ATC170913; Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on its Oversight Visit to police stations and specialised units in and around the province of KwaZulu-Natal on 31 July – 4 August 2017, dated 13 September 2017
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on its Oversight Visit to police stations and specialised units in and around the province of KwaZulu-Natal on 31 July – 4 August 2017, dated 13 September 2017.
The Portfolio Committee on Police conducted an oversight visit to the KwaZulu-Natal province between 31 July and 4 August 2017. The purpose of the oversight visit was for the Committee to evaluate the compliance of specialised police units and police stations in and around the Richards Bay, Nongoma, Pietermaritzburg, Umlazi and Durban during the period 31 July - 4 August 2017. The Committee visited these areas to evaluate policing management and service delivery in the deep rural areas.
- Objectives of the visit
The objectives of the oversight visit to the KwaZulu –Natal Province were to assess:
- The capacity and capability of specialised SAPS units in the province, including specialised units, Public Order Policing Unit (POPs), Tactical Response Teams (TRT) and the National Intervention Unit (NIU).
- service delivery at and management at station level;
- the management of provincial Operational Response Services (Specialised Units);
- the implementation of the budget approved by Parliament;
- the implementation of the policy and legislation passed by Parliament; and
- the capacity and capability of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).
The delegation comprised of the following Members and staff:
Members of the Committee:
Hon. F Beukman (Chairperson)
Hon. J Maake
Hon. M Molebatsi
Hon. M Mmola
Hon. M. Shaik-Emam
Hon. Z Mbhele
Hon. P Mhlongo
Hon. L Ramatlakane
KwaZulu –Natal Provincial Legislature
Hon. B Ntuli
Hon. E Zungu
Hon. M Gwala
Support Staff of the Committee:
Ms B Mbengo - Committee Secretary
Mr P Gwebu - Committee Secretary
Mr I Kinnes - Committee Content Adviser
Mr K Lobi - Committee Assistant
Mr T Gabula - Principal Communication Officer
Civilian Secretariat for Police
Mr S Mahote - Parliamentary Liaison Officer
Mr S Zikhali - Complaints Monitoring
Mr S Mehlape - Monitoring and Evaluation
Ms A Xongwana - Monitoring and Evaluation
Mr T Mokiri - Complaints Monitoring
Ms K Komane - Monitoring and Evaluation
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID)
Dr C. Magobotiti - Parliamentary Liaison Officer
- Locations Visited
The following locations were visited by the Committee:
- Richards Bay Police Station: 31 July 2017
- Hlabisa Police Station: 31 July 2017
- POPS, TRT and NIU Units, Pietermaritzburg, 2 August 2017
- Nongoma Police Station: 1 August 2017
- Provincial 10111 Radio Control Centre, 3 August 2017
- Chatsworth Police Station, 3 August 2017
- Independent Police Monitor, Mary De Haas, 3 August 2017
- Umlazi Police Station: 3 August 2017
- Provincial Commissioner’s Office: 4 August 2017
- Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI), 4 August 2017
- Provincial Detectives, Durban, 4 August 2017
- Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), 4 August 2017
- Glebelands Hostel, 4 August 2017
- Richards Bay Police station
The Chairperson opened the meeting and welcomed the acting Provincial Commissioner, Major-General Langa to the meeting. The Chairperson indicated the purpose of the oversight visit and noted that in view of the comments at the Moerane Commission into political killings, the Committee needed to know what the state of policing in the province was. Especially important was the quality of station and provincial management exercised in the province.
- SAPS Briefing
In his briefing to the Committee, the Provincial Commissioner reported that the Richards Bay station was a rural one. The population comprised of about 82 970 people and there were 22 schools, 9 taxi ranks, 85 guest houses and 21 municipal parks. There were also 90 liquor outlets and the town experienced an influx of about 200 000 commuters daily. The station uses the Mthunzini courts which was 50 kilometres away.
The station has 6 vehicles that have less than 50 000km and 37 vehicles with more than 50 000 km. There are 127 authorised drivers and 126 officers are competent to use firearms at the station. The station has a functioning Community Police Forum (CPF) and has a staff establishment comprising of 159 members of which, 111 are males and 48 females.
The acting Provincial Commissioner reported that stations did not have any closed circuit television (CCTV) at any of the Community Service Centres in KwaZulu-Natal. SAPS members are permanently deployed at the harbour together with crime intelligence. A harbour security meeting is held every two weeks and the Visible Policing unit (Vispol) and Public Order Policing (POPs) unit are responsible for dealing with operations inside the harbour. The station did not have stock theft problems; despite being situated near the border. The station mostly arranges for interpreters for foreign nationals if required as most speak English.
The liquor outlets are providing the station with problems with respect to increasing contact crimes in sector three. Many homeless and unemployed people have located themselves inside the greenbelt and the house robberies have become prevalent. The municipality was engaged with respect to housing for the Greenbelt dwellers in the Mchangase area. The Department of Community Safety have engaged the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) with a view of resolving the issue of accommodation of the Greenbelt dwellers.
Members were concerned about the TRIO crimes and the SAPS indicated that the Ethekwini Metro has launched a project in co-operation and under the direction of the SAPS National Office to deal with such crimes. It was reported that 72% of all TRIO crimes were taking place in Ethekwini and provincial resources were made available with a ring-fenced budget of R2.9 million being made available. Members were also informed that the province was busy with re-enlistments and that the detectives in the province were operating between 92-95% human resources requirements. There are 2 detectives per vehicle and 90% of all detectives have their own laptops. The Members were told that the province is busy negotiating 3-G cards and detectives operate at a level of 72-76% efficiency.
2.2 Crime Profile
Contact crimes for the period April to June 2017 show an increase of 75% in attempted murder, a 27.1% increase in assault GBH, a 16.4% increase in common assault. Common robberies have also increased by 29.4%. In total, contact crimes increased by 14.1% while murder decreased by 20%.
Property related crimes showed a decrease of 8.9%, while TRIO crimes showed an overall increase of 28.6%. Aggravated robbery and attempted robbery as part of the TRIO crimes showed an increase of 25% for the period under consideration. It was noted that there are three active policing sectors with one policing hotspot in sector three.
The Committee then proceeded to the inspection of the station.
2.2.3 Report Back
2.2.4 Station management
The Station Commander has been appointed at the station on 1 September 2015. The station has between 40-100 000 residents with Zulu, English and Afrikaans being the main spoken languages. Richards Bay is not an accounting station and no performance chart information was available at the time of the visit. Members did not accept the fact that the station commander did not have the performance chart information which spoke to the performance of the station. The station commander attended the station commander’s course and there are two field training officers (FTO’s). The station commander has signed a performance agreement which had to be sent to the Cluster Office. All senior members also signed performance agreements.
There are five individuals in a mentoring programme and there are no problems with trainee officers. All members who failed their firearm assessments were issued with warning statements. Members discovered that the average reaction times to Alpha, Bravo and Charlie complaints were below the set targets. There were problems with incorrectly formulated charges and the station has received training workshops by public prosecutors on statement taking. Members checked the minutes of the Station Crime Combatting Forum (SCCF) to check if it was meeting regularly. Most station communication was processed via the SCCF.
Members did not find copies of counselling files and two members were referred for debriefing. The station was built around 2000 and there is a space problem with insufficient space for offices and archives. There are no plans for renovations. While the relationships with most government departments are good, the relationship with the Department of Public Works is not good as there is very poor lighting at the station and firehoses are not serviced.
While there were no representatives from the trade unions present, the station management indicated that the relationship with POCRU and SAPU was good. However, this was contradicted by some of the station member present who told the Committee that the management was anti-union.
The CPF is fully functional and the station has regular meetings as confirmed by the minutes. However, it was reported that there are vigilante groups that operate in the community.
The station has 45 detectives of which 38 are located at the station. The station does not have sufficient interview rooms, although there is a secure identification facility for suspects. The acting branch commander is at Ntambanana and there are two cluster commanders. Five more detectives are needed at the branch and the average age of experience of detectives is 15 years. The average age of detectives is 38 years and the branch commander is not satisfied with the experience levels at the station. The age of the oldest detective is 58 years while the youngest detective is 25 years. A total of 42 detectives attended the Introductory course to investigation while 42 detectives attended the full detective training course. There are two training opportunities per year at the station. The ratio of detectives per is 2:1 and there is a need for 6 additional vehicles for detectives. The caseload is 1900 with between 70-80 cases assigned to individual detectives. The smallest caseload carried by a detective is 24 while the highest caseload is 110 dockets. The average detection rate for the previous financial year is 38%. The average detection rate for rape is 40%; murder is 16%; property crime is7% and 51.6% for assault GBH. The average disposal rate for the previous financial year is 43.03%. The average conviction rate for the previous financial year is 100% for rape, 75% for murder, 86% for property crime and 83% for assault GBH. The oldest docket in the system is there from November 2000 and 2044 cases have been close undetected. The branch has previously had no training opportunities and the DPCI is now taking some of the matters, although they are not investigating any of the dockets. It was reported that IPID was investigating assault cases at the station. The station indicate that they had experienced no problems with incorrectly formulated charges and poor statement taking. There have been three dockets that have gone missing in 2014/15.
The station has up to date court registers, lock up filing cabinets, safes and a strong room. There is no burglar proofing on the windows and doors. The station has electronic dockets and corresponding hard copies of dockets. There are regular docket inspections undertaken on a daily basis. The detectives rely on informers and has 27 registered informers on their books and one detective has 3 informers. The station did not have figures for the allocated budget for payment of informers. Detectives have to collect forensic evidence in 15% of the cases and crime scene technicians are available when requested to attend crime scenes.
The station has its own holding cells. There are eight holding cells of which five are in operation. There were thirty people in the cells on the date of the visit. Men and women are held separately and some of the cells were generally in a good state, while others were in poor state with issues of no running water. There were no children in the cells.
The Committee also visited the archives and found that they are not secure as they have no secure holding room with burglar proofing.
2.2.6 Community Service Centre (CSC)
Members reported that they were unable to receive the correct information from the staff in the CSC. The station is well marked, accessible and clearly identified. The station is clean and not all staff in the CSC had their nametags clearly visible as it was obscured under their bullet proof vests. There are volunteers at the CSC and there are private rooms to take statements. There is adequate seating for the members of the public and 38 SAPS members have been trained and are supported by paralegals.
The station has a DVA register and the last entry was on 20 July 2017. Members found copies of the Domestic Violence Act, Regulations, station orders and national instructions in the CSC. Five officers were charged for failure to comply with the instructions. Members found that all the Child Justice Act Regulations are in the CSC but that the list of the Department of Social Development probation officers, were not available at the time of the visit. The station has a Designated Firearms Officer (DFO) and the shooting range is 10km away from the station and is privately owned.
There have been 349 applications for firearm renewals with 220 new applications. There are 40 second-hand dealers and they are visited every third day. The fixed staff establishment indicates that there should be 198 staff members, but the actual is 202. The breakdown of staff is that there are 100 members registered under the Police Act; Public Service Act: 4; Court Orderlies: 11; Support services comprises of 11 members; and Crime Intelligence is included.
The station has three active reservists, and three support services staff members. It was pointed out that leave and night shift was a problem. Absenteeism was addressed at the station through progressive discipline. There have been 32 members trained on the DVA over a five-day period and a similar number received a one-day training course on the DVA.
Six grievances were lodged of which five were about not receiving holiday pay and all the grievances were resolved within ten days. There were 20 disciplinary cases in one financial year at the station. The Provincial Inspectorate checks all the registers every six months at the station.
The members reported that the station has 46 allocated vehicles according to the fixed establishment and the actual allocation is 42 vehicles. The ratio of vehicles to personnel in the CSC is 4:6 and for detectives is 4:3. Vehicles stay in the garage on average ten days and 4 vehicles were involved in accidents last year. Between five to seven vehicles were taken home at night.
All student constables entered the station with their own bullet proof vests and there is no shortage of such vests, while all the firearms at the station have been IBIS tested. The first aid kit was not available in vehicles and the Victim support centre register was last checked on 28 July 2017
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) reported that there were two rapes by police officers and two deaths in custody cases together with two misconduct cases that they are investigating.
The CPF reported that there is a campaign of no-violence against women and children through the Ntutuzelo care centres. They reported that there are a few gaps with the station management with respect to information which was not available to the CPF, but could still work together.
The Committee questioned the role of the Cluster Commander and wanted to know how many times he visited the station to provide leadership and guidance to the station. The Cluster Commander indicated that he attends meetings with the Station Commander and provides the necessary support when he should. He also reported that not all the clusters are fully resourced and that he has 12 stations that reports to him. There is a person responsible for management interventions in his support to the station.
The Cluster Commander reported that he is supposed to have a deputy Cluster Commander to assist him and the staff officer post is vacant. He has a secretary and the office is made up of two detective co-ordinators with two Lt. Colonels and a clerk. In addition, there is 2 Lt. Colonels with a clerk for visible policing. The last visit to the station was on 7 July 2017 and there have been five visits in 2017. He pledged to fill the vacant posts. The acting Provincial Commissioner noted that they would be interviewing for the station commander’s post in Richards Bay as the shortages are troubling especially when members take leave in June and the crime stats show that June is a critical period as crime goes up.
The Committee members pointed out that while the station has identified one hotspot, in its report on the station, the Civilian Secretariat reported that there are five hotspots for crime in the station management area. The Civilian Secretariat for Police reported that there are too many acting posts in the province and that the problem was at national level. There has to be sufficient resource allocation in the provinces and the fixed establishment was inadequate to deal with the allocation of resources. KZN lagged behind other provinces when it came to resource allocation and the matter of CPF funding was a major problem as people are questioning whether it is still a SAPS responsibility in terms of the SAPS act.
The Committee concluded that the vacant posts must be filled as soon as possible and that the Provincial Commissioner must be appointed as soon as possible. He thanked the CPF for the work they were doing as there were lots of challenges at the station. The Chairperson stated that the Committee would call all the non-performing stations to Parliament to explain their non-performance, but that the committee required a full and thorough report on the Cluster Commanders and the role they perform. He noted that that there should be a focussed plan on the cluster leaders and the quality of inspections.
He thanked all SAPS members for the work they do at the station and in the province.
2.3 Hlabisa Police Station (Unannounced visit)
The Committee made an unannounced visit the Hlabisa Police station. The station is in a deep rural area in KwaZulu-Natal and is led by a Colonel. The station has 43 staff members of which 11 are Public Service Act members and 32 SAPS Act members. The population is 40 000 people in the station area. The Cluster Commander is based at Mtubatuba and the Hlabisa station has 2 sectors. There are 14 vehicles of which five are operational and nine are in the SAPS garage. Twelve are 4x4 vehicles and one has been in the garage for longer than one year.
2.3.1 Station Profile
Hlabisa is a rural police station with a population of about 150 000 people in a surface area 1035. 018 km2. It is in a rural area with a village, a few shops and is sparsely populated. The station has been dealing with cases of house and business robberies and burglaries. The station has 31 Police Act members and 11 Public Service Act members who are deployed with four members per shift with the Crime Prevention Unit having two shifts. The members work on a rotational basis with four days on and four days off. Peak periods are pension pay-out days.
2.3.2 Crime Profile
The crime profile for Hlabisa includes assault GBH, common assault and theft. The area is showing a high degree of fraud through money markets and cellphone fraud through electronic transmission. In the previous financial year, business burglaries were high and a strategy was implemented to deal with it. This has drastically reduced business burglaries. The number of stock theft cases has also been reduced. The cattle and stock are kept at Nongoma and people tend to let their cattle roam free which causes cases of theft when they are stray.
Challenges for the station include a shortage of manpower as some members applied for transfers on promotion which have not been replaced. The station has written several letters for replacement of staff to the provincial head office, but there have been no responses. Other challenges is the fixed establishment posts for court duties. According to the fixed establishment, there are no posts for the court duties. The station also has no Head of Support Services appointed. The Committee was informed that when the heads of components go on leave, the station commander must make himself available and this was brought to the attention of the provincial human resource management.
2.3.3 SAPS garages
As far as vehicles are concerned, the geographic contours of the area require 4x4 vehicles. The SAPS garage is 130km away and when vehicles are involved in accidents, the station has to wait a long time before it is fixed as there are not many service providers.
The station has to hire a breakdown service truck to take confiscated vehicles to the vehicle pound, which is 200km away. The station is serviced by the Vehicle Investigation Unit at Ulundi District Municipality.
The Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) is also based at Ulundi and when there are Crime Combatting Forum meetings, the FCS units do not participate. There are two FCS unit officers allocated to and attached to the station, but based 50 km away. The Department of Correctional Services is also based 124km away from the station and it has consequences for travelling when awaiting trialists have to be kept there. This places a strain on the resources of the station. The station as the same personnel who has to transport detainees and awaiting trialists to the court, and return later after 3-4 hours.
The required co-operation from the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) was not forthcoming as the station is also not getting the required responses from the NPA in the case-flow management meetings. The prosecutors at the court have changed and five out of six has been replaced and there is one prosecutor working alone as the others are lacking in experience.
2.3.4 Portfolio Committee concerns
The Members of the Portfolio Committee raised a number of concerns with respect to policing in Hlabisa. Members wanted to know if the Rural Safety Plan was fully implemented in Hlabisa and what the reasons for the increases in assault GBH and Common assault was. Members also wanted to know where detainees were held at the police station and whether the station had a victim empowerment facility. Other concerns related to the critical vacancy of the Component Head for Support Services and what the role of the Cluster Commander was in respect of supporting the station commander with this. Members also wanted to know if there were other challenges faced by the station, and what support was forthcoming from specialised units and the community police forum.
2.3.5 SAPS Responses
The SAPS responded by noting that there is partial implementation of the Rural Safety Strategy as the co-ordinator is new and the station management is providing her with in-service training. Social Crime prevention structures are being managed by the co-ordinator on her own. The reason for this is there are new personnel appointed at the station in view of the many resignations after the station commander took over command of the station.
The reasons for the increase in assault GBH and common assault is that the abuse of liquor led to assaults and break-ins at businesses and private homes. As far as awaiting trial detainees were concerned, they are kept in the station cells and they have to arrange for the return to court on the following day. They do not keep detainees in the cells for longer than seven days as they are placed on remand. The station also does not keep female awaiting trialists as they do not have the facilities to keep them.
The station does not have a victim empowerment facility, so they interview victims in a separate room. As far as shifts are concerned, the station has four members per shift and cannot replace one if they are on leave which leaves the station with three per shift. The levels of sick leave are very high with between 50-60 days being used.
The Domestic Violence Act cases are dealt with by the station and victims are transferred to a place of safety in Richards Bay. The SAPS reported that the cluster provides operational support, not admin support so the need for the head of support services has become urgent. The station management has written lots of letters to the Provincial Commissioner, but have received no response.
The station has seen an increase in Rhino poaching with only two cases which have shot up to eight per month. A project between the national and provincial offices are dealing with the matter and members are deployed from national, station and the province. Poaching increases during periods when there is a full moon as it makes it easier for poachers to see at night. The local intelligence is ineffective as the unit is short staffed as the base is in Empangeni. Officers attached to Richards Bay have to travel about 1-2 hours to get to scenes where rhino horns have been poached. In addition, there has not been a visit from the Cluster Commander on this matter.
The CPF is active, meets monthly and has a sub-structure attached to it. The station also has six reservist pending appointment attached to it. The station has a list of 20 applicants which it has sent for aptitude testing. The school safety plan is also at the 75% implementation and the same members responsible are responsible for the Rural Safety Plan.
2.3.6 Committee further concerns
The Committee expressed its concerns that the Cluster Commander has never visited the station. The Members expressed support and confidence in the station commander for the manner in which he has applied himself to the job, despite his meagre resources. Members however noted that the provincial Human Resource Management was a problem in that there were too many people acting in posts. This was noted as a symptom of the leadership instability and especially in view of the fact that the staff establishment will not increase and the SAPS will lose about 3000 staff members over the medium term. The Committee was also concerned about the increase in poaching and reports that there were policemen owning taxis. The Fixed Establishment was last reviewed in November 2016 and the court personnel was not catered for and the infrastructure at the station has not changed. The detectives at the station carry about 130 dockets per member. Members were also concerned about the residential accommodation for the members at the station as it is very shoddy and not fit for human habitation.
The SAPS responded by indicating that residential accommodation is a problem and that as far as office accommodation is concerned, about two or three members share offices. This remains a problem when suspects have to be interviewed and witnesses find themselves in the same office. In addition, the telephone cables are slow and that sometimes results in the station losing vital calls. It will take another six months before the cables are replaced by PABX and there is no signal when clients call in. This causes problems when people call in as the sector commanders gave the community their cellphone numbers and they are to receive calls because of the PABX problems. They have written to the ICT section to fix the problems, but have to wait for the TMS section of SAPS.
The Committee noted the concerns and thanked the station commander for being forthright about the challenges experienced at the station. The Committee was thankful that the station commander was able to have the facts of the station at his fingertips, despite it being an unannounced visit. The Committee was impressed with the presentation and thanked the station commander for his management at the station.
3. NONGOMA SAPS
3.1 Station profile
Nongoma is a Brigadier-led station and the Mayor invited the Committee to the area as it is a deep rural station, however he was unable to accompany the delegation. The station is responsible for policing six national key-points which are six royal palaces. The station covers a surface area of 2198 km2 with a population of 244 501 people. The unemployment rate is about 70% and there are bus terminals with eight taxi ranks in the area. The station also covers 21 pre-schools, 144 primary schools and 65 secondary schools, two hotels, eight guest houses, 1 National Park, three sports stadiums and 12 clinics. There is a daily influx of about 40% of the population into Nongoma. Languages spoken are Zulu and English. The station looks after a magistrate’s and a regional court and work with the correctional services.
The station has no permanent holding cells and have used Hlabisa station’s cells for more than a year. There is no forensic laboratory and the Victim Friendly room is a park home. The station does not have a satellite station, but uses a mobile point.
There are 201 actual staff members at the station while the fixed establishment shows the station requires 222 personnel. The Vispol police unit accounts for 125 members, detectives 41, support services 27 and information management 5 members.
3.1.1 Crime Profile
The station has two sectors with hotspots in Matendi for taxi violence, shootings and robberies of foreigners who don’t bank their money. Stock theft takes place in the Mandlakasi area. Housebreaking is a problem as there are no roads that leads to buildings and homes. The infrastructure and roads in particular are a problem and this has increased business robberies.
3.2 Committee concerns
The Committee questioned the station commander on whether he was able to think of innovative methods such as the mounted unit, motor-cycles or quad bikes to get to homes where there are no roads. This was a way to increase police patrols and decrease crime. Members also raised the fact that there was no support from the Nongoma police station to the Hlabisa police station from the Cluster Commander and why there was no response to letters from the station commander from that station. The Committee wanted to know why contact crime in the area has increased. Other concerns related to the footprint of Crime Intelligence in Nongoma and the state of vehicles, the suitability of the vehicles for the terrain and the implementation of the Rural Safety Strategy in the station area. Members asked the station commander to indicate if there were any other vacancies at the station apart from the 201 actual staff members at the station.
The Committee questioned who the role-players in the Royal Safety Forum were and what the reason for the taxi violence in the station area was.
3.2.1 SAPS Responses
The SAPS reported that the Hlabisa station used to belong to the Zululand Cluster until it was moved to the Umkhamkuve Cluster. In view of this, they had to use the Richards Bay garage. They initially had 44 members and at the time of the oversight visit they only had 43 members. The Provincial office was attending to the appointment of the Support Head and court orderlies, although they were of the view that the staff shortage was not that critical. The acting Provincial Commissioner informed the Committee that a work-study process is underway to determine the exact nature of the shortages.
The SAPS undertook to check the correspondence with respect to the single quarter’s accommodation at Hlabisa. The Committee was dissatisfied with the responses and wanted the Cluster Commander to account for the state of affairs at the station. Members of the Committee also noted that in their opinion, the Crime Intelligence Division in the Province was ineffective and the Chairperson asked the acting Provincial Commissioner to hold the Cluster Commanders to account and not to victimise the station commander for raising the challenges at the station. The acting Provincial Commissioner indicated that they are attending to the challenges in Hlabisa and had already transferred members to the station.
3.2.2 Nongoma SAPS
The SAPS reported that they did not have mountain bikes and houses in Nongoma and will have to receive training to use motorcycles. They indicated that they have corresponded with the Department of Public Works on staff accommodation as it has been a longstanding issue. The building at Nongoma was condemned and the SAPS will follow up with the Department of Public Works on the development of holding cells. As far as the increase of contact crime was concerned with respect to taxi violence, members have been deployed to the hotspots. The Crime Intelligence component has been directly involved in operations.
The Royal Safety Forum is comprised of emerging black farmers who are helping the SAPS. The SAPS reported that the Isikebhe group was a former vigilante group who was now working with the SAPS. Members of the provincial legislature who accompanied the Committee disagreed and noted that Isikebhe was indeed a vigilante group who beat people. They accused some of the police officers of owning taxis and that was the source of the problem.
The SAPS responded by indicating that the former MEC for Police instructed Isikebhe group to work with the police and that the Department of Community Safety is training them to work with the police. After a long discussion, the meeting resolved to consider the reasons for the fact that the taxi violence emerged long before the Isikebhe group emerged. The Committee was also informed that there is conflict within the group and that the KZN Community Crime Prevention Association was competing with the community police forums. The Committee questioned whether the association was audited and whether they were armed.
The Committee then proceeded with the inspection.
3.3 REPORT BACK
The Chairperson indicated that the issues raised in the Civilian Secretariat for Police Report on the Nongoma station was illuminating and it appears that similar issues were found by the Committee.
3.3.1 Station Management
The station is a brigadier-led station and he has been in the post for seven months. There is a population of 244 000 with a travelling community of 60-100 000 commuters. The crime profile shows that murder, rape, aggravated robbery, assault GBH attempted murder and burglary are the priority crimes in the station precinct. The station ranking was 56 in the previous financial year. The station is an accounting station and the station commander has received station management training. There are two field training officers (FTO’s) at the station with 31 and 32 years’ experience respectively.
A mentor programme exists at the station and senior officers coach junior officers. There are 6 student constables and the new student intake have assessed 81 for physical fitness while there are 96 outstanding. A fitness trainer has been appointed at the station and he will be conducting shooting practise four times a year while he develops a training programme.
A total of 72 members have passed their firearm proficiency and the station commander has signed his performance agreement. The senior management team has signed the performance agreement and the Committee members found an unsigned performance agreement. The communication at the station is weekly and daily for detectives and the minutes confirmed this. The station qualifies for a communication officer at the level of a captain. Station trauma debriefings takes place through the chaplain and social worker that is based in Ulundi.
There is no satellite station and the station has made an application and are waiting for the province to communicate their response. There is insufficient office accommodation. They have applied for a new station to be built but this has not been prioritised. The station was visited by the Provincial and the National Commissioner.
The station was also visited by the IPID. There are challenges with the Departments of Public Works and Social Development as the relationships is not working. The station CPF is functional and meets once per month and the last AGM was held on 11 December 2016.The meetings are well attended, despite the challenges with transport and the minutes of the meetings are available. It was reported that the unions POPCRU and SAPU have good a relationship with the Senior Management Team (SMT) and the station commander has an open door policy.
3.3.2 Detectives Component
The detective component had an acting commander since 1 July 2017. The station has sufficient interview room including a separate identity parade room. There are 40 detectives at the station and they require an additional six detectives. The average years of experience of the detectives at the station is six years. The youngest detective is 25 years and the oldest is 58 years. All detectives at the station completed the 2 weeks detective training course while only 35 completed the 3-week course.
The ratio of detectives to vehicles is 3:1. Members complained about the bad state of the toilets at the station. There are 2427 total cases with an average docket caseload of 60 dockets per detective. The smallest caseload of dockets carried by a single detective is 15 and the highest caseload is 95. The disposal rate for cases is 80.39% and the detection rate is 62.5%. The detection rate for rape is 40%, murder is 32.47%, property crime 13.79% and assault GBH is 88.2%.
The oldest docket at the station is there since 2 March 2015 and 5448 cases have been closed undetected. There are no missing dockets at the station and there are monthly inspections at the station. The station has 16 registered informers with an amount of R25 000 paid out to informers over the last financial year.
There are 4 sectors and the station is planning no other sectors. The implementation of sector policing has been inadequate as a result of the resource limitations. The terrain is a problem with some police officers only attending community meetings if it is non-factional sector meetings.
There is a shortage of cellphones and the Head Office is dealing with cellphone contracts. The Committee resolved to call Deputy-National Commissioner: Asset and Legal Management, to Parliament to account on the cellphones and SAPS garages.
The Committee members did interviews with some of the members of the public with two members being at the station previously and they were satisfied with the level of service delivery from the station.
3.3.3 Community Service Centre
The cleanliness at the station is good although the building is in need of renovations, and the signage to the station is good. The CSC members all wear their nametags, but there are no private rooms from where to take statements from complainants. There is no trained volunteers to take statements from complainants who have been raped. The Domestic violence register was available and was checked on 31 July 2017. The counselling organisations for the DVA is available and has been updated. A copy of the DVA act was not available in the vehicles. There were 547 DVA cases and 63 dockets were opened. It was reported that there were no cases of non-compliance with the Act.
The station has a designated firearms officer and there has been training on the Firearms Control Act. There are no shooting ranges and training institutions and the shooting range is 70km away from the station. There have been 40 renewal applications and the waiting period is 90 days. Forty applications were processed within the prescribed period and 40 were rejected. There are 4 registered second hand good dealers, but no register was available. It was pointed out that the staffing fixed establishment should be 223 and not 221.
There are a total of 14 vacancies at the station spread through all the components except crime intelligence.
Most absenteeism takes place during the nightshift and the highest absenteeism rate is in the months, May to June. As far as training was concerned, 12 members were eligible for the Commissioned Officers Learning Programme, 10 for the middle management programme, 8 members were trained in the DVA and included in a five day training course on the DVA while 189 received training on the Child Justice Act. There have been 16 cases of misconduct initiated during the last financial year.
IPID confirmed that there were no deaths in custody at the station while there were 7 complaints against the police for service delivery complaints.
The station has 41 allocated vehicles with only 36 actual vehicles at the station of which 19 are in the garage. The SAPS reported that they needed new vehicles in the following components:
- CSC – requires 3 vehicles
- CPU - requires 3 vehicles
- Detectives – require 2 vehicles
- Support services –require 1 vehicle
A total of 43 members do not have driver’s licenses at the station and the Committee was unable to verify that information from the station. Seven vehicles were allocated in the last financial year. Some vehicles were in for repairs for between 2-3 years and 4 vehicles are taken home for standby duties.
The station ablution facilities are in a bad state and the water supply is cut every day at the station. The AVL are inadequate and all student constables have come to the station with their own bullet-proof vests and without any firearms. There is a slight shortage of bullet proof vests as they are not adequate for females. All members at the station have firearms and they have all been IBIS tested. There was no first aid equipment available at the station and basic crowd control equipment was not available.
The Chairperson indicated that all the outstanding information should be made available to the Committee before Friday if it is not readily available. The fact that there are 19 out 36 vehicles in the garage is unacceptable, and that means that the station is unable to perform its crime prevention duties. The Chairperson pointed out that major intervention is required from the National Office as it was pointed out that they do not have enough personnel in the TRT and POPs environment.
Close management was required to correct the situation and he thanked the colleagues from the KZN Provincial Parliament for their co-operation and monitoring of the situation. He asked that the station commanders must implement the recommendations of the Committee and that the province must address the building repairs.
He also urged the province to deal with taxi violence in the province.
3.4 Specialised Units: Operational Response Services
The Committee also had briefings with the provincial Operational Response Services (ORS) components the TRT, NIU and the POPS. The Committee was most impressed with the presentations and the state of readiness of the units to deal with priority crime.
3.4.1 Public Order Policing (POPs) Unit
The POPs reported that their unit strength in the Pietermaritzburg is 202 members. They have nine Nyala vehicles, of which three are in the garage for one year. The vehicles are not conducive to the terrain. Of their vehicles, 18 are below 200 000 kms and 27 are above 300 000 km. There is poor workmanship from the SAPS garage. The province has dealt with 473 peace marches which increased to 586 in the 2016/17 financial year. They have provided 506 opportunities for support to individual stations.
The SAPS have received allocations from the national government and in 2015/16 they received R50 million and bought 88 vehicles and in 2017/18 received R141 million for protective gear and Nyalas. The focus of the province was protective gear, night cameras, video cameras with night sights. They reported that the new generation Nyalas are in the process of being procured. The 2017/18 allocation was up to R241 million and have been divided proportionally with the POPs receiving R1.1 million rand. There are regular and joint meetings between the POPs and Crime Intelligence and they have conducted a joint operation in Kranskop and recovered eight firearms. Currently, POPs are losing about three to four members per year, but they are recruiting new and younger members. There is a national directive for dedicated investigators to be placed at all clusters to support the POPs units.
The Committee observed a demonstration of how the POPs handled a mock demonstration with a water-cannon.
3.4.2 Tactical Response Team (TRT)
The Tactical Response Team (TRT) briefed the Committee about its operations. They were established in 2009 during the World Cup. They deal with medium to high risk operations. Members have to undergo a three phase recruitment process. This includes an urban and rural phase they have to complete and a weapons handling phase. The Pietermaritzburg TRT has 26 members and 12 soft top vehicles, of which six are in the SAPS garage.
The TRT is busy with dealing with assets in transit and have started a cash in transit unit. They also have hostage negotiators and receive support from the ORS division. There are two teams run by team leaders. There has been no new blood in the unit since 2011.
The TRT informed the Committee that there are lots of problems with vehicle fleet management and the SAPS garages. They service five clusters and have a total of 6 TRT units with a lack of human resources. Provincially there are 223 TRT members with 107 vehicles allocated, of which 43 are serviceable.
The unit has a lack of office space and has vacancies including that of team leaders and support head. The TRT also escorts dangerous prisoners.
In response to member concerns, the TRT indicated that they have their own operational badge. They are losing members for not adhering to the requirements of the TRT. They have the option of filling vacancies at sergeant level and increasing the number of trainers training the TRT members. The courses run from January to February 2018. The second option is to move people laterally from other ORS units such as the POs and NIU. Only 43% of vehicles allocated to the TRT are in use.
The Chairperson thanked the POPs and the TRT for their presentations and pledged that the Committee would look at the structure and make sure they are fully capacitated. The Supply Chain Management would have to report on their efforts to capacitate the units as policing cannot be hamstrung by the lack of resources. He thanked members of the two units for their professionalism in approach.
- Meeting with independent Violence Monitor
The Committee then proceeded to have confidential briefings from the independent violence monitor Mary De Haas about the state of violence in the province and at the Glebelands Hostel.
- Chatsworth Police Station
The Committee met with the management of the Chatsworth Police station. The station management team welcomed the Committee.
5.1 Station Profile
Chatsworth police station is a brigadier-led accounting station. It is part of the Ethekwini Cluster. The station area comprises 60 km2 and has a population of approximately 177 481 people with another 600 000 daily commuters into the City. The station is responsible for policing 19 secondary schools and 39 primary schools. There are five colleges and 11 shopping centres with 8 clinics. The station also polices 2 bus terminals, 6 taxi ranks and 4 train stations. The staff compliment is 312 according to the fixed establishment but only has 297 actual staff members. The station has 9 vehicles with less than 50 000kms and 54 vehicles with more than 50 000kms. Six of the vehicles are in the garage and the turnover period is 13 days. The station has seen a reduction in absenteeism.
5.2 Crime Profile
The station has seen an increase in rape and have had at least one serial rapist. Some of the challenges experienced by the station include the displacement of crime from other surrounding areas, the environmental design of Chatsworth which makes it difficult to police effectively. Other challenges include the rough terrain which prevents easy access to hotspots. For the first quarter, attempted murder, rape, business and residential burglaries, aggravated robbery, and common assault all contributes to the priority crimes the station is dealing with. There are three sectors and sectors 1 & 2 are the hotspots. There is also no stock-theft unit based at the station. Chatsworth has a total of 902 cases which have been closed undetected in all categories of crime.
5.3 Committee concerns
Members wanted to know how many times a month the cluster commander visited the station. Further concerns of the members related to the increases in the murder rates, what the station has done to reduce the murder rate and what strategies were put in place to deal with TRIO crimes. Members also wanted to know what support and assistance has been received from the Crime Intelligence division and how the station was planning to address the high absenteeism problem. Members were further concerned about the performance of the police garage in Chatsworth and wanted statistical information. It was pointed out by the Committee that while the level of arrests was high, the level of convictions was very poor. In addition, Members pointed out that there was no diversity in the CPF. The issue of drugs in the Chatsworth area was a very serious one and members pointed out that the police should know who the drug dealers are. During the visit it became apparent that the post of Head of Detectives was not filled and the Committee urged the station commander to do the necessary to have the post filled. Members also wanted to know why 526 cases of cases of common assault were withdrawn.
5.4 SAPS Cluster Commander response
The SAPS Cluster Commander responded that that they were making inroads into hijacking and had regular operations every week. Chatsworth was the only station in the cluster among 17 clusters that showed a decrease in crime of at least 10%. There was confidence in the management of the Chatsworth station and all serious crimes were being dealt with. The Cluster Commander responded that hijacking was down by 37% for the first time in three months. His visits were recorded in the diary and the occurrence book entry to prove this. He stated that the DPCI has been dealing with drug dealers in the area and that there have been arrests. At the same time, the drug dealers in the Chatsworth area are presenting major challenges and he required the assistance from the organised crime unit with that. In this respect he indicated that there has to be more training in covert surveillance areas.
The Committee indicated their displeasure with the report as they did not accept that the SAPS agreed that drug dealers in the area were more sophisticated than the collective efforts the SAPS. Members of the Committee pointed out that maybe it was time to stop monitoring drug dealers and arrest them. The Committee urged the SAPS to stop waiting for National Office and proposed that the members at the station should be rotated to prevent collusion with drug dealers. Members of the Committee felt that the station required a new approach to deal with drug dealers.
The SAPS responded that the responses they were getting were not desirable and the cluster was responsible to manage crime in the cluster. The SAPS was putting in place a plan to better manage the crime in the cluster and the DPCI and Crime Intelligence will be included. There was co-operation between the CI and detective’s components and they have closed down various drug laboratories. It was untrue that the SAPS have not had any breakthrough with drug crimes as they were addressing high flyers and have already take out a drug laboratory. Towards the end of 2016, they closed down two laboratories in the area. In addition, there was a task team working on drugs in the cluster. The conviction rate on drug crimes was high and the attempted murder rate increased by 88%, while aggravated robbery decreased by 17 cases. The undetected rate is 30% and half of all crime at the station is assaults.
There are no African members on the CPF and the station was dealing with the bottle-brush area with a view of getting members onto the CPF.
The Chairperson suggested that the Regional Commissioner: Management Interventions should get all the cluster Commanders together with a view of developing an operational plan to deal with crime in the province. He welcomed the approach from the Deputy National Commissioner: Management Interventions with respect to the Operational Command Centre and indicated that the flow of information on crime should be enhanced.
5.6 Station Inspection
The Committee then proceeded to inspect the station.
- Report Back
5.6.2 Community Service Centre
The signage at the station was clear and visible and the accessibility for the disabled with direction markers was good. The station was close to public transport and was generally clean and well kept. The station has private rooms for statements to be taken from the public. There is adequate seating for the public and there are two paralegals on duty at the station. The station has trained 40 volunteers to deal with abuse of women and children. The Domestic Violence Act is available at the station as was the National Instructions on Domestic Violence, Station Orders. There were 830 incidents of domestic violence and 263 dockets were opened as a result. There were no dockets against the police for non-compliance. In terms of the Child Justice Act, the names and contact numbers of the Department of Social Development’s probation officers were all listed and available at the station.
The station has a problem with the abuse of sick leave and absenteeism is the highest during weekends. A total of 152 staff members have been trained in the Child Justice Act while 14 detective officers completed the COLP training with 21 outstanding. One officer was trained in the Second Hand Goods Act. There were four grievances about promotions and a further ten grievances were resolved, one fraud and one misconduct case.
The Provincial IPID issued a report on the death in police cells, but did not apportion blame in the case where there was death in police custody. The Provincial Inspectorate visited the station every six months to inspect the station. The station has a shortage of six vehicles and some of the kilometre readings of the station vehicles were checked by the Committee. A total of 23 officers were not in possession of a driver’s licence while 87 had authority to use state vehicles. The downtime on vehicles at the SAPS garage is 36 days.
Six vehicles were taken home at night for standby duties.
The station has 53 detectives with an average experience of ten years and average age of 30 years. The acting branch commander is not happy with the level of experience with the youngest detective aged 27 years and the oldest 55 years.
The station detective environment was not conducive to effective investigations as the space was a problem with up to three detectives sharing one office. There has not been enough training as only 22% of detectives have completed the basic (two weeks) training course and 56% have completed the full 3 months training course. Only one detective has completed the specialised training course. There are only two training opportunities for detectives training per year. The station requires 10 more detectives. They have enough vehicles and each detective carries an average of 22 dockets. The security of dockets at the station is not up to scratch as not all the detectives have steel cabinets with locks to hold dockets. There is a safe and strong-room, but no burglar-proofing.
The detectives carry a caseload of 2536 dockets with an average of 22 dockets per detective. The smallest caseload carried by a detective is 55 dockets while the highest caseload is 236.
The average detection rate at the station is 72% while the detection rate for rape is 85.3%; murder 14.1%; property crime 8.3% and assault GBH is 50.1%. The average disposal rate is 82.21%. The average conviction rate for rape is 9.4%, murder 75%, property crime is 96.4% and assault GBH 89.5%.
The oldest docket still open in the system is dated 23 August 1998 while 4308 dockets have been closed undetected in the last financial year. The commander indicated that the detectives do not experience problems with incorrectly formulated charges, or poor statement taking.
The station has 11 active cells and there were 11 detainees booked into the cells. There was one child arrested, but was not held in the cells and taken directly to court at the time of the visit. A total of eight detainees were in court at the time of the oversight visit and the cells were generally in good condition with CCTV facilities overseeing the cells. There was lack of serviced fire-fighting equipment in the cells.
To the dismay of the Committee, the station has just one registered informer as the community refuses to be registered as informers. The acting detective commander did not have information on the budget for informers at the station.
During the visit to the cells, the Committee inspected all 11 cells and found them to be in order.
5.6.4 Station Management
The station commander has been appointed at the station in January 2011. The station ranking is being updated and the information was unavailable at the time of the visit. The station has two Field Training Officers at the rank of warrant officers with 34 years and 37 years’ experience respectively.
The station has 11 student constables and 228 members underwent a physical assessment. The station commander and all members of the station management team had signed performance agreements. The liaison between the station and the Department of Health is good, although the delivery of services is a challenge. Relations with the IPID is also cordial and the intention is to activate a cluster chamber to address some of the internal issues affecting the station.
5.6.5 Closing remarks
The Chairperson noted that the station was better managed than Nongoma, but that the question of informers and detectives required urgent detectives. He urged the station to deal effectively with drug-related crime and noted that it should have been dealt with much earlier. As far as the Department of Public Works was concerned, the Committee noted that the Cluster should do much more to engage the Department with respect to the station needs. This requires close management from the Cluster Commander. The stations response to TRIO crimes was not adequate and satisfactory and this requires further attention. The imposition of CCTV at the station was welcomed by the Committee.
The Committee received presentations on the National Intervention Unit and the Management Intervention Division.
- National Intervention Unit
The National Intervention Unit (NIU) was established in 2000 and deals with medium to high risk incidents. The aim of the unit is to attain operational excellence in all of its operations. It reports to the Divisional Commissioner: Operational Response Services. During training and recruitment, students must undergo psychometric testing, shooting, physical fitness and endurance testing. The training includes a 20-week training course in weapons and rural and urban crime-fighting. Members of the Unit undergo weekly in-service training. The total staff compliment of the NIU is 126 members. They have 28 active vehicles with three armoured vehicles with 8 vehicles in the garage.
- SAPS Garages
The Regional Commissioner for Management Interventions reported that the KZN SAPS has 7463 vehicles of which 82.4% are available and active. 7% of the KZN vehicle fleet are in garages for repair. A total of 776 vehicles are in garages that are outsourced in terms of the RT 46 Agreement, while another 519 are in the SAPS garage.
The Committee was informed that the second phase of the garage project will be led by an integrated project team which was established on 1st February 2017. A plan was created to deal with the backlog and to reduce the turnaround time for vehicles in the garage. New spray-painting guidelines have also been issued. The garage commander has also been issued with computers and a feasibility study is now being undertaken to grade garages. It was reported that out of the 16 garages, two are main garages and the SAPS pointed out that they would upgrade the auxiliary garages to main garages in the province. Port Shepstone and Richards Bay would become main garages.
It was pointed out that the average age of artisans was 50 years and the province required two additional artisans.
During Phase Two a tagging system that was developed would be implemented. The SAPS is also addressing the fact that there are no client services and for that reason an enquiry section was established. Other measures included amending the SAPS 235 and auctioning 614 vehicles. The second phase will run until the end of March 2018. Ninety stations have been prioritised for better fleet management services.
The project has been amended to include internships and upgrade the security at garages.
- Umlazi Police station
8.1 Glebelands Hostels
The Committee chose not to inspect the station, but rather to focus on the station’s efforts to deal with the violence at the Glebelands hostels. The station management briefed the Committee. In their briefing the SAPS noted that greed was one of the main reasons for the violence as rooms were sold and monies collected from residents through coercion. Monies are collected from taxi owners and this led to conflict and violence.
There was a daily deployment of five visible policing members, eight POPs and eight Metro Police officers at the hostel. In addition, there were eight private security members seconded to the hostel from the municipality. These members are deployed to conduct stop and searches and foot patrols. They have also conducted Vehicle Check Points (VCP’s) and regularly conduct drug and shebeen raids. The SAPS management reported that they have weekly meetings with Crime Intelligence. The priority crime in Glebelands is murder and there have been 11 murders in the last financial year and 23 at the time of the Committee’s visit.
A provincial task team was established to investigate all murder cases and they were investigating 49 murder cases and 17 cases of intimidation. The SAPS reported that they have recovered 27 firearms, but none of the firearms recovered was linked through ballistic analysis to any of the murders committed at Glebelands. The Umlazi station is investigating all minor cases.
8.2 Committee concerns
The Portfolio Committee expressed its unhappiness with the state of violence at Glebelands and the state of policing at the hostel. Members pointed out that there should be an extra-ordinary effort to deal with the violence at the hostel. It was pointed out that there were not even arrests in 50% of the cases and the SAPS should disarm residents who fan the flames of violence.
The Committee was very dissatisfied with the report on SAPS garages as it meant that the province was functioning on 57% of its strength as a result of the vehicles being in the SAPS garage. Members pointed out that the SAPS has to respond to what the three things they needed to do urgently to turn around the situation at the police garages so that there is service delivery in the Province. This was a management problem which the SAPS should own.
The Chairperson of the Provincial Standing Committee on police stated that as far as the Glebelands hostel was concerned, there was no political and administrative will from the municipality to turn around the state of decay at the hostels. The presentation from the SAPS was not giving hope that there would be a solution and that the problem was at the SAPS National Office.
The Committee also noted that the people of South Africa are not getting value for money in policing. The interventions outlined in the Public Protector’s Report on Glebelands outlined the basics that are needed from the police. Members wanted to know what template was being followed prior to the Report and who in the SAPS was being held accountable for the non-implementation of the recommendations. As far as Glebelands was concerned, there were allegations of corruption, gun-running and collusion with the perpetrators by the police. The Committee wanted to know what was being done about it.
Members of the Committee indicated that they thought that the report on Police garages would be a solution and they found that there was nothing in the SAPS presentation which stated that the SAPS was performing at 80%. Despite the deployment of police officers at the hostels, people are still being killed. It shows that even though the SAPS states that they are doing daily operations at the hostel, this is not helping. Members also questioned how the recovered firearms at the hostel could not be linked to the murders.
Members pointed out that in the murder case of Mr Mtembu, the SAPS failed to extract information relevant to the case in the murder of Mr Mtembu. While the assassin was arrested, potential witnesses were killed. A Member of the Committee pointed out that a police officer who works at the Umlazi station and who lives in the Glebelands hostel was not arrested and charged. Junior members at the station (according to the Member) have stated that that their hands are tied and they are hamstrung by their seniors.
The Committee was very clear that it could not allow the narrow politicisation of policing to continue and allow people to get away with murder. What was required was a dedicated investigation into the murders and endemic corruption that cuts across the political divide. Members pointed out that people have become so used to the murders, that if they did not happen, people will be surprised. That is why extraordinary measures were required to decisively deal with the Glebelands murders.
The Chairperson stated that the presentation on the SAPS garages was disappointing and that in the rural areas the Committee visited as well as the specialised units, there was a dire shortage of vehicles. The specialised units (which included the TRT, POPS and the NIU) were performing despite being 50% below their vehicle tally. They required vehicles to perform optimally. What was required was a KZN solution for the motor vehicles. The Province should come to the party and could not stand by and wait for National Office.
As far as Glebelands hostel was concerned, it was a complex issue with lots of role-players and the police were not the only role-player. The Chairperson questioned who was leading effort to prevent the murders in the area and questioned the roles of the station and cluster commander in this regard. While there were 42 detectives at Umlazi station, there were only 25 arrests out of 66 murder cases. The Committee noted that maybe it was time the role-players managing the problem at station and provincial levels should be changed.
8.3 SAPS Responses
The SAPS responded by stating that the Glebelands issue is a multi-disciplinary project which is led by the Provincial Task Team, supported by the station commander. National Office is assisting the province and the POPS, TRT and NIU is supporting the team. They agreed that local police officers are colluding with members of the Glebelands hostel. As a result, the SAPS has taken people from other hotspots to assist with the Glebelands situation.
There is fear in Glebelands and people do not want to co-operate with the police and there are incidents which takes the police into the homes of people in Glebelands. However, despite this, the police will shortly effect some arrests of suspects. The Committee was informed that a number of people were in the Witness Protection Programme and that they require more members from outside Glebelands to police it. The question of Glebelands require political will as the main issue of accommodation has not been addressed.
As far as the SAPS garages were concerned, the Regional Commissioner: Management Interventions responded that there was a national intervention, as far as the vehicles for the POPS and TRT were concerned. The Nyala vehicles are too costly to repair and the Divisional Commissioner for Supply Chain management has put in place a process for replacement vehicles and the national office is busy putting standards in place for the requirements of the vehicles.
The SAPS was also looking at placing interns at the SAPS garages and have started a recruitment strategy for artisans. The SAPS garages were using outdated technology and a retention strategy was being developed. The problem is that there are legal agreements which it could not immediately drop because it binds SAPS. Suppliers were providing the wrong parts of some garages and this caused the delay. SCM has implemented a complaints line to deal with complaints.
The Chairperson indicated that he had heard enough and decided to call the acting National Commissioner to account for the state of affairs in the province as far the garages and the killings in the province were concerned to attend the Committee meeting the next day.
The provincial head of detectives stated that detectives have over 1200 dockets a month and that apart from the Glebelands situation, had a 90% arrest rate. As far as firearms was concerned, they have started putting together three teams including Vispol, POPs, NIU and Crime Intelligence to assist with investigations. Firearm recoveries increased from 1202 to 1468 since the last financial year and for July 2017, recoveries increased from 276 to 351 firearms, a 22.5% increase.
8.3 Concluding remarks
The Chairperson stated that the colleagues from the Standing Committee on Police in the Provincial legislature has to deal with the issues of accommodation at the hostel. There has to be an integrated approach to deal with the issues. The Committee noted that a holistic plan was required and that a discussion was needed with the Minister of Police on the state of affairs. The Committee would in the meantime meet with the Acting National Commissioner the following day.
- Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI)
The Committee requested a briefing from the Acting Head of the DPCI on the break-in at its National Office and the DPCI reported as follows:
The break-in occurred on 4 July 2017 between 9-11pm. The thieves broke into 8 offices, took 10 computers and four laptops. They gained entry through a fire-escape. The Crime against the State unit is investigating and have established that there were three intruders on the premises at the time of the break-in. They were able to access the cellphone database of all DPCI members that contained budget presentations, expenditure reports as well as training and vehicle expenditure and other financial details of members trips abroad.
The camera resolution was unclear and the door was left open from the inside leaving the DPCI investigators to believe that there was some link from inside the DPCI environment. A fingerprint had been lifted and all people in the office were fingerprinted to eliminate them as suspects. The Acting Head of the DPCI also informed the Committee that the premises belonged to the Department of Public Works and they did not have enough security guards. As a result, the DPCI had to deploy its own members as security guards. The DPCI started the work as of the next day and the DPCI is in the process of replacing the stolen equipment. It has back-ups of the stolen data and there were no sensitive documents pertaining to investigations taken.
9.1 Committee concerns
The Committee expressed its concern about the data and cellphone records that have been stolen. The personal information could compromise the safety of members and the Committee wanted to know if there was a Risk Mitigation Strategy and whether there was any upgrade on the CCTV cameras.
Members wanted to know what the DPCI put in pace to avert a repeat break-in. Other concerns related to whether all the members in the DPCI Head Office is vetted and whether it has affected the mood and morale of the members. The Committee also wanted to know when the DPCI realised that they did not have enough security guards.
Committee members expressed further concern about the break-in following on from the break-ins at the offices of two Premiers, The Chief Justice, Parliament and municipal offices.
9.2 DPCI Response
The DPCI acknowledged that the cell-phone data is a risk and that was something that they had to work on. Meetings were held with the CFO and the SCM heads to replace the stolen cellphones as it relates to the safety of its members. The DPCI indicated that it had made requests as far as ICT solutions for cameras with better resolution was concerned, but it had to go through the Department of Public Works as it was their building.
Several security risk assessments were done by the SAPS Protection and Security Service, even at the time of General Dramat’s tenure. As far as vetting as concerned, the DPCI was assisted by State Security Agency (SSA) and Crime Intelligence (CI). An attempt was made to get the DG of the SSA on board the vetting in 2016.
The DPCI Integrity Management Unit was responsible for finalising vetting and not everyone in the DPCI environment was vetted. There is preliminary screening and vetting lapses after five years, but it takes time to complete the vetting process. The DPCI does not hire people pending the preliminary vetting screening process being completed by the Local Criminal Record Centre.
As far as the mood of members were concerned there were challenges in the environment as the investigation into the break-in continues. The approval of the DPCI structure has affected the morale of members and the migration of members out of the DPCI is causing discomfort as a result. While there is a good working relationship with the management and staff at the DPCI, there is resistance to change.
There were insufficient security guards and the Acting Head of the DPCI pointed out that new posts will be advertised. In addition, the access cards at the DPCI was being investigated as part of the investigations into the break-ins. As far as break-ins elsewhere in high offices, it was suggested that the intelligence agencies should take note of the developments.
9.3 Committee further concerns
The Committee suggested that the SAPS Finance Department should work with urgency to replace the cellphones and wanted to know if there was a date by when the cell-phone should be replaced. The Chairperson noted that the Committee should have the confidence and assurance that the DPCI environment is secure and wanted to know if polygraph testing was conducted.
The Committee called for a full report of the vetting status of all members of the DPCI and what is outstanding and that it has to have a discussion with the Department of State Security on the matter. In addition, members felt that the security of the DPCI members could not be left to the mercy of the Department of Public Works and it should be escalated to another body in Parliament. Members of the Committee felt that the DPCI should have its own budget and spend it as it saw fit and that the matter of the budget of the DPCI should be pursued with the Department of Finance.
9.4 DPCI Responses
The DPCI indicated that it will be meeting with the Acting National Commissioner and get the support from the State Security Agency. Integrity and polygraph tests are being administered with the DPCI members randomly and it is a sensitive environment. In addition, regular testing is being undertaken to determine internal involvement. Fingerprints of the members were also taken to eliminate all members and get to the criminals.
9.5 Political killings
The DPCI reported that their task team on political killings have made some progress in their investigations into the matter. The statistics were as follows:
There were 12 cases of murder of which 11 was investigated, which resulted in 34 arrests with 10 people in court. There were 7 attempted murders, of which 5 were investigated, of which 5 arrests were effected and there were 2 persons in court. There were two conspiracies to commit murder cases of which one was investigated and 6 arrests effected with one person in court. There were six cases of intimidation cases which were all investigated with one arrest and nobody has appeared in court. Lastly, there were two arson cases which resulted in twelve arrest with two persons in court.
The DPCI stated that they were well resourced since the inception of the Task Team on 29 May 2017. They were investigating hitmen and people of interest have been identified.
The Chairperson indicated that the DPCI should provide a report to the Committee on challenges experienced with the DPW by 16 August 2017. There has to be confidence in the DPCI if it has to succeed. The DPCI should therefore get its house in order as the country cannot allow the state institutions to be compromised.
The Chairperson commented on the fact that another person was killed in Glebelands, while the Committee was conducting its oversight visit to the Province. He announced that it was totally unacceptable and that the Committee would visit Glebelands hostel. He also indicated that the absence of the Acting National Commissioner was totally unacceptable given the fact that he had agreed with the Chairperson that he would attend the meeting. The Committee had a dim view of his non-attendance especially in view of the fact that a police officer had been killed in KZN and Mpumalanga. The accounting officer of the SAPS must be accountable to Parliament and the Committee will write to the Minister of Police to intervene on three issues: Hlabisa Station; the National Panasonic Communication system not working at the station and the inhabitable single accommodation at the station.
The Committee was very pleased with the fact that the specialised units (POPs, TRT and NIU) were performing, despite the problem with their vehicles being held in garages for long periods. They displayed very high level of professionalism in executing their duties and impressed the Committee.
10 Provincial Detectives
The SAPS made a presentation on the detective environment and noted that there were vacancies in the detective environment. There is a shortfall of 245 detectives in the Province as the fixed establishment granted 4210 detectives. The actual number of detectives was 3695 creating the shortfall. The Heads of the FCS, Crime Investigation, Specific Crime Investigation, organised Crime and Commercial Crime, all reported to the Provincial Head of Detectives. Detectives are provided into 65 specialised groups at 65 stations. A total of 1652 detectives were trained in the Resolving of Crime (ROC) course, while 1383 were issued with 1690 vehicles. There is a surplus of 121 vehicles. There are 80 trained forensic social workers and 90% of detectives have laptops, a further 400 have been issued with 3G cards and they are performing at 50%. The detectives have also brought 804 dockets back from the archives and reported that 889 persons refused buccal swabs for DNA samples.
10.1 Committee concerns
The Committee raised a number of concerns from the presentation of the Provincial Detectives. These were:
- The poor performance of detectives in the province;
- The amount of dockets withdrawn and closed as undetected;
- The large number of vacant posts;
- Security of dockets at police stations with many not having lockable steel cabinets;
- The state of the SAPS garage with 158 in the garage;
- The capacity of Organised Crime Unit in the province;
- Average age and years of experience of detectives;
- Docket ratios of detectives;
- The failure of detectives to deal with murder at the Glebelands hostel; and
- The number of acting appointments was crippling policing in the province.
10.2 SAPS Responses
The SAPS indicated that the DPCI has the exclusive domain over organised crime through the organised crime threat assessment. A report will be made to Parliament on the average age of detectives and the number of dockets they carry. The detectives working on the Glebelands hostel cases will be well-resourced and the SAPS are trying to keep as many detectives as possible through re-enlistments. The Province has 600 cellphones for detectives and receive their regular training quotas from the National Office. Chatsworth will be included as a priority.
The accommodation of detectives must urgently be addressed as it is a burning problem at most stations with detectives having to share offices. The issue of RICA cards for cellphones will be addressed as the service provider, Vodacom cannot accept post box addresses.
The Chairperson asked that a full SAPS garage report be made available and noted that the Committee should come back to check on progress.
- IPID Provincial offices
The Committee visited the provincial IPID offices to discuss the issue of police corruption in the province. The Chairperson, in his opening address noted that there should be confidence in the IPID, but that there were allegations against the IPID in the province.
The Provincial Director of IPID noted that there were 89 murders and that IPID only had five cases they were investigating and only one of it was for murder. This was the case of a Mr Fika who was examined by a pathologist. There was also a case of assault and torture of Mr Yewu which they were investigating. The Provincial Director also stated that they had met with the independent violence monitor in the province and gave her regular feedback.
The Chairperson stated that there were many unsolved murders at Glebelands hostel and allegations of possible police involvement. He stated that there were various letters written to the office in a portfolio of evidence which was made available to the Committee.
Committee Members noted that the complainants were running away from the IPID and that they should have more trust in the IPID. The Committee wanted a full account of all cases at the Glebelands hostel and wanted to know if the IPID was failing in its constitutional mandate.
Members also questioned the response from the IPID that there is no progress on the investigations conducted by the IPID and the Provincial Directors response to Mrs De Haas that it was not the duty of the IPID to investigate corruption.
11.1 IPID Responses
The IPID responded that a detailed report will be made available to the Committee and that all the complainants that were directed to the IPID by Mrs de Haas. They got the cellphone numbers of complainants and even went to Gauteng to trace complainants and they got much more co-operation from other complainants. People were afraid and feared for their lives. The IPID had 105 convictions in the province in 2015/16 and these included life imprisonment and up to 25 years in prison. The IPID was serious about police criminality and has a specific mandate in terms of section 28(1) (a-f) offences. The investigation into the Chatsworth matter showed that it was the decision of the NPA that made it a death in custody. The provincial office has 23 investigators with 2 in the district office in Empangeni. Death in custody has been prioritised.
The Committee indicated that it did not have the time to continue the visit and opted to rather arrange a proper meeting with the IPID to discuss the portfolio. The Chairperson thanked the IPID for its presentation and apologised to the PSIRA for not being able to take its presentation. Another suitable date would be found to do so.
The Committee then undertook a visit to the Glebelands hostel.
- Key Observations
The Committee made a number of observations about the oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal.The Committee noted that the state of resources at rural police stations was not at all sufficient for the SAPS to make serious dents in the fight against serious crime.
The resource support to rural stations like Hlabisa did not appear to be a priority of the Cluster Commanders and the provincial leadership of the SAPS. The Committee commended the station commander for continuing to provide leadership in the face of the fact that the station’s communication system has broken down and there is no Head of Support Services who can relieve the station commander.
The Committee also noted that the state of the SAPS vehicle and fleet management was causing serious deficiencies in the fight against violent crime and service delivery to the people of the KZN province. The SAPS garage services were unacceptable and did not provide the necessary support to all the specialised units and police stations that required vehicles. Importantly vehicles (especially Nyalas) were in the garages for long periods including up to one year because there are no parts available. The Committee was disappointed with the planning system embarked on by the SAPS with regards to garages and asked that the acting National Commissioner intervenes to ensure that vehicles are made available to the stations.
The Committee noted that detectives in the province required support from the provincial office with respect to training opportunities and additional human resources. The ratio of detectives to the number of cases being investigated shows that there is a shortage of over 245 detectives in the province. The Committee was concerned that such a shortfall critically affects the ability of the stations to effectively investigate crime.
The Committee urged the provincial leadership to urgently address the shortage of human and material resources, including the communication system at the station.
Political killings at the Glebelands Hostel
The Committee expressed its concern on the inability of the provincial detectives to stop the killings in the province, especially those happening at the Glebelands hostels. The Committee was concerned that there was no political and administrative will to clean up the hostels on the part of the municipality and this was a generator for further conflict and killings. The Committee urged a change in the leadership at the Umlazi station with respect to their ability to stop the killings in the Glebelands hostel.
The Committee commended the specialised units (POPs, TRT, and NIU) under the operational command of the ORS for their professional approach in fighting crime. This, despite the fact that almost 50% of their vehicles are not operational and in SAPS garages.
The Committee expressed its concerns about the efficiency of the Cluster Commanders in the province in providing support to the stations under their command. They have not been visible and effective and the Committee urged the Management Interventions Division to call all Cluster Commanders together in order to effect change in the manner in which they support stations through their leadership, and by making resources available.
The Committee noted the report from the DPCI on the break-in and security of its premises at National Office. The Committee urged the DPCI to review the security measures and implement a stricter security regime at its premises. It called on the SAPS to provide the necessary logistical and technical support in terms of security to the DPCI.
- The Committee recommends that the SAPS provincial management immediately appoints a Head of Support at the Hlabisa station.
- The Committee recommends that a new tele-communication system be installed at the Hlabisa station to enable complainants to communicate with the SAPS and the station with its members. The Committee views this as an immediate priority given the fact that the station is in a deep rural area and its members needs to be protected.
- The Committee recommends that a review of the state of the SAPS garages in KZN be undertaken and a full report be made available to the Committee by the acting National Commissioner. The Committee expects that the operational vehicles available to stations and specialised units should be over 80%.
- The Committee recommends that all outstanding vacancies in the detective environment be filled and the stations receive the necessary support.
- The Committee recommends that the station management team at Umlazi be rotated to give a new team the opportunity of reducing the killings and solving the murders at the Glebelands hostel.
- The Committee recommends that the Portfolio Committee on COGTA and Human Settlements be asked to address the matter of the upgrading of the Glebelands hostels with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
- The Committee recommends that the outstanding murder cases at the hostel be finalised and the murderers and hitmen be brought to justice as soon as possible.
- The Committee recommends that the POP’s, TRT and the NIU be commended for their professionalism in the face of a shortage of resources, especially vehicles to continue their operations.
- The Committee recommends that the vehicles of specialised units be supplied with vehicles and vacancies be filled as a matter of priority.
- The Committee recommends that a special session be held with all Cluster Commanders in the province to review their efficacy and support to stations.
- The Committee recommends that the SAPS provide the necessary technical and logistical support to the DPCI with respect to securing it’s premises and replacing all stolen equipment.
- The Committee recommends that the SAPS appoints a permanent Provincial Commissioner in KwaZulu-Natal as soon as possible.
- The Committee recommends that the SAPS provide training and mentoring support to all station commanders in the KZN province.
- The Committee recommends that the SAPS National Office undertakes a review of the specialised KZN units and thoroughly review the role of Cluster Commanders in KZN.
- The Committee recommends that the SAPS and IPID makes presentations to the Moerane Commission of Inquiry.
- The Committee recommends that a joint meeting takes place on the general state of member accommodation between the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and the Portfolio Committee on Police.
- The Committee recommends that the provincial and station level detectives increase their low conviction and detection rate statistics.
No related documents