is a practice of copy and paste from 2004 till now and this shows how bad the quality of the reports is. Non-financial performance is critical to the success of public sector institutions as this is where the service delivery of the department is of relevance. The SAPS spent its entire budget almost every year. Each year funds are transferred from visible policing to other programmes and that raises concerns. In 2005/06, the SAPS total expenditure was 100%. Visible policing was the lowest spending programme with 96%. In the 2005/06 financial year, R533 million was shifted from visible policing to other programmes. Lowest spending items were building and other fixed structures and machinery and equipment at 17.7%. The petrol cost for the SAPS per annum is R1 billion. Inadequate monitoring and control of vehicles after hours resulted in excessive use of petrol and non-responses to emergencies. The number of firearms lost has tripled, with 2 297 firearms lost, stolen or robbed from personnel. Although the audit opinion is unqualified, it is important for SAPS to address the issues raised as emphasis of matter, including those that have been raised in previous reports. Committees should pay attention to these matters and explore remedial steps with the Minister and Auditor General.
Presentation by Ms Stephnie Peterson: Overview of ICD expenditure trends and analysis
There has been an overspending in goods and services in financial year 2005/06. There is still no improvement in vacancy fulfilment. Under spending has also been reported in certain areas. The reason for under spending was mainly due to the large number of vacancies. Savings were used to fund the relocation of staff to the National Office and installation of an IT link. It was acknowledged that unutilised money used to fund other projects has been a trend. It was noticed that most of the ICD investigators went back to the SAPS due to wage increase for the SAPS staff. The ICD received unqualified audit opinions in 2003/04 and 2004/05 and a disclaimer of opinion in 2005/06, due to the following: Suspense accounts were not cleared on a monthly basis, delegations in use are outdated, insufficient control and management over staff debtors, incorrect disclosure of receivables and lastly, insufficient control over leave benefits. The following problems in the ICD Annual Report 2005/06 were also highlighted: non-compliance with laws and regulations, insufficient segregation of duties, lack of management, monitoring and review of the human resource plan. The ICD should indicate what action plans / corrective measures are in place.
Concluding remarks by Chairperson
In her concluding remarks, the Chairperson thanked the National Treasury and the Parliamentary Research Unit for their presentations. She noted some contradictions between their inputs and the annual reports and argued that this required the Minister of Safety and Security, the SAPS and the ICD to appear before the Committee. Members were requested to study the relevant documents in preparation.
The meeting was adjourned.
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