Hansard: Appropriation Bill : Debate on Vote No 20 - Independent Directorate Complaints & Vote No 22 - Safety & Security
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 30 Jun 2009
No summary available.
UNREVISED HANSARD EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
WEDNESDAY, 1 JULY 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the Old Assembly
Chamber at 14:01.
The House Chairperson Ms M N Oliphant, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
START OF DAY
Vote No 20 – Independent Complaints Directorate:
Vote No 22 – Safety and Security:
UMphathiswa wamaPolisa: Mphathisihlalo, oNgqongqoshe abakhona la, oSekela Ngqongqoshe, malunga ahloniphekileyo, abaphathi boMnyango wembokodo ebovu, mphaklathi kanye namaqabani.
Ake ngiqale ngihalalisele laba abasigqugquzele umhlalo womhlaba ngempumelelo abasingathe ngayo imidlalo weNdebe-Confederation siphinde futhi sethulele isigqoko iBafana-Bafana kanye nomlolongi wabo uSantana ngebhola elihle abalidlalile kulomkhankaso ikakhulukazi umdlalo wabo ne-Brazil. Kodwa lapho ebesibonise amandla kakhulu wumdlalo wabo ebebe wudlala nezinqwele zomhlaba i-Spain. Sithi niyibekile induku ebandla Bafana.[Ihlombe.]
Semukela abafundi base sikolweni iYengwa High behola uthishanhloko wabo umnumzane Hlalube abaphuma Kwazulu-Natali. [Ihlombe.]
It is encouraging to see young people taking an interest in the affairs of government. Their presence in the Police Budget Vote highlights the youth's concern regarding safety and security. This concern is echoed by the recent crime summit organised by the youth of the Northern Cape. Furthermore, we applaud the political youth organisations who have committed themselves to joining government in the fight against crime. To all of you, we convey the wise words of the late leader of our liberation movement, Moses Kotane, who said, "At this hour of destiny, your country and your people need you. South Africa is in your hands, and it will be what you make of it."
The youth of our country are our present and future, and it is crucially important that they engage in the fight against crime. Their interest in this issue also serves to remind us how important it is for us not to fail them in addressing crime as part of securing a better future.
Twenty years ago, some of those who were tried at Rivonia, amongst them Walter Sisulu, Wilton Mkwayi, Elias Motsoaledi, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni and Ahmed Kathrada were released from Robben Island prison.
They had been incarcerated for upholding and fighting for the achievement of a society based on the democratic values enshrined in the Freedom Charter. Their crime had been to assert that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people.
That beacon of hope, the Freedom Charter, still remains one of the most famous documents in the history of the freedom struggle. The aspirations contained therein, including peace, security and comfort, define the tasks that we, today's generation, must accomplish.
Fifteen years ago, after centuries of arduous struggle, millions of the people of our country voted into state power the first ever government that could justly claim authority. Since then, the manner in which we have conducted ourselves is an equivocal statement about our commitment to justice, peace and democracy.
The preamble to our Constitution reasserts the profound statement that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. It further binds us to work to improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person.
The ANC government remains unshakeable in its commitment to work together with the people of our land to improve the quality of life of all South Africans. Fully appreciative of the stubborn legacy of colonialism and apartheid, the struggle to realise the kind of society enshrined in our Constitution and the Freedom Charter continues.
The fight against crime is part of an integral approach in the fight to accomplish the goal of a better life for all. An improved quality of life also means better and improved conditions of safety and security of the people in their homes, in their communities, in their places of work and entertainment. Crime undermines our efforts aimed at defeating poverty even as poverty contributes in various ways in creating conditions that breed crime.
Speaking on the occasion of the state of the nation address, President Jacob Zuma said:
Together we must do more to fight crime. Our aim is to establish a transformed, integrated, properly-resourced and well-managed criminal justice system. It is also critically important to improve the efficiency of the courts and the performance of prosecutors, and to enhance detective, forensic and intelligence services.
To facilitate the process of realising the objectives of the revamp of the criminal justice system, various interventions will be made. The South African Police Service, SAPS, personnel will increase from 183 180 currently to 204 860, over the next three years. As the capacity of the SAPS continues to improve across the whole spectrum, more focus will be paid to increasing the numbers in visible policing, detectives and crime intelligence. This year alone, the number of detectives will increase by more than 19%. More than 12 928 persons are undergoing detective-related training this year, and this programme is already underway.
Chairperson, the importance of scientific evidence has become essential in the investigation of cases. Accordingly, we shall increase the capacity of the forensic science laboratories, with additional funding of R150 million for the 2008-09 period and a further R50 million per year to the 2011-12 financial year. The Criminal Law Forensic Procedures Amendment Bill will be finalised within a year.
By 31 December 2009 we aim to reduce the time from the receipt of exhibits for forensic analysis to the production of the report to 35 days in 92% of cases. In the same period, we shall reduce the time from the receipt of the fingerprints at the criminal record centre to the analysis thereof to 30 days in 85% of the cases.
An implementation plan for the full utilisation of an integrated DNA and automated fingerprint identification system, as well as facial and iris recognition systems will be developed. One of the immediate objectives is to ensure that the combined cluster interventions should achieve a 2% increase in the number of finalised cases by October this year. Further, to realise the objectives of the revamp process, the current network infrastructure is being upgraded.
A co-operative approach will characterise work between departments as part of the national crime prevention strategy. In any policing system intelligence should act as a nerve centre. Intelligence has a crucial role to play in all aspects of policing. There is a need to revitalise the intelligence of the SAPS as an intelligence division, through appointing a permanent divisional commissioner this month. There are over 1 000 vacant posts in this division. This situation cannot be allowed to continue. Therefore, we shall work to ensure that these posts are filled as a matter of urgency. We shall also prioritise training programmes. Furthermore, we are going to deepen the partnership with communities. In this regard, the Ministry is establishing a dedicated unit to focus on deepening the interaction between communities, civil society, business, faith-based organisations and other spheres of government.
Effective contemporary crime prevention relies heavily on partnerships and multi-agency approaches. These partnerships and multi-agency approaches involve using different resources, skills and capacity. Some of these resources and capacity are not available within the police themselves. Partnerships and multi-agency approaches help us to harness these resources and capacity. In using the resources, skills and capacity of our partners, we can find ways of maximising our strength and, at the same time, minimising our weaknesses. Currently, out of the 1 116 police stations, 95% of these have Community Policing Forums. This is one area where we expect the implementation of a national youth service as a living example that the youth of today are not only interested in crass materialism.
Further, to strengthen the fight against serious and violent crime, we are going to table some legislative interventions. In particular, we are proposing some amendments to section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act. We must hasten to say that trigger-happy members must not think that this is a license to kill. It is a measure aimed specifically at dealing with serious violent crime and dangerous criminals. In engaging serious and violent crime, we are in discussions with other cluster Ministries such as Defence and Military Veterans, State Security and others.
The continued incidents of cash in transit heists remain a matter of vital concern to government. While the financial losses may have declined, the threat posed to the public, where heavily armed criminals conduct heists in public spaces, requires intervention. The Ministry is currently looking at a number of different approaches to address this problem.
The development and implementation of legislation aimed at reducing vulnerabilities within the cash in transit industry is being worked on. A cash risk management forum has been set up under the chairpersonship of the Reserve Bank. This cash risk management forum includes a number of key business role players who are directly involved in cash management. The forum has also done extensive work on cash in transit risks. The department will need to more actively engage with this forum and the cash in transit industry.
Street robberies constitute 70% to 80% of crime figures. Many of these incidents are not reported as they take place in poor and underdeveloped areas. A greater part of youth involvement will focus on this area.
The President has highlighted the need to upscale the effort to deal with crimes perpetrated against women and children. We are going to ensure that current measures are vigorously implemented. In addition, our view is that we will review the decision to close specialised units. The closure of these units has lead to significant debate regarding the need for certain types of crimes to be addressed by people with specialised knowledge and experience.
Some of this knowledge and experience can only be acquired through concerted and focused knowledge acquired over time. We need to consider the reintroduction of some these specialised units such as the child protection unit and the sexual offenses unit. Furthermore, we are going to table amendments to section 26 of the Criminal Procedure Act. The Ministry of Justice and ours are seized with this matter. Government's decision to withdraw the South African National Defence Force from the borderline is under review. There is a 20% increase in the ports of entry security budget, indicating government's resolve to tighten the situation in this regard.
The SAPS has developed a corruption and fraud prevention plan. The plan aims to educate employees and the public about the nature and consequences of corrupt practices. We are going to assess the continued effectiveness of the plan. The effort to fight corruption in the public and private sector is going to be strengthened.
Processes aimed at the full establishment of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, DPCI, are progressing as planned. The unit will be fully functional on the fixed date of 6 July 2009. The establishment of this unit will enhance our capacity to prevent, combat and investigate national priority crimes.
Members will remember that the Head of DPCI, Commissioner A Dramat, was appointed last month. Fifty one members of the former Directorate of Special Operations, DSO, have already joined the new unit. A further 227 will join the unit on 6 July. [Applause.] Altogether, 1 700 members have undergone security clearance processes and are ready to ensure that the unit hits the ground running. The unit will have presence in all nine provinces.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to both the task team that has been overseeing this process and to the members of the DSO who have agreed to join DPCI. We thank them for again deciding to join hands with government and the people of our country in the fight against crime. Their presence in the newly-formed DPCI will ensure continuity. They indeed are acting as true patriots. We have full confidence in Commissioner Dramat and are certain that he will be more than equal to the task at hand. The liabilities and assets from the DSO are part of us. They are now part of the police.
The loss of dockets continues to be a serious problem. While the SAPS have in the past developed systems intended to address this problem, these systems have not worked effectively. The SAPS are now working on the development of e-dockets and e-filing systems. Once finalised, these systems will need to be implemented with considerable vigour. Failure to meet performance targets raises the question of the relationship between the current performance management processes and set targets and priorities.
It is important that there is greater accountability for failure to meet targets. If a police station is identified as a high crime incident area and resources are allocated to that station, it should follow that subsequent failure ought to result in action being taken against its management. We are seeking legal advice on the matter of willy-nilly concluding five four-year contracts with commissioners without giving due regard to performance.
What is clear is that, to address these challenges, it cannot be business as usual. As the President stated, we need to see real operational energy in police work. We will within a month, have a permanent National Commissioner. The National Commissioner will certainly have his or her work cut out to ensure accountability, co-ordination and consistent and effective communication. These are the areas that we are found wanting most of the time.
The issue of rural safety is going to receive dedicated attention. [Applause.] There is a tendency for criminals to seek refuge in these areas when the situation gets too hot for them in urban areas and towns. Stock theft syndicates operate in these areas and undermine the safety of communities. Village safety committees must be established as a matter of urgency.
Reservists have been used extensively in crime prevention operations. On 23 March 2009, a summit was held to address the reservist system and challenges. The summit agreed that a task team should be appointed to consider the issue of permanent employment of reservists. The first permanent intake of reservists would be now, in June and July, and will involve 1 100 reservists, spread over provinces. These reservists will have to undergo proper training before they are deployed. The reservists will also be required to meet the standard selection criteria.
The war against crime must be taken to a new level. Indeed, the use of the term "war against crime" must not be used merely as a slogan. Instead, it needs to be translated into action, and that is our resolve. The time for indifference, inefficiencies and lethargy is over, and everything we do must and will be performance driven. The time of rewarding excellence is now. South Africa ke nako! Bahlompheg! Re lebogile! [Applause.]
Ms L S CHIKUNGA
END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF POLICE
Ms L S CHIKUNGA: Chairperson, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Police, Members of Parliament, members of the Portfolio Committee on Police, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Khongolose uyalusekela loluphakelotimali lweLitiko Lwemaphoyisa kanye neLuphiko Lwetikhalo Lolutimele, i-ICD. Angitsatse lelitfuba ngihalalisele Ngcongcoshe kanye neLisekela lakhe ngekubekwa kuletikhundla kuleLitiko Lwemaphoyisa. LeLitiko lidzinga imicondvo lemisha, lebukhali, lehlakaniphile, lebutako nalevulekile.
Chairperson, the speech that the Minister has just delivered before this House is comprehensive, it is forward looking, and sets an agenda for the coming year.
The era of renewal should be characterised by efficiency, hard work, participation and an ethical and professional manner of doing things, including the spending of this Budget that we are debating, today. There, surely, must be a relationship between the increased budget allocation and the outcomes. Our support for this Budge Vote will, therefore, not be a blank cheque but we will closely monitor the department's expenditure and its impact on service delivery.
I am a new Chairperson for the Portfolio Committee on Police. When I was appointed to this critically important portfolio, the question that came to mind was: What is the character and the real extent of crime in South African and why? In trying to answer this question, I read many books and research findings. All these documents and their authors agree that South African crime is in the main violent.
The data regarding violent crime rates or patterns in other world countries is very patchy, unreliable and depends on who is reporting, such as the International Criminal Police Organisation, Interpol, or the World Health Organisation. Be that as it may, the truth is that our violent crime rate, be it murder per capita or robbery, is in the top bracket. In fact, I've learnt that even countries with socioeconomic conditions are similar to ours or worse have low violent crimes in comparison to ours. I'm again asking myself, why?
I agree with the Department of Safety and Security Annual Report for 2006-07 which explains that the generators of crime include poverty and unemployment, urbanisation, alcohol and drugs. Many authors agree with this report. But maybe some authors underestimate the extent of damage our past history have on our country and its people. For many of us one thing we find unique to South Africa, is its violent history or past. It seems true that the violent crime that we are witnessing in our democratic and constitutional South Africa mirrors the similar intense violence our country experienced over a long period of time and, actually, becoming a way of life. I think that there is no other country in the world that experienced such a legitimised human rights abuse over such a long period of time as in South Africa. I think our violent past is not dead; in fact, it may not even be our past. But change has to come.
Together, we managed to bring about disappearance of political violence in our country, even during election periods. Nothing should stop us from stopping criminals from holding all of us at ransom. It is in this spirit that we'll neither sensationalise nor politicise the issue of crime, because such actions serve to empower criminals rather than all of us.
President Zuma, in his state of the nation address had a specific vision that the government as well as all of us have to adopt in the fight against crime to achieve a crime free society. The significance of this noble vision is that it sets the theme for government and all law enforcement agencies. The government objectives have to aim to achieve a crime free society. The Department of Police has to incorporate this theme and put more effort in directing its resources towards the achievement of a crime free society. The yearly target of reducing crime by 7% to 10% is in line with our President's vision.
When announcing his Cabinet on 10 May 2009, the President renamed the department as the Department of Police. In doing so, he reassured South Africans about the seriousness and commitment to the fight against crime. He sent a crystal clear message to criminals that government is taking a no-nonsense approach to criminal activities. We believe that in our actions we must never downplay this noble approach.
As has just been stated by the Minister, quoting President Zuma, "the 2009 ANC Manifesto states that the ANC government will establish a new modernised, efficient and transformed Criminal Justice System to develop the capacity to fight and reduce crime. The Manifesto gives priority to the need to overhaul Criminal Justice System in order to combat crime and corruption in the next five years." To date, the Criminal Justice System is fragmented not co-ordinated and the role player's function almost in isolation from each other. This leads to victims' dissatisfaction about justice in our courts, chronic overcrowding in prisons and unrehabilitated convicts being released from prisons back to society where they reoffend. This creates a vicious cycle of crime traps. The major outcome expected from the revamping and transformation of the Criminal Justice System is the increased co-ordination and management of all efforts towards a common goal of fighting crime leading to a crime free society.
We are aware that the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster conducted public hearings during the third Parliament. We are encouraged by the fact that a scientific study on the changes required is in progress and the findings will soon be made available. We are keenly looking forward to the speedy finalisation of the Criminal Law Amendment Bill which aims at expanding the police powers to collect and store the Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA, samples, finger prints, to establish a national DNA database, and to give police access to the electronic database of the Department of Home Affairs as well as the Department of Transport.
It is, once more, in order and important to commend the staff of the disbanded Directorate of Special Operations, DSO, and, in particular, those staff members who continued to perform their duties ethically and professionally despite the uncertainty which accompanied the process of disbandment. It is also encouraging to learn that other DSO staff members are transferring to the new Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, DPCI. We think that their action displays patriotism in action. The appointment of the Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation in the youths' language is "cool". We will monitor closely the undertaking the Minister made during the President's State of the Nation Address debate to ensure that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation will be fully functional by July 2009. This will be a clear indication of our determination to fight organised crime and corruption.
Corruption is a highly infectious and most fatal disease. The former President Mandela said, "Corruption is a plague that must be erased from every regime in every place in the world." The danger of failing to erase corruption is that it is highly infectious. This may sound too disease-oriented but it is true. Imagine what will happen to an honest officer who works with officers who demand a bribe each time they award a tender and are becoming stinky rich every day. Would that change his behaviour? Maybe this officer will never think that accepting a bribe is correct but may think that one bribe may very well not make a difference. The chances are that he will do it again. The point I'm making is that if the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation fails to effectively deal with corruption, we may see a real epidemic which will kill all our efforts.
Crime against women and children is a priority crime. It is in this spirit that we say that the Domestic Violence Act should be implemented in its totality. Adequate training of more officers on how to deal with rape victims is of paramount importance. Coupled with capacity building are the resources necessary to deal with the emotional aspect of rape victims. The introduction of a Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit as just been announced by the Minister, and that is most welcome.
President Zuma urged the nation to participate in the fight against crime. He reminded all of us that our rights we so cherish go with responsibilities. A clear programme on capacitating and mobilisation of structures such as Community Policing Forums, CPF, Community Safety Forums, CSF, street committees, businesses, the youth, churches and all of us; will have to be implemented as this will narrow the space for criminals. The establishment of a section dealing with the strategic partnership and proper participation will ensure a social contract against crime. Lack of co-operation between police and communities will defeat the objectives of partnerships in the fight against crime. As part of our crime fighting capacity; the detective and forensic services should be enhanced.
Let us congratulate the department for receiving a clean - that is an unqualified - audit opinion. But the Auditor-General raised important issues, one of them being the unavailability of a policy on sector policing. Since the year 2002, the department has been using a draft policy on sector policing. If communities are an integral part in the fight against crime, the use of the draft policy for about seven years, since the year 2002, is disappointing to put it mildly. How do you implement, monitor and evaluate any programme without a policy? This needs urgent intervention.
The purpose of Crime Intelligence in the SAPS, is to manage crime intelligence, analyse crime information and provide technical support for investigations and crime prevention operations. Crime intelligence should identify crime prone areas and suspects. This implies that crime intelligence work must be proactive and preventative in nature.
This programme received 12,25% - the highest percentage real increase in comparison to other programmes. We believe that this indicates the department's focus on the prevention of crime and improvement of crime intelligent services. The portfolio committee will pay closer monitoring on the spending of the Crime Intelligence Budget together with related outcomes.
The 1992 ready to govern document noted that the ANC is committed to the creation of a single police service. The Polokwane conference reaffirmed this principle of a single police service. Under this principle we believe that Metro Police and provincial structures will have to be under the command of the Nation Police Commissioner in line with the integrated approaches to crime fighting. We will be looking forward to the steps that will ensure the implementation of this principle. The finalisation of the issues around the National Commissioner's position within this month, as announced to day by the Minister, is welcomed.
The role and mandate of the ICD is critically important. In a country that embraces human rights ICD has to be supported. It was recommended, 10 years ago, that for it to function it needs a staff structure of 535; to date, which is more 10 years later, ICD still have almost half of the 535 personnel. Clearly, such a severely under-resourced entity cannot perform its duties as expected. This needs an urgent comprehensive approach in terms of giving ICD legislative teeth to bite and resources to perform.
Let me join the Minister in congratulating our soccer team, Bafana Bafana, as well as our policemen and women for work well done during the Fifa Confederations Cup [Applause.]. In fact, we took note of the fact that President Sepp Blatter in the opening Press Conference was concerned about security, but in the closing Press Conference his concern was on other issues such as transport and accommodation. Well done to the South African Police Service and other security enforcement agencies. [Applause.]
As a portfolio committee we'll want to be sure that there will be no security lapses during the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup. We will be overseeing the role of the Department of Police quite closely and actively participate in the Justice, Peace and Conflict Studies, JPCS, Cluster.
Let me take this opportunity to thank our policemen and women who work in dangerous environments on a daily basis to ensure our safety. Their work is highly appreciated by all of us.
We need police officers who conduct themselves ethically and professionally. We need station commissioners who can manage those police stations. We need national and provincial managers who can manage. We have spent a lot of money capacitating our managers on management skills. I think it is time that we expect or even demand results. We can no longer be patient with managers who cannot manage. By the way, as President Zuma puts it, they are appointed in those management positions on the basis that they have the management skills. [Time expired.] Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD
END OF TAKE
Ms L S CHIKUNGA
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD: Madam Chair, we can't go on like this. We cannot go on as a nation listening to Nancy Richards on SAfm telling of a woman who gave birth a month ago as a result of rape, only to be dragged from her home last week and gang raped, only to run in terror searching for a Good Samaritan, and finding one who dried her tears, calmed her, gave her water, and who then dragged her into the bush where she was raped again.
Everyone in this Chamber is fully cognisant of the crime in South Africa. We are not a nation of children looking for a nanny state to tell us only as much as it thinks we should be allowed to hear. I confess that the new Minister's decision to renege on his predecessor's assertion that crime statistics would be released twice annually startled even me. The Minister in fact told me on a televised debate that if he had his way we would only be informed of the status of crime once every second year. Now we will have to wait until September before he releases the statistics, which will by then be 18 months out of date. Hardly a reflection of the cold hard reality of crime we are experiencing today.
It's understandable that the ANC wanted to keep the country in the dark in relation to the statistics before the election. That would hardly have improved their failed attempt at reaching a two-thirds majority, but to wait until September is utterly unacceptable. Without statistics, without the knowledge of the criminal mind they they give us, we have taken the fight against crime back into the Dark Ages.
Two years ago I knew with certainty that 52 of us were being murdered every day, 365 days a year. Today I have no idea, is it 60 a day or is it a 100 perhaps? You are well protected by your bodyguards, Minister, as are your Cabinet colleagues, and a R1 million a month is spent on protecting the President, but the rest of the citizens of South Africa have an absolute right to know just how bad the situation is, where the worst crimes are perpetrated, and to be informed to the nth degree so that they may make every attempt to protect themselves and their families because it certainly is the case that the SAPS is unable to do it for them.
Every expert in this country will tell you that updated and accurate information on crime is an essential tool in fighting crime and creating real and local responses. Covering up crime won't make crime go away, Minister, and no one asked you to protect us from the truth.
What we need are crime statistics updated continuously, using a real-time crime information system. Information that is available to any member of the public via a real-time internet crime database visible at their local police station which would allow for detailed data analysis. Weekly reports generated by the system could be used by the SAPS to develop specific responses to localised problems, and the database should be integrated with statistics generated by the Departments of Justice and Correctional Services.
Sadly, from the world without bodyguards, the truth is that we spend every last cent at our disposal on people other than the police to keep our families safe, paying R40 billion a year for something our taxes should already provide. The reason? On the streets there are great swathes of citizens who no longer trust men or women in uniform.
I know the government understands this, because 18 national departments spent a total of R431 million on private security a year ago.
What we do know is that there were over 6 000 complaints against members of the SAPS this past year and 2 772 of those for criminal activities that equals eight police doing crime each and every day. In addition, to date R90 million has been spent on suspended SAPS members on full pay, covering nearly 13 000 working days in total; we know that there are police stations that are in a pitiful state of repair, and we know that minutes after the SAPS top structure informed us here in Parliament a week ago that there were no more equipment shortages, that SAPS members were inundating us with tales of how it was that they had no equipment at all.
What I do know is that the latest Global Peace Index survey placed South Africa 123 out of 144 countries. We are seven places down on our position last year. Clearly, the ongoing deterioration of the crime problem in South Africa warrants a decisive new approach.
Having a look at what we spend just some of this R46 billion budget on, there are the enormously expensive 10111 call centres, R600 million in Gauteng alone, that we call in vain, for no one to come. Having completed the report we requested, the Auditor-General stated that there are serious inadequacies in the provision of the most basic of police services. About 79% of the calls made to the 10111 centres are abandoned and now two of those were mine, two of those were my deputy's. We're still waiting for someone to respond from the SAPS.
To a certain extent, Minister, you are following in your predecessor's shoes. He attempted to hide the truth from us, as you're hiding the statistics from us. He hid away the damning 400 page R7,5 million report of the dysfunctionality of the police Legal Services Division, run by a woman who, the report claims, has "a fundamental misunderstanding of the law and legal processes". It is under this Lindiwe Mthimkulu's leadership that the SAPS ran up legal bills of R46 million in 2006-07 - twice the amount paid out in settlements. Yet another result of the ANC's failed cadre deployment policy, and one which this country is praying today will not land us with another dysfunctional National Police Commissioner. Just a suggestion here Minister, why not hire someone who is actually qualified to do the job? Certainly some of the budget will go to the new unit?
I understand completely that the ANC had no option but to go ahead and destroy the most successful crime fighting unit this country has ever known - the Scorpions - with their 94% conviction rate, because of the numbers of ANC bigwigs and parliamentarians who ended up in court because of them. Now we have Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Dipci, tucked safely away under the Minister's arm and we have no one left to police the police, let alone investigate the next Jackie Selebi, or Tony Yengeni.
The morale of our SAPS members is at an all time low as they hear of the cases against their rudderless colleagues who have been convicted of murder, armed robbery and rape, while they're stuck behind desks pushing papers aimed at criminalising the honest firearm owners in our society. Via that legislation the court has now inevitably put on ice awaiting the results of a Constitutional Court Challenge. The DA said that the Firearm Legislation would be an extremely expensive failure, and it has.
Legal gun owners fumed at the hoops they had to jump through to get a new, improved, expensive gun licence when they already owned one, while at the same time one clue as to how our criminals have become so heavily armed comes via the information that Police somehow lost 2 500 weapons last year. And that, added to municipal losses, means that 3 767 weapons are now in the hands of the criminals. The fact is since 2001, over 1 400 weapons have been lost or stolen from police stations, and so of course they chose to turn and focus on the rest of us; and, if, in the unlikely event that the criminals are caught, that's an 11% chance if they murder someone, an 8% chance if they rob a house, and a 7% chance if they steal a car, they'll have a long holiday out on bail because the Forensic Science Laboratories are still in chaos. Even though, in the latest data from the Minister, he admits that backlogs in Forensic Science Laboratories are up by 93% since June 2007, we have been reliably informed that these figures significantly understate the reality of the situation and that total backlogs are in fact roughly double that which the Minister claimed it is.
The backlogs in the Western Cape alone stand at approximately 18 000 samples, while he says they stand at 11 000 nationwide. Another query for the Minister, would be why it is that so few police are able to write dockets correctly when we spend so much on training, and why it is that there are 5 200 SAPS members, as revealed in the Scopa hearing two hours ago, who do not have driver's licences? The docket situation may not be so serious in that they're often lost anyway. The number of lost dockets has increased every year since 2003, and totals over 2 500. Perhaps e-dockets would be more secure, I don't know. But seriously, a SAPS member who can't drive?
That brings me to statements made by the new Deputy Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, who believes that unemployed youths, armed with torches, should be sent out to patrol the streets with a public relations certificate for protection. Now, at present, the Police Service remains hamstrung by the poor quality of its training programmes, and most new recruits never come close to reaching their full potential as officers, because they never receive the kind of tuition and guidance they deserve. Now, through sorting the myriad existing problems inside the SAPS may be less glamorous than announcing flashy new programmes, but this really should be where the Deputy Minister's focus lies. There really is no need to proffer teenagers as cannon fodder.
One of the most worrying aspects of this budget is the fact that it has to meet the extraordinary amounts to be paid out to civilians who were abused by the police. The truth is that there are police in South Africa today who are convicted of murder, rape, grievous bodily harm, assault and of course beating ill pensioners to death in the cells, putting women in male cells to be gang raped, or throwing innocent men into a cell to be gang raped all night while the officer slept at the front desk. Almost one fifth of the budget was lost to these totally preventable errors of judgement on the part of the police. Why are we failing in our training? We're all watching as scores of new recruits are taken into the SAPS and such is the psychometric testing that a gang of these new students near Port Elizabeth used their vehicle to ram a car off the road, and proceeded to pillage the broken civilians lying scattered around their wreck. The latest Auditor-General report reveals that SAPS members hardly receive training anyway. How is that possible, and are we actually paying for the sort of training centres that allow people like this into the service?
Another of the areas of concern is the fact that the Ministry has failed to reverse Jackie Selebi's disastrous destruction of the specialised units and I do welcome the comments you have made here today on that matter. It would be the totally discredited National Police Commissioner that I am refereeing to who has been on full pay for nearly two years, and whose contract has yesterday been extended for a month, so he'll receive yet another R93 000 for July and then what Minister? Is he the one who is going to be reinstated? We don't need dithering here, we need a clear explanation of why you've kept him on for another month past the expiration of his contract, on top of paying him nearly R2 million to sit at home.
A top priority should be to appoint a new commissioner, as well to fill various vacancies in senior posts that hinder the department's ability to function. It was Selebi who decided to close down all specialised units and, as I said, we really do welcome your remarks today in relation with the units and we agree and we have been saying for years to bring them back. The expertise is scattered and no longer utilised. Indeed, if we actually had viable crime statistics in front of us to scrutinise, we'd be able to determine for ourselves the results of this decision.
I use the word "viable", because of the endless reports I've received over the years that stations are understating crime statistics so that they may receive a pat on the back. Ask the country's new Community Safety Minister in the Western Cape, Lennit Max. You can't keep the statistics from the DA in this province any more, so that can of worms is now well and truly open, and the news is out that at least 500 crimes in this province may not have been investigated, with 56 rapes not registered.
Now that you've shut down the Scorpions, the only unit left that could investigate police corruption would be the Independent Complaints Directorate, ICD. Unfortunately when the ICD investigates, the SAPS mostly ignores its suggestions.
This House has a moral obligation to strengthen the ICD, which has been very deliberately been kept underresourced. Thank you for the new chairperson for raising that. A week ago the Minister stated on television that he was strengthening this unit, but the ICD promptly came before the portfolio committee and revealed that R3 million had been summarily subtracted from their budget. Who do we believe? Do we believe the ICD and the Treasury or the Minister? The fact is that there is no separate budget today and that it is a crying shame. Their Vote should be a separate budget. As an interim measure I have submitted a private member's legislative proposal, the purpose of which is to empower the ICD by forcing the SAPS to do their job. So, it's going be most interesting to see the reaction of the various committees to this proposal. Just yesterday, I was contacted by a man whose son was, according to an ICD report, shot dead by a SAPS member. That was nine years ago, and the member is still on active duty, and the evidence is disappearing piece by piece.
About the borders, Minister, you might want to speak with the Minister of Home Affairs and read the 2008 World Drug Report, which paints a damning picture about drug problems. We produce 28% of all of the cannabis produced in Africa. The solution is that we must reinstate the SAPS Narcotics Bureau, which was disbanded by Selebi of course and of course illegal narcotics must be prevented from entering and exiting the country.
In closing, I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, those brave men and women of SAPS who work tirelessly to keep us safe. They do a spectacular job, despite an almost total vacuum in leadership. What is sad, is that when they retire, they will probably be denied their pensions for up to three full years, and have their houses attached. Currently, 2 000 former SAPS members are in that position. Is there anything new in this budget – apart from the fact that the second largest increase goes to protection services for the so-called VIPs? The answer is no. Do you imagine that the DA is going to support this budget? [Time Expired.]
Mr M E GEORGE
END OF TAKE
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD
Mr M E GEORGE: Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Members of Parliament, leaders from the SA Police Service ... [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, please!
Mr M E GEORGE: In presenting the position of Cope in this budget ... [Interjections.] Shut up!
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, hon member! Just withdraw "Shut up!"
Mr M E GEORGE: I withdraw it. [Laughter.] Keep quiet!
I want to refer to section 205(3) of the Constitution of South Africa. It states:
The objects of the police service are to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property, and to uphold and enforce the law.
That is what the police service is meant for. [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, please!
Mr M E GEORGE: It is therefore clear that the police must be highly trained, highly disciplined and mentally prepared to tackle this huge task, because it is not a small task. The budget must be adequate to meet these basic requirements, especially the protection of the inhabitants of the Republic. Any government that cannot protect its citizens, is not worth being called a government. [Interjections.]
In the limited time allocated to me, I will deal mainly with detective services, the forensic science laboratory and crime intelligence.
The budget of R7,6 billion for detective services is not only inadequate, it is also the source of all problems in fighting crime. This is compounded by the forensic science laboratory, which is in actual fact on its knees, to put it a better way. Somebody said it is in chaos, but I want to be polite, and say it is on its knees.
A retention strategy is urgently required in this section. I know what the problems are. [Interjections.] One of the problems is that you must develop a retention strategy. If you train people, but you don't pay them enough, they are going to be taken away.
Inadequate budgets and detectives that are not properly trained affect almost all departments of the JCPS. You know, the issue of the training of detectives has been talked about since the nineties. Everybody was saying that it was important for us to make sure that we have trained detectives. Even now we discover the budget does not accommodate that. I must say I welcome the statement made by the Minister now about the training of detectives, and also about the forensics laboratory.
But my question to you, Minister, is: Looking at the budget, where are you going to get the money towards this good thing that you are talking about? Because we welcome it, but where are you going to get the money to do it? [Interjections.]
The prisons, for example, are full of awaiting-trial detainees. That is a problem of not having highly trained detectives and limited numbers of detectives. You need more detectives, you need highly trained detectives, as you have said. I welcome that. But that is urgent, Mr Minister.
Increase the number of detectives and make sure that they are properly trained. This thing of one detective handling over 100 dockets, some of them close to 400, is a recipe for disaster. We cannot run sufficient detectives if they are handling more dockets than they are able to handle properly.
It was announced during the 2009-10 Budget Speech that R5,4 billion had been set aside for spending over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period towards the overhauling of the forensic science investigation and part of the criminal justice review. Mr Minister, this has become very urgent, like you said. Go for it, "broer"! [Brother.] Do it now! [Interjections.]
Crime intelligence is one of the most critical agencies with regard to the combating and prevention of crime. [Interjections.]
If you don't tell them to shut up, Chairperson, I will tell them to shut up. [Interjections.]
Let me repeat this for the Minister to hear ...
Dr S M PILLAY: Madam Chair, on a point of order: I would like to know if it is parliamentary to refer to our hon Minister as "broer". It is really unparliamentary, please. [Interjections.] No, in any language. [Interjections.] Madam Chair, I think you are qualified enough to rule on the matter.
Mr M E GEORGE: Madam Chair, that is why I was patient, because I know there is nothing that man can say that is intelligent or intended.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Hon member, here in the House we are not "broers" and "sisters", we are hon members. [Applause.]
Mr M E GEORGE: Oh, hon broer! [Laughter.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): You are wasting our time.
Mr M E GEORGE: Chairperson, hon Minister, crime intelligence is one of the most critical agencies in the combating and prevention of crime. If this unit does not have adequate resources, it will not be effective in fighting crime. Look at the one point something billion, Minister. It is tantamount to not taking this unit seriously. Please go out of your way and make sure that the crime intelligence unit is properly capacitated so that it can do its job properly. [Interjections.]
Mr Minister, the high level of crime in this country is not acceptable. Any budget or increase thereof must be aimed at making an impact in bringing down the levels of crime.
If I had time, I would have talked more about the top-heavy management of the department, which was reported by Popcru. [Interjections.] Police are trained to arrest criminals, not to sit in the office.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order, member, can you please wind up?
Mr M E GEORGE: You have already mentioned border security, Minister. Border security must go back to the Department of Defence. It was a mistake. I am not apportioning blame to anybody. It was a mistake of all of us. It was a mistake to take it to the police, because the police are not trained to do that job, and they will never be able to do it. [Interjections.]
Mr Deputy Minister, I heard you talking about the reintroduction of special units. Today I also heard the Minister talking about that. There was a lot of debate about this, some believing that these units ...
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Hon member, your time has expired.
Mr M E GEORGE: No! [Applause.]
Mr V B NDLOVU
END OF TAKE
Mr M E GEORGE
Mr V B NDLOVU: Chairperson, Minister and Deputy Minister, hon members, it is important to increase the victim-friendly facilities at police stations to cater for the needs of the victims of crime. Domestic violence victims must not be exposed in a manner that is not conducive to their needs, especially children. These facilities should be linked to the courts where their cases are heard.
The Minister must facilitate, as a matter of urgency, the appointment of a National Commissioner. I am very glad that the Minister said "within the month". This should have been done a long time ago.
Visible policing is a programme that we should all applaud, as it plays a big part in preventing crimes before they take place. Calling it "crime prevention" is more appropriate than "visible policing". The department has failed to fully implement sector policing in all 169 high-contact crime stations. Sector policing has only been implemented at 78% of the 169 high-contact crime stations. The country is fortunate that incidents have not happened at all the big matches and tournaments held, and as a country we have not been embarrassed. But let us be prepared for the 2010 World Cup. It is time that police reservists are compensated. The department is losing their services because compensation is inadequate.
Regarding street committees, the IFP is totally against street committees ... [Interjections.] Howlers, please listen! The IFP is totally against street committees because of the behaviour of members of those street committees. The public cannot be held to ransom simply because they do not agree with those street committees. Some of us have been victims of those street committees before and we know how they function. Therefore we cannot in any way whatsoever accept it.
Regarding border policing, the border police have admitted previously that they had neither sufficient resources, nor the human, financial, material or even technical skills required to undertake this mammoth responsibility. The IFP will therefore recommend that there should be an integrated plan which will include the SA National Defence Force and the police performing the task, until such police are equipped to perform this function.
Regarding detective services, most cases are thrown out of court because of poor investigation. The IFP welcomes the improvement in the training of more detectives in all spheres of the work, coupled with the proper integration of the Directorate of Special Investigations. There should be a link between the investigation and the prosecution, so that the prosecutor will be able to understand the case, enabling the prosecutor to finalise the case in court. The police are the first leg of prosecution. Therefore, when detectives fail to perform their jobs properly, the courts are unable to prosecute and criminals roam the streets.
The result of the integration of the criminal justice system should be better co-ordination between the police and the justice system. Criminals should not be arrested by the police, only to be freed by the courts imposing bail conditions on reasonable doubt.
Uboshwe ntambama kepha kusasa ekuseni sesidla nawe isidlo sasekuseni.[Uhleko.]
Regarding discipline of members, the department should take into account the behaviour of the police. Police stations are short of vehicles, yet police vehicles are seen parked at shopping malls and outside private homes, with members arriving drunk at work, and colleagues shot at while on duty. Disciplinary action should be swift and not delayed unnecessarily.
There is only one sentence I want to say about the Independent Complaints Directorate, ICD. The ICD is a bulldog without teeth. No manpower should be given to the ICD. The core function of the ICD is to investigate offences. The ICD should be able to take a matter to court directly for the prosecution or punishment of offenders, removing costly procedures and referrals back to the police for action.
Ungenza kanjani ukuthi ubophe elinye iphoyisa uthi alihlulelwe elinye iphoyisa. Ungakwenza kanjani lokho?
ICD offices that have been opened should be improving service delivery, especially in those areas where they are; if this is not happening, why not? These offices must be able to give us details on whether the number of deaths during police action is increasing or not. South Africans have witnessed increased shootings by the police and on the police. Therefore the ICD's work is cut out.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mrs M N Oliphant): Order! Hon member, your time has expired.
Mnu V B NDLOVU: Hawu! Mama ubungangitsheli ngani ukuthi ngisaselelwe yisikhathi. [Ihlombe nohleko.]
Ms M A MOLEBATSI
END OF TAKE
Mr V B NDLOVU
Moht M A MOLEBATSI: Modulasetulo, Ditona, Batlatsa-Ditona, maloko a a tlotlegang, baeng ba tlotlo, Lefapha la Sepodisi, ntetleng go le dumedisa. Mokgatlho wa ANC o rotloetsa maloko otlhe a Ntlo e gore ke nako ya go tshwaraganya matsogo kgatlhanong le bosenyi. Fa re dira mmogo, re ka dira go le gontsi mme re ka tokafatsa matshelo a batho ba rona. Bosenyi ga bo na melelwane ya sepolotiki, motlotlegi Kohler-Barnard. Fa sesenyi se tlhasela, ga se ka ke sa go botsa mokgatlho wa gago pele. Se tlhasela fela. [Legofi.]
Independent Complaints Directorate, ICD, e ka re thusa go lwantsha bosenyi le go tsamaisa dilo sentle mo Lefapheng la Sepodisi sa Aforika Borwa. Kantoro ya me ya kgaolotlhopho e mo motsesetoropong wa Ga-Rankuwa, mo mmasepaleng wa Tshwane, mme fa re bua ka ICD batho ba botsa gore ke eng seo. Potso ke gore fa ba kwa motsesetoropong ba sa itse, ba kwa magaeng bona? ICD e na le tiro ya go dira gore e itsege mo bathong ba rona. Se sengwe gape ba tshwanetse go nna le lefelotetsetso [call centre] gore batho ba rona ba le fitlhelele.
Le fa dintsho mo dikgolegong di fokotsega, se se tshwenyang ke gore dingwe tsa tsona di diragala fa bagolegwa ba ikaletsa ka dilo di tshwana le mapanta le dokgojana tsa ditlhako; dilo tse di sa tshwanelang go tsena ka fa kgolegelong. Se se supa go tlhoka tlhokomelo ya sepodisi, mme ICD e tshwanetse go tiisa letsogo.
As stated in the state of the nation address by the President of the Republic, crimes against women and children, amongst others, are regarded as priority crimes. The state of the nation address demonstrates that there is a relationship between government and the ANC electorates. This relationship must find expression in Budget Vote 20, to ensure that government addresses the needs of the poor masses. The ANC election manifesto calls for the need to strengthen protection of women and children by law-enforcement agencies.
The ICD and the SA Police Service have a complimentary mandate to combat crime, particularly crimes against women and children. The complimentary mandate derives its roots from the ANC document called Policing the Transition, which maps out how best police practices can be improved in a democratic South Africa in order to ensure efficiency and accountability. The appointment of a permanent head of department is crucial. This department cannot go on operating with an acting head.
The core legislative mandate of the ICD, as stated in section 53 of the SA Police Service Act 68 of 1995, is to investigate any misconduct or offence allegedly committed by members of SAPS, either of its own accord or upon receipt of complaint; the ICD may investigate any death in police custody or as the result of police negligence; and it may investigate any matter referred to it by the Minister or a member of the executive council.
The mandate recognises that police practices must be within the rule of law and principle of accountability. It recognises that in a constitutional democracy the SA Police Service has to render in accordance with: Firstly, the Constitution; secondly, respect for human rights and dignity for all suspects; thirdly, respect the presumption of innocence of the accused; fourthly, nondiscrimination and fairness; and fifthly, professionalism.
Despite the legal expectations on the part of the SA Police Service, it is crucial to note that political implications of the daily practices of the SAPS still call for transformation.
As highlighted above, the core function of the ICD is to investigate the conduct of the SAPS and municipal police. This function should not be seen in antagonistic terms. There is a working relationship between the SAPS and the ICD. It is wrong for some within the policing sphere to perceive this relationship as a matter of conflict. However, it must be borne in mind that the conduct or practices of the SAPS do not take place in a socioeconomic vacuum. One needs to examine and understand the difficult and different circumstances in which police operate.
Context matters in policing, particularly in democratic constitutionalism matters, particularly when the levels of crime executed by criminal elements persist against ordinary citizens and members of the police. This point makes the police work and the debate on police conduct very difficult. This point relates to work around: investigation of cases of crime; arrests and minimum use of force; respect of due process; conditions of services; and safety.
The police internal investigation and disciplinary measures should seek to promote good policing. These include taking care of the rights and the plight of suspects, particularly those held in police cells or detention. But in order for the ICD to be able to execute its work, there's a need to address: case backlogs; shortage of staff; and lack of continuous training. The above challenges call for ongoing in-service training as stated including: recruiting more personnel, particularly investigators; increasing budgets to ensure effective carrying of oversight work; and successfully implementing the Domestic Violence Act by SAPS by way of ensuring that the SAPS gives priority to domestic violence cases.
It is notable that government and the ANC are committed to rooting out corruption at all levels. Crime against women and children and inequalities exist in communities in varying degrees. South Africa is a constitutional democratic country, but has not yet eradicated gender inequalities. In this regard, the ANC's 52nd Conference resolutions reaffirm its stance against all forms of crime against women and children. There is a need for a bigger budget in order to enable the ICD to provide awareness programmes on gender sensitivity, children and women's rights and self-respect and the setting up of satellite offices for the ICD to be more accessible.
Me M A MOLEBATSI: Voorsitter, in dié opsig is daar talle suksesse soos aangedui deur die afname in die skeiding van regte van verdagtes onder polisie toesig in vergelyking met vorige jare. Om dié huidige tekens te handhaaf en te verbeter is dit dus van kardinale belangrik om gemeenskapsbetrokkenheid sover as die uitbreiding van die begroting vir die Onafhanklike Klagtesdirektoraat, OKD, te bewerkstellig.
Dit is ook belangrik vir die OKD om opvolgwerksaanbevelings te maak om te verseker dat lede van die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiediens, SAPD daaraan voldoen. Die Wet op Gesinsgeweld, Wet no 116 van 1998, plaas sekere verpligtinge op polisie-offisiere wat klagtes van huishoudelike geweld ontvang.
Alhoewel die eintlike hantering van huishoudelike geweldsake deur polisie-offisiere, twee aparte vrae opper, naamlik: Eerstens, of die polisie die kapasiteit het om sake van dié aard te hanteer; en tweedens, of die wet in staat is om dit te implementeer in sy huidige vorm. Aldus dan, moet niemand die relevansie van die Wet op Gesinsgeweld, bevraagteken nie.
Die relevansie daarvan is sonder twyfel, aangesien dit reageer op die vlakke van huishoudelike en familiegeweld. Sake van huishoudelike geweld, ... [Time expired.]
Ms M A MOLEBATSI: Agb Voorsitter, die ANC ondersteun hierdie begroting. Ek dank u. [Applause.]
Mr P J GROENEWALD
END OF TAKE
Ms M A MOLEBATSI
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Voorsitter, ek het u nie gehoor nie. Volgens die sprekerslys, is daar iemand anders.
Ek wil vir die agb Minister sê, dit wat hy sê, klink goed in die ore van die mense van Suid-Afrika. Dit is wat hulle graag wil hoor, maar agb Voorsitter, ek wil vir die Minister sê dat die afgelope 15 jaar in die Polisiediens gekenmerk was aan politieke mislukkings. 'n Voorbeeld daarvan is die aanstelling van Kommisaris Jackie Selebi as die Nasionale Kommissaris. Hoe kan jy 'n diplomaat aanstel om misdadigers te beveg. Jy kan nie 'n misdadiger met diplomasie beveg nie.
Ek wil vir die agb Minister vra, met die nuwe aanstelling, ek weet die President stel die persoon aan, moet u asseblief 'n ervare, gesoute, man of vrou kry wat uit die Polisiediens uit is, wat weet hoe werk dit in die polisie.
Wat is 'n verdere mislukking - die afskaffing van die Kommandostelsel. Die agb Minister erken vandag hierso dat misdadigers uitwyk na die plattelandse gebiede toe as hulle 'n misdaad gepleeg het. Dit was juis die kommandostelsel wat hulle dan opgetel het. Hoekom moet ons eers deur hierdie kurwe gaan, voor u dit opvang?
Die derde aspek is die Vuurwapenwet. Voorsitter, ek het hoeveel keer gesê, maar dit gaan 'n mislukking wees want die polisie beskik nie oor die administratiewe vermoë om die Vuurwapenwet te administreer nie. Nou moet daar eers 'n hofsaak wees. Agb Minister, ek wil vir u vra, luister na die oppossiepartye. Hulle wil vir u goeie advies gee. [Tussenwerpsels.]
Maar daar is 'n laaste ding wat ek wil vir u sê, u het 'n virus in die Polisiediens. U het 'n vrot kol en daardie virus is nuwe rasisme. Rasisme van swart polisielede op blanke polisielede. [Tussenwerpsels.] Voorsitter, hoe kan jy toelaat dat 'n polisieman na die publiek verwys, 'n blanke, as 'n "White Dog". [Tussenwerpsels.]
CHAIRPERSON (Mrs N B Gxowa): Hon member, your time has expired.
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Maar ek hoor niks van die Agb Minister nie. U sal daarop moet optree. Dankie. [Interjections.]
Ek sal nie sit nie. Ek sal staan as ek wil staan. Jy sal nie vir my ek moet sit nie, hoor! [Interjections.]
Die Voorsitter sal vir my sê, sit.
CHAIRPERSON (Mrs N B Gxowa): Your time has expired.
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Agb Voorsitter, ...
CHAIRPERSON (Mrs N B Gxowa): Your time has expired.
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: ... ek sal na u luister, maar ek sal nie na die lede luister wat sê el moet sit nie. As u vir my sê ek moet sit, dan sal ek sit. [Interjections.]
CHAIRPERSON (Mrs N B Gxowa): Please take your seat. Your time has expired.
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Dankie.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF POLICE
END OF TAKE
Mr P J GROENEWALD
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Minister of Police, Comrade Nathi Mthethwa, hon Members of Parliament, distinguished guests, comrades, compatriots, ladies and gentlemen and fellow South Africans, I want to start with the disclaimer that this my maiden speech. So, for everything that I will say, that must be taken into consideration. I know nothing about Parliament; I've never been to Parliament.
This year we commemorate 30 years of the brutal murder of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu by the apartheid state. His life was prematurely terminated at its prime tender age of 23. His life continues to inspire our forward momentum towards a truly emancipated society at peace with itself. Our commitment to the realisation of the ideals embodied in the Freedom Charter of peace, security and comfort enjoins us to become champions in the fight against crime in all its manifestations.
The Constitution demands of us to create a nation state free from crime with citizens living in harmony. We dare not fail in our duty to advance towards such a reality, and we will dedicate every resource at our disposal in the war against crime. This is not only the responsibility of government, but a shared obligation which demands of every citizen to join in this collective effort to cleanse our communities from the cancer of crime. We invite every patriotic South African to join us in the new deal to uproot crime and reclaim our streets from criminals.
Let me add my weight to what the Minister of Police raised about the Fifa Confederations Cup. On Sunday 28 June 2009, the Fifa Confederations Cup 2009 officially came to an end. We salute our police personnel who have shown dedication and commitment in pursuit of their constitutional obligation to protect the citizens as well as the visitors from crime. The Confederations Cup was an acid test of our capability to defend our citizens and visitors from the scourge of crime, and our women and men in blue passed with flying colours. [Applause.] It is our commitment that this capability must permeate to the everyday activities of the SA Police Service and must result in lower crime rates and higher conviction rates of criminals. The commendable actions of our police officers and the superior levels of co-ordination and co-operation with other security agencies demonstrated to the world that South Africa and its people are ready to host the largest sporting extravaganza in a peaceful and secure manner. We must take this opportunity to thank all those women and men in blue who continue to make us proud by executing their duties with diligence, commitment and dedication.
Despite our best efforts, our detractors and agent provocateurs continue their attempts to project us in a bad light as incompetent and incapable of successfully hosting an event of the magnitude of 2010. Indeed, they did not hesitate to blow out of proportion incidents that were otherwise nothing more than minor and isolated. The most prominent of these stories is one that involved players of one of the teams that were competing in the Confederations Cup and an alleged incident of theft from their hotel rooms. While the incident was regrettable and unfortunate, we were more disappointed by the manner in which our local media sensationalised and blew the story out of proportion and fed an international media frenzy around what proved to be a nonevent in the end. Streaming headlines were broadcast from newsrooms around the world creating an impression that the Confederations Cup tournament was being held against the backdrop of extreme levels of crime. We dare declare, without fear of contradiction, that the Confederations Cup was a resounding success, held in a safe and secure environment, with no major crime incidents directly related to the tournament reported.
Our police officers place their lives in harm's way as they undertake their duty of confronting the scourge of crime in our communities. Many have paid the ultimate price with their lives and have perished in the line of duty. We must honour these unsung heroes and heroines with an unwavering commitment to intensify the fight against crime and make the crime of injuring or killing a police office an extremely serious one. I dedicate this speech to these gallant defenders of our nation who have chosen a career to fight crime and to strengthen the operational effectiveness and efficiency of the SA Police Service. In their line of duty they face numerous challenges, serious injuries and even death.
The ferocity with which we will deal with the killing of police officers is the first step of many that seek to underpin the value we place in our officers as protectors of our people and foot soldiers in our war against crime and corruption. We are committed to taking extraordinary measures should the occasion require such interventions in order to demonstrate our seriousness. We will not tolerate the killing of our law enforcers and we will do everything in our power to throw the book at those who believe they can attack our officers with impunity. Between the 2004-05 and 2008-09 financial years, 510 police officers died in the line of duty, killed by criminals. In the 2008-09 financial year, 106 police officers perished in the line of duty. Each death of a police officer is one death too many, and we say enough is enough. "Washa tsotsi." [Criminals beware.] [Applause.]
Our singular resolve is to ensure that criminals pay the ultimate price for their actions, and that we are able to address the scourge of crime in a sustainable way. This, in itself, is a signal that the honeymoon is over and we have every intention to be ruthless and unapologetic in our uprooting the cancer of crime from our communities. We are determined to introduce new approaches to solve old problems and ensure coherence and sustainability in our initiatives. Those who think committing crime, which includes killing police officers, is fashionable will face the full might of the law. We are under no illusion about the daunting task that lies ahead.
In the coming months we will launch operation "Washa tsotsi" [Criminals beware.] as a popular mobilisation programme, mobilising communities against crime in all its manifestations. "Washa tsotsi" [Criminals beware.] is a radical African expression and a display of strength and zealousness against one's enemy. It is a weapon to instil fear and respect in one's strategic opponent. It is an expression of readiness of one's forces of war. It is an exhibition of strength. It is a war cry. This operation will be community-led, based on the strategic isolation of criminals and those who harbour them. It is based on the popular partnership between the police and the community at large in the fight against crime and criminality. This will make entertainment centres unbearable for criminals. It is the criminals who must be on the run, not the police and the society. This operation will also ensure that those who thrive on selling and buying stolen goods face the full might of the law. It will entail a practical roll out of a reject and report stolen goods campaign, which continues to make an impact on the reduction of crime. The operation will also incorporate the strategy of the Western Cape, the people-oriented sustained strategy, which seeks to generate a shared understanding among the people of the Western Cape of what crime prevention involves. This is essential in providing a beacon for collective and integrated action.
Comrade Oliver Tambo, a giant of our revolution and an architect of our democracy once said, "in the life of a nation, there comes a time when a nation is faced with the difficult choice of whether to submit or fight." We refuse to submit to criminals who continue to instil fear among the peace-loving citizens of South Africa, and we will fight them on every corner, on every street and in every community where they hide. We are confident that this is a war we will win. We say to them: The jig is up.
Amasi abekw'elangeni. [The jig is up.]
We pledge to the people of South Africa that we will fight crime in all its facets and manifestations. The commitment made by the former Minister of Safety and Security, the late Comrade Steve Tshwete, when he said, "we will deal with criminals with the ferocity of a cornered bull and with the agility of a cat. We will deal with them the way a bulldog deals with a bone", continues to reverberate to this day. We recommit ourselves to that commitment, and we will show no mercy in throwing the book at criminals and those who harbour them. Let it be known today that the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah awaits them. Our patience has been tempted to the limit and communities have grown tired of living in constant fear. It can never be acceptable that people cannot feel safe in their own homes. We will employ every resource at our disposal to hunt down criminals and ensure that the criminal justice system allows us to effectively lock them up and throw away the key.
There are three pivotal principles in combating crime, particularly its unique random and violent nature in our country: Firstly, the fight against crime cannot uncritically be separated from the war of want. At the core of this principle, are incidents of contact crime such as rape, murder and grievous bodily harm.
Secondly, in this fight against crime, specific mindsets and historical conditions drive elements of the crime problem. One of them is the proliferation of firearms in the hands of civilians; greed and conspicuous consumption; the psychology of patriarchal power relations and attitudes towards weaker members of society, particularly women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
Thirdly, the networks of crime have grown in their reach and sophistication and traverse national boundaries. Included in this are syndicates that deal with money laundering, human trafficking, cash-in-transit heists, ATM bombings as well as drug trafficking.
In order for the outcomes of our war against crime to be sustainable, it is imperative that the country's developmental agenda should aim at gradually eliminating some of the social and economic conditions that breed crime. This should help contribute towards creating an enabling environment for peace, security, stability, economic freedom. The overarching strategy in the war against crime is the mobilisation of society to bring criminals to book. This includes an overhaul of race, class, gender and family relations and intolerance of abuse and crime within communities. Critical to this, is a radical transformation of state institutions to become truly responsive to the notion of a developmental state. This should be coupled by the radical implementation of an effective and efficient regulation of the private security industry. We need to continue to deepen and expand co-operation among law-enforcement agencies in the country, region and further afield. In fact, attention should be paid to any remaining apartheid networks of dirty war and spies, some of which are an integral part of the criminal networks.
As part of our efforts to implement a coherent and focused programme in fighting crime, unapologetically, we commit ourselves to the unwavering implementation of the ANC's 52nd National Conference resolutions. The process of placing municipal, metro and traffic police under the command and control of the National Commissioner of the SA Police as a force multiplier. As we put these priorities before you, it is worth remembering that in 2004 we committed to reducing crime by 7% to 10% per annum. Thus, we need, as matter of urgency, to establish the Community Safety Forums. There should also be a clear alignment of the justice cluster. The success in policing is reliant on effective community participation for the effectiveness of the sector policing to ensure closer co-operation and integration.
Young people, like some of the people I've heard vulgarising the point, have reduced themselves to nothing but consumerists, not active participants in the process of radically transforming society. Young people must also be involved in the massive programme of community policing and safety that will include night street patrols and have stipends paid by government. [Time Expired.] Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Rev K R J MESHOE
END OF TAKE
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF POLICE
Rev K R J MESHOE: Chairperson, while the ACDP appreciates the new Minister of Police's declared intention to develop capacity for fighting and reducing crime, we are however still concerned about the continual reports of corruption in the police. Hon Minister, the reported high crime levels and corruption within the police that leads to the disappearance of guns, dockets and irregular promotions need your urgent attention.
It was reported that in 2008, 3 000 plus firearms - 43 from one station alone - went missing and of the 8 000 plus that have disappeared during the past three years only 900 have been recovered. This is shocking indeed. Are there police members who have been fired because of the disappearance of these firearms? Police are saying, and I quote:
A number of people who are not fit to be in the SAPS have risen sharply through the ranks while others with proven track records are not recognised or rewarded.
Mary de Haas, who runs the KZN Violence Monitor, was quoted as saying:
There seems to be little doubt that certain police members are involved in taxi businesses or operate private security companies through fronts. There is hardly much incentive to fight crime if one is benefitting from it through taxi or security interest.
As it is not the first time that these issues have been raised, I want to know how the Minister is planning to address them. The ACDP also wants to raise concerns about the establishment of street committees. The Deputy Minister ran out of time while he wanted to talk about this. It is a serious concern. The Minister obviously said that he wants to use street committees to take crime combating and crime prevention to every corner of our streets.
Many such commitments have in the past been made and many such committees have been in the past resorted to vigilantism and in some cases were even involved in illegal actions. We argue that anticrime activities are the primary function of the police and not of street committees.
Therefore, it is incorrect for the police who must take crime combating and crime prevention to every corner ... [Time expired.]
Ms P A MOCUMI
END OF TAKE
Rev K R J MESHOE
Ms P A MOCUMI: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon Ministers in our midst, hon colleagues, members of the South African Police Service, officials from the Department of Police, fellow citizens, good day.
In honour of our forebears, who in June 1955 defied the powers that be by gathering in Kliptown in an unprecedented democratic assembly, the real congress of the people, that has brought into existence the Freedom Charter, we are enjoined to translate the clause, "there shall be peace and stability", into reality.
In the place of the undemocratic dispensation of the past, we have established a people's government. The previously voiceless cannot be silenced now. Organs of the people's power are operational and effective. Today policing is not only the sole concern of the powers that be, but a joint venture of the community and government.
Allow me to move from the general to the specific. Since its inception, the ANC-led government under the able leadership of different Ministers of Safety and Security, the now named police have come up with progressive interventions.
In his state of the nation address, President Zuma, emphasised the necessity to reduce crime within the framework of this budget. We note that the ANC Reconstruction and Redevelopment Programme, RDP, introduced new thinking in the sphere of policing. The RDP derives its strength from the philosophy and principles of the earlier work as evident in a document called Policing the Transition. It is in this document that crime prevention continues to gain popular dominance at present.
Later in 1996, government departments adopted the National Crime Prevention Strategy and the White Paper of 1998 affirmed preventative measures to crime. Crime prevention strategy requires the members of the police to be visible in local communities to ensure that crime does not occur.
Our budget as a political instrument for policing must ensure that the numbers of police continue to increase on the street. The past 15 years is marked by enormous progress in the area of crime prevention. The question is: How best can we sustain quality policing services?
In answering this question, we are saying as the ANC the budget must ensure appropriate infrastructure and police stations, an increase in the numbers of police to patrol the streets, adequate numbers of police vehicles which are in good condition and that other forms of police patrol must be encouraged and sustained.
However, the longstanding view of the ANC is that crime prevention cannot succeed without the involvement of communities. It is not just numbers of the police alone that can help combat crime. It is with this background that the ANC identifies the centrality of the community in crime prevention.
In his debate on the President's state of the nation address, Minister Nathi Mthethwa said:
We have an ongoing responsibility to improve our capacity to prevent crime before it is committed. However, no police organisation can be everywhere every time, nor is there a police service that can predict possible incidents of crime.
The partnership momentum emanates from the fact that effective crime prevention requires co-operation between the police and the community, because crime cannot be prevented by the police alone, as I have already stated.
This reasoning of the ANC recognises that communities are responsible mostly for the successes of criminal prosecution. Crime prevention and combating should be seen as a partnership between the police and the community. It is community members who act as witnesses in the community at crime scenes, lay charges and make statements at police stations, testify in courts and assist the police in the execution of their functions and duties. The ANC's thinking has to pervade through policing and government practices and commitment on crime prevention.
The second programme, which is visible policing whose purpose is:
To enable the police to institute and preserve safety and security and provide for the specialised intervention and policing of South Africa's borderline.
The police received a bigger chunk of the budget, with crime prevention receiving the biggest share of the chunk. Considering the budget allocation for the programme and its subprogrammes, the department's target of reducing crime by 7% to 10% is quite reasonable.
The process of implementing sector policing in 169 high contact crime police stations began in 2002. Since then, only 78% of these police stations have sector policing being fully implemented. On average only 13% could be achieved in each financial year. What mechanism does the department have in place to ensure the implementation of the remaining 22% in the remaining few months - that is before the end of the financial year?
The ANC Manifesto has identified crime and corruption as priorities in the next five years. It has a specific focus on certain categories of crime such as violence and contact crimes. The 2008 police statistics have shown that crime levels have relatively declined. It is however noticeable that some contact crime tends to take on a violent form. In this regard, law-enforcement agencies and community policing need to be strengthened, as suggested by the ANC's Manifesto and later affirmed by the President's state of the nation address on 3 June this year.
According to the manifesto, among others, in the next five years government should put more emphasis to mobilise communities to participate in combating crime through establishing street community courts and establishing Community Policing Forums, mobilising young people against crime and visible policing programmes to recruit more police. It is through these multidisciplinary approaches that we can succeed in the struggle against crime in a manner that is preventative and measurable.
Judging by the complexity of the problem, community involvement becomes central in the prevention of crime. There is a need to strengthen Community Policing Forums with the view to promote community involvement in order to accommodate the needs of victims, witnesses, parolees and the police. There is a noticeable progress in partnership momentum, but, as evident in the department's current financial year, some police areas still need functioning Community Policing Forums. Perpetrators of violence contact crimes are known to their victims, hence it is necessary to emphasise community involvement against crime with particular emphasis on youth activism against crime.
The ANC's 52ndNational Conference called for the need to expand the role of Community Policing Forums and community safety forums to empower them to play a meaningful part in the safety and security of communities, to establish uniform constitutional regulations for the Community Policing Forums, to legislate the establishment of community safety forums, to ensure equitable distribution of police resources between the townships and suburbs and between urban and rural areas - including training and literacy problems intended to upgrade skills of members of the police.
Communities are witness to crime in local areas, hence we need to prevent crime and expose criminal networks. In order to deter criminals from crime, community and police partnerships should be strengthened and, this implies the integration of effective policing. The ANC supports the budget. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms I C DITSHETELO
END OF TAKE
Ms P A MOCUMI
Ms I C DITSHETELO: Chairperson, hon members, we are told that crime in South Africa has subsided to manageable levels. If that is the case we are pleased with the assessment. But when we take a look at the bigger picture as far as crime is concerned a sad scenario begins to emerge.
The UCDP supports the budget on condition that the following SA Police Service challenges are addressed: the growing numbers of organised crime; inconsistencies in the implementation of sector policing and resource allocations among different police stations; SAPS members operating without drivers licenses - presently we have 5 200 members without licenses and this hampers service delivery; nonattendance and noncompletion of training courses; and the lack of basic infrastructure in police stations, for example, water, electricity, and sanitation services.
In conclusion, in the same breath we should not loose sight of the fact that we have good policemen and women dedicated to serving us and we are proud of them. Some have also lost their lives in the call of duty. The UCDP supports the Vote. Thank you.
Ms D A SCHÄFER
END OF TAKE
Ms I C DITSHETELO
Ms D A SCHÄFER: Chairperson, Minister, Deputy Minister, hon members, congratulations firstly to the Minister and Deputy Minister. You have a lot of hard work ahead of you, which we will be more than happy to assist you with if you will allow us to.
I have been encouraged in our portfolio committee meetings at the incisive questioning, and if we all share that commitment to solving the crime problem in the country that will be the best legacy we can leave from this term of Parliament.
It is a sad and unacceptable fact that hardly a day goes by without us hearing of yet another abduction, rape, or murder of one of our children. The Weekend Argus recently reported that new case numbers increased by more than 100% between 2007 and 2008. According to a Solidarity Union study, as recently reported, one child is raped every three minutes in South Africa, and every day, three children are murdered.
I believe that it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, tasks of this portfolio committee to address this issue in a meaningful and effective way. Whilst the budget for the portfolio as a whole has increased, this does not necessarily translate into effective crime-combating mechanism.
What we really need now to combat this scourge is the reintroduction of the specialised family violence, child abuse and sexual offences, FCS, units, which are properly resourced and located away from police stations, with properly trained personnel running them. It has been proven the world over, that specialised units are the most effective way of dealing with sexual offences and offences against children. We are therefore very pleased to hear the Minister' statements in this regards today.
However, the way the budget has been allocated does not provide for this, and the annual police plan targets do not indicate that we are really serious. One has to wonder if the SAPS really are serious, when their target in the annual police plan is a detection rate of 40% for crimes against women, a target of 42% for crimes against children, and their target for the conviction rate in respect of all contact crimes is only 15%. That means that 60% and 58% of crimes against women and children respectively can go undetected, and the SAPS will be able to pat themselves on the back and say they have met their targets. Madam Chairperson, this cannot be right.
If we are really as concerned as we say we are, as the President has said he is in the state of the nation address, and as the DA certainly is, then we need to introduce these units immediately. That is my first challenge to the new Minister. We can have as many strategies and special days and campaigns as we like, but if we do not have the correctly qualified people in the right places to do the right jobs, all our good intentions will not change a thing. Please reintroduce the child protection units, CPUs, and sexual offences units as a matter of the utmost urgency.
The Minister will undoubtedly ask where the money is to come from for all this. Firstly, it is not necessarily only a question of money, obviously, but of management. However, the first step would be to identify wastages in the directorates, and a good starting point in searching for some extra funding is the Secretariat for Safety and Security.
Apart from the fact that it appears from the portfolio committee briefings that they are performing functions not in their legislative mandate, we noted with interest that one of their statutory functions is to advise the Minister in the exercise of his or her powers. So the question is: Is it the secretariat who has been advising the Minister not to publish crime statistics until they are long-forgotten history, or did he decide that against their advice? Either way, the secretariat is clearly ineffective. Their ineffectiveness is further borne out when one looks at their performance figures. Their greatest success appears to be in organising Izimbizo. They wish to allocate the pathetic sum of R15 000 for evaluating the catastrophic implementation of the Firearms Control Act by SAPS.
However, the most concerning part is the composition of the staff. The department has a total staff of 37. Of these, four are directors, at a salary of R2,5 million per annum each. We then have four deputy directors, at just under R1,4 million each, three assistant directors at just under R700 000 each and another five assistant directors at just under R900 000 each. What more other value they add on the other three, I have no idea. Thus a total of 43% of the staff are directors. Who are they directing? Given the amount of staff to actually do the work, it is a wonder they even managed their astounding feat of meeting 5 out of their 19 performance targets for the past financial year! There were 4 targets where it could not even be said from their report whether they were met or not, which is in itself an indictment, but even if they were, that means 16 directors, constituting 43% of the department, managed to meet 47% of their targets.
According to the figures presented to the portfolio committee, of the R12 million allocated this year to the secretariat, R9 million, or 75% of that, will be for salaries. Minister, this department clearly does not merit its existence. Please look at scrapping it entirely or making the directors earn their salaries. We cannot afford to have people wasting money while others are dying.
Lastly, my colleague has already spoken out many times about the huge increases in funding for the VIP protection units, which don't need extra funding. This is the one unit that has actually pretty much fulfilled all their targets. So, I will not go into further detail about that, but I would like to ask one simply plea today: let us make our children the VIPs. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr G D SCHNEEMANN
END OF TAKE
Ms D A SCHÄFER
Mr G D SCHNEEMANN: Chairperson, I would like to start by conveying the condolences of the portfolio committee to the hon Chauke, who lost his brother this past weekend and to say to the Chauke family that our prayers and thoughts are with them at this time.
This is the first time I have the opportunity of participating in the debate on the Budget of the Police Service. For the past 10 years I have had the opportunity of participating in the Budget Vote for housing, amongst others.
In 2004 the emphasis on housing changed from building houses to building communities. However, one of the missing links that was very noticeable was that of the police. Very seldom did we see new police stations being built at the same time human settlements were built. We have just celebrated 54 years since the Freedom Charter was adopted by the real and only Congress of the People at Kliptown. [Applause.] For your information, it says "there shall be houses, security and comfort." [Interjections.]
The ANC's 2009 election campaign message said that by working together we can do more. This message applies equally to government departments; in this instance the Departments of Police and Human Settlements. These two departments must start working together, talking to each other, planning and budgeting together for the provision of police stations while new human settlements are built. We hope that in future presentations to the portfolio committee the Department of Police will indicate how this is being implemented.
The fight against crime and corruption forms part of the five priority areas which the ANC has identified for the coming five years. This seriousness is reflected in the resolutions taken by the ANC at Polokwane in 2007, in our 2009 election manifesto as well as in President Zuma's state of the nation address. The ANC's election manifesto stated:
The ANC government will actively combat serious crime and violent crime by being tougher on criminals and organised syndicates. In this respect we will increase the capacity of the SAPS through recruitment, rigorous training, better remuneration, equipping and increasing the capacity of especially the detective service, forensics, the prosecution, the judicial service and crime intelligence.
During the Budget Speech of this year the Minister of Finance said:
The fight against crime is drawing on the work of the criminal justice sector review. Efforts to overhaul the forensic and investigative capacity of the police are underway, together with enhanced use of available technology.
President Zuma said in his state of the nation address:
Together we must do more to fight crime. It is also critically important to improve the efficiency of the courts and the performance of prosecutors and to enhance detective, forensic and intelligence services.
Two crucial areas in the fight against crime are the detective service and crime intelligence. Whilst we note the average increase in the budget for the detective service at 8,6% over the MTF, our real concern is how this money will be spent. Will this result in a better equipped and more efficient and effective detective service? Far too often we hear of detectives who handle anything from 50 to 100 dockets, sometimes more. In most police stations that I have had the opportunity of visiting over the years this has been the general trend. In addition, often their working environment is not conducive to good performance. I have often come across situations where detectives don't have regular access to cars. This means that they can't get to the scene of a crime on time and it results in delays in their ongoing work.
A unit from the New Scotland Yard has been involved in working with our detective service. Whilst they acknowledge that our detectives are well-trained and that their training is on par with that of the Metropolitan Police Service, they have expressed concern at the high number of dockets per detective.
According to the SAPS planning information for this financial year, the number of detectives is to be increased from 21 000 to 26 000. While this is welcomed, urgent steps need to be taken to address the workload and working conditions of detectives. Detectives often ride around with dockets. If these get lost, there is no backup for this information. The electronic docket system must be rolled out as a matter of urgency and we welcome the Minister's assurance in this regard in his speech today.
Further attention needs to be given to the forensic science laboratories. We are told that staff turnover is high, resulting in highly skilled personnel being lost. The department needs to reassess its retention strategy and also needs to consider other measures which could assist in retaining staff and attracting new staff, which would improve the efficiency of this division. Should we not be looking at a faster roll out of the electronic finger-print scan, which should be linked to Automated Fingerprint Identification System, Afis, Electronic National Traffic Information System, eNatis, and Home Affairs National Identification System, Hanis? This would also enable an effective, efficient, accurate and faster method of analysing finger prints than the current process. The budget for the forensic service laboratory and the Criminal Record Centre needs to be reviewed, as the increases are too low, given the backlogs that they face.
In relation to crime intelligence, urgent steps need to be taken to ensure that every police station has correctly trained, equipped and resourced operatives and that the division as a whole is strengthened. One of the questions that need to be asked is whether we have sufficient intelligence on the many organised gangs in South Africa. At a national summit on crime held in December 2008, Divisional Police Commissioner Lemmer stated that the terrorist attacks in India and the xenophobic attacks in South Africa were lessons about the importance of crime intelligence. He went on to say:
We need to get our own house in order when it comes to working with different partners and if there is an effective partnership between us and the people we are meant to police, then we will have prior information to prevent such despicable and daring terrorist attacks as happened in Mumbai.
The head of crime intelligence has been in an acting position since 2007 and we welcome the Minister's assurance here in the House today that a permanent head will be appointed shortly. Whilst the budget reflects increases for the detective service and crime intelligence over the MTF, we have to ask whether this will be sufficient to bring about the necessary changes.
In programme 5, which deals with protection and security services, we note substantial increases for rail police and port of entry security. The increase for the rail police is welcomed, particularly as this subprogramme has proven to be extremely successful and has resulted in the high crime rate on some rail routes having been significantly reduced. We are concerned as to whether sufficient funding is provided for borderline security. [Interjections.] During the committee hearings we were told... Maybe you should listen! We were told that the police had insufficient resources, including personnel, to patrol these border lines effectively. [Interjections.] The department needs to look into this matter and, if necessary, request additional funding.
The work of the police during the Confederations Cup is highly commendable. I had the opportunity of attending one of the matches and I was highly impressed with the visibility of the police both in and around the stadium. My cousin told me the other day that they actually walked from the Johannesburg Civic Centre to Ellis Park through Hillbrow and that they felt perfectly safe throughout their walk. [Interjections.] No, they were actually telling the truth. [Applause.] [Interjections.] To all those policemen and women who worked so hard, we say "well done". [Interjections.] We appreciate your dedication and commitment, as well as the sacrifices your families have made. You have our support and our respect.
In the past months our news headlines have at times carried stories regarding the use of blue lights by the VIP Protection Services. We agree that the use of these lights is often necessary, but we also agree that they must be used responsibly and only when necessary and in line with guidelines. We would ask the Minister that the guidelines on the use of blue lights be reinforced where necessary and that the VIP Protection Services be constantly reminded of their responsibilities when using these lights.
During the budget hearings with the Police Secretariat it became clear that there seems to be some confusion regarding the actual role and responsibility of the secretariat. The mandate which they presented was not in line with that reflected in the Act. We asked the Minister to ensure that the secretariat fully understands their role, and if necessary also to take steps and restructure the secretariat so that each person understands his specific responsibility and role to be undertaken. The level at which the head of the secretariat is graded also needs to be reviewed.
More and more we read of the tragic circumstances where police officers take the lives of their families and themselves. Surely this indicates a need for effective workplace counselling? But this also indicates that police officers operate under immense pressure and are often in distress. The assistance of local communities, and in particular religious communities, need to be encouraged to play an increased role in providing support to their local police stations. We do need to hear what steps are being taken to ensure that such tragic events are avoided in the future. Through the budget allocation to the police, we want to have a Police Service that is well-rained, well-equipped and consists of men and women of integrity who are honest, who respect the community and who have the respect of the community they serve.
Before I conclude, I would like to make a couple of remarks regarding some of the inputs made by members on that side of the House. [Interjections.] I would like to start by addressing the speech made by the hon Kohler-Barnard. I think it is mischievous to say that the ANC wants to keep the country in the dark about crime. It is totally mischievous. [Interjections.] The ANC has been open and honest about crime in our country. If you had taken the time to listen to the African National Congress during its election campaign, and if you had listened to President Zuma, you would have noted that the ANC is open about crime, has been candid about crime and is serious about addressing it. [Interjections.] The hon Kohler-Barnard spent 11 minutes on a list of complaints, but not one single suggestion and not one solution. [Applause.] In fact, as I sat here, I actually wondered is she has any solutions. I would have thought that she would come here and used this opportunity to make suggestions and bring solutions, but she doesn't have any. Her entire speech ... [Interjections.]
Ms S V KALYAN: Chairperson, on a point of order: Surely it is unparliamentary for the member to mislead the House. The hon Kohler-
Barnard offered many solutions. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order! Hon member, I think you are out of order, because this hon member is merely responding to the issues that the hon Kohler-Barnard had raised. The hon member may continue.
Mr G D SCHNEEMANN: Chairperson, her entire speech was spent slating the police and then at the end she thanked them for their hard work. I find this rather strange. [Interjections.]
But I must say that the hon Schäfer was constructive in her speech, because she came with solutions. Perhaps she should share with her counterpart how best to come and interact with us in these debates. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
I would like to address myself to the hon Mluleki George of Cope. In case he has forgotten, he was Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security for five years. Perhaps he should tell us what he actually did during those five years. I suspect, nothing. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
I also want to say to him that he was part of the decision that was taken to remove the SA National Defence Force, SANDF, from our borders, yet he sits here with this holier-than-thou attitude. Perhaps we should remind him that he was the Deputy Minister of Defence. You were deputy to the then Minister of Defence, Mr Lekota, who is now the leader of your party. We should remind you of that, sir. [Interjections.]
The hon Groenewald of the FF Plus is correct in saying that the people of South Africa want to hear what the Minister has to say. The ANC listens to the people of South Africa. We do, and that is exactly why the Minister came here and said what he did, because we have listened to them during this past election campaign. I have been in this committee for the past few weeks and I am left with no doubt that the Minister and his deputy will stop at nothing to rid South Africa of this scourge of crime. I thank you very much. The ANC supports this Budget Vote. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF POLICE
END OF TAKE
Mr G D SCHNEEMANN
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson ...
... siyabonga kakhulu, siyabonga Kumalungu ahloniphekile AleliPhalamende ngezeluleko zawo abeziphakamisa lapha kanye nalokho abakugxekayo. Mhlawumbe uma sizoqala sibheke ...
... from what the chairperson has said, criticising the lack of policy in sector policing. I think we will take that criticism. We will have to go back and actually correct that.
On the issue of the Independent Complaints Directorate, ICD, perhaps we need to say that we have heeded the call of members. A revamp of that is already underway, together with the Police Secretariat, so thank you for your wise advice.
DA member Kohler-Barnard, seated there, really makes me wonder what one can do to impress upon hon Members of Parliament to concern themselves and educate themselves about processes. She makes an assertion here about the National Commissioner, that we have extended his stay in office. Had she asked, perhaps outside of this, she would have been informed that there is no such thing. The expiry date has come for the National Commissioner, but after having been informed one has to wait for two months. It is an easy thing. We would have easily given her the answer to that. It is not a difficult thing. [Interjections.]
The second thing is talking about expertise being scattered all over. Well, it is one of her disappointments that members of the Directorate of Special Operations, DSO, in their majority, decided to join the new unit. That was not what she had hoped to see, but it happened. That's the first disappointment, unfortunately.
The second one is coming here and patronising the police, saying all those things about the police and then at the end of the day you thank them. [Interjections.] The positive things done by the police have not even been mentioned. We come from a festive season which was a crime-free period. She never said a thing because it is a positive thing, which doesn't suit her. She comes here and never utters a word about the general elections. [Interjections.] There is nothing positive from her in that regard. We have just come from the Confederations Cup, and hon members have been commenting about that. But we know, because there is no answer and no constructive idea, just a slightly constructive idea from her. We won't get anything and we would be expecting too much.
We need to reiterate the issue of the training in the SAPS. We didn't want to say what we said during the state of the nation address. Just recently we benchmarked the SA Police Service against international organisations, whether in Scotland or in the Netherlands. Our SAPS members, these ones and many more outside, have passed that. In fact, some of the countries commented and wanted to know how we do it here. [Applause.] If the hon member had decided to listen during the state of the nation address, we would have given her that information.
She comes here again to talk about the 94% success rate of the Scorpions. McCarthy was heading the Scorpions when he came to Parliament and said that people are blowing the success of the Scorpions out of proportion. He was saying that while well-aware of the fundamental mandate of the Scorpions, namely to fight complex crimes which are transnational in nature. I can ask – and she can't provide anything, I don't want to waste my time - just a single one of those fundamental mandates. Nothing. [Interjections.] With regard to 10111, yes the Auditor-General has raised that matter. Now the member has actually pointed to the fact that most of the calls are abandoned. But that is not the task of the Auditor-General. She gave us facts about what she found. When we had to go and investigate, we found that more than 80% of the calls to 10111 are prank calls. If she cared, she would know those things. Whether talking about statistics or moving from an uninformed basis, it is clear that from her mouth the only thing you are going to get is complaints and more complaints. There are no solutions. And we have accepted that we would be expecting too much if we thought there might be something there.
The hon George, as a former hon Deputy Minister of Defence of the Republic of South Africa, firstly it is funny that I agree with you on many issues, but not on the "broer" thing. [Interjections.] But most of the things said by the hon member are correct, for instance regarding the issue of overcrowding. I know that you have only just joined Parliament, but the public has been informed that at the beginning of the year Cabinet took a decision to deal with the issue of overcrowding by establishing a new branch of awaiting-trial detainees. That branch will take care of this.
And about the things you are saying about border management and the retention strategy, I wonder if you shared these good ideas with your colleagues when you were still the Deputy Minister of Defence. [Interjections.] But they are good, make no mistake they are good!
You know, we sorely missed your wise words on these issues for the past 10 years, Mr George. [Applause.]
Mr Groenewald, regarding the point you raised about reversed racism. You and I should know better. This is one sensitive matter, owing to our historical past. I will just make an offer to you that we should talk about these matters. They can't just be blown up, and thereby affecting our moving forward with the programme of nation building. I know we will find the time to talk about that. [Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF POLICE: You accept that? Oh, good!
With regard to the issue of the former National Commissioner of Police, you raised the fact that he was a diplomat in the police in that position. In more ways than one, every member knows and has expressed the fact that you want strong leadership. That's what you want. You know that the Commissioner does not arrest people. That is not his task. How can a diplomat arrest people? He can't. The task of the National Commissioner is to ensure proper command, control and leadership. It has nothing to do with these criminals. The police will actually arrest those people. So I think we should be able to find time, in particular on the earlier matter.
Kubaba uNdlovu: Gatsheni, cha sikuzwile Boya benyathi. Sikuzwile. [Uhleko.]
The point you raised about victim-friendly facilities is a matter that we will have to continue probing to ensure that they are where they're supposed to be. But ...
... uyabona la ngingakuzwanga khona Boya benyathi, kulapho usukhuluma nge ICD. Usuthi i-ICD kwenzeka kanjani ibambe iphoyisa bese iyobika kwelinye. Ewu! Ngiye ngaphoxeka lapho Boya benyathi – ngiphatheke kabi ngoba manje phela wena ungomunye wabantu abalapha ePhalamende abashaya umthetho futhi uyawazi lo mthetho okhona. Ngaphandle-ke kokuthi wena Boya benyathi uyaphakamisa ukuthi, cha awushintshwe lo mthetho. Lokho kungumsebenzi wenu lowo Boya benyathi. Kodwa uma usuthi uphatheke kabi – uma kuphatheka wena kabi ukhona la ngaphakathi, abanye? Hawu! ewu! ungiphoxile. [Ihlombe.] Kodwa sizoxoxa, sizoxoxa Boya benyathi.
But members, in general I think that we do have challenges within the Police Service, starting, as people have pointed out, at the level of command and control ...
O! cishe ngakhohlwa. Mfundisi! We we weMfundisi ...
... hon member Meshoe ...
eyi unenhlanhla ...
But you have raised many points and one of them actually speaks to your ideological orientation. And that is your rejection of the street committees. But then go further and say that it is not the job of people in the streets to be in the fight against crime, because that would bring about vigilantism and so on.
... cha Mfundisi, cha.
We will continue engaging people at street level, at community level, at all levels. It is the task of all of us, not only the police. [Interjections.] We have said that no matter how many policemen one can employ, you can't have the police all over the country.
Thank you very much, hon members and thank you, Chairperson.
The Committee rose at 18:24
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