Hon House Chairperson; Deputy Minister of Police; Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police; members of the portfolio committee; hon members; the National Commissioner of Police and provincial commissioners; members of the SA Police Service, SAPS; members of the Community Police Forum, CPF; esteemed guests; fellow South Africans; ladies and gentlemen, a pillar of strength, knowledge and intellectual capability in South Africa, Ms Nadine Gordimer, passed away a week ago. As a country, we have become poorer. We draw solace from the fact that Ms Gordimer lived her life well in the service of humankind. We take this opportunity to convey our condolences to family, friends and society at large.
We present these Budget Votes in the month in which we commemorate our hero and icon, the late Dr Nelson Mandela, the former President. We are guided by his exhortations and legacy. In this regard, we commit ourselves to his ideals, which he had fought for, and recall that he was hounded and incarcerated for 27 years so that we can stand here today and proclaim that South Africa, indeed, does belong to those who live in it - black and white. It is no wonder that South Africans of all hues fanned across the country on Friday, 18 July, to spend 67 minutes doing good in remembrance.
In our midst today we have some of the everyday heroes, the men and women in blue, who make our lives better. From Limpopo, we have Captain Tinus Erasmus, Constable Tunyeko Mongwe and Constable Victor Moloto, who put their lives at great risk helping survivors out of an explosives truck that had crashed only to be at the receiving end of the explosion themselves. Constable Thembakazi Jacobs brings hope to domestic abuse survivors in the Khayelitsha area and, of course, Warrant Officer Nico Smallboy, who is a reservist and our worthy winner of the National Prestige Award. With you permission, Chair, I would ask them to identify themselves. They must be somewhere in the gallery. I thought I should just mention this. [Applause.] These are the heroes that cement our resolve to bring together all our people, irrespective of race, gender, creed and religion, or any other basis for discrimination. We are so directed by the Freedom Charter. We further aspire to create a state in which our people are free, safe and able to raise their children in a stable society.
In 1992 the ANC asserted, in its Ready to Govern document, that our role is to achieve better policing and an efficient criminal justice system with the involvement of our people in the fight against crime, and to mobilise to refurbish the moral fabric of our South African society.
We are directed by this policy position to ensure that, amongst other things, policing is based on community support and participation; that the police remain accountable to society and the community it serves through its democratically elected institutions; that policing continues to be subjected to public scrutiny and open debate; and that allegations of police misconduct are dealt with by an independent complaints and investigation mechanism. We require a police service that continues to strive for higher performance standards.
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa mandates us:
... to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property, and to uphold and enforce the law.
It further calls upon the Minister of Police to:
... promote good relations between the police and the community and to assess the effectiveness of visible policing.
We recommit ourselves to these ideals, taking stock of the journey that has been travelled thus far. Importantly, we continue to interrogate what needs to be done going forward.
We should recall that the battle against crime cannot be separated from the war on want and that, as the SAPS, we are called upon to maintain law and order in the face of extreme poverty.
A week ago, I sat down with a family in New Brighton in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan municipality in the Eastern Cape and listened to the harrowing story of how criminals brazenly walked into the house, demanded to see someone and, without flinching, shot and killed a lady at point blank range over a petty argument. Alongside the MEC for Safety and Security and other officials, we were struck not so much by the pain of death, but rather by the hopelessness of the situation that family found itself in, of harrowing, abject poverty, to say the least. This is the scene that plays out over and over again in families and communities across our country. Oftentimes this feeds into the crime wave, and we cannot be blind to this fact.
In pursuing our ideal of a safe and secure environment, we are conscious of the fact that our role as the Police Service is at the tail end of this process. It is for these reasons that we are advocating an integrated approach to issues of policing and social stability. For us to succeed in this approach, we need to work with other organs of state, business, nongovernmental organisations, research and tertiary institutions. This ideal finds traction in the National Development Plan, NDP, which has been crafted and adopted as the blueprint for the future.
The NDP envisages a state in which the police work closely with communities, where real partnerships emerge among the different organs of state to ensure that the root causes of crime and criminality are addressed before they pose a major threat to our society. With this in mind, through the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, the SAPS will focus on the following key strategic priorities: reducing the number of serious crimes; combatting border and cyber crime; increasing the percentage of trial-ready case dockets for serious crimes; stabilising public protests; and enhancing local police capability.
Furthermore, in this financial year, we are going to introduce and/or reintroduce the following legislative and policy reviews: a comprehensive review of the South African Police Service Act to align it with the Constitution; research into and policy on reducing the barriers in the reporting of cases of violence against women and children, serial murders and rapes; a review of how Community Policing Forums and Community Safety Forums can assist the police in the stabilisation of areas affected by service delivery protests; research into the assessment of police deployments and how these impact on crime; legislative policy on and research into the impact of firearm legislation on crime; and the investigation of areas of legislation that require strengthening.
In our 2014 election manifesto, we said we can move South Africa forward by forging a compact between government and its citizens in ensuring that being safe becomes the normal state of our country. There is an interwoven thread between the Freedom Charter, the Strategy and Tactics document, the NDP and the ANC's Election Manifesto, which also points to consistent aspirations and a wish for a better life in conditions of peace, safety and security.
We commit the South African Police Service to community engagement, listening to and being one with the people that we serve. We are also obliged to fight crime and restore the citizens' faith and trust in our law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system. For us to achieve this, we should take our cue from the KwaZulu-Natal province, which has articulated, correctly so, that we need to build a united front against crime and corruption.
South African citizens need to embrace that which is good in our police service and reject that which is bad. We appeal to all our citizens to use designated institutions of policing to deal with matters of policing and conduct by the police. We are extremely concerned by the spate of killings of our policemen and women and call on our communities to mobilise against this scourge. It should be taken into cognisance that South Africans, through their taxes, pay a lot of money to train our policemen and women. Therefore, as a society, we must ask ourselves why we should keep quiet in the face of a concerted, destructive campaign waged against our policemen and women.
We appreciate the work that has been done by the Mpumalanga province in highlighting the cost to society around this issue and for coining the theme: "You kill the police, you kill the community".
Kufanele sonke, ngobuningi bethu, siphakame silwe nalesi sihluku esingaka sokubulawa kwabantu bomthetho. Uma sihluleka ukukwenza lokhu, kuyobe kusho ukuthi asinandaba nokuthi abantwana bethu sizobashiyela ikusasa elinjani. Ngobuningi bethu, kufanele sisukume sisho ngazwi linye sithi: "Wabulala iphoyisa, ubulala umphakathi". (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[We must all, in our numbers, fight against this brutal killing of the law enforcement people. If we fail to do so, it would mean that we do not care about the future that will be inherited by our children. In our numbers, we must stand up and speak with one voice, saying: "You kill the police, you kill the community."]
As part of the process of professionalising the Police Service, we have approved changes in the recruitment strategy at the entry level of constables with a view to ensure that only the best-suited candidates are recruited into the South African Police Service. All our new recruits will be taken through rigorous testing for their suitability before they start with their formal training. They will further be taken through grooming camps for screening purposes, vetting, written assessments, physical fitness as well as other diagnostic tests on behaviour, patriotism and culture.
These changes have been introduced as part of the community-based recruitment strategy that is aimed at addressing challenges such as pending and/or previous convictions, fraudulent qualifications and to avoid nepotism in the recruitment of officers. In terms of this strategy, the role of the community in commenting on recruits' suitability will assist in completing the 360 cycle of suitability testing.
We have further put in place mechanisms to build capacity within our crime intelligence units all over the country. A number of critical senior and middle management positions were filled in the reporting period. This is an important unit that helps the police in the fight against crime, and its significance cannot be overemphasised.
We will further ensure that the current members of the South African Police Service are taken through rigorous sessions to understand the code of conduct. We are expecting each and every member to acknowledge and understand the contents of the code before signing in order to make sure that they are accountable. Our approach to professionalising the South African Police Service will contribute to the zero tolerance of corruption and nepotism and will deliver the calibre of police officer who will serve the people of this country with dignity and pride.
In 2010 an initiative was undertaken by government to strengthen and realign the role of the Civilian Secretariat for Police as part of strengthening the civilian oversight of the police. The initiative involved a two-pronged approach, namely institutional reform and organisational reform.
With regard to institutional reform, the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service Act, No 2 of 2011, was passed and put into operation in December 2011. The Act establishes a secretariat as a separate department with its own budget and lines of reporting. The Act also requires provincial oversight roles to be aligned with those of the secretariat as part of strengthening both intergovernmental co-operation and provincial monitoring of the SAPS. All provinces have begun the process of aligning their structures and processes with those of the secretariat. In addition, organisational reform and processes, which have seen the structure growing from 38 people to over 114 people between 2011 and 2014, have started.
In his state of the nation address in 2013, the President of the Republic announced the establishment of the executing structure for public order policing to ensure that public order is effectively restored and that national stability is ensured. Given the country's sociopolitical circumstances, in the 2013-14 financial year we responded by upgrading equipment for the Public Order Policing Unit, with a specific focus on the following: the designing and procurement of new operational vehicles; the development of specifications by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, for water cannons that can be manufactured locally; the procurement of long-range acoustic devices; and the procurement of audio recording devices, video cameras and accessories as well as ammunition and pyrotechnics.
In the intervening period, 1 826 members successfully attended public order policing refresher training in crowd management techniques for operational readiness, and 60 members were trained as video camera operators and information managers to capture footage during crowd-related incidents. All these efforts are conducted in line with the national vision of demilitarising the Police Service as well as putting in place a civilian approach to public order policing with a view to reducing the level of a militaristic, or a perceived militaristic, approach to public order policing.
Another project worth mentioning is the Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring project, which is currently being piloted in nine police stations, in other words, one police station per province. The key objectives of the project are to ensure that Police Service points are accessible and standardised to adequately support professional policing, to provide a professional and quality-based service to the people of South Africa and to enhance engagement with all stakeholders in the fight against crime.
The project is focusing on four critical dimensions of service delivery: the individual as employee; the physical touch-points - in other words, the environment in which our people operate; the quality of services delivered; as well as stakeholders. Interventions undertaken to date include dialogue with station and cluster commanders and engagement with Old Mutual and Business Against Crime South African to solicit support. The lessons from these nine pilot stations will be rolled out to 500 police stations.
In the past few years, there has been a spate of service delivery protests around the country, which have stretched our capacity as the police service to maintain order as mandated by section 205(3) of the Constitution. A total number of 13 575 community-related protest incidents were reported and successfully stabilised. These incidences arose mainly from unrest- related incidents such as labour disputes in the mining education and transport sectors and dissatisfaction with service delivery by local municipalities.
Of the 13 575 incidents, 11 668 were conducted peacefully and 1 907 turned violent, which led to the arrest of 2 532 individuals. We will continue to attend to these community protests with vigilance, as we have done in the past, with the sole intention of ensuring that we secure the property and lives of all South Africans. We also appeal to community leaders to exercise responsible leadership, which ensures protection of property and human lives.
It is important to note, in the words of Ernest Barker, that:
The claims of liberty have to be adjusted to those of equality, and the claims of both have also to be adjusted to those of co-operation.
One of our fundamental tasks is to contribute to the strengthening of the criminal justice cluster. On 22 July 2010 the President mandated the justice, crime prevention and security, JCPS, cluster to create an Anticorruption Task Team to fast-track the investigation and prosecution of cases of corruption. We have, in partnership with our colleagues in the justice cluster, managed to apprehend and prosecute suspected criminals involved in organised crime.
We have established a national task team with the JCPS cluster in line with the seven-point plan to oversee the roll-out of Community Safety Forums. The Community Safety Forums are managed and co-ordinated by the Civilian Secretariat for Police. We have currently established 125 Community Safety Forums in the 278 municipalities and the remaining Community Safety Forums will be rolled out in the current financial year.
One of the biggest threats to social stability and economic growth in South Africa is the question of organised crime and drug trafficking. As His Majesty Isilo SamaBandla Onke, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, put it: "The best way to destroy a nation is to kill its youth." That is exactly what drugs do. As a society, we should all understand that organised crime and drug trafficking is part of the ideological onslaught against the people of South Africa.
In the period under review, through the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, DPCI, also known as the Hawks, we have registered the following milestones: 38 clandestine drug laboratories were dismantled - and we will continue to focus on this area; we arrested 169 individuals for illegal purchase, theft and possession of uncut diamonds and unwrought precious metals; a further 927 suspects were arrested for illicit mining; we have smashed the suspected syndicates for dealing in drugs between South Africa and Tanzania; we have arrested 1 218 persons for organised crime and 828 were convicted; and we have arrested 254 persons for drug-related crimes to a value of R103 million.
Commercial crime is the most treasonous crime that a human being can ever commit against the state as it deprives the country of its legitimate tax base. We have recorded the following milestones, amongst others: 6 187 new cases were received, with 3 888 suspects charged, and the conviction of 2 142 was achieved. We smashed counterfeit card fraud syndicates, as well as gangs operating an advance fee scam infamously known as "419".
We have also made cyber crime an area of focus and have had a number of successes, including the arrest of more than 180 individuals. In combating this phenomenon, the DPCI established digital forensic laboratories to collect and analyse evidence. The DPCI will continue to capacitate and develop the resources required to meet the evolving criminal standards.
Central to these efforts is beefing up our forensic ability. This is why, together with other government agencies, nongovernmental organisations and the private sector, we hosted the first National Forensic Services Conference from 2 to 5 July 2013 - the first of its kind on our continent. South Africa became the 57th country to assent to legislation that provides a framework to obtain DNA samples from arrested persons and offenders. This forensic DNA capability is a huge step towards a more effective system, which will lead to a quicker exoneration of the innocent and detection and conviction of perpetrators.
As part of the gains in the fight against crime a total number of 2 785 suspects wanted for serious and violent crimes have been traced and arrested during the period under review, including crimes such as murder and aggravated robbery. The National Development Plan further dictates to us, as the Police Service, to have an integrated approach to safety. Our approach in addressing this matter will be evident in how we integrate our activities with those of other entities of the state, private sector organisations, labour and nongovernmental organisations as well as other interest groups.
We will continue to foster relations with the private sector in the fight against crime and corruption. We have, in the reporting period, processed the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill, Psira, through Parliament, with a view to managing and regulate the private security industry better. The Bill seeks to introduce significant changes regarding ownership of private security businesses by foreign nationals, while at the same time improving governance of the authority and addressing the funding of the entity through funds that are appropriated by Parliament. The Private Security Industry Levies Act, No 23 of 2002, will also be tabled for review in order to align it with the changes that have taken place since it had been enacted.
The private security industry currently employs over 485 000 security officers and has over 8 100 active security businesses. This industry is by far one of the leading suppliers of entry-level jobs in the South African labour market, with an estimated turnover of over R50 billion.
Improved operational efficiencies have accelerated industry service delivery and as a result helped the entity to improve its average registration turnaround time from 180 days to 19 days. Our efforts, working in partnership with communities, will still continue in the current financial year. We are working on a strategy to revitalise our Community Policing Forums with a view to increasing their capacity to assist the police in the fight against crime. The training and resourcing of the CPFs will form part of our plans to ensure that they become a meaningful stakeholder and resource in the fight against crime.
In wrapping up, precisely because we are building a united front against crime and corruption, we have already started to establish relations with academic and research institutions with the view to developing our capacity as an organisation to deliver on our mandate. These interactions will go a long way to ensuring that strategy, policy and legislation are based on research and factual information derived from some of these inputs.
We also take this opportunity to salute the women of our country as we approach the month of August, the month in which we pay homage to the sacrifices of our mothers and sisters in securing the freedoms that we are now enjoying. It is no coincidence, therefore, that the SAPS, an organisation that has mainly been male-dominated, is now under the command of a woman of stature. [Applause.] In August we will announce a number of initiatives that will expand the role and opportunities for women to play a crucial role in policing. It would be amiss of me not to mention the good work done by the Women's Network in the police and the important voice that they have become.
Our efforts are about honour and dignity, as we contribute towards a state, as Socrates put it, "a state based on wisdom, courage, discipline and justice". We should rally all sectors of our society in the fight against crime and corruption as this alone would define our human existence. We must do so, so that, indeed, as Aristotle put it:
We must do that which answers to the whole of goodness, being the exercise of goodness as a whole towards one's neighbour.
Thank you very much. [Applause.]