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N0. 54-2010 - REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PREMIER'S

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Thursday, 21 October 2010
[No. 54-2010] Second Session, Fourth Legislature

                 LEGISLATURE OF THE PROVINCE OF MPUMALANGA
                                 ANNOUNCEMENTS,
                                  TABLINGS AND
                                COMMITTEE REPORTS


ANNOUNCEMENTS:

None



TABLINGS:


None



COMMITTEE REPORT

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PREMIER’S
OFFICE; FINANCE; COMMUNITY SAFETY, SECURITY AND
LIAISON ON AN OVERSIGHT-VISIT TO THE SABIE POLICE
STATION ON 19 OCTOBER 2010


1.   INTRODUCTION

The Portfolio Committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community Safety,
Security and Liaison (the Committee) has the mandate to ensure fiscal
discipline, effective community policing, accountability, efficient co-
ordination and good governance through oversight on the Department of
Community Safety, Security and Liaison (the department) by holding it
accountable through various measures which the Portfolio Committee may
undertake during the course of a financial year.

One of the instruments that enable the Portfolio Committee to execute its
mandate is to undertake oversight visits to police stations in the province.
The oversight visit to the Sabie Police Station was part of the ‘Taking
Legislature to the People’ project which was undertaken on 19 October
2010.


2.   METHOD OF WORK

All relevant role players in the Sabie policing environment were invited to
accompany the Committee in its oversight visit to the Sabie Police
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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
                                                                                  2


Station; these included the Member of the Executive Council (MEC)
responsible for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Head of
Department (HOD) and officials of the Department of Community Safety,
Security and Liaison, South African Police Service Mpumalanga (SAPS
Mpumalanga), Local Municipality, Community Development Workers
(CDWs), Community Policing Forum (CPF), Police and Prisons Civil Rights
Union (POPCRU) and the South African Police Union (SAPU).


3. OBJECTIVE

        To interact and deliberate on the successes as well the and
         challenges faced by the Police Station whilst executing its daily
         responsibilities with specific reference to:

          o   The implementation of the National Crime Prevention
              Strategy
          o   Overall performance of the Police
          o   Implementation of the Employment Equity Act, No 55 of
              1998
          o   All matters related to the Community Policing Forum (CPF)
          o   Comparative crime statistics
          o   Progress on the implementation of the Sector Policing at the
              Police Station
          o   Working relationship between SAPS management and labour
              unions represented at the Police Station
          o   Inspection in loco with specific emphasis on the holding cells
              and related matters.

        To report all the findings and recommendations to the House for
         the purpose of informed intervention where needed.


4.   DELIBERATIONS

The Committee decided, prior to the oversight visit, to apply the Station
Questionnaire Monitoring Tool (the monitoring tool) that is utilised by
National Parliament to assess police stations. The monitoring tool was
sent to the Police Station prior to the visit and the Station Commissioner
was requested to complete the tool in order to be provided to the
Committee during the visit.

The Committee then met jointly with a delegation of officials from the
Police Station, Community Policing Forum (CPF) Members, officials from
SAPS Mpumalanga, representatives from the Police and Prisons Civil
Rights Union (POPCRU), the South African Police Union (SAPU), a
Councillor from the Thaba Chweu Municipality, Head of Department and
officials from the Department of Safety, Security and Liaison to interact on
the functioning of the Police Station.



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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
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The Station Commissioner, with the assistance of his management team,
presented a background report on the activities of the Police Station to the
Committee and a hard copy of the completed monitoring tool was
circulated during the visit. Only Section 2 of the monitoring tool was
completed; the Station Commissioner was therefore, requested to also
complete Section 1 of the monitoring tool and submit to the Committee.

The Station Commissioner, Lieutenant Colonel V Mashego, submitted the
additional information requested by the Committee on the outstanding
issues.

The following key information emanated from the physical evaluation of
the station and the monitoring tool:

Station Building and Infrastructure

The signage to find the Police Station is very clear and it is easy to find it;
the station also provides for easy access for persons with disabilities.

The physical condition of the station is good but it needs maintenance.
The building was relatively clean during the day of the visit.

Community Service Centre (CSC)

General information about the station and relevant information that
should be noted by visitors were displayed on the walls at the CSC.

Officials on duty in the CSC wore name tags for easy identification.

The CSC was not exceptionally busy at the time of the in loco inspection;
however, the Committee observed that the CSC is small and has the
potential for congestion in busier times.

The station has sufficient infrastructure in terms of electricity, water,
telephones, fax machines, photocopiers, computers, intranet access;
bathroom and toilet facilities.     However; the CSC needs additional
computers and locker facilities.

Victim Support Centre (VCS)

There is a well equipped and functional Victim Support Centre for
counselling of victims that was donated by a company named Komatiland.
It was reported that Child Welfare White River assists in operating the
VSC centre. Two female members are on duty at each shift to deal with
cases of abuse, rape, child negligence and other violence-related cases.

Public Complaints against Police

The Committee noted from the monitoring tool that there is a written
register of public complaints.


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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
                                                                                  4


The Police Station received 3 public complaints over the past year but no
disciplinary action was taken as the complaints turned out to be
unfounded.

Implementation of Domestic Violence Policy

According to the monitoring tool, there is a Domestic Violence Register
and the last entry in the register was dated 18 October 2010.

Only 4% of the personnel at the station received training on domestic
violence as well as on the new specialised five day course in the handling
of domestic violence incidents.

It was reflected in the monitoring tool that the following documentation
are not available in each police vehicle that is used to attend to
complaints:

                  i)   Domestic Violence Act
                 ii)   The Regulations
                iii)   The National Instruction
                iv)    Station Orders; and
                 v)    The list of organisations and services.

The number of domestic violence incidents reported at the station from
January to December of the previous year was 54 cases.

No complaints were received against members in respect of failure to
comply with the Act or instructions in the period January to December of
the previous year.

It was reported that a successful victim empowerment campaign was held
on 27 and 28 September 2010.

Firearms

The Committee noted that 161 applications were received for firearm
licence renewals in the period January to December of the previous year
and the waiting time for completion of the process for renewals was more
than a year.

Twenty five applications were received for new firearm licences in the
period January to December of the previous year and the average waiting
time for completion for new licences was more than a year.

Fire-Arms stored in strong room

The strong room where the fire-arms are stored for future destruction;
and the way in which it is managed raised a serious concern with the
Committee. It was found that the room in which the firearms are stored
is not adequately secured.


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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
                                                                                  5


It was reported that the firearms had been stored since 2005 and are not
counted on a regular basis. The last time it was counted and checked was
in 2009.

According to the Station Commissioner the firearms were ready to be
taken for IBIS checking from where it will go for destruction.

Holding cells

The Committee visited the holding cells and found them to be in a very
dilapidated state.

The sanitation system of the cells is not properly functioning and needs to
be repaired; the geyser that provides hot water to detainees is also not
properly working.

There are four holding cells at the station; one cell provides for the
detainment of four juveniles; one cell provides for the detainment of four
females; and the other two cells are for male detainees and can
accommodate 8 male persons each. At the time of the visit there were no
detainees in the cells.

The Station Commissioner reported that the cells are in the process of
being renovated. The necessary documentation was submitted to the
Provincial Supply Chain Management and it is envisaged that renovation
will start soon.

Section 13 Stores

The station has a Section 13 store and according to the monitoring tool a
SAP 13 Register was available on request.

Sector Policing

The Sabie Police Station is one of the police stations within the Mashishing
(Lydenburg) Cluster. The station has two sectors that are serviced by a
staff complement of 79 members.

A Sector Manager has been appointed for each sector and a vehicle is
available 24/7 in each sector. Sector meetings are held on a regular
basis.

Station Profile

The Sabie Police Station service area consists of a population of
approximately 40 000. The area of jurisdiction comprises of formal and
informal residential, business, industrial and farming areas.

The Police to population ratio is 1:506. The station is at the moment
graded a three star and graded 42 out of the 85 police stations in the
province.
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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
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Priority crimes at the station in order of priority are as follows:

   1. Robbery aggravating
   2. Burglary at residential premises
   3. Rape
   4. Burglary at non-residential premises
   5. Assault GBH
   6. Robbery common
   7. Theft of motor vehicle
   8. Assault common
   9. Murder
   10.Attempted murder
   11.Theft from motor vehicle

Contact crime decreased by 27, 4% in the period January to March 2010.

Several challenges were cited as contributory factors to crime:

   a) The rapid expansion of the informal settlement areas serves mostly
      as a basis for criminal activities and is an easy hiding place for
      criminals.
   b) The lack of Apollo lights in the Phola Park and Nkanini informal
      settlement areas puts severe pressure on the effective policing of
      the area.
   c) Unemployment is high in the area.

According to the local municipality, the Thaba Chweu area experiences
serious land-issue problems. Once the municipality can appoint more
squatter camp control officers it can alleviate some of the challenges
currently experienced.

The relationship between the Police Station and the local municipality is
very good; in this regard reference was made to the close cooperation
during the previous unrest situation.

Staffing Profile

The staff breakdown in terms of race and gender is as follows:

Black Male                   51
Black Female                 20
White Male                   0
White Female                 2
Coloured Male                2
Coloured Female              4
Indian Male                  0
Indian Female                0
TOTAL:                      79



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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
                                                                                  7


There is a shortage of key personnel at the station. The positions for Head
of Finance; the Head of Human Resources and the Head of Supply Chain
Management are vacant and need to be filled immediately. The need for
group leaders in the detective services also poses a challenge since there
is a need for at least three warrant officers in this unit.

Since the implementation of the Family, Children and Sexual Offences Unit
the shortage of female detectives also became more severe.            The
department explained that the shortage of female detectives may not be
easily solved because this is a much specialised field in a very demanding
environment; especially for a married female.

The department reported that all vacant posts were submitted to the
Provincial SAPS Head Office and that it is anticipated that the posts will be
advertised soon.




Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures

Three grievances were lodged and finalised in the period January to
December in the previous year; and disciplinary steps were taken against
two members.

Disciplinary procedures were instituted against two members in the past
year; however, there is no member currently suspended without pay.

Training

The following were reported:

   a) There is no mentoring system in place at the station.
   b) Less than 30% of the detectives have completed the Detective
      Learning Programme (DLP); 30 – 60% completed the Introduction
      to Crime Investigation Course and none completed the specialised
      detective training courses.
   c) None of the relevant management staff has completed the Basic
      Management Learning Programme (BMLP) and the Middle
      Management Learning Programme (MMLP).
   d) Less than 30% completed the Commissioned Officers Learning
      Programme (COLP).
   e) The Station Commissioner has completed the Station Management
      Learning Programme.

Vehicles

There are 14 vehicles allocated to the station; however, the vehicles are
not suitable for the policing terrain – especially in the informal
settlements.  It is difficult to access some of the areas and at times
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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
                                                                                  8


members have to access crime areas by foot. The vehicles available are
also not favourable to chase suspects when necessary; for instance in the
case of a robbery.

Nine of the vehicles allocated to the station already have average mileage
of more than 200 000 km.          The police station needs at least nine
additional four wheel drive vehicles. The ratio of operational personnel to
vehicles is more than 4:1.

The Committee asked a question for clarification whether the police
followed correct procedures on the request for additional vehicles. It was
noted that the prescribed procedures were followed and that the last
correspondence to the provincial supply chain in this regard was dated 27
July 2010.

Detectives

There are 14 detectives at the station (comprising of six detectives for
general investigation; including the commander and the other eight
members from the newly formed Family, Children and Sexual Offences
Unit) and each detective is assigned between 40 - 60 cases out of
approximately 500 existing cases.     The average detection rate for the
months January to December of the previous year was 55,5% and the
disposal rate for the same period was between 57,13%.

The conviction rate for rape for the period January to December of the
previous year was 37,77%, for murder it was 22,03%, for property crime
it as 12,64% and for Assault GBH it was between 70,95%.

No dockets were reported missing in the period January to December for
the previous year. Less than 20% of the dockets are older than one year
and the date of the oldest docket in the system falls in the period 1995 –
2000.

It was reflected in the monitoring tool that there are adequate facilities to
ensure the safekeeping of the dockets; namely a lock-up filing cabinet, a
safe, a strong room and office locks.

Operational Equipment

There are not enough bullet proof vests to issue to every member and an
additional 45 vests are needed.

There are shortages on most of the operational equipment like handcuffs,
torches, side firearms, pepper spray, first aid kit for vehicles, road block
equipment and blue lights for vehicles in working order.

Community Policing Forum [CPF]




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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
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The working relationship between the CPF and the Police Station is very
good. The management was commended on the availability of transport
to CPF meetings.

According to the CPF the police attend well to complaints by the
community and the police never complain when the CPF needs assistance
regarding CPF related matters.

The CPF; however, did raise a concern about the lack of resources to
launch awareness campaigns. The CPF wants to implement programmes
but there is no adequate budget available to do so.

There is a severe need for reflector jackets, torches, magnets on cars and
radios.      The challenge faced by the CPF is that its members are not
visible enough in the community; if adequate resources can be secured,
this situation can improve.

Another challenge raised by the CPF was the fact that the local
municipality is not actively involved in its activities.

The department responded on the following CPF related matters:

   a) A decision was taken that CPFs should be provided with the
      necessary resources; however, in order to do this, there need to be
      savings in other programmes of the department. Sabie will form
      part of the police stations that are prioritised in this regard and,
      subject to budget availability, resources will follow as soon as
      possible.
   b) A stipend to CPF members is currently under investigation and the
      Provincial CPF has been requested to assist with the investigation in
      this regard. The findings of the investigation will assist in finalizing
      the payment of the stipend in the next financial year.

The Committee urged the CPF to involve the local business sector in the
fight against crime.

Interaction with Labour Unions

Representatives from both POPCRU and SAPU attended the meeting. The
Committee observed that there is a sound working relationship between
labour and the police management; that all parties attempt to engage in a
constructive manner.

The following challenges were raised by the labour unions:

   1) The fact that members are being appointed in terms of different
      pieces of legislation, namely the Public Service Act, 1994 as
      amended and the Police Service Act, 1995. This situation creates a
      scenario where some members feel that they are inferior to others
      and that they are judged differently by management.


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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
                                                                                  10


   2) There is a serious need for client-service training in terms of Batho
      Pele principles.
   3) The new ranking structure has left a void for some members who
      have been warrant officers for a very long period and who, it was
      expected, would be promoted in terms of the new ranking. This
      has, however, not happened and they feel left out of the new
      scenario.

Liquor outlets

There are seven fully licensed taverns and three licensed bottle stores
within police precinct.   It was noted that the illegal operations of the
unlicensed outlets in the informal settlement impact on contact crimes
such as rape, assault with grievous bodily harm and other crimes.

The department reported that, in an attempt to act against liquor outlets
that do not adhere to applicable regulations, they have embarked on a
programme of action where all the files of approved outlets have been
requested. In conjunction with the relevant institutions a circular will be
sent to all police stations to request the names of outlets that contravene
regulations on a regular basis.

It is envisaged that those outlets that are close to schools and churches
and do not adhere to regulations, will be handed over and a process will
commence whereby these outlets licenses’ will be rescinded.

Reservists

There are currently 45 active reservists, 16 males and 29 females,
employed at the police station. The average length of service of the
reservists is more than eight years. The reservists offer less than 24
hours service per week to the station.

It was reported that there is currently a moratorium on the recruitment of
reservists. The need for the purification of the database was necessary
since there were about 11 000 reservists on the database in the province,
and only 2300 of those reservists were actively involved in policing. The
purification process in our province has been finalised but the moratorium
has not been lifted as it was a national directive.

Catering for Detainees

The Committee wanted clarification on the fact that the detainees’ cooking
is being catered for out of the tea club. It was explained that a tea club is
a semi-official organization that is merely controlled by the station. The
club receives money from the SAPS after claiming for meals that was
catered for during a specific month.

It was reported that the person who is currently employed at the club to
provide catering services to detainees is not employed by SAPS but works
on a contract basis for the club.
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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
                                                                                  11




Drugs

It was reported that no cases involving drugs have been reported in the
past three years; however, it is alleged that there is some drug activity in
the Sybrand Van Niekerk High School.

5. FINDINGS

1) The accommodation for the Sabie Police is very limited and there is a
   need for expansion in the near future.
2) The holdings cells were found to be in a dilapidated state and are in
   severe need of maintenance.
3) The strong room where the firearms that should be destroyed in the
   near future, is not adequately secured and the management of the
   firearms is poor.
4) The rapid expansion of the informal settlements in the Sabie area
   impacts negatively on available resources allocated to the station.
5) The shortage of key personnel at the station impacts negatively on the
   day to day operations of the station.
6) The training of detectives and other specialised units should be
   prioritised and promoted.
7) The majority of the vehicles allocated to the station are old and the
   mileage is more than 200 000 km.
8) There is a shortage of 45 bullet proof vests, handcuffs, torches, side-
   firearms, pepper spray, first aid kits for vehicles, road block equipment
   and blue lights for vehicles in working order.
9) The CPF has an inadequate budget to implement its programmes and
   has a shortage of operational equipment.
10)    The local municipality is not involved in CPF activities.
11)    The fact that police members are appointed in terms of different
   acts, namely the Public Service Act, 1994 as amended and the SAPS
   Act, 1995, creates dissatisfaction amongst members since it leads to
   inconsistent conduct towards them by management.
12)    The new ranking structure poses challenges for some members.
13)    There is a serious need for some members to be re-trained on the
   Batho Pele principles.
14)    The department of Safety, Security and Liaison’s intervention to act
   against liquor outlets that do not adhere to regulations is welcomed.
15)    Although the purification process of the reservist database in the
   province has been finalised, the moratorium on the recruitment of
   reservists has not been lifted yet.

6. RECOMMENDATIONS

1)     The Provincial SAPS Head Office should investigate the possibility to
       expand the current Sabie Police Station and report to the findings
       to the Committee as soon as concluded.
2)     The envisaged renovation of the holding cells should be fast-tracked
       by the Provincial SAPS Head Office and a progress report in this


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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
                                                                                  12


       regard should be submitted to the Committee before 30 November
       2010.
3)     The Station Commissioner should immediately engage with the
       provincial supply management to improve the existing strong room
       where firearms for destruction are kept and report to the
       Committee on the matter before 30 November 2010.
4)     Councillors at the local municipality should actively engage in all
       police related matters so that the challenges currently experienced
       by the CPF and the police can be addressed.
5)     The Provincial SAPS Head Office should investigate the following
       and a progress report on these matters should be submitted to the
       Committee before 30 November 2010:
       a) The reasons why some members feel that there is a
       inconsistency of conduct between members who are appointed in
       terms of the Public Service Act, 1994 as amended and the SAPS
       Act, 1995.
       b) The negative impact on members due to the implementation of
       the new ranking structure.
6)     Members who are in need of re-training on Batho Pele principles
       should be identified and trained.
7)     The Provincial SAPS Head Office should engage with the Sabie
       Police management to ascertain the stations’ needs in terms of the
       following:

       a) Training of specialised units
       b) Adequate budget to ensure sufficient operational equipment and
          vehicles
       c) Any other challenge experienced at the station.

7. CONCLUSION

The Chairperson extends a special word of appreciation to the Members of
the Economic Transformation Cluster who participated in the oversight
visit and ensured that the objectives of the visit were achieved.

The Chairperson would also like to thank the Station Commissioner and
his officials, the Community Policing Forum-delegation, the delegates from
POPCRU and SAPU, Thaba Chweu councillor, Head of Department as well
as officials from the Department of Safety, Security and Liaison for
availing themselves to deliberate on matters pertaining to the police
stations that were visited.

A special word of appreciation is also extended to the support staff who
contributed to the success of this endeavour.




__________________                                ______________
HON VVZ WINDVOËL                                  DATE
CHAIRPERSON:
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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010
                                                                                  13


PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON
PREMIER’S OFFICE; FINANCE; COMMUNITY SAFETY, SECURITY
AND LIAISON




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Report of the Portfolio committee on Premier’s Office; Finance; Community
Safety, Security and Liaison on an Oversight Visit to the Sabie Police Station
on 19 October 2010

				
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