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									             SAPS’ COSTLY

                BILKIS OMAR


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS                                            iii
ABOUT THE AUTHOR                                             v
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES                                  vi
ACRONYMS                                                    vii
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                           ix
CHAPTER 1                                                    1
Introduction and methodology
CHAPTER 2                                                    7
Background and legislative framework
CHAPTER 3                                                   15
SAPS restructuring in 2001
CHAPTER 4                                                   25
SAPS restructuring in 2006
CHAPTER 5                                                   39
Capacity to perform public order policing
CHAPTER 6                                                   53
The role of metro police and SAPS Visible Police in crowd
CHAPTER 7                                                   63
Public order policing and the 2010 FIFA World Cup
CHAPTER 8                                                   77
CHAPTER 9                                                   81
ENDNOTES                                                    83
REFERENCES                                                  85


The ISS would like to thank the Open Society Foundation South Africa for
its generous support in the research and publication of this monograph.

The author would also like to thank the following for their invaluable
support and advice during the study:

•   Assistant Commissioner Moorcroft and Senior Superintendent Schnetler
    of SAPS National Strategic Management Division
•   Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Naidoo
•   Director Schutte, Head of Operational Response Service in Gauteng
•   Assistant Commissioner Groenewald of SAPS National Operational
•   The unit commanders of the Crime Combating Units in Gauteng,
    Superintendent Makhubela of the Johannesburg Unit, Superintendent
    Smith of the East Rand Unit, and Superintendent Heyneke of the
    Pretoria Unit
•   Captain Merkel and Inspector Van Der Merwe of the Johannesburg
    Crime Combating Unit and Captain Wilken of the East Rand Crime
    Combating Unit
•   Senior Superintendent Ally of SAPS National Training Division
•   Chief McBride and Director Armstrong of the Ekurhuleni Metro Police
•   Stefan Badenhorst from the Private Security Industry Regulating
•   Monique Marks of the University of Kwazulu Natal
•   Mr Majola from the Premier Soccer League
•   Mr Phasha from South African Football Association
•   Mr Kwinika, Mr Machekela and Mr Truter from the South African Police
•   Ricky Meyer and Charlene Smith of Ellis Park stadium
•   Colleagues at the ISS’s Crime and Justice Programme

The author would in particular like to express her sincere appreciation to
Superintendent Vernon Day of SAPS National Operational Response
iv                                         A review of public order policing capacity

Services for the many discussions and constructive comments he made
from the start of the study. Finally, thanks to the many respondents without
whom this study would not have been possible.

                      ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bilkis Omar is a researcher in the Crime and Justice Programme. She has
been working at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) since 2002 and has a
particular interest in policing and criminal justice issues. She has an honours
degree in criminology from the University of South Africa.


Table 1:    Operational crime successes for the Johannesburg ACCU

Figure 1:   Organisational structure of Crime Combating Units

Figure 2:   Procedures of authorisation to gather or demonstrate

Figure 3:   Total crowd management incidents, 1997–2005

Figure 4:   Total violent and peaceful crowd management incidents,

Figure 5:   The seven Gauteng Area Crime Combating Units before the
            2006 restructuring

Figure 6:   Organogram of the seven Gauteng Area Crime Combating Units
            before the 2006 restructuring

Figure 7:   The three Gauteng Crime Combating Units after the 2006

Figure 8:   Organogram of the three Gauteng Crime Combating Units after
            the 2006 restructuring

Figure 9:   Organisational structure of Gauteng’s Crime Combating Units


ACCU       Area Crime Combating Unit
CAF        Confédération Africaine de Football
CCU        Crime Combating Unit
DFA        Department of Foreign Affairs
EMPD       Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department
ER         East Rand
FCS        Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit
FIFA       Federation Internationale de Football Association
FLOM       First Line Operational Managers course
FXI        Freedom of Expression Institute
HSF        Hanns Seidel Foundation
ICPRA      International Council of Police Representative Associations
INTERPOL   International Police
ISD        Internal Stability Division
IRIS-BIS   Incident Registration Information System – Business
           Intelligence System
JHB        Johannesburg
JMPD       Johannesburg Metro Police Department
JOINTS     Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure
JOC        Joint Operational Centre
LOC        Local Organising Committee
NATJOINT   National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure
NCCS       National Crime Combating Strategy
NIA        National Intelligence Agency
OCT        Operational Commanders Training
ORS        Operational Response Service
OSF        Open Society Foundation
PCT        Platoon Commander Training
PMT        Platoon Members Training
POP        Public Order Police
POPU       Public Order Police Unit
POPCRU     Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union
PSIRA      Private Security Industry Regulating Authority
PSL        Premier Soccer League
viii                                 A review of public order policing capacity

SATAWU   South African Transport and Allied Workers Union
SAFA     South African Football Association
SANDF    South African National Defence Force
SAP      South African Police
SAPS     South African Police Service
SAPU     South African Police Union
SSSBC    Safety and Security Sector Bargaining Council
SVC      SAPS Serious and Violent Crimes (Unit)
VISPOL   SAPS Visible Police members from police station level
VOC      Venue Operational Centre

                     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The public order police units of the South African Police Service have
undergone many changes in the last 15 years. Under the apartheid
government, the units started off as the Riot Units, and in 1992 became the
Internal Stability Division. In 1996 the units were reorganised as Public
Order Police Units, and in 2002 they were transformed to become the Area
Crime Combating Units. In 2006 they underwent yet another restructuring,
and they now operate under the name of Crime Combating Units. Each of
these changes has meant different chains of command as well as different
training and deployment structures, which has affected the skills and
capacity of the units. Some of the changes, particularly the most recent one
in which the manpower of the units has been severely reduced at a time
when crowd control incidents are on the increase, have not been to the
benefit of the units or to public order policing.

The task of this monograph is to assess the Crime Combating Units’ capacity
to manage protest marches and the impending 2010 FIFA World Cup. The
research was confined primarily to two Crime Combating Units in Gauteng:
Johannesburg and East Rand. In addition, interviews were conducted with
metro police in Ekurhuleni because the mandate of their newly established
Public Order Unit overlaps to some extent with that of the Crime Combating
Units. Interviews were also conducted with various other organisations
concerned with security for the 2010 FIFA World Cup: the South African
Football Association, the Premier Soccer League, the Private Security
Industry Regulating Authority and the management at Ellis Park Stadium.

The research shows that in its respect for human rights, public order policing
has improved since the advent of democracy in South Africa. However, the
size and distribution of the Crime Combating Units, and the maintenance of
their skills, have been severely eroded. A full consideration of the findings
leads to a strong recommendation that SAPS management reassess the
recent restructuring of the CCUs.

It is recommended that in Gauteng the public order policing structure
should revert back to the more decentralised formation of the seven
x                                           A review of public order policing capacity

previous Area Crime Combating Units (ACCUs). However, given the recent
dissolution of the area policing level to which these former ACCUs were
accountable, the reinstated public order units should be made accountable
to the provincial police office. Thus Gauteng would have seven fully
capacitated Provincial Public Order Policing Units, primarily performing
crowd management and, when required, assisting neighbouring stations in
the combating of crime.

Concerning the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the way the police have coped with
past international events in South Africa suggests that they will be able to
undertake crowd management competently. However it is important to
ensure that the public order/crowd control units are sufficiently resourced.
In addition, the dynamics of soccer crowds internationally present some
unique problems which the units will have to take into account. Given the
media attention, the FIFA World Cup is a likely target for additional protest
marches which will place even more demands on the already over-stretched
Crime Combating Units.

The following challenges and recommendations arise out of the study:

Legislation, policy and regulations

•   The Regulation of Gatherings Act (Act 205 of 1993) governing crowd
    management needs to be updated. While the 14-year-old Act is a most
    useful piece of legislation, practical experience in the management of
    events has shown that there is a need to more clearly define the role
    and responsibility of march organisers and marshals.

•   Crime Combating Units need a new working document providing
    guidance on their new roles. With the dissolution of the area level,
    Standing Order 262 and other policy documents have become
    outdated and have to be revised.

Management and restructuring

•   Decisions from the national level that affect provincial or local level
    police should be discussed with the provincial commissioner’s office
    before being made. Many directives issued at the national level
    supersede the provincial office, thus creating confusion and challenges
    for units, stations and the provincial office. Communication and
    consultation is essential.
Bilkis Omar                                                                     xi

•    The restructuring which diminished the role of the Crime Combating
     Units in September 2006 should be re-assessed. Trends show an
     increase in protest marches and the FIFA World Cup in 2010 is
     looming. The management of the South African Police Service is urged
     to reconsider the restructuring process. Although the area policing level
     has been disbanded, the buildings located in the previous policing unit
     areas could still be utilised; the units could become accountable to the
     provincial office, and be renamed Provincial Public Order Police.

•    The Crime Combating Units are experiencing serious human resource
     shortages. The restructuring has resulted in the units being depleted by
     50 per cent, while continuing to service the same geographical areas.
     The additional travelling now required of members has exacerbated the
     problem. If this issue is not addressed, members could potentially suffer
     severe stress and fatigue.

•    The South African Police Service needs to, as far as possible, refrain
     from using the Crime Combating Units for tasks other than those which
     their specialist skills are intended to serve. In this respect the statistics
     showing the outcome of Operation Trio – a three month national crime
     prevention operation which drew on the units – will be telling. If the
     statistics look favourable for the police, this could spur the South Africa
     Police Service’s management to permanently or at intervals, call on the
     Crime Combating Units to support general policing operations.

•    Members of the CCUs who have been sent to stations to assist in crime
     combating should be returned to the units from which they came. If
     necessary, they can be deployed from their units to assist stations with
     crime prevention operations.

•    It is recommended that the CCUs be returned to the structure used
     under the ACCU arrangement, and be made accountable to the
     provincial office rather than the area office which has been disbanded.


•    While Crime Combating Unit members seem to be well informed about
     the Regulation of Gatherings Act, an in-depth refresher workshop
     spanning at least three days is required, and should be run at least once
     every three years.

•    Some of the outdated terminology that is still occasionally used by the
     members of Crime Combating Units needs to be addressed. ‘Crowd
xii                                           A review of public order policing capacity

      control’ is now referred to as ‘crowd management’, and ‘riots’ are
      referred to as ‘protests’. Unit commanders and trainers should ensure
      that the issue of terminology is addressed in training sessions.

•     Training must be made a priority by unit commanders even if it is at the
      expense of crime combating duties. In-service training had for some
      time been neglected by the units, and since the most recent
      restructuring it has come to a total standstill. This means that members
      are becoming de-skilled. Fortunately, the specialist crowd
      management skills have not been lost because the units are largely
      staffed by police officials with between 10 and 20 years relevant
      experience. Nonetheless the skills base is eroding, and more seriously,
      incoming members are not receiving in-service training.

•     With regard to the use of firearms in crowd control, the police need
      better and more regular training, including when and how it is
      appropriate to use firearms. The same applies to metro police officers,
      some of whom have tended to be over-zealous in their use of firearms.

Role of private security in 2010

•     The training of private security guards has to be made a priority in view
      of their role in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Since this is not the
      responsibility of the SAPS, it could be co-ordinated at ministerial level.

•     The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) has a vital
      role to play if the World Cup is to be a success. Private security
      companies have been tasked with an important role so proper training
      in crowd management and registration of stewards is essential. PSIRA
      must also ensure that security officers wear their registration cards.
                                 CHAPTER 1


This monograph assesses the effectiveness of the SAPS Crime Combating
Units (CCUs) in order to determine the extent to which they are able to
ensure security both at protest marches and for the upcoming 2010
Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup.

By way of background, it begins with a description and explanation of the
legislation regulating gatherings and events, and the powers accorded to
police to manage gatherings. It then moves on to describe the structural and
functional changes made to the units during both the 2001 and the 2006
restructuring processes, examining the effect of these changes on the units,
especially with regard to the specialist crowd management function.

The capacity to perform public order policing is influenced by the
challenges facing the police in relation to the legislation, the type of training
received by units, the ongoing maintenance of the training, the equipment
available, and the fitness, experience and age of members. These matters
are considered in some detail. The capacity challenges of the units in
relation to human resources and logistics, which are well known to police
management, are also discussed.

The main concerns relate to the impact of the changes that have been
imposed on the units by the restructuring of 2006. The monograph
interrogates the ultimate aim of policymakers – what their intention is with
regard to the CCUs and how willing they are to act in order to reduce the
harm caused to these units.

Besides the official public order units, the metro police and the SAPS Visible
Police (VISPOL) division have been given significant responsibilities for
public order management and are receiving appropriate training. The metro
police’s training is necessary because they are often the first to respond to
spontaneous public order incidents. VISPOL’s training in crowd
management aims to assist the Crime Combating Units in maintaining order
2                                           A review of public order policing capacity

at medium to low risk gatherings, as well as during the 2010 FIFA World
Cup. VISPOL’s role in public order is explained and examined.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be one of the biggest international events
ever to take place on South African soil. The security measures put in place
have to take into account the general state of crime in the country, as well
as soccer hooliganism, and the role of private security.


In 2006, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) received permission from the
South African Police Service (SAPS) to undertake a study of the Area Crime
Combating Units in Gauteng1. The ISS considered the study necessary
because of a noticeable increase in service delivery problems at local
government level and also because South Africa is gearing up to host the
FIFA World Cup in 2010.

The purpose of the research was to assess the capacity of the police
service’s Crime Combating Units (CCUs) to manage both protest marches
and security for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It also sought to look at the role
played by the other policing agencies involved in crowd control and the
management of events: the metro police, SAPS Visible Police division, and
private security companies. Funding for the research was obtained from the
Open Society Foundation South Africa (OSF-SA).

At the outset, consultations were held with the SAPS, non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), and academics, in order to refine the methodology.
Interviews were conducted with police members using a semi-structured
questionnaire, on a one-on-one basis.

Since a major focus was the capacity of the units, several of the questions
related to the constraints imposed on the units as a result of the
restructurings in 2001 and 2006. Training, specialised equipment and the
fitness levels of members were also taken into account in determining
capacity challenges. Further questions were asked regarding the
relationship of the units to other role-players such as metro police, VISPOL
members and private security companies.

A time graph of protest marches taking place in South Africa was
constructed to determine if these marches had increased or decreased in
number and frequency. The necessary data was obtained from the SAPS
Bilkis Omar                                                                 3

database and the Incident Registration Information System (IRIS), which
registers violent and peaceful marches, as well as other policing functions.

Interviews at the Johannesburg CCU began in November 2006. In total 49
members of a total of 225 operational members were interviewed. These
included seven managers (Unit Commander to Captain level), 34 platoon
members, and eight support services members including information
officers and trainers. The members, who were chosen according to their
availability, were interviewed one-on-one.

The researcher observed the operation of the Crime Combating Unit
members at gatherings and events, and attended ‘golden triangle’ meetings
with the Johannesburg CCU information officer in order to determine the
content of the meetings and how they were conducted.

In December 2006, formal training of police station members in crowd
management began at a SAPS training centre in Rooiberg. This was a new
SAPS initiative and the Institute for Security Studies was invited to observe
the training. Informal interviews with station members attending the course
were conducted, as well as with five SAPS national trainers who were
conducting the training.

Interviews at the East Rand CCU commenced in early February 2007, with
57 members of a total of 197 operational members being interviewed. Ten
managers, 32 platoon members, and 15 support services personnel,
including information officers and trainers, were interviewed.

The researcher also attended preliminary security meetings for a soccer
event in Germiston, as well as the actual event, to observe the workings of
the Joint Operational Command (JOC). The JOC is a committee of
commanders from the SAPS, metro police, SAPS Visible Police, Disaster
Management, Emergency Services, and other relevant departments, that
oversees the execution of an event on the day of the event.

Interviews at the Pretoria CCU started in late February 2007, but had to be
stopped because the SAPS had just embarked on Operation Trio, a three-
month high-density crime prevention operation. In this operation CCU
members from all units in the country were redeployed to high priority
stations. During this time, the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD)
granted permission to the ISS researcher to conduct research at the
department. Eight officers were interviewed, in addition to the chief
superintendent of training, the director of operations of the southern region,
and the director of training.
4                                          A review of public order policing capacity

Permission to conduct the research at the Johannesburg Metro Police
Department (JMPD) was denied because the JMPD management was in the
process of finalising the structure of their Public Order Unit.

To cover private security companies, the National Manager of Law
Enforcement of the Private Security Industry Regulating Authority (PSIRA)
was interviewed regarding regulation of private security companies, as well
as the mechanisms that were being put in place for the 2010 FIFA World

The National Safety and Security Officer of the South African Football
Association (SAFA), the National Safety Officer of the Premier Soccer
League (PSL), and the General Manager of Operations and Events of Ellis
Park Stadium, were interviewed regarding security for the 2010 FIFA World

Research challenges and shortcomings

The following challenges must be recognised:

•   The fact that the Johannesburg unit had been restructured only a few
    weeks prior to the interviews being conducted meant that some
    interviews were carried out with officers who had only recently joined
    the unit from other areas, including the West Rand and Soweto. These
    members had little experience in their new posts and were
    consequently unable to provide information about the working of the
    Johannesburg CCU. This was also the case in the East Rand unit.
    Members kept alluding to experiences they had had in their previous
    Area Crime Combating Units, with the result that not much detail was
    provided about the recently restructured and renamed Crime
    Combating Unit being studied.

•   The Johannesburg and East Rand interviews had to be conducted early
    in the morning before members went on duty, or sometimes while they
    were on duty. While this did not affect the quality of the interviews, in
    some instances an interview could not be completed because
    members had to attend to their duties.

•   While the focus of the research was on three CCUs in Gauteng
    (Johannesburg, East Rand and Pretoria), interviews were conducted
    only at the Johannesburg and East Rand units because members from
Bilkis Omar                                                                 5

      the Pretoria unit had been deployed to Operation Trio. The interviews
      at the Johannesburg and East Rand CCUs also included some
      interviews with members from four other units (West Rand, Soweto,
      Vaal Rand and North Rand) which were not part of the initial research
      study. This meant that the study actually looked at the issues affecting
      six units as opposed to the originally planned three. The broader focus
      did not compromise the study, because the issues highlighted by
      members from the additional four units (West Rand, Soweto, Vaal Rand
      and North Rand) were similar for all six units. In essence, the
      challenges that were commonplace in the Johannesburg and East Rand
      units were similar to those at the West Rand, Soweto, North Rand, and
      Vaal Rand units.


The public order policing unit or crowd management component of the
police has been renamed several times, with the result that the units have
been known as the: Public Order Unit, Area Crime Combating Unit and
Crime Combating Unit. Although the various names have at times been
used interchangeably, the following table shows which name has been
officially used for different periods.

    Date formed                 Establishment of public order units

    Early 1970s                 Riot Unit
    1992                        Internal Stability Division
    1996                        Public Order Police Unit
    2002                        Area Crime Combating Unit
    2006                        Crime Combating Unit

The term ‘member’ is used to refer to all unit members of the SAPS who
hold the rank of constable, sergeant, and inspector. The term ‘manager’
refers to captains, superintendents and senior superintendents. Metro police
are referred to as ‘officers’.
                               CHAPTER 2


The public order policing units of the South African Police Service (SAPS)
are tasked with managing protest marches and events. They are also tasked
with performing crime combating functions. The units have undergone
considerable changes in the past 15 years. Operating as the notorious
apartheid-era Riot Squads in the 1980s, then as the feared Internal Stability
Division (ISD) in the early 1990s, the units had to be transformed after the
democratic elections in 1994 to conform to international policing
standards. They became the Public Order Police Units (POPU) in 1997 and
their approach became more community-oriented, emphasising ‘crowd
management’ as opposed to ‘crowd control’.

Public order units have a unique organisational structure. At the head of the
unit is the Unit Commander. Next in line are the Operational Commanders
or Company Commanders. As the managers in charge of the operational
planning of the units and they decide, for example, how many members
will perform crowd management in a particular area on a particular day,
and how many will assist in crime combating duties. The Operational
Commanders or Company Commanders also oversee the information office
of the units, whose members are tasked to attend events and ‘golden
triangle’ meetings (meetings between those seeking permission to march
and law enforcement agencies).

The members of the information office, while falling under the ambit of
support services, may also be tasked to perform operational duties. Each
Operational or Company Commander has platoons that fall under his
command. The number of platoons varies from unit to unit. While some
units may have two platoons per command, others may have five. Ideally
each platoon should consist of 36 members, but this number varies from
unit to unit and according to the tasks that members are deployed to
perform. Falling under each platoon are ‘sections’, with approximately
eight to ten members in each section. Once again the number of sections
and the number of members per section varies from unit to unit.
8                                                                  A review of public order policing capacity

Figure 1: Organisational structure of Crime Combating Units (CCUs)

                                                  Unit Commander

             Company Commander                       Company Commander                 Company Commander

       Platoon                  Platoon                    Platoon                  Platoon
     Commander                Commander                  Commander                Commander
        Alpha                    Delta                     Charlie                 Foxtrot 1

 Section 1  Section 2    Section 1    Section 2      Section 1 Section 2  Section 1  Section 2    Information
10 members 9 members    9 members    9 members      9 members 10 members 10 members 9 members        office
                                                                                                  9 members

                                                                                                   3 members

                                                                                                   5 members

In 2002 the SAPS management made a decision to transform the Public
Order Police Units into Area Crime Combating Units (ACCUs). The
decision was based on the decrease in the number of protest marches since
the demise of apartheid. In addition, the Public Finance Management (Act
1 of 1999) was demanding value for money in departments’ budgeting
process; the implication being that the POPUs were not being utilised
effectively. Under the post-2002 name of ACCUs, crime combating became
the primary function of these public order units, while crowd management
was relegated to a secondary function. The ACCUs were decentralised to
the seven area policing levels in Gauteng, reporting to the area

Then in 2006, the ACCUs underwent a further restructuring and were
renamed simply as Crime Combating Units (CCUs) reflecting the fact that
the previous decentralisation of the ACCUs had been reversed. Although
reduced in size in comparison to the ACCUs, and operating from a smaller
number of more centralised locations, the CCUs were still required to
service the same population and overall geographical area. In effect, the
restructuring meant that there were fewer CCU members doing the same
work as the former ACCUs. Of equal importance was that, in terms of the
capacity of the newly formed CCUs, this restructuring had taken place at a
time when the number of crowd control incidents was escalating quite
Bilkis Omar                                                                                                             9

dramatically, due largely to the increasing number of demonstrations and
protest marches.

The Regulation of Gatherings Act

Public gatherings in South Africa are regulated by the Regulation of
Gatherings Act (205 of 1993). The Regulation of Gatherings Act (RGA) was
developed in response to the findings of the Goldstone Commission of
Inquiry which was set up ‘to investigate and expose the background and
reasons for violence, thereby reducing the incidence of violence and
intimidation’ (National Peace Accord 1991). The Goldstone Commission
found that violence and police brutality were widely prevalent at mass
marches and demonstrations in the early 1990s. It recommended that
citizens be accorded the right to participate in peaceful public gatherings,
and that the role of the police in these gatherings be changed.

Figure 2: Procedures of authorisation to gather or demonstrate

                              Written notice to local council or metro police to gather

                                                  Notice to SAPS

                              Meeting between roleplayers (Golden Triangle meeting)
                                                 metro police

              Authorisation of gathering                                       Prohibition of gathering

                                                               Challenging a decision to prevent or impose conditions

The legislative framework considers the role of the police and event
organisers in the planning and execution of mass gatherings, reflecting on
the practical lessons learnt in the 11 years since the Act was passed.

Procedures prior to an event

The Regulation of Gatherings Act requires organisations and associations
intending to hold gatherings to undertake certain procedures before
permission to gather can be granted. These procedures require a meeting,
10                                          A review of public order policing capacity

referred to as a ‘golden triangle’ meeting, between the convenor of the
organisation making the application, the responsible officer (either a metro
police officer or the local council representative responsible for authorising
events), and the authorised member of the SAPS. At the meeting ‘the
manner in which the gathering or demonstration will be carried out is
discussed’ in relation to the planning and logistics of the event (A Guide to
the Regulation of Gatherings Act 2007:6).

To obtain authorisation for a gathering or demonstration, convenors have to
submit a notification form to the responsible officer of the metro police or
to a local council representative. There is a limited period within which this
application may be submitted: it may not be submitted more than seven
days before the planned date of the event, and it must be submitted at least
48 hours before the commencement of the event. Within 24 hours of the
responsible officer receiving the notice, the convenor is notified of a date
that has been set for a meeting with the responsible officer and the
authorised member of the SAPS to discuss the logistical issues of the
gathering or demonstration. The decision to authorise or prohibit a planned
gathering is made according to the outcome of this meeting.

If a gathering takes place without notice being given to the responsible
officer, or when notice has been provided but authorisation to hold the
gathering has been refused, then the gathering is regarded as unlawful. The
court can impose a prison sentence of up to one year, or a fine of up to
R20 000, or both (The Regulation of Gatherings Act 1993:17). The point
regarding the punishment is significant because many unlawful gatherings
take place and the public is in general unaware of the punishment

Planning the event

The golden triangle meeting includes the convenor of the organisation
making an application, the responsible officer (either a metro police officer
or the local council representative responsible for authorising events), and
the authorised member of the SAPS. These meetings play an important role
in creating a cooperative environment between the various parties. The
meetings allow law enforcement agencies to plan adequately for the event,
and they make each party responsible for the behaviour of their members.

In planning for an event (i.e. after authorisation), the SAPS Crime
Combating Unit (CCU) information officer or designated person draws up a
detailed operational plan. This includes:
Bilkis Omar                                                                  11

•     A Joint Operational Command (JOC) list consisting of the SAPS Crime
      Combating Units (CCU), metro police, disaster management,
      emergency services, SAPS Visible Police (VISPOL), a member of SAPS
      legal services, a SAPS media officer, and the convenor of the

•     A situation report on the gathering, which includes the route for the
      march and the key points (point of assembly, start of march, time of
      handing over of memo, and time of dispersal). The number of
      participants, marshals, and the venue for parking buses and taxis is also
      included. Possible threats and factors relating to disruption of traffic,
      blocking of entrances, refusal to disperse, looting, and damage to
      property is also furnished. The situation report also provides
      information on whether counter-participants2 will affect the event. The
      document also has to reflect the number of SAPS CCU members, metro
      police officers and SAPS VISPOL members who will be present.

•     The operational plan states the mission of the SAPS which is ‘to
      establish uncompromising security measures, limit the probability of
      critical incidents occurring, and limit the impact of any critical
      incidents through contingency planning’.

•     The operational concept of the SAPS is also clearly laid out in the
      operational plan: to ensure a safe and secure environment, for VISPOL
      and CCU members to protect the public and property from any dangers
      that may result from the marchers, for members of metro police to
      regulate traffic along the designated routes, for members of SAPS Crime
      Intelligence to gather and collect intelligence regarding threats before,
      during, and after the event, and assist the management of operations to
      confiscate dangerous weapons. All arrests are to be coordinated via the
      operational commander and reported immediately. The operational
      commander is also responsible for tactical decisions regarding the use
      of force, unless force is used in self defence by a member (Van der
      Merwe 2006a).

The operational plan also provides information on procedures on the day of
the event, as follows:

•     Execution or overseeing of the event is done by commanders of metro
      police, SAPS VISPOL and the CCUs. A Joint Operational Command is
      set up on the day of the gathering and each commander briefs his/her
      members prior to the event. The task of metro police is to patrol the
12                                          A review of public order policing capacity

     area, assist with escorting marchers and regulate traffic. VISPOL
     members patrol along the route to prevent crime, and CCU members
     patrol, keep ready, escort, and if necessary, block the participants.

•    Coordinating instructions are instructions designed to follow the
     operational plan, which serve to synchronise all the parties. An
     element of coordination is the provision of situation reports after every
     movement and incident, utilising the same communication channels,
     and radio procedures, coordinating members’ posts, registering the
     incident on the IRIS system, and providing instructions to the media

•    Admin and control instructions pertain to instructions regarding
     equipment, uniforms, arrests, casualties and evacuations, supplies,
     record keeping, command posts and coordinating lines (Van der
     Merwe 2006a).

The role of the police as defined in the Regulation of Gatherings Act

The policing of gatherings and demonstrations has improved considerably
since the introduction of the Regulation of Gatherings Act in 1993 and the
political transition in South Africa in 1994. While ensuring that the police
operate in a manner consistent with the Bill of Rights, the Act does allow
the police to take action if they have reasonable grounds to believe that
people or property will be damaged as a result of a gathering or
demonstration (Regulation of Gatherings Act 205 of 1993 Chapter 3
[subsection 9(2)(a)]).

The Regulation of Gatherings Act 205 of 1993 Chapter 3 (subsection 9(2)
(a)) stipulates that police officers may take the following steps:

•    Ask the crowd to disperse.
•    In a loud voice and in two languages, order the crowd to disperse and
     depart from the place within a specified time.
•    If within the specified time, the crowd has not dispersed, a police
     member may order members under his command to disperse the
     participants and may for that purpose order the use of force, excluding
     the use of weapons likely to cause serious bodily injury or death.
•    The degree of force must not be greater than is necessary for dispersing
     the participant/s, and must be in proportion to the circumstances of the
     case and the object to be attained.
Bilkis Omar                                                                  13

•     If any person participating in the gathering kills or seriously injures or
      attempts to kill or seriously injure any person, or destroys or does
      serious damage to or shows a manifest intention of destroying or doing
      serious damage to, any movable or immovable property, a police
      manager can order members under his command to take the necessary
      steps to prevent the action, and if he finds other methods ineffective or
      inappropriate, order the use of force, including the use of firearms and
      other weapons.
•     The degree of force must not be greater than necessary and be
      proportionate to the circumstances of the case.

Before calling for participants to disperse, ongoing negotiations between
the police and the convenor have to take place. The police are also
required in the interim to determine the level of threat based on available
tactical information in terms of risk, discussions with the convenor, the
history of the organisation, past experiences, aggravating factors, and the
presence of weapons and firearms.

The use of force, as mentioned above, means the use of minimum force, i.e.
the use of shields, tonfas (rubber batons), stun grenades, water cannons, and
shotguns with rubber bullets. Maximum force is only to be used when there
is a threat to the life any person including a police member himself/herself.


The formal crowd management course for police members consists of
Platoon Members Training (PMT), and a formal crowd management course
for commanders called Platoon Commander Training (PCT). The duration of
these courses is two to three weeks, and they have theoretical and practical
components. (See Chapter 6 on key issues affecting the capacity to perform
public order policing for details on the training).

The training course begins with theoretical work on crowd management.
This includes an understanding of Act 205 and definitions and
abbreviations. Other legislation includes the Constitutional Act, Road
Traffic Act, and the relevant SAPS Standing Orders.

The research attempted to determine the extent of Crime Combating Unit
members’ knowledge and practice of the Regulation of Gatherings Act in
the course of their duties. Findings included that every member interviewed
from both the Johannesburg and East Rand units had attended formal crowd
14                                          A review of public order policing capacity

management training courses. In addition, the contents and applicability of
the Act were regularly studied during in-service training sessions. All the
members stated that their units adhered to the requirements of the
Regulation of Gatherings Act in their daily tasks. One manager stated that
‘the use and knowledge of the RGA is a skill and members use it all the


The Regulation of Gatherings Act is an important piece of legislation,
particularly in the light of past human rights violations in the policing of
public gatherings. While not without problems (see Chapter 5 for
challenges facing the police), the Act serves to guide both civil society
organisations and the police in the regulation of marches and
demonstrations. Current procedure and practice ensures that all the
relevant role-players are included, a cooperative relationship is established,
and the outcome is to the satisfaction of all parties. Having said that,
practical experience suggests that the time is right for the Act to be updated
and revised.
                                CHAPTER 3
              SAPS RESTRUCTURING IN 2001

The policing of public order in South Africa has long been surrounded by
controversy. The Riot Control Units, which were established under the
banner of the South African Police (SAP) in the 1970s in response to the
revival of the anti-apartheid resistance movements, remained in place until
1995 when they were merged into the new SAPS. In 1992, the Internal
Stability Division (ISD) was formed for the purpose of ‘policing of unrest
through proactive (preventive) and reactive measures and the prevention of
crime in unrest-plagued areas’ (Meyer 1999). The Internal Stability Division
adopted a paramilitary approach and became notorious for its use of
abusive policing methods. Controversy led to the unit being disbanded in
1995, and its members being re-absorbed into the SAPS.

After 1994, policing in general, but particularly public order policing,
changed dramatically in its approach. In 1996, the Public Order Police
(POP) unit was conceived under new SAPS policy. The focus of the unit was
the ‘management’ of crowds as opposed to the ‘control’ of crowds. This
initial overhaul of the public order units was clearly important to overcome
the problems of the past. However, ongoing debate and internal issues
within the SAPS meant that the policy was only adopted in 2002 into SAPS
Standing Order 262 on Crowd Management during Gatherings and
Demonstrations (Omar 2006:9).

In 2002 the SAPS management decided on another structural change to
the Public Order Police units. What had been the primary focus of the
units – the management of crowds and events – became a secondary
function, while combating and preventing crime became the primary focus.
The units were decentralised to the area level, reporting to the area
commissioner, and were deployed to attend to area priorities on a daily
basis. Renamed as Area Crime Combating Units (ACCUs) these units began
assisting police stations and other units in VIP protection, domestic violence
complaints, stop and search, roadblocks, vehicle check points, patrolling of
malls and streets, monitoring hijack hotspots, and other crime combating
16                                          A review of public order policing capacity

The argument given by the SAPS management for the change was that
public protests had decreased with the demise of apartheid, and the new
Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999 demanded ‘value for money’
budgeting (SAPS Policy 2004:1). The SAPS had also just launched its
National Crime Combating Strategy (NCCS) in 2000 to combat crime in
hotspots and was looking for more resources to ensure the success of the
initiative. The Area Crime Combating Units could help to ensure that this
was possible.

While the broadening of the Area Crime Combating Units’ responsibilities
made financial and operational sense, the concern was that a shift to crime
combating would result in a dilution of the specialised crowd control skills
of these units.

This study set out to determine what impact the change in function had on
the activities and effectiveness of Area Crime Combating Units.

Views on the impact of restructuring

The research results suggest that the change impacted differently on
different units. Members of the Johannesburg ACCU said that the change
was one of name only, because they had in fact always been involved in
crime combating activities such as stop and search, roadblocks, vehicle
check points, and patrolling of malls and streets. The perception of
members of the East Rand unit was different, however. Both unit members
and managers stated that their crime combating activities had increased
with the restructuring. While this increase was noted by the members, it did
not appear to concern them because they did not believe it detracted from
their capacity to perform their original public order duties.

To understand the different perceptions of the two units, some background
is needed. As mentioned earlier, the effect of the restructuring (from Public
Order Police units to Area Crime Combating Units) was to decentralise the
units to the area level (they had formerly reported to the provincial
commander of operational response services at the provincial office). For
the Area Commissioners, the ACCUs represented a large pool of human
resources that could be utilised for crime combating operations.

The increase in the level of crime combating activities noted by the East
Rand unit after the 2001 restructuring can therefore be attributed to a new
trend whereby area commissioners’ utilised ACCU members largely for
Bilkis Omar                                                                 17

crime combating operations. By contrast, for the Johannesburg public order
police, tackling criminal activities had been commonplace before the
creation of the ACCUs in 2002.

It is also interesting that many members of the ACCUs attributed the
restructuring (from POPs to ACCUs) to a change in crowd management
tactics. Members spoke about ‘negotiating with the people instead of being
aggressive’, and the ‘rights of people to march’, and ‘using different types of
equipment’. The changes in the style of crowd management (more
democratic and internationally acceptable) had in fact been introduced in
1997 in a SAPS policy document, but it was only in 2002 that the document
directive was adapted as standing Order 2623, and then introduced to the
members (Omar 2006:9).

The ACCUs’ workload: Frequency of protest marches after 2001

The study also set out to determine if protest marches had increased or
decreased after 2001 in the Johannesburg and East Rand policing areas.
Issues of service delivery and other local government-related problems like
transport were featuring prominently at this time, and trends were
suggesting an increase in protest marches. More protest marches would
have meant that the SAPS management would have had to revisit the roles
and functions of the ACCUs.

A study of the SAPS Incident Registration Information System, Business
Intelligence System (IRIS-BIS), a system that records public events and
marches, confirmed that protest marches between 2002 and 2005 had
increased from 6 757 in 2002 to a high of 10 162 in 2005 – an increase of
50 per cent (Figure 3). This was significant because it meant that the
specialist crowd management capability of the ACCUs was required more
than ever.

Research showed that protest marches in the Johannesburg area had
increased. This was not surprising as protest marches generally tend to take
place in areas where there are offices of both provincial and local
government departments, which facilitates the handing over of petitions to
relevant government officials.

In the East Rand area by comparison, protest marches had not increased
much between 2002 and 2005; in fact many members stated that the rate
had decreased. The East Rand area (including the newly incorporated Vaal
18                                                    A review of public order policing capacity

Figure 3: Total crowd management incidents, 1997–2005


           10,000          9,287
            8,000                                   7,913                        8,559

            6,000      6,190                                6,757



                    1997   1998    1999   2000     2001   2002      2003   2004     2005

Source: SAPS Operational Response Services, Pretoria

and North Rand areas) does not house many government head offices, but
because it has many industries and businesses, disputes do arise, mostly in
the form of strikes and protests at specific times of the year. Wage increases
are generally negotiated between March and June, and a higher occurrence
of protest marches at this time is not unexpected. Other disputes that are
commonplace in the East Rand are taxi strikes and service delivery

Whatever the trends in crowd management incidents in specific areas, the
2002 decision to form the ACCUs was based on a police management
perception that the number and intensity of major demonstrations,
marches, and incidences of labour unrest throughout the whole the country
had decreased since 1994. Apart from a sharp increase in 1998, this was
indeed the case (Figure 3).

After 2002, however, the picture changed dramatically. Data relating to
incidents of violence or unrest at mass gatherings between 2002 and 2005
show a massive increase of 64 per cent over the period (Figure 4). This
change necessitated an assessment of whether the ACCUs, in the light of
the restructuring they had undergone, had managed to retain the ability and
skills to deal with the increase in number of marches, and especially the
increase in the violent nature of the marches, in addition to carrying out
Bilkis Omar                                                                             19

Figure 4: Total violent and peaceful crowd management incidents, 1997–2005







                                1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
           Violent incidents    880 1,185   736   713   632   570   526   562   932
           Peaceful incidents   5,310 8,102 7,971 7,074 7,281 6,187 6,811 7,997 9,230

Source: SAPS Operational Response Services, Pretoria

their intensified crime combating duties. It also raised the question of
whether the crowd management function was being neglected in favour of
crime combating activities.

One of the goals of the ACCUs at this point of the restructuring was ‘to
maintain public order by combating serious and violent crime, policing
public gatherings, rendering specialised operational support to other
units/components/divisions and ensuring effective information
management’ (SAPS Policy 2004:1). The changes from Public Order Police
units to ACCUs saw the Gauteng units decentralised to seven policing
areas. This meant that each ACCU had to focus on a specific policing area
where it would perform both crime combating and crowd management

The demands on the units were further increased because their members
were serving on both provincial and area task teams, as well as assisting
neighbouring policing areas and performing border duties and other special
duties. The number of ACCU police members on duty was further depleted
because some members were also on annual leave or on sick leave.
20                                            A review of public order policing capacity

Given the multiple tasks that the units had to deal with, a shortage in human
resources was not unexpected. Despite this and despite the increase in the
number of marches, members in both the Gauteng and East Rand ACCUs
believed that they managed the operations of marches quite well. Even
when asked to assist other areas, they said they were able to cope.

The research showed that in terms of priority, crowd management was
always seen as the foremost priority for the ACCUs, even when they were
deployed to crime combating operations. Only a few Johannesburg ACCU
members and managers stated that crowd management had been neglected
in favour of crime prevention and other area-level priorities.

However, despite their statements that they were able to manage the
operations of marches, respondents indicated that juggling dual functions
was not an easy task. While officially ACCU members were meant to be
specialists in crowd management, the members of the Gauteng and East
Rand units said they were ‘stretched to such a limit that sometimes a platoon
was left with five members for the day’. The following statements from other
ACCU members indicate similar perceptions regarding the diminished
crowd management capacity of the units:

     ’The demand from area level was high’
     ’Stations became dependent on the ACCUs’
     ’Obtaining crime statistics was more important for station
     ’While crowd management was not neglected, logistically the
     units struggled’
     ’The shortage of members or vehicles could not be an excuse in
     terms of the Regulation of Gatherings Act. When a march was
     scheduled to take place, the police had to ensure that it took

Impact on specialist crowd management skills

While the crowd management function of the ACCUs seemed to have been
administered well despite the units’ dual function, the research sought to
establish whether members were losing their specialist crowd management
skills because of their other tasks. Specialist skills can be lost if training is
not maintained, equipment is not upgraded, and if the members do not
work together regularly.
Bilkis Omar                                                                    21

Most Johannesburg and East Rand members agreed that their units had not
lost their specialist skills. Almost all of the East Rand managers attributed
this to the maintenance of in-service training. East Rand members and
managers further stated that they had retained their skills because crowd
management was (and had always been) a priority. Some Johannesburg
ACCU members did, however, state that their unit had become deskilled
because in-service training had not been done regularly.

Views on ACCUs’ impact on crime

Asked about their success rate in dealing with crime since the 2002
restructuring, the East Rand managers responded with very positive
assessments: ‘East Rand was leading, especially over the weekends’.
However the managers felt that they did not get credit for the successes.
Some said that they were ‘number one’ in crime prevention in Gauteng.
One manager stated that if they were deployed to an area for a long enough
period then the successes were better, but this was not sustainable because
they had other duties.

The Johannesburg managers similarly believed that their success could be
measured by the decrease in crime in the area, but the impact of the
ACCUs on crime control was often not known. Ascribing credit was
complicated, since the crime control operations were carried out
jointly with station level police members. This meant that the police
stations that took the credit because they had cells in which to lock up
those who had been arrested. The ACCUs did however keep records
of arrests that their own members had made, and the head of the
operational response services at the provincial office was aware of their

Unfortunately, the successes of the ACCUs in crime combating could not
be measured against the crime statistics of the individual stations.
However the weekly operational statistics for the Johannesburg unit are
available for the period 28 June to 10 October 2006 (Table 1).

While the statistics cannot prove the ‘success’ of the Johannesburg unit,
they provide sufficient information to illustrate the extent of crime
combating undertaken by the ACCU. Furthermore, the provincial head of
operational response services confirmed that the ACCUs have been
beneficial to the stations (Schutte 23 July 2007). Similar statistics for the East
Rand ACCU were not available.
22                                             A review of public order policing capacity

Table 1: Operational crime successes for the Johannesburg ACCU

        2006           Arrests      Vehicle    Firearm       Ammun-         Stations
                                    seizures   seizures        ition        assisted4
 28 June – 4 July        26            5          5             38              6
 5 July – 11 July        10            2          4            107             18
 12 July – 18 July        2            3          0              0             14
 19 July – 25 July        4            5          2             55             11
 26 July – 1 Aug         20            4          1             10             16
 2 Aug – 8 Aug            7            0          0             58              4
 9 Aug – 15 Aug           3            2          1              1              3
 16 Aug – 22 Aug       No stats    No stats    No stats      No stats       No stats
 23 Aug – 29 Aug          2            5          0             20              7
 30 Aug – 5 Sept         12            3          1              1              9
 6 Sept – 12 Sept         6            7          3              5              5
 12 Sept – 19 Sept        9            5          2             15              5
 20 Sept – 26 Sept       11            7          4             33              8
 27 Sept – 3 Oct       No stats    No stats    No stats      No stats       No stats
 4 Oct – 10 Oct          10            8          1              0          No stats

Source: Johannesburg Crime Combating Unit


The decision to prioritise and increase the crime combating functions of the
ACCUs could be said to have been beneficial, given the fact that there were
more police to combat crime, and marches were showing a downward
trend in the late 1990s. After 2002, however, protest marches and violent
protest marches increased steadily with the result that ACCU members’
workload, in terms of both crime combating and crowd management,

The effects of the change from Public Order Police units to ACCUs in 2001
was summed up well by one member, who said:
Bilkis Omar                                                                23

      It was a name change only…people thought that the function had
      changed; the primary function did not change. It may have
      changed for the [policies] of the national department, but not for
      the ground members. The units became accountable to the area
      level, and stations would fight for ACCU members to increase
      their statistics.

From the interviews it appears that the crowd management function was not
neglected in favour of crime combating and that it remained a priority for
the units. ACCU members did not believe that they had become deskilled
to the extent that they did not know how to perform their crowd
management functions.

However it is clear that, given the increased incidence of crowd
management events subsequent to the 2002 restructuring, crime combating
would necessarily have been relegated to a secondary role.
                                CHAPTER 4
              SAPS RESTRUCTURING IN 2006

Background to the restructuring

In mid-2006 the SAPS announced5 a restructuring of the way in which the
whole organisation would be managed. The changes were intended to
address a duplication of functions, weak command and control, and poor
service delivery at police station level. The restructuring meant that the area
level of SAPS management – which was viewed as an unnecessary level of
authority – was eliminated. This meant that SAPS management would now
operate at national, provincial and station level in line with the requirement
of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996:119). The overall
intention of the changes was to improve service delivery to the public.

Specialised units affected were the Family Violence, Child Protection and
Sexual Offences Unit (FCS), the Serious and Violent Crimes Unit (SVC), and
the Area Crime Combating Units (ACCUs). It was proposed that these
specialist units should be decentralised to police stations.

In Gauteng the restructuring was implemented in late September 2006. The
Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units and the Serious
and Violent Crimes units were decentralised to stations. The Area Crime
Combating Units, after much deliberation, were not fully disbanded but
were reduced from seven to three units.

Before this restructuring, when the area level management of the ACCUs
was still in existence, the Gauteng ACCU had had 1 383 operational
members within its seven units (see Figures 5 and 6). After the restructuring,
and the dissolution of the area level management structures, the ACCUs
were renamed Crime Combating Units (CCU). The three Gauteng units that
remained comprised only 614 crowd management members. The remaining
769 members of the disbanded ACCUs were redeployed to police stations
to perform ordinary crime combating activities as station members.

The three new Crime Combating Units that exist currently in Gauteng are
located in Johannesburg, East Rand and Pretoria. The Soweto and West Rand
ACCUs were incorporated into the Johannesburg CCU (based in Diepkloof,
26                                                            A review of public order policing capacity

Figure 5: The seven Gauteng Area Crime Combating Units before the 2006

Figure 6: Organogram of the seven Gauteng Area Crime Combating Units before
the 2006 restructuring

                                       Gauteng Policing Areas
                                              7 areas
                                        122 Police Stations
                                 1 383 Operational ACCU members

     Vaal Rand     North Rand    East Rand     Johannesburg      Soweto       West Rand      Pretoria
     12 stations   15 stations   24 stations      Central       11 stations   11 stations   28 stations
                                                21 stations

       ACCU          ACCU          ACCU           ACCU            ACCU          ACCU          ACCU
        190           150           230            179                                         550
     operational   operational   operational    operational                                 operational
      members       members       members        members                                     members
Bilkis Omar                                                                 27

Johannesburg) with 225 operational members. The East Rand CCU
(consisting of Vaal Rand and North Rand and based in Nufield) has 197
operational members. The Pretoria CCU (based in Rosslyn) has 202
operational members (Schutte 2006).

The new arrangement means that the three Gauteng CCUs service the same
geographical areas previously serviced by seven Area Crime Combating
Units – but with far fewer operational members. The Johannesburg unit,
which previously serviced a single policing ‘area’ with 197 operational
members, is now servicing three such ‘areas’ with approximately 225
operational members. Johannesburg CCU members living in the West Rand
area travel from as far as Krugersdorp to the Diepkloof base to report for
duty, a distance of 30 km. In the East Rand, the situation is similar: some
members travel from Vereeniging to Springs, a 103 km trip. And while the
Pretoria CCU does not cover a greater geographical area within Gauteng
province, parts of the North West province (Garankuwa, Mabopane, Loate,
Dube, and Themba) have been incorporated into the Pretoria unit’s

Figure 7: The three Gauteng Crime Combating Units after the 2006 restructuring
28                                                A review of public order policing capacity

Figure 8: Organogram of the three Gauteng Crime Combating Units after the
2006 restructuring

                               Gauteng Policing Zones
                                   131 Stations

                                 Gauteng CCU Bases
                               614 operational members

                                                                      Pretoria CCU Unit
       East Rand CCU Unit      Johannesburg CCU Unit                        Rosslyn
             Nufield                  Diepkloof                    202 operational members
     197 operational members   225 operational members           (including five stations from
                                                                   the North West Province)

     Vaal Rand    North Rand    Soweto      West Rand

Implementation of the restructuring

By September 2006 the restructuring of the Johannesburg CCU was
underway. The unit managers were uncertain of the details of the
restructuring and could only confirm to members that a restructuring was in
progress. The changes were not popular amongst the members, who felt
that they had not been adequately consulted or informed about the process,
and that it was too drastic. To exacerbate matters, rumours were circulating
that units were to be closed down or scaled down, and that members above
the age of 35 years were to be redeployed to stations. This resulted in
members feeling insecure and uncertain about their futures

Confirmation of the restructuring from SAPS head office came in the form
of a list that was distributed to ACCUs in September 2006 giving the names
of who was to be transferred. Letters were issued to individual members that
confirmed their new posts at particular stations and units. The transfer was
referred to as a ‘service arrangement’. In police management terminology,
a service arrangement is a temporary movement of a member from a
currently held position to another position, for any period of time. It is
defined as a temporary measure and can therefore be rescinded at any time.
Correspondence from the SAPS, dated 12 April 2007, to all heads of
divisions informed them that they should finalise all interim service
arrangements so that the restructuring process could continue.

Rumours had circulated that an evaluation of the restructuring would take
place after six months. Some understood this to mean that the restructuring
Bilkis Omar                                                                 29

would be re-assessed and a decision about whether the original ACCUs
would be re-formed and members reinstated to their former positions would
then be made. In our interviews, senior managers of the SAPS refuted this
claim. However, at a Safety and Security Sector Bargaining Council (SSSBC)
meeting the SAPS management explained that they were ‘evaluating the
achievements of strengthening the police station process’ (SSSBC 2007: 8).
While it appears that this is a reference to the process that was implemented
in September 2006, this is not a certainty. It may be that the six-month
evaluation was intended to mollify members because of discontent about
the restructuring. Be that as it may, the changes, and the rumours that
accompanied them, have resulted in a great deal of uncertainty for
members whose daily lives were affected by the transfers.

Impact of the restructuring

The restructuring of the ACCUs to a smaller number of CCUs proved to be
damaging for the SAPS. One reason for this was that the planning process
lacked transparency, and was not consultative. In addition, the
implementation phase was too sudden and was viewed as being imposed
on members. Issues such as logistics, resources, financial costs, travel and
transport, relocation, teamwork, personal circumstances, and members’
wellbeing appear not to have been taken into account either when the
changes were proposed or when they were implemented. These flaws are
featuring prominently in the aftermath of the restructuring.

Extensive commuting

As mentioned already, many of the present CCU members must now
commute substantial distances on a daily basis. In one example, a member
of the Johannesburg CCU who lives in Krugersdorp must report for duty
approximately 30 km away at the Johannesburg base, where he attends a
parade, is assigned a duty for the day, and books out his firearms. If the duty
is a crowd management event in Khutsong, he has to travel back to the West
Rand (30 km) to carry out his function. If he is being transported in a Nyala
(an armoured police vehicle) the trip takes almost twice as long as for a
standard police vehicle – and this is assuming that the Nyala is in working
condition (see Chapter 6 on equipment). After the day’s work is complete,
this unit member must once again report back to the Johannesburg CCU
base to book in his firearms and attend a debriefing and parade. He must
then return home to Krugersdorp (30 km). In essence, the member will have
30                                          A review of public order policing capacity

travelled approximately 120 km on that particular day and spent
approximately three hours travelling (including travelling in peak hour
traffic in the morning and evening and collecting three to four other
members from the area who travel with him to the base). The problem is
just as bad in the East Rand unit with members having to travel 103 km per
trip from Vereeniging to Springs.

Logistically the arrangement, as illustrated in the example above, is costly,
inefficient, time consuming, and demanding on the individuals involved.
While some concessions have been made to alleviate these problems, the
consequence has been that some members of the unit do not participate in
debriefings with their platoon commanders at the end of each day, and at
times they do not check in their firearms, which are meant to be locked in
safes at their respective units. These are matters of concern.

Crowd management capacity diminished

Of equal concern is the reduced number of CCU members who remain
available for crowd control activities. As noted in the previous chapter,
mass gatherings increased by 50 per cent between 2002 and 2005; and the
number of mass gatherings at which there are incidents of violence
increased by 64 per cent in the same period. These changes in themselves
represent an increased demand on the units; yet the three units are now
expected to service an increased geographical area with fewer members to
do the job. As a result, the management of events has become a major
challenge for the CCUs. In-service training is also being neglected due to
the manpower shortages and the workload.

Specialist teamwork affected

The restructuring process, in transferring members to other units and
stations, has destroyed the spirit of teamwork that is vital for a specialist
unit. The expert capacity of the individual members remaining in the units,
and of those who were redeployed, is now scattered and there is no central
gathering point for members. As one trainer commented: ‘Units are
effective because of in-service training and the core spirit of togetherness.
Now that the togetherness is gone, the pride and joy is taken away’ (CCU
trainer 2007).

One member stated that under the previous structure he had been well
accustomed to his work partner, but was now unsure of whom to trust.
Bilkis Omar                                                                31

Under the ACCUs, members with extensive crime combating training and
experience had established networks of police informers within their
respective areas. This vital component has also been lost with the
restructuring. While the training and specialist skills of the ACCU members
will enhance capacity at police stations, a member commented: ‘The fear
is that the former ACCU members who have been redeployed to stations
will have to take over work that should be done by station members who
have a propensity to become lazy’, and will as a result, lose their specialist

Impact on well-being, morale and productivity

The effect of the restructuring on the well-being of members is perhaps the
greatest concern of all. A few were positive about the move, with comments
such as: ‘It had to happen; the situation needed people’, or ‘it’s good
because stations are strengthened’. In general, however, almost all of the
members are harbouring ill feelings towards the SAPS management. This is
mainly because of how the implementation was done.

Questions have been raised about the criteria that were used to select
members, the lack of proper consultation and transparency, and the
financial implications for members in relation to transport and travelling
times. Productivity has dropped, morale has been lowered and family life
has been affected. Many members stated that they were considering leaving
the SAPS for other jobs. Some members retained at CCUs have said that
they would prefer to be transferred to stations closer to their homes. Some
members regard the transfers as some sort of punishment by their superiors.
The following comments are revealing:

      ‘Morale among members is very low’
      ‘Members cried like babies when they realised they were sent
      ‘The uncertainty was difficult to deal with’
      ‘The process was not thought out’
      ‘Managers who are making decisions don’t know what operations
      ‘Those sent away feel that they are bad’
      ‘Good members were sent away’
      ‘Experience has been lost’
32                                          A review of public order policing capacity

One manager stated that he looked like a fool to his members because he
was not in a position to provide them with information about the

Members of the disbanded ACCUs who were dissatisfied with the new
arrangement were told that they had to take up the new posts, and could
then follow this up with a grievance letter to the provincial office. Thus far
all grievances have met with the same response: a standard letter indicating
that the position cannot be reversed.

Despite the negativity surrounding the restructuring, by February 2007, five
months after implementation, the members of the restructured CCUs
seemed to have settled down and accepted the status quo. As one CCU
member stated: ‘I was apprehensive of the new place, but I have settled
down now. I like the job, it is challenging’.

While the members of the CCUs are coming to terms with the changes, the
fact remains that the restructuring has come at a huge cost to all members
– those who were absorbed into station level policing; those who were
retained under the new CCUs; and even to SAPS management. It remains
to be seen whether the increase in the number of police members at station
level and their ability to combat crime will show that the restructuring
achieved its purpose.

Operation Trio: another restructuring?

Despite the turmoil created by the 2006 restructuring, more changes were
to come. In February 2007, President Mbeki in his State of the Nation
address spoke about ‘a sustained drive to improve community safety’, and
said that ‘government will ensure that the decisions already taken about
strengthening our fight against crime are effectively implemented’.

In response, SAPS management embarked on an intensive crime prevention
operation dealing with the most problematic types of crime.

To succeed in this initiative, the SAPS had to rely on the CCUs. During the
three-month period designated for the operation, which started in late
February 2007, almost all CCU operational members had to report to
priority police stations within their areas. Named ‘Operation Trio’, the
primary objective was to reduce three categories of serious violent crime:
residential robberies, business robberies and vehicle hijackings. A small
Bilkis Omar                                                                  33

number of CCU operational staff, also deployed to stations, would be called
up as reserves for the purposes of crowd management.

The result was that Gauteng’s three CCUs were left with only their unit
commanders and support staff to deal with any crowd management
incidents that cropped up while Operation Trio was taking place. Any
remaining operational members who had not been deployed to stations
were either on detached duties6, sick leave, or rest days.

In late February 2007, when interviews were conducted with members of
the CCU in Pretoria, it was found that members of the unit’s support staff
had been deployed to manage crowd management incidents in
Shoshanguve. These support staff members did have some previous
operational experience, but in recent years they had been involved only in
support service and logistics. They therefore had little recent experience in
managing crowds and had not received in-service training. They had not
been given the danger allowance that operational members are entitled to,
and their families would not have been able to access pensions in the event
of their death while involved in an operation. They should therefore not
have been deployed for crowd control operations, as their lack of
experience presented a risk both to themselves and the participants in the

With the number of public service strikes peaking in May/June 2007, the
CCUs were re-mobilised to attend to crowd management events. Operation
Trio came to an end after this and the CCU members were returned to their
respective units. The outcome of the operation, in terms of the successes at
the different stations, is not known; suffice to say that the Gauteng MEC for
Community Safety noted that ‘Operation Trio assisted the police to
significantly improve their ability to target the perpetrators of violent and
organised crime. This operation was successful as arrest rates for these
crimes increased significantly over the first six months of this year’ (Cachalia

Whether intentional or not, the latest arrangement of utilising CCU
members at station level for crime operations appears to have been the
original plan envisioned for the former ACCUs by the architects of the
restructuring. Initially, when the decision was made to dissolve the area
level offices, the plan was to close down all seven ACCU units and deploy
all 1 383 operational members to the 25 accounting stations7 around the
province. Under this arrangement, each accounting station would have had
55 ACCU members. Crime prevention support to stations would thus have
34                                            A review of public order policing capacity

been increased, the crowd management capacity would have been closer
to station level, and there would still have been capacity for borderline
operations8 and assisting detectives with dangerous criminals.

Operation Trio displayed all the elements of the initial SAPS plan.
According to the MEC of Gauteng Community Safety, Operation Trio has
been a success in terms of crime control. Given the success, SAPS
management could well be tempted to make the situation permanent. For
the CCUs this will be a travesty, because crowd management incidents are
at an all time high and rising steadily, and the specialist capacity of the units
needs to be maintained. Currently in-service training is being neglected to
the extent that across the country, 75 per cent of units are not doing any in-
service training (Day 2007a).

Impact of Operation Trio on public order policing

The research findings suggest that CCU members should not be expected to
provide additional help to stations for crime combating operations. In
addition, the CCUs need to maintain their skills with continuous in-service
training. Since the implementation of the restructuring, the units have been
performing crowd management operations with minimal capacity in
addition to performing crime combating duties. Whereas once entire
platoons were used to manage a gathering, the current situation sees
subsidiary groups called ‘sections’ being utilised.

It is noteworthy that despite the fact that 719 CCU members, in addition to
members from the Serious and Violent Crimes (SVC) units and Family
Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) unit have been
permanently deployed to stations, the need still remains to use additional
CCU members for crime combating activities.

A description of the organisational structure of the CCUs will give a more
concrete idea of the extent to which the capacity of these units has been
stretched (Figure 9).

A Crime Combating Unit is headed by a Unit Commander. Some units have
Company Commanders, while others have Operational Commanders.
These commanders are in charge of the units’ operational planning. Below
them are approximately two to five Platoon Commanders, who are in
charge of approximately two to four sections each. Each section consists of
approximately eight to ten members. The number of platoons and sections
varies according to the different units.
Bilkis Omar                                                                                                35

Figure 9: Organisational structure of Gauteng’s Crime Combating Units

                                                   Unit Commander

              Company Commander                       Company Commander              Company Commander

        Platoon                  Platoon                    Platoon               Platoon
      Commander                Commander                  Commander             Commander
         Alpha                    Delta                     Charlie              Foxtrot 1

  Section 1  Section 2    Section 1    Section 2      Section 1 Section 2  Section 1  Section 2   Information
 10 members 9 members    9 members    9 members      9 members 10 members 10 members 9 members       office
                                                                                                  9 members

                                                                                                  3 members

                                                                                                  5 members

To give an example, in order to manage a gathering of 2 000 participants,
under current circumstances a CCU will deploy one section consisting of
around ten operational members. In the past, a whole platoon consisting of
36 members would have been deployed for a gathering of the same size.
This gives an indication of the minimal capacity that is now being used by
the units to manage marches.

In relation to Operation Trio there were both benefits and shortcomings.
The general public would have benefited in terms of the extra capacity
devoted to crime control. Visible policing would have been stepped up,
stations would have gained extra capacity, crime operations would have
been enhanced, and response times would have been better. Overall, the
extra capacity would have contributed to improving station statistics and
enhancing the credibility of the police force.

The negative impact of Operation Trio is that only some stations and areas
would have benefited from the new arrangement. At the same time it is
probable that criminal activity would have been displaced9 away from the
stations that received extra capacity towards those that did not. The CCU
members seconded to Operation Trio would have had to adapt to a new
environment; in-service training would have been neglected for the
duration that the members were deployed to stations; and mobilising
members for any sporadic public order incident would have been difficult
because the CCU members were scattered across the province.
36                                          A review of public order policing capacity

The most serious concern, however, is that station commissioners could
become dependent on CCU members for crime control. While for some
this may appear to be a positive development, especially if the statistics
show that crime is decreasing in the station areas, the ongoing dependence
on the CCUs could result in stations utilising the units ever more frequently
for crime combating operations. This is something the SAPS should guard
against. The CCUs should not be called upon whenever it suits the police
to provide crime combating assistance to police operations; as it stands the
CCUs, since the 2006 restructuring, are already expected to respond to
crowd management events with substantially depleted capacity. The
primary function of CCUs is still the management of crowds and this must
be retained.

Whether SAPS operations such as Operation Trio are sustainable is difficult
to predict. The CCU members should not be utilised for another Operation
Trio – protests marches are occurring more frequently than ever and the
2010 FIFA World Cup is imminent. While there have been no major
incidents at public gatherings thus far, and the CCUs seem to be coping,
these units have not been tested to their full capacity. The test will arise
when a spontaneous incident of violence occurs in a crowd situation.

In the short term the restructuring of the ACCUs to CCUs is not working.
What the long term plans of the SAPS are in relation to the CCUs only time
will tell. There is a concern amongst members that these specialist units will
eventually be closed down or relocated to stations. The comment of one
member that ‘the restructuring is one of the biggest mistakes ever made by
the SAPS management’, encapsulates what many members are thinking.


•    In future when the SAPS requires extra capacity to undertake crime
     combating operations along the lines of Operation Trio, an alternative
     to using the CCUs must be found, for example, the utilisation of the
     National Intervention Unit.

•    The former Area Crime Combating Units were much better placed to
     provide crime combating assistance to the police. They functioned
     within smaller more localised geographical areas with more
     manpower, which meant they had the capacity and expertise to both
     manage public gatherings and provide crime combating support to
     stations. If the ACCUs were to be reinstated along the lines of the pre-
Bilkis Omar                                                                37

      2006 arrangement, the issue of the dissolution of the area level
      command would not be of prime concern, since the reinstated ACCUs
      could be made accountable to the provincial office as Provincial
      Public Order Units.

•     It is evident that the restructuring of the ACCUs to the present CCUs
      was not a good idea from the perspective of crowd control. While one
      can understand that the intention was to strengthen capacity at police
      stations in order to bring down the crime levels, it is recommended that
      an assessment of the SAPS initiative be done to determine whether the
      outcome has been favourable overall.
                                CHAPTER 5

The capacity of any unit in this context depends on an adequate level of skills
and the availability of appropriate equipment. In addition, the legislative
framework governing Crime Combating Units (CCUs) – the Regulation of
Gatherings Act (205 of 1993) – provides a cooperative environment between
all the parties, allows the law enforcement agencies to plan adequately for
events, and makes all the parties responsible for their organisation’s
members. However, the Act also presents a number of practical and logistical
challenges to both the police and those who wish to organise events. By
focusing on these challenges, this chapter considers whether the police have
the capacity to adequately perform public order policing.

Challenges presented by the Regulation of Gatherings Act

Unrealistically short notice period

The period during which organisers of gatherings or demonstrations must
both apply for permission to hold an event and receive a response, is
unrealistically short. This is especially the case for large gatherings, which
may include as many as 5 000 participants, and which need extensive
planning prior to the event.
As mentioned earlier in this monograph, the applicant may not apply for
permission sooner than seven days before the event is due to take place, or
later than 48 hours before the event. Effectively this means there is only a
five-day window during which an application must be submitted and a
response received; it also means that the outcome of the application can only
be known shortly before the event is due to take place, creating considerable
uncertainty for the event planners. Consideration should therefore be given
to a 14-day notice period.

Appropriate representatives for golden triangle meetings

The person who is sent by the organisers to the meeting needs to have an
overview of the planned event and a mandate to make decisions on behalf
the organisation or organisations planning the event. Ideally this person
40                                           A review of public order policing capacity

should have been involved in drafting the application. Sending an
insufficiently informed person who does not have decision making powers
can mean that the golden triangle meeting may have to be rescheduled and
the permission may be delayed.

Sufficient marshals for the gathering

Marshals are expected ‘to control the participants in the gathering, and to
take the necessary steps to ensure that the gathering at all times proceeds
peacefully’ (Regulation of Gatherings Act 1993:12). Marshals are vital to
ensure a peaceful event. They reduce the need for large numbers of police
officers, and because they are there to assist and direct the crowd, they
reduce the potential for antagonism between the police and participants.
This frees the police to concentrate on criminal activities within the vicinity
of the event and gather crime intelligence.

The Regulation of Gatherings Act does not stipulate the ratio of marshals to
participants. Current practice (at least in Johannesburg) is that marshals
should make up 10 per cent of the total number of participants. There is a
need to specify the ratio in the legislation.

Regulations needed in relation to petitions

If the purpose of a gathering is to hand a petition to a government official,
convenors of gatherings and demonstrations are required to notify the
relevant person of their wish to hand over a petition on a particular day.
This notification should take place before the golden triangle meeting.
However, the Act does not stipulate that the convenors of the event have to
receive an acknowledgement of receipt of the petition, or a prior agreement
that the petition will be received on the designated day.

Since nobody can be legally compelled to accept a petition, the marchers
may become angry and antagonistic when no designated person is present
to receive the petition. The legislation must seek to address this problem of
receiving the petition to avoid antagonism of the marchers (Van der Merwe

Clarifying who is liable for damages

If damages occur, the convenors of all the organisations involved can be
held accountable. Organisations making applications to participate in
Bilkis Omar                                                                 41

marches often do not include particulars of other organisations intending to
participate with the result that liability for damages becomes contentious.

According to Chapter 4, subsections 11-16 of the Regulation of Gatherings
Act 205 of 1993, if any riot damage occurs as a result of a gathering, every
organisation under the auspices of the gathering, or its convenor, shall be
jointly and severally liable for that riot damage. Convenors of gatherings
have to sign indemnity forms protecting the authorities, and they need to
realise the extent of their responsibility because they are ultimately liable
for all participants.

Accurate minutes of meetings needed

The record keeping systems of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department
(JMPD) and social movements regarding golden triangle meetings are
deficient. A report compiled by the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI)
found that ‘the records received from the JMPD were…not comprehensive,
largely because of the deficiencies in the JMPD’s own record-keeping
systems’. Similarly, the ‘actual records kept by these [social] movements
were seriously lacking’ (Anon nd:5). There is a need for all parties to be
required by law to keep detailed records of golden triangle meetings that
take place before a gathering so that disputes that arise can be settled later.

Despite these challenges, the Regulation of Gatherings Act, in stipulating
that meetings take place between the police, local authorities and
organisers of public gatherings, ensures that such gatherings are better
planned and co-ordinated.

Human resources

When this research commenced in early 2006, the restructuring that would
change the ACCUs into the CCUs which was due to happen later in the
year had not yet been implemented, so the existing Area Crime Combating
Units were still operating as before under the authority of the SAPS area

The ACCUs in Gauteng had 1 383 operational members distributed through
seven units in the province. Each unit was based in one of the seven
Gauteng policing areas, and performed both crowd management and crime
combating functions. While crime combating duties consumed much of the
42                                          A review of public order policing capacity

units’ time, crowd management was a key function, especially as there was
an increase in mass gatherings. The Johannesburg Central (Diepkloof)
ACCU consisted of approximately 179 operational members and 21
stations, and the East Rand (Springs) unit consisted of approximately 230
operational members and 24 stations. Despite the increase in workload, the
unit members were still coping with their daily tasks.

Members in these two ACCUs (Johannesburg and East Rand) said that
although staff numbers were low they were able to cope with the workload,
which included dealing effectively with protest gatherings and
demonstrations. In 2006, with the sporadic protests in Khutsong10, which
are still ongoing, and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union
(SATAWU) wage strike, it became clear that the units were short of staff, but
the problem was overcome by drawing in additional staff from other units.

ACCU members also stated during interviews that they were able to cope
effectively with the management of sporting and other events. However,
despite this positive assessment they believed that increasing the number of
staff in the units would make their job easier as they were short-staffed and
needed the assistance of members from other units.

In October 2006, the restructuring of the SAPS had just been implemented
at the Johannesburg Central unit. At this stage, the SAPS area offices had
already been closed down, over half the ACCU members had been
redeployed to police station, and the seven original ACCU units had been
collapsed into three units which, as described earlier, had been renamed as
Crime Combating Units. There were 614 specialised crowd management
members remaining in the three Crime Combating Units in Gauteng. The
Johannesburg unit, based in Diepkloof, and incorporating the former West
Rand and Soweto ACCUs, had a total of 225 operational members, while
the East Rand unit, based in Springs, incorporated the former Vaal Rand and
North Rand ACCUs and consisted of 197 operational members.

As mentioned in the previous chapter, for some crowd control situations,
members of the CCUs are now working in ‘sections’ as opposed to the
larger platoons. Thus if a unit is deployed to control a gathering of 2 000
people, the ratio of CCU members to participants is 10 to 2 000, as opposed
to the 38 to 2 000 ratio which was the case under the ACCUs when an
entire platoon would be deployed for a crowd of the same size.

The CCU members interviewed expressed the concern that a large
spontaneous crowd control incident could lead to a fatality; some said that
Bilkis Omar                                                               43

a tragic event would make the national department realise that the
restructuring of the CCUs was a mistake. As author Piet Pieters (2007:2) put
it: ‘When discussing police capacity there is one vital question to keep in
mind: are we capable of managing a long-term crisis situation of national
scope, without hampering basic police service?’


On joining a crowd management unit, a member is obliged to attend a
three-week formal training course. The course consists of Platoon Members
Training (PMT – previously known as ‘POP Entry Level’) and Platoon
Commander Training (PCT), which is a course for commanders, i.e. captain
and higher. The more advanced operational courses include First Line
Operational Manager (FLOM) courses 1,2 and 3, and Operational
Commanders Training (OCT). These courses are held at the SAPS training
centres at Verdrag, Jakkaldans, Maleeuskop, Grobelaarsdaal, Thabazimbi,
Grootvlei, and Rooiberg.

The courses last two to three weeks, and consist of both theoretical and
practical work. They cover a rigorous programme that includes physical
training, classroom work, and practical simulations of the theoretical work.
Shooting practice also forms part of the crowd management training.

As crime combating is also part of the CCU members’ functions, they
periodically attend courses that are provided on an ongoing basis. These
range from street survival to house penetration and weapons handling.

Thus far all members of the Johannesburg and East Rand CCUs have been
trained in the relevant crowd management skills. Many have also attended
updating courses.

In-service training

      Achieving change is difficult, but maintaining change and
      empowering employees to use new techniques or skills is
      impossible without a mechanism for continual reinforcement.
      Formal in-service training provides a way to maintain momentum
      and to build new skills (Sloan et al nd).

According to a SAPS document (SAPS 2004:8), ‘Training policy, standards,
and the presentation of national coordinated training [is] the responsibility
44                                           A review of public order policing capacity

of the Operational Response Service: training and development section at
national level. Decentralised in-service training [is] the responsibility of the
Operational Response Services (ORS) training coordinator at provincial

The document11 stipulates that every unit must have dedicated trainers
responsible for coordination of all in-service training at unit level. Trainers
must allocate to each operational member a file listing all training needs
and training received, and this must be updated and maintained by the
trainer. In addition the document states that ‘the level of in-service training
must be maintained by ensuring that there are an adequate number of well
trained instructors to ensure the same standard of training is received by all
ACCU members’ (SAPS 2004:8).

Prior to the 2006 restructuring, the Johannesburg and East Rand ACCUs had
four and nine trainers respectively. After the restructuring, some of the
training capacity was lost to stations and other training components for
crime combating and the training of reservists for support roles at crime

The ‘establishment document’ does not specify how many in-service
training sessions members should attend each month. This is a noteworthy
omission as the number of courses attended provides an opportunity to
measure and assess staff.

A SAPS circular (SAPS 1997:2) exists that stipulates that in-service training
be done ‘at least one day per month, for each member of a platoon’.
Whether outdated or not, this appears to be the only document prescribing
the amount of in-service training, and the frequency seems reasonable
enough. Trainers interviewed concurred with this requirement and advised
the following:

•    Shooting – one session a month for half a day
•    Crowd management – one session a month for one day including
     practical work.
•    Tactical – one session a month for one day including practical work

Judging from the responses to interview questions, in-service training in the
Johannesburg CCU was not a main priority, either before the restructuring
or after. For the East Rand unit, in-service training had been undertaken as
often as possible before the restructuring, but after the restructuring it
slackened slightly. The reason for the decline was not because in-service
Bilkis Omar                                                                45

training was no longer seen as important or necessary for members, trainers,
and managers, but because the training had diminished in importance
relative to all the other tasks that members had to attend to. In other words,
in-service training has become less of a priority because the CCUs are

The mandate of the CCUs is both crowd management and crime
combating, but the shortage of manpower and resources, the increase in the
number of marches, the utilisation of members in the various task teams and
for special duties, the deployment of members to stations as part of SAPS
crime prevention operations (like Operation Trio), and the great distances
that some members now have to travel to get to work, have all taken their
toll on in-service training.

Whether carried out or not, reporting on in-service training is done via the
SAPS reporting chain. Trainers submit reports on members’ performance to
the unit commander. This is then directed to the provincial head of the
Operational Response Services (ORS), and then submitted to the National
Division of Operational Response Services. If issues need addressing, the
divisional commissioner of Operational Response Services must appoint
officers to address the concerns.

Evaluations of in-service training at units are carried out by the Specialised
Skills Development component of the ORS division. Their officers visit the
units, perform an audit of members’ training files, submit a report to the
component head, and then submit a report to the divisional commissioner.

In 2006 an evaluation of in-service training was conducted at all the units
in Gauteng (SAPS 2006). It was found that in-service training was being
conducted in the East Rand unit, but that the Johannesburg unit, despite
having planned a programme, was not doing training because they had so
many crowd management events to attend to. Both units were found to
have good record-keeping systems. The report (SAPS 2006) for the province
recommended that:

•     All trainers undergo refresher courses pertaining to training
•     Unit commanders should deploy members in such a way that this does
      not compromise their training
•     A workshop be held to address training administration, record-keeping
      and standardising of the filing system
•     Platoon and company commanders also be compelled to attend in-
      service training
46                                          A review of public order policing capacity

The outcome of these recommendations is unknown. Currently the ORS
division has no mandate to carry out any of its functions because it is
awaiting finalisation of its own organisational structure in terms of the 2006
restructuring of the SAPS. It is hoped that the recommendations are taken
up once the formalities are sorted out.

Additional training

Most CCU members indicated that they would like more training in crowd
management and crime combating. With regard to the latter they wanted
courses in tracking, house penetration, reaction, drug identification, and
shooting. Many members said that they needed more regular shooting
training and noted that the level of skills was poor – even some of the older
members could not use 9mm pistols, shotguns or R5 rifles.

Fitness and age of members

Another concern raised during the research was the poor fitness level of
members. There is currently no mandatory physical training even and it is
essential that a specialist unit maintains its standards by ensuring that
members do regular physical training. Some individuals seem to be
unwilling to train, although it was evident that other members were doing
physical training on their own initiative and at their own expense.

During interviews many CCU members mentioned that they would like to
do physical training at the units. A Johannesburg member stated, ‘In 1996/7
I used to train in the mornings. This stopped because of the workload and
the change of instructor. There is no concentration on physical fitness at the
unit; it increases one’s lifespan and de-stresses a person’. A directive has
now been sent from the provincial office for units to begin fitness training.

Another concern is the age of members. At the time of restructuring a
rumour was circulating that those above the age of 35 years were to be re-
deployed to stations. Managers who were questioned were unsure about
the source of this rumour. However, interviews revealed that many
members (even the younger ones) felt that age was not a factor and that
experience and fitness were more important. Members did, however, feel
that the units should employ younger recruits who could be mentored by
the older members. Trainers said that they preferred working with younger
members because ‘they offer a better service and are less prone to injuries’.
Bilkis Omar                                                                  47

Currently, the Johannesburg metro police, in their drive to recruit officers for
2010, have indicated that applicants must ‘bring along running shoes, track
suits…’ to be tested for physical fitness (Minnaar 2007: 1).

Equipment for public order policing

Members of the CCUs have to adhere to the Regulation of Gatherings Act
in the management of gatherings and demonstrations. One implication of
this is that they have to ensure that ‘minimum’ force is used. This is
accomplished by the use of specialised equipment and weapons that
minimise the risk of injury or death. The objective is to ensure that violence
is prevented or kept at a minimum.

According to SAPS Standing Order 262 (p9), the following are prohibited or
restricted during crowd management operations:

•     The use of 37mm stoppers is prohibited
•     The use of firearms and sharp ammunition, including birdshot and
      buckshot is prohibited
•     The use of rubber bullets and shotgun batons is restricted – these may
      only be used to disperse a crowd in extreme circumstances, if less
      forceful methods prove to be ineffectual or restricted

South African Police Service members use the following equipment for
public order policing:

•     Helmets
•     Shields
•     Tonfa (rubber batons)
•     Body armour
•     Pepper spray
•     Stun grenades
•     Gas masks
•     12-gauge shotguns
•     Baton or rubber rounds
•     Vehicles
•     Nyalas (police armoured vehicle which seats 10 members)
•     Water cannons

Full body armour in South Africa includes helmets, shields, and bulletproof
vests. Police in other countries ‘use body armour…to protect vulnerable
48                                          A review of public order policing capacity

parts not usually protected by standard military body armour; they include
knee, shin, forearm, groin, thigh, and shoulder guards’ (Riot Control

Helmets with visors are used to protect members’ eyes from liquids and
other objects. Helmets with grids offer less protection, and they can be
gripped and used to forcibly shake the wearer. Both the visor and grid
helmets are currently used by CCU members, although the general
preference amongst members and trainers is for the helmets with visors. The
drawback of the helmets with visors is that they are ineffective if not
maintained. A new design of helmet has been procured by the SAPS, which
according to a trainer, includes a knob that is harmful to the wearer’s head.

Shields offer frontal body protection, however the shin area and below is
protected only if the member is in a crouching position. Shields are also
used as psychological tools to intimidate demonstrators, by repeatedly
beating on them with tonfas. Members and trainers have said that the
shields they use are rough at the edges and tend to cause lacerations to the

Members have also criticised the poor quality of boots issued and have
stated a preference for the Magnum or Black Hawk Rebel boots. Trainers
interviewed agreed with this point.

The armoured vehicles (Nyalas) at both units are in a poor mechanical
condition. The tyres are unsuitable and dangerous according to a trainer,
and all the Nyalas in the units require full mechanical servicing. Managers
of the units as well as more senior managers at national level have also
agreed with this assessment.

Interviews at the Johannesburg unit in 2006 ascertained that the vehicles at
the unit were old, with high mileages, and that they were constantly
breaking down. At the East Rand unit in 2007, it was found that the old
vehicles at all units had been replaced with new 4x4 vehicles and bakkies.12
However, despite the replacement of the old vehicles, these units,
according to management, are still facing a shortage of vehicles.

Besides the above shortcomings, both the East Rand and Johannesburg units
currently have sufficient public order equipment, i.e. helmets, shields, and
tonfas. Subsequent to our interviews, we learned that new Nyalas and other
equipment such as water cannons have been requisitioned for all CCUs in
preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup (Schutte 2007).
Bilkis Omar                                                               49

Other equipment

Among the equipment that has proven to be effective internationally while
inflicting minimal injury are dyes added into water cannons, net-guns, and
foam. However, some equipment deemed to be non-lethal can be fatal. In
Boston USA, police killed a woman with a pepper ball gun at a baseball
game that turned riotous. Apparently police did have ‘alternative crowd
control measures that they could have used’ (Olsen 2004). The lesson here
is that caution must be used in procuring new equipment and the requisite
training must be undertaken.

The best equipment can be ineffective if not maintained. While there are no
actual figures available for equipment that is damaged and requires
replacing, this was highlighted during the research as an issue needing
attention by CCU managers and trainers.

The general impression among CCU members regarding crowd control
equipment is that the minimal, most essential, and most economical
equipment has been issued. Thus far this seems to suffice.


During the research, the following recommendations were made with
regard to improving the capacity to perform public order policing:

Policy and legislation

•     As noted above, the challenges resulting from the Regulation of
      Gatherings Act suggest that the 14-year old legislation should be
      amended to reflect the experience gathered and the practice that has
      since emerged.

In-service training

•     In-service training is vital for ensuring a consistent improvement in
      service level for the units. Lack of in-service training weakens the
      specialist capacity of the CCUs, and can even result in fatalities if
      members are not able to react appropriately in dire circumstances. This
      problem could be overcome through the allocation of dedicated funds
50                                           A review of public order policing capacity

     for CCU training in the provincial budget, as this would force
     managers to utilise the money, and ensure that training is done.

•    When officers from the Specialised Skills Development component at
     Operational Response Services undertake evaluations of in-service
     training at crowd management units, the audits should reflect the
     frequency of training.

•    After receiving reports on the in-service training, the ORS divisional
     commissioner should appoint officers to address the concerns. This
     does not seem to have been done, as in-service training has been
     neglected for quite some time. It may be that other divisions are
     prioritising tasks that run parallel to in-service training schedules, for
     example, crime combating operations. If so, the divisional
     commissioner should address this.

•    The SAPS training is facilitated at two SAPS national divisions: the
     Training division and the Operational Response Services division. A
     delineation of the tasks at the divisions is required to prevent
     duplication of functions and a clash of interests. While the ultimate
     responsibility for ensuring that there is in-service training for the units
     lies with the provincial head of the Operational Response Services and
     the provincial commissioner, many directives have over the years been
     issued from national divisions that have impacted on the units’
     functioning, particularly those related to the 2001 and 2006
     restructurings. The matter is a national issue and needs to be addressed
     at a more strategic level than at the provincial offices or the unit level.
     Instead of simply imposing more changes, the provincial and national
     offices should actively engage in talks amongst themselves before
     agreement on any further changes is reached.


•    The SAPS should consider investing in additional equipment such as
     knee, shin, forearm, groin, thigh, and shoulder guards, to offer greater
     protection for members.

•    When procuring new equipment for members, the SAPS procurement
     and training divisions should have the equipment tested before issuing
     it to members. This testing should be standard procedure for the
     training division. A system to test equipment must be put in place.
Bilkis Omar                                                                 51

•     While the development of quality standards for equipment is advised
      so that defective equipment can be replaced, maintenance of
      equipment by members is also essential.

•     If the nature and intensity of gatherings increases, the SAPS will have
      to consider more appropriate equipment than is currently being utilised
      by members.

Physical fitness

•     At recruitment stage members have to be informed that physical fitness
      assessments will be conducted and that fitness will be a priority for the
      job, even to the extent that members’ employment contracts stipulate
      this after they exit from training college.

•     One method of getting members to do physical training is to increase
      shifts by one hour and to insist that members do at least one hour’s
      training daily. A system of rewarding members or providing members
      who have achieved weight loss goals with incentives should be

•     Annual performance appraisals should be conducted on fitness,
      training and performance. Once a member performs poorly, he or she
      could be de-merited and re-deployed to an administrative function.
                                CHAPTER 6

The case of the Ekuruhleni Metro Police Department


The Ekuruhleni Metro Police Department (EMPD), established in February
2002, is divided into three regions (northern, eastern and southern). Each
region is in turn made up of ten precincts. The department has a staff
component of 457 serving a population of 2.4 million people, giving a ratio
of one police officer to every 5 252 people (Newham 2006:2).

The department’s mandate includes securing municipal property, municipal
bylaw enforcement, traffic law enforcement, and crime prevention. The
mandate does not extend to conducting criminal investigations or detaining
suspects – these functions are the responsibility of the SAPS. The crime
prevention component consists of the following specialised service units:
Freeway Unit, K9 Unit, Intervention Unit, CLU-Information Gathering,
Equestrian Unit, Oliver Tambo International Airport, and Public Order
Policing Unit.

To qualify to be an officer in the metro police department, applicants must
have a matriculation certificate and a driver’s licence. Officers undergo a
six-month training programme in traffic law and crime prevention. With the
inclusion of the SAPS training qualification that is being planned, the
training curriculum will be extended to one year (Naidoo 2007).

Establishment of EMPD’s public order unit

Metro police officers (mainly those responsible for traffic policing) are very
often the first to encounter crowd management incidents, including those
that have the potential to turn violent (Ally 2006a). As first respondents,
EMPD officers were often not aware of crowd management procedures, and
at times did not follow correct procedures. Because of this, a directive to
train metro police officers in crowd management was issued by the National
Commissioner of the SAPS in 2005.
54                                            A review of public order policing capacity

In January 2006, the Public Order Police (POP) unit of the Ekuruhleni Metro
Police Department was established, consisting of 38 committed EMPD
officers (Abbot 2007). The activities of these officers are governed by the
Regulation of Gatherings Act 205, as well as the SAPS Act 68 of 1995
(Amendment 64 of 2000).

Given the recent establishment of such public order units within metro
police departments, and the potentially prominent role that metro officers
play in crowd management, it was decided that the ISS research project
should also briefly review their functioning. A questionnaire, similar to the
one used for the CCUs, was developed. Questions regarding officers’
compliance and adherence to the Regulation of Gatherings Act (RGA) were
asked. Responses from officers illustrated that the officers did understand
the RGA:
     ‘Public order policing is about meeting the objectives of Act 205
     regarding the rights of people’
     ‘Democracy gives people rights, they are frustrated with service
     delivery issues, and SA is hosting the 2010 world cup, to monitor
     and manage gatherings within the framework’
     ‘To protect public and property in case of public violence, not
     harass people when on strike’
     ‘We adhere to the law even if the march is unlawful because
     marchers have the right to strike’

Asked whether they believed their training was sufficient to enable them to
do their job, the EMPD officers noted that more training on the Regulation
of Gatherings Act and joint training with the SAPS was necessary. One
officer said that they needed revision courses on the provisions of the Act
because, due to overwork, they had received no in-service training on the

Challenges related to training
The initiative to train the metro officers began in 2005 with eight EMPD
trainers being trained by the SAPS in crowd management (Abbot 2007). The
EMPD training division currently has eight qualified trainers. Four
concentrate on tactical training, and the other four focus on ‘soft’ skills, i.e.
theory, accidents, and notices. The training division is responsible for
training of in-service trainers, new recruits at colleges, crowd management
training, special weapons and tactics (SWAT), law enforcement, traffic
enforcement, and shooting.
Bilkis Omar                                                                   55

Thus far, approximately 65 EMPD officers have been trained in crowd
management. These officers have also completed the Platoon Members
Training (PMT) course of the SAPS, which includes theory and practical

Such specialist capability has to be maintained to be effective, which means
regular in-service training as well as working together as a unit. It appears
that this is taking place: ‘The EMPD POP unit does not have a fixed
in-service training schedule, but in-service training does take place every
two weeks’ (Naidoo 2007). Responses from officers about the in-service
training schedule and its frequency could not, however, confirm this. Some
officers stated that they did in-service training twice a month, while a few
stated that it happened every two months. One officer said that there was
no in-service training at all, and that they only did ‘demonstrations for

These findings suggest that in-service training is not a priority for the POP
unit. This was confirmed by one of the trainers who said, ‘On paper,
training is scheduled for every Wednesday…the officers are very motivated,
but there is no time for training because the needs in the field take
precedence’ (Abbot 2007).

Metro precinct officers (i.e. those that are not part of the POP unit) are also
being provided with crowd management training by the EMPD trainers,
even though there is already a fully committed POP platoon. The rationale
is that all metro officers should be able to deal with any type of situation,
especially one that has the potential to turn violent, whether this amounts
to an angry crowd demanding justice for a criminal act, or spontaneous
strike action. Metro precinct officers are usually first on the scene and
therefore require the appropriate training.

Precinct officers have at times proved to be overly zealous in controlling
crowds. An EMPD public order officer said:

      Precinct officers who are not trained in crowd management and
      who arrive at the incident first, panic and shoot, and the crowds
      become uncontrollable. They don’t act within the framework of
      crowd management.

The training of metro precinct officers is therefore well timed and
appropriate, even if only to ensure that restraint is practised. It is vital that
in-service training also be maintained to supplement the formal training.
56                                           A review of public order policing capacity

A pressing issue that emerged from this study is the absence of a mechanism
or process to enable the SAPS to assess the training of metro officers. The
SAPS national training division responsible for the initial training of metro
officers does not perform quality assurance on its training. Reports on
officers’ training are submitted by the trainers to the director of training, as
well as to the three regional directors of the EMPD policing areas. But there
are no unit standards and no principles for maintaining the training of the
EMPDs (Naidoo 2007).

EMPD relationship with the CCUs

The absence of a training assessment mechanism noted above points to
more serious issues – the compliance or non-compliance of metro officers
with procedures for crowd management, and the resultant impact on their
relationship with the specialist Crowd Control Unit (CCU) members.

Most EMPD officers regarded their relationship with CCUs as ‘good’, and
confirmed that ‘the CCUs know and comply with the requirements of the
RGA’. However some EMPD officers said that CCU members were ‘too
soft’, ‘lenient’, ‘have fear of marchers’, and that ‘they use different steps to
calm the crowd’, or ‘they don’t give instructions to use force’.

Interviews with CCU members provided a different perspective. They
described their relationship with metro officers as generally ‘not good’.
They maintained that metro officers did not always comply with the
Regulations of Gatherings Act and the procedures it stipulates. Some of the
violations referred to were as follows:

     ‘They don’t negotiate with the crowds’
     ‘They use maximum force’
     ‘They are quick to shoot at the crowds’
     ‘They use live ammunition’
     ‘They are trigger-happy’
     ‘They don’t respect the marchers’ rights to march and are not
     tolerant of marchers’
     ‘They need re-training’

With respect to their relationship with the CCUs, concerns were that: ‘their
commands are unlike those used by CCUs’, and that ‘they don’t respect the
fact that CCUs are in overall command at a scene’. These perceptions
Bilkis Omar                                                                    57

suggest that whatever training the EMPD officers have received has not
been sufficient. The problem has been exacerbated by the at times
provocative and disrespectful behaviour of EMPD officers as stated above.

Not all CCU members said that their relationship with ‘metro officers’ was
poor, although these positive views were not expressed in relation to the
EMPD. The Vaal Rand CCU was incorporated into the Springs unit as part
of the SAPS restructuring in 2006. The Vaal region does not have a metro
police department, but instead has a Traffic Department. Former Vaal Rand
CCU members’ regarded their experience with the Vaal traffic police as

In general, the CCU members’ opinions of EMPD’s capacity for public order
policing gives cause for concern. There is no escaping the impression that
EMPD officers have at times been remiss in applying the law when
performing crowd management duties. When questioned, the officers
appeared to know the procedure to follow in operations. They said that they
first analyse the situation and then negotiate with the crowds. If the situation
worsens, they give the crowd a warning and ask them to disperse. If the
crowd becomes violent they use tonfas, and if the crowd throws stones,
they use shields to block. If the crowd becomes uncontrollable, officers said
they would fire rubber bullets, aimed to ricochet at a 45-degree angle.
Officers did mention that they had had to fire bullets in many instances.
They also said that they would only fire live rounds if their lives were in

These responses indicate that EMPD public order members are aware of the
law and of their role in crowd management. Further questioning of the POP
officers elicited responses to the effect that it is not the public order officers
of the EMPD who are in violation of the RGA, but rather the precinct
officers who have been over zealous.

Command and control challenges

When metro police officers and SAPS members do have to work together,
it is vital to ensure a clear line of command. According to the powers and
authority vested in SAPS officials through legislation such as the SAPS Act
and the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, the police must have overall
command in all criminal cases (Day 2007a). This includes crowd
management, when police actions may result in a criminal charge or some
form of civil liability (Day 2007a).
58                                          A review of public order policing capacity

While most metro officers accepted that SAPS CCUs are in overall
command at an incident, it was disturbing to note that according to one
metro inspector: ‘CCUs are in charge unless it’s a junior officer, then the
metro senior officer is in charge. If the Chief [of the EMPD] is at an event,
he takes overall command, even over SAPS’. Misunderstandings of this sort
during an incident can cause confusion, and a wrong command can be

According to the SAPS Act, crowd management is not the function of metro
police: their functions are limited to traffic regulation, by-law enforcement
and crime prevention. There is thus no legal mandate for the metro police
to undertake crowd control unless they are assisting the SAPS CCUs (Day
2007a). In any case, metro officers have not been trained as First Line
Operational Managers (FLOM) or in Operational Commanders Training
(OCT) (Day 2007a). As a consequence, metro officers cannot assume
operational responsibility in a situation that requires the controlling of
crowds. They do not have a legal mandate to act alone or to assume
command at a mass gathering. Yet despite this clear legal imperative, there
appears to be confusion in the EMPD with regard to what to do if the SAPS
officer holds a junior rank to the most senior EMPD officer present.

Capacity and equipment constraints


Metro officers indicated that the number of trained crowd management
officers in the EMPD is not sufficient for the size of the Ekurhuleni area
which consists of nine municipalities amalgamated into one. One member
estimated that the southern region alone consists of a population of one
million people. With the current number of POP officers this would amount
to only ten to 11 POP officers per region. Other reasons given for the need
for more members were the upcoming national elections, political
problems in the area, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The fitness levels of officers seems to vary. Some officers said they do
physical training a few times a week during work hours, while others said
there is no physical training.

The age of officers is also a capacity issue. Many officers said that 40 years
should be the cut-off age for POP officers. They stated that older officers
should be used for negotiations and to groom younger officers. On the other
Bilkis Omar                                                                59

hand, some officers indicated that the older officers were experienced and
fit despite their age.


Metro public order officers use specialised equipment such as shields,
helmets, tonfas, pepper spray, stun grenades and shin guards to carry out
their functions. The leg or shin guards are additional items that regular SAPS
members do not have. Metro POP officers are not equipped with
bulletproof vests, although measurements for these have been taken in the
past. One officer stated that ‘you have to hope and pray that you don’t get

The EMPD has three Nyalas, but these are old and in need of frequent
servicing. Other vehicles include a water cannon and ordinary vans that
can carry two to three members per vehicle. Officers have stated that they
need trailers in which to store equipment to prevent scratching of helmets
and shields.

Metro officers are issued with a 9mm pistol as a personal sidearm. They are
also issued with 12-guage shotguns or pump guns and 12-gauge Strykers
with six and 12 round magazine capacity for crowd control purposes. The
ammunition provided for the 12-gauge firearms are the blue baton rounds
for outdoor shooting and the peach baton rounds for indoor use.

Other challenges

An issue that emerged during the research relates to concerns about the
additional fees paid to metro departments for services rendered at events.
When a sporting or musical event is hosted and metro police officers are
required to provide traffic services, the event organisers are required to pay
the metro departments directly. There are different views about this
requirement. One argument in favour of payment is the exorbitant cost to
local councils of maintaining the metro police departments. Others contend
that metro police, like the SAPS, should be regarded as essential services
and should not be paid the additional fees.

The role of SAPS Visible Police in crowd management

SAPS Visible Police (VISPOL) are based at police stations and tasked with
crime prevention duties. Their role in crowd management events is to
60                                         A review of public order policing capacity

prevent crime and gather intelligence by patrolling the area, speaking with
police informers, and ensuring the safety of both participants and non-

Since 2006, VISPOL members have received training in crowd
management in order to prepare them for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and to
provide assistance to CCU members. Station members will now be tasked
to manage level one and two marches and gatherings, i.e. medium to low
risk marches (Ally 2006b). VISPOL members will also, once training is
completed, be equipped with crowd management gear and will undergo
maintenance training every three months (Ally 2006b).

The performance of VISPOL members in gatherings thus far has not been
very positive. While many East Rand and Johannesburg CCU members said
that VISPOL members had assisted them at gatherings, just as many CCU
members said that VISPOL members had left the scene when the CCU
arrived, and had not even carried out their crime prevention functions.
CCU members further stated that VISPOL members lacked discipline, and
were envious of the CCUs’ status as a specialist component.

The EMPD members’ relationship with VISPOL members was similar. While
some EMPD officers said the relationship was good, others stated that there
was professional jealousy because metro officers also performed crime
prevention functions. They also said that VISPOL members expected them
to concentrate only on traffic law enforcement.

CCU members also stated that VISPOL members did not know the
procedures for crowd management. This is understandable given that
VISPOL members were not, until recently, trained in crowd management.
In this regard, the new initiative to train VISPOL members in crowd
management is laudable. It will, however, be important to monitor how this
function fits into the priorities of station commissioners; crime prevention
operations and the containment of crime are sure to take preference.

Conclusion and recommendations

The establishment of public order units within metro police departments is
sensible and beneficial. Not only do these officers supplement SAPS CCUs,
but they also acquire vital knowledge and skills that allow them to respond
appropriately to situations. The challenge lies in the establishment and
maintenance of a cooperative working relationship between metro police
Bilkis Omar                                                                   61

and the SAPS CCUs. While the Policing Co-ordinating Committees, the
National Forum for Municipal Police Services, and joint crime combating
operations involving the SAPS and the metro police have ‘resulted in
generally improved relationships’ (Newham 2006:4), responses elicited
from this research show that the relationship needs to be carefully fostered.

The views of EMPD officers about the CCUs’ approach to managing public
gatherings is worrying. CCU members have shed a long history of brutality
and repression in public order policing. Changing organisational attitudes
was a great challenge that took several years and required much training.
These changes have borne fruit in the way in which the CCU members
conduct themselves at gatherings and demonstrations. Their more
restrained and professional behaviour should not be interpreted as a sign of
weakness or cowardice.

With regard to the role of SAPS visible police members, it is not clear
whether the training of VISPOL members in crowd management will be a
sustainable activity. If in-service training is not undertaken, the initiative is
sure to fail. Maintaining in-service training once every three months, even
for a full week each time, does not seem adequate, given that crowd
management is a newly acquired skill.

The following recommendations have been drawn from the research:

•     The metro police’s responsibility for crime prevention should be
      clarified. It is a wide and undefined term that leads to various
      interpretations and allows metro police to read functions into it (such
      as public order policing) that are not supported by other legislation.

•     The confusion among EMPD officers regarding which police officers
      assume command over a mass gathering should be addressed in
      training. The ill-feelings that CCU members have for metro police
      officers stem mainly from the fact that the metro officers do not always
      adhere to command and control procedures. The development of
      standards is also therefore essential.

•     The over-zealousness of EMPD precinct officers at crowd management
      incidents must be addressed urgently at management level as well as
      in training. In this regard, a recent meeting between the SAPS
      provincial head of operational response services, the heads of the
      CCUs and EMPDs to resolve the issue, is to be welcomed. The signing
      of a memorandum of understanding or a similar working document
62                                        A review of public order policing capacity

     between the EMPD and SAPS may help to ensure regulation of issues
     and challenges.

•    The absence of a mechanism to assess the training of metro police in
     crowd control is a matter of concern and should be taken up by both
     SAPS and the EMPD. In a related issue, EMPD management should
     ensure that schedules for in-service training are adhered to, and the
     SAPS training division should follow up on this.

•    The lack of bulletproof vests for EMPD POP officers is of concern and
     ought to be addressed.

•    SAPS VISPOL members need more regular refresher courses on crowd
     control to improve their performance and working relationship with
     CCU members. The SAPS Training Division at national level should
     ensure that regular assessments are done to ensure compliance.
                                CHAPTER 7
                WORLD CUP

The South African Police Service has a good track record for providing
security at major international events. According to the deputy national
Commissioner, Andre Pruis, ‘The security blueprint employed at the World
Summit on Sustainable Development is being employed at all United
Nations events’ (The Star 28 June 2006). The SAPS demonstrated its ability
to provide security at the Rugby World Cup in 1995, the World Summit on
Sustainable Development in 2002, and the Cricket World Cup in 2003. The
2010 FIFA World Cup will be the country’s most important test.

Given the undeniably high levels of violent crime in the country and in
particular the recent increases in armed robbery and murder (Burger 2007),
the SAPS and government in general face a major challenge in both allaying
negative perceptions around the FIFA World Cup, and ensuring the safety of
those visiting the country in 2010.

The SAPS will need a comprehensive strategy to cope with the expected
increase in crime during the World Cup, while simultaneously attending to
already high levels of crime, and the management of other public events.
Considering that the World Cup is an opportunity for organisations to gain
international publicity for various political purposes, the number of public
demonstrations is likely to increase during the event.

In addition to the high crime rate, the police will also have to deal with the
phenomenon of soccer hooliganism. According to the Minister of Finance,
Jabu Moleketi, ‘The SAPS is working together with the International Police
(Interpol) to ensure that hooliganism will not ruin the soccer spectacular.
The names of hooligans are recorded on a database and these people will
be prevented from entering South Africa’ (Moleketi 2007).

Internationally, the existence of the ‘database’ has become contentious
because the process of determining who is a hooligan and who is not may
infringe on civil liberties and human rights:

    The high turnover of ‘personnel’ in the hooligan firms (groups)
    hampers work to compile profiles on suspects, some members will
64                                           A review of public order policing capacity

     only attend a few high-profile games over a number of seasons
     and others will ‘retire’. At the other end of the scale the [United
     Kingdom] Home Office expressed concern about a ‘new
     generation’ of young hooligans that are as yet unknown to
     them…and there is substantial evidence that innocent fans have
     consistently fallen foul of mass arrests and deportations,
     particularly in Euro 2000, where only one of the 965 arrested was
     even charged with an offence (Stott & Pearson nd:6).

Football hooliganism, whether spontaneous or socially organised, almost
invariably culminates in violence. The victims may be players, soccer
officials, fans or the police; the location may be stadiums, bars, clubs,
shopping centres, or even different countries. According to Spaaij (nd:1)
‘trans-national dissimilarities complicate the conceptualisation of football
hooliganism’. The SAPS will require the assistance and advice of a range of
foreign agencies experienced in dealing with this complex phenomenon.

In preparation for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the German police
introduced regulations banning hooligans from entering stadiums. Some
7 000 of the world’s 10 000 identified soccer hooligans were ranked as
‘most dangerous’ (Tshehla 2006:5). Those banned from stadiums were
informed personally about the restriction and had to present themselves for
registration at police stations twice a day for the duration of the World Cup
so that their movements could be monitored and they could not leave their
home cities (Tshehla 2006:10). Unfortunately, while these regulations could
be enforced in Germany, they could not be applied to other European
Union (EU) countries (Tshehla 2006:5).

The SAPS will have to explore other dynamics associated with the
phenomenon of soccer hooliganism, including police behaviour. Spaaij
(nd:2) contends that ‘even if self declared hooligans are committed to the
use of violence, their behaviour is more often triggered by more
spontaneous elements, for instance aggressive policing or an unfortunate
match result’. In addition, ‘the important issue to arise from…different but
related bodies of research is that public order police tactics, fan/police
interactions and crowd dynamics appear to play a very important role in
determining the levels of "disorder" that occur in the context of international
football tournaments’ (Stott & Pearson nd).

This means that the SAPS will have to be especially aware of crowd–police
dynamics when dealing with soccer fans. The CCU members are well
placed to deal with this, given the training and reorganisation they have
Bilkis Omar                                                                  65

undergone since 1994. However, the behaviour of other policing agencies
like metro police, private security and SAPS VISPOL has to be refined if they
are to address these factors. Stott and Pearson (nd), in addition to other
international researchers, have suggested that:

      ‘low profile’ information-led policing (where officers interact with
      soccer fans in a friendly manner, on the basis on fans’ actual
      behaviour rather than their reputation), is the most effective at
      minimising major incidents of ‘disorder’ among ‘high risk’ fans.

Internationally, there is agreement about the potential success of several
measures in curbing soccer hooliganism. According to Spaaij (nd:3) these
are: the segregation of ‘home’ and ‘away’ fans, fencing, closed circuit
television (CCTV), conversion to all-seater stadiums, identity card schemes,
and intelligence gathering. It should be noted that hooliganism is not
confined to sports stadiums, so policing of the problem needs to be
extended to other venues.

A number of studies deal specifically with crowd management of hooligans.
Special training is essential, and it would be valuable if CCU trainers and
officers were sent abroad to learn more about dealing with the problem.
This would be beneficial considering that Spaaij (nd:1) states that although
international structures and concerted responses are required, prevention
strategies should ultimately be based on local practices and designed to fit
local needs.

Structures governing 2010 security in SA

Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is the world body
governing international football. The South African Football Association
(SAFA) is the governing body of local soccer. The Premier Soccer League
(PSL), consisting of the soccer clubs in the country, is affiliated to SAFA
which is in turn affiliated to the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF),
the body governing African football on the continent, and CAF is affiliated
to FIFA.

FIFA safety guidelines prescribe safety measures that match organisers,
associations and clubs must take to prevent spectator riots and to ensure
safety and order within the confines and vicinity of stadiums for the World
Cup (FIFA 2004:5). When South Africa was awarded the hosting of the 2010
event, plans had to be put in place to ensure that all FIFA requirements
66                                         A review of public order policing capacity

would be met. Apart from infrastructure development, security was the
most pressing issue.

From the SAPS side, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence
Structure (NATJOINTS) Priority Committee was formed to deal with
security. The committee falls under the auspices of the National JOINTS
Committee, which reports to the Justice Crime Prevention and Security
(JCPS) Cluster and/or the National Security Council Director Generals
Committee, which falls under the National Security Council at ministerial

The NATJOINTS Priority Committee faces a mammoth task and has to
prove to the world that South Africa can manage the World Cup. Standards
for safety and security had to be put in place by all those involved: the
SAPS, South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the Department of
Foreign Affairs (DFA), the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Johannesburg
Metro Police Department (JMPD), and Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department

Regarding the JOINTS and LOC Security Directorate’s roles in the
operational plan for the World Cup, a clear distinction is made between the
national security plan and the event safety plans. JOINTS will take
responsibility for the national security plan while the LOC will be
responsible for event security (Groenewald 2007).

The National JOINTS Priority Committee was replaced by the NATJOINTS
Planning Committee, which, with the backing of a planning support team,
was to give operational effect to overall safety and security (Groenewald
2007). The NATJOINTS Planning Committee was to work in close
consultation with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Security
Directorate, tasked to deal solely with the 2010 FIFA World Cup
(Groenewald 2007). However, according to Phasha (2007), ‘The committee
met for three to four months, but once again there was no consistency in
the attendance of meetings and no follow up on agreements, and the
committee fell away’.

The Local Organising Committee has also been concentrating on the
development of the Safety at Sports and Recreation Bill. The Bill was poorly
received in many sectors with commentators raising concerns about the
seemingly impossible requirements. According to Phasha (2007) ‘The Bill
was confusing in terms of the reporting structure and going above the Local
Government Act and the SAPS Act. The consultation process of the Bill was
Bilkis Omar                                                               67

flawed, there were no public hearings, the sports ministry was pushing for
a response and said that FIFA wanted the Bill. In addition because of the
"afro pessimism" in Europe, the Bill was being touted at all corners’. After
being returned from the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security and
Cabinet for review, a new draft was submitted to Cabinet and approved. At
the time of writing it was in the process of being promulgated.

Despite these extensive efforts, there is still cause for concern about the
security of the FIFA World Cup given that roleplayers’ commitment to the
committees appears to have been minimal.

What will be expected of the SAPS

To be operationally ready for the FIFA World Cup, the SAPS has to comply
with FIFA minimum standards, the Host City Agreement, and the Organising
Association Agreement or the Bid Document (Groenewald 2007). The SAPS
security plan comprises seven phases: the current phase being the Run-Up
Phase, which ends in mid-June 2009. The subsequent phases are
(Groenewald 2007):

•     Confederation Cup (17-24 June 2009)
•     Pre-tournament phase (July 2009-June 2010)
•     Opening ceremony (June 2010)
•     Tournament phase (11 June-11 July 2010)
•     Final and closing ceremony (July 2010)
•     Post world cup phase (debriefing)

Given the different roles and functions of the various policing agencies in
South Africa, more clarity is needed regarding the division of labour for the
World Cup. A decision was taken by the JOINTS and LOC (Security
Directorate) committees that 80 per cent of the responsibility for policing
the main pavilion and the inner perimeter of the stadium will be done by
private security companies and the remaining 20 per cent will be
undertaken by law enforcement agencies (CCUs). Law enforcement
agencies will take 80 per cent responsibility for the outer and city
perimeters. SAPS VISPOL members will perform crime prevention duties on
roads and areas surrounding the stadium. Metro police have been tasked to
conduct traffic control outside stadiums.

Uniformed and plainclothes police members will be stationed at strategic
points and locations to police crowds outside stadiums. State-of-the-art
68                                           A review of public order policing capacity

mobile command vehicles and helicopters, capable of transmitting live
video footage to police commanders on the ground, will be used to police
the event.

The allocation of tasks between police and private security companies
has not been well received by CCU members, particularly the decision
that the CCUs will not be fully in charge of spectator areas. This is not
surprising given the CCU’s expertise in crowd management and the private
security companies’ lack of experience in this area. It is unclear if the
decision was based on FIFA rules or those of SAPS management following
the practice of the 2006 German Soccer World Cup and current practice in

     England has a highly trained security staff to deal with low levels
     of incivility, and for the more serious problems the police step in.
     In England matches are heavily micro-managed by stewards.
     Policing has to be…sensible (Williams 2007).

     There is a general rule in Germany that all private events/activities
     are a security responsibility of the organisers…the World Cup is a
     private event. If you send an active police officer, it means that the
     police would be taking over responsibility (Heimberger in Tshehla

During the World Cup in Germany, deployment in the stadiums differed
from state to state: some used a heavy police presence in the stadiums,
others relied on private security (Heimberger in Tshehla 2006:10). The
deputy president of the Munich police has stated that he was not in favour
of police being stationed outside stadiums because if a problem were to
occur inside, quick police action would be needed to prevent it getting out
of hand (Heimberger in Tshehla 2006:11).

‘Fan parks’ – large open areas with big screen televisions – will be erected
for spectators who are unable to attend matches at stadiums, and will have
to be manned by police as well. Prior to the World Cup in Germany, police
expressed great concern about the fan park concept saying the parks would
‘require serious interventions’ due to the large numbers of people using the
spaces, the possible attraction of soccer hooligans to the parks, and the
resultant disruptions (Tshehla 2006:4). Despite these concerns no major
problems were experienced. According to Interior Minister, Wolfgang
Schäuble, ‘The success of the security operation was "a quality landmark in
international police work"’.
Bilkis Omar                                                                69

The role of private security

Private security in South Africa has been granted a key role in 2010 – to
provide security within the inner perimeter of stadiums. The concept, used
in Germany during the 2006 Soccer World Cup, proved to be successful.

Private security in South Africa is regulated by the Private Security Industry
Regulatory Authority (PSIRA). PSIRA has one million registered members,
300 000 active registered members, and 4 800 registered companies
(Badenhorst 2007). When an application is made to register a company,
PSIRA verifies the company, registers it, and ensures that the company
complies with legislation (Badenhorst 2007). PSIRA also does the vetting of
members and the SAPS looks at the applications. The requirements for
registration are laid down in the PSIRA Act 56 of 2001.

While some private security companies in South Africa already conduct
security at sports events like Premier Soccer League (PSL) soccer matches
and international cricket and rugby matches, most are involved in
safeguarding the physical security of people and property.

PSL has 400 PSIRA registered security guards and 1 000 unregistered
stewards in its own security arm (Majola 2007). PSL stewards are positioned
within the crowds, they monitor spectators and tear tickets: ‘PSL’s stewards
are trained by the soccer clubs. This is an overseas concept and stewards
are also taught to identify potential problems. They have great experience’
(Majola 2007).

The Premier Soccer League’s security arm does management of high-risk
events, while each soccer team’s own security provider offers security for
low risk events, i.e. events where fewer spectators attend (Majola 2007).
The decision on whether to treat an event as a high or low risk event is
taken at planning meetings prior to the event. Security guards do body
searches and access control, but they do not do crowd management
(Majola 2007) and are not trained in special events (Pasha 2007). Of interest
is that the security company within PSL is not registered with PSIRA. There
is currently debate within PSL management about whether the company
should be registered (Majola 2007).

Although the 2010 event may lead to the mushrooming of new security
companies, PSIRA believes that this is not likely since the industry has
grown by 11-13 per cent in the last ten years, and the growth in the security
business is constant (Badenhorst 2007).
70                                          A review of public order policing capacity

A concern is that training for events management in the private security
industry is insufficient. The Premier Soccer League (PSL) hosts
approximately 200 matches per year, and it is considered too costly for
security companies to train members in events management because of the
relative infrequency of soccer matches. The SA Football Association (SAFA)
cannot undertake the registration of private security officers – this would
require the establishment of a security division, with high cost implications.
In any case SAFA hosts only 20 to 40 matches per year. As a result, soccer
clubs are tasked with the responsibility for security. But, as one roleplayer
stated, ‘they don’t care about security; there is no statutory requirement for
events’ (Phasha 2007).

Private security companies have been accused of ‘picking untrained,
unregistered people off the street on the day of the event, providing them
with bibs and money, and expecting them to provide security for soccer
matches’. PSIRA National Manager of Law Enforcement said that PSIRA was
not aware of such practices, stating that ‘if complaints are received
regarding this, then PSIRA investigators will undertake checks. Spot checks
are also done on occasion’ (Badenhorst 2007).

A PSIRA training programme for events management does exist and is
offered with the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority
(SASSETA). PSIRA has 600 trainers and each trainer undergoes a dual
programme run by PSIRA and SASSETA. A training standard for monitoring,
controlling and directing crowds at special events has been developed and
registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)
(Badenhorst 2007). It is designed to enable relevant personnel to
competently assess venue sites, to monitor, observe and control crowd size,
and to respond to behaviour and direction of spectators within the venue
and its precincts (SAQA:1). Specific skills are developed to enable the
•    Inspecting and providing security presence at a venue. This means
     identifying stadium layout, communications between Venue
     Operational Command (VOC) (fire department, police, emergency
     medical services, and security of stadium), communication equipment,
     positions, and regular communication to VOC.
•    Monitoring crowd size, movement, stress, behaviour and safety. This
     also means understanding maximum stadium capacity, the number of
     spectators, crowd behaviour, identifying problem spots, stadium
     access, distress alarm response, identifying potential safety problems,
     back-up, and the amount of force to be used.
Bilkis Omar                                                                  71

•     Reacting to potential crowd problems and/or breaches of event
      etiquette. This means identifying people or situations that may cause a
      breach of safety, identifying potential problems, communicating with
      people behaving in disruptive manner, and recording information.

•     Directing crowds at special events. This requires directing people to
      correct locations, in an appropriate manner, with minimum risk of
      injury (SAQA:1).

A workshop was held in March 2007 to consider developing the PSIRA
events management course into a full qualification by the end of 2007.
PSIRA will also be reviewing the training of security personnel, aligned with
the National Qualification Authority (NQA) (Badenhorst 2007).

A case study: Ellis Park stadium

In 2002 Ellis Park stadium experienced the worst soccer disaster ever seen
in South Africa in which 43 supporters died and 158 were injured. A
commission of inquiry was set up to investigate the reasons for the tragedy.
The following reasons were listed:

•     Poor forecast of match attendance
•     Failure to learn from lessons of the past
•     Failure by the role-players to clearly identify and designate areas of
•     Absence of overall command of the Joint Operation Centre
•     The inappropriate and untimely announcement that tickets were sold
•     Failure to adhere to SAFA and FIFA guidelines
•     Unbecoming spectator behaviour
•     Sale of tickets at the venue and unreserved seating
•     The use of teargas or a similar substance
•     Corruption on the part of certain members of the security personnel
•     Dereliction of duty on the part of certain officials
•     Failure to use the big screen to show the game to spectators still waiting
      to enter the stadium
•     Inadequate public address system
•     Failure by the Public Order Policing Unit to react timeously and
      effectively (Independent Online 2002)

Since the incident much has been done to improve Ellis Park stadium’s
structure and its security. The stadium now contracts with private security
72                                          A review of public order policing capacity

companies for crowd management during sporting events. The companies
are registered and accredited with PSIRA and the responsibility to train the
guards rests with the security companies (Meyer 1999). The security guards
at Ellis Park serve as safety officers, chief stewards, zone wardens, and
supervisors. They are used inside and outside the stadium and in the VIP
areas, and a reaction group is always on standby. A Chief Safety Officer is
employed by Ellis Park stadium to oversee the security companies. A
separate company is contracted to do the 24-hour property security.

Guards are provided with the standard bibs and issue numbers. The
stadium is equipped with a fingerprint reader that checks each guard’s
PSIRA-issued card against the database, which stores each guard’s identity.
However PSIRA is slow to issue cards to guards registered with them, and
it is difficult for stadium personnel to check every person (Meyer 1999).

PSL and clubs do not have public liability insurance and rely on private
security companies to cover public liability should anything go awry. If
spectators lose their lives, the security company is liable. Ellis Park has
public liability for its structure and third party insurance, but no cover for
security (Meyer 1999).

Ellis Park’s preparation ahead of 2010

In South Africa, standard practice prior to any soccer event is the planning
meeting. Issues discussed at the meeting cover overall command, shifts, the
number of CCU members, security personnel and VISPOL members
working, relevant times, VIPs attending, venue of the Joint Operational
Command (JOC) or Venue Operational Command (VOC), number of
spectators expected, security plans, requests for venues to sell tickets, and
the operational plans of each organisation. The planning meetings
determine the threat level which takes into account the category of the
event and the mechanisms that will be required to ensure safety.

The Venue Operational Command is the working structure for law
enforcement agencies, private security companies and other agencies to
coordinate operations on the day of the event. The VOC of the Ellis Park
stadium consists of representatives from the SAPS, CCUs, Metro Police,
Disaster Management and Johannesburg Emergency Services. Ellis Park
personnel include a safety officer, deputy safety officer, main radio
controller, and maintenance radio controller. Private security companies
have radio operators and a data capturer. PSL and SAFA representatives are
also part of the VOC at certain events.
Bilkis Omar                                                                 73

Ellis Park stadium is undergoing a physical restructuring (5 000 seats are
being added) for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Organisational changes are also
being undertaken to address the following problem areas:

•     Role players planning individually without consultation
•     Areas of responsibility are blurred
•     Competition amongst security providers
•     Little control over quality of service delivery/personnel (and high
•     Uncertainty regarding some aspects of public liability cover
•     Slow and complicated communications network among VOC
•     Out of date processes compared to international standards and
      proposed legislation

The new structure will aim for:

•     A single plan for event safety and security
•     Clearly defined areas of responsibility and authority
•     All service providers share common goals under one plan
•     Full control and consistency (regulations, polices, standards, training,
      identification, bibs)
•     Collective and defined public liability plan
•     One communication network with quick reaction times
•     International standard complying with local regulations
•     Being a progressive structure

It is unclear if this kind of structure is planned for all the 2010 stadiums or
whether each stadium will develop its own plan to ensure the safety and
security of spectators and players.

The role of CCUs in the FIFA World Cup

As stated above, the CCUs will police the outer perimeter of the stadium
(areas from the entry gates to the entrances to the stands) and they will be
summoned to assist private security guards in the inside perimeter when the
need arises. Given the inexperience of private security guards and their lack
of training in event management, combined with uncertainty regarding
accreditation of PSIRA, many members of the CCU said in interviews that
they were sceptical about the value of the participation of private security
companies in the World Cup.

One member stated, ‘PSL and SAFA are disorganised and don’t know what
they are doing in security and crowd management. They pick people off the
74                                          A review of public order policing capacity

streets, give them a bib, and pay them R50 a day to police an event. These
members are not registered. The responsibility is then left on the police to
manage.’ Members of the CCU also said they feared that there would be
problems with private security guards managing crowds inside the stadium
and with the CCU members being in the outer perimeter. If they were called
to deal with a problem, it would take a while before they arrived and thus
they might be ineffective.

Despite their scepticism about private security companies, CCU members
were very positive that South Africa would be able to manage the security
for the World Cup. Most stated that South Africa had previously hosted many
big events (CAF, Rugby World Cup, WSSD, Cricket World Cup, Under-23
Olympics) and that the FIFA World Cup would be just as easily managed.
One member said that the SAPS management had already started working
on a strategic plan for security so, operationally, South Africa will be ready.

CCU members were adamant, however, that the success of the 2010 security
was dependent on having more resources. Some of their suggestions were:
an increase in human capacity, upgraded equipment, good intelligence,
special intensive training for managing hooliganism, assistance from other
countries, and the training of station members in crowd management. They
said that more attention had to be given to the bad attitude of some of their
SAPS colleagues, their lack of discipline and people skills, and the poor level
of their policing.

The role of metro police in the FIFA World Cup

Metro police have been designated to perform traffic enforcement in the
2010 FIFA World Cup. The role of the Public Order Police Unit of the EMPD
during the World Cup is unclear, but it could well be the reason they were
trained in crowd management – as first respondents to spontaneous

Ekurhuleni metro police officers’ views on the country’s management of
security for the 2010 FIFA World Cup were positive. Some of their comments
were: ‘Metro is now skilled in crowd management so they will manage
security at the World Cup’, ‘South Africa previously did security at the rugby
World Cup and cricket World Cup but they need more manpower and more
training.’ One officer stated that communication and tolerance to work with
one another is also important. Furthermore ‘EMPD excels and the POP unit
is very successful, they have done many events.’ Only one officer was
Bilkis Omar                                                                   75

sceptical. He said that with the current situation – meaning little capacity
and too much work – the law enforcement agencies would not manage
security for the World Cup: ‘The idea is to increase officers at EMPD to
2 000.’

A meeting between the Provincial Commissioner’s office, the Head of
EMPD and Head of CCU East Rand has recently taken place to mend the
poor relationship between the EMPD and the CCUs in the East Rand.

Conclusion and recommendations

The SAPS appears confident that the police can cope with security demands
for 2010. Considering the challenges facing police, such as the high rates
of violent crime, problems in the relationship between SAPS and the LOC,
soccer hooliganism, and a likely increase in protest marches during the
World Cup, the task should not be under estimated.

The policing agencies, especially the CCUs, need specialised training in
tactical techniques on how to deal with soccer hooligans. The SAPS also
need to be cautious regarding the hooliganism issue because of the
contentious issues surrounding the ‘database’ of offenders and the definition
of a ‘soccer hooligan’.

With regard to the role of private security organisations, the research
findings suggest that:

•     There is confusion regarding the titles and roles of various types of
      private security personnel. Those designated to protect property and
      persons are referred to as ‘guards’ while others are called ‘officers’;
      there is no clarity regarding those providing functional duties at events,
      for example, tearing tickets, escorting spectators, etc. The FIFA Safety
      Guidelines document refers to private security personnel as ‘stewards’.
      These issues need to be addressed.

•     PSIRA has a vital role to play if the World Cup is to be a success. Private
      security companies have been tasked with an important role so proper
      training in crowd management and registration of stewards is essential.
      PSIRA must also ensure that security officers wear their registration

•     In Germany a security steward has to undergo an examination at a
      public institution. FIFA requires that at least 50 per cent of security
76                                          A review of public order policing capacity

     stewards should have passed this examination, and that these stewards
     are deployed in areas of high sensitivity. ‘All security guards undergo a
     three-day training…specifically for the policing of the World Cup’
     (Heimberger in Tshehla 2006:12). SAFA has to ensure that
     notwithstanding PSIRA and SASSETA training, a similar approach is
     followed prior to the World Cup.
                                CHAPTER 8

These recommendations hope to assist in achieving a coherent strategy for
improving the quality of public order policing.

Policy, legislation and regulations

•   The Regulation of Gatherings Act 205 of 1993 governing crowd
    management needs to be updated. While the 14-year-old Act is a most
    useful piece of legislation, practical experience in the management of
    events has shown that there is a need to more clearly define the role
    and responsibility of march organisers and marshals.

•   CCUs need a new working document providing guidance on their new
    roles. With the dissolution of the area level, Standing Order 262 and
    other policy documents have become outdated and need to be revised.

Management and restructuring

•   Decisions from SAPS national level that affect provincial or local level
    police should be discussed with the provincial commissioner’s office
    before being made. Many directives issued at national level supersede
    the provincial office, thus creating confusion and challenges for units,
    stations and the provincial office. Better communication and
    consultation is essential.

•   The restructuring which diminished the role of the Crime Combating
    Units in September 2006 should be re-assessed. Trends are showing an
    increase in protest marches and the FIFA World Cup in 2010 is looming.
    Although the area policing level has been disbanded, the buildings
    located in these unit areas could still be utilised; the units could
    become accountable to the provincial office and be renamed
    Provincial Public Order Police.

•   The Crime Combating Units are experiencing serious human resource
    shortages. The restructuring has resulted in the units being depleted by
78                                          A review of public order policing capacity

     50 per cent, while continuing to service the same geographical areas.
     The additional travelling required by the restructuring has exacerbated
     the problem. If the problem is not addressed, members are sure to
     suffer severe stress and fatigue.

•    The SAPS should, as far as possible, not use the CCUs for policing
     needs other than those for which they have been specially trained. In
     this respect it will be interesting to assess the statistics showing the
     outcome of Operation Trio. If the statistics look favourable for the
     police, this could spur the SAPS management to permanently or at
     regular intervals call on the CCUs to support general policing
     operations. This would further undermine the capacity of the units to
     undertake public order policing.

•    The members of the CCUs who have been sent to stations to assist in
     crime combating should be returned to the units from which they
     came. If necessary, they can be deployed from their units to assist
     stations with crime prevention operations.


•    While CCU members seem to be well informed about the Regulation
     of Gatherings Act, an in-depth refresher course spanning at least three
     days is required, at least once every three years.

•    Some of the outdated terminology that is still sometimes used by CCU
     members needs to be addressed. ‘Crowd control’ is now referred to as
     ‘crowd management’, and ‘riots’ are referred to as ‘protests’. Unit
     commanders and trainers should ensure that the issue of terminology
     is addressed in training sessions.

•    Training must be made a priority by unit commanders even if it comes
     at the expense of crime combating duties. In-service training was being
     neglected by the units, but with the restructuring it came to a total
     standstill. This means that members are becoming de-skilled.
     Fortunately the specialist crowd management skills have not been lost
     because the units are manned largely by people with ten to 20 years’
     experience in this field. Nonetheless the skills base is eroding, and
     more seriously, incoming members are not receiving in-service
Bilkis Omar                                                                 79

•     With regard to the use of firearms in crowd control, the police need
      better and more regular training, including training on when it is
      appropriate to use firearms and how they should be used. The same
      applies to metro police officers, who have tended to be over-zealous in
      their use of firearms.

Role of private security in 2010

•     The training of private security guards has to be made a priority in view
      of their important role in providing security for the 2010 FIFA World
      Cup. Since this is not the responsibility of the SAPS, it should be
      coordinated at ministerial level.

•     The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) has a vital
      role to play if the World Cup is to be a success. Private security
      companies have been tasked with an important role so proper training
      in crowd management and registration of stewards is essential. PSIRA
      must also ensure that security officers wear their registration cards.
                                CHAPTER 9

This study has assessed whether the Crime Combating Units of the SAPS,
with their existing capacity, can adequately manage crowds at events such
as protest marches, as well as meeting the crowd management needs of the
2010 FIFA World Cup.

In must be noted that in terms of respect for human rights, public order
policing has improved since the advent of democracy. However, the size
and distribution of the units, as well as their skills maintenance, has been
severely eroded.

The main conclusion of this research is that the most recent restructuring of
the SAPS CCUs in 2006 is the reason for the crisis in crowd management
that the units are presently facing. A full consideration of the findings leads
to a very strong recommendation that the SAPS management reassess the
recent restructuring of the CCUs. The CCUs should be redeployed to their
units in the previous seven policing areas. Given the dissolution of the area
policing level, they should be made accountable to the provincial police
office. Thus Gauteng would have seven fully capacitated Provincial Public
Order Policing Units, primarily performing crowd management and, when
required, assisting neighbouring stations in the combating of crime.

With regard to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the way in which the crowd
management component of the police has coped with past international
events in South Africa suggests that they will be able to cope with the World
Cup. However there is a need to ensure that the units are sufficiently well
resourced. The dynamics of large soccer events internationally present some
unique problems, which the units will have to take into account. In
addition, the FIFA World Cup is a likely target for additional protest marches,
which will place additional demands on the capacity of the Crime
Combating Units.

1 At the time when the study was conceived the public order units were still
     known as Area Crime Combating Units (ACCUs) but later in the same year
     (2006), the units underwent a radical restructuring and were renamed Crime
     Combating Units (CCUs).
2    Counter-participants is a reference to opportunists planning to take advantage of
     a situation.
3    The policy, which was intended to be implemented throughout the SAPS was
     not accepted by all the members because certain ‘principles in the policy were
     deemed unsuitable’ with the result that a format that was suitable to everyone
     had to be adapted (Telephonic interview with Supt V Day 11 November 2005).
4    Stations assisted does not include strikes, gatherings, marches, evictions, and VIP
     protection. It only pertains to crime combating functions for stations.
6    See ISS website>Media Statement, Briefing
     Session on the Impact of the SAPS Restructuring on the Policing of Violence
     against Women and Children, 31 May 2006. Joint Media release by the SAPS
     and Institute for Security Studies.
7    Detached duties is a reference to members sent on duties other than those they
     are designated to do, for example, assisting in disaster management in another
8    An accounting station under the SAPS new restructuring plan is a large station
     providing administrative functions to approximately five to six police stations
     falling under it.
9    This is a reference to members deployed on the borders of the country to
     perform crime combating duties.
10   Displacement of crime occurs when, as a result of successful crime prevention
     operations in one area, crime shifts to a neighbouring area.
11   The Khutsong protests centre on the incorporation of a municipality from
     Gauteng province into the North West province.
12   The document is referred to by the SAPS as an Establishment Document because
     it was never made into a policy.
13   A bakkie is a motor vehicle or van that has side doors and is used for transporting
     goods and people.

Abbot, L 2007. Chief Superintendent. Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department.
Personal interview. 19 April. Johannesburg.

Ally, F 2006a. Senior Superintendent. SAPS National Training Division.
Personal interview. 4 July. Pretoria.

Ally, F 2006b. Senior Superintendent, SAPS National Training Division.
Personal interview. 4 December. Rooiberg.

Anon nd. Riot Police. Available at police
(Last accessed 17 March 2007).

Badenhorst, S 2007. National Manager: Law Enforcement Division. PSIRA.
Personal interview. 21 February. Pretoria.

Burger, J 2007. Time to take action: The 2006/07 crime statistics. SA Crime
Quarterly No 21, September 2007. Institute for Security Studies. Pretoria.

Cachalia, F 2007. MEC of Community Safety: Gauteng. Media briefing on
Crime and Policing in Gauteng for January to June 2007. 14 August.

CCU Trainer 2007. Johannesburg Crime Combating Unit. Personal
interview. 8 May. Johannesburg.

Day, V ( 2007a. Superintendent. SAPS Operational
Response Services. Message to Omar, B ( 27 June.

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