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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
15 November 2006
FIREARMS CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL: PROPOSED NCOP AMENDMENTS; COMMITTEE REPORT ON INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS DIRECTORATE & SAPS ANNUAL REPORTS; POLICE STATION MONITORING TOOL FOR PARLIAMENT
Chairperson: Ms M Sotyu (ANC)
Documents handed out:
NCOP proposed amendments Firearms Control Amendment Bill [B12D-2006]
Draft Committee Report: Annual Report 2005/06 South African Police Service
Draft Committee Report: Annual Report 2005/06 Independent Complaints Directorate
SAPS Station Monitoring Tool Questionnaire for Members of Parliament (see Appendix)
The Committee considered and adopted the National Council of Provinces amendments to the Firearms Control Amendment Bill. The amendments were technical corrections to the text and did not touch on policy matters. The Committee also considered, amended and adopted its reports on the Annual Reports and financial statements of the Independent Complaints Directorate and the South African Police Service for 2005/06. It also made amendments to the SAPS Station Monitoring Tool Questionnaire.
The Committee Report noted that the Annual Report of the Independent Complaints Directorate did not provide information on the numbers and particulars of the failure by SAPS members to comply with the Domestic Violence Act which it was required to do by law once every six months.
The Committee made it clear that the Independent Complaints Directorate should beef up its financial controls and appoint people who had the necessary skills to do the job. This issue was recorded as one of the Committee's recommendations. This was especially the case given the fact that the Auditor General issued a disclaimer stating that he could not give a comment on the financial statements. Further, the ICD did not have a training plan in place.
The Committee would continue to monitor if SAPS was implementing the Resource Allocation Guide. It was concerned with the way that SAPS allocated its resources to different programmes. Weapons inspections were not done as required. Station Commissioners were expected to inspect weapons of all officers twice a year and this was not happening.
Proposed NCOP Amendments to Firearms Control Amendment Bill
Adv. P Jacobs (SAPS Assistant Commissioner) briefed the Committee on the proposed amendments. He explained that the amendments were previously regarded as corrections and sometimes corrected on the final version of the Bill that was sent to the President for signature. The Department had been requested to deal with them as amendments. They were aimed at correcting the quality of the text and did not touch on policy matters. He took the Committee through the amendments. (See document attached). The Committee adopted the amendments.
The Chairperson said that the NCOP would debate this Bill later that day.
Committee Report on Annual Report of Independent Complaints Directorate 2005/06
The Committee considered and amended its report on the Annual Report and Financial Statements of the Independent Complaints Directorate. (See document attached). Most of the changes were grammatical.
Ms A van Wyk (ANC) said that the Committee was not satisfied with the explanation given as to why there were vacancies at the Directorate. It had been said that the vacancies were due to the shortage of funds. There was a budget for the posts but the money was used for something else. This should be reflected in the Committee Report under Programme One. The Committee had also made it clear that the Directorate should beef up its financial controls and appoint people who had the necessary skills to do the job. This issue should be recorded as one of the Committee's recommendations. This was especially the case given the fact that the Auditor General could not give a comment on the financial statements. It seemed that the ICD did not have a training plan in place. It was important for them to have it.
Mr S Mahote (ANC) proposed the adoption of the report. The Committee adopted the report with amendments.
Committee Report on Annual Report of South African Police Service 2005/06
The Committee considered, amended and adopted its report.
Ms van Wyk said that the Committee should continue to monitor if SAPS was implementing the Resource Allocation Guide.
The Chairperson agreed. The Committee was concerned with the way that SAPS allocated its resources to different programmes.
Ms van Wyk said that weapons inspections were not done as required. Station Commissioners were expected to inspect weapons of all officers twice a year and this was not happening. This was one issue on which the Committee should have grilled SAPS. How was it possible for police officers to take guns home when they did not have safes as required by the law? The report should reflect that the allocated budget for the National Secretariat was R17 million. R3 million was given to them and only R1 million was spent resulting in an under expenditure of R2 million. She said that the report did not contain a recommendation in relation to the Domestic Violence Act. The Committee should also recommend that SAPS should report to the Committee twice a year on firearms control.
The Committee Report was adopted with amendments.
SAPS Station Monitoring Tool Questionnaire
The Chairperson said that this was a tool that all Members of Parliament had to use when visiting any police station in the country. She would issue a statement to all stations that no Member of Parliament should be allowed to ask any questions without the tool. The Committee had selected a small task team to look at the Monitoring Tool.
Ms van Wyk took the Committee through the amendments made to the Tool. Item 20 of the Monitoring Tool should read "Specialised Units (applicable to those stations that had been allocated Specialised Units)". It was not every station that would have a specialised unit and a unit would now serve six stations.
She said that there were problems when members from other parliamentary committees visited police stations. Some of them did not know which protocols to follow and normally upset the station commissioners and endangered the monitoring tool. The Committee had proposed a code of conduct for inspection of police stations in order to address this issue (see appendix for Code).
Code of Conduct for Inspection of Police Stations
1. Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the Provincial Legislatures (MPLs) must carry their parliamentary gold cards and identify themselves as Members of Parliament or Members of the Legislature on arrival at the police station.
2. On arrival, MPs and MPLs must ask to be introduced to the Station Commissioner or the next in command, if the Station Commissioner is not available.
3. The MP or MPL must inform the Station Commissioner of the purpose of the station inspection and request that the Station Commissioner delegate a SAPS member at the police station to accompany the MP or MPL during the visit.
4. MPs and MPLs must use the Station Monitoring Tool as a guide during the visit.
5. MPs and MPLs must respect and abide by the security arrangements at the police station.
6. In order to ensure that MPs and MPLs do not jeopardise police investigations, no MP or MPL may ask to see individual case dockets.
7. Before leaving the police station, MPs and MPLs must sign the Incident Register.
8. After the visit, Station Commissioners will inform the SAPS National Office of the visit. The National Office will inform the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security.
9. The MP and MPL must forward the completed questionnaire to the Committee Secretary of the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security. Once the Committee Secretary has received the completed questionnaire from the MP or MPL, he can assist in the retrieval of the section completed by the Station Commissioner, if this is not attached to the questionnaire returned by the MP or MPL.
10. If not in by the following dates (………) it would not be included in the database and reports for that period.
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