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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
1 November 2006
RESTRUCTURING OF INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS DIRECTORATE & SECRETARIAT FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY: MINISTER’S BRIEFING; SAPS ANNUAL REPORT PROGRAMME 1: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Ms M Sotyu (ANC)
Documents Handed Out:
SAPS Annual Report 2005/2006 Human Resource Management
Programme Performance: Programme 1: Administration
Secretariat for Safety And Security Annual Report and Financial Statements: Part of Vote 24
The Committee was briefed by the Minister of Safety and Security on restructuring of the Independent Complaints Directorate and the Secretariat for Safety and Security. The progress that has been made thus far with the restructuring process and the challenges were highlighted. The Committee voiced its satisfaction with the progress that has been made in the Directorate.
The SA Police Services briefed the Committee on its 2006 Annual Report and in particular the Administration programme. A number of concerns were raised about the SAPS’ operations and its under utilisation of its voted budget for financial year 2005/06.
Briefing by the Minister on Restructuring of the Secretariat for Safety and Security
The Minister started with the Secretariat before he continued with the restructuring of the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD). A brief overview of the Secretariat and its functions was provided. The components of the Secretariat at the National Level were identified and explained. It was acknowledged that the restructuring process was not as easy as it was envisaged at the beginning. One of the challenges facing the Secretariat is that, in some provinces, the Heads of Department [HODs] are also acting as members of the Secretariat, amounting to a huge workload. The Minister said that what the Secretariat was doing at national level had to be replicated at the provincial level. The Secretariat is the structure that needs to be in existence because it plays a vital role in Safety and Security and in monitoring. The importance of the Secretariat to have its own budget and funding was emphasized. The Minister said that the department would report back to the committee about its recommendations.
The Chair said that the National Secretariat must play a central part. The Chairperson raised some concerns about the inability of the Secretariat to utilize the R3 million allocated to it. The committee voted for the Secretariat to be given R17million; National Treasury gave only R3 million, but only half of that was spent. The committee agreed that the Secretariat should have its own funding, but the remained unconvinced at this point.
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) said the committee would support the Secretariat in its effort to have its own budget as it is the case with the ICD.
Mr V B Ndlovu (IFP) asked whether it is viable to have one head of department.
The Minister said things would be much easier if the Secretariat at provincial level would replicate the National Level. The issue of Members of Executive Councils (MECs) dealing with various issues at the same time is problematic and having one head of department is not viable.
Ms J E Sosibo (ANC) asked whether the number of organizational components is the same at provincial and national level.
The Minister said the components at provincial level are not the same as those at national level. That needs to be addressed by a form of replication.
Briefing by the Minister on Restructuring of the ICD
The Minister said the ICD deals with police misconduct and corruption. The Department is dealing with superfluous debts in the ICD. In many instances these debts are due to the department’s losing court cases. These debts are also due to claims for deaths in police custody. The range of these deaths were outlined and they included people who died in police cells due to natural causes or suicide, people who die when resisting arrest or when police are acting in self-defence. The department wants to deal with corruption and the debts. The department is trying to find people who will boost the ICD and the restructuring process. The provinces with major problems were Gauteng, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape. In Gauteng there is no problem with long distances unlike in other provinces like the Northern Cape. The ICD has 70 investigators and the department is currently appointing 25 more to address the problems of personnel shortages and inaccessibility. These investigators are to be placed in the regions to address the issue of long distances to the ICD centres which are mostly in urban areas. The department is currently doing a feasibility study and satellite offices would be established so people can stop relying on provincial offices only. The office of the Minister is in the process of appointing a new permanent Director General for the ICD.
The Chairperson said that proposals were sent to the office of the Minister to assist with the restructuring of the ICD. The Committee is hoping that the Minister is going to consider those proposals. The committee is not convinced that the ICD is “bigheaded”. The report from the Auditor General revealed that ICD is in a mess and that has brought embarrassment to the committee and Chairperson.
Mr Ndlovu commented that reports of poor police morale have had a damning effect. The investigators must not to be based at head offices; they need to be placed at satellite centres because this is where the challenges and problems are.
Mr L N Diale (ANC) welcomed and appreciated the report on the restructuring of ICD. He had personally suffered from delays when his constituency office was burgled.
Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) asked whether there are any guidelines for office allocation because some urban offices are inaccessible. He asked the Minister whether there are any plans to simplify the reporting of deaths in police custody.
Ms Van Wyk said that the ICD and Secretariat are excellent tools to ensure good policing. She asked the Minister whether he is investigation better co-ordination between these two bodies. She also wanted an explanation of the problem of the ICD losing some of its investigators to the South African Police Services (SAPS).
The Minister said that the communication section on the department is supposed to advise him on how to deal with the communication. However, there is no consistent structure to deal with media. As evident in the recent Imbizos, many people do not know about the ICD and they do not know how to report complaints. Both structures [ICD and Secretariat] are supposed to be working together because joint interventions help in the formulation of policies. The department is looking at a number of best practices around the world such as international standards on oversight. It is demoralizing when investigations are incomplete and overdue. The department is trying to place the investigators in the regions so it can address the traveling problems. The Department will meet with ICD and do a postmortem analysis and try to address the identified problems. The department has discussed the matter of deaths in detention with the ICD and deaths as a result of direct police action. There is a need to come up with a clear and broad definition of each death category to solve the problem of putting different types of death under one category.
There were no guidelines for the location of offices but they should be in accessible areas. Referring to the debts, he said that SAPS are the biggest loser in litigation. Lawyers have been appointed to deal with the issue of litigation and at the same time to look at the loopholes in the law. The ICD is losing staff to the SAPS due to tremendous changes that have been taking place in the police.
The Chair said it was human nature that people would concentrate on negative things only and not commend the police when they did a good job. That did not necessarily mean that there are no “bad” police. The committee was satisfied by the progress that has been made in the ICD, but was expecting better next year.
South African Police Services Annual Report 2005/06 presentation
National Deputy Commissioner, Ms M Singh, introduced the officials from the SAPS and provided an outline of the Annual Report. She emphasised that today’s focus will be Programme 1: Administration.
Divisional Commissioner Schutte (Finance) explained what Programme 1 consists of and provided a generic definition of administration. Commissioner Schutte also talked about the input programme and said there was no output programme. Secretariat expenditure, including expenditure on personnel training and administration work was indicated. Assistant Commissioner Moorcroft provided the committee with a summary of the performance of the programme.
Mr F T Maserumule (ANC) asked the reason for separating Programme 1 from the rest of the budget.
Rev Meshoe highlighted that the SAPS had forwarded only R3 million out of the voted R17million to the Secretariat. What happened to the remaining R14million? In many instances, cases are thrown out of the courts due to lack of good evidence and he wanted to know whether there is any improved capacity to secure convictions. Why are the American FBI and the French Agency not helping detectives to sharpen their investigative skills?
Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) wanted to know why the National Commissioner, Mr J Selebi, had missed two consecutive committee meetings.
The Chair said that she would deal with this matter.
Mr S Mahote (ANC) wanted to know about reservists. Were their skills being developed? Was it appropriate for all police to be members of the trade union, including senior managers?
Ms Sosibo wanted to know how many more women were being trained. She also wanted to know the number of trained Designated Firearms Officers per province.
Mr Diale asked the criteria used for recruitment purposes and the kind of human rights training given to police officers.
The Chairperson said that Batho Pele principles were not visible in some police stations. You are only taken seriously when you disclose your position. Promotions were a challenge. For example, in one station there are 29 investigators and one captain that demoralises the staff. The issue of gender inequality is still an area of concern.
Commissioner Schutte responded that the Secretariat had underspent its budget. The R17 million is indicated as a voted budget but that is not the case with the National Treasury’s budget indicators. Perhaps the figure was misunderstood.
The Chairperson said that the committee does not want to fight with the ICD, Secretariat or SAPS; it wants to assist. How was the money channeled to other programmes? The committee must be satisfied with the SAPS’ financial report.
Mr Ndlovu wanted to know the whereabouts of the R17 million that was voted
Rev Meshoe said that in future the committee and SAPS must agree on the budget that is going to be spend [not under utilized] before the committee can vote for funding for SAPS.
Deputy Commissioner Singh said that they foresaw under utilization of the R17 million so they channeled the money to other programmes. The target in terms of gender and race is 18/20. The SAPS do not have mandatory psychological sessions for all its members; this is available on request and for those who had experienced trauma. There is a centralized bargaining chamber within SAPS; there are no bargaining structures at stations. As soon as staff members become senior managers, they cannot be shopstewards or have active and leadership roles in the union since this can amount to a conflict of interests. The central focus of basic training is on human rights.
Commissioner Phahlane (Training) said that the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA) training programme is assisting recrtuits with obtaining their driver’s licenses to provide an effective police services. Commissioner Phahlane said that at this time, they did not have the breakdown of Firearms Officers per province, but it would be provided later.
Mr Diale urged the SAPS to extend the learnership programme throughout the country because many unemployed people would love to become police officers.
The Chairperson said that she got an email from the office of the National Commissioner explaining his absence. She will talk to the Deputy Commissioner about the issue. The Chairperson urged the SAPS to recruit more women. It was agreed that the committee will deal with some issues emanating from the report at a later stage.
The meeting was adjourned.
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