On the 13th of May 2015 the Portfolio Committee on Police was briefed in the National Assembly by the SAPS on the quarterly reports on the implementation of the: Criminal Justice System (CJS) Modernisation; Integrated Case Docket Management System (ICDMS); and the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act, 2013 (DNA Act).
Please find below a brief summary of the meeting and to view the full meeting minutes, please click here.
The Committee met with SAPS senior management, including the National Commissioner, to be briefed on the progress of various SAPS technology services including the modernisation for the Criminal Justice System (CJS), the Integrated Case Docket Management System (ICDMS), the Integrated Justice System (IJS), Forensic Science Laboratory Division (FSL) as well as a briefing on the status of implementation of the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act, otherwise known as the DNA Act of 2013.
The Committee Researcher first provided a background on the systems and projects, monitoring and oversight of them, and the 2014/15 budget and expenditure for them.
The Committee was briefed by SAPS on the Criminal Justice System (CJS) where attention was paid to the planned quarterly budget allocation vs. actual expenditure for 2014/15 and the status of milestone deliverables achieved. The specific projects discussed covered: capacitation and modernisation of criminal record centre component, automated fingerprint ID replacement and maintenance, replacement of stolen equipment at provincial level record centres in Springs and Vryburg, provision of end user equipment for newly appointed criminal record centre members, audio visual and video conferencing, electronic plan drawing, facial compilation and the maintenance of biometric enhancement solutions. Other projects included additional devices for enhancement and presentation of digital latent prints, additional devices for panoramic image capturing cameras, integration with the HANIS system of Home Affairs, decentralisation of JUDDIS (Judicial Document Image Storage System), reprioritised criminal record centre projects for 2014/15, capacitation and modernisation of forensic science laboratories, ballistic interface unit capabilities and closed circuit TV and access control. Also included in the presentation was end user equipment for forensic science labs, bar code printers for Cape Town and Arcadia, scanners for police stations for implementation of the DNA Act, procurement of iPads, high resolution cameras for scientific unit analysis, X-Ray devices, semi-automated DNA isolation instruments in the DNA crime lane, scientific data management system upgrades and expert system and expert system assistance systems. Further projects outlined was radio frequency identification, mobile cyanoacrylate fuming system, tyre tread mark ID system, capacitation and modernisation of provincial, cluster, police stations and national division, end user equipment deployment and configuration, capacitation and modernisation of detective services, voice recorded, expansion of digital extraction devices, capacitation and modernisation of Visible Policing, mobile connectivity devices (field terminal devices) expansion and maintenance, capacitation and modernisation of protection and security services and video wall nerve centre (war room) maintenance.
Members noted the pattern of vital and instrumental projects stalling halfway because of other processes and questioned the effect of this on SAPS functions such as convictions and arrests. Questions included the sequence of operations in terms of funding, capacity problems in the sector, integration of databases across ministries in terms of the SAPS Act, how milestones achieved were determined, capacitation of detectives in terms of e-dockets, communication between SAPS and State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and if the challenges of the SAPS anti-rhino poaching unit in the Kruger National Park had been taken into consideration. Other Members thought while all the information was useful, there needed to be a frank discussion, with all the other relevant stakeholders who seemed to be dragging their feet, on what the real problems were, where the blockages were inhibiting progress on these projects, and the need to look at the percentage of projects satisfactorily completed to assess the results of the funds. There were requests for updates on TETRA (digital police radio system), Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and the video wall nerve centre. Other issues raised were about the needed links with court systems for seamless operability, improvement on the matter of very expensive equipment in the Pretoria forensic lab not being used or dismantled, and the readiness of SAPS to implement the DNA Act in terms of capacity and equipment.
SAPS provided a progress report on the implementation of the DNA Act. An overview of the Act and its objectives was given, along with DNA collection and processing, functions of the DNA Board and detail on the key focus areas of the Act.
The next SAPS presentation was on the expenditure for the IJS projects for 2014/15 along with financial achievements and milestones delivered for these projects. These projects included the Property Control and Exhibit Management (PCEM), detention management systems, identity and access management, national photo image systems, facial recognition systems, disaster victim identification, ICDMS case administration, action request for services, service integration bus, SAPS service orientated architecture advancement and field terminal devices front and back end development.
The Committee decided it was best to continue a thorough discussion on this particular topic on 10 June along with other relevant stakeholders with the intention of identifying which areas needed to be unblocked for progress to be made.