Budget Vote speech by Deputy Minister of Safety and Security, Susan Shabangu, MP, at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP)
Honourable members of the House
Chairperson, we presented our Budget Vote in this House last year and mentioned the issue of restructuring the South African Police Service (SAPS) in order to better, and bring closer the services we render to our communities. I am delighted to report back to you that we did not only dissolve the area offices but also we have managed to cluster our police stations for improved command, control and co-ordination. This clustering gives an opportunity to cluster stations to unite in joint projects and deal with cross station precinct crimes and threats. In the end there will be 198 accounting police stations.
The closure of the area offices and redeployment of those experienced officers to the station levels has created and provided better services to our communities. Operational managers and personnel from 43 area offices throughout the country were redeployed to the stations. This will also improve police response times to crime scenes.
The restructuring of our service will not be complete without the involvement of our communities. We have formed partnerships with relevant stakeholders in our communities, partnerships we hope will be the eyes and ears of the police. Those are the principles that will guide us as we implement our philosophy in community policing.
In the early years of our democracy, it was difficult to build confidence between our communities and the police. Things are much better now. However, we still need to continue creating better levels of trust between the people and the police.
Community policing as an appropriate policing philosophy for South Africa has been discussed with several stakeholders and was endorsed. We deliberated the matter with the labour unions. Meetings have been held with Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) and Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa); the three labour federations that mobilise workers in our country. We have also interacted with the relevant unions, South African Police Union (SAPU) and Police and Prison Civil Rights Union (Popcru), as subjective partners in the police. Other stakeholders we are engaging are religious groups and the business sector.
In many communities where people work together with police, levels of crime have gone down. Apart from patrolling their streets, the people have also established networks to generate and share information. That information has been given to the police and has helped to enhance investigations.
The experience of good partnerships between the people and the police has become a feature in the communities of Alexandra, Sebokeng, Orange Farm, Orlando, Duduza and Jabulani in the Gauteng province; Gugulethu, Maitland and Khayelitsha in the Western Cape; Fernie and Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga; Tumahole in the Free State; Tsolo and Queenstown in the Eastern Cape; Kuruman in Northern Cape; Ezibayeni, Osizweni and Kokstad in KwaZulu-Natal; Giyani in Limpopo just to mention a small sample.
The Community Policing Forums (CPFs) have a special task to co-ordinate the relationship between the communities and the police. We are discussing together with them, how we can raise their profile so that they can play the role that attaches to their functions?
The new arrangement will allow the CPFs together with communities to discuss with the police the priorities affecting the relevant communities and put together a policing programme that will be co-owned by the communities and the police. The police will regularly go back to the communities and report on the crime trends in their areas and to what extent they are succeeding to deal with crime. The communities, in that arrangement, will assist with the oversight over the performance of police on the basis of the agreed priorities by the relevant communities and police.
The project to introduce community policing will require some changes to our law. In the first instance we need to look at how we define the relationship between SAPS and the municipal police services. In that regard, I want to indicate that it is not our intention to change the administrative relationship and therefore legal links, between the municipal police services and their municipalities. The alignment is meant for better command and control which resort under national police commissioner.
Crime prevention and combating
There are many challenges we face in the fight against crime. One of the matters we are dealing with is the violent nature of crime in South Africa. It has become a serious concern the manner in which crime is accompanied by such a high degree of violence.
In more than 50% cases where people are murdered, firearms were used. A study of the last 10 years also indicates that firearms were used in 77,6% cases of attempted murder and 81,5% of aggravated robbery.
Safer School Project
As a way of dealing with the challenges in the fight against crime, SAPS are involved in other projects with various stakeholders. One of those projects is a joint action plan between the Department of Education and SAPS which is aimed at improving safety at schools. This project will address issues such as security control and infrastructural challenges at schools. Strategies will be developed to address problems such as bullying, carrying and the use of dangerous weapons, gangs, substance abuse and other criminal actions. A safer schools programme resulted in the development of an integrated guideline on safer schools. This programme aims to establish strategic links between schools and relevant police stations.
We welcome and support the proposed legislation on random searches and seizures in schools. We also acknowledge the ongoing challenge of violence at schools which has in many instances, resulted in the attack and killing of teachers and school children.
Over the last six years, we have continued to increase the human and material resources of the SAPS. Particular attention over the years has also been paid to the revision of conditions of service for members for better packages in remuneration and other benefits.
The personnel numbers in the service escalated from 140 560 in 2003/04 to 149 060 (2004/05), 156 060 (2005/06) and 163 060 (2006/07). By the end of the 2009/10 financial year the personnel strength will be 193 240. The service, therefore, has seen the expansion by 44 060 members since the 2002/03. Replacement of personnel losses during that period was 20 000 bringing the figure, therefore, to 64 060.
The budget of the SAPS has seen a growth of 58% from the 03/04 to the 07/08 financial year.
The biggest slice of the R15,5 billion budget for visible policing is for crime prevention (R13,7 billion). Visible policing is divided into crime prevention, borderline security and specialised interventions.
Personnel expenditure continues to be the biggest portion of the budget at R25,2 billion from R35,9 billion during the current financial year.
We need to indicate that over the past three financial years the allocated budget for policing has increased by 43%. Expenditure for other material resources in the policing environment such as buildings, machinery and equipment has also seen significant increases. More money was invested in the further expansion of the vehicle fleet, radio communication, information technology and firearms. We also need to indicate that the budget for the 2010 Soccer World Cup has been adequately enhanced.
To further enhance our police capacity, we are going to invest in the next three years in mobile command vehicles and helicopters that will be fitted with modern technology. We will buy three such vehicles in the current financial year as well as four helicopters. In the next financial year (2008/09) we will buy five mobile command vehicles and seven helicopters.
Supply chain management
Last year, we reported on the agreement between the SAPS and the Department of Public Works. This agreement allowed police to assume responsibility for its own accommodation. Since then we have upgraded 19 police stations and built 11 new police stations. So far, the latest police stations built, have victim friendly facilities for the victims of sexual offences. The current victim friendly facilities at existing police stations will also be upgraded. The building of the Forensic Science Laboratory in Parow will commence soon.
In the Gauteng province, we have established a new Digital Trunk Radio Network which incorporates the Tetra System. This facility will provide a comprehensive policing and better response to the needs of our communities. It will be switched on during October this year.
Hi-Tech Project Centre
Last year, we have established a Hi-Tech Project Centre that will satisfy the need for a better co-ordinated approach to crime information and the utilisation of available skills and technology.
This centre has given investigators easy access to all relevant information which they have used successfully to oppose bail, identify suspects, apprehend wanted persons, know the status of suspects (whether in custody or not) and link to other cases.
We have used the centre in recent times on organised aggravated robberies including cash in transit heists, bank robberies, break ins at financial institutes, ATM explosions, aggravated robberies at shopping malls, petroleum stations, casinos, pension pay out points and the hijacking of trucks with freight.
We are also paying special attention to residential and business robberies and vehicle hijacking. In the relatively short period that we have been using the centre, a number of successes have been achieved in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Eastern Cape.
Cyberspace crime or "e-crime," as it is often called, has become a big challenge. Crime is globalised and has the potential to undermine in a massive way the economies of many countries. It has been placed within the sights of the SAPS crime intelligence.
Significant successes have been achieved against narcotics trafficking, with an increase on seizures and arrests both within communities and at the borders. The challenge to combat better the increasing internationalisation of narcotics trafficking between the continents of South America, Europe, Asia and Africa is also being successfully addressed through better trans-national intelligence projects.
Operations and successes on contact crimes
In the endeavours of the SAPS to address the scourge of serious and violent crime, various integrated strategies were adopted. One of them was a strategy which had an emphasis on arresting perpetrators wanted for murder, attempted murder, rape, aggravated (armed) robberies and vehicle hijacking. The strategy included executing warrants of arrest for repeat offenders and suspects identified from crime scene investigations, connected to three or more cases. Competent tracing teams were established to focus on the wanted suspects. Subsequently, 8 536 suspects who were involved in 10 292 serious and violent criminal cases were arrested.
Other serious crime
We have established a dedicated permanent capacity in the police, referred to as the investigative psychology unit, to address other serious contact crimes like serial murder and rape cases. The unit has a world renowned record in profiling and solving such cases.
Cases that were taken to trial include the Johannesburg Mine Dump murder of seven people, the arrests of the Philippi Serial Murderer, in Cape Town, where 16 people were killed while four others were raped, the Siloam Serial Murderer, responsible for 12 deaths in Limpopo, the Mhluzi Serial Murderer who killed five people in Middelburg, the Knysna Serial Murderer responsible for two deaths, the Tonga Serial Murderer of five, the Volksrust Serial Murderer of three and the Quarry Serial Murderer of 16 in Centurion.
The use of firearms during incidents of crime has become a serious concern in our country. We will continue increasing the issuing of competence certificates which will assist in dealing with the concerns and the blockages in the firearms control office. A total of 120 121 competency certificates were finalised and 84 885 renewal firearm licences have already been issued.
Training and skilling
The development and training of all employees within the SAPS will continue to remain a priority to ensure and enhance police capacity and effectiveness.
As part of the ongoing expansion of the police service, 11 360 learners will enter basic training institutions across the country during this financial year. They will be trained in the national certificate in policing, which covers the basic fundamentals of policing.
This year 1 500 investigators will be trained in the Detective Learning Programme. Some 125 detective commanders from Gauteng will be trained in the new detective commanders' course which will enhance the managerial skills of those commanders.
The Intelligence Trade Craft Learning Programme, which was developed in co-operation with all intelligence agencies, is set to equip members at grassroots level to act on information gathered and to initiate intelligence driven operations to support crime combating.
Training in the street survival and techniques course continues to provide functional members with the required skills to perform their duties in a safe and efficient manner. Already a total number of 15 500 members have been trained.
Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD)
We recognise the challenges faced by the ICD and will continue with efforts that ensures that problem of accessing the ICD receives special attention.
The Secretariat has been tasked with assisting the CPFs in the programme to revamp them. It is envisaged that the reorganisation of the CPFs will continue into the next financial year. The secretariat will lead the process of reviewing legislation in this instance, amendments to the SAPS Act.
Issued by: Ministry of Safety and Security
14 June 2007
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