Minister vague on crucial police matters
The Minister of Police is being vague and selective in terms of which parliamentary questions he decides to answer. Whilst we are pleased he has finally begun responding timeously, the quality of replies has been questionable.
This week, I received four replies to parliamentary questions which I had submitted recently. The first two were sufficiently detailed, the other two however were either deliberately withholding information or the Minister's department is failing to keep records.
I asked the Minister of Police how many SAPS members had undergone fitness assessments and whether any had failed. The reply did not even correspond to the question.
The second question posed to the Minister was the number of occult-related crimes which have occurred in the last financial year following reports in the Daily Sun that the Occult-Related Crime Unit was to be re-established. We were told the information is not readily available.
This has been a growing trend over the last few months. Previously, replies were given with great detail and we were never told that this would involve ‘considerable man hours'.
In one instance, a question which we submitted on whether there was sufficient equipment for SAPS members was rebutted with a response that publishing of this information "might pose a risk/threat on policing and SAPS members". The same question posed to the Gauteng Provincial legislature resulted in a list of all of the equipment available to the SAPS in Gauteng. Clearly no threat is posed there.
In our opinion, the number of SAPS members who have been charged with rape, murder, assault and theft over a certain period of time should be readily available. It is the responsibility of IPID to monitor this situation. Is this information not computerised? Or is the Minister too embarrassed to divulge details on this?
If the SAPS was keeping accurate electronic records, the information required by parliament to perform its oversight role would be readilyavailable. Without information, we can't determine gaps in policies and procedures.
I will be writing to the acting Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Police to highlight our concerns at the standard of the responses we have been receiving of late and to ask that the Minister come to the committee to provide us with the information he does not seem willing to provide in written questions.
Statement issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, DA Shadow Minister of Police, November 8 2012
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