SPEECH NOTES – BOBBY STEVENSON, MPL – SPOKESPERSON ON SAFETY AND SECURITY – SPEAKING IN THE LEGISLATURE ON THE ANNUAL REPORT AND FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY AND LIAISON

This department is technically sound. It has competent people working for it. It is reasonably well managed and it continues to receive unqualified audit reports leading the Province in the consecutive number in a row.

In short it is doing things right but the question which I, and members of the portfolio committee have is – Is the Department doing the right things?

To my mind the Department lacks an overall vision and passion as to how it can effectively oversight the SAPS and make a greater impact on bringing down crime levels in this Province. This department must not be seen as some fringe department but can actually play a major role in service delivery in this Province.

I wish to draw members attention to the national planning commission whose document points out that high crime levels have slowed down South Africa’s economic growth rate.

One therefore cannot isolate the impact of crime on job creation and employment. This Department needs to take itself more seriously and the Province needs to take this Department more seriously as does the SAPS.

The committee’s annual report refers to the poor relations between the Department and Provincial SAPS and, as a result, the Department is not holding regular meetings with the Senior Management of SAPS for purpose of oversight. The report also points out that the Department does not have a clear plan to monitor the implementation of it’s oversight recommendations of the SAPS.

One clearly cannot have a situation where the Department does not receive the full co-operation of the SAPS. Or that there is a sweetheart relationship to the detriment of vigorous oversight. The committee is extremely concerned with regard to the impact that the Department is making and recommended that the Department must conduct an impact assessment of it’s activities and programmes to ensure that they bring some form of change.

The Department needs to move from an outputs based culture to a performance monitoring culture when it comes to the SAPS.

In the latest S A Crime Quarterly an article by David Bruce suscintly deals with this matter. The Department needs, in fact, to be monitoring the following key issues :

• Does the SAPS in fact reduce crime, disorder, fear and promote public safety.

• What is their effectiveness in bringing offenders to justice.

• How promptly do they respond to emergency calls.

• Do they communicate with and serve members of the public in a professional manner?

• Are they responsive to vulnerable groups?

• Do they co-operate with other agencies including the Department of Safety and Liaison in order to enhance broader crime prevention activities?

• Do they follow professional standards in recording and reporting information on crime?

What this Department should be able to answer is – who is doing crime, why are they doing crime and how can that crime be prevented in a sustainable way?

If we know the answers to those questions one can then have much more effective policing in this Province. We can’t be tough on crime without being tough on the causes of crime in this Province. We therefore need to know what are the causes of crime in this Province in general and specifically in different regions.

We are now in the period of 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children.

The rate of reported sexual crimes in the Eastern Cape and the latest victims of crime survey highlight the vulnerability of women and children in our Province.

According to the SAPS, Eastern Cape Crime statistics, 20 sexual offences were reported per day at police stations during the 2010 / 2011 year – all in all a total of 9380, which was a 2.2% increase over the previous year.

I wish to raise a number of questions in this regard.

1. In terms of the Sexual Offences Act, does the Department monitor whether the SAPS ensures compulsory HIV testing for perpetrators of sexual offences?

2. Does the Department monitor whether rape victims are informed verbally and in writing of medical treatment that needs to be taken within 72 hours in terms of the Act? Research has shown that this is very poor.

3. Does the Department monitor the waiting time for rape victims when reporting rape at police stations?

4. Does the Department monitor how members of the SAPS receive training in terms of the sexual offences act and national instruction?

5. Does the Department monitor whether members of the SAPS receive training in the forensic and medical management of rape survivors?

6. Does the Department monitor whether the SAPS receives training with regard to the social context of rape and rape trauma? Research indicates that the training, even to members of the Child protection, family violence and sexual offences units is poor.

What has the Department done to monitor the Department of Social development’s child protection register which is supposed to list people unsuitable to work with children as a result of previous convictions of child abuse?

Three months ago there was only one name in the register and now it contains twenty two names. If this Department had a broader vision of improving safety in the Province, they would be onto these kinds of issues and ensure that people that are unfit to work with children’s names are listed in this Register from this Province but there are only 22 from the whole country.

Honourable Speaker, the Democratic Alliance is calling for this Department to adopt a broader vision, a fresh outlook and to fight crime in this Province with greater passion and to hold the SAPS more accountable without fear or favour.