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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
02 March 2007
POLICE SERVICE RESTRUCTURING: PROVINCIAL COMMISSIONERS BRIEFINGS
Chairperson: Ms MM Sotyu (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Presentation on Strengthening Police Stations and Improving Service Delivery
The provincial Commissioners of the Police Service briefed the Committee on the restructuring process that had been instigated, to strengthen the stations and improve and increase the performance of the Police Service. A study had found that senior and experienced personnel, and specialised skills were concentrated at provincial and area level, and that there was a duplication of functions, and too many levels of command that hindered decision-making and effective allocation of resources. It was therefore decided to align all three national, provincial and local levels of policing and to delegate authority to station commissioners. Senior and skilled police officers were deployed to stations to enhance the stations' capacity and training was prioritised. Those stations with high levels of contact crime became prioritised. Individual performance management was introduced and National and Provincial Commissioners were to monitor and assess performance of stations according to set criteria. Various units had migrated to stations. Members queried the source of statistics, the status of the demarcation, whether mining areas were considered priority, the effect of the changes on resignations, the difference between Resolution Seven and the current restructuring, and the numbers of women employed as station commissioners. Figures were requested for crime syndicates, and it was pointed out that women should be targeted for managerial training, and that stations should have at least one communications official. The time frame was queried, and the perception that the police were unable to handle crime was discussed.
Restructuring of S A Police Service (SAPS):Provincial Commissioners' briefings
The Chairperson stated that many people were attempting to obstruct the progress of the restructuring because they were unsupportive of the process. The Committee had visited all nine provinces, when it had found that resources were allocated inadequately and therefore service delivery was hindered. The Provincial Commissioners would therefore be giving an indication of progress of the restructuring. The Committee would be holding further visits in the Provinces in May to assess the situation.
Each of the Provincial Commissioners were introduced, Ms M Mbombo, Northern Cape, Mr M Mgidi, Kwazulu-Natal, Mr Naidoo, Gauteng, Mr L Beetha, Northwest, Mr N Snegani, Limpopo, Mr Petros, Western Cape, Mr Landu, Eastern Cape, Mr O Khumalo, Mpumalanga and Mr T Mashigo, Free State. Each Provincial Commissioner was then given a chance to speak about the progress in their province. The Chairperson also mentioned that the provinces should be aware of the fact that in the beginning of May, the Committee will be visiting each province to assess the situation.
Commissioner M Scot Landu (Eastern Cape) noted that there was a total of 27 accounting station clusters that were being considered, with 794 employees deployed to these clusters. 16 of the stations, holding 561 staff, were considered as priority clusters. So far the Commissioner had received 188 representations and there were six remaining. He named the priority stations.
Commissioner Tshepoebotse Mashigo (Free State) stated that 18 accounting station clusters were being considered, and 1005 employees hade been deployed to those clusters. Nine named accounting station clusters were regarded as being priority clusters, with 901 employees.
Commissioner Perumal Naidoo (Gauteng) said that there were a total of 38 accounting clusters and 1962 employees had been deployed to these clusters. 24 of the 38 station clusters were seen as priority station clusters, with 1615employees. Gauteng was the first province to implement this restructuring process.
Commissioner David Mgidi (Kwazulu Natal) gave a total number of 28 accounting station clusters that were being considered, with 11543 employees deployed to those clusters. A total of 19 of the 28 accounting station clusters were regarded as being priority clusters, with 1246 employees.
Commissioner N Calvin Sengani (Limpopo) said that there were 15 accounting station clusters that were being considered, and 905 employees had been deployed to those clusters. Seven were regarded as being priority clusters, with 598 employees deployed to those stations. He had received 96 representations, 72 of which had been solved, 15 had been disapproved and six were outstanding.
Commissioner Oupa S Khumalo (Mpumalanga) noted15 accounting station clusters that were being considered, with 498 employees . Ten were regarded as being priority clusters with 419 employees deployed to those stations. He had received a total of 24 representations.
Commissioner Miriam Mbombo (Northern Cape) gave a total number of seventeen accounting station clusters that were being considered, with 470 employees having been deployed to those clusters. Six were regarded as being priority clusters with 287employees. There were 91 representations, all of which were solved except one.
Commissioner Lesetja Beetha (North West) gave a total number of thirteen accounting station clusters that were being considered, with 955 employees having been deployed to those clusters. Six were regarded as being priority clusters with 316 employees deployed to those stations.
Commissioner Mzwandile Petros (Western Cape) mentioned 21 accounting station clusters with 763 employees deployed. Twelve were regarded as priority clusters.
Ms Manoko Nchwe, Divisional Commissioner: Career Management, SAPS stated, by way of background, that the National Commissioner had made the decision to strengthen the stations and improve and increase the performance of the South African Police Service (SAPS). In order to do this the Commission conducted an investigation which discovered that senior and experienced personnel, as well as specialised skills, were concentrated at provincial and area level, and that there was a duplication of functions between area and station level and throughout the organisation. There existed too many levels of command, which in turn impeded decision-making and effective allocation of human and physical resources. Functionally trained personnel performed administrative tasks that could have been performed by administrative personnel. A decision was then taken to align all three levels of policing, national, provincial and local.
Once it was identified what policing functions were executed, and at which policing authority this was done it was decided to delegate authority to station commissioners. They would then be allowed to make critical and immediate operational decisions without seeking prior approval. Senior and skilled police officers were deployed to stations to enhance the stations' capacity to execute policing. Skilled members and managers from area, provincial and head office were sourced. Training was prioritised for the managers.
Stations with high levels of contact crime became prioritised stations. Provincial commissioners, having assessed the crime, also deployed resources to other stations. Individual performance management was then utilised to ensure accountability of members. Station commissioners and commanders were held accountable to the individual performance management system and Performance Chart. The National Commissioner and Provincial Commissioners would monitor and assess the performance of stations using the Performance Chart.
The Deployment Strategy was carried out through geographical placement to provinces and police stations. The migration to the provinces included all Police Emergency Services (PES), the Flying Squad, Accident Combating Unit, Dog Unit and Mounted Unit. The Crime Combating Unit members' capacity was to police major events and crowd control. The levels of reporting of the various units were more fully set out in the presentation. It was noted that the migration to police stations included members of the Units for Serious and Violent Crime, Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences , Crime Combating , Detective Service and Crime Prevention.
This change was beneficial at station level because senior officers with knowledge, skills and experience were placed mainly at priority stations. Station Commissioners were responsible for executive decisions on policing as well as human and physical resources under their command, and would also be held accountable for the results of combating crime. On the organisational level duplication would be eliminated, organisational levels would be reduced, effectiveness and efficiency on a cost benefit levels was set to improve. Further improvements would occur in the areas of communication, participation, team work and interaction between relevant role players. Police services to communities would be enhanced. Internally, managements' accountability, utilisation of resources and quicker responses would benefit.
Mr M Booi (ANC) enquired where the statistics were sourced.
Comm M Nchwe replied that statistics were available at an appropriate level, from the same sources used by SAPS. She noted that if crime was reported to the police consistently all the statistics would correspond. Most senior members of the cluster would hold meetings to keep apprised of the statistics.
Mr Booi asked how demarcation was allocated.
Comm Nchwe replied that demarcation was practically finalised and only those who had not received a reply were still waiting on a placement. The process was aligned in order to accommodate the partnership fostered with the community.
Mr R King (DA) wondered if the changes had resulted in a sudden rise in resignations.
Comm Nchwe replied that when the process was conceptualised all involved in the process stressed that there would be no tampering with rank and displacement. This was supposed to empower police stations to put sills where it can be used properly. Those who were saying that it was not going to work were being petty. Most of the police accepted the process and realised that all the wrinkles will be ironed out. There were no mass resignations.
Mr M Moatshe (ANC) wanted to know whether the mining areas were considered priority areas.
Comm Sengani responded that at the moment they were not considered priority, as they did not yet fall within the 52% and 82% category that would be regarded as a priority. They were being continually watched.
The Chairperson wanted to know how SAPS differentiated between Resolution Seven and the restructuring.
Comm Nchwe said that SAPS were attempting to strengthen the station. Resolution Seven was a public service co ordination that had to be negotiated by a bargaining council. This current process was aimed at strengthening the stations and hoped to see service delivery.
The Chairperson asked how many women were employed as station commissioners of the priority clusters, and where they were so employed.
Comm Naidoo responded that there were female station commissioners at Randfontein, Benoni, Vanderbijlpark, Sophiatown, Rietgat and Kliptown.
Comm Beetha replied that there were female station commissions at Brits and Mafikeng.
Comm Mbombo said there wereno female station commissioners in the priority clusters of the Northern Cape.
Comm Khumalo also stated that there were no women in charge of any of the priority station clusters.
Comm Landu said there was one female in charge of Mount Road.
Comm Mashigo said that there were female station commissioners for Maokeng and Selosesha.
Comm Sengani replied that there were two female station commissioners at Makopane and Mahkado.
Comm Mgidi said there were two female station commissioners for Ladysmith Phoenix.
Comm Petros said that Oudtshoorn had a female station commissioner.
Comm Nchwe mentioned that some of those leaders might have to be replaced with males.
The Chairperson enquired the reason for such a displacement.
Comm Nchwe said that it was a question of good management.
The Chairperson commented that it could be counterproductive to remove a female leader and replace her with a man as it could give the impression that women were incapable.
Comm Nchwe said they would then seek a capable female leader.
Mr Booi asked if a figure could be ascertained for crime syndicates.
Comm Nchwe said that organised crime was being reconfigured with crime intelligence and that cross border operations had to be taken into account, so that police commissioners were better placed to ascertain the extent of the problem.
Ms M Sosibo (ANC) mentioned that women should be targeted for managerial training and that every station commissioner should be sent to a leadership course in order to ensure good leadership.
Mr Booi commented on the fact that power seemed to remain centralised.
Comm Nchwe responded that decisions should take place on an appropriate level. Station commissioners had been given their own budget with the decisions of hiring and firing and everything else regarding budget falling into their hands. The only time when the provincial commissioners would be involved was when the station commissioners moved outside their budget. Station commissioners would send support issues out to head office, where support and advice could be given.
Mr Booi believed that every station should have at least one communicator.
The Chairperson noted that she was disappointed to see that it appeared that some women who were already empowered seemed not to wish to pass this empowerment on to other women.
Mr Moatshe wanted to know whether there was a time frame on the representations given to the stations.
Comm Nchwe responded that everything should be handled before the new financial year, as SAPS had to produce an established situation to the National Treasury.
Mr Booi remarked that there was an unfortunate perception that police cannot handle crime.
Comm Petros answered that people were entitled to their opinions, and that much would depend upon what was reported. There should be more of an emphasis on dealing with all problems. Sometimes “lesser” crimes received less consideration than more serious crimes. There had to be a balance between numbers and perception as they did not accurately correspond.
Mr Beetha also stated that even though police officials did do their job it was not noticed as sometimes people were released quickly, as had recently happened in violence-linked arrests in the North West. Several arrests were made but many of those people were released.
The Chairperson asked the representatives for the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) and SA Police Union (SAPU) if they had anything to add.
A representative for POPCRU said that so far the restructuring seemed to have gone smoothly. Although not every member would be happy with the changes thus far things seem manageable.
Comm Mashingo added the positive news that the Free State police had been heavily involved with the Lesotho elections. They managed to provide support with security and elections and their accomplishments should be applauded.
The meeting was adjourned.
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