SAPS Deployment in West Indies & Unesco Resolution on Listed Suspects: SAPS briefing.

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29 August 2007
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

29 August 2007

Chairperson: Ms M Sotyu (ANC)

Documents handed out:
SAPS Presentation to Portfolio Committee - 29 August 2007
SAPS Briefing for Portfolio Committee - 29 August 2007


The South African Police Services briefed the Committee on the Memorandum of Understanding that had been drafted to allow deployment of police service personnel to the West Indies during the ICC Cricket World Cup, which was described as the ideal opportunity to give them some experience in preparation for the 2010 World Cup. This was an international agreement of a technical nature, that required not ratification by, but merely notification to parliament. Generic templates were used for the agreement. The terms were briefly set out. Members were concerned that this memorandum had not been delivered before the personnel left for the West Indies in April, doubted the benefits to them, and were even more concerned when notified, in response to a question, that the funding had come from the Visible Policing Budget. Members would not approve the Memorandum before furnished with a full budget and were concerned about the time lapse.

The Police Service then briefed the Committee on the UNESCO Resolution and Proclamations in terms of Taliban and Al Quaida, and noted that South Africa had passed the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act in 2004, bringing into law all conventions, Protocols and obligations relating to terrorism activities. The President would under this Act proclaim the identification by the United Nations of any specific entity. The consolidated list had been published in 2006 and an updated list now had been prepared. The Committee established under the Act had reviewed its procedures and had developed a guideline for listing, and a de-listing process. The full list was primarily for information of the Financial Intelligence Centre, banks, other financial institutions, State Departments, including the Department of Home Affairs and would be implemented by the Interdepartmental Counter Terrorism Working Group. Members asked questions on protection of South African, specifically Muslim, citizens, sought confirmation that only UN lists would be used, and discussed the possibility of amending the Act.

The Committee approved its Committee Reports.

West Indies: Deployment of South African Police Service (SAPS) Personnel
Dr Philip Jacobs, Assistant Commissioner, Head Legal Support, Civic Operations, SAPS, gave a briefing on the Memorandum of Understanding with the West Indies concerning SAPS deployment in the West Indies for the duration of the ICC Cricket World Cup. He noted that this was done under an international agreement of a technical nature, that, in terms of Section 231(3) of the Constitution, would not require ratification or accession by parliament but must be notified to them

Jacobs stated that the policing of international events was an issue of international interest. The aim of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was to provide the South African Police Service (SAPS) with a “dry run” for the impending 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa. He stated that the agreement was in line with Article 231(3) of the Constitution and that it was a technical agreement. Due to the limited timeframe, generic MOU templates were used and the State Law Advisor was consulted to ensure adherence to the Constitution. He stated that three such agreements had already been concluded along similar lines, with only the 12 member SADC agreement needing parliamentary ratification.

The co-ordination of the SAPS deployment in the West Indies was by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) who carried the costs of food, lodging and transport within the West Indies. The SAPS was operational in the West Indies and enjoyed police powers similar to West Indian police in line with the sunset legislation passed by the West Indies, which provided the necessary immunity for SAPS members. . Deployed members were mainly tasked with emergency counter-terrorist operations in order to augment the West Indies meagre counter-terrorism capabilities. Training was provided to West Indian police in terms of hostage negotiation, use of sniffer dogs and diving. This occurred during the period 8 -27 April 2007, and 77 staff were deployed.

Dr Jacobs recommended that the MOU be noted.
Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) stated that the memorandum needed to be delivered within a reasonable time and believed that it should have been delivered before the actual event in April. She requested fuller financial details. She seriously doubted the benefits to the SAPS gained from the West Indies in relation to the application of skills to the 2010 Soccer World Cup as the two events were of a completely different scale. She questioned the value of operations such as these ones.

Dr Jacobs stated that the financial question was answered in parliament and he did not think it necessary to include in his briefing. The costs had been about R8 million, including food, transport and medical insurance. He stated that he would furnish members with full financial details..

Mr M Booi agreed and stated that piecemeal information was unacceptable. He questioned what the MOU was based on and asked where the budget for operations like these emanated.

Dr Jacobs replied that the funds were used from the Division's Visible Policing Budget.

Ms D Kohler Barnard (DA) stated that receiving this MOU five months after the event made the Committee little more than a rubber stamp. She asked who decided that these “technical” MOUs did not need the appropriate ratification.

Dr Jacobs stated that the SAPS received many requests from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to conclude MOUs with various countries for political purposes. He stated that the SAPS had requested relevant sample agreements from DFA.

Mr S Ntuli (ANC) stated the need to secure internal policing matters first, and noted that South Africa could provide policing assistance (especially in Southern Africa) through less costly means.

Dr Jacobs replied that the Department had received requests form the African Union in the context of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) context and that these agreements needed to be concluded quickly. He stated that all agreements were drawn up in consultation with the State Law Advisor. He asked what the Department should do in the event of a non-technical agreement that needed to be ratified whilst parliament was in recess.

The Chairperson asked that Dr Jacobs respond to the specific concerns that he should have had this document brought before the Committee more timeously, otherwise the Committee was regarded as nothing more than a rubber stamp.

Dr Jacobs replied that that the document was delivered to the Committee’s office on 23 May, and signed by the Minister on 7 May. He had no control over its subsequent distribution.

The Chairperson stated that the parliament question had nothing to do with the Committee. This Committee would need the costs before they could approve.

Dr Jacobs reiterated that he would provide the committee with a breakdown of the costs.

Mr S Booi (ANC) asked what happened after these agreements expired. He acknowledged the pressure from DFA, but stated that if procedures were not adhered to then Dr Jacobs could find himself in trouble. He criticised the lack of a special budget for these operations and cited the Department of Defence as an example.

Ms van Wyk asked why the R8 million figure did not include travel and subsistence. She also asked why food was included in this figure, when the host countries were apparently liable for that particular expense. Ms van Wyk expressed concern that funds were being diverted from a crucial sector such as visible policing.

The Chairperson stated that if the Committee had simply endorsed the MOU it would not have been aware of the appropriation of the funding from Visible Policing. The committee already received complaints about the lack of visible policing, and now found the budget being compromised. In terms of the recess question, she stated that Members could be called to assembly if needed, and that this was not in fact an issue.

Dr Jacobs stated that the Department was trying to do its best, but some things fell out of their sphere of control.

UNESCO Resolution: Proclamations in terms of Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act
Dr Jacobs addressed the Committee on the topic of the United Nations Security Council (UNESCO) resolution 1267/1999. In terms of Article 39 of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council could determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of peace or act of aggression, and must make recommendations to maintain or restore international peace and security. It could call upon member states to apply measures. The provisions of Articles 41 and 48 were summarised.

The resolution 1267 had imposed a travelling ban in that aircraft used by Taliban and Al Quaida would be prohibited from take off or landing, unless authorised by the Committee. There was also a resolution for freezing of their funds. Paragraph 5 established a Counter-Terrorism Committee o collect information, decide on appropriate measures, make reports and identify persons engaged in violation.

South Africa had enacted the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act in 2004, bringing into law all conventions, Protocols and obligations relating to terrorism activities. This required the President to proclaim in the Gazette notice of identification by the UNESCO of a specific entity. The entire consolidated list of the UN was published on 20 May 1005 and 29 May 2006. The proclamations now to be considered by the Committee were the full list of 2006, plus some deletions insertions and amendments. The full list was not published again. It was primarily for information of the Financial Intelligence Centre, banks, other financial institutions, State Departments, including the Department of Home Affairs and would be implemented by the Interdepartmental Counter Terrorism Working Group.

Dr. Jacobs stated that the Committee had reviewed its own procedures, and had developed a proper guideline for listing. A delisting process had also been put in place for specific countries or individuals to approach the Committee. The legal consequences of listing were summarised.

Mr Booi asked what the Department and Committee would do in terms of protecting South African citizens, especially Muslim citizens. He noted that the United States often transgressed states' sovereignty with regards to terrorism suspects. He stated that the proliferation of fraudulent Home Affairs passports was an embarrassment.

Dr Jacobs noted this and explained that South Africa only used the UN list and did not consider the United States, United Kingdom or Australia’s lists to be binding or necessarily accurate, especially the United States’ lists, owing to their use of profiling.

Ms van Wyk asked about the need to amend the Counter-Terrorism Act in order to allow for due process.

Dr Jacobs replied that the Act was very wide and provided ample scope to include these things, so as not to impede compliance with the UNESCO resolutions. He stated that he would bring updates on the Act to the Committee.

Mr Booi warned of the need for a compromise between efficiency and due process to ensure citizens' protection from wrongful incarceration or extradition.

Other business
The Chairperson read through reports from the Committee to Parliament, numbered R2, R24, R28, R44 and R51. All were approved by the Members.

The meeting was adjourned.



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