Institute for Human Rights & Criminal Justice Studies
Faculty of Public Safety & Criminal Justice
Submission on the 2000/1 SAPS and ICD Budgets to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Safety & Security
The South African Police Service Budget for the Financial Year 2000/1
The South African Police Service budget for 2000/1 raises a number of concerns on various levels for differing reasons.
1. Lack of detail
The fact that this budget is so lacking in detail is of major concern primarily because since 1996 there has been considerable discussion inside and outside of the SAPS concerning budgetary reform. It was in fact a major brief of the former CE0 Meyer Kahn to re-form the whole budgetary process and put into place more modern management practices inter alia the decentralisation of financial accountability. There is no evidence in this budget that any such reform has taken place. Line items remain very general with no specifics. In today's times if an organisation wants to run itself efficiently and along modern business principles it needs to develop a budget with each line item giving more detailed specific amounts linked to identified activities and resources. Furthermore, such "detailed" budget should surely be linked to a comprehensive Business Plan?
The lack of detail would appear to indicate that budget allocations still occur along old lines whereby the National Commissioner draws up the budget in general terms with global figures for general categories. In the course of the year decisions are taken at the highest level as to who gets what allocation. Control over allocated amounts would still appear to be weak in that it is a well-known fact that during the year amounts allocated for specific activities are often arbitrarily re-allocated to other budgetary items, specifically if the allocated amount has not yet been fully spent on that activity.
Accordingly it is recommended that budget specialists be employed by the SAPS in order to draw up a more specific detailed annual budget in which each line item for specific activities has amounts allocated to it. It is assumed that the Department of Finance would be able to second such specialists to the SAPS for this purpose.
2. Proportion of budget allocated for personnel costs
Again it is of concern that an imbalance has occurred in terms of the proportion of the budget which has been allocated to personnel costs. This is an indication of a number of issues:
i) that the budget amount is not large enough to be able to allocate sufficient additional funds for capital items and infrastructural development (adequate resources and equipment); or
ii) available budget is not being efficiently utilise; or
However, it is put forward here that police personnel should in fact be paid far better than is currently the case. This recommendation is made on the principle that to deal with such issues as corruption and bribery a country's law and order personnel should be the best paid of all public service categories (this has been the Singaporean experience in the implementation of their corruption prevention strategy).
Furthermore, in line with the more efficient utilisation of existing amounts allocated for personnel costs the SAPS management should in fact seriously investigate the possibility of outsourcing more activities than is currently being done (certain admin functions, human resources, financial services, IT, guarding of prisoners, medical and counselling support services etc.).
3. New recruitment
There is no specific line item in this budget, which specifically makes available funding for new recruitment and training. Whether these costs are hidden within the general personnel costs is unknown. But for the SAPS to recruit new members, re-professionalise and select quality candidates there is a need for a separate budget for recruitment purposes so that the SAPS can plan ahead and know exactly what amount it can spend on recruitment and training.
The training budget would appear to be woefully inadequate. Nor is there any indication of for what training activity the training budget has allocated funds. This again refers to the lack of line item detail. There is no indication whether certain training needs have been specifically identified for prioritisation and implementation. Accordingly this budget needs to specifically indicate whether funds have been allocated for such prioritised training needs as:
Moreover, this budget gives no indication whether police personnel receive any financial assistance or encouragement (recognition of professional qualifications for promotion purposes) to study further. Currently police personnel still have to pay out of their own pockets to study further in order to obtain additional tertiary professional qualifications, i.e. University/College/Technikon certificates, diplomas or degrees. In addition some form of incentives or financial support need to be built into the recognition of any professional qualifications in order to encourage members to undertake further studies. Such support can also go towards specific career development and specialisation. These costs should possibly be incorporated in the "Professional Services" budget.
In line with professionalisation, building expertise levels and service delivery goals, the SAPS should be encouraged to regard itself as a learning organisation. Experience and expertise should be professionally recognised and the intellectual capital encompassed in each and every one of its members should be utilised in the most efficient manner for the better good of the community as a whole. For instance the experiential learning acquired by station commanders in their daily work environment needs to be drawn on and fed back into the organisation by means of field training programmes. Provision for such training costs should be made in the training budget.
Furthermore, the prospect of outsourcing professional training should be investigated and budget provision made for this.
5. Lack of a R&D budget and investment in new technology
There is no indication of any allocation whatsoever in this budget for research and development (R&D) purposes. In the current crime situation in South Africa there is an urgent need for the funding of specific research initiatives dealing with the use of technology. In this matter the defence industry is way ahead of the law enforcement sector in terms of the dual use of technology (for detail of international initiatives in this regard see the Department of Arts, Culture, Science & Technology Foresight Project.) The international experience points to the dedicated investment in R&D budgets in order that law enforcement can remain at the cutting edge of the use of new techniques and technologies. For example the Chinese police have developed an electronic docket tracking system which is also used for detecting emergency calls. Currently the South African police spend a great deal of time manually dealing with dockets. Here computers can be used to track cases and even to give reminders to individual detectives. Given the history of the SAPS, the prevalence of violent crime in South Africa and the perceived inability to effectively deter criminals, there is an obvious need to combine and more efficiently utilise manpower and technology to greater effect.
This last point raises the additional issue of the small budget amount, which has been allocated to technology. This budget is not clear on exactly what the amount budgeted for technology will be spent. The question is - exactly what do the IT Department in the SAPS spend their budget on? Is it for training, equipment, acquisition of new technology and computer programs or mainly personnel costs and admin? Investment in additional equipment and technology is crucial in the light of current problems in terms of collection of crime statistics, analysis thereof, linking up with and making databases compatible (making different systems "talk to each other"). This is important in the light of plans for the implementation of an integrated database information system for the whole criminal justice system (Departments of Correctional Services, Justice and Safety & Security).
Moreover, there should be some allocation not only for basic research on technology, but also for applied and advanced technology development. This is doubly important in the light of worldwide trends of the use of technology and increasing sophistication of transnational crime and organised crime syndicate operations. In combating high-technology use for such aspects of organised crime as money laundering, cross-border smuggling, high finance fraud and even the use of the latest forensic analysis techniques, it is imperative that substantial budget amounts be allocated for these purposes and research in new technologies. The underlying question is how will the current budget of the SAPS enable the police to "Work Smarter"! There is unfortunately no indication that this aspect (R&D investment) is incorporated in the current budget.
6. General budgetary allocations
Again there is no indication in this budget of specific line items. It would appear that admin costs take-up substantial portions of for instance the training budget.
There is also a budget allocation for "Professional and Special Services". Does this mean that the SAPS are again hiring consultants? Should this item not rather be outsourced as a more cost-effective measure? Amounts have been budgeted for auxiliary services and admin -- what is this? The same applies for the line item "medical support" -- does this refer to personnel medically boarded?
The amount budgeted for logistics support has also been increased. Why can this not be outsourced or put out to tender. The same applies to the line item "Management Advisory Services". Moreover, it would appear that only a paltry sum has been budgeted for infrastructural development and the building of new police stations/upkeep of existing buildings. Serious attention needs to be given to this aspect of the working environment of police members and it is strongly recommended that additional amounts be budgeted for this purpose (inclusive of such basic equipment needs as computers, fax and photocopier machines - the lack of the latter impacts for instance directly on something like making additional spare copies of dockets in case such dockets are lost or stolen).
Although there has been a slight increase in the allocation for the detectives' component and a substantial increase in crime prevention this does not make policing sense in terms of the current crime situation in South Africa. There should be no doubt that the emphasis in crime fighting in South Africa should be on the detection and conviction of criminals as a priority in policing. The increased amounts should rather be allocated to detective training in order to improve detection and conviction rates rather than on crime prevention. Moreover, intelligence-driven policing should be the hallmark of the new investigation emphasis for detection.
However, it needs to be emphasised that such serious concerns as to why the general public are so reluctant to report crime to the police, or to come forward and act as witnesses or to testify in court need to be investigated so that specific counter measures can be funded and implemented. For this reason, amounts need to be allocated for specific training at station level for service delivery and client management.
The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) Budget for the Financial Year 2000/1
1. Special Investigators
There has been no substantial increase in amounts budgeted for the training of special investigators for the ICD. The ICD should not have to rely on employing former SAPS investigators but rather make provision for the specialised training of civilian investigators.
2. Investigation of complaints
There has been a decrease in the budget for investigating complaints -- why? For the ICD to effectively fulfil its mandate, and in the light of the increase in reported cases of complaints against the police, this budget should be increased substantially.
3. Civil claims against state
The amount budgeted for civil claims against the state appears to have decreased over the previous year's amount. Is this an indication that it is being assumed that cases of police misconduct and violent use of force will decrease in the forthcoming year? In reality the situation contradicts this where the ICD have in fact experience an increase in such reported cases. Accordingly should not larger amounts be budgeted not only for civil claims against the state but also for such aspects as human rights & use of force training.
4. Witness Protection Programme
It is of great concern that nothing has been budgeted in the 2000/1 ICD budget for a Witness Protection Programme (even though an amount was budgeted for this in the 1999/2000 ICD budget). It is recommended that a specific budget should again be set up for the adequate funding and implementation of an effective Witness Protection Programme. Otherwise the ICD will be unable to undertake and effectively fulfil its mandate, particularly with regard to the protection and safekeeping of whistleblowers and witnesses.
5. Independence of ICD
In line with the concerns as well as the general perceptions regarding the perceived lack of independence of the ICD, is it not time that the ICD budget be taken out of the general SAPS budget and stand on its own -- possibly reporting directly to Parliament -- thereby also having recourse to external donor funding.
Dr A. Minnaar & Ms D. Mistry
Institute for Human Rights & Criminal Justice Studies
Faculty for Public Safety & Criminal Justice