Minister Fritz submits SAPS Amendment Bill comments to the Civilian Secretariat | Western Cape Government

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Minister Fritz submits SAPS Amendment Bill comments to the Civilian Secretariat

8 December 2020

Minister Fritz submits SAPS Amendment Bill comments to the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service

On 27 November 2020, the Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, submitted the Department’s comments on the Draft South African Police Service Bill (SAPS Bill) to the Civilian Secretariat for Police Services (CSPS).

The Western Cape Government was invited by CSPS to submit its comment on the SAPS Bill, published on 1 October 2020. Going forward, the CSPS will now consider all the comments received from all the commentators. A revised SAPS Bill will then be introduced to the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa in due course and members of the public will again be invited to submit comments on the SAPS Bill.

Registration and accreditation of Neighbourhood Watches (NHW)

With reference to Clause 81 Section 6A(9), Minister Fritz said, “it cannot be expected of Neighbourhood Watches (NHW) to be registered with Community Police Forums (CPFs). CPFs’ objectives differ from that of NHWs. Their main objective is oversight over the police as set out in section 18 of the Bill and NHWs are not police officials nor do they have any policing function. Their role is to act as the eyes and ears of the community through patrols.”

Minister Fritz said, “It is further unclear what is meant by the word “registration”. The Western Cape Community Safety Act, 2013 (Act 3 of 2013) (WCCSA) already makes ample provision for the accreditation of NHWs with the Department of Community Safety. It is therefore suggested that clear criteria be set for registration.”

To date, there are approximately 338 NHW structures which are accredited with the Department of Community Safety in terms of the WCCSA. Since the enactment of the WCCSA, NHWs have benefitted from training, funding and increased accountability.

Progress made though the Western Cape Community Safety Act (WCCSA)

Clause 81 Section 6A of the SAPS Bill further proposes a system that members of a community may establish a voluntary neighbourhood patrolling or NHW association. However, the WCCSA already makes provision for the voluntary accreditation of NHWs.

Minister Fritz said, “While other provinces may also require legislation that governs NHWs, the Western Cape already has sufficient legislation in this regard as the establishment and accreditation of NHWs is guided by the WCCSA. At present, the Bill threatens to undermine the significant progress made by the WCCSA. The Bill should acknowledge that some provinces may have the ability or are currently putting these measures in place.”

Minister Fritz continued, “In fact, a Code of Conduct has been issued by the Department of Community Safety to govern the operations of accredited NHWs. The provisions in the WCCSA are much more comprehensive than that contained in the proposed section 6A of the Bill, which supports the idea that the Bill should build on current provisions of the WCCSA.” 

Funding of NHWs and CPFs

A further issue is the proposed funding model of NHWs. The proposal in draft section 64(7) states that no NHW or any member thereof may expect or receive any remuneration from the members of the NHW for the functions that they perform.

Minister Fritz said, “There is a potential conflict between the funding model that is being proposed and the fact that NHWs may apply to the Provincial Minister for funding and resources in terms of regulation 6 of the Western Cape Community Safety Regulations, 2016. We have at times supported projects run by NHWs, such as patrolling around vulnerable schools.”

Minister Fritz added, “There is a further incompatibility between section 5(3) of the WCCSA which provides that the Head of the Department of Community Safety may assist CPFs and boards by providing funding, training or resources; and the proposal in draft section 6(2). Section 6(2) states that members of CPFs and community police boards shall render their services on a voluntary basis and shall have no claim to compensation solely for services rendered to such forms or boards.”


It is recommended that the CSPS reconsider the workability of the proposed system and that the principle of subsidiarity be applied to those provinces that already have legislation in place regulating NHWs. “It is suggested that said provinces be exempted from the application of any contrary previsions relating to NHWs,” said Minister Fritz

Minister Fritz added, “It is further suggested that in the spirit of co-operative governance and Chapter 3 on the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, that the Western Cape Government and CSPS/SAPS meet to resolve the issues highlighted above.”

Media Enquiries: 

Cayla Ann Tomás Murray
Spokesperson for Minister Albert Fritz
Tel: 021 483 9217
Cell: 064 121 7959