The Board of Commissioners of the South African Police Service (SAPS), a structure representing the nine provincial commissioners, issued a statement on Saturday night in which it declared its full support for their boss. The Farlam Commission of Inquiry, set up to investigate the 2012 Marikana massacre in North West, recommended in its report released last month that the national commissioner face an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.
Phiyega was given until Friday to submit her reasons in writing to President Jacob Zuma as to why she should not face an inquiry. She filed her response at around 11pm on Friday. On Saturday, the Board of Commissioners said it “is concerned about the prevailing unfair and largely negative attitude towards the National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Riah Phiyega”.
“The board has noticed a tendency to reduce everything, especially negative issues relating to policing, to the person of the National Commissioner, as if the SAPS is a one-person show.”
The statement added: It is therefore appropriate that the board publicly declares its full support for General Phiyega, and fully endorses her efforts in turning around the SAPS. We are compelled to take this stance as some unnamed sources are misinforming the media, alleging that we are unhappy with the National Commissioner.”
It said media reports claiming low morale, breaking of ranks, and an overall messy state of affairs within the SAPS were unfounded.
“As the SAPS top management, working closely with General Phiyega, we are surprised by these reports, as at no stage has our morale been low. As the nine provincial commissioners we are committed in executing our work together with our members and we shall continue doing so unabated.”
The board further mentioned that it should be noted that none of the SAPS management structures had taken a resolution not to support the submission made at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.
“It is not true that the current management is prioritising task teams over the detectives. The fact of the matter is that these cross-functional teams that we set up have proved very successful. It must be placed on record that the detectives at police stations, as well as at relevant specialised units, continue to execute their duties as usual and remarkable successes have been secured.
“The cases involving [Radovan] Krejcir, [Christopher] Panayiotou, mall robberies, truck hijackings, gangsterism, and drugs are all dealt with by multi-disciplinary teams. The task team dealing with robbers targeting vehicles transporting cigarettes has made significant progress and the same can be said about the so-called airport-following cases.
“Statistics in this regard speak for themselves. At the centre of the successes is the closer working relationship between the detectives and crime intelligence, which is allegedly dysfunctional if one is to believe reports.”
The board said that when the National Commissioner joined the SAPS, the Crime Intelligence Division was in the “Intensive Care Unit, with many issues being exposed in the media”.
“The division is now out of the ICU and results are starting to show. Leadership has stabilised following the appointment of 26 skilled and experienced managers to effectively drive the envisaged turnaround strategy in support of the SAPS objectives. By the end April next year, we would have appointed an additional 900 officers.”
In a lengthy statement, the SAPS board pointed to successes achieved due to the work of the Crime Intelligence Division, saying that targets for 2014/15 which were presented to parliament’s police portfolio committee, including the conducting of 32,507 operations and the generation of 261,193 intelligence products to address priority crimes, were on line to be exceeded.
The board also said the detective services had been working on ways and means of improving the conviction rate, tracing wanted suspects, and improving command and control for better service delivery.
“Under the current management there has been a great deal of focus on strategy, so as to get the fundamentals right, because if [the] SAPS is to fight crime effectively in a sustainable manner, it must be administratively sound. This is informed by the fact that crime is an evolving phenomenon. Policing should therefore be dynamic in order to respond appropriately.”
To meet the challenges the SAPS management said it was:
– Promoting integrity by vetting all senior management, including lifestyle and skills audits to assist in managing corruption within the police;
– Professionalising the police through amendments to standing orders and establishing the SAPS University in Paarl, as well as by engaging various tertiary institutions to come up with courses and programmes which would strengthen the leadership of the SAPS;
– Signing a number of memoranda of understanding with various stakeholders such as Statistics South Africa, Business Against Crime, the CSIR, SABRIC, Primedia/Crime Line, the SABC, and the SA Human Rights Commission in order to improve the quality of policing in the country; and
– Establishing National Disciplinary Trial Units to ensure speedy, standardised, and consistent handling of disciplinary issues to effectively deal with issues of negative discipline and violations of the SAPS Code of Conduct.
“All the nine provincial commissioners wish to state categorically that they are committed to the fight against crime, and continue to motivate their members,” the statement added.
“The successes of Operation Fiela, a countrywide operation aimed at targeting places where the criminal element has manifested itself, speaks volumes regarding [the] SAPS’s commitment to fighting crime.
“This statement of the Board of Commissioners is fully supported by the Deputy National Commissioner: Corporate Services – Lieutenant-General Nobubele Mbekela, the Deputy National Commissioner: Policing – Lieutenant-General Kehla Sitole, and acting Divisional Commissioner Lieutenant-General Bongiwe Zulu.
“Each and every individual provincial commissioner is fully behind this media statement and may be contacted by media representatives directly to verify this fact.”