Secretariat for Safety and Security and Independent Complaint Directorate 2006 Annual Reports: briefings

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25 October 2006
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

25 October 2006

Ms M Sotyu (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Secretariat for Safety and Security Presentation
Annual Report for Secretariat for Safety and Security 2005/06: Part1 & Part2
Independent Complaints Directorate Presentation

The Secretariat for Safety and Security and the Independent Complaints Directorate briefed the committee on their 2006 annual reports. Members were particularly concerned with budgetary issues because the Secretariat underspent a considerable part of their budget and the seeming confusion about the Secretariat’s mandate. The Directorate faced a number of challenges mostly related to understaffing. Members were particularly concerned with the fact that the same issues raised at previous meetings were again raised in this meeting and the committee expressed dissatisfaction with progress made by the Directorate.

Secretariat for Safety and Security Presentation
Mr T Mathe (Head of the Secretariat) highlighted that his presentation would focus on general information; report on programme performance, financial statements and human resource management. The aspects of democratisation, demilitarisation and transformation were seen as central to the governance of the South African Police Services (SAPS).

The Secretariat had a budget of R17 million. The SAPS gave the secretariat R3, 1 million of which it spent R1, 1 million and was left with a balance of R2 million which was tabled under savings. The summary of programmes indicated that the 10 programmes that were introduced to the committee on 5 April 2005 were compressed into 4 budget programmes that would account for efficiency and alignment with the provisions of the Police Act. The four programmes were divided under four headings: programme one which deals with administration, programme two monitoring and evaluation deals with service delivery of SAPS, programme three legal services that deals with claims, and programme 4 policy, research and development deals with policies with regard to community safety forums.

The key policy developments for 2005 to 2006 was the strategy review and business planning on which the Secretariat embarked on between 22 and 24 March 2006. The White Paper on Safety and Security should be critiqued in the light of the changing conditions of the department. It served as a policy guide for the Department of Safety and Security and has not been implemented in its totality. The White Paper was partially implemented to some extent with regard to operational issues such as crime prevention, visible policing and victim support. The legislative review aspect was concerned with the amendment of the Police Act because it preceded the Constitution and changes need to make with regard to the Metro police and the Scorpions. In terms of service delivery there were leadership changes in which the Minister of Safety and Security was involved in. The Secretariat for Safety and Security experienced capacity constraints that were mainly due to the management structure. Mr Mathe concluded that the Secretariat faced many challenges.

Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) Presentation
Mr Xinwa (Executive Director) briefed the committee on the challenges and as well as the successes that the ICD had experienced in 2006. A considerable amount of progress has taken place in the organisation.

Mr G Valoyi (ICD Programme Manager) dealt with the programme of the ICD that focused on administration. The following aspects were highlighted. The growth of personnel numbers in ICD was reported to be very slow. The growth that has taken place amounted to 43% which is not even halfway with regard to an appropriate structure. The ICD is facing challenges with regard to their staffing component. The majority of the provinces were not doing well in terms of personnel. The ICD is continuously losing personnel to other government departments. The lack of growth was a possible explanation for losing staff.

Mr T Tshabalala (Chief Director: ICD Investigations) dealt with the revised strategic objectives of the ICD. The investigations programme has made some progress with regard to the finalisation of cases. There has also been a considerable amount of development in this particular programme.

The Chair said that she understood that it is a challenge for a person to deliver so quickly taken from the fact that Mr Mathe has been in this position for less than a year. Most importantly there are still many challenges. After listening to the presentation there was a need for calling back the department to come and account for problems; specifically on programme one. There is also a need to revisit the budget of SAPS because the budget that was allocated to the Secretariat was R17 million. Of this R17 million only R3, 1 million was given to the Secretariat and therefore SAPS should account for the remaining R14 million. Concerns were also raised regarding the budget and how it was spent by the Secretariat because if they could not manage to spend R3, 1 million should there be a reduction in their budget for 2007. Most importantly SAPS has to be called back as early as next week to come and account for the remaining amount of money that was not given to the Secretariat. It was also mentioned that the National Treasury should clarify some of these issues regarding the budget of the Secretariat and SAPS.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) found the condition of financial reports extraordinary and totally unacceptable as well as the behaviour of SAPS that is a breach of the Public Finance Management Act (PMFA). Concerns were raised about the inability of the Secretariat to spend their budget. Their key objective was to advise the Minister. Yet, there is a distinct impression that the Secretariat is taking on the work that is supposed to be done by the ICD and that they are trampling on ICD turfs. Where is the line drawn with regard to the latter? There was mention of investigating complaints by the Secretariat: how was this done? Does the Secretariat actually go to police stations to see what is going on or what? There is also a need for figures and details regarding this aspect. The secretariat also seems to be dealing with labour relations and civil claims which is not part of their key objectives. It seems very unclear as to what it is that the secretariat is supposed to be doing. This needs to be clarified.

Mr M Menziwa (Secretariat Chief Director: Policy and Research) responded to the issues surrounding the mandate of the Secretariat. It was not only the advice aspect that the secretariat needs to be involved with but also other elements.

Mr S Mahote (ANC) enquired why less than 50% of the budget was spent. Secondly the Secretariat mentioned that they had workshops in different provinces. The question that derives out of this is whether they train and inform people of the functions of the Secretariat separate from the ICD. It was also asked how they interact with people particularly with regard to complaints and he said that they should not be dealing with issues that are the responsibility of the ICD. During the workshops was it made clear as to what their functions were compared to the ICD? Thirdly with regard to human resource management it was mentioned that no job evaluations were done: if none had been done then how is performance measured?

Mr Menziwa said the secretariat acknowledged it had underspent. In terms of the staff constraints that were experienced it made it difficult to deliver on what was expected from them.

Mr M Mogatuse (Secretariat Chief Director: Monitoring and Evaluation) responded that there has been engagement with the ICD to try and unravel the jurisdictional issue. The secretariat deals mainly with policy implementation by SAPS and found that complaints were based on lack of adherence to policy by SAPS. These complaints were also based on poor service delivery by SAPS where people complained directly to the secretariat. When a person complained directly to the secretariat, they had to follow up and assist in coming up with some kind of intervention to resolve the matter. The secretariat had no powers to investigate as these powers were vested in ICD. The Secretariat does send out people to find out the key concern of the complaints and try to resolve the matter to the best of their ability. In some instances they give these complaints to provincial counterparts to ask for assistance. In most instances they encourage complainants to deal with complaints at ground level before the matter is brought before the secretariat.

Mr Mahote asked a question with regard to monitoring and evaluation and the target of 90% with regard to community policing. Concerns was raised that this target is a very high target for an issue such as community policing. The first aspect of concern was the issue of legal services and the claims. The second aspect that was raised as a concern was in regard to the issue of savings and understanding of their mandate.

Mr Mogatuse responded that the workshops were conducted in the provinces and that it was not a civil complaints management workshop. Community Policing Forum (CPF) reports were presented to portfolio committee in February and a copy of this is available.

Mr Menziwa said that the secretariat attended the workshops to see whether SAPS has done their work.

Ms T Lupuwane (Chief Director: Legal Services) responded to the question regarding civil claims. The civil claims and litigation related to this is dealt with by SAPS legal services. There was a stage where there was a high level of dissatisfaction on the part of the Minister with the way legal services was handling civil claims in the sense that legal services and the state attorneys were settling matters that should have been defended and they were defending matters that should have been settled. The Minister decided that the civil claims should come to him so that the secretariat could advise him whether to settle these claims or not. This is how the secretariat came to be dealing with civil claims.

Mr L Diale (ANC) raised a question with regard to professionals being employed and whether it is difficult for the Secretariat to find these professionals. Secondly the issue of human resource management was raised with regard to job evaluation and how it affected service delivery.

Mr Menziwa responded to the question regarding job evaluations and said the problem that arises is with regard to the terminology that deals with the mobility of the person. It is not the same as the assessment of performance where one assesses the person in terms of his or her performance. He added that they needed professionals such as laboratory experts.

Mr S Ntuli (ANC) raised concerns that reports were not being audited. Dissatisfaction was expressed with regard to these financial reports. Secondly, he wanted to know what measures were in place to fill vacant posts. Lastly concern was raised with regard to the number of vehicle accidents secretariat personnel were involved in.

Mr Menziwe responded to the issue of audited finances and non-audited finances. Commissioner Schutte gave the secretariat their part of the actual budget which has been audited by the Auditor General. Therefore there was no division because the secretariat only accepted the part that was related to them.

Ms Lupuwana responded the accidents referred to members of the SAPS that were involved in collisions with members of the public. The Secretariat advises the Minister whether to settle or not.

The Chair raised the issue of the mandate of the secretariat. This matter has been dealt with in previous years since 1994 and it was clear that the secretariat was appointed to function under the direction of the cabinet member responsible for safety and security. This means that the duties of the secretariat are determined by the cabinet member and the secretariat should follow the direction that is given by this cabinet member. It was problematic that Parliament voted a budget of R17 million and the secretariat did not manage to even spent 1% of the allocated budget. The Secretariat was supposed to give feedback on the requested R17 million but this unfortunately did not happen.

Mr Mathe said that the financial year under review is 2005/2006. He also stressed when this happened he was not around and only came into the process in October when there was not a single senior manager. At that time the secretariat was virtually not functioning at all. Mr Rasegatle who was the director at that time when these programmes were introduced. When Mr Mathe came into the organisation in October he embarked on a program of restructuring the secretariat because there was virtually no staff. They only started to appoint staff in February 2006 and he apologised for not being able to give the full account to committee members. The R17 million was allocated to the secretariat that was headed by Mr Rasegatle so these programmes were not running and financed because of the previously mentioned difficulties.

Mr Menziwa responded to the question of programmes. The reason for compressing the 10 programmes into 4 programmes was based on the fact that they only delivered on about 2 or 3 programmes. This was done to check the actual performance.

The Chair responded to the CPF report and said that the only time when the secretariat attempted to inform the portfolio committee was when they were at a workshop in Stellenbosch. At that time there was confusion because Mr Mathe was still new and did not know that he was the one to present the CPF reports. During this time there was a lot of confusion and the portfolio committee did not get any information on the CPF report. As a result of this, the report was not accepted.

Ms A van Wyk (ANC), Mr O Monareng (ANC) and Mr Moroti were identified for follow up questions.

Mr Moroti said it was still unclear who performed what functions. There seemed to be a considerable number of contradictions.

Mr Menziwa said the SAPS should be held accountable for that.

Ms van Wyk said that every year the secretariat and the ICD are invited and each and every year the committee is disappointed with the progress of these organisations. The following questions were raised: what arrangements are being made with the National Treasury in terms of their budget, what are the key objectives of the secretariat in terms of the White Paper of which little has been implemented and what is still outstanding in terms of the work of SAPS? The issue surrounding employment and evaluation is not clear. The vacancy rates were not properly calculated and there should be an explanation of these figures.

Mr Menziwa responded that only the operational aspects of the White Paper had been implemented. The structural aspects have not been implemented yet. With regard to the claims being made it was found that SAPS legal services were not doing their work. The secretariat has developed a means to minimize the amount of money paid out for claims. The secretariat came up with two policies on this. The first is by looking at the possibility of the civil liability of SAPS officers with regard to their code of conduct. The second policy is directed at the management of civil claims by legal services. In terms of vacancy rates, they acknowledged use of the incorrect formula and would rectify the problem.

Mr Monareng asked how the secretariat dealt with demilitarisation, democratisation and transformation aspects. How was this dealt with in training? Who determines the curriculum and is the culture of democracy upheld in terms of affirmative action. In general the secretariat is confused about its mandate and its core functions. The secretariat cannot compress the mandate and objectives into 4 programmes. The committee understood the staff was still new but they should not advance the same excuses next year. They should understand the implications of employing people with criminal records in the SAPS. This matter is crucial and therefore should be the subject of a workshop.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked how many cases had been dealt with. She also referred to the training in terms of the oversight and their position in relation to the portfolio committee.

The Chair recommended that the secretariat should not negotiate with the National Treasury. The secretariat is supposed to get their funds from SAPS and not the National Treasury. The Chair wanted to know whether SAPS was aware that the secretariat had under spent.

Mr Menziwa responded that in the past the secretariat received discretionary funds. Commissioner Schutte cannot account for this because he is not involved but he can account for budgetary aspects.

The Chair said that the committee will call back the secretariat but also wants the minister to be present because there are many things that needs to be discussed. Furthermore they also demanded that the secretariat understand its mandate and what is expected from their services. It was suggested that in future they should employ more people.

The Chair opened the floor to discussion on the ICD presentation. She stated that she wanted to inform the committee of the presentation by the Auditor General in parliament on all departments. The Auditor General mentioned that the ICD was the worst of all the smaller government entities. It was discovered that the whole of last year they had to deal with ICD and assist them. The Auditor General also said that the ICD was moving backwards. This was seen as a fruitless attempt.

Mr Moroti mentioned that if there are problems the ICD should tell the committee and how it planned to deal with the problems.

Mr K Khumalo (ANC) suggested that ICD should present all their programmes and that questions be asked later.

The committee agreed to this.

Mr G Valoyi (ICD Programme Manager) apologised for not being clear on this issue and explained to the committee that the 7 remaining posts that were advertised were supposed to be included in the general number of staff.

The Chair said that the committee has been complaining about the big head office. This is not acceptable because the ICD is still employing more people at head office while they should employ more people at provincial level. This was discussed in the last meeting.

Ms Kohler-Barnard referred to the Anti Corruption Command (ACC) who only had two investigators. The ACC is one of the prime focus areas. What are the ICD doing about this area? What steps are ICD taking to retain staff apart from sending them on overseas trips? There was also a concern about the nature of incentives. How are you planning to ensure that ACC is able to deal with its huge workload with virtually no staff?

Mr Valoyi said staff retention is a difficult task. People are being offered high level posts by other departments with better salaries which the ICD cannot provide for them. People are leaving the ICD for greener pastures. If money were available to offer higher salaries, they could be retained. The only way was to keep pestering National Treasury for more funds. At the moment there is only 231 people employed at the ICD, but its staff complement should be 535.

Mr T Tshabalala (ICD Chief Director: Investigations) said that the corruption investigative unit was established to function from head office. When enough investigators have been employed it will be devolved to provincial level. At the moment there are investigators in the various provinces but they are not trained to deal with investigating corruption.

Mr Moroti wanted to find out why the head office is so big. The second aspect was related to the understaffing problems and how the ICD is dealing with this problem in terms of people not being upgraded to higher-level salaries. He also wanted to know how the ICD is improving staff morale because a high number of the people are complaining about stress and anxiety.

Mr Valoyi said that the upgrading of salaries remained a problem. The ICD even went to the National Treasury but no funds were made available to deal with this issue. The ICD is unable to identify those members who are experiencing stress because the survey was anonymous. The enormous workload is one of the reasons for stress and anxiety.

Mr R King (DA) noted that one of the staffing challenges is losing critical staff members to SAPS. Is SAPS the biggest competitor for staff?

Mr Valoyi said the SAPS is not really a competitor to ICD but there are other departments who have established investigative units, meaning that most ICD investigators went there for higher salaries.

Mr M S Moatshe (ANC) said it was problematic that headquarters represented half of the total staff of the ICD.

Mr L Xinwane (Executive Director: ICD) responded to the macro issue concerning the staffing component. He said that any government department has to have a certain amount of posts at the head office as the starting point. There have to be structures like management, finance, human resource management and interventions to control the areas. This phenomenon does not happen in ICD only but is common to other departments. The head office is there to address the needs of the provinces. The main problem with ICD is that government has not fully funded its mandate. ICD cannot employ new people anywhere until they are able to do that in terms of funding. This is the main problem.

Mr Valoyi added that in terms of clarifying the staffing component at the head office there needs to be people who are in charge of various aspects such as IT, management and communication and the main reason for this was because these duties could not be performed at provincial level.

Ms van Wyk asked what interventions were made specifically when it comes to the Western Cape recording the most reported problems with work related issues.

Ms van Wyk was impressed with progress that has been by the ICD. She highlighted the fact that the committee has been telling the ICD to work smarter and not work harder. Some of the things Mr Tshabalala have mentioned is an indication of the ICD at least trying to do that. What was current backlog in investigations and how would it be addressed? The ICD complained about staff shortages, but funds were diverted from personnel to goods and services and she wanted to know why this was done.

Mr Tshabalala said the backlog figures would be presented next week. One of the ways to deal with the backlog was to weed out open cases that should have been closed already. The diversion of funds will also be dealt with next week.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked if any research has been done with regard to investigation into the Domestic Violence Act because this remains a problem. Questions were also raised with regard to Vision 2005 as it seemed ICD had failed in implementing this. There also appeared to be an extraordinary amount of overseas travel considering the problems at home. Will disciplinary steps be taken against the pathologists who lied in the Fort Beaufort incident? Why it is that staff in different provinces has the ability to interpret the policies in different ways?

Mr Tshabalala responded that he would make the Domestic Violence reports available. Vision 2005 was perhaps too ambitious as it included complaints about service delivery that properly belongs with the secretariat. The ICD should concentrate on cases of death in police custody and criminal offences by police officers. With regard to overseas travel, he was the one who was doing the travelling. Funding for this comes from donors and not from the ICD and they should recognise that the ICD operated in a global environment. This is mainly done as a learning process to learn from other countries and to exchange ideas.

The question that deals with forensic pathologist is a challenge and is not unique. Post-ortems and pathology is a specialised field. There are instances where in certain areas there are no pathologists and district surgeons do this work. It was important that findings on deaths in police custody should be credible. It was very costly for the ICD to employ pathologists. On policy, it has been established that simpler policies were required to avoid misinterpretation.

The Chair concluded the meeting reminding members that the ICD would deal with domestic violence on 3 November.

The meeting was adjourned.



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