ATC200626: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police into the Petition by from the residents of Kempton Park; calling on the Assembly to investigate chronic inadequate visible and shortage of vehicle at the of Kempton Park police station (Mr M Waters) dated 26 June 2020.
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police into the Petition by from the residents of Kempton Park; calling on the Assembly to investigate chronic inadequate visible and shortage of vehicle at the of Kempton Park police station (Mr M Waters) dated 26 June 2020.
The Portfolio Committee received petition referred to it from the Speaker on 12 November 2019 (Order Paper: National Assembly No. 1–2020, 12 November 2019).
The Constitutional provides for petitions to be brought to parliament. Section 56 (d) and 69 (d) of the Constitution provides for the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to receive petitions, representations or submissions from any interested persons or institutions.
The process for the Committee to process the petitions are regulated in Chapter 14 of the Rules of the National Assembly (14th edition). Rule 337 (d) makes provision for the Speaker to table written instruments including special petitions and other petitions of a general nature.
Part 3 of the Rules makes provision for following:
Rule 344 makes provision for the form of the petition to be prescribed by the Speaker in accordance with the guidelines determined by the Rules Committee.
Rule 345 states that the petition must be in one of the official languages. All the petitions must be signed by the petitioners themselves according to Rule 346 (1).
According to Rule 347(1), a petition must be lodged by a member with the Secretary for approval and tabling by the Speaker, the Secretary Lodging of the petition and must be signed at the beginning thereof by the member. Rule 347(2) provides that a member may not lodge a petition on his or her own behalf, but such a petition may be lodged by another member.
Rule 348 makes provision for each petition to be deposited for at least one day with the Secretary who must submit it to the Speaker for approval before it is tabled in the Assembly. If the Speaker finds that the petition complies with the guidelines determined by the Rules Committee, the Speaker must approve it and table it in the Assembly without delay in terms of Rule 349.
After tabling, a petition is then referred in terms of Rule 350 (1) if it is a special petition to the committee on public finance and in terms of Rule 320 (2), to a relevant Portfolio Committee if it is a petition of a general nature.
The SAPS was invited by the Committee to respond to the petition after which Members of the Committee engaged on the responses.
2. SAPS presentation
The SAPS noted that the Kempton Park policing area covered 99km2 with a population of 91 169. The policing area is divided into six sectors with one vehicle per sector available. Each sector is staffed by two officers. The unemployment rate stands at 17% and the area includes four informal settlements. There are 60 schools with a student population of 19 912 and one clinic with eight South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) pay-points.
The area has 24 liquor outlets and 74 second-hand good dealers. There are five railway stations, ten taxi ranks with 20 main and arterial routes. There is a daily influx of 90 000 commuters to the area for business and work. Kempton Park policing area consists of 54 shopping centres, 55 spaza shops and 16 banks. There are five sports and recreational grounds with one sports stadium. The area has seven active courts.
As far as the deployment of human resources at the station are concerned, the station has a surplus of 11 (or 7.38%) visible policing officers, a shortage of 22 detectives (or 25%), a surplus of 12 support staff (or 22%), which leaves it with a total of one staff member (292) over the granted staff establishment which is 291.
The station has had a shortage of 14 vehicles (or 19.1%) with the granted vehicles at 73 while the actual number of vehicles was at 59. The station has been granted four additional vehicles for the 2019/20 financial year with an additional five vehicles for the 2020/21 financial year.
3. Crime profile
The SAPS reported that during the reporting period, 1 April 2018 to 31 January 2019, compared with the period 1 April 2019 to 31 January 2020, the following crime categories showed decrease:
- Contact crime : -5.5%
- Contact-related crime : -22.7%
- Property-related crime: -17.9%
- Other serious crime : -8.9%
- Robbery aggravated : -6%
- Sexual offences : - 2%
Crimes, dependent on police action, increased by 15.1%, for the reporting period.
The SAPS reported that other reasons for the reduction of crime can be attributed to the following activities conducted:
- Weekly policing operations, such as Operation O Kae Molao, focussing on identified hot-spot areas and targeting specific crimes, i.e. carjacking, aggravated robbery, etc.
- Enhanced day-to-day activities, related to compliance inspections at firearm dealers, second-hand goods dealers, as well as targeting the liquor trade.
- Conducting vehicle check points and cordon and search operations, which focuses on the proliferation of illegal firearms and drugs.
- Awareness campaigns, conducted by Social Crime Prevention, focusing on the abuse of liquor and drugs, gender-based violence and providing crime tips.
In addition, the SAPS reported that it conducted several operations which included 58 176 patrols, 6 763 stop and search operations, three cordon and search, 27 roadblocks, 474 vehicle checkpoints and 116 crime awareness campaigns.
4. Committee Concerns
The Committee noted the report from the SAPS but raised a number of questions relating to the SAPS response. Mt Waters (petitioner) noted that the Kempton Park police station ranked 24th in the country’s Top 30 stations and the word on the street was that the station is called Trashtroplis in anticipation of the government’s attempt to build a new metropolis noted in the President’s State of the Nation address. For the six sectors, there should be two police officers patrolling per sector. He wanted to know where and how the 160 people in the Visible Policing Sector are deployed. He also wanted to know why there could not be four people allocated per vehicle and he disputed the number of six vehicles in the sectors. In addition, if the crimes have been reduced by the percentages as claimed by the police, it would mean that police actions were not needed. Mr Waters wanted to know why crimes were reduced by the levels reported by the police and why the levels of rape, sexual assault and common assault had increased. He did not accept the figures presented by the SAPS and questioned why the station was not inspected annually as before as it was one of the worst performing stations in the top 30 stations. The Portfolio Committee on Police did not receive the investigation reports to interrogate them.
Other members supported the sentiments and noted that it was consistently raised as it was part of the economic hub of the country and it has to be prioritised. In addition, the issue of tourist safety was also an issue that required immediate attention.
The Chairperson noted that the petitions are taken seriously in the Committee and noted that the SAPS should respond monthly on matters that are unresolved and that they should bring further information on the matter.
5. SAPS Response
The SAPS responded that they were acting on the judgement on the allocation of resources by the Equality Court and that they are currently reviewing the criteria for the allocation of resources.
Kempton Park is viewed as a priority station as it is in the TOP 30 stations nationally. Inspections has resumed. At some stage, the SAPS changed the names of inspections and that they were aware that the crime statistics picture looked gloomy. It was only after the appointment of the current Provincial Commissioner that the picture changed. However, they were not there yet. There are 40 high crime stations in the Province and Kempton Park is one of them. They were taking the high contact crimes seriously and they did not always have the six vehicles available and it differed every day. The SAPS noted that there were five vehicles available as they reported.
The 160 members were divided between the station components including Visible policing, Community Service Centre, Firearms, Liquor and Second Hand goods unit, crime prevention units and sector policing. The last inspections were done at the end of last year and they did all the priority stations. The SAPS noted that they are taking note of the policing of the economic hub of the country.
Members asked that the SAPS provide a copy of the inspection report and a breakdown of the deployment of the 160 members.
The Chairperson thanked the SAPS for the report and members resolved to wait for the report on the breakdown of the SAPS report on the breakdown of the deployment pattern as well as the inspection report. The Chairperson thanked the SAPS for their report and interaction on the matter.
Report to be considered
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