Police Committee Enhances IPID Amendment Bill for Greater Oversight

Cape Town – The Portfolio Committee on Police has made significant improvements to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Amendment Bill [B21-2023], particularly focusing on strengthening the appointment process of the Executive Director of the IPID. The committee completed the clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill yesterday and is now set to review the A list of the Bill.

According to Parliament of South Africa, the Chairperson of the committee, the process was greatly influenced by the values of public participation as outlined in the Constitutional Court judgement in Mogale and Others v Speaker of the National Assembly. The public comments received were substantial and contributed to an enhanced Bill that aligns with the spirit of the McBride v Minister of Police case.

In response to public concerns about Parliamentary oversight in the appointment of the Executive Director, section 6 of the principal Act has been amended. Subsections (1) and (2) concerning the confirmation of the appointment by a relevant parliamentary committee have been retained, with the rest of the subsections strengthened. The committee believes these changes ensure better checks and balances by Parliament and enhance oversight on the appointment process.

The committee also addressed the appointment panel for the Executive Director, maintaining that entrusting this responsibility to a parliamentary committee contradicts government regulatory frameworks for appointing heads of national departments. To bolster oversight, the committee stipulated that the relevant Parliamentary Committee must confirm or reject a nomination within 30 parliamentary working days, providing necessary checks and balances.

Further, to address vacancies in the Executive Director position, the committee agreed to a provision allowing a six-month extension, with a potential for an additional six months, for filling the position, subject to justification for any delays. Additionally, the period of appointment has been revised to seven years, non-renewable, to ensure clarity and prevent misinterpretations.

Mr. Seabi highlighted these changes as evidence of the committee’s commitment to strengthening the structural and operational independence of the IPID.

The committee also acknowledged the backlog in grade progression for members of the South African Police Service (SAPS), a concern since 2011. Recognizing the country’s fiscal challenges, the committee called for strategies to prevent negative impacts on SAPS members, especially in light of competitive remuneration offered by private security companies. The SAPS promotion and grade progression policy is under review, and the National Commissioner has initiated a benchmark study with other countries’ police agencies for insights. The committee urged a swift implementation of this benchmarking exercise.

Overall, the committee remains dedicated to improving the conditions of service for SAPS members and implementing strategies for such improvements.

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