Parliament’s portfolio committee on police and select committee on security and justice are worried about funding constraints of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), saying this will ultimately weaken Ipid’s ability to deliver on its mandate.
The committees have raised concerns in the context of the crucial role Ipid plays as the police watchdog.
Police committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson said: “We are of the view that the problems of incapacity of Ipid due to budget constraints are concerning considering that they impact contract management, service delivery and coverage, and accessibility, as well as compliance with accounting and reporting responsibilities.”
The committees were briefed by Ipid and the Civilian Secretariat for Police on their annual performance plans for 2020/21 and strategic plans for 2020/25. Both emphasised their full support forIpid and called for the provision of “adequate” funding for the entity to ensure that it was in a better position to perform its functions effectively.
The committees said the expansion of Ipid’s footprint was crucial as it would promote policing that was within the ambit of the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Patrick Setshedi, Ipid’s acting executive director, said they would strengthen their security control measures to ensure the safety of investigators while measures were implemented in line with National State of Disaster regulations for Covid-19.
“Our performance in investigations and stakeholder engagements is affected by the national lockdown, but all complaints will be investigated to ensure justice is served to the complainants,” Setshedi said.
When considering the budget of the Civilian Secretariat, both committees emphasised the need to improve the relationship between police and the communities on a continuous basis to ensure the existence of a strong and strategic platform for the purposes of collaboration in the fight against crime.
Select committee chairperson Shahidabibi Shaikhsaid while they appreciated plans by the Civil Secretariat for police to agree and sign memorandums of understanding with the Co-operative Governance Department, as well as the SA Local Government Association, “we urge that this be given priority to standardise and streamline our working relationship”.
Shaikh said the use of technology as a force multiplier had long been a crucial issue and was highlighted in the Fifth Parliament’s legacy report.
The committees welcomed the announcement that the Civilian Secretariat for Police would focus on facilitating the creation of a smart, or e-policing, environment, and that community policing forums should be asked to serve as essential workers, Shaikh said.