National police commissioner Riah Phiyega had to bite the bullet on Tuesday as questions about the quality of police performance were fired at her.
Questions ranged from what happens when a police officer does not comply with procedure, how do station and cluster commanders ensure proper management of police pocket books and what is the quality of policing that the ordinary person receives?
Phiyega’s department presented its annual report to Parliament’s police committee on Tuesday.
Members of Parliament were reacting to the Auditor General’s report, which blamed middle management for two counts that had prevented the department from getting a clean audit.
The South African Police Service (Saps) Annual Report for the 2014/15 financial year revealed that 48% of the reports by Saps members on their performance while responding to dispatch call-outs could not be properly verified.
This was mostly blamed on lack of proper oversight of police pocket books by line managers.
Committee chairperson and African National Congress MP Francois Beukman questioned the Saps’ management model.
He said: “If you say pocket books are a problem, what is the consequence?” He also wanted to know what the consequences were for cluster and station commanders.
Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald wanted to know why such “crucial tools of police work were in chaos”, while ANC MP Maapi Molebatsi questioned how they made sure that police did not “thumbsuck information” in their pocket books.
Phiyega said the police service was not different to any government office in terms of management structure.
“The cluster takes responsibility for a number of stations. We tell the station commander that he is the CEO of the station and that we are holding [him or her] accountable for whatever happens at the station.”
Phiyega said it was not always a unified approach because there were silos in stations where some detectives regarded themselves as independent and not accountable to station commanders.
“What we are grappling with now is to say we have one command head in the station.”
She said oversight, monitoring and standardisation of service delivery in areas were up to cluster commanders. News24