Parliament, Thursday, 23 March 2023 – The Portfolio Committee on Police emphasised the importance of community mobilisation to the senior management of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and characterised it as a cornerstone of the rural safety strategy. Furthermore, the committee reiterated its old view that the success of the SAPS to reach to the far flung areas, is through effective and dynamic collaboration with communities.
The committee received an update from the SAPS senior management yesterday on the implementation of the rural safety strategy. The committee welcomed the processes to increase the capacity of police stations in rural areas by increasing the number of police officers from the 10 000 cohort of student constables in the 2022/23 intake of new police officers.
“While we welcome the increase in number of police officers, we remain cognisant that there remains a challenge of capacity to effectively implement the strategy. High among the remaining challenges is the lack of capacity, especially within the crime intelligence environment, to effectively drive the intelligence led strategy,” said Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the Chairperson of the committee.
However, to mitigate the challenges of capacity, the committee has called for the enhancement of community collaborations as multipliers. The implementation of the community led safety strategy even at a time when there were serious threats of shutdown on 20 March for example, has proven to be a model on how the SAPS takes collaboration with key stakeholders in turning the tide of criminality in the communities to the next level.
Also, the committee highlighted the necessity and importance of the availability of adequate and required resources that include vehicles to ensure, among other things, sustainable rapid response even to situations in far flung areas.
The committee has also called for the inclusion of technology as a force multiplier in rural areas and thereby improving effectiveness. To this effect, it welcomes the announcement by the National Police Commissioner that they are in the process of procuring drone capabilities and training members of the SAPS on their deployment. The committee will receive an update on the inclusion of drones within the environment to assess the impact and effectiveness.
Meanwhile, the committee has appreciated the SAPS for the plan they rolled out and implemented on 20 March 2023 to maintain law and order in the whole country. The committee said collaboration with communities to ensure safety, protection of life and property is commendable and congratulated the SAPS for their success on 20 March in the implementation of the plan.
The committee reiterated that the protection of the right to protest remains sacrosanct, but the police have the responsibility to protect all South Africans, including those who protest. The committee expects a report from the SAPS on the operation and lessons learned from its implementation and other related aspects.
Regarding the SAPS Amendment Bill, the committee has emphasised the need for the Bill to be tabled to ensure that it processes it. The committee remains of the view that this Bill is necessary to bring the SAPS Act in line with the Constitution and it has highlighted the urgency thereof.
The committee has received a report on the matter of the authorisation of procurement and utilisation of IMSI-catcher and the processes that had been concluded by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the exemption certificate to procure and use those listening devices. According to the committee, this process was outside its oversight mandate.
The committee will after the consideration of the report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development by the National Assembly, engage with the SAPS on the procurement and use of these devices using the normal framework of oversight by the committee on the SAPS.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON POLICE, MS TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairpersons, please contact the Committees’ Media Officer:
Name: Malatswa Molepo (Mr)
Parliamentary Communication Services
Tel: 021 403 8438
Cell: 081 512 7920