ATC230920: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on the Proposed Parliamentary Inquiry into the July 2021 Unrest, Dated 20 September 2023
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on the Proposed Parliamentary Inquiry into the July 2021 Unrest, Dated 20 September 2023.
The Portfolio Committee on Police, having considered the proposed Parliamentary Inquiry into the July 2021 Unrest, reports as follows:
On 07 July 2021, parts of South Africa embarked on large scale violent protests and riots leading to the destruction of state and privately owned properties. The protesters looted shopping malls and factories predominantly located in and around major cities in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. This resulted in a directive from Parliament that relevant Committees must inquire into the events that led to the unrest and factors leading to the seeming delayed response from security services and inability to effectively stop the spread of violence timeously.
This report highlights the work done by the Portfolio Committee on Police on this matter and makes recommendations on the way forward.
- COMMITTEE DELIBERATIONS
In 2021, the Portfolio Committee on Police (“the Committee”) met on two separate occasions to discuss a proposed Parliamentary Inquiry into the violence, looting and destruction of property that occurred in parts of the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces during July 2021.
On 17 August 2021, the Committee discussed a draft Terms of Reference (ToR) on the proposed inquiry for adoption. During this meeting the Committee resolved to delay the adoption of the ToR to allow Members time to interrogate it and submit suggested changes/recommendations to the Chairperson of the Committee.
On 01 December 2021, the Committee met to further discuss the development of the ToR and to decide a way forward. During the meeting, the Committee resolved to delay the inquiry until both the Presidential Inquiry and the inquiry of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) have been finalised to avoid a duplication of efforts to investigate the contributing factors that led to the unrest and the failure of the state security apparatus to effectively stop the unrest. The Committee made it clear that it is not abdicating its oversight responsibility to hold the executive to account.
The Presidential Panel of Experts Report was published in February 2022 and made several recommendations on how to strengthen security capabilities in South Africa. While awaiting the finalisation of the SAHRC’s Inquiry, the Committee requested an implementation plan from the South African Police Service (SAPS) on the recommendations made by the Presidential Panel of Experts Report. The draft report by the SAHRC has been circulated to respondents for submissions and is expected to be finalised towards the end of 2023.
On 06 September 2023, the Committee further deliberated on the proposed Parliamentary Inquiry and requested a detailed process flow and timeframes based on the draft ToR to enable the Committee to decide on a way forward. The Content Advisor presented the process flow and timeframes on 13 September 2023.
- SAPS IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
As mentioned above, on 06 September 2023, the Committee received the SAPS Implementation Plan on the Presidential Panel of Experts into the July 2021 Unrest. The Presidential Panel of Experts made 34 recommendations, of which 16 were to others Departments and structures, including the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service, National Intelligence Coordinating Committee (NICOC), the Presidency, and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).
A total of 18 recommendations were applicable to the SAPS, of which six recommendations are fully implemented, 11 recommendations are in progress of being implemented and one recommendation cannot be implemented at this time (the implementation is dependent on the operationalisation of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, 2019). The SAPS Implementation Plan on the July 2021 Unrest contains a notable level of detail on the efforts made to implement the recommendations under their mandate.
The Implementation Plan and presentation are available from the Committee Secretary.
4.OVERSIGHT VISIT TO KWAZULU-NATAL AND GAUTENG
Following the July 2021 Unrest, the Portfolio Committee on Police and Joint Standing Committee on Defence embarked on a joint oversight visit to the affected areas in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng from 19 to 21 July 2021. The oversight report was published on 18 August 2021 and contained several recommendations. On 13 October 2021, the Minister of Police submitted a detailed response on the above recommendations to the Portfolio Committee of Police. The recommendations contained in the oversight report are somewhat similar to those made by the Presidential Panel Report.
- RESOLUTION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The Committee resolves that the remainder of the 6th Parliamentary term does not allow for sufficient time to deal with an inquiry of this extent and complexity, and proposes that the Parliamentary Inquiry becomes part of the Committee’s Legacy Report and be handed over to the 7th Parliament for further action and conclusion. The Committee recommends that the report by the SAHRC, once finalised, should be considered during deliberations. The Committee further urges the 7th Parliament to monitor progress on the Implementation plan of the SAPS.
In conclusion, the Committee expresses its sincere appreciation for the efforts made by the SAHRC and the Presidential Panel of Experts, led by Professor Africa during the respective inquiries into the July 2021 Unrest.
Report to be considered.