By The revelations made the police’s Crime Intelligence unit has been “affected” in the hard-hitting high-level review panel report on the State Security Agency (SSA) but is “not captured”, the national police commissioner has said.
Lieutenant General Khehla Sitole made this assertion to the Portfolio Committee on Police on Wednesday after reference was made to the high-level report which the Presidency, in an unusual move, made public over the weekend.
“It is important that we get an assurance that there are consequence management and adherence to the Constitution and legislation [at Crime Intelligence],” committee chairperson Francois Beukman said.
“Is our Crime Intelligence also part of the capture?” EFF MP Philip Mhlongo asked.
Mhlongo said President Cyril Ramaphosa did the “honourable thing” by releasing the report.
“Some findings of that report affect how intelligence should operate in the police,” Sitole responded. “Generally, chair, I can say the findings of that commission are aligned to our strategy.”
“We are affected,” Sitole said. “But we are not captured.”
He said there would be an “immediate impact” on Crime Intelligence should the SSA not be functioning as it should.
Major General Peter Jacobs, head of Crime Intelligence, said the panel didn’t cover the unit’s work, but he was called before the panel and provided his input.
“Last year, we did a full, robust review of Crime Intelligence,” he said.
“It was fairly intense, the issues we identified.”
He said the unit was dealing with instances where there had been overreached, including several cases in which officials were charged in disciplinary proceedings.
“That process is ongoing.”
He said disciplinary proceedings were slow and explained that while the sheer volume of charges against officials might leave some with the impression that certain people were being targeted, the sole reason was to turn the organization around.
He said Crime Intelligence was working with the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture in regard to the security around the proceedings. He said when allegations crop up at the commission, the unit “tackles” them.
The committee was generally positive about developments at Crime Intelligence since Jacobs’s appointment last year.
“I’m most heartened by the work of General Jacobs,” said DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard. She said he had inherited a deeply damaged organization but seemed to be “working miracles”.
Beukman said it was “quite clear” that good progress had been made since the appointments of Jacobs and Sitole.