As Directors-General (DGs) of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, (JCPS) this is our fourth provincial visit. We have come to Mpumalanga to receive reports from our provincial structures, get first hand experience of the challenges they face in the implementation of government programmes as well as note the successes they have obtained. We will also elevate these issues to the executive at national level.
By moving to the coal face of service delivery, we gain invaluable experience of the daily reality facing our departments and the conditions under which they have to operate. This assists us as we plan and make decisions.
The DGs meeting held today was briefed on the crime situation in the province by acting Provincial Commissioner Machabi who is also the chairperson of the provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, (JOINTS), comprising mainly of South African Police Service (SAPS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee (NICOC), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), 2010 office and South African Defence Force (SANDF).
Commissioner Machabi specifically highlighted the prevalence of trio crimes in the 16 high contact crime stations. These areas which show a tendency of high prevalence of the trio crimes are Kanyamazane, Tonga and Siyabuswa. Whilst most other crime categories have decreased, there has been an increase in the trio crimes which include car and truck hijackings, business and house robbery.
Some of the measures being implemented to combat these crimes include, involvement of state prosecutors in the provincial JOINTS, senior SAPS legal services member appointed permanently to provide legal advice, appointment of the case flow forum to fast track finalisation of cases, project training by prosecutors of detectives was deployed at Ports of Entry, optimum utilisation of reservists to maximise visibility, conducting of special investigations to address police involvement in Crime, Community Policing forums (CPFS) are being mobilised to ensure community support, establishment of the war room concept as it exists in other provinces and regional co-ordination of arrested suspects through suspect profiling process.
Commissioner Machabi also highlighted the challenges being faced, such as:
- postponement of court cases
- DNA and ballistic reports that are long outstanding
- suspect that change legal representation
- inquest documents not finalised in time
- the non-appointment of a Director of Public Prosecutions
- road and infrastructure, particularly in the rural areas is poor and inaccessible.
As a way forward in addressing the above mentioned challenges, the meeting agreed that the JCPS cluster core departments should return to the province for a more intensive discussion on how to address some of the pressing matters raised by the acting commissioner.
The Chairperson of the Provincial Integrated Justice System Development Committee, Mr M D Mhlanga made a presentation highlighting the various activities of the committee of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJCD) in Mpumalanga, which include amongst other crime fighting, prevention and case management.
The committee is making a concerted effort to ensure integration of the various structures existing in the province such as case flow management, child justice forum and victim empowerment.
The presentation also addressed matters such as overcrowding, bail, child custody in correctional facilities. Mr Mhlanga also gave an overview of the electronic systems being utilised by the criminal justice system for example scheduler, electronic funds transfer, database for foreign language, court interpreters to be used for 2010 is complete.
He also highlighted on the public education that is conducted on domestic violence, maintenance matters and the victim’s charter, which was launched in the province during 2008.
Mr Velani Nzimande, Chairperson of the Provincial Border Control Co-ordinating Committee (BCOCC), also gave an overview on the operations of ports of entry and co-located border concept.
Our visit to the Lebombo Border Post is particularly against the background of an initiative between South Africa and Mozambique to integrate both Lebombo and Ressano Garcia Border Posts. The integration will result in a One Stop Border Post/Collocated Border Post which results in many benefits, amongst others, will be the following:
- significant improvement of efficiency in the facilitation of legal movement of people and goods across the two countries
- increased collaboration of South African officials and their counterparts in facilitation of legal passage of people and goods
- travellers will only stop once as opposed to the current dispensation which requires that they get processed at two facilities of the two countries
- congestion will be effectively dealt with and is expected to result in traveller’s convenience
- collaboration between the security services of both countries will be enhanced
- agreement on operating times will be easy to reach between the two countries.
As already mentioned, it is our intention to ensure that all law enforcement in all South African ports of entry is effective. Government will continue to make efforts to ensure that desired improvements are realised.
Whilst government has always made efforts for effective law enforcement at all our ports of entry, the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup to be hosted by South Africa propels us to double our efforts in that regard.
With the anticipation of an influx of soccer fans from abroad, Joint Border Clearance Initiative will be implemented in the South African and neighbouring states border posts. The initiative entails co-operation between South African border posts officials and their counterparts in processing the passage of travellers through our borders. The initiative will result in effective and efficient border post operations as already mentioned in respect of the One Stop Border Post/Co-located Border Post.
Attention will be given the following land border posts in order of their priority:
- Lebombo (Mozambique)
- Beit Bridge (Zimbabwe)
- Kopfontein (Botswana)
- Oshoek (Swaziland)
- Fiksburg Bridge (Lesotho)
- Maseru Bridge (Lesotho)
Other than the land border posts, consideration has been given to other ports of entry. Several foreign airports have been designated priority as ports of entry due to the following considerations:
- Strategic central air hubs
- Volume of travellers departing for South Africa
- Possibility of participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup
- Direct flights to South Africa
The selected airports are:
- Perth Airport (Perth, Australia)
- Heathrow Airport (London, United Kingdom)
- Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
- Frankfort Hahn Airport (Frankfurt, Germany)
For the FIFA Confederations Cup, only the Perth Airport has been selected as a priority foreign airport.
We also visited the Lebombo Border Post Storage facility where all illegal and contraband goods confiscated from travellers are stored. This facility indicates that law enforcement is being carried out at this border post, but we are not suggesting that all illegal goods are detected. Therefore, we will continue to improve the effectiveness of law enforcement at all our border posts and other ports of entry.
We have previously visited KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, Eastern Cape; our visit to Mpumalanga has helped us to fully understand the processes that are happening in respect of passage of pedestrians, passenger traffic and goods through our borders.
- Advocate Menzi Simelane, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
- Commissioner Xoliswa Sibeko, Department of Correctional Services
- Mr Silumko Sokupa, National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee (NICOC)
- General Matanzima, South African National Defence Force
- Deputy National Commissioner, Andre Pruis
- Dr Gamede, Department of Defence
Cell: 082 779 8709
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)