Hansard: Wa Afrika 'resisted arrest': Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa response to questions
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 31 Aug 2010
No summary available.
Wednesday, 1 September 2010 Take: 89
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Madam Deputy Speaker, according to the reports I have received, the arrest was made by local Rosebank police station after the investigating officer from Mpumalanga waited for more than two hours at the Rosebank station for the persons to hand themselves over to the police.
When the suspect failed to present himself to the investigating officer and two other officers proceeded in one vehicle to the place where this person work. At his workplace a commotion broke out and other vehicles were dispatched to establish the problem. The costs for any arrest are not calculated on an individual basis but are part of SAPS operational budget.
There was no impact on the general duties of SAPS as the dispatched vehicles hardly spent ten minutes at the scene after this person was arrested. The person in question was arrested on the charges of fraud and forgery after a case had been opened in Mpumalanga.
The person's lawyer was present at the time of arrest and therefore, there was no time delayed in contacting his lawyer. The National commissioner is not informed each time the police effect an arrest. Therefore, on this matter it was not required for the investigating officer to first inform the National Commissioner General Cele, as such the National Commissioner was not informed and this should be an obvious thing. Every investigating officer has the powers and authority to effect and arrest after a docket has been opened, and this instance was not different.
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD: In January, two and half years ago, Advocate Gerrie Nel at the time was the head of the Scorpions in Gauteng when he was arrested in exactly the same manner as the Sunday Times journalist, Mzilikazi Wa Afrika who was arrested just one month ago.
The first instance was to protect the now disgraced ex-National Police Commissioner, Jackie Selebi. Then it took twenty armed police to serve the warrant of arrest to Advocate Nel, and it took the same number to sweep on an unarmed journalist, Mr Wa Afrika. Advocate Nel was driven around all-night in an attempt to intimidate him and his cell phone was taken. Mr Wa Afrika was driven around and despite many of us searching throughout the night; we were unable to locate him as we faced what seemed to be deliberate obstruction on the part of the Hawks, his cell phone was also taken.
Mr Wa Afrika was one of the authors of a story published just two days before, about the dodge rentals of new police headquarters. Minister, the arrest of this journalist in many eyes has negated gains we made during the Fifa World Cup. Would you explain who exactly was behind the extra ordinary arrest and assure this House that this jack boot intimidating policing is not making a come back in this country?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Speaker, I do not know which part of the answer the hon member does not get because the issue here is that a human being was arrested. After that arrest, charges were levelled against the individual and by the way, he is not the only person who was arrested on that charge for that particular incident. She chooses to take out one of the two people who were arrested and I do not know why.
The fact of the matter is that, if you are arrested and you are being charged. You must face the music and let no Member of Parliament come and represent your case because someone else is not represented. Thank you very much.
Mr G LEKGETHO: Deputy Speaker, hon Minister there is a lot of fuss in the arrest of this Mzilikazi. Can you respond why there should be this sensation since there were other two people arrested with the reporter? Why is the DA only mentioning one person as if others are not human beings? I thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Deputy Speaker, the question posed by the member, I think it should be directed to where it comes from, not to the Minister because I am also baffled as you are. Let me say that the individuals concerned because of what they have been arrested for, both of them have been given a bail of R5000 each. Both of them their passports have been confiscated, but we are still going to hear the representative of the other member. Maybe, it is not that important, I do not know and I am assuming.
Mr M E GEORGE: Hon Speaker, hon Minister this apartheid style display of excessive power and massing of police cars to arrest an unarmed civilians is not consistent with the democracy we have evolve to. My question directed to you, do you encourage that type of abuse of power?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Your question is very simple, hon member. I am supposed to say no and sit down because it is a very simple question. The issue here is that in my answer I have taken you through that an investigating officer was sent and was made to wait for more than two hours.
He took it to heart to wait for those two hours. But when he wanted to effect and arrest, firstly, the police were told that the person concern will hand himself over. Hence, those two hours when police tried to effect arrest – I hope you will agree with me, hon member that nobody is allowed to obstruct that particular process. That is when the investigating officer called for others to come and help him because there was a commotion; there was a resistance to arrest. Are you supporting a resistance to arrest, hon member? You won't support that I assume. I thank you.
Mr M S SHILOWA: Hon Minister, there is a protocol entered into between the police as I understand it, the department and your ministry on the one hand, as well as the NPA and Sanef on the kind of processes that needs to be followed, as and when, there is going to be arrest on the media people.
So, it is not so much that they should be treated in a special way. In our view the protocol as outlined was not followed in dealing with the issue. Can you indicate whether or not the protocol was followed and if it wasn't followed, what was the problem in following that particular protocol?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Speaker, as I explained hon member that even after that protocol, we have reported in this House some two months ago that we are going to further engage Sanef. Whatever we agreed with on, it does not involve forgery and fraud. So, it falls out of that but over and above that taking that protocol into mind police were very patient, you will agree with me too. They have waited for more than two hours for a person being shunted from pillar to post. What else were the police suppose to do? We took everything into cognisance and we were very patient and gentle with the gentleman concerned. Thank you very much.
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The MINISTER OF POLICE: Mr Speaker, hon members, after the strike and other problems related to the deployment of private securities appointed by Fifa, a total of 1184 additional South African Police Service, SAPS, members were deployed during the period, and had performed functions on match and non matched days. Some of the functions of private securities were taken over by SAPS. Members of SAPS were deployed over a period of 31 days. The additional deployment cost for personnel is estimated at R89, 6 million. Thank you.
Ms A VAN WYK: Hon Speaker, I thank the Minister for the answer. First and foremost, I think that we need to congratulate the SAPS for the swift and professional manner in which they stepped in and assumed these extra duties. We owe each and every man and woman in blue our gratitude and appreciation. However, Minister given that the Local Organising Committee, LOC, and Fifa have budgeted for private securities at these venues, are you considering any legal avenues and taking steps to recover these costs from Fifa? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Mr Speaker, we have already written to the LOC to recoup this amount; it's very much needed in the police. Thank you very much.
Mnu V B NDLOVU:
Ngiyabonga Somlomo, mhlonishwa Ngqongqoshe, kukhona ukukhala okuthi abanye bamaphoyisa abathatha umsebenzi emva kokuba onogada betelekile, abakakucoshi lokho okufanele bakucoshe. Izikhalo lezo ezinjalo sezafika kuwena okokuqala nokwesibili bangakanakwa labo abangakucoshi okufanele bacoshe, bayokucosha nini-ke okufanele ukuba bakucoshe.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Madam Deputy Speaker, the answer is what we have said that the LOC has to pay this money.
Kusho ukuthi izocoshwa kanjalo-ke mhlonishwa. I-LOC kufanele iphendule ngoba sithe siyayidinga,
*** Language spoken has changed to English ***
We need that money. Thank you very much.
Ms D A SCHÄFER: Madam Deputy Speaker, apart from the action against Fifa, Minister, is there a provision in the contract with the security companies themselves for damages to be paid to the state in the event of the security companies bridging the agreement? If not, why not? If so, what steps is the Minister planning to take to recover the wasted taxpayer's money from the security companies? We trust that one way or the other, either Fifa or the security companies will be sued if necessary.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Speaker, I must say that's not our call to make because the contract was between the LOC and those private companies. So, they must sort their stuff out; we want ours. OkukaKhesare kuKhesare. [What belongs to Caesar must go back to Caesar.] Thank you.
Ms D A SCHÄFER: Minister, given the fact there were already problems with procuring services of suitable private security companies for the Confederations Cup in 2009, and given that the appointment of private security companies for the World Cup was left to very late in the day, does the Minister agree that the strike action could have been prevented with proper advanced planning? If not, why not? If so, why was this not done?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: We share that sentiment, hon member. We are one on that matter. Perhaps that is why we have emphasised the point that those who are supposed to secure public facilities like the stadia, should indeed have gone through the processes of the Security Industry Regulatory Authority, Sira, and ensuring that they meet the requirements. This is what we have been emphasising, both to Fifa and the LOC. For them, in particular, this should have been a lesson because we have raised the matter even before all the things that happened thereafter.
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Wednesday, 1 September 2010 Take: 91
The MINISTER OF POLICE: South African Police Service, also known as the Force, is not mandated to procure new office accommodation and does not deal with the procurement policies and tender requirements thereof as this is the responsibility of the Department of Public Works. The SAPS identifies its accommodation needs by means and needs assessment and then take that to the Department of Public Works. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr L RAMATLAKANE: Hon Minister, following your response to the question, it has been reported in various media that the General Cele was involved in the initial negotiations of that very same building with someone that is very close to the ruling party by the name of Shabangu. Now we have seen the abrupt resignation of the General Hlela and Siwundla, as well as Strydom. Is this got to do with this issue - in fact after the question has been raised by the committee itself – of the same corruption that has been reported, which is eminent to be investigated by the Special Investigating Unit, ISU? Thank you, Deputy Speaker.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Well, hon member, the resignations you are referring to, are resignations. I want us to take it in that fashion. But, on your specific question related to Special Investigating Unit, SIU, it is the Ministry and the Department of Police which actually approached the Presidency because some of the things related to what the committee raised, as you've said, and even before that, were in line with the supply chain management. So, that process is on and I don't want to get to specific names as we are referring to, but those people you are referring to have resigned, Sir. Thank you very much.
Mnu V B NDLOVU: Ngiyabonga Sekela Somlomo, mhloniswa uma kuthiwa umuntu wasayina ethi omunye akazange asayine, iqiniso likuphi ngempela.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Minister, did you hear the question?
Mnu V B NDLOVU: Uma mhloniswa kuthiwa wasayina omunye ethi angizange ngisayine, ngubani okufuneka aphenye ngempela ukuthi lo wakwenza lokho, iqiniso likuphi ngempela kulokho?
UNGQONGQOSHE WEZAMAPHOYISA: Lunga elihlonophekile, angazi ukuthi kusayinwa ini baba. Kodwa-ke nami ngiyayifunda lento oyifunda emaphepheni. Engikwaziyo ukuthi …
. . . on this issue of procurement, the Department of Public Works is dealing with the matter because it belongs there. I have been informed by my colleague, the Minister of Public Works, that most of such procurements, across the board in government, have been frozen.
Mhlawumbe ukusayina kuyotholakala uma seliyoshona ilanga baba, angikakazi okwamanje. Siyabonga.
Rev K R J MESHOE: Hon Minister, more than any other department, the SAPS is expected to set a good example to all government departments by upholding the rule of law, which is their core function. It is therefore inexcusable for the Police to violate Treasury regulations.
Having heard what the hon Minister said about the resignations of the Deputy National Commissioner of Police, I still want to know whether the hon Minister will consider looking into the real reasons for the resignations particularly because these resignations come in the middle of the probe involving contracts totalling more than R4 billion in the department. Minister, there must be something that we need to know and would you please look into that. Thank you, Deputy Speaker.
UNGQONGQOSHE WEZAMAPHOYISA: Sekela Somlomo, ubabumfundisi ngabe uyasisiza nje asithandazele bakwethu, sibhekene nomsebenzi onzima. Cha, ngeke ngikwazi ukuwuphendula lowo mbuzo angibuza wona kodwa engikushoyo ukuthi umsebenzi wokubheka izinto,
. . . checking and putting things where they supposed to be within the Police will continue. But I can't ask a member that why she or she is resigning. I don't even want to go there and I don't wish to take that route. Thank you very much.
Mr P J GROENEWALD: Hon Minister, at least the Commissioner of Police has to complete a needs assessment which he forwarded to the Department of Works. Now, my follow-up question is that: Is there any need for a second 18-storey building for the Police Headquarters when you already used and utilised the present one? Was it really a good assessment as far as that is concern? At least you, as the Minister, must have known about this because R500 million is not a small amount. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon member, there is no need for 18-storey building. In fact, I don't even know where that comes from because there is nothing about an 18-storey building. The assessment and the needs of the Police have always been raised.
Hon member, because you are a member of this committee, you should know better about this issue of building headquarters since last year. Thereafter, what was supposed to be done in the Public Private Partnership, PPP, option after the assessment, as I was told, was that headquarters will cause more than R4 billion. The new management then decided that if that continues, the first point of call would be of building the Police Station than building that headquarters. Thank you very much.
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