Politics / 1 March 2013, 11:32am / LOUISE FLANAGAN
Johannesburg - The government is planning to add another 15 sites to the national key points.
The Budget refers to 182 key points for 2012/13, and increases this to 197 for 2013/14.
That’s more than twice as many new key points as were added the year before, when they increased from 175 to 182.
There are also 248 “strategic installations”.
Although the Budget gives the numbers - in the police budget - don’t expect to find out what or where they are, or how much the government is spending on looking after them.
The secretive funding for national key points became a political hot potato after it emerged that the massive expansion of President Jacob Zuma’s personal home at Nkandla was funded by the state as a key point.
The state won’t identify the key points or explain the funding. The Budget gives a few clues in vote 25 - the police budget.
“Percentage of national key points evaluated in compliance with the National Key Points Act (1980) per year,” notes a section in a table on performance in the police budget. For 2012/13, police evaluated “100% (182)”.
“Plans for 2013/14 are to evaluate “100% (197)”. That indicates that the state plans to list another 15 sites as national key points in the next year.
No expansion is indicated for the two years after that.
The table records that in 2009/10, the police evaluated “83.3% (130)”; The Star calculated that this indicates there were 156 key points that year, which matches information in other police documents.
In 2010/11, “99.4% (164)” were evaluated, which indicates 165 key points existed.
In 2011/12, “98% (171)” were evaluated, indicating a total of 174 or 175. By 2012/13, all 197 were evaluated. The key points are not identified, and no information is provided on the addition of new points.
The job of overseeing the national key points moved from Defence to Police in 2004.
The key points are still run under a 1980 law. A new law was drafted - but never passed - which adds the category of “strategic installations”.
Although that law hasn’t been passed, the police budget includes strategic installations.
The police’s objectives include “auditing 50 percent (124) of a total of 248 strategic installations and evaluating 100 percent (197) national key points in 2015/16”, states the Budget.
Just how much it costs to secure those key points and strategic installations is unclear.
The SAPS will spend about R92m this year on the government security regulator sub-programme, which is the sub-programme for the key points. But this is primarily for paying personnel - two years ago, the police budget noted that 92 percent of that sub-programme’s funding went to paying the 288 staff.
In 2012/12 there were 271 staff, notes this year’s Budget. These are probably staff who oversee the key points, not guard them, as it’s not enough people.
The spending on maintaining and securing those sites is not in the police budget.
The 1980 law provides for the setting up of an account specifically to fund the key points, the Special Account for the Safeguarding of National Key Points, but this account does not appear in the Budgets.
On Wednesday, a Treasury official said that account did not exist as it had never been opened.
Instead, he said, the spending on the key point infrastructure was scattered across the relevant departments’ budgets.
The department budgets don’t identify spending for key points, so it’s not possible to track this.
On Wednesday, Gareth Newham, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies’ crime and justice programme, said the lack of transparency meant the public didn’t know how much was being spent on the national key points, where it was coming from, or whether it was value for money.