The South African Police Services (SAPS) has allocated more than R3 billion to information systems, and needs to explain exactly how that amount will be spent, says the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police.
The committee met last week to discuss the progress between the State IT Agency (SITA) and the SAPS since a meeting in April, when the relationship between the two was described as “fractious”.
The SAPS also presented its progress in terms of the more than 20 IT-related projects it is currently working on. It intends to establish its digital capacity to detect fingerprints at crime scenes through technology to photograph and enhance fingerprints lifted from crime scenes.
The project is 100% complete in terms of hardware deployment, but the service is 0% complete in terms of training and rollout. It says there is a target to implement the integrated case docket management system (ICDMS) to 20 priority police stations by 2012 and 40 priority police stations by 2014. This entails the management and administration of criminal cases, inquests and enquiries throughout the lifecycle of a case from its inception to its disposal.
The SAPS also said it is 10% complete in terms of software deployment and it is seeking to establish a mobile operational vehicles project. A target was set of having 450 vehicles and 18 buses by 2013 equipped with mobile communication technology. The operational requirement for mobile communication vehicles was to ensure effective command and control communications.
There is also a programme aimed at the modernisation and expansion of hardware and software.
The SAPS set a target of replacing 5052 PCs, 395 notebooks and tablets, 2740 colour printers, 9593 mono printers and 1011 fax machines. To date, it has replaced 287 PCs (6% progress), 168 notebooks (43%), 219 mono printers (2%), 211 colour printers (8%) and 68 fax machines (7%).
Concerns from committee members were that no improvement is being made within the SAPS, which buys equipment but doesn’t roll it out. They said the progress report is not impressive.
The SAPS said in some cases hardware was rolled out, but no progress was made on implementation, because officials still have to be trained to use the equipment.
Members also noted tension between SITA and its contractors who worked for SAPS, because SITA is not renewing their contracts and, at the same time, contractors are not receiving their salary increases in full. They questioned why SITA is keeping increases that are aimed for contractors for itself. It would take decades to fully implement the e-docket systems at police stations across the country, said members.
An example was given of the Pretoria police station in which the scanner, printer and computer are all on different floors. In addition, there is no quality control with regards to the e-docket.
Committee chairperson Lydia Chikunga asked what the budget is for each project that SAPS has undertaken in conjunction with SITA, how much money has been spent to date on each project, and how each project would improve on service delivery. She expects the responses by mid-October.
Chikunga also noted that there are companies providing IT work that had been contracted by SAPS.
She asked what role SITA is playing in this regard, how much money is being wasted on the contract process models, and whether there is absolutely no coordination between what SAPS contractors are doing and SITA.
In April committee members called on SITA to create a turnaround strategy specific to SAPS, and acting chairperson of the board Febe Potgieter-Gqubule said there was a joint strategic planning session between the agency and the service. The outcomes include that negotiated business agreements and SLA negotiations will be completed by the end of September, and that SITA will provide proposals for VOIP.
She added that business agreement discussions have commenced and are due to be completed as planned by the end of this month. Five SLAs have been negotiated and concluded at a functional level and two new SLAs requested by the SAPS are being drafted for negotiations. These SLAs relate to supply chain management (SCM) and IT security. The acting chairperson added that the ICDMS demo was presented to SAPS and the backbone for the system will be completed in December.
The scanning solution was also developed and deployed at 320 police stations in all provinces, except for the Eastern Cape. Approximately 1 650 million dockets had been scanned by 5 September. The e-docket system will replace this one when it is implemented.
SITA said by the end of 2012 it will have established a supply chain management committee system and a bid evaluation committee with subject matter and technical expertise. The SAPS-specific ICT SCM benefits are the lowering of prices for the war room installation, lower costs for the national network upgrade, more bandwidth, and reduced cost of voice communication through VOIP.
SITA will also significantly reduce the pricing of its services. The lower costs will be as a result of industry partnership.