Parliamentary Question: DoP: Budget vote

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SPEECH BY THE MINISTER OF POLICE, E.N. MTHETHWA ON THE OCCASION OF THE SAPS BUDGET VOTE, PARLIAMENT, CAPE TOWN 09 May 2012

Chairperson;

Deputy Minister of Police, Ms M.M. Sotyu;

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Ms S. Chikunga;

Acting National Commissioner of the Police, Lieutenant General

N. Mkhwanazi;

SAPS Senior Management present;

Honourable Members of Parliament;

Strategic partners of SAPS in the fight against crime;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Chairperson,

The most defining feature of the South African democratic state is that it champions the aspirations of the law abiding citizens. Its primary task is to work for the realization of safety and secured environment for all, particularly women, children, the disabled and the elderly.

Policing is a heavy responsibly. There are many times when they are expected to carry the ‘sins of the world.’ To illustrate this observation, when citizens and their public representatives disagree on the rate of service delivery, one or both parties call on police to intervene. In most cases, these servants end up at the centre of the dispute, engaged in running battles with communities and, taking the blame for the sins they did not commit.

Regardless of these challenges, SAPS continues to score positively in the fight against crime as contained in the crime statistics and supported by other independent role-players. Key to all this has been the strategic partnership we cemented with different institutions, civic organizations and the broader public.

Once more we would urge everyone in society to play a complimentary and supporting role to the men and women in blue, in ensuring that all South Africans are and feel safe.

We would further like thank those who participated and continue to support our efforts in highlighting the plight of police who get injured, attacked and die on duty.

Chairperson,

We have dubbed this year’s Budget Vote: The Year of the Detective; with a focus on 10-point priority deliverables. We will deliberate comprehensively on this theme later in the remarks; however we would like to firstly address some of the recent issues which have been topical in the public domain.

Allegations against senior management of SAPS

Chairperson,

We have observed, disturbingly so, the events over the past few months which are attributed to the senior management of SAPS.

  • Allegations of renditions against the Hawks in Gauteng

    Again, we have noted the allegations surrounding the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) in Gauteng in relation to the renditions involving Zimbabwean nationals.

    The matter was brought to my attention and I immediately sought clarity from the head on the Hawks on the allegations’ validity. Subsequently, the Civilian Secretariat for Police is almost through with a preliminary report on the allegations. The preliminary report suggests that this matter will require further action. We will keep the public informed once the final investigation has been completed.

  • Allegations on murders and tortures by the Hawks team in Cato Manor

    Chairperson,

    I would also like to utilize this occasion to allude to another matter which had been in the public domain, with allegations around the Hawks team in Cato Manor, KwaZulu-Natal. Any allegations, on any day surrounding murders and torture by police officers is a matter that cannot be ignored, hence we had tasked those who police the police, that is, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, together with the team from DPCI National Office, to investigate the allegations.

    We further make a call to some political commentators including political parties and the media, to be objective as they exercise their oversight function on the SAPS. You cannot raise issues around certain SAPS members but try to excuse others when it suits you; therefore we treat this matter and allegations as extremely serious.

  • Allegations on Crime Intelligence and Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli

    With allegations leveled against Lieutenant General Mdluli, we want to say processes which are currently before our criminal justice system would have to be observed by all to their logical conclusions.

  • Current investigations into the Crime Intelligence division

    I have further noted the recent utterances, public discussions and at times misrepresentation and misunderstanding of SAPS processes by some in society, particularly in relation to one of our crucial divisions in the fight against crime, the Crime Intelligence.

    Allegations were leveled against the division’s head, Lieutenant General Mdluli in so far as it related to mismanagement of funds and nepotism. The Inspector General of Intelligence has the legal mandate of oversight with regard to the financial management of Crime Intelligence.

    As part of her mandate, she is further able to look into any other issue that may arise in the course of this investigation. And contrary to what the media is saying, this investigation is still in process. We are not going to be subjected to any public, analysts or media courts.

  • Public spats by senior management of SAPS

    There have been unfortunate public accusations and counter-accusations within the management of SAPS. What seems to have sparked this is a widely-reported letter, which Lieutenant General Mdluli is reported to have written to amongst others, the Minister of Police.

    This letter seems to have political connotations and has caused tensions within the management of SAPS. It alludes to some conspiracy theory of some in the management ganging up against him.

    I have instituted a task team, led by the State Law Adviser to investigate such allegations because they are so serious as to suggest the meddling of policing functions in politics.

    Whilst this probe is underway, we have, in consultation with the Acting National Police Commissioner, decided that Lieutenant General Mdluli should be shifted from his current position with effect today, as the head of Crime Intelligence and moved to another division, as determined by the Acting National Police Commissioner.

    To this end, Lieutenant General Mdluli has been informed of the decision and has pledged his support to the process. We shall therefore allow and observe this process to be carried thorough without any undue interference.

    Chairperson,

    I am deliberately and purposefully reiterating the clarity of process on all these current cases and investigations, because over a period of time, there had been some misrepresentation, false allegations and to a certain extent genuine concerns about the goings on within SAPS. We have resisted the temptation and we shall stick to our principles of respect for all legal processes of the land.
    2012: the Year of the Detective; with a focus on 10-point priority deliverables

    Chairperson,

    On the occasion of our Budget Vote in this very august House last year, we highlighted that we must strengthen institutions and practices of popular participation. We said, quote: ‘our approach must in practice, be premised on people-centered and people-driven process of transformation. All of society must take part in this national effort and, effective systems of interaction with all social partners must be established.’

    We purposefully narrowed our focus for this fiscal year, 10 priorities because, we not only believe they are achievable but because they must be achieved. We need to place significant focus and direct our energies in line with government’s five key priorities, building on the progress we have attained whilst consolidating the lessons learnt for the safety of our citizens.

    Transformation of the SAPS

    The first of these areas must be the effective transformation of the police. Eighteen years into democracy, there are still certain aspects, units or specialized areas which remain untransformed with regard to issues of race and gender and these must be addressed.

    In addition, our approach to transformation must also speak about the type of police service we want to see; which is a police service that inspires confidence.

    Amongst others an officer we want to see must be: a police officer who respects and upholds the Constitution, who does not tolerate disloyalty and ill-discipline, who is enforcing the law without fear or favour.

    Smart policing to enhance the Criminal Justice System

    The second priority, is in the area of focus must be the issue of smarter policing and our engagement with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) revamp process. However, the first step is the harmonization of our Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector within the SAPS.

    The realization of this objective will speak to various issues amongst them the e-docketing. The e-docketing system will eliminate the problem of missing dockets. Huge resources have been dedicated to the ICT within SAPS and we need to make sure that we are receiving returns on this investment. ICT should also be able to contribute to the increased detection rate, the roll out of war rooms and the improvements in our Forensic Laboratories.

    Announcement of an investigation into allegations of corruption within SAPS ICT division

    Chairperson,

    I have over the last two years emphasized the need for us to look at policing more smartly and that we need to get value for money from the amount we are spending on technology. Currently the department had a budget of approximately R2,6 billion on technology, as allocated under the Technology Services Management (TMS) division. However, allegations of tender mismanagement, irregular expenditure and lack of return on investment have been brought to my attention.

    Therefore we will now be adopting a two pronged-strategy to deal with this problem. Firstly, I have instructed that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) to conduct a comprehensive investigation into allegations of corruption in the TMS environment.

    Secondly, I have instructed that I expect by the end of May 2012 to receive a plan from TMS, regarding a turn-around strategy with clear plans on what they will spend on over the next five years and how. All major projects must be planned for and speak to our operational priorities which must be accompanied by transparent procurement processes.

    Building of new police stations

    The third priority, which relates both to service delivery within SAPS and to government’s priority, is to ensure that the pace of building new police stations is accelerated.

    In this financial year, Supply Chain within the SAPS must be able to deliver on this strategic objective in a timeous, clear, accountable and transparent manner. The very existence of the police station structure itself is a deterrent to crime. The management of the police is currently finalizing its strategic and operational plan which will give impetus in achieving this goal.

    That is why the priority will be to build police stations around rural areas and townships; and to ensure they are correctly capacitated not only with committed personnel, but improved systems and operations. This will then intensify our resolve to win this war on crime. It will further make a categorical statement that no longer would we allow this community to walk long distances to lodge a complaint or report any criminal activity.

    Policing public service delivery better

    The fourth priority, in 2011 we also introduced a new policy for the area of Public Order Policing (POP) and are encouraged by the positive feedback we have received. For this financial year, we have tasked the management of police to ensure the policy is effectively implemented throughout the country.

    The policing of community protest in a democracy needs to reflect ethos of human rights. We cannot use maximum force in a situation requiring minimum force. At any moment we must be able to uphold and enforce the law. Such POPs Units must be capacitated, strengthened with clear command and control structures to effectively carry out these duties, so that relations between police and communities are not compromised, but sustained.

    Strengthening crime intelligence capacity

    The fifth priority, Crime Intelligence in the police and improvements in the field of detective services also requires our attention. We need to further strengthen our crime intelligence environment. For us to increase the conviction rate, crime intelligence and detective services should deepened their link.

    DPCI continues to be an arsenal in the fight against crime

    As part of our concerted drive on specialized investigations, particularly in tackling commercial crime, the DPCI arrested 8 309 individuals and secured 5561 convictions; when it comes to organized crime they further arrested 2 820 and secured 884 convictions.

    The Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) that was specifically established to investigate public sector corruption in terms of Output 5 of the government delivery agreement. During the corresponding period the ACTT made significant successes by arresting 38 suspects for Fraud and Corruption amounting to R 212,528,988.00 and seized assets totalling R 150 million.

    Doubling our efforts to curb rhino poaching

    One of the disturbing criminal acts into the past year, has been rhino poaching wherein this year alone over 200 rhinos were killed; as such this has been declared an operational priority by the department of police. A national task team has been established at DPCI to specifically address the scourge.

    In order to address the illicit market for rhino horns, government is engaging certain countries in South East Asia to enhance law enforcement cooperation. Furthermore, the DPCI in the Western Cape seized Abalone amounting to the value of R 28 million in seven separate police operations.

    Crime against Women and Children is a priority for the SAPS

    The sixth priority, in 2011, we re-established the Family, Child and Sexual Offenses unit. Our task in the years ahead is to strengthen this unit. We need to take practical steps to retain the skill we have and to build our skill capacity that is required. To ensure that the unit is successful we must look at their resourcing, including the retention allowances of these officers.

    Crime against Women and Children is a priority for the SAPS and therefore the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units (FCS) has been reintroduced in all 176 SAPS clusters in all 9 provinces. There is currently 2155 detectives placed at these units and they are issued with 1276 vehicles. Previously, the FCS Units consisted of only 1864 detectives.

    An additional amount of R49.5 million was provided to all provinces to capacitate the FCS units with resources. From April 2011 to January 2012, the FCS units have achieved over 363 life sentences, with a conviction rate of 73% for crimes against women above 18 years old and 70, 04% for crimes against children under 18 years old.

    A total of 17314 out of 21 100 detectives are trained in detective related courses. A further 2161 detectives will be trained on the basic detective course during the 2012/2013 financial year.

    A total of 479 trained detectives that had been transferred to other components and divisions within SAPS in the past have been placed back in the detective services environment. Six (6) courses for training of Detective Commanders in which 346 commanders were trained, was presented during the 2011/2012 financial year.

    Skills-focused recruitment, as opposed to volume-based recruitment

    The seventh priority must be a constant focus on recruitment within SAPS. Over the last year we have made certain changes in our approach to recruitment and our official standards have been benched marked against other countries and have compared favourably. However we must now seriously look at how our recruitment is actually being carried out in practice.

    We need constantly check who are we recruiting and what type of person we want in the police? We equally need to be able to identify gaps in our screening processes and to develop the ability to attract the right kind of skills. Once we have the right type of recruits we must be in a position to effectively career path people so that these skills are developed and retained.

    Improvement in our Forensic Science Laboratories

    The eighth priority relates to forensic science laboratories: Following the 66% reduction in backlogs recorded in Forensic Services in the 2010/11 financial year, increased commitment and effort resulted in a further 30% reduction in 2011/12 despite the 67% escalation in the workload, which increased from 66 375 in 2010/11 to 111 068 in 2011/12.

    This further reduction is commendable, especially in view of the production time lost as a result of increased emphasis on the development of individual performance. The department will continue to grow forensic capacity in response to the expected escalation in exhibits received.

    In addition to the awareness drives to enhance current services offered by the Forensic Services, more Crime Scene Management Service Stations have been established to reach especially the rural communities, where such services were difficult to reach prior. The department is intensifying its efforts to reach even more communities in this new financial year.

    Review of the White Paper on Safety and Security

    The ninth area of focus would be the review of the White Paper on Safety and Security. During the last financial year we made concerted efforts on strengthening civilian oversight of the police through the reform of the formerly Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), now known as Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and Civilian Secretariat for Police.

    Now that these reforms have been processed, the task will not only be on ensuring delivery of this oversight bodies but also the review of the White Paper for Safety and Security and subsequent overhaul of the SAPS Act.

    During the 2011/12 financial year the Civilian Secretariat for Police Bill was passed into an Act and in December 2011 the Act was put into operation by the President of the Republic of South Africa.

    Strengthened oversight on those who police, the police

    Lastly, for this financial year, must be on strengthening oversight on police. While we have committed ourselves to actively combat crime including serious and violent crime by being tougher on criminals and organized syndicates. We have however always emphasized that this tough stance on crime must be balance by our philosophy that policing must also based and entrench on a human right culture and be community orientated and sensitive.

    That is why we are pleased that from 1 April 2012, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act (IPID Act), No 1 of 2011 which takes the IPID out of the SAPS; thus entrenching their independence from the police.

    The IPID Act focuses the investigative mandate of the Directorate to the following specified serious matters, which include any deaths in police custody and deaths as a result of police actions; any complaint relating to the discharge of an official firearm by any police officer.

    Introduction of the PSIRA Bill

    Many businesses and households continue to make use of private security companies to protect their homes and assets. The increasing number of private security guards poses a need for greater cooperation between private security and SAPS. The second involves ensuring that criminal elements are not able to infiltrate the private security industry.

    That is why last year the Ministry initiated a process to review the functioning of the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSIRA). Arising out of this review gaps and weaknesses with the current legislation where identified and an Amendment Bill is before Parliament.

    Announcement of a Commission of Enquiry into the operations of firearm dealerships

    Over the last 12 months the Department has undertaken a turnaround strategy with regard to the licensing of firearms. Contrary to some public perceptions by some, the reality is that there have been some notable successes:

  • Relations with the different stakeholder groups involved in firearms ownership and management have improved significantly
  • Reduction in the backlog which was reduced by nearly a million and where we are now mopping up final backlogs
  • Improving and streamlining the systems within the Central Firearms Registry (CFR).
  • Addressing complaints from the public my office through the Secretary of police has received and dealt with more than 700 complaints 680 of which are now closed and resolved.

    While we recognize these successes we also acknowledge that the process is far from over. During this financial year, we will be holding management accountable for the management and control of firearms, particularly loss of firearms by police. In addition we are in the final stages of finalizing a long term strategy for the CFR.

    However, my office and Civilian Secretariat for Police have received numerous complaints regarding certain unscrupulous dealers and trainers. I want to point out this is not aimed at all firearm dealers and trainers; as some are responsible, compliant and provide effective services.

    There are those dealers and trainers who have abused the processes and have profited from the lack of efficiency of the CFR. While we seek to improve the efficiency of the CFR, we must also address unscrupulous elements in the training and dealership fraternity who:

  • Sell training certificates without the persons undergoing proper training
  • Re-sell firearms before the licensing process is completed
  • Go into liquidation and the new owners not necessarily complying with obligation derived under the old ownership.

    It is against this background, that I have wish to announce to Parliament and the public, that I have decided to establish a Commission of Enquiry that will look into the allegations and other related matters. The terms of reference will be shared in due course. Because of the seriousness of the firearm control in the fight against crime, I expect this enquiry to be completed by end of August 2012.

    Corporate governance and performance monitoring of senior management

    In addition to these ten priority areas, I have now instructed that greater focus must be placed on budget management and supply chain to ensure that we are effectively managing these area. We also need to ensure efficiency on how our legal services is running and managing our litigation.

    Furthermore, last month I met with all top management of the SAPS including, deputy, divisional and provincial commissioners. One of the issues discussed we discussed was effective management systems regarding firearms within SAPS.

    A policy directive has been issued by me, which SAPS must now implement. This policy includes issues of competency, disciplinary and criminal process regarding officials loosing firearms as well as more effective control mechanisms in the reissuing of firearms to officials who have lost their firearms. I therefore expect these to be implemented with immediate effect and will be monitoring this.
    2012 is indeed the Year of the Detective

    The progress we have made, the victories we continue to score are reflective of the vision of the South African citizens’ commitment and determination to the cause of peace and social progress. This reflection does not mean we are celebrating the victories against crime, but are encouraged.

    As government, we undertake these tasks conscious of our responsibility as one of the battalions of the global army for progressive social change. The 2011/12 crime statistics showed that we are indeed turning the tide against crime.

    However despite these successes we should not be complacent about the mammoth task that faces us. Whilst we must celebrate our successes we must also take stock of issues and areas that still require our attention. The continued development of a professional police officer and service must be addressed at all levels of the institution.

    The ANC-led government is confident that South Africans will persist in building an enduring national partnership further to change our country for the better. Working together with them, we shall spare neither strength nor courage, until the strategic objective has been attained.

    I thank you.