The Portfolio Committee on Police has today concluded the week-long Budget Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) process of the South African Police Service, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and the Civilian Secretariat for Police (CSP), and has made the following observations:

The Committee is concerned that this portfolio regressed in the 2016/17 audit outcomes. The Department of Police, IPID received a qualified audit, after eight years of unqualified/clean audit opinions. Meanwhile, the Civilian Secretariat for Police received an unqualified audit opinion for the first time, a move welcomed by the Committee.

Some of the contributing factors for the concerning audit opinion received by SAPS and IPID were attributed to slow response by management in addressing audit findings, lack of stability in key positions, lack of internal controls for financial and performance management as well as poor leadership and poor grievance handling mechanisms.

The audit committees of IPID and CSP will be called before the Committee on 24 October, while SAPS appearance has been scheduled for 1 November. These entities will have to table plans on how to improve the concerning audit findings.

The Committee says it is critical for the executive authority to have one-on-one meetings with the accounting officers of SAPS, IPID and CSP to address concerns raised by the Auditor-General. The Committee calls upon the Minister of Police to ensure compliance.

The Committee believes some of these challenges can be addressed through the expeditious appointment of a new National Police Commissioner. The Committee says the country needs a competent accounting officer who has energy, strategic vison and innovative plans to fight crime, corruption and the proliferation of illegal firearms.

The Committee also wants improved strategies to fight organised crime. As such, the Committee has called for an expeditious appointment of the Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI/Hawks). Turning to the concerns about the inadequate budget of the DPCI/Hawks, the Committee reiterated its call for a separate Budget Vote for the DPCI/Hawks. The Committee is of the view that a separate and independent budget of the Hawks will help it plan and implement its crime-fighting strategies without the limitations of too much bureaucracy.

On the legislative front, the Committee says the current SAPS Act and related management structure is outdated and not fit for purpose. The current consequence management in SAPS and poor accountability levels at station and cluster level stifles service deliver on a daily basis, leaving communities vulnerable to crime and poor customer service.

The Committee welcomes the initiatives by the Police Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula, aimed at addressing deficiencies in the crime intelligence environment. The Committee further calls for increased intelligence-driven crime fighting.

The Committee further welcomes the announcement by the Minister to elevate the position of the Secretary for Civilian Secretariat to Director-General level.

The Committee has decided to invite the Minister to appear before it to respond to allegations that some members of the top management of SAPS apparently misled Parliament about the security vetting of some SAPS Generals.

On Monday, 23 October 2017, the Minister of Police will release the crime statistics before the Committee.

The Committee has called on SAPS to ensure it makes the most of 2018 to fast-track the attainment of the quality of policing that is envisaged by the National Development Plan (NDP).

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa