South African Police Services Financial Statements 2006/7: briefing

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14 November 2007
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

14 November 2007

Chairperson: Ms M Sotyu (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Presentation to Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security by SAPS on the Annual Report 06/07

Audio recording of meeting

The South African Police Service (SAPS) provided a briefing on the financial component of the Annual Report for the financial year 2006/07. The figures in that report were briefly raised and clarified. Members asked questions on the effectiveness of the new Firearms Control legislation. The implementation of the new Gauteng radio control system to the rest of the country was discussed. The issue of crime detection as well as the dislocation of detectives from actual stations was raised by the Committee. Further questions related to the role of the SAPS on South Africa’s borders, in light of allegations from the South African National Defence Force that there had been underperformance, as well as at the harbour. Members also asked about the bullet proof vests for the Service, the new petty cash system, the Integrated Justice system programmes, in service training and the continued predominance of males in the Service, the number of escapees, clarity on reservists, and the impact of Visible and Sector Policing. The issue of civil claims against the SAPS was raised, and it seemed that there was still a problem in transformation. The accommodation issues, policing in the townships compared to that in urban areas, and the need to ensure safety of every citizen, were stressed.

Financial Statements of Annual Report: Briefing by South African Police Services (SAPS)
Div Comm S Schutte, Head: Financial and Auxiliary Service, SAPS, started the presentation from page 22 of the document, providing an overview of the financial component of the annual report. He elucidated on Payments, which included current payments, transfers and subsidies and payment for capital assets. He stated that the saving in Programme 2 was due to a lower than anticipated compensation and medical cost figure for detainees, as well as the cancellation of a contract with a private medical care provider, allowing for a R368 million virement to other programmes. This allowed for operational expenses to be enhanced to R628 million in order to augment primarily vehicles, aircraft, bullet-proof equipment and travel and subsistence figures. The income statement showed that R32.8 billion had been received, with a surplus of R247 million. Full utilisation of voted funds had occurred. Reasons for increased revenue collection were fully set out in the presentation. Additional personnel targets were reached as well as the implementation of a new salary revision. Spending priorities had been reached as stated in the document. Capacity building priorities had been achieved.

The Chairperson asked how SAPS monitored finances of the National Secretariat.

Div Comm Schutte stated that on 18 October legal oversight instructed SAPS to have a coordinated approach and that had been instituted. After meeting with them, the required budget was indicated. Provided they could show that they had the spending capability, SAPS provided the National Secretariat with what they needed. He stated that SAPS monitored the expenditure.

Ms D Barnard-Kohler (DA) stated that R 172 million had been spent on a firearm control system that took well over a year to process applications and was so backlogged that appeals would never be resolved. She stated that this would in effect encourage law abiding citizens to break the law. She questioned how many people actually received licences.

Dep Nat Comm Andre Pruis, Operational Services, SAPS, stated that SAPS knew that the idea of a competency certificate had been considered strange to many people. The figures indicated that 211 000 applications had been processed and that 6 000 competency certificates had been issued. He volunteered to provide all the relevant details.

Div Comm Schutte replied that the R34 million was processed, but that SAPS would need to generate the information required by Ms Barnard –Kohler.

Ms B Ntuli (ANC) asked what was happening with the Ermelo station that was supposed to be built. She asked whether female bullet-proof vests cost the same as male ones and whether there was yet one vest available for every officer yet.

Div Comm Matthews Siwundla (Supply Chain Management – SAPS) replied that SAPS possessed 144 249 bullet-proof vests at an approximate cost of between R3 000-R4 000. They had ordered 9 373 for females and 18 000 for males. There were no significant price differences as all that differed was the fabric component of the vest. The Ermelo delay was due to a change in the needs analysis and a tender for construction would be advertised this month.

Mr F Maserumule (ANC) asked whether SAPS would be compelled to use petty cash in remote areas and if so how they accounted for it. He asked how long it took to implement the Gauteng radio control system and how much it cost, as well as whether it could be implemented in the rest of the country. He also was concerned that the texture of the vests was uncomfortable for officers.

Div Comm Schutte stated that SAPS had 192 strategically located standing advance offices to the value of R42 to 46 million and that they provided petty cash for relatively small expenses. A new cashier system was being piloted in the North-West that was geared to function like a financial institution. An electronic transfer system, as well a number of bank accounts, had been utilised to augment petty cash capabilities.

Comm Jackie Selebi, National Commissioner, SAPS, stated that the radio system was rolled out in Gauteng first due to the fact that 40 percent of crime occurred in that region. The new system allowed for SAPS vehicle tracking and response time had improved .The existing radio infrastructure was in need of an overhaul. The system cost R600 million over a period of four years. The same system would be rolled out in the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal in the near future. He expressed dismay that the implementation of the new system was problematic, due to the involvement of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), who had requested SAPS to move the radio masts due to endangered butterflies and frogs. Ultimately the system would be implemented nationwide according to severity.

Comm Selebi stated that comfort was secondary to protection when wearing the vests, and that the police officers needed to be protected against varying calibres of bullets. He stated that SAPS was in the process of providing a vest per officer, but that sometimes officers did not wear their vests despite being told to.

The Chairperson asked whether it was the same system as the one piloted in Nyanga.

Comm Selebi replied in the affirmative and stated that it was also being tried out in the Northern Cape.

Mr S Mahote (ANC) asked why the R34.5 million from firearm licence applications was reflected separately and not under incomes received. He also enquired the reason for the discrepancy between the figure of R251 million under other revenue and the final figure of R247 million. The difference between the figure collected and deposited was questioned.

Div Comm Schutte stated that the R34.5 million figure was included under the larger R251 million amount. R251 million was collected and the donor fund credit figure was debited from this, resulting in a net figure of R247 million net surplus. He stated that this was all listed under Slide 40 of the presentation.

Ms P Daniels (ANC) asked what the role of the SAPS in Durban harbour was, as security of the port had implications for the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. She asked what R77 million was spent on in terms of borderline operations and asked what they had actually achieved as the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) expressed that the SAPS was not performing its takeover role adequately.

Dep Nat Comm Pruis stated that the relationship between the SAPS and the National Ports Authority (NPA) was the same as the one between the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) and the SAPS. NPA managed the port and SAPS secured the port and utilised it for the prevention and combating of crime, in cooperation with other relevant departments operating at the ports.

Div Comm Schutte added that the R77 million was spent on operational equipment including vehicles, fuel, aircraft, other vessels, maintenance and radio equipment.

Comm Selebi replied that the SAPS had been deployed to the border, and invited the Chairperson to visit the Botswana and Namibia borders in order to see how they had been deployed. He stated that the SANDF was making unfounded statements and that the SAPS were being deployed due to the fact that they were capable of conducting cross-border investigation and arrests – tasks that soldiers could not do. He replied that the SANDF was aware of areas where the SAPS had not been deployed as yet, but that this was an ongoing process due for completion by 2009, as the SAPS were training appropriate personnel for the job.

The Chairperson added that a report on the border situation would be made available for committee Members who accompanied her to the borders and she welcomed Comm Selebi’s invitation.

A Member asked what the new petty cash system was like.

Mr M Moatshe (ANC) asked for clarity on what was the “IJS”and asked whether in terms of upgrading the SAPS further education and training was provided. He asked whether SAPS had budgeted for training in dealing with domestic violence and whether surplus funds from certain programmes could be transferred to meet this need.

Comm Meyer (SAPS) replied that the IJS stood for the Integrated Justice System and consisted of integrated programmes that included interoperability between all departments linked to justice. It included the creation of an electronic document system, video arraignment and evidence transfer. Thirteen programmes were in operation involving sophisticated technology.

Dep Nat Comm Vijay Singh, Human Capital Development and Legal and Financial Administration – SAPS, stated that SAPS provided in service training and that they had 28 institutions. Bursaries were provided for training in relevant fields

Comm Selebi stated that the current male dominated mindset was an issue, and that no amount of training would change this. He stated that this necessitated a need to train receptive individuals.

The Chairperson stated that she was pleased that the media was present and expressed her agreement with Nat Comm Selebi.

Ms A Van Wyk (ANC) asked why there was a decrease in detective training, considering that detection rates were problematic. She asked why it appeared that there was no retention strategy in place for forensic laboratory personnel. Ms Van Wyk asked why the number of Sector Policing (SP) / Visible Policing (VP) sectors had been decreased. She asked what the impact would be.

Dep Nat Comm Singh replied that the detective training plan was informed by targets, and that they could not be maintained due to revamping of training programmes in accordance with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) wishes. She stated that in addition to detective training, detectives were also given other training programmes to enhance their skills. She expressed surprise at the statement that no forensics retention plan was in place as SAPS had identified scarce skills jobs and had provided an incentive allowance as well as conducting job evaluations, with the result of pitching entry-levels higher. SAPS also targeted university students as well as providing bursaries. Despite this she acknowledged that they could not compete with the private sector.

Dep Nat Comm Pruis stated that shifts were variable and needed to be tailored to time, area and crime peaks and that low level sectors had been linked to other sectors. He stated that they needed to be more realistic in terms of the number of officers available and that when SAPS had the capacity it would increase it.

Mr N Diale (ANC) asked for clarity about medical support and asked whether the SAPS covered medical costs for injuries sustained in the line of duty.

Dep Nat Comm Martha Stander, Head: Personnel, Management and Organisational Development – SAPS, replied that they did.

Ms Barnard-Kohler asked why the figure of R10 million used to pay suspended Correctional Services personnel was no longer included. She also asked why the information on the number of escapees was not included.

Comm Selebi replied that if someone was suspended they did not get paid.

Comm Meyer replied that that the delegation did not have the escapee figures with them, but that they would be supplied in writing.

Mr S Mahote (ANC) asked what was happening with reservists and whether the budget included reservist payments as well as infrastructure costs.

The Chairperson asked for elucidation around the reservist issue.

Comm Selebi replied that there were four categories of reservists, as set out on page 57 of the Annual Report. He stated that SAPS used to have a system for reservists that made matric passes and a valid driver’s licence compulsory, but that this excluded many rural people, so it was subsequently changed. He stated that the only time SAPS paid reservists was when they issued a call-up and that then they then received a stipend. Usually, the reservist system was voluntary.

Ms van Wyk reiterated her request for information around the impact of VP/SP sector reduction.

Dep Nat Comm Pruis replied that Ms Van Wyk had not looked at sector size and that the concentration of crime influenced the number of stations in an area. He stated that social crimes could not be solved by Sector Policing, and that the solution lay in addressing the social conditions that led to this.

Mr Booi asked about the issue of civil claims against the SAPS in terms of detainee/suspect deaths and injury. He asked whether this was due to a training problem or a management problem. He stated that it appeared that the statistics were about contact crimes and questioned the way in which detectives operated out on their own away from a station. In his opinion it indicated a lack of concern over their safety. He asked whether the public could feel safe.

Comm Selebi replied that in the SAPS two streams existed, one influenced by the old ways of apartheid and on that was a newer progressive way. He stated that complete transformation would take a long time, but despite this 45 000 new people were gaining experience as they worked and that sometimes they made mistakes. As the SAPS improved he was confident that the number of civil claims would decrease. Nat Comm Selebi felt that the public had ample reason to feel safe and added that the SAPS did not publicise prevention of crimes. He cited the upcoming Soccer World Cup Draw taking place at the ICC in Durban and stated that none of the visiting dignitaries would be in any position of danger as the SAPS could ensure perfect safety. Nat Comm Selebi stated that during the previous administration it had been a tradition for detective to stop work at 12pm on Fridays in order to have a braai and a drink, but that traditions like these, which contributed to detectives being away from stations, were being eliminated. He added that during apartheid detectives were often located with the Security Police away from stations and that this legacy was being remedied.

Mr Booi replied that he understood, but asked whether this was a justification of human rights abuses.

Comm Selebi replied that he would never justify human rights abuses, but that he was giving an explanation. He stated that the majority of claims were for vehicle accidents and other minor matters.

Mr Booi stated that it seemed that the majority of cases were results of reporting, and that social crimes could not be prevented. He stated that the SAPS had to do something lest the impression be created that SAPS were violent.

Mr K Khumalo (ANC) asked whether Members could make the recommendation that the R243 million given over to Treasury could be used for crime prevention instead. He expressed concern over the limited number of stations in townships and believed that more were needed. Furthermore the position of CCTV cameras in urban centres, but not townships, posed a problem, as it appeared to be continuing apartheid era practices of sidelining the needs of the townships. Mr Khumalo stated the dismal conditions of training facilities in former Bantustans as well as the apparent disparity between training conditions for white officers and black officers as exemplified by white officers staying in flats in towns, whilst black officers were usually housed in barracks.

Comm Selebi stated that no SAPS CCTV projects were in urban areas and that these were privately run. He could not be held responsible for the actions of the business community. SAPS projects had been implemented in townships, and 30 mobile CCTV systems were in the process of being implemented in all major cities. He stated that if he had his way barracks would not exist and that they were remnants of the SAPS history of not being welcomed in communities during the apartheid era. He stated that SAPS was trying to build family units now, as well as attempting to locate officers in the areas where they lived. As such the establishment of family friendly housing units was an interim solution. He highlighted that due to problems with the Department of Public Works the SAPS headquarters were still in a state of disrepair and expressed his wish to have the offices properly upgraded.

Ms van Wyk asked why there was a drop in the detection of contact crimes.

Asst Comm Vinesh Moonoo, Head: Organised Crime, SAPS, stated that there was a reduction in contact crimes, although the internal audit also influenced this figure.

Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) asked when ordinary citizens would be as safe as VIPs. He stated that lack of cooperation by SAPS necessitated community vigilantism due to frustration. He asked whether Members could have any hope in the SAPS, owing to widespread corruption.

Comm Selebi replied that the security of the people was the responsibility of all, including SAPS, and that everyone needed to come to work together on this issue. He stated that there was an impression, stemming back to the apartheid years, that the SAPS was an oppressive force. He stated that if the SAPS stooped working for two hours the full extent of how they kept this country safe would be apparent. In terms of vigilantism he stated that SAPS could not act without evidence.

The Chairperson stated that Nat Comm Selebi did not have to answer further.

The meeting was adjourned.



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