People of the Western Cape’s safety bears the brunt of SAPS Crime Intelligence Division’s ailing state

By Ricardo Mackenzie MPP, DA spokesperson for Cultural Affairs and Sport:

Madame Speaker, we cannot debate the ability of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Western Cape to prevent, combat and investigate crime in our province without considering the SAPS Crime Intelligence, or lack thereof.

Madame Speaker, it is no secret that the Crime Intelligence Division of the SAPS has for a long time been in shambles. According to an Institute for Security Studies report, the Crime Intelligence Division of the South Africa Police Service’s dysfunctionality “is largely the result of years of in-fighting, poor leadership and maladministration caused by inappropriate political interference.”

Madame Speaker, the cracks within the SAPS Intelligence Division is so apparent that even the National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Riah Phiyega admitted before Parliament that the SAPS’s Crime Intelligence Division was “ailing”.

She also elaborated that “Crime Intelligence needed cleaning up because policing without intelligence is not going to take us anywhere”. Speaker, that is exactly the point. A dysfunctional SAPS Intelligence Division has severe implications for preventing, combatting and investigating crime, not only in the Western Cape but South Africa.

As per the Institute’s report, the ailing state of the Crime intelligence Division General Phiyega referred to “can mainly be attributed to a combination of large-scale fraud and corruption within the Division and the struggle for political control of this powerful intelligence institution”.

Madame Speaker, is this a characteristic of national competencies? Because some, if not all,  national government competencies under the ANC are failing the people of the Western Cape and South Africa as a whole?

The report elaborates further on the ailing state of the Crime Intelligence Division and explains:

  • Former Heads of Crime Intelligence:
  • Mulangi Mphego, – forced to resign
  • Richard Mdluli, was suspended in May 2011 after being arrested on a number of criminal charges, including murder, attempted murder, intimidation, kidnapping, assault and defeating the ends of justice.
  • More criminal charges against Mdluli followed and he was charged with fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering. A number of other senior Crime Intelligence officers were implicated in the latter criminal charges and were either suspended or transferred.
  • Both appointments were primarily political in nature.

Madame Speaker, this means that preventing, combatting and investigating crime bears the brunt as a number of highly skilled and experienced Crime Intelligence officers were removed as they posed a threat to Mdluli.

This, Madame Speaker, is unacceptable as our people have the right to freedom and security of the person and the unsafe state of the Manenbergs, the Mitchell’s Plains, the Hanover Parks, the Grabouws, the Mfulenis is a clear indication of the violation of this right. Madame Speaker, there are real threats to people’s safety in the Western Cape and as soon as the ANC-led national government puts an end to politicising safety can people in the Western Cape live lives they can value and use the freedom and opportunities opened by the DA-led Western Cape Government.

Dr Chris de Kock, researcher in the fields of crime and conflict at the Human Sciences Research Council, former head of the Crime Information Analysis Centre and former Major General in SAPS, told the Commission that crime intelligence is vital to effective and efficient policing and that policing should always be intelligence based.

The Commission also concluded that the system of Crime Intelligence is not functioning according to SAPS national guidelines including circular 2/2001 which requires each detective to at least recruit one informer per month and he told the Commission that many police stations do not meet this standard.

The Commission report also states that just 12.5 % of the annual budget for informers has been spend on informers. This is disgraceful.

Dr. De Kock went also said that “policing at the three police stations is policing by chance and luck and not intelligence-led policing”.

Madame Speaker, an exemplar police service making strides in preventing and combatting crime is the City of Cape Town’s Metropolitan Police Department. Despite their limited powers compared to SAPS, we commend Metro Police who only have a few hundred metro police officers whilst SAPS has 22 000 officers in the Western Cape.

The City of Cape Town’s Metro Police does more than only enforce the law, they contribute to long term solutions by dealing with the causes of crime.

They work on an understanding that a breakdown in family and community life plays a significant role in creating an environment in which gangsterism, drugs and crime flourish.

To mention only a few of the metro police department’s campaigns to prevent and combat the social ills of communities are confronted with on a daily basis.

  • The real man’s pledge: This programme encourages men to examine their relationships with women.
  • The youth academy: Working with the Western Cape Education Department, the metro police choose young people at risk of being drawn into gangsterism to be part of the Youth Academy. They build their self-esteem and leadership abilities so as to keep them occupied and show that there are alternatives to gang life.
  • Stay Safe: This is a “how to stay safe” programme for children at early childhood development centres and schools.
  • The City also run highly specialised units such as gang drug busters, copperheads, canine unit etc.

Madame Speaker, the core of crime intelligence is to prevent crime. The fact that they are dysfunctional is one of the reasons crime is so high in the Western Cape.

We are also concerned that the Head of Crime Intelligence now reports to Pretoria, further hampering crime fighting in the Western Cape.

I thank you.