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SAFETY AND SECURITY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
16 March 2007
INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS DIRECTORATE BUDGET 2007/8 BRIEFING
Chairperson: Ms M Sotyu (ANC)
Documents handed out
Independent Complaints Directorate: Presentation
Independent Complaints Directorate was asked to brief the Committee on its budget and strategic plan for the forthcoming year. The managers of the Administration and Investigation Units presented updates to the Committee on progress over the past year. The Financial Manager began her briefing, but Members pointed out that these were concentrated rather on the spending in the current financial year than on the budget. It was suggested that in view of the shortage of time the meeting should rather be postponed to 26 March, when a more focused presentation and interrogation could take place.
The Administration programme reported eleven vacancies. The Executive Director (ED) position had been vacant for almost two years and the money for that salary had been used for other goods and services. There were problems in the leave recording system. New systems had now been set up. Most of the issues raised by the Auditor General had been dealt with and a new supply chain management policy was set up. There were insufficient staff to deal with asset management problems. Questions by members related to the vacancies, the fact that the salary funds were shifted across to goods and services, and the inconsistencies in leave, which appeared to arise from lack of management. Further questions related to training, the need for a skills audit, and advertisement of posts.
The Investigation Unit set out its work, stating that there had been an investigation into reasons for the backlog. The Complaints Directorate was participating in the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum. It had established a good working relationship with provincial health departments in an attempt to prevent recurrence of the problems with the Fort Beaufort autopsies. The Information Management Unit reported briefly that cell inspections and deaths in police custody would both need to be addressed after a head of department had been appointed, and in conjunction with the National Commissioner of the Police Service.
The financial briefing indicated the spending on the previous year, and reported that there was significant under spend on personnel costs, but a projected over spend on goods and services. At this point it was decided to adjourn the meeting.
Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) Presentation
Each section of the ICD presentation was to be presented by the respective programme managers, but owing to shortage of time only two programmes could be presented.
Programme 1: Administration Briefing by Mr E Valoyi (ICD)
Mr Elias Valoyi, Programme Manager: Administration, ICD, reported that a major challenge remained as the timely filling of positions on the ICD’s personnel structure, as well as the limited number of positions to aid career development. He reported that funding requested from the National Treasury (NT) allowed for 17 new positions, which resulted in a 7% increase in staff. The ICD had requested funding from National Treasury to fund three new positions at the National Office in the finance. There were eleven vacancies at present.
The staffing challenges had had some effect on the budget. Money that should have been used for salaries was not spent and this had led to under expenditure. The Executive Director (ED) position was vacant for almost two years and the money for that salary had now accumulated. Eventually the funds were used for other goods and services.
Mr Valoyi said that there was a further issue of unofficial leave, but that mainly occurred in the provinces. Quarterly management meetings were used to train administrative staff how to register leave properly. Monthly reports were now being issued to National Office to ensure proper monitoring of leave.
Mr Valoyi said that all the issues addressed in the Auditor General's (AG) report had been dealt with. The Supply Chain Management policy that was in draft form at the time of the audit was now approved. There had been a problem of personnel in the supply chain management framework, which had meant that the ICD had been unable to set up the units needed, and one of those was the Asset management Unit. The AG had further reported that the human resources plan of the ICD was not up to the Public Service standards. Mr Valoyi said that improvements had been effected and the AG was happy with the progress.
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) asked what the salary set aside for the Executive Director was.
Mr Valoyi replied that the Executive Director's salary was R750 000.per annum including benefits.
Ms Van Wyk asked in which departments the eleven vacancies occurred.
Mr Valoyi specified the provinces in which those vacancies were, but indicated that he did not have all the details.
The Chairperson suggested that the ICD compile the information and send it to the Committee. She also asked how many of the 17 vacancies were investigator posts.
Mr Valoyi said there were six investigator vacancies: three for each of the new satellite offices in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal.
Ms Van Wyk asked how it had happened that the money from the personnel fund was used for goods and services, and enquired if there had not been a separate budget for these latter items. She asked exact details of the spending.
Mr Valoyi said that he would send a detailed report to the committee later.
Ms Van Wyk asked why the Asset management Unit was still a problem.
Mr Valoyi said that he was not sure when this Unit would be set up as the current staff complement of the SCM Unit was not sufficient to allow for staff to be moved across to a separate asset management unit.
Ms Van Wyk asked why the ICD was employing people who could not apparently do their jobs, as she was concerned about the reference to staff not being able to register leave properly.
Mr Valoyi said that the capturing of leave must be done in the provinces and Directors were given the power to approve leave for their own staff. The ICD expected that everyone who applied for leave would have it approved by his or her director and it would be captured immediately. It was discovered when the AG did the audit that in some cases the leave was approved after the person had come back, or leave was granted but it was not put into the computer. He said that staff responsible for this had been interviewed and they were under the impression that they were able to perform these tasks, so it was possible that there were also other problems. These would be able to be identified through the training processes.
Ms van Wyk asked why it was that the problem was found out only when the audit was done, and whether Head Office had not linked to the provinces, or whether information from the provinces was not being sent up to Head Office.
Mr Valoyi responded that if a person took leave in a province, the National Office would not know that the person took leave. Head Office would assume that whatever was put into the computer was correct.
Mr S Ntuli (ANC) felt that the issue of leave was more a case of mismanagement than a problem with the provinces. He said that it appeared that the National Office was small, and asked why it could not manage the leave situation.
Mr Patrick Mongwe, Acting Executive Director, ICD said that in the future the ICD would be ensuring uniformity in the provinces' working procedures so as to avoid the recurrence of such problems. Leave would now be captured on the computer as well as on a manual form.
Mr Ntuli wondered why the HR plan was not up to the Public Service standards in the first place.
Mr M Booi (ANC) noted that the Minister had said that there was a change in functions between ICD and the Safety and Security Secretariat. He wondered if this had any monetary implications, such as the need to employ additional staff.
Mr Booi further asked, with regard to the State of the Nation address, for a list of the ICD’s priorities for the coming year.
Ms J Sosibo (ANC) asked if the ICD undertook training in the provinces, in line with their line functions. She asked why it was that there was a different working procedure in the provinces.
The Chairperson requested that the ICD give the committee a breakdown of the responsibilities of different personnel. She felt that many of the problems came about due to a misplacement of skills. She asked for an audit of skills to be done.
Mr M Moatshe (ANC) asked how the ICD advertised its posts.
These questions were not responded to specifically.
Programme 2: Investigation Unit Briefing
Mr Tommy Tshabalala, Programme Manager, Investigations, ICD, noted that the investigation unit was to attend to the investigation of complaints. The briefing indicated that the ICD had embarked on a project in all the provinces, except Gauteng, to establish the reasons for the backlogs of cases. This project enabled it to see where interventions could be made, and it would be attempting to improve investigating standards. The tables of backlog cases and current finalised cases, was included in the presentation, and there were also listings of resolved cases, those substantiated and dismissed, the post mortems, scenes, recommendations, court attendances and disciplinary hearings.
Mr Tshabalala reported that the ICD had abandoned a previous strategy, as it felt it was too ambitious given their resources.
He reported on the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF). When this forum came about the ICD was appointed as its Secretariat and had been involved in sharing the best practices on policing oversight on the continent.
Mr Tshabalala reported that there had been an incident with the Fort Beaufort pathologist. The ICD investigators had found something wrong with the autopsy. They then had the body exhumed and discovered that the cause of death established in the initial autopsy was incorrect. They had gone on to establish a good working relationship with provincial health departments, especially in the area of pathology, to avoid recurrence of these problems.
Programme 3: Information Management System Briefing
It was reported that the cell inspections had not yet been addressed, because the ICD was waiting for a Head of Department to be appointed. The new appointee would have to link up with the South African Police Service (SAPS) National Commissioner to address the issue.
Deaths in police custody would need to be discussed with the National Commissioner as well, because they required the intervention of the SAPS Senior Management.
Programme 4: Finance Briefing
Ms Elise Verster, Chief Financial Officer, ICD pointed out that 75% of the budget had already been spent. Programme 1 (Administration) took 35% of the budget, which was quite high, considering it was only a support system and not a line function. Programme 2 (Investigation) had been allocated 44% of the budget for expenditure. Programme 3 (Information Management and Research) received 21% of the total budget. The ICD had spent and committed 76% of their budget to date. Ms Verster then said that she would give the Committee a more detailed report on the expenditure of non-spent funds on goods and services later in the week.
Ms Verster tabled the expenditure to date of the current financial year. The ICD had a budget of R39 million for salaries and had used R27 million, representing 69%. At this point it was anticipated that the spending should be at 75%, so there was about R2 million under-spending. This amount came from the accumulation of salaries of the vacant posts. Three people were transferred from the SAPS and one from the Department of Home Affairs. For the first few months that the ICD employed these transferees, SAPS paid their salaries, so that the budgeted amount for salaries had once again not been spent. Salary compensation was the ICD’s biggest expenditure.
Goods and services funds used R20 million of the R24 million allocated and was likely to have an over spend. Some unforeseen costs had arisen. ICD had only now received an invoice for the use of Government Garage cars two years ago. The ICD would have to pay it as the service was rendered, despite the fact that the invoices were received so late. ICD tended to put money aside if it was unspent, for instance from salaries, so that when unforeseen and unbudgeted expenses did arise, the money “saved” from the personnel funds was used to cover them. In addition, when it was seen that there was a saving, the Executive Director had approved the purchase of two cars for the new satellite offices. Upgrading of the electronic system was a major over spend but was necessary. Some years previously the Committee was very concerned about the ICD’s expenditure on goods and services.
Travel and subsistence increased from R4 million to just over R5 million. ICD purchased additional vehicles which each incurred their own extra costs. Resettlement costs had also increased.
The Chairperson intervened halfway through Ms Verster’s presentation because some of the members were confused.
Ms van Wyk asked if this meeting could not be held at another point. She said that ICD were telling the Committee what the “savings” were spent on, when they were asked to provide information on what was budgeted for. It seemed as though there was no budget to start with.
Mr Booi asked for details of where the goods and services, such as the cars, had been utilised, and who had received resettlement allowances.
As the Chairperson did not want to go over the allocated time she felt that the meeting should be ended at this point, as the issues that needed to be addressed would take up too much time.
The Chairperson announced that the meeting originally scheduled for 28 March would now be held on 26 March.
The meeting was adjourned
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