Coronavirus; SAPS Quarterly Reports (Q1, 2 and 3) follow-up; IPID Head Appointment Update; with Deputy Minister


04 March 2020

Chairperson: Ms T Joemat-Petterssen (ANC)



Meeting Summary

The Committee received an update on the coronavirus and the IPID Head appointment. In addition, SAPS briefed the Committee on various issues that Members had raised in a previous meeting in relation to its quarterly performances.

The Deputy Minister of Police said that a decision was taken that South African’s living in China must be repatriated. Arrangements and preparations were at an advanced stage. The Deputy Minister said that the Committee had a role to play in combating the virus. The army and the police cannot beat the virus alone. Individuals can eliminate the virus by following basic hygiene practices like washing their hands regularly and not touching their face. He agreed that the Committee needed to be briefed on the coronavirus and any other matters that deal with matters of national importance.

The Deputy Minister informed the Committee that Mr Patrick Setshedi has been appointed the acting head of IPID. Members complained that SAPS was outside of the timeframe prescribed by law to make the appointment; had concerns about the headhunting process and appealed for greater transparency and fairness in the process. SAPS was asked to keep the Committee informed as developments arise in the process.

On outstanding issues emanating from the Quarterly Reports, SAPS highlighted that 58% of targets were achieved and 33% of targets were not achieved. Overall SAPS had a success rate of 64.46%.
SAPS had developed an action plan to address areas of underperformance. The urgent review of performance focusing on the following: identification and implementation of quick win actions to improve performance in Quarter 4 of the 2019/2020 financial year; identification and implementation of actions to be implemented in the 2020/2021 financial year to ensure realisation of the initial objective and analysis of current dependencies and implementation of measures to address dependencies.

Members asked about the filling of vacant posts; specialised units; the training of police constables; the performance of the metro police; the police’s ability to conduct cross border operations; the domestic violence register and the status of SAPS engagement with the Department of Public Works. Members were critical about the intelligence and detective sector as well as the underperformance of SITA.

Meeting report

The Chairperson said that today’s meeting was a continuation on SAPS quarterly performance and for members of the Committee to ask any outstanding questions.

Mr Cassel Mathale, Deputy Minister of Police, asked the National Commissioner to lead the presentation. He apologised for previously saying he would not be attending this meeting because he had a conference to attend to in Germany. The conference was cancelled due to the Coronavirus and that was why he could attend the meeting.

Coronavirus Update
The Chairperson said that the security cluster should receive an update on the government’s readiness for the Coronavirus. Members should be briefed on the security preparations that have been made.

The Deputy Minister said that a decision was taken that South African’s living in China must be repatriated. Arrangements and preparations were at an advanced stage. A team had been put together within the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster, and included the Department of Health. As part of the plans, a facility had been identified where the affected individuals will be isolated when they returned to the country. A chartered plane will be sent to China with all the necessary medical practitioners on-board. There was also the capacity to quarantine those who might need to be quarantined inside the plane. The entire crew and passengers will be taken to that specific facility. That facility will be guarded by the army and the police. Once those quarantined have been cleared they will be let out of the facility. All precautionary measures have been taken to ensure that the virus does not spread in the country. The facility will be set up and dismantled according to World Health Organisation standards. The government was confident that it would be able to deal with the matter successfully.

The Chairperson said that the Committee needed to focus on developing a climate of trust. The Committee needed to trust the information that the government was providing. The Committee also needed to have confidence in the ability of the State and the JCPS cluster. There needed to be confidence in the healthcare system that has been put in place to combat the concerns people may have. There needs to be confidence in the systems that have been put in place to combat the health crises. There have been disconcerting comments such as why the Coronavirus had not impacted Africa. The JCPS cluster has been working on strengthening all borders and ports of entry so that there was no need for panic. The JCPS cluster needed to counter the fake news that had been coming from social media. That fake news does create uncertainty and panic. She allowed members to comment on the topic before the presentation.

Mr O Terblanche (DA) agreed with the Chairperson. It was important that citizens are assured that every possible precaution has been taken. South Africans needed to trust the government. He added that proper communication was also important. South Africans needed to be kept informed on progress or any developments that happen. He was confident that the medical officials would ensure that South Africans would be safe.

Mr P Groenewald (FF+) was worried about the Coronavirus. He heard what the Deputy Minister said and accepts that the government will take the necessary precautions. However, he was worried that the flu season was starting and he was not convinced that South Africa would be prepared for the virus. The country’s borders were porous. People are just allowed to come in. Once the virus is in the country it can only be contained. Other countries are closing their borders but he was not confident that South Africa could effectively close its borders. He knows an international tennis team from China who are in South Africa at the moment and they had not been screened. He advised that, behind the scenes, the police needed to prepare.

Ms M Mofokeng (ANC) said that if Mr Groenewald knew who was just being allowed into the country he needed to report it. Who were those people being allowed in without being screened?
The Chairperson said that this was not a point of debate. It was a point for information. She said that the Committee would request that the Minister brief it. The JCPS cluster had been having meetings and making preparations so the Committee was correct in asking what the state of readiness was. Once the Committee received a full briefing then the members could ask all sorts of questions. This was just a short information session.

The Deputy Minister said that the Committee did have a role to play in combating the virus. The army and the police cannot beat the virus alone. Individuals can eliminate the virus by following basic hygiene practices like washing their hands regularly and not touching their face. He agreed that the Committee needed to be briefed on the coronavirus and any other matters that deal with matters of national importance.

General Kehla Sitole, National Commissioner, SAPS, said that there was a change in the crime detection environment. Lt General SC Mfazi would be filling the position of Deputy National Commissioner of Crime Detection. SAPS would be presenting an overview of their responses to underperformance while taking into consideration the comments and questions made by members in the previous meeting. 

Briefing by the South African Police Service on Quarterly Performance and Response to Areas of Underperformance
Major General Leon Rabie, Component Head: Strategic Management, SAPS, presented the performance report.

-On 19 February 2020 the SAPS presented organisational performance and financial information for Quarters 1 to 3 of the 2019/2020 financial year.
-Due to time constraints the presentation focused specifically on areas of underperformance.
-Following the presentation a number of questions/concerns were raised Honourable Members of the Committee.
-Agreement was reached that the SAPS will return to respond to outstanding matters.

Outstanding matters
-29 matters were recorded that required written feedback from and further engagement with the SAPS.
-Written responses were submitted on Monday, 2 March 2020 for further discussion.
-The majority of outstanding matters related directly to the identified areas of underperformance.

Performance Overview
58% of targets were achieved. 33% of targets were not achieved. 8% of performance indicators were not available.
Overall SAPS had a success rate of 64.46%.

-Following the presentation of preliminary results, adjustments were made to performance information through a process of performance validation. 

-This had no impact on overall performance.
In Programme 1: Administration, 13 targets were achieved, 14 targets were not achieved. Overall success rate of 48.15%.
In Programme 2: Visible Policing, 25 targets were achieved, 9 targets were not achieved. Overall success rate of 73.53%.
In Programme 3: Detective Services, 24 targets were achieved, 13 targets were not achieved. Overall success rate of 64.86%.
In Programme 4: Crime Intelligence, 9 targets were achieved, 7 targets were not achieved. Overall success rate of 56.25%.
In Programme 5: Protection and Security Services, 7 targets were achieved with an overall success rate of 100%.

Action Plan to address areas of underperformance
SAPS initiated an urgent review of performance focusing on the following:
-Reasons for/root causes contributing to the non-achievement of targets.
-Identification and implementation of quick win actions to improve performance in Quarter 4 of the 2019/2020 financial year.
-Identification and implementation of actions to be implemented in the 2020/2021 financial year to ensure realisation of the initial objective.
-Analysis of current dependencies and implementation of measures to address dependencies.

(See presentation document)

Mr Terblanche said that he was impressed with the work SAPS did in such a short space of time. There were still areas of concern. He was concerned with SAPS response on firearms but was impressed with the action plan that had been put together. SAPS went through an exercise and identified its shortcomings and had compiled a turnaround strategy. It would be proper for this Committee to give it the opportunity to implement this plan. Lastly, he was mindful of the fact that it was almost the end of the current financial year so there was not a lot that SAPS could change in this short space of time. He expected that those targets which are not achieved would flow over to the following financial year. He also expected to see a number of these same issues in their next annual plan.

Mr Groenewald said that he could see a lot of hard work went into creating the action plan. He noticed that there were specific target dates that were for the end of this month. The real proof, throughout this year, will be in how SAPS complies with those target dates. Some of the dates were quite tight. If SAPS complied with those target dates a huge step would be taken forward.

Mr H Shembeni (EFF) asked about the filling of vacant posts. He noticed that SAPS advertises posts and then there is a shortlisting. People were promoted but they do not honour their posts. Why do certain people not fill the posts that they were hired for? Secondly, there were posts that have been vacant for a long time. Why have they not been filled, especially in those specialised units? There were a lot of specialised units that did not have permanent heads. What was the Minister doing to the people who were not honouring their posts? Thirdly, he had an important question on missing persons. Was there a special unit within SAPS to deal with missing persons? He noticed that a lot of people are reported missing and nothing was being done. Was the person kidnapped? Did the person die? What investigations took place? Was there any special unit that dealt with missing persons?

Mr Shembeni had a question on cluster commanders. The Commissioner spoke about disbanding of the clusters. He noticed that there were still Generals interfering with the station commander’s work. There was a shortage of fraud investigators. What was SAPS doing about this? He said that standby staff and officials needed to be remunerated.

He commented on the matter of new constables in commercial crime and advised that SAPS needed to go back and check those statements that are being taken. The taking down of statements was very important. There were people who cannot write. Some people’s handwriting cannot be read or understood. A person starts policing from the Client Service Centre (CSC). Some constables do not know the basics of policing. They do not know how to attend to a complaint. That constable cannot take a statement or interview a complainant.

He raised questions about the intelligence operations. How were the members of the intelligence operations being evaluated? There were strikes happening in communities but intelligence members do not even get the information that there would be a strike. Why do they not have the information?

Mr Shembeni asked why newly qualified constables were being taken straight from the college and put into the intelligence sector. The intelligence sector needs capable people who can keep and find information.

Lastly, he asked questions on the cross border operations. How many cross border operations have been done, especially on vehicles? Were there any operations being done outside the borders? How many vehicles have been recovered? He received information that a vehicle had been seized by the Mozambican police and was still in Maputo for a year. If there were cross border operations, how many of them were there? What were the results of the cross border operations? South African vehicles are being taken across the borders and police officers are doing almost nothing.

Ms P Faku (ANC) recalled that in his budget speech the Minister of Finance had indicated that crime and investigation will be strengthened. Hopefully that will allow SAPS to get more investigators.  Programme 1 was the only programme SAPS achieved below 50%. All the other programmes SAPS has achieved above 50% of its targets. The Committee must applaud what SAPS was doing. She raised a concern over the firearms amnesty. She was impressed with the response rate of SAPS. She noted that the Minister of Justice was meeting with Western Cape Parole Board. The reason there was a high crime rate was because of repeat offenders.

Ms N Peacock (ANC) said that there was an improvement with regards to the performance areas that had been presented. She noticed that there were a lot of graphs in the presentation but no narrative to explain the information. When there are graphs it would be proper to include a narrative explaining the information.

Further, she asked about the wide area network and the local area network. It was indicated that there were issues. Generally, it was not the Department that underperformed. It was the SITA system that underperformed. How does the Department deal with the system that was preventing it from fulfilling its mandate? She also wanted to make a proposal. She came from the Northern Cape and there were a lot of mines. At certain police stations in the Northern Cape there were no bakkies. One bakkie serviced close to 48 areas. She said that SAPS needed to look at how these mines could assist it.  SAPS needed to find ways of engaging with the private sector to assist in mitigating all the challenges that were being faced.

Ms Mofokeng asked about the domestic violence register in the police stations. She had never seen any report indicating which police stations are using it and how they can use it to deal with issues of domestic violence.

She recalled that SAPS had promised to engage with the Department of Public Works. How were they progressing in this regard? Are they solving their problems?

There have been R550 million worth of claims that have been made against the State. SAPS should unpack the main drivers of the claims against the State but it should also tell the Committee how it is going to decrease this problem.

Finally, she requested that a day needs to be set aside for the Department to discuss the seven-point plan. The Committee needs to understand the scope and aims of the seven-point plan.

Mr Terblanche said that he was still concerned about the issue of firearms and DNA forensics. There were cases which were delayed because of the non-availably of reports and dockets. He agreed that SITA was a concern that needed to be addressed. The Committee also needed to engage with the Department of Public Works.

Ms Faku said that SITA was currently under administration. SITA was giving Departments of trouble in terms of the ICT infrastructure. SAPS needed to have a discussion with the Minister of Public Works and the Minister of Communication in terms of SITA.

Mr Groenewald said that it was embarrassing to see in the media that 1000 newly graduated metropolitan police members had been sent back for re-training. In what way was SAPS involved with the curriculum? Does SAPS know what went wrong with the training because it was quite a lot of taxpayer money that was involved?

The Chairperson asked the Deputy Minister how prepared SAPS was for the implementation of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act? When would the Ministry be tabling the regulations for that Act? When will the proclamation by the President be tabled?

Ms Mofokeng said that metro police were established under the Police Act. She suggested that the Minister of Police and the National Commissioner lead a delegation of the metro police officials to give an account of themselves because the metro police was working against the system.

Gen Sitole said that what was key in the action plan was that SAPS identified the root causes of underperformance. One of the causes for underperformance was supply chain environment. SAPS decided to design a corporate renewal strategy for the division. A post has been advertised for a new division commissioner. SAPS had gone through shortlisting and hoped to finalise the appointment this month. Following the finalisation of that process there will be the overhauling of the whole division. SAPS made a decision, working together with the Deputy Minister, to introduce an outsourcing approach which will help it change the current situation. That process of improving the supply chain environment had already begun and things were getting better.

On the filling of vacant posts, the posts that were advertised and signed off were going to be filled. There had been quite a number of other posts that were identified through the HR process which the National Commissioner was going to sign off this month. SAPS policy dictated that once a person was appointed in a post and the post was confirmed through the relevant HR policy framework, the current instructions were that the person must take up the post. No one is carried outside the establishment of the organisation.

Gen Sitole said that the district concept was still continuing. SAPS was in a briefing process with the Minister. There were no longer Generals sitting at stations where station commanders could be disrupted. Through the restructuring, as explained by the Minister of Finance in the budget speech, there would be an upgrading of the top 30 stations in the country. 6 of those stations are at the level of Major General. Those Generals have been deployed there permanently.

He said that the next financial year will be dedicated to the year of the detectives. SAPS would be starting with the human capital investment where training will be improved, which includes the detective university. SAPS will be reviewing the whole resource plan of crime detection.

Gen Sitole responded to Ms Peacock’s proposal of approaching the mining industry. Under community policing, SAPS had partnerships with both the public and private sector. He gave an example of how a mining company helped SAPS build a police station in the Northern Cape.
The discussion with the Department of Public Works was occurring at Ministerial level.
The seven point plan was one of SAPS top priorities. SAPS had an integrated strategy to working with the metros. One of the priorities was the curriculum review that considers the training of the metro police. He suggested that SAPS be given an opportunity to present to the Committee the integrated plan between itself and the metro police.

Lt General Bonang Mgwenya, Deputy Commissioner: Human Resource Management, SAPS, responded to the concerns about vacancies. She said that the turnaround time was three months. On a quarterly basis, SAPS did an assessment to identify vacancies and then advertised those vacancies. In situations where they did not have the relevant skills internally SAPS advertises for the filling of posts externally. If internal members are being promoted, they will be given a month to do the handing over process. Subsequent to that they will be take over their new post.
She responded to the question of new constables that are deployed within the intelligence environment and detective services while they are not yet equipped to do their work in those environments. Effective from the last financial year the intelligence and detective services were given an opportunity to go to the academies and have an opportunity where trainees, who would be deployed to those respective environments, after completion of their basic training, were subjected to another psychometric test. After the completion of basic training they get allocated to mentors who will work with them to ensure they get in-service training. She could not confirm the claims that the handwriting of certain constables could not be read. She assured members that all new constables who have been deployed at respective police stations underwent basic training and all passed and were found to be competent. All new constables are on a probation period where they are allocated to their respective mentors. There would be a further assessment in July.

She responded to the question of performance evaluation of members who are attached to the intelligence environment. Within SAPS they have institutionalised the performance management system. Flowing from the annual performance plan where the priorities of every environment will be identified, the divisional commissioners will have their annual operational plans which will make visible their priorities. Emanating from their divisional priorities there will be key performance areas which will be given to respective component heads so that every member will know what is expected of them and what are their targets. On a quarterly basis they get assessed. It enables their supervisors to perform oversight over the junior members. She acknowledged that there will be incidents where members were not performing as expected but SAPS did have systems in place.

Gen Sitole confirmed that an incumbent in a position will be given a certain number of days to take the new post. If the post was not taken, either the appointment or the promotion can be reviewed. Policy also indicates that the individual needs to stay in the post for the duration of two years. If there was any premature withdrawal it will be dealt with in terms of the same policy.

There was no specific unit to deal with missing persons. There were provisions made to deal with the issue of missing children. SAPS would commission a study into missing person’s investigations.

Lt Gen Sally Khan, Head: Legal Services, SAPS, responded to the issue of engagement with SITA. Engagements had already been started. An inter-ministerial team has been put in place. Government structures have been put into place to take the matter forward.

Lt Gen Moeketsi Sempe, Divisional Commissioner: Visible Policing, SAPS, responded to the question about the register for domestic violence. He confirmed that all police stations in South Africa do have domestic violence registers. He said that SAPS could look deeper into the matter if the Committee wanted it to. 

Ms Mofokeng said that when the Committee does visits to police stations there are domestic violence registers but most of the time they are not used. There were cases of domestic violence that are coming through to the police station. In the presentation SAPS did not indicate how many police stations actually used the domestic violence register. How many entries were there? How many of the cases went to court? How many took out protection orders? It was a fact that the registers were not used.

Gen Sitole said that SAPS was not going to take a defensive approach. Domestic violence was a high priority of government. There was a standing instruction in the police service that calls for a domestic violence return. There was also the domestic violence strategy that was linked to the gender based violence strategy. An audit of all police stations will be taken and then SAPS will give the Committee an update on the status of the domestic violence register.

Lt Gen Khan responded to the question about claims against the state and the drivers for this. There was a project that was put into effect in 2016 to help decrease civil claims and litigation against the State. The report identified 78 root causes of claims and interventions put in place. The outcome report can be made available to the Committee. The project went into its second phase which is being dealt with at this point in time. There are a lot of investigations taking place as to why the civil claims are so high. Through the directive of the Minister a task team has been put in place to audit all the interventions that have taken place so far. They will come up with proposals on taking it forward.

Gen Sitole said that there could be a few units without heads and that is linked to the audit of filling the post and is also linked to the restructuring process. It was then also linked to the feasibility study on the specialised units themselves. The restructuring process is currently underway which SAPS wants to conclude. The filling of the posts is part of the current audit so it was an issue that will be looked into.

Lt Gen Sindile Mfazi, Deputy National Commissioner: Management Advisory Services, SAPS, responded to the matter of repatriating vehicles. In 2018, a team was created to deal with cross border crimes. SAPS had engaged with the Mozambique Government. In the discussions they agreed that SAPS would process some of the vehicles that were impounded there and in the process of doing that those vehicles will be recovered. He did not have the exact figures on him of how many vehicles had been repatriated so far and would submit them, in writing, at a later stage.

Gen Sitole added that there was also a policy hiccup preventing the retrieving of vehicles from across the border. South Africa signed a cooperation agreement with the Government of Mozambique. In those agreements it is signed off that if vehicles are recovered they would be repatriated but they do not honour them. There was a policy in Mozambique that if your car has been stolen and then is registered in another person’s name then the innocent buyer issue comes into play. He was bringing to the attention of the Committee the other policy dynamics that also come into play.

The Chairperson spoke about the substantive reports from the Speaker’s office. The one was from the South African Human Rights Commission on security measures in schools. Those substantive reports were still outstanding. The second one was the investigative report of the Commission for Gender Equality. The third substantive report was the status of mental health. The proposed date for SAPS to respond to those substantive reports would be 18 March 2020. As the Chairperson of the Committee it was her responsibility to respond to these substantive reports.

Ms Mofokeng said that the National Commissioner did not say whether he agrees that concern about the metro police needs to be followed up on. The metro police were extremely problematic. Sometimes they did not wear uniform during their operations. It was important to keep police and metro police accountable. She gave an example of someone who was killed in Mamelodi in 2015. After three years someone finally visited the family to explain to them how their relative had died. The person was buried in a grave with two or three other people. The police said it was very expensive to exhume the body and now the family might be going to the Human Rights Commission. What was the responsibility of the chaplain? That family deserved to have their relative exhumed and they should not carry the cost for the exhumation. If SAPS did not get it right she was going to report them to the Human Rights Commission. She would send the letter directly to the leadership in SAPS. SAPS needed to change the way it dealt with the families of people who had died.

Mr T Mafanya (EFF) said that the country was in a recession. One of the contributing factors is crime. He heard that there were certain areas SAPS was going to outsource. What areas were they going to outsource? He raised an issue of the detective university. In starting a detective university, it was an acknowledgment by SAPS that they have detectives that are not doing their work. That means that so many cases have been compromised. SAPS needed to be careful of doing business with mines and needs to take into consideration the illicit financial flows that happen because of large companies. SAPS should not be compromised in that regard. The question everyone needed to ask was how did South Africa come to the point where it needs the Zondo Commission? The reality is that the information that has been uncovered by the Zondo Commission should have been done by the Hawks. The amount of money spent on the Zondo Commission should have been sent to the police so that they could do their work. He then spoke about the Life Esidimeni matter. What happened to those who implicated themselves in fraud?

Mr Mafanya raised the matter of the IPID head. It has taken too make this appointment. There are legal implications and the Committee needed to get clarity on the matter. He then raised the issue of gender based violence. How did South Africa get to the high levels of gender based violence? The simple answer was that the police did not do their work diligently. Intelligence needs to be on-board. He then raised the issue of cross border crime. If headway was not being made then internal relations must intervene.

Mr Groenewald asked if it was true that the courier van that transferred the firearm licenses from the Government printer was hijacked. Amongst the firearms companies and businesses people were worried because of licenses that have been hijacked. He was informed about that but wanted to know if it was true. If it was true then it was a serious matter and he wanted to know what actions will be taken?

Mr Shembeni raised a concern about DIRCO. SAPS had an unfunded mandate to provide protection to DIRCO. The Committee recommended that the policy on provision of the protection and security services of SAPS must be revised. What steps have been taken to implement the recommendation of the Committee?

The Chairperson asked a follow up question on the metro police. SAPS had given permission to the Free State Mangaung Municipality to also have a metro police. This was a new metro police in the Sixth Parliament. It could be a flagship programme in setting up this new metro police in Mangaung. If it is done right from the start it could be showcased. The Committee will closely monitor the metro police in Mangaung. She asked the secretariat to invite the metro police.

Mr Terblanche said that apparently the Mangaung metro police have dogs that were quite neglected. He requested the National Commissioner to have somebody look into that.

Gen Sitole suggested that SAPS present the integrated plan between it and the metros. That integrated plan speaks to a number of areas that have been pointed out in the meeting. There are challenges that require policy direction. The Committee could assist SAPS on that. He recommended that the Committee have a separate plan for the Mangaung project. The metro police in Mangaung were very cooperative; they just needed direction.

He then responded to the question on outsourcing. SAPS was not outsourcing policing functions. It was only outsourcing the corporate renewal of supply chain management. SAPS was looking for experts to help it improve the supply chain process. The SAPS turnaround vision was a developmental vision. They noted the concerns of companies helping SAPS. Internally they had a policy to direct how SAPS could accept external support. They strictly stick to that policy but are also trying to forge partnerships. He said at some stage the Committee should be briefed on the ‘modus operandi’ report.

He acknowledged that gender based violence remained a problem. The capacity to deal with gender based violence needs to be strengthened.

The detective university was not being brought in because the current detectives do not have capacity The detective university should be viewed as an upgrade from the current level of competence in SAPS. SAPS had also done benchmarking with two other countries and they also follow the university approach. The point of the university was long term investment in human capital.
He responded to the question of the hijacking of the courier van by saying that they were still receiving information about it but could not at this stage confirm or deny the rumours.
He said that the review process of the security and protection policy had started. The moment the Minister of Police is back from the Cabinet meeting he would brief the Committee on the amendment. SAPS will only have four Deputy National Commissions. This was scaled down from five. A risk officer was also appointed to deal with risk management.

The Deputy Minister agreed with the observation of Mr Mafanya regarding the filling of the IPID head. It was not something that the Department was proud of. It was agreed that the process needed to be concluded by April. The Department appointed Mr Patrick Setshedi as the new acting head of IPID.

Mr Terblanche said that the Committee needed to have a separate discussion about the IPID head.

The Chairperson said that the Committee agreed with the Deputy Minister that once the presentation by SAPS was finished being discussed, the Committee would discuss the matter of appointing a permanent head of IPID.

Gen Sitole received information that the case of the hijacking of the courier van had been confirmed. 412 firearms licenses had been effected. SAPS would be nationalising the investigation.

Mr Groenewald said that it was important to accept that the whole firearms issue was quite contentious. Why did the courier van go through Dobsonville? It was not on the route? If criminals infiltrated in such a way, it was a serious concern. This was a serious case and he hoped that it would be prioritised. 

The Chairperson said that the Committee also needed to prioritise the report on the firearms amnesty. The Speaker has also asked the Committee for an update on the firearms amnesty. SAPS needed to give an update on the firearm registry capacity. Next week will be the first time that the JCPS cluster will meet as a Portfolio Committee. Various Ministers from the relevant Departments will be present at the meeting. There were concurrent functions where the JCPS cluster needed to strengthen collaborative approaches to reduce violent crime. Gender based violence will be very high on the agenda of that meeting.

Lt Gen Godfrey Lebeya, National Head: Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, SAPS, responded to the question about Life Esidimeni. There were 18 matters that were under investigation. 5 of those have been tabled before the prosecutor for consideration and decision. The others are still under investigation.

Briefing by the Deputy Minister on the filling of the position of Head of IPID
The Deputy Minister said that last week SAPS told the Committee that it had decided to take the route of head hunting to appoint a new head. In terms of acting process, a person cannot be in an acting position for longer than twelve months. As a result Mr Patrick Setshedi has been appointed the acting head of IPID in these final few months before a permanent head is appointed.

Mr Terblanche said that the appointment of the permanent head will be outside the prescribed period by law. How will the Committee deal with that now? He was concerned that after two advertisements, 48 candidates, and interviews a suitable candidate could still not be found. He was concerned that there was not going to be a head hunting exercise. He wanted proper due process to be followed. In the National Development plan there was an example of how the National Commissioner of SAPS should be appointed. He recommended that the Committee should apply the prescripts of how a National Commissioner should be appointed when appointing the new head of IPID.

Mr Groenewald said that the Committee members also needed to be held accountable because they need to approve the nomination. The members should therefore know who the other candidates were who applied, their CVs and the criteria for the appointment. The members needed to make an informed decision when approving the nomination especially given the controversy around previous heads of IPID. He also did not approve of the head hunting process. The members needed to make an informed decision.

Ms Mofokeng said that the Committee needs to allow the Department time to conclude their process.
The Deputy Minister said he was not sure if he fully understood what Mr Terblanche and Mr Groenewald were saying. The head hunting process was allowed in law. The people being head hunted will be interviewed and the process would be transparent. He could give information to the Committee as to why the Department agreed to take this route. The Committee had every right to agree or disagree with the nomination. If they disagreed, then the whole process would start again. The Department would appoint a competent person. He disagreed with the belief that the appointment would be a political appointment. The process was a political process. Members should allow the Department to complete the process.

Mr Groenewald said there was no description of head hunting in the legislation. He differed with the Deputy Minister with regards to his understanding of what a political appointment was. If only one name was presented to this Committee; it would be unacceptable. He once again asked for the criteria and the CVs of the candidates.

The Chairperson made the observation that the members of the Committee had no issue with the appointment process for the past year. The Committee had in the past had full trust in the Minister and the Department. Did the Committee become suspicious when the Department said there was no candidate who was successful during the interviews and that they want to now head hunt? Her observation was that the Committee had more of a problem with the head hunting than anything else.

The Deputy Minister agreed with the proposal of Mr Groenewald that more than one candidate should be brought to the Committee with all the relevant information.

Mr Terblanche said there was no reason for the Committee to be dissatisfied previously. This was a very important appointment and the process must be seen to be fair and open. What prevents the Department from advertising the post once again? The head hunting was handpicking from a smaller number of people. Why does the Department just not allow everybody to apply once again? He did not like the head hunting process at all.

Ms Faku said that the names of the candidates must be presented to the Committee and that it had the right to accept or reject the candidates. She agreed with the proposal of Mr Groenewald and the Deputy Minister. In her view, the process was transparent because any information the Committee wanted the Department provided. She asked the Committee to allow the process to continue.

The Chairperson noted Mr Terblanche’s concerns about the head hunting process. The Committee agreed with Mr Groenewald’s proposal that the Department bring before the Committee the three candidates with all the relevant information. If the Deputy Minister kept the Committee updated on the appointment process it would ease the fears of members. If the Department briefed the Committee regularly it will foster trust and confidence amongst the members. The Committee and the Department was outside of the timeframe prescribed by law to make the appointment so that required intervention. She asked the Department to keep the Committee informed as developments arise.

The meeting was adjourned.