Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 18 Nov 2020
No summary available.
WEDNESDAY, 18 NOVEMBER 2020
Watch the video here: PLENARY(HYBRID)
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 15:00.
The House Chairperson Ms M G Boroto took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members in the interest of safety, we will keep on repeating this request for you to check your distance where you are seating and to ensure that we are always with our masks on. The only item on today’s order paper is questions addressed to the Ministers in Cluster One, Peace and Security.
There are four supplementary questions on each question. Parties have already given an indication of which of the questions their members wish to pose a supplementary question on. The parties have given notice on time.
We must emphasize that in allocating the opportunities for every party for supplementary question, the principle of fairness among others has been applied. If a member who is supposed to ask a supplementary question through the virtual platform, is unable to do so due to technological difficulties, the party whip on duty will be allowed to ask the question on behalf of their member.
The first question today is Question 604, asked by the hon Marais to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans. The Hon Minister is in the Chamber.
QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS PEACE AND SECURITY - CLUSTER 1
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Thank you very much madam House Chair, hon members and thank you, hon Marais for the question. In my response to the Public Protector in relation to an inquiry into the matter, I stated the following, I quote:
The ferrying of business delegations such as representatives of the defence industry and the like, are not uncommon when all are travelling in the same direction.
Unfortunately, my office does not keep such records of the nature requested here. I am therefore not in a position to give detailed response. I have requested the SA Air Force to provide me with information and when that information comes, I will be able to provide hon members with the response. Thank you.
Mr S J F MARAIS: Thank you Hon House Chair, thank you Minister, not that the lady is quite satisfactory. Minister, Section 80 (3)(a)(i) of the Defence Act determines that the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans must first consult the Minister of Finance before allowing conveyance of any person who is not an officer or an employee of the state on boarding SA Air Force Aircraft.
The State of Disaster regulations determines that any private person must first get approval from the Minister of Transport before travelling abroad. The Guide for Members of the Executive for travel, Chapter 7, Article 1.2 determines that, transport by the SA Air Force, may not be used for party political purposes. The President determined that you showed poor judgement and imposed a fine on you for travelling to Harare with your ANC colleagues on board on the VIP Falcon 900. You know the devastating effects of the budget cuts on the SA Defence Force and specifically flying hours for the air force and that nonessential expenses cannot be allowed at any time.
You as the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans should set the example and show discipline at all times. Given all this, why have you decide not to comply with all the laws and regulations and to blatantly violate them, transporting your ANC colleagues to the meeting between the ANC and ZANU-PF in Harare? Why do you feel that you have done nothing wrong, that you will do it again and that you are still fit to be the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans? I so move and submit.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Thank you very much hon Marais. Indeed, in your own judgement you may feel strongly that I do not deserve to be a Minister anymore, because of what I have done. I also want to remind you as member of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence hon Marais that, in 2018 when you took a decision as the Joint Standing Committee on Defence to go and visit the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, to visit the members of the Force Intervention Brigade in the Eastern DRC, Parliament had actually booked you on a commercial flight to go to the Eastern DRC. I took a political decision, whether it was a correct decision, it means now it was a wrong decision, without the consultation which you have referred to.
I said to Parliament, we cannot allow these hon members to fly commercially to Kinshasa, sleep over in Kinshasa and take a flight to Goma. I actually offered an aircraft from the air force in my absence and in the absence of the officials of the Department of Defence and Military Veterans except for the spokesperson to accompany you to the Democratic Republic of Congo because I knew, it was the correct thing to do. It was not political. You went there because there were reasons for you to go.
I do want to say this, even in this instance without defending myself, I did not go on a tour to Zimbabwe. I went to Zimbabwe because there were national security interest issues which all of us are aware of, things that are affecting us, impacting on us here negatively which are happening in Zimbabwe.
In any government, there is nothing wrong in adopting a multipronged strategy, a two-layer approach where you have your envoys who will deal with government, where you have your party which deal with the party, because the party in any country will always have a lot of influence on what the state does. This is what happened here.
Now, hon members I have been made to feel like, I woke up in the morning, I took an aircraft and went to the Livingstone to see the
waterfalls. I did not do that. I went to Zimbabwe having recovered from COVID-19, to go and sort out some of the real critical issues which are affecting, not the Defence Force, not the ANC but which affect all of us as a country.
I just think that – and I am happy that the Public Protector is investigating. I have accepted that the President has imposed a sanction on me, but it shouldn’t be that I just jumped on an aircraft and crossed the river and went to Zimbabwe on a tour.
Mr T N MMUTLE: Thank you, hon house Chair. My follow-up question to the Mister, after the event had taken place and it was breaking news in the SA Media Space. We then looked into the matter and we realised that there was no provision in law that discouraged the Minister applying his or her discretion in a related matter.
After that there was an investigation that was commissioned by the Public Protector and we agreed that we will await that particular investigation, in order to see whether we were wrong or right in assessment of legislation or law. How is your department in the interim ensuring that there is a discretionally policy in place to avoid public pressure in future? Thank you hon Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): May I remind all of us on the Rules, Rule 142 of Rules of Debate, if you can remind yourselves about the times that you are supposed to ask a follow- up question. Only the first one to ask, who is the poser will get two minutes and the others one minute. I do not want to stop you before you pose your question, so try and minimise on the preambles. The hon Minister.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Thank you very much madam House Chair. House Chair allow me to just complete the first part of the follow-up question or comment that was raised by hon Marais, which was in view of the poor budget – the budgetary constraints which we have as the department which is correct, which is very true.
What I want to remind the hon members is that, the amount of fuel burnt from Johannesburg to Harare on the day, is exactly the same amount of fuel I would have burnt going to Zimbabwe and back. The issue here is about the fact that; I gave a delegation of the ANC a lift. I have given lifts to multi-party delegations by the way. I am not about to defend the fact that I gave the ANC fuel. The reality is that, I burnt the same amount of fuel.
I just feel that from a human point of view, it would have been very selfish of me to just jump onto an aircraft alone and fly to Zimbabwe alone, leaving people who were going to Zimbabwe to deal with the same issues which I was meant to go and deal with. I did no go to Zimbabwe on a visit. Zimbabwe itself is closed. I went to Zimbabwe because I had to deal with very serious matters which are impacting on the security of this country. Thank you very much.
Ms C N MKHONTO: Hon Chair, the ruling party continues to treat state resources as if they are party resources. This is everywhere, we have seen municipal cars used for campaigns during elections. Such kind of abuse of resources is encouraged.
Minister, did you at any point make the President aware that you will be travelling with ANC officials to a ZANU-PF meeting and were there any Department of Home Affairs officials to check if their travelling documents were in order when they left the country? Thank you House Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you House Chair and thank you, hon Mafanya. Hon Mafanya, I would rather we wait for the outcome of the Public Protector’s investigation to respond to the first part of your question.
The second part of the question precisely known that all of us were supposed to go and resolve these issues which I have referred to, which issues I have shared openly with the committee that I belong to which is the Joint Standing Committee on Defence which also include some members of the DA and some members of the EFF. I have done that with all humility and I have provided detailed information on the nature of the issues we had to deal with.
That campaigns are done using state resources, that for me is not what I am talking about and discussing here. I am now dealing here with a matter which all of us have been raising on a daily basis in all committee meetings. The issue is that, people feel strongly that they are inundated, they are overwhelmed by presence of foreign nationals, some of whom are undocumented. That for me is the issue.
Now, these are some of the issues which I have discussed in a meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence and they know what are the issues we raised with Zimbabweans and what their response has been. I am just saying, that of a campaign is completely different from that which affects you and I, our children and future generations.
If Zimbabwe is unfortunately unable to resolve some of its internal challenges, somehow they impact on us negatively. If it sneezes or we sneeze this side, they catch a flu or we catch a flu this side. So, it was important for us to go to Zimbabwe and have a heart to heart discussion about the nature of the issues, their economic challenges and how best we can resolve those issues as the two countries together.
By the way remember, our President is currently the Chair of the African Union and therefore has an obligation when there are any challenges to adopt if he wants, a multipronged strategy of engaging with the state together with the party because we can’t run away from the fact that, the party tends to have a lot of influence on how the state runs its business. Thank you very much.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Chair, I just want to correct something for the sake of record, it is not hon Mafanya, it is hon Mkhonto. She was taking the question for hon Mafanya, for you records Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): She did say, I am sorry that I called her Mafanya after that. She did introduce herself as Ms Mkhonto. My apologies.
Inkosi R N CEBEKHULU: Thank you House Chair, hon Minister after a huge outcry from political parties and the media people about the SA Air Force transporting ANC leadership, the ANC committed itself to pay back the department the cost of travelling to Zimbabwe. Has that been honoured and was the fare equivalent to the normal air charge by business flights? Thank you Chair.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Thank you hon
member, thank you House Chair once more. Chair, the total amount because this was not a chartered aircraft, the total amount for the aircraft to Zimbabwe from Johannesburg cost us R232 000 and the ANC’s portion out of that was R105 000 because the airport tax was paid by us as defence because, I was also going there as the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans and having consultations with the Minister of defence on troika matters.
Now, the ANC on the day the President issued the statement to the effect that my salary was being docked and I needed to make sure that the ANC pays government, I did that. Chair, I do want to say that I am grateful to the ANC for the sake of my own integrity and for my own sleep, the ANC paid the same day the amount of R102 000 whose invoice if I am requested to produce, we can produce and send it to Parliament. Thank you very much Chair.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: The Covid-19
special parole dispensation for the low risk offenders granted by the President, hon Cyril Ramaphosa has been positive in terms of managing overcrowding and covid-19. As at Friday 30 October 2020, our population was just above 139 037 offenders which translate to an overcrowding level of 15,31%, as compared to the population in April 2020 which was 154 945 equating to 28,52% over the approved
accommodation of 120 567 bed space.
The impact of overgrowing is not only limited to the ability of the department to run corrective programmes to rehabilitate inmates, it also affects other areas such as the release of low risk offenders based on the covid-19 special parole dispensation brought temporal relief in the reduction of the overall sentence population and levels of overcrowding.
That being the case, the challenge of the limited bed space shared between the professionals and custodial staff continues resulting in some programmes that are required, group work intervention to take longer to complete than normal sessions or lengthy of sessions. Also access to programmes by eligible offenders may be compromised due to inadequate conducive venues and in extreme
circumstances may result in the delay by offenders to access programmes.
During the strict lockdown regulations, there were limitations with regard to rendering of services and programmes as well as skilling of offenders. However, numbers are expected to increase with the resumption of the rehabilitation programmes as the size of the groups and work teams still depends on the size of the venue in adherence to the covid-19 health protocols.
A total of 91 800 offenders went through the rehabilitation programmes for personal wellbeing since covid-19 national lockdown level 3, that is between June to September 2020. This programmes offered by the department include psychological services, 14 699, social work services 48 748 and spiritual care services 28 353.
The existing infrastructure is not conducive for providing rehabilitation and developmental programmes as well as skills development.
The majority of the inherited infrastructure was not designed for rehabilitation and makes it more difficult with covid-19 protocols in place. However, an effort to meet its rehabilitation obligations with the aim of targeting the offender behaviour and skilling of offenders, the department has forged partnerships with
various nongovernmental organisations, government departments including services, Sector Education and Training Authority, SETA, as well as faith-based organisations to help with the skilling and the rehabilitation programmes. Thank you.
Ms Y N YAKO: Chairperson, Minister, the problem of overcrowding in prisons has been there for the past decade or more and it is made worse by the high number of among detainers who spend years in jail awaiting trial while Magistrate Courts keep postponing the matters indefinitely. Firstly, what can your department do to assist Magistrate Courts to expedite cases as to reduce the number of remind detainers? Secondly, in cases where the remission of sentences is considered, what guarantees do you put in place to ensure that those who have their sentences remitted or not further part take in criminal activities once outside of jail?
Lastly, what steps are you taking to ensure that public works comes to the party and make sure the prisoners are not only habitable but that public works is mandated by law for the upkeep of prisoners off prison facilities? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Firstly, it is
that during this period we have also encouraged the department and the various area commissioners to apply to the Magistrates' Courts
for remind detentions who had bail of less than 5000 to apply to be reconsidered for their bail to be reduced and this has led to a reduction in the first quarter of about 1279 and in the second quarter of about 1 122, others were not successful. But the key to the reduction of a remind detentions is the reality of modernising of the systems of the entire Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster that will enable it to function at an optimum level. Also during this period of covid-19, some of the criminal trials were delayed because of this factors and some were postponed but efforts were made were bail was granted to enable others to be able to reduce their bail conditions. The only way to deal with this remind detentions is when the system has been modernised and also when all the stakeholders that are in the space, the magistrates, the prosecutors and the entire roll players including the legal practitioners work together in management of the Court Roll to ensure that this trials do take place speedily and there is fair for all the accused people.
Ms W S NEWWOUDT-DRUCHEN: Chairperson, hon Minister, recidivism which results in overcrowding can be linked to unsucceful rehabilitation in correctional centre. This indicates the importance of the Department of Correctional Service having a needs based approached to correction. In this regard, does the department rehabilitation programme for sex offenders ... How
successful is that if we weigh such programmes against the rates of reoffenders in sex offenders?
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: The department
has the sexual offender treatment programme which is offered by programme which is offered by professionals. Based on our experience, evidence points to the fact that the programmes is contributing to reduce reoffending mostly by the offenders.
However, due to the vast nature of many factors in our society that leads to sexual offenses. Repeat offending can happen due to other factors which may also include recidivism within our facilities but the programme has proven to be successful and there is a small number that sometimes reoffend. Thank you.
Rev K R J MESHOE: Hon Chairperson, I am aware that percentages are slightly different from what the Minister said. Nevertheless, according to a News24 report of 28 July 2020, South African prisons were still 25% overcrowded after about 4000 inmates were released on special covid-19 parole on 24 June 2020.
To mitigate against overcrowding in prisons, the ACDP believes the courts should sentence those guilty of misdemeanours such as
stealing food, nonviolent financial crimes, to making restitution to victims rather than sentencing them to prison.
Will the Minister agree that such an approach will greatly assist to mitigate overcrowding in our prisons and that poor people who have stolen food should be made to pay back what they have stolen rather than sit in prison with the violent and dangerous prisoners?
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: I may not fully
agree with the particulars points and factors that the reverend is pointing to but, I do agree that ... Because in terms of our stats it does indicate that those that have stayed for a few years in our centres are the ones that in most instances reoffend because they have not yet fully undergone the rehabilitation programmes.
So there is a need for society to engage on all alternative forms of sentencing that may not in certain instances include incarceration of offenders. So I do agree that there is a need for that debate and for us to ensure that in terms of the laws that we currently have practically, it could still be implemented through the various sentencing programmes and the penalty system which are available but a more rigorous programmes could be implemented also a societal debate that will lead to a clear and concrete programme; to ensure that are arrested which may get less than
five or two years and so forth there could be a debate of an alternative sentence. I think that is the debate the reverent want to introduce which I agree with. Thank you.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: House Chairperson, Minister, I don’t think you are giving us a true reflection of what is happening in the prisons. It is common knowledge that most of the crimes today are committed by repeat offenders, so it means that the rehabilitation programme is ineffective to start with.
But very importantly, one of the reasons why your department is always releasing offenders is because you do not have the necessary space. I will give you a good example in Grabouw where in 1991 you released somebody he came out and committed the same offence. In 1998 exactly the same thing, 2001 exactly the same thing and he is repeatedly being released because you do not have the necessary space in the prisons. Could you kindly take us into your confidence and tell us - and it is not necessary a problem of your department because it is coming other relevant departments.
Could you kindly take us into your confidence and tell us what is the real situation in the prison? Its overcrowding and whether there can be holistic approach to dealing with crime to reduce the number of offenders in country. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: The only way we
can really finish overcrowding is to finish crime in this country. As long as crime is still there, people will continue to be incarcerated. The issue is how we manage it because the reality is that not everyone who has committed crime, as Reverend Meshoe has just said, should be sentenced to a period of incarceration.
The debate should be on the reduction of crime on the alternative forms of sentencing and the incarceration be reserved for the hardened criminals who have proven themselves that they will only rehabilitated when they are inside the cells. It does need a holistic approach from the fight against crime to the alternatives forms of sentencing and also to ensure that the space in our facilities is reserved for those hardened criminals.
It is also a reality that even as we continue to open facilities we will be opening on Friday the new generation prison in Tzaneen. On Monday, the Deputy Minister has opened the Camagu new facility in the Eastern Cape. Though we continue to build and open new facilities, infrastructure can never outpace the rate of convictions. We have to manage the way in which people are incarcerated, the manner in which alternative forms of sentencing are given to manage the issue of overcrowding. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: The Thuthuzela
Care Centres, TCCs, are one stop facilities that have been introduced as a critical part of South Africa’s anti-rape strategy, aiming to reduce secondary victimisation, improve conviction rates and reduce the cycle time for finalisation of cases. The TCCs are located within a public hospital, based in communities where the incidents of rape are particularly high.
The TCC model is regarded as an international best practice model in dealing with sexual offence matters holistically. This is to be implemented by a victim-centric approach, prosecutor guided investigations that is core directed with stakeholder co- operation. We currently have 55 of these sites nationally. We plan to establish an additional six sites on the Criminal Assets Recovery Account, CARA, funding, within the Medium-Term Expenditure, MTF, period.
The focus of the model is aligned with our current victim-centric approach, and is to ensure a holistic integrated service being provided to victims at these sites. The criteria utilised for the selection process with possibility sites, in the respective divisions and provinces is listed herein. The volume of sexual offence cases dealt with by the courts present, SA Police Service,
SAPS, statistics or sexual offences being reported in the region, whether the location of the site will be in rural or urban area, or are the matters currently reported at the SAPS, predominantly at rural or urban area, that can serve the possible site.
Whether the high rate of sexual violence in the area, versus other crimes reported, especially in relation to children as victims, we consider if the area is prone to gang or drug related crimes. This is essential because in many instances, these factors are direct contributor of sexual offence. We assess if there could be stakeholder co-operation in place at the nominated sites, in other word, are there relevant stakeholders on board? We have to consider the availability of space in the Department of Health, hospital for the site, space being available in the hospital makes it less challenging to establish a site, than the process of offering a park home in the absence of space in the hospital.
We have also considered the availability of family violence, child protection and sexual offences investigators, Family Violence and Child Protection, FCS, Unit within the SAPS and nongovernmental support services in the area. Finally, we consider if there are sexual offences court for hybrid model already available at the Magistrate Office where these cases will be dealt with. In addition, it must be noted that these process as facilitated by
the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, is based on an integrated multi-sectoral foundation, from the beginning to ensure by-in and cooperation from relevant stakeholders.
This is essential to ensure optimum victim service delivery. It is also worth noting that rural areas are always included and accommodated in the selection process to ensure that they are not deprived from this crucial ready-care management system.
Therefore, the availability of hospitals or clinics from Department of Health, is a crucial factor for being considered in the selection process which are in both rural and urban areas.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Yes, you can proceed, hon Druchen.
Ms W S NEWHOUDT-DRUCHEN: Hon House Chair, let me thank the minister for that comprehensive response. From the reports of the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, the Thuthuzela Care Centres have proven to be successful and securing convictions. Could the Minister clarify us on how the impact assessment of these TCCs is made and also, how public awareness about the existence and functioning of these TCCs is conducted, especially in the rural areas? Thank you, House Chair.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: When reporting
on Thuthuzela Care Centres, rape survivors are removed from the crowd to a victim-friendly room. They receive comfort and crisis counselling, where service providers are available to a survivor in one location. Access to safe spaces shelters is provided, should the survivor not be able to return home after the rape.
Access to antiretroviral and ongoing HIV counselling is also offered. The TCC also provides access to other information, arrest, court dates, bail decisions and so forth, should these be requested by the survivor.
The most effective public awareness and education initiatives, especially in rural areas, is through outreach sessions as well as using national and local community radio stations, medium and television sessions. Brochures and pamphlets are also left behind, at these community awareness events, In the current time of COVID- 19, we have used the social media platforms and the website for information. Thank you.
Mrs G BREYTENBACH: Through you, hon House Chair, hon Minister, the reality is that the establishment of the Thuthuzela Care Centres and the operations thereof are very costly. This really obviously informs the fact that apart from the few that are now to be established from the funds from the service out from of the
criminal recovery account, is nearly now R9 million around the term plan in explanation around us. Will the department and the NPA not consider other options than replicating best practices of the TCCs, an existing service of points of rape? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Chairperson,
the costs as spoken by hon Breytenbach, are high, but they are necessary because from this best practice, we are learning, and we are able to implement some of these learning outcomes or experiences from the Thuthuzela Care Centres to other sexual offences, courts and processes, though they may not be elevated to other level of the Thuthuzela Care Centres.
So, that experience and working through these centres is useful and it is good information for the other parts in the system.
Indeed, the department will continue to explore, including the NPA and other relevant stakeholders, the other alternative options that could help us to replicate this system that has proven to be effective as per what hon Breytenbach is saying. Thank you.
Ms Y N YAKO: Madam Chairperson, the whole of last year we raised issues about the Thuthuzela Care Centres that have been closed throughout the country, because the National Treasury was busy with austerity measures. There are the Thuthuzela Care Centres
without human resources, no counsellors, and in some cases, counsellors that are there, are not properly trained.
How can the National Treasury reduce budget that was allocated for Thuthuzela Care Centres during the 2020, special adjustment budget and during the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, MTBPS, and where is the department going to get the money to expand these services on zero areas with the budget cut? Thank you so much.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon House
Chair, as I said that at this stage, we continue to utilise the CARA funds to expand this programme into various parts of the country, and where and when challenges arise, such as the one raised by the member, we continue to respond and address those challenges that relates to professional counsellors, that relates to the working of the centre.
We are doing this in collaboration with our stakeholders, the Department of Social Development and the Department of Health, on the various platforms with regards to the challenges that the Thuthuzela Care Centres are facing. At this stage, we will continue with that programme up until the additional resources are found somewhere. At this stage, we continue to explore where and
how we can help this institution, as I said in response to what was said by hon Breytenbach. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Prof Msimang, I just saw you ... [Interjections.] Continue. Hon Msimang proceed, you are given a chance to speak.
Prof C T MSIMANG: Hon House Chair and hon members, the Department of Social Development just closed comment on the Victim Support Services Bill, which could be allowing victims of crime across the country to navigate their traumatic experiences in a smoother and more effective ways. Does the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, envisaged collaboration with civil society and the Department of Social Development when attempting to extend its reach to far flung and rural areas, to ensure that more South Africans experiences better justice system for crime. If so, can the Minister elaborate, if not, why not? Thank you, hon House Chair.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon House
chair, yes indeed, we work and collaborate with the Department of Social Development, including through the Bill which came through various structures of the department. The Department of Justice is an active player, in terms of the Bill itself, because it is
important for the victims of crime in this country, and also the Department of Correctional Services. As you are aware, the Act also envisage in us and empowering the victims of crime. So, there is that level of collaboration that will also take us to rural areas of the country as the hon members is asking. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Thank you very much, Chairperson. The SA Police Service, the SAPS, has implemented a gender-based violence, GBV, turnaround plan at all police stations in KwaZulu-Natal. The plan focusses on stabilising the current situation by ensuring an integrated approach. The plan was implemented on 16 July 2020 and will be in place until 31 March 2021. The hotspot police stations, which include Inanda and Umlazi, are monitored daily by district commissioners and operations are led by senior officers. All incidents of GBV trends, patterns and threats are monitored daily at a provincial, district and police station level.
The following interventions have been implemented in KwaZulu- Natal. One, attendance to emergencies and newly reported cases in respect of victims of GBV; 24-hour family violence, child protection and sexual offences, FCS, stand-by teams which are on call in all districts; raiding operations in all districts to search for and apprehend suspects in GBV cases; foot patrols and
distribution of crime awareness pamphlets in crime hotspots; joint liquor law enforcement operations in conjunction with the Kwazulu- Natal Liquor Authority, which involves the monitoring and inspection of liquor premises to identify and apprehend noncompliant and illegal liquor traders; school and campus awareness programmes focussing on the education of students with regard to the negative effects of alcohol abuse, which also addresses GBV-related matters; integrated community structure programmes; investigative monitoring interventions at all the FCS units, which includes the inspection of equipment, exhibits and dockets related to GBV cases; and compiling of intervention reports which addresses shortcomings, with timeframes for ratification.
The following meetings are taking place. The SAPS — National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, management meetings chaired by the chief prosecutor to address challenges and discuss high prolife sensitive cases; bimonthly senior management meetings chaired by the deputy provincial commissioner crime detection, which are attended by the NPA, the director of public prosecutions and the SAPS; and case flow meetings chaired by the NPA to address the flow of dockets and challenges with a view to speed up the investigations of GBV cases.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Thank you, hon Chairperson and hon members. Hon Minister, can you tell us at which phase of the basic police development learning programme does the SAPS recruit, undergo, appoint, enlist ... covers GBV and femicide training?
Furthermore, how extensive is this aspect, and considering the high rate of GBV in the concerned areas and across the country, have these aspects been considered to reflect the seriousness of the issue? If not, how does the Minister hope to achieve effective policing of this scourge as it is clear that current officers are not well equipped to do so?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Thank you very much, Chairperson. All police go for basic training in different institutions and academies in the country. From there they are recruited for different specialisations in different fields of policing, including this one that would be recruited in the FCS. Unfortunately, last year there was no intake at all ... of the basic training because of COVID but in the previous year we recruited 312 to be part of the specialisation in the FCS. Then we put these units at the station level, especially those stations that have a problem. They are commanded by senior officers. For instance, in Inanda and Umlazi where there are problems, both stations are commanded by lieutenant colonels, with two captains
looking after the units and 28 members in each station. There are
15 cars that are there. They are specialised and we continue to train them.
Well, I’m not very sure whether I agree with the member who says that they are ineffective. If they were completely ineffective, we would not have 4 728 people that are doing life when it comes to GBV. [Applause.] I’m not talking about people that are in prison; I’m talking about people who are doing life. There are 4 728. For me ... means that those units are doing their work. It might not be enough but they are doing their work.
Ms P FAKU: Thank you, hon Chair. Hon Minister, can you provide us with details about how many GBV cases ... in Inanda and Umlazi police stations ... have been committed by police officers, and what has the SAPS done to discipline these police officers? Can you also provide us with the number of GBV cases for the first and second quarters of 2020-21?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson, it’s not only Inanda and Umlazi. We have almost 100 plus police officers who themselves have been involved in these shameful kinds of activities. The national commissioner and the management ... we have agreed that we need to deal with what we term expeditious expulsion and
expeditious consequences for those who, instead of protecting these people, turn them to be their own victims. It is true that we have that problem far beyond Umlazi and Inanda. However, we are following that. There are members who have already been expelled but, as we go for expeditious processes, the first thing is that we remove them from these units or we remove them from the front desk so that they are completely not in contact with the victims of GBV.
With regard to the second question, we have released the new second quarter statistics. As you know now, we release them on a quarterly basis. Though it has shown a decrease, it is a very high number. In three months, 8 000 women were raped in South Africa; that is starting from 1 July until the end of September. A total of 8 000 of them were raped.
Unfortunately, it continues ... that women in South Africa are raped in places where they are supposed to be safe. They are raped in their own homes. They are raped by people well known to them.
They are raped by husbands, boyfriends, fathers, uncles, grandfathers, brothers. So, it’s an issue ... when we make this call ... to say it’s a societal matter and all of us must be involved it’s because these women who are supposed to be protected
... perpetrators are well-known people and ... at the places where they are supposed to be safe. Thanks.
M. Gen O S TERBLANCHE: Thank you Chairperson. Hon Minister, you have already indicated that your staff deployed at these stations are maybe not, you know, enough or the numbers ... to deal with this situation. Minister, please indicate whether your targeted intervention strategy would then require the deployment of additional members, and if yes, how many additional members will be deployed and where? Minister, obviously they would need vehicles. How many additional vehicles do you plan to issue to them? What is the total estimated cost of this exercise and how will it be funded?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson, that is correct. We have
30 top stations in the country that are leading in terms of GBV. As you would know, Inanda will be number one; Umlazi will be number two. I think of late, Nyanga and ... [Inaudible.] ... would be four and five. Number six would be Plessislaer, going down all the way. So, according to these figures, they tell us that ... and they inform us how much resources we need to be able to respond to that. As I said, these two stations, one and two ... I have given the figures but these figures will never be enough. We would’ve loved to get more numbers. That we did not have basic training
last year does give us a problem. We were supposed to have an intake of 7 000, which means we are minus 7 000. We are not sure this year when we will be going to have this intake. In January we were supposed to take in 3 000 reservists. We haven’t because there are health protocols that we need to follow on the matter.
So, the weight of crime in that particular station tells us how much we must respond. However, as I’ve said, it will never be enough, but relatively, we will try our best to respond accordingly.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Thank you very much, Chairperson. Minister, the reality is that the crisis around GBV is very deep in South Africa. What strategies and programmes ... to deal with members of the SAPS who do not take this work of theirs as members of the SAPS very seriously, in such a way that GBV perpetrators always get out this way because there is nothing that is happening. A case in point is at Hillbrow Police Station, where one detective named Mphahlele did not want to help a victim. As a result, a victim wanted to commit suicide. This is one of the cases, and there are many in South Africa, Minister.
So, as a result those who are victims of GBV, who are women in this case, have lost hope. Therefore, I think there are many ways
to deal with your own members who are ... [Inaudible.] ... Minister to deal with such ... [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Can you please pose your supplementary question? Your time has expired. Can you do that?
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Yes. What strategies, and interventionist strategy, is the Minister going to apply to individual members who are members of the SAPS?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Thank you very much, Chairperson. As we have said, we have these specialised units called the FCS and
181 of the SAPS stations have residence units at these police stations to be able to respond at whatever given time. Besides that, we have 10 more that are national ... that make national intervention ... if there may be a problem there ... they need an extra kind of effort, we’ll send those there. So, this training is continuing, perpetually so. As I have said, we are training
312 more. Unfortunately, we can’t have the intake because there was no basic training on this one.
One other thing ... especially led by the head of the FCS, General Linda, who is working together with Advocate De Kock, who happens to be the deputy ... NPA, have agreed that we are training the
permanent police who will permanently occupy the GBV desk in different police stations ... also help them to train in the basic way of taking statements from the ... [Inaudible.] ... but also train them to be sympathetic; to have some empathy so that they don’t do things like chasing away the people that are there, as hon Mkhaliphi said.
We are saying that it’s a priority case; declared by the President as a pandemic. So, as the police we have to respond as such. We are trying our best and we are doing our best to make sure that the police understand the seriousness of the matter.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Thank you, hon Chair. I am on the virtual platform. Let me start by correcting. The Department Public Works and Infrastructure did not spend R100 million on the purchase of the Lindela holding facility. What has happened is that an amount of R73 million is held in trust at the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure because this is the amount that has been pledged to buy the Lindela facility on auction – an auction that will be taking place sometime very early this year before COVID-19. However, there was a court case where the auction of the sale of the facilities of Bosasa or African Global
Holdings’ assets was reversed whereby the judge said that those facilities cannot be sold.
Chairperson, the impact on us on the Lindela facility is that currently we are still using the facility because it is like a correctional service and you cannot just do away with it. So, we are still holding to it. We are paying rent to whoever is in charge of it. At the moment the liquidator is in charge of it. We are paying the rent.
The second thing is that because there are services which have to be rendered, we are finalising a bid process whereby we are going to get a service provider to provide services like food, health and security regardless of who owns the project. At the moment things are still normal regardless of the judgement of the reversal of the sale of the property. Thank you very much.
Mr D L MOELA: House Chair, thank you very much. Thank you, hon Minister for the response. Hon Minister, based on your response I just want to check whether in your understanding or in your knowledge when is the bidding process expected to be completed?
Has the department considered probably building internal capacity in Lindela Repatriation Centre for the future purpose? Thank you very, House Chair.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Thank you, Chairperson. I am not sure about the final bid of the bidding process. But what I know is that it started sometime back in August. In terms of internal capacity to provide services in Lindela, we are looking into it in the form of outsourcing. The easiest of them all will be to outsource security. The other services, because we don’t readily have them in Home Affairs, we wish we could provide them, but for now we don’t have the capacity to do so.
Mr A C ROOS: Thank you, House Chair. Minister, Angelo Agrizzi testified at the Zondo Commission that the Lindela Repatriation Centre was used as a cash cow with the Auditor-General, AG, report showing your department spending over R20 000 per detainee per month. What action has your department taken to investigate and hold corrupt Home Affairs officials to account for their part in this scandal?
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson, I won’t really call it a scandal, but it may qualify depending on where you come from.
For the past whatever numbers of years it was a stupid deal between Home Affairs officials and Bosas. The facility can carry
4 000 people, but it was agreed that when payments are made there must be a minimum whereby the Department of Home Affairs cannot pay for 2 500 people. Meaning even if there are 100 people you
still pay for that. We believe it is a very stupid deal and we have removed it in the present bid that is going on. As to whether that was done as a matter of corruption or what, it was an agreement and it has been signed. But we believe it was a stupid one. Thank you very much.
Ms H O MKHALIPI: House Chair, I will take it. Minister, do you agree that it would be cost efficient and practical for the state to move towards a situation where instead of spending money in rentals government departments must do away with costly leases and own its properties such as Lindela Repatriation Centre and the issue of capacity? I believe the department has been in existence for more than 20 years. So the issue of capacity must not be a problem now. What is your plan in this regard, Minister? Thank you, House Chair.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: I agree with you, hon member. If you check in one of my budget speeches, I did mention this issue about the department of Home Affairs having to rent facilities. If I may remind you, hon member, I said as far as I am concerned Home Affairs offices are like a police station, hospital, clinic and school. I also said none of those are usually rented, but they are built by the state and are owned by the state. I said I want Home Affairs facilities to be like that. The same will apply for
Lindela Repatriation Centre. In fact, we did ask if, for instance, we can move the inmates from Lindela to some facilities that are owned by the state. We tried with the Defence Force whether there are some old military barracks that could be renovated, but we could not get it. We went to Correctional Services and it is worse there as you know that they have overcrowding. We couldn’t get anything. If in future we build our own buildings which are owned by the state, I would be happy.
What I have done is that I have approached Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa, the head of the new infrastructure project in the Presidency that the President has announced, to look at these issues about us having to build our own offices with state money and own them just like hospitals, clinics or police stations. That process is on. Thank you very much.
Ms L L VAN DER MERWE: Thank you very much, House Chairperson. Minister, the reality is that only a small fraction of those who are within our borders illegally or those who don’t qualify for refugee status are sent to and deported from the Lindela Repatriation Centre. On 18 September last year, during a joint historic sitting of the National Assembly, President Ramaphosa admitted that our immigration systems struggle when he said, and I quote:
All who live in South Africa must be legally permitted to do so.
And in that, your department will ensure that we tighten up regulations to deter illegal immigration. My question then, can you outline the steps your department has taken to deter illegal migration and identify all foreign nationals in the Republic who are here illegally or undocumented since President Ramaphosa’s statement more than a year ago? I thank you.
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon member, the people who are in South Africa are divided into various categories. We have refugees who hold section 24 permits. We have asylumseekers who hold section 22 permits. We have people who have just arrived at the border and announced that they are applying for asylum who hold section 23 permits. We have permanent residents who were given permanent residence status without being citizens. We have naturalised citizens. The problem here is about those who are undocumented. What we are doing now is that we do have a backlog of asylumseekers in terms of documentation and we have set a four- year programme to try and deal with that.
As far as undocumented people are concerned, the problem is that many people in South Africa believe that Home Affairs does not
want to document them. Quite a number of people don’t want to be documented because they know that they are here illegally and they know they will be taken out. At the moment we rely on Home Affairs inspectors, the immigration inspectors, which I must accept, and I remember you mention it yesterday in the portfolio committee. It is true. Home Affairs immigration inspectors are only 680 in the whole country. Just for your comparison when you go to the SA Police Service, SAPS, they have about 800 or so police officials just in one airport in South Africa, but we have only 680. I am not trying to compete with my counterpart in SAPS, but I am sure we have 680 immigration officials. They are trying their best.
They are working around the clock, but they are really not necessary making it because of this huge numbers. Yes, we believe the numbers will decrease once the border management authority gets into operation. Bu for now it is a big struggle. We have tried to increase the number of officials, but as you know the Treasury has put a ceiling on the hiring of people. Our compensation for employment has a ceiling and it has hit it. This is the problem we are faced with. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: House Chair, as
an expression of political will and commitment to fight
corruption, and within our severe financial constraints, the budget of our crime fighting entities has remained a priority.
The Department of Justice and Correctional Services is a leading department on the implementation strategy in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster. The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, allocation of R243 million will enable the department to fast track the implementation of the strategy. Of this amount, the department has set aside a total amount of
R122 million for the capacitation of additional specialised commercial crimes courts in order to fight fraud and corruption. The Investigative Directorate received a total allocation of R377,3 million over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period to increase its investigating capacity.
Furthermore, an allocation of R305,7 million was received for the increase in capacity in the Asset Forfeiture Unit, AFU, and Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit, SCCU.
The National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, was allocated the additional funding amounting to R377 million during the 2020 MTEF for the establishment of the Investigative Directorate in the NPA in order to tackle corruption and reduce crime.
In addition to the above, the following additional funding was also allocated to the NPA to increase capacity in both the AFU and SSU. Additional funding of R304 million was allocated to the AFU and the SCCU. This will fund the appointment of 38 AFU staff, deputy directors of public prosecutions, state advocates and specialised investigators and 26 SCCU staff, deputy directors of public prosecutions and specialised investigators, amongst others. The total allocated budget for the sub-programme of national prosecuting services and AFU amounts to R4,1 billion.
The Special Investigating Unit, SIU, is planning to grow its headcount materially from about 613 to 850 over the MTEF period in order to meet the huge growing proclamations. Other interventions, the Department of Justice is a leading department on the implementation strategy in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster.
The MTEF allocation will enable the department to fast track the implementation of the strategy and the cluster’s initiative such as anticorruption task team co-chaired by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, DPCI, and the SIU; are making strides towards tackling crime and corruption; and regular monthly meetings are intended to ensure that such matters are managed in a co-operative and efficient manner. Thank you, House Chairperson.
Adv G BREYTENBACH: House Chair, to the Minister, the NPA had a financial injection of R1,3 billion to indicate that government was serious about fighting crime and particularly corruption and reversing the business state of the NPA. Now, R1,1 billion has been taken away meaning that they, in fact, got nothing at all, which will, inter alia, translate into the inability to fill approximately 580 posts. What steps, precisely, does the Minister intend to implement in order to ensure that the small rands made against the fight against corruption are not again reversed in the face of this untimely budget cut? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: As I have said,
we will continue to ensure that the NPA receives the necessary support and budgets that will enable it to fight
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, it is obvious that we have a technical problem; the Minister has not been cloned and somebody else is speaking and saying exactly what he said. So, I will request that the matter be attended to immediately. You may take your seat in the meantime, hon Minister, so that I can just assure that this matter is being resolved.
Hon Minister, can you try again now, please.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Thank you,
Chair. As I have said earlier that we will continue to work with the National Treasury to ensure and protect the sustainability of the budget of the department including that of the NPA, and where necessary and practically possible, additional funding.
In this regard we have also, as I have said, added about four commercial crimes courts that will be rolled out during this financial year which we have brought forward to enable the continued fight against corruption. These courts will be in the areas of Mbombela, Polokwane and also in Mafikeng with an additional one that will be in Mthatha in the next financial year.
So, this shows our commitment to the fight against corruption and to ensure that even during these difficult fiscal constraints we are still able to ensure that the NPA and all the other crime fighting agencies have a budget that will enable them to do their work. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Before I proceed to the next supplementary question I will ask the hon members on the virtual platform to switch off their microphone. The hon Motsepe from the EFF had her microphone on and that is why we had a repeat of what the Minister was saying. So, all those on the virtual
platform, please switch off microphones, it is causing unnecessary disturbance. I now recognise the hon Yako who is on the virtual platform.
Ms Y N YAKO: House Chairperson, with all this budget talk, what role has the justice system has as we are now speaking on pre- gender based violence Bills. What role does the Ministry have in ensuring that none performing police men and women in gender-based violence cases are brought to book and that in itself is a criminal offence? Is there any budget that has been allocated in making sure that the police men and women who are directly at the front line of the gender-based violence cases are allocated a separate measuring line so that they may be able to properly take care of the men and women who come forward with gender-based violence cases? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon House
Chairperson, I think the hon Yako maybe wanted to speak about the NPA because in the police men and women is the Minister of Police. From our side we are continuing to ensure that the NPA receives the necessary support. Hence we continue to engage with the various structures that are relevant for budget allocation and we also spoke about the Thuthuzela Care Centres. Where necessary and we are able to allocate the Criminal Assets Recovery Account,
CARA, funding to ensure that they are able to do their job. The sexual offences unit of the NPA continues to function and we will continue to give it the support that is necessary for them to fight the scourge of gender-based violence, rape and other femicide crimes that are there in society. Thank you.
Dr C P MULDER: Hon House Chair, the devastation caused by state capture, corruption and maladministration has crippled the designated department responsible for overseeing the judiciary in South Africa. The department is underspending its already constraint budget, resulting in underperformance and negatively impacting on the performance of the Special Investigation Unit and backlogs in court sessions. Can the Minister still reasonably argue that the department is still able to carry out its mandate considering amongst others, the political division in the department with elements of factional standoff in the ruling party; the current efforts of groupings of prosecutors in Gauteng lobbying against the national prosecutor and the crippling status of the Public Protector? Thank you, House Chair.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: House Chair, I
can speak with conviction that we are rebuilding the institution, including the NPA which has now filled almost all the vacancies of the national deputy directors of public prosecutions, and they
continue to fill relevant vacancies as I mentioned earlier. This will enable them to get the much needed human resource that will enable the NPA to function at an optimum capacity.
This is also the case within the department which also does have challenges in terms of vacancy rates and human resource. We are currently working with the Department of Public Service and Administration to help us but we also continue to fill the necessary vacancies that will enable the department to function at an optimum level.
So, with this in mind, I can speak with conviction that the Constitution remains the guiding document for the NPA and the NPA Act. There can’t be any factional Acts that can derail the work that the NPA is supposed to do because they are supposed to respond and deal with evidence in front of them in terms of the Constitution and the NPA Act without any fear, favour or prejudice to anyone, irrespective of who is the accused person. They must follow the law and ensure that the law does take its course in this country and no one is above the Constitution or the NPA Act. Thank you.
Mr S N SWART: House Chair, to the hon Minister, President Ramaphosa gave us the assurance in this House in response to an
ACDP question that law enforcement agencies will be properly capacitated to deal with corruption and reduce crime. The ACDP shares concerns about the R1,1 billion taken from the NPA over the medium-term. In addition, the Auditor-General’s office reports that up to R2,4 billion is owed to the department by other departments and R400 million is owed to the SIU.
Clearly this is untenable. What is being done to collect those fees that are owed to the Department of Justice and the SIU to enable it to do their job properly? I am sure you will agree with that. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: House Chair,
indeed I do agree that those that owe the SIU must pay the SIU for the amounts due. Such challenges are occasioned by the fact that the SIU receive a fee from the department that it is investigating and some of the people that are supposed to pay are those that you find that the SIU is investigating. So, it sometimes creates an untenable situation. We will engage with the Minister of Finance and the colleagues in Cabinet to ensure that whatever entity, department or municipality under the investigation of the SIU make the payments that are due.
The other debts are also caused by the challenges within the offices of the State Attorney. The fees and the disbursement incurred sometimes do not get paid by the relevant government departments and the mechanisms are being developed to ensure that these monies are paid so that the department is able to function optimally and to the maximum capacity to enable it to discharge its constitutional responsibilities. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you hon Minister. Hon members, Question 570 has been asked by the hon A J Beukes to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans. I wish to indicate that the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans had to leave due to an emergency. The Minister of Police has in terms of Rule 138, subrule 4 been authorised to respond to questions directed to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans. Hon members, we wish to apologise for the inconvenience that this may cause. The hon Minister of Police?
The MINISTER OF POLICE (On behalf of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans): Thank you very much House Chairperson. I am sure one of the inconveniences is that the Minister of Police won’t be able to have follow ups. [Laughter.] Having said so, the SA National Defence Force, SANDF, has various awareness and
educational programmes in place to promote the role of the SA National Defence Force as an enabler to create a safe environment to attract investors, and this include: One, media visits taking national and international media organisations to the borders to create awareness of the successes of the SA National Defence Force in protecting the borders. Two recent visits by the national media as well as the visit by the international television network from the UK to the Limpopo border with Zimbabwe and two visits by national media to the northern KwaZulu-Natal border with Mozambique.
Two, various community engagement activities along the border lines that has izimbizo held in northern KwaZulu-Natal with the SA Police Service and other state organs to address matters of concern to the communities. Three is with regard to social media - making use of social media platform like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube to create awareness and educate the public on the success of the SA National Defence Force and its role in contributing to the safe environment. Four, Eduseries – a production of an educational television series, a force for good on Mzansi Magic and Mzanzi Wethu channels on the MultiChoice platform about the role and functions of the SANDF not only during the COVID-19 pandemic but also before and after the pandemic. Thank you very much, House Chairperson.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you hon House Chair, hon Minister thank you for the response. However, I want to propose the expansion of these programmes to the rural areas of the Northern Cape - especially Namaqua, John Taolo Gaetsewe and Pixley ka Seme regions. Hon Minister, what is the possibility of an awareness programmes in schools in order to transfer the discipline that is learnt and acquired in the SANDF to our youth to address nation building and social decay. Is there a process to evaluate the impact of the current programmes? When last did you evaluate and review it? What do you want to achieve through these programmes? Thank you, hon House Chair.
The MINISTER OF POLICE (On behalf of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans): House Chairperson, you have come up front about the inconveniences that may happen. This task was given to me while I was sitting here because the Minister’s emergency came while I was sitting here. Other wise, I will be doing guesswork, and I don’t think that I would be allowed to do guesswork in the House. Thank you very much.
Ms A J BEUKES: House Chair, I think it’s only fair if we protect the Minister from himself and agree with him that that was the question he simply cannot be expected to answer.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): No, we won’t protect him from himself, we will protect him from the situation ... [Laughter.] ... that has been caused by the inconvenience that was pre-empted that the Minister recognised. Is there another question? Hon members, in terms of that first question, it was very specific in terms of future plans and it is unfair for the Minister to speculate on behalf of another Minister what the programmes will be, and whether resources will be available.
Minister, thank you for standing in, however, you will be able to answer very specific issues in terms of departmental plans going forward. So, general questions we may entertain but the specific ones he won’t be able to answer. The hon Mafanya?
Ms C N MKHONTO: House Chairperson?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, hon member, please continue.
Ms C N MKHONTO: Yes, it’s the hon Mkhonto. I will ask the question on behalf of the hon Mafanya. [Interjections.] Thank you, House Chair. Minister, in view of the number of soldiers who got arrested for committing fraud and heinous crimes, like stealing weapons at military bases, how to you intend salvaging the trust
deficit our communities and international communities had suffered due to such acts? Thank you, House Chair.
The MINISTER OF POLICE (On behalf of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans): I suppose her question is generic, and that could have been asked even in the Police. Since this is our sister organisation that we work together with, we need almost similar responses when such things happen. For instance, you will understand that there is a casual matter where the matter was taken to court and we were found wanting as government and the department, and we intend to respond to that by getting involved with the family and see how we go forward. But we must also remember that there are structures in the SANDF like the Defence ombudsperson who is looking after these matters when they arise.
When the report comes, the Minister will have to act on the report as suggested by the ombudsperson but those who commit crime within the police force as they would within the Police Service will have to face the full might of the law like any other criminal. But we also know that, especially outside the country, the issues of the SA National Defence Force are tried by the specialised courts of the military but when they are inside the country, they are investigated by the SA Police and follow the normal criminal route.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Is the hon Sukers on the virtual platform?
Ms M E SUKERS: Thank you House Chair, yes I am. Hon Minister, I have adapted my question in line with the current situation. My question to you is: Hon Minister, could you expand on the co- operation between the SA Police Service and the SANDF in national emergency situation such as the lockdown period and the gang violence in the Western Cape? What valuable lessons have been learned from that period? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE (On behalf of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans): Thank you very much, House Chairperson. The question is specific with the Western Cape but also generic because it has happened in the Republic of South Africa recently when the capacity of the police was supplemented and supported by the SA National Defence Force. The SA National Defence Force will always be there to support the capacity of the SA Police Service, and unless there is a state of emergency, then the SA National Defence Force takes over and the police support it. But since the dawn of democracy, we have not heard the state of emergency. What then happens is that the police will go to the Minister of Defence and ask for support. The Minister of Defence will go to the President and state the situation as it has happened in the
Western Cape and the President will engage the Minister of Defence on that and the protocols will be developed to prove that indeed such things are necessary. Then if the President grants permission to the Minister of Defence, he will in a few days report to Parliament and say that the soldiers will be utilised to support the police. It would be a very specific period with a specific number, area and reason for that to happen. If there is a need and that specific period expires, we will come back to make a further request. If the President states that it is still okay, it will be extended. That is what has happened in the Western Cape. Remember, while that was in progress, the generic employment of the soldiers came under the rule of the disaster management. If that is a situation, then that is the arrangement, hon House Chair. Thank you very much.
Mr S J F MARAIS: Thank you House Chairperson, and if the answer might be too specific, I will appreciate it if the Minister of Defence can give a written response. I am sure that the Defence Minister and the Minister of Police will agree with me that our land and maritime borders are like sieves, and anyone can cross easily without much repercussions. This is not conducive to the investors’ confidence. Given the wasteful expenditure, for instance, the unnecessary travels to Zimbabwe and unauthorised imports of medicine that must be stopped, will the Minister of
Defence commit herself to the reprioritisation of funds, specifically to increase our border patrol units to 25? Will she properly resource and equip them and prioritise maritime security by the completion and the payment of the Project Hotel hydrographic vessel and Project Biro - the three inshore patrol vessels, and also prioritise the procurement of aircraft and equipment to a 35 squadron for maritime patrols and responses? I thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, that is a very specific question that the Minister of Defence will be able to reply to. But also hon members, I want to remind you that a follow-up question only consist of one supplementary question not a number of questions. Is there anything you want to respond to, Minister of Police?
The MINISTER OF POLICE (On behalf of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans): As you say, it is multiple questions and almost new questions on that. I will use fairness to the question by referring it to the Minister of Defence to provide the answer on this one. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Marais, we will ensure that the supplementary question gets to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans so that you can get a response.
Mr S J F MARAIS: Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): You are welcome. Hon members ...
Mr B A RADEBE: House Chairperson, would you please also ensure that the follow-up question of Ms Beukes also gets a written response.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, we will deal with all the follow-up questions in the same way where the Minister who is standing in is not able to provide specifics. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Thank you very much, Chairperson, the answer would be the investigations into these cases are continuing. The South African Police Service, the SAPS, cannot disclose the specific methods used to apprehend the suspects since the publication of such information will defeat the objective of the investigation. Secondly, all the cases are investigated and as
soon as relevant information has been obtained the case dockets will be referred to the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, for decision on the prosecution. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Thank you, hon Minister, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, children and loved ones are reeling with shock, pain and anguish from the brutal shooting of the murders of all these citizens with no response, no closure, whatsoever. Yusuf [Inaudible.], Collin Potter, Nadarajan Naidoo, Arvitha Doodnath
...[Inaudible.] and all these 15 names that I have sent to you, Minister do not have closure whatsoever. Now, why is the department taking such a long time when it comes to some of these murders, but other murders are prioritised and within a very short space of time you have arrest being made? Could you kindly tell me and even if it means in writing a comprehensive report as to what do we tell these people who cannot even sleep peacefully because of no closure with their loved ones, having lost their loved ones?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson, I see the names that have been sent by the hon member. The crux of the matter is that there are cases that will take much longer than others and there will be those that are easy to crack much quicker, not necessarily that they are a priority. Hon Chair, it is because the police have been exposed to easy information with a co-operation of the South
Africans who comes forward and say we have this information, here it is. So, it cannot then be true to say there are no other cases besides these that are taking much longer.
There is a case here that all of us ..., we’ve been really getting a hide on it - Senzo Meyiwa case. That is six years though we are somewhere now, going forward. But this comparison to say that there are those that are prioritised ... and I hope that kind of information raised by the hon member should not be inclined towards any form of racial connotations. I will really refuse to be part of any racial connotation when it comes to the investigation of crime. Crime is crime and crime is committed by criminals. It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what your race is. It doesn’t matter what religion you are. Crime is crime and it will be investigated as such. Thank you.
Ms T M JOEMAT-PETTERSON: Thank you very much, hon Minister and given the responses you gave us today thank you for those responses. We have seen the number of unresolved cases in our country as a whole that has been reduced considerably. How do you think, we will be able to continue in this trajectory where we said we can speed up the resolution of these cases? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Chairperson, maybe one thing that we don’t do but I have spoken to the people who are responsible for crime statistics. Maybe in a certain given time, we will have to begin by giving some specific cases that South Africans have been taken about them. They’ve been up there to say it’s not just the murder and these figures of murder cases that have been resolved but there must be some specific messages ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Mkhalipi, may you please switch off your microphone?
Mr H O MKHALIPI: Sorry, Chair. Sorry.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: There must be a way of coming back. Chairperson, the hon member says when you sit down and you look at serious crimes that have made lots of waves in South Africa, many of them have been resolved. Maybe it will be important to say when you give these crime stats and then we come to some specific one like the gender-based violence. For instance, in the month of July, there were 28 women in South Africa that were murdered all in the hands of the people they know and all those people were arrested. But when you get information is that 28 people died and then you do not know that all 28 people were arrested after that. I agree with him. There are serious breakthroughs that are made by
the SA Police and the justice criminal system. Going forward, we will continue to make sure that there are some specific reports coming back. Thank you.
Mr H O MKHALIPI: I will speak on behalf of hon Shembeni. Minister, the Western Cape alone has a very high crime rate. So, did the Minister ever try to change his provincial leadership to see if better and capable people can do the job in the province? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Well, the Provincial Commissioner of Western Cape who is here is less than a year. If that is the change the hon member is talking about, yes, we have a new Provisional Commissioner here. We are appointing new deputies and all that. However, the other issue is that we work in the whole chain of justice system even here in the Western Cape. Maybe one thing that we are not talking much about is that there will be arrests and as police arrest people in the Western Cape. What we need to work much on in the Western Cape are preventions that people shouldn’t die. After the death of Gugulethu where eight people were killed. We have arrested four people in the Eastern Cape at Cofimvaba and we have linked those people directly and positively that they are involved in the killing. So, we do make arrests. Thank you.
Mr Z MAJOZI: Thank you, hon Chairperson and hon Minister, in the process of bringing criminals to book, in the past the issue of lost dockets has plugged the criminal justice system in this country. In light of the response given to me by the Minister, purporting that the SAPS is in the process of transitioning from the use of the crime administration system with case historical documentation to a website accessible investigating case docket management system. Therefore, procedurally the responsibility rests with police officials who open and verifies the case, the details therein, to ensure that a crime is registered correctly. What checks and balances will exist to ensure that no individual has complete autonomy over a single case to prevent the SAPS officials from defeating and obstructing the ends of justice?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Thank you very much, Chairperson, on that score not just the SAPS but as a justice criminal cluster to say we need to emigrate from physical dockets and all that and put them in the system, starting from the police station and going to the prosecution, magistrate and up to the last end of the system where the Correctional Service as those people get released there from the very first point we know what is happening. So, we agree with it. At the present moment, dockets are supposed to be having
some backup information so that when we lose them, we are able to go and retrieve the backup information as its happening.
Unfortunately, the dockets do not only get lost with the police but they do get lost in the whole system. Going forward, that is why it is important that the criminal justice system will have to do. It will have to put everybody on board so that we know where the trouble happens. So, we are working on that. In technology, we are trying to get money for that and some money for that is the Criminal Assets Recovery Account, Cara, money. We are trying to raise some other money to make sure that the system is improved and the system is intact. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION:
Hon Chairperson, consultations with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has led to a decision which was approved by Cabinet that a sod-turning event should form part of South Africa’s legacy projects during our chairing of the African Union, AU. However, a letter dated 6 March 2020 from the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure highlighted the reasons for the delay of the finalisation of the project as follows: In 2010 subsequent to extensive environmental impact assessments, the proposed construction side namely portion 442 of the farm
Randjesfontein 45 JR in Midrand was found by the experts to be a wetland. It was determined that any activities in that land were and would always illegal.
In addition, in August 2019 the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure was made aware that the portion measuring 20 hectors of the side that has been earmarked for the construction of the Pan-African Parliament’s, PAP, headquarters has been registered under a new private ownership. The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure undertook to launch a forensic investigation into the matter.
The Department of International Relations and Co-operation appreciates the need for the forensic investigation regarding the previously identified side for the PAP headquarters. However, in the fulfilment of our long-standing obligation to PAP to provide a permanent headquarters a request has been made by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure for the speedy identification and procurement of an alternative side. In this regard further guidance from the department is awaited. Thank you very much.
Mr B S NKOSI: Hon House Chairperson and hon Deputy Minister, thank you for the comprehensive response. It should be noted that this matter has been long on the agenda of the Department of
International Relations and Co-operation and that over a period of time it may cause a credibility issue with us particularly in the AU.
My follow-up question is whether this expeditious, identification and procurement of an alternative side as indicated by the Ministry will be linked to the forensic investigation by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure or will it be a separate process? Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION:
Hon Nkosi, thank you very much for your question. First and foremost, there is an obligation for us to undertake that substantive forensic investigation so that we are able to bring the alleged perpetrators to book. However, secondly, we have a concurrent and equally important obligation to honour the commitment made by South Africa to the African Union to permanently secure the headquarters of the Pan-African Parliament within South Africa.
So, it is mutually enforceable, but it is interrelated, but it is also independent. However, we have an obligation to provide that type of permanent infrastructure.
Mr D BERGMAN: Hon Chair, besides the actual Pan-African Parliament building sides that we have to identify, I am sure that we learnt a lot since our temporary Parliament days at Gallagher Estate and experience in this area: Can the Deputy Minister, please inform this House what other costs can our country be looking to contribute over and above our membership fees to entertain request from the secretariat that befall out of the scope of the operational budget and come from our fiscal budget as hosts to this Parliament on an annual basis like in what we would call a hidden costs or the VIP request shall we say? Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION:
Hon Chairperson and hon Bergman, I think the South African government conducts its business in accordance to the Financial Management Act. It therefore holds that all costs normally predetermine in terms of the budgetary provisions and therefore there would be no hidden costs that we will be able to make provisions for apart from what has been voted for in terms of this House. Thank you very much, Chair.
Rev K R J MESHOE: Hon Chairperson, in July 2015 the Department of Public Works spokesperson said the construction of the bulk civil engineering works of the Pan-African Parliament, started in 2009, but had to be stopped after the Department of Environmental
Affairs issued a prohibition notice. In response to a concern raised by the committee about the delays. We were informed that the Minister was in constant communication with the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure since the beginning of March this year.
Now Deputy Minister, what I want to ask is whether the department has approached property companies in Gauteng for assistance regarding available and appropriate land that can be used for the construction of the Pan-African Parliament because it is an embarrassment that it has taken 11 years just to identify a suitable land to construct the required building and if not, why not? Thank you, Chairperson.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION:
Hon Chairperson and Rev Meshoe, I think it is important to take this House in confidence that there was in April 2009 a township establishment that has been approved which was inclusive at that time of our opinion by the environmental independent expert.
Chairperson, subsequent to that fact government then after we actually did more substantive environmental assessment came to discover that there has been fraud committed. There was misrepresentation by the specialist. The person has been referred to the relevant authorities, was convicted and sentenced. We can
of course report to this House that the person subsequent also had a fuss on.
So, Chairperson the second issue which is a very important is that public works in terms of Delma Engineering Projects Company is the custodian in relation to infrastructure and property including accommodation purposes on behalf of the South African government and it is my submission that any new due diligence will it include a strengthening partnership as it relates to the role that your private property experts would have to bring to the fore. I think is part of the social compact which President Ramaphosa has made as a proposal. Thank you very much.
Mrs T P MSANE: Hon Chair, the department has known for more than
16 years that it needs to provide permanent housing for the Pan- African Parliament. It must be highlighted that when the project to house the Pan-African Parliament was abandoned, approximately R19 million had been spent by the Department of Public Works on the project. Whilst America is benefitting from housing the United Nations, UN, and Ethiopia is benefiting from housing the Organisation of the African Union, OAU, South Africa is displaying its incompetence to the world.
Can the Deputy Minister explain tell the public how much of the public purse has been spent on the rental for the Pan-African Parliament at Gallagher Estate? How much could have been saved if the government of South Africa had just done the right thing? What would be the implications if other member states were to agree to move the Pan-African Parliament to Egypt? Thank you, Chair.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION:
Hon Chairperson and hon Msane, I think the first important point that we have to make is that the PAP is part of the overall organ of the African Union in terms of your Abuja treaty, etc. We have made a commitment as South Africa to host permanently, to provide a permanent certainty through permanent infrastructure for this very august institution. Like we have said, it is very unfortunate that is has taken ... [Inaudible.] ... time to for us to look at the environmental unsuitability of the initially identified side. I think that is important.
Government had initially identified the side that adhered to the basic requirement that relates to PAP is concerned. The fact that environmental studies has actually related that we will not be able to host that specific side. We have made a commitment earlier and we have said is a corresponding obligation to actually identify an alternative side.
In as far as the more cost implication as it relates to rent Chairperson my submission is that we would be able to via the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure for those specific costs details to the House.
The last issue is that there is absolutely no reason and there should be no concern to hon members in the House that the delay in acquiring the permanent headquarters for PAP will actually a review of the decision to host. Actually we are providing a temporary infrastructure in Midrand and we will continue to do that with the more urgency at our disposal. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Speaker, the current total backlog of deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA, samples for all category of analysis of the South African Police Service forensic science laboratories is reflected in the table below. I will go for totals, which those totals would be, in Eastern Cape Province:2667 those are backlogs, KwaZulu-Natal: 3204 and then those that are supposed to be dealt with the head office 72 467, in Western Cape is 39 400 and the total would be 117 736.
Categorise of the DNA analysis with the highest backlog are as follows: Remote user interface, RUI intelligence is 52 317, DNA
intelligence is 34 985 entries and then booked out 26 316 entries. Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker.
Mr A G WHITFIELD: Deputy Speaker, in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of the 2019-20 financial year, the performance in DNA analysis decline by 20% and 74% respectively from quarter one. This means that you knew last year already, that the significant backlog in DNA cases exhibit was developing at your forensic laboratories denying thousands of people the justice they deserve. In one case in Port Elizabeth, a man accused of raping his friend’s mother was released on bail, this man while on bail is suspected to have then proceeded raped and kill a five-year-old, Chantel Makwena. He raped and beat to death a five-year-old girl with a rock and dumped her in outhouse, near her home. He has not yet been persecuted due to a lack of basic consumables at your forensic laboratories, allow him to walk free. As a result of the failure of criminal justice system, Chantel Makwena’s mother took the law into her own hands and with the help of community members cut off his penis. Chantel’s mother was swiftly arrested for attempted murder, removed from that breast feeding infant and imprisoned.
Sadly, this story has become a far too common law breaking in society.
One wonders, how many thousands of heinous crimes could have been prevented, if DNA analysis was not delayed or bungled by your department. Minister, it is not yet clear whether the cause of this failure of South African Police Service, SAPS, to perform of such basic DNA analysis timeously, is a case of incompetence or corruption. If it is corruption, what have you Minister done to ensure that those responsible for these gross injustice are being brought to book? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Deputy Speaker, one hears very well from Mr Whitfield, but our is to explain and correct. The question that is put on us at the end of the day; ‘is it corruption or incompetence?’ As we all know that the head of laboratories, which happen to be General Phahlane, has been facing the court issues for some time now. That has led to the national commissioner firing him, but there are court issues going on. That happened together with the head, General Shezi of the technology [Interjection.] ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Proceed hon ...yah.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: ... which technology works together with laboratories on this matters. So, there have been a lot of corruption that has been involved here, but that has been
addressed. For instance, both generals, I am talking about, have been fired and they are facing the court proceedings going forward and that has been done. But also there have been some contradictions between State Information Technology Agency, SITA, and the South African Police Service, dealing with the matter of technology that impacts on the laboratories.
We are correcting that, for instance there is a new head now of the laboratories and there is a new acting head working on the Technology to Fight Crime, TNS, which the technology of the South African Police and going forward these things are corrected, the new equipment is put, we have dates, we have timeframes, that by this time it should have been corrected. We believe, with that the correction, the situation will be better and the situation shall never be allowed to be where it is now and where we have picked it up going forward. Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker.
Mr E R P MAPHATSOE: Deputy Speaker, I would just like to know from the Minister that, what is the provincial breakdown of these backlogs of the forensic science laboratories and do all the provinces have the necessary and requisite material resources to process such backlogs. Lastly, what is the due date expected for the elimination of the current backlog and what plans are afoot to decrease the expected growth in the backlog? Thank you.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: You and the previous member, hon Whitfield asked several questions. Now, you must the remember that the rule say that the supplementary questions are limited, so we must try and comply and/or prioritise – indicate which one of all the questions, you rather be answered, so that you have proper attention to each of the questions, each member asks.
The MINOISTER OF POLICE: Deputy Speaker, does that mean I have a choice to answer few questions?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Musa ukungibuza [do not ask me].
The MINOISTER OF POLICE: There are four provinces that have a serious problem on that. That would be your: Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng, but also the head office. Mechanisms have been put to correct the situation. One major problem that the department has faced, has been a poor management of the contracts. There has been terrible way of managing the contracts, when it comes to that. Then, now, we are correcting that. For instance, 11 contracts have been awarded, three will be awarded soon and five of those will be awarded in the next coming few months.
The shortage of the personnel - 175 promotion posts were advertised, there are 13 post that have been internal and were taking people from outside, and then, there are 40 lateral explosive posts that were advertised, 69 [Inaudible.] applications considered. This needs to happen within this financial year, and then making sure that the reversal and correction is done within the next financial year.
One other thing has been the problem of the budget that has impacted negatively when it comes to these science laboratories. The money by the national commissioner of R250 million has been found, which has improved the way going forward, that will be the situation Deputy Speaker. Thank you very much.
Ms H O MKHALIPI: Deputy Speaker, I will take the question. Minister to build the capacity in dealing with the backlog of DNA samples. Are there any plans to train people who are in this field in resolving crime? If yes Minister, which institution is the Minister is engaging with, to have a full forensic science course at undergraduate level in South Africa? If not, what is your plan? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Deputy Speaker, the hon member we have just tried to walk our way back. In 2010-11, the South African
Police recruited 100 Bachelors of Science, BScs, students...that have just graduated of BScs and some have Masters in sciences.
They have grown and they have given us the capacity but as we all the organisation needs to grow.
We do have relationship with several institutions and several organisations that we work with on this matters. Hardly, if we did not have the COVID-19, the Deputy Minister of the South African Police has visited some serious institutions like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, like the Scotland Yard to be able to create a scientific academy of the South African Police. The site has been identified in Soshanguve, we are working together with the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, so that people are trained internally on the top, top way that science will be used in South Africa.
If it were not for COVID-19, we would have started by now. The money for that is there but we are working with these two huge institutions, FBI and Scotland Yard, to make sure we use their capacity. Once everything normalises we will begin on the processes, to make sure that we have a full capacity on scientific issues within the South African Police. Thank you very much.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Deputy Speaker, hon Minister, police officers are frequently perceived to have passive disbelieving and negative attitudes towards rape and sexual offences. Which contributes greatly to inadequate performance in sexual crimes. Has the Minister considered implementing training programmes on police attitudes towards sexual offences? If not, why not? If so, what are the relevant details? Thank you.
Can I request something on air, that the Minister can pull the mic closer to the mouth, so that are able to hear, we can’t hear.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Deputy Speaker, ok, I have put it very close now. This question is being repeated, it was answered on the way coming here, but will revisit the question. One other thing that I would like to correct, that police are perceived as people that don’t want to do the work, it cannot be true. As I have said, we have few rotten apples within the bag of the South African Police. But we have thousands and thousands and thousands South African Police members that are doing their work diligently and very committed to the course.
I have given the figures of people that have been sent for life sentence. That happens because if so many people go to life sentence and many of them go to long sentences like 50 years, 40
years, 30, 70 and all that, because somebody has done his or her work properly. For you to get life sentence, which means somebody did a very good investigation that will take you through the processes for you to get the sentence. So I would urge that members must really lambast those police that are corrupt and doing their work but also they must give a pat on the shoulders of those police that are doing their work. So that we encourage them to continue to do so.
I have given the figures of the people that we are training, that they are 312, I have given that we are working with the special Advocate De Kock, to make sure that there are people that are trained and sit on a specialised desk in different police stations. I have given the answer that we are working on the units, given the figures in some of the units. So, it’s what we are doing to make sure that we work harder with gender-based violence and improve to defend and make sure that those that commit those crimes are punished. Thank you very much.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon Deputy
Speaker, the department is aware of gang members that are incarcerated in correctional facilities. The department has a gang management strategy in place and is currently reviewing the
strategy into a gang combating strategy which will be accompanied by implementation plan to counter strategies and new techniques used by the gangs.
Amongst the interventions there’s consultation and collaboration with law enforcement agencies under the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, the JCPS Cluster. This effective collaboration has shown successes in combating gangsterism in our facilities and has yielded positive results in management areas with high numbers of incarcerated gang members such as the albums management areas.
Our standard operating procedures are in place, which include conducting searches in correctional facilities; confiscated contraband such as sim-cards and cellular phones are handed over to crime intelligence for further operationalisation and processing.
Through these collaboration initiatives numerous officials were arrested for being linked to gangs. We are also in the process of reviewing the Department of Correctional Services, DCS, security protocol through the review of B-order and enhancing such a protocol.
Further, in discouraging gang activities, identified gang leaders have been transferred to various correctional facilities.
Offenders found to be transgressing are charged, disciplined, degraded in with the department policies and transferred to maximum facilities.
The gang combating strategy seeks to enhance the promotion of
gang-free environment and equal opportunities for all inmates in a safe and secure correctional facility.
On admission inmates are profiled, assessments are conducted, photos taken of tattoos or symbols which indicate community gang, prison gang affiliation. In addition, orientation on institutional orders and health screening is also conducted.
The correctional sentence plan is in operation to outline the relevant correctional programmes to be attended by the offenders to address their criminal behaviour. The behavioural modification programme is crucial for countering gang activity. It empowers inmates if they are being groomed for gangs. The department is moving towards intelligence-driven security posture. Thank you.
Mrs Y N YAKO: Deputy Speaker, has the Minister held any of the regional commissioners responsible, since his appointment as
Minister, for failing to ensure that there are no cellphones, which are contraband by the way, that enters correctional facilities as they are ultimately accountable for any contravention of rules of correctional facilities? If not, how can we trust that any of his measures will work if he cannot deal with management and they are not held accountable?
Recently in a committee we were told that there are numerous unnatural deaths in prisons, and when we asked why there is such, the response was that there were no contraband material. And I ask myself how can prisoners be able to kill themselves when there is no contraband material that is allowed in prisons? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon Deputy
Speaker, yes, senior officials have been held accountable in particular at the institution management area, the Durban Westville Management Area. There have been actions that have been taken, which processes are still underway. And from time to time where officials are found there is action that is been taken to ensure accountability on these issue; I just don’t have the number now but if required we could provide to the hon member. We ensure that it does happen, from time to time that there is accountability, and consequence management for failure to deal with that.
With regard to the issue of whether there is no contraband inside and so forth; every time there is a search we discover contrabands. So, there is a loophole that enables inmates to get these contrabands. Thank you.
Mr X NQOLA: Minister, the challenge of gangsterism in our correctional centres has been widely reported and we appreciate the policies and strategies which have been put in place to address this challenge.
What are other additional measures in place to deal with gangs in correctional facilities, including rehabilitation programmes offered to identified gang members?
We know there has been massive work that has been by the department; we just want the progress report. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Deputy Speaker,
our additional measures to address the challenge at hand across all centres, DCS officials are sensitised to comply with the security policies and standard operating procedures by ensuring that proper and regular searches of inmates, officials, visitors and service providers are conducted at access control points.
Emergency Security Teams, EST, are available in each management area to act swiftly when information is received regarding smuggling of contrabands and work closely with the JCPS Cluster departments and other state organs to deal with such matters.
Furthermore, known gang members are separated from non-gang members, older offenders and vulnerable offenders in order to discourage gang activities. They are integrated irrespective of gang affiliation. All gang and non-gang related incidents are investigated internally and reported to the SA Police Service for criminal investigation.
On the other hand, the department also offer rehabilitation programmes to offenders which are compulsory especially for identified gang members, this include but not limited to: new beginnings, which is life skills-based training; anger in and anger out, which deals with aggression; changing lanes, for offenders sentenced for murder; female programme, as we also have female gangs; youth programmes; pre-release and behaviour modifications on gangsterism. Thank you.
Mr J SELFE: Deputy Speaker, I don’t know about the Minister but I get large numbers of calls out of prisons normally late at night or on the early hours of the morning, normally asking for parole
or asking for conditions and so on. [Interjections.] Now, if I get those calls you may be perfectly certain that criminal gang bosses are getting those calls.
Now, there’s only one way to stop those calls from being made from prisoners, is to jam the cellphone and use cellphone jamming devices.
Will the Minister tell us: What steps, if any, he’s taking to jam cellphone calls from and to prison? [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Deputy Speaker,
it’s true what hon James Selfe is saying. I also receive the calls; demanding paroles and all kinds of things from the inmates. And I have instructed the National Commissioner to look into the matter; how are we going to deal with this issue of the calls being made from inside and the inmates having access to the outside world. And I’m aware that there’s discussion between the department and the cellphone, telecom service providers in terms of means to explore some of the issues including what hon Selfe has said. But as you are aware, there are regulations that we’ll have to comply with and various issues of compliance in terms of the law and interceptions of telecommunications and communications in the country.
So, upon completion of that process we’ll be able to announce what and how we are going to deal with it, in terms of this issue because the other reality is that communication may also need to continue to function within the facilities. But we are exploring whether the telecom lines that are there or any lines that might still be fixed will still function and all those kind of activities; because some of these communications also work for internet service provider that might be necessary and so forth.
So, all those things are being considered and we will, as time allow and when we are sure of what steps to be taken, be able to inform the public. Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Minister, I think the problem is bigger than that. The question that one needs to ask is, your prison warders, I believe there’s a high level of corruption in these prisons: How is it that cellphones are allowed to enter, calls are allowed to be made, airtime is being provided?
I agree with hon Selfe; I get calls from prison, I can even give you some numbers.
The problem is big and I think the problem comes through ... you know ... we have such a high level of corruption in South Africa at the moment and the prisons are no exception.
What measures did you put in place to or what precautions can you take or ... let me rephrase that: How many of your prison warders have you found guilty thus far in the last financial year, of not performing their duties satisfactorily? Because they should be taking responsibility for what is happening inside these prisons.
It’s not only the cellphones; drugs are also entering the prisons. And yes, these crimes that are committed outside are also planned inside. So, I think the problem is bigger.
What additional measures can you put, and starting by dealing with your prison warders who are not doing what they are supposed to do?
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Deputy Speaker,
there are consequence management processes that are happening, for example, from 118 reported cases, a total of 82 investigations have been finalised; 19 out of 56 disciplinary cases finalised resulted in dismissals; 20 out of 56 disciplinary cases finalised resulted in final written warnings; seven officials were given leave without pay; two were correctively punished; four resigned before the disciplinary processes were finalised and were found not guilty.
So, there is a process that we deal with when such acts of misconduct have been discovered; the disciplinary processes of the department kicks in and from time to time we show no mercy to these kinds of activities.
But as hon Shaik has said, from time to time there will be a system lapse and there will be a conscious lapse in terms of corruption by some of the officials, which enables these contrabands to come in. Obviously these needs further work in terms of consequence management, but also in terms of strengthening our own system, in terms of modernisation, that will enable us to deal with these things such as body scanners and necessary technology. And that is that we are exploring. Thank you, Deputy Speaker.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Hon Deputy Speaker, I a providing the answer to the question. The SA Police Service, as essential service, has continued to provide its service to victims of both domestic violence and gender-based violence throughout all the different levels of the Covid-19 regulations. Since the introduction of Covid-19 regulations, the SAPS intensified its visibility to enforce the provisions of the Disaster Management Act. But the provisioning of police services to the community did
not change. The relaxation of the regulation to Level 1 has not affected the services which are provided to victims of crime. We continue to provide that service. Thank you very much, hon Deputy Speaker.
Ms S PATREIN: Minister, given the fact that gender-based violence, GBV is a societal problem and not just a criminal justice matter, how successful is the SAPS in working with all stakeholders to address this scourge of GBV? Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Unfortunately, I lost the question on the mix of Mabe and others as the question was asked. I did not hear the question very well.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: She wants to know how successful you’ve been in containing and combating gender-based violence.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Well, that success cannot be determined by us. There are other people who need to determine that. But, as I have said, hon Deputy Speaker, we have given the numbers and the responses on the structures that we have put there. We have continued to do the work. Some people would say the success is minimal; some would say it’s medium; and some would say it’s zero. To measure that success, we leave to the community and society of
South Africa to tell us that. What we need to do is to correct those areas which are pointed as our weaknesses and impact negatively. One of those things is the response of our personnel especially at the level of police stations when victims of gender- based violence come to report, and how our police treat them. But, as we have said, and the person who asked the question did say, we are dealing with a societal matter. To expand on our success, last Friday we invited the Amakhosi in the Republic of South Africa and royalty through Cogta to engage them on how we can deal with matters especially the support of the traditional structures and families. One major problem that we face on regarding gender-based violence is the withdrawal of these cases. We discovered that the families and society support the perpetrator rather than the victim. They go to the victim and say withdraw the case because it is embarrassing that your uncle is arrested and all that. So, we urge society to support the victims of gender-based violence rather than supporting the perpetrators. Thank you very much.
M Gen O S TERBLANCHE: Minister, you told us just now that you are not sure about your own successes. But I think something that we are sure of is that women and children remain the victims of gender-based violence. That was the situation during lockdown and also as lockdown regulations were gradually relaxed. You and your department made very firm commitments on how you plan to manage
the situation down. Is your plan working, and is it fully implemented by now? What is the percentage decrease in terms of the numbers achieved thus far? Thank you, Deputy Speaker.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Deputy Speaker, it will be presumptuous of us to say we’ll stand here and judge ourselves. So, I think it is proper to say, at the end of the day, as the National Development Plan says, the South Africans must be safe and must feel safe. So, it is fair to leave the judgement to the society out there. On the specific question of the regulations during lockdown, indeed the gender-based violence including the rape and abuse of women have gone down tremendously so. If you look at the second quarter that we have just given, though the numbers are bad – they are 8 000 in three months - but they remain less than the figures at the same time during the previous year. We are saying that we claim no easy victories and tell no lies because we understand that conditions were very different. For instance, there was no alcohol. I don’t care what people say about alcohol. Whether they call somebody the minister of alcohol, the crux of the matter is that alcohol is one of the main generators of serious crime. Both murder and rape are generated by alcohol. So, it wasn’t there. The second one is that there was a high visibility of enforcement personnel, both the soldiers and the police. There is also the argument that these figures are down because people could not go out there and report.
That is on the table. There are no facts about that but there is that argument. But as we speak at the moment, figures including rape and domestic violence are down during lockdown. Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Minister, there is a disproportionate allocation of resources within Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences, FCS units across the country. Urban-based units are better resourced than township and rural-based units. This continues to be the case even when the number of cases handled by the townships and rural-based units are greater than those of their urban counterparts. What intervention plans are in place to tackle disproportionate allocation of resources within FCS units? Also furnish details on the progress on these intervention plans. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Well, Deputy Speaker, this question was asked and it is still asked again. But the question of proportionality – we did say we have 30 top stations of gender- based violence and rape in the country. That kind of information - By the way, the SA Police Service Statistics is not just about informing the public about what is happening, but it is also used to reallocate the resources to try and fight gender-based violence depending on how serious that station is. To say that the urban
and township stations are less resourced, is not very factual. One of the highly-resourced stations is Umlazi which is a township.
The other is Inanda which is both townships and villages all put together. We are informed about that because of the intensity and the weight of this crime that has been committed in those places. If you look at the top 30 stations, we will sometimes be removing or moving resources to that particular station because, at that particular time, there is extra work to be done. But also, I said we have 10 other FCS units that are sent to that particular area when there is a problem at that particular time to enhance and make sure that there is extra capacity given to that particular area. So, we are informed by the stats but we are also informed to understand the situation. There are 1 153 police stations in South Africa and 30 of them are bad. The concentration will be where there is more weight of those particular crimes at the particular time. Thank you very much.
Ms M E SUKERS: Minister, since allocating resources for the response to urban violence like providing more shelters and helplines for women and children, easier recording of data on GBV crimes, and speedy ways to acquire protection orders can reduce the burden on police, have any interdepartmental steps been taken to press for such? If so, what are the relevant details; and if not, do you intend to do so?
The MINISTER OF POLICE: Yes, Deputy Speaker, that will be part of training to say members of the SA Police Service need to respond to the calls made by the victims. But also, to respond and take seriously the question of the interdicts that are granted to the victims. We have discovered that there is a lack of understanding and appreciation of the seriousness of these interdicts. Sometimes they are delayed to be implemented; and sometimes they are delayed to be delivered to the people who are supposed to receive them. In the meantime, the abuse sometimes culminates in the death of the victim while we are busy delaying. So, there’s orientation to say the police must take extra caution and extra speed.
As we have said, this has been declared as the second pandemic. So, extra ways and emergencies by the SA Police Service will have to be taken. And we have escalated the consequences to the members of the SA Police Service who are not working on this matter. As such, maybe we will try to supply that to the members of this House. The SA Police Service has given the directory of members from the Minister of Police, the National Commissioner, all Commanders of the stations – 1 153 of them – all Deputy Commissioners, and all divisions. These are numbers that we are supplying to the public to be able speak, phone and find anybody and everybody who can provide some form of assistance. So, we are simply saying police members must be available and the communities
must have access to the members so that we are able to respond, and we also know exactly where and what point the police are not doing their work. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much, Ndozi. But you didn’t give me first that directory.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon Deputy
Speaker, there is notable progress with the construction of the Mamelodi Magistrate Court, following a number of hurdles, which were experienced by contractor Fikile Construction Pty (Ltd). The construction is now at 73% completion, with the following work having been completed: main brick work, roofing, and some internal finishing. The outstanding work includes electrical and mechanical work, air conditioners and lifts, internal and external finishing, painting, tiling, plumbing and woodwork, road work, paving, telephones, court recording equipment, and security installation.
The delay in completing the project is attributed to a number of challenges, including the delay in the approval of an extension of time claims and variation orders, and interruptions caused by the local community, believed to have been caused by the failure of the contractor to appoint local people to the project. This has
since been resolved. The project is earmarked for completion by November 2021.
The building is victim friendly and will boost modern technology to enhance efficiency. One of the court rooms will be a dedicated sexual offences court with audio visual links to a private testifying room for victims of gender-based violence and sexual offences to avoid secondary victimisation and trauma. Thank you.
Ms J M MOFOKENG: Deputy Speaker, Minister, in your response you said that there are challenges and amongst others, there was the issue of the approval by the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. Has this issue been rectified and how will the department together with the Department of Public Works and the contractor engage with the community members to ensure that the remaining 27% of the construction is not disrupted? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon Deputy
Speaker, indeed, the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality advised us that it is at an advanced stage to correct the difficulties of the approvals from the City, and that it is work in progress in that regard, which will soon be resolved.
As I have stated earlier, the challenges of disruption by the community have also been resolved. So, we expect that the work will now proceed unhindered, and by November 2021, we will be able to complete the project. Thank you.
Mr W HORN: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Minister, the capital infrastructure build programme of your department has built up a very poor reputation over the last few years - shoddy workmanship, time over-runs. Mamelodi is no exception. It was first announced in 2013. Completion was supposed to be done by in 2015. Then it was extended to 2018 and today, you tell us we must be happy with completion by hopefully 2021. The previous colleague has referred to the Department of Public Works. Minister, please don’t regurgitate the issue of co-managing projects and having stern conversations with Public Works. What will you be doing to finally divorce Public Works as the project manager of the build projects of Justice? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon Deputy
Speaker, as hon Horn warns me that I must not regurgitate this, unfortunately, at the current moment, it is the programme that we are currently using to deal with our infrastructure build programme. The Department of Public Works is still the implementing agent.
We are however open to further explore other avenues that will enable us to get other project managers and leads who could help us to fast-track the infrastructure build programme because indeed, there are delays and our infrastructure programmes are not moving. So, we are at that exploratory stages. Thank you.
Mr N SINGH: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Minister, the conditions of some of the court houses and buildings around the country is deplorable, to say the least. Perhaps one that comes to mind is the Pinetown Magistrates Court that was recently in the news when court staff have threatened with strike action over what they said was disgusting workplace conditions, citing an aging court building, rat infestation as well as the poor state of the building’s ablution facilities. Are you aware of these issue and if you are not, will you make it your business to be aware and what is your department’s plan to address these unhealthy conditions at Pinetown Magistrates Court? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon Deputy
Speaker, I was not aware of this one. We will follow up and attend to the issues that the hon member is raising. Thank you.
Ms Y N YAKO: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon Minister, we have actually been asking this question for quite a while, but it does not have
any answers that we can take to our constituencies. What is the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services doing about the fact that Public Works is actually holding its infrastructure to ransom, without any recourse, without making any kind of waves from your part? It is as if they are holding you to ransom and you are just allowing then to hold you to ransom. What can you do, as the Ministry, to make sure that the Department of Public Works is held accountable, whether you are taking it to the judicial system or whether you do whatever it takes to make sure that they are accountable for the structures you need in order to house your prisoners and in order to create new prisons for those who need to be kept at the moment? Thank you.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Hon Deputy
Speaker, hon member, I thought the question is related to the courts, but at the end, it sounded like it relates to the correctional facilities. With regard to the courts, there is already an agreement between the Department of Correctional Services and Justice that in some of these new facilities that are being built, you must in certain instances, in the process of transferring skills, also use inmates to help us with the renovations and the building.
This has been done as an exploratory process at the Middelburg Magistrates Court that has been upgraded. It is now one of the sites that is being used by the Mpumalanga High Court. We are looking forward to roll out this programme, so that the inmates will also have work to do.
The same programme will also be used to build some of our own correctional facilities, including facilities for community corrections, because this will also enable the inmates to learn skills such as plumbing, boiler-making and other skills associated with public infrastructure.
So, that is what we are doing. We are not just waiting for the Department of Public Works, or only holding meetings with Public works, but we are looking at our own internal capability and capacity from the inmates, so that we begin to involve them in this kind of programmes.
We do hold Public Works to account in some of the meeting arrangements and engagements to deliver on some of the agreed timeframes and projects. We will continue to have such monthly discussions. In certain instances, the Department of Public Works has also agreed to allow to delegate some of these functions to some of our regional offices and also to the offices of the Chief
Justice, such as issues of maintenance of gates, doors, and some of the small things that can be done by the officials in that kind of infrastructure. Thank you.
The House adjourned at 18:05.