Your voice can now bring about change in holding the police service accountable.

Committee calls for public input on bill aimed at introducing oversight models for Gauteng SAPS

provincial-legislaturejpg

The Gauteng Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Community Safety has called for public input for a newly proposed law. It aims to create a oversight models for the police service. Provinces are by law allowed to monitor police conduct and to oversee the effectiveness and efficiency of provincial police service, as well as those who operate at municipal level.

The Community Safety Oversight Bill proposes methods to monitor the conduct of both the South African Police Service (SAPS) and municipal police services in all Gauteng’s municipalities.

Committee chairperson Honourable Alphina Ndlovana says among the mix of efforts proposed by the bill is the formalisation of collaboration between the police service and community policing forums, neighbourhood watch services, and community organisations. And ranking high on the priority list proposed by the bill, she says, is the establishment of the Gauteng Provincial Police Ombudsman office, whose primary task would be to investigate all public complaints about the police service(s).

The Bill suggests that the way the Gauteng executive currently addresses public concerns about police inefficiencies points to a gap in the system, and the need for an independent structure that will bring about the change in holding the police service accountable.

Honourable Alphina Ndlovana - committee chairperson

She says the envisaged Bill grants special powers to the proposed ombudsman’s office the autonomy to enforce such accountability by first identifying bottlenecks in the relations between the police and Gauteng residents.

She continues: “The proposition is to move away from the current practice of determining policing needs primarily on the basis of crime statistics but taking a holistic approach to determine policing needs based on information obtained in partnership with communities, civil society, other government spheres, business and the like.”

The bill also provides for the voluntary registration of security service providers on the Gauteng Department of Community Safety’s database of organisations, which will enable the due screening and vetting of security service providers, and introduces further training where gaps are identified.

In addition to identifying inefficiencies on the ground, the Bill also addresses aspects such as the reporting to the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) of Community Safety by the SAPS Provincial Commissioner and executive heads of municipal police services.

It also proposes the establishment of a Provincial Safety Advisory Committee to advise the MEC of Community Safety on functions, strategies and policies that aim to increase efficiencies in policing.

She adds that proposals made by the Bill “are well in the spirit of the Constitution, as they reinforce the principles of cooperative governance and intergovernmental relations in general, more specifically between the Civilian Secretariat and the Province”.

The bill can now be found on Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s official website, for review and input by Gauteng residents.

Interested parties and members of the public wishing to comment on the bill, may send their written comments
to: Gauteng Legislature’s Community Safety Committee Coordinator; Ms Thabile Malumane: email: TMalumane@gpl.gov.za or via WhatsApp on 072 560 9039 before Thursday 2 December 2021.