Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster: briefing
05 Mar 2009
Presenter: Minister of Safety and Security, Hon Nathi Mthethwa
Minster Nathi Mthethwa explained that the report represented the progress made by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster, as part of the regular report-back on the work done by the various clusters on the Apex priorities identified at the beginning of 2008. On Apex Priority 18, the impact of the National Crime Combating Strategy implemented in earnest in 2002, was evident in the positive reversal of almost all crime trends. However, challenges remained concerning the shift in the pattern of crime and the violent nature of the crime. On the issue of sexual offences, a Victim Empowerment Programme Stakeholders Summit was hosted by the Department of Social Development. Its purpose was to develop an action plan for the role of Non-Governmental Organisations in their partnerships with government to provide services. An agreement, signed by the Minister for Safety and Security and the
On Apex 19, there had been a significant decrease in the backlog of regional court cases from 20 452 in November 2006 when the project started to 11297 in December 2008. On average, the Cluster had finalised 11, 5 cases per month - which was nearly double that of the normal regional court. To deal with overcrowding in correctional centres, Cabinet in its January Lekgotla, endorsed a Governance Model, specifically; the establishment of a dedicated branch or division within the Department of Correctional Services headed by a Deputy Director General which would focus on management of awaiting trial detainees and remand Detainees.
On Apex Priority 20, the Minister for Safety and Security had convened a National Anti Crime Summit involving the JCPS Cluster Departments, Business, NGOs, Organs of Civil Society, Community Policing Forums, Faith-based Organisations and Traditional Leaders in December 2008, with the aim of deepening partnerships against crime. The summit ended with a commitment to implement short- and medium-term plans on improving local police service delivery, crime prevention, violent and organized crime, migration, and communication. The Strategic Business Partnerships for Growth in Africa had also launched a report in collaboration with the Presidency on the “Impact of Crime on Small Business in
During 2008, 8 999 reservists were recruited in addition to the 7 412 who joined in 2007. The total number of reservists stood at 49 049. The Ministry for Safety and Security would host a summit on reservists on Thursday, 19 March 2009. This aimed to strengthen the current role and future of the reservists.
Following the adoption of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Act and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Amendment Act 5, it had been agreed that the Joint Team would exercise joint responsibility for all aspects of the joint operational running of the DSO as soon as possible after 1 March 2009 to ensure an effective and constructive process. The projects under investigation by the Scorpions would not be affected. On the date of transfer, not a single member of the former DSO was transferred to work at a police station and in the interim would jointly work with the specialized detective units of the Police: Organized Crime and Commercial Crime units. The head of the new unit would soon be appointed by the Minister for Safety and Security, after discussions with the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development. The appointment would also be ratified by Cabinet.
On Apex Priority 24, the main aim of the Military Skills Development System (MSDS) was to rejuvenate the SANDF, provide it with scarce skills as well as serve as a feeder system for the Defence Reserves. Since the establishment of the MSDS in 2003, the SANDF had recruited and trained over 23 000, of whom 12 000 have been appointed in the Regulars. More than 5 000 were available in the Reserve service. It was encouraging to note that 2 150 persons, after completion of their MSDS service, had been assisted by the Department to find employment in the labour market.
Planning for both the 2009 Elections and the Confederations Cup had been completed. The security services were confident that security would prevail during these important events. Based on reports from the Voter Registration period some areas had been identified as being potentially volatile and to this end security forces were deployed to monitor the situation.
Lastly, Mr Mthethwa stated that as part of its turnaround programme, the Department of Home Affairs had employed a multi-pronged approach to improve the security of the South African passport. A new South African passport with highly complex security features will be introduced in April 2009. The Counter-Corruption Unit continued to work, in partnership with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to identify persons involved in corruption and fraud within the department. During the 2008 / 2009 financial year, sixty-six Home Affairs officials were arrested and a further eighteen suspended on allegations of fraud.
Q: A correspondent enquired about the timeframes for the appointment of the head of the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI). Secondly, he asked for comment on media reports that the South African Police Service (SAPS) VIP Unit were planning to embark on strike action.
A: In response to the first question, Minister Mthethwa indicated that this matter had been prioritised. He added that the head of the new unit would be appointed within one month by the Minister of Safety and Security in consultation with the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development.
On the second issue, Minister Mthethwa remarked that the head of the VIP Unit had not informed him about the situation and that his knowledge was limited to the information that had been reported by the media. Nevertheless, he stated that the Labour Relations Act allowed disgruntled employees to engage in industrial action.
Q: A reporter sought clarity on whether people were required to hand in their current passports before they could receive new ones. Related to this, he asked the Minister of Home Affairs to shed light on the security features that were built into the new passports.
A: Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Home Affairs, clarified that the new passports would be issued to people whose old passports had expired or who had applied for a new passport.
She stated that she could not elaborate on what these features were because this information was privy to immigration officers and not to members of Cabinet. The designers of the new passport knew what they were doing and that government had trusted them to take the correct decisions.
Mr Enver Surty, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, disclosed that Cabinet had been briefed on the security features of the new passport. However, this information could not be divulged to the public due to its sensitive nature.
Ms Mapisa-Nqakula pointed out that while cabinet ministers were aware of some features, such as watermarks, they had not been informed about all the features.
Q: With reference to the Schabir Shaik parole matter, a journalist argued that when a man had offended the public order to such a degree that he had lost his freedom, the same public was entitled to know on what basis that individual was later granted his freedom.
A: Mr Enver Surty, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, explained that the release of a prisoner on medical parole was governed by section 79 of the Correctional Services Act. He argued that Mr Shaik’s case was not unprecedented and highlighted that 70 prisoners had been granted medical parole during 2007 and 54 in 2008. He believed that the right of the public (to know the grounds on which Shaik had been released) must be balanced with an individual's right to privacy. He did not believe that the public’s right to know trumped Mr Shaik’s right to privacy.
Q: A correspondent asked about the death rate involving prisoners that were released on medical parole.
A: Mr Surty quoted a study which showed that 36% of such prisoners had in fact passed away.
Q: A reporter asked the Minister of Home Affairs whether her Department would allow people to continue using fraudulent passports.
A: Minister Mapisa-Nqakula was confident that her Department had devised mechanisms that would successfully detect such persons. One such mechanism included an online verification of fingerprints.
Q: A journalist sought the Minister of Safety and Security’s views about a complaint lodged against him by
A: Mr Mthethwa admitted that he was not familiar with the specifics of the case. However, if any South African was detained unlawfully, those that were responsible would have to face the due process of the law.
Q: A journalist asked why the Minister of Correctional Services was absent from the media briefing.
A: Mr Harold Maloka, Spokesperson, Government Communication and Information Services, confirmed that Minister Balfour was unable to attend due to prior commitments.
Q: A reporter sought clarity on whether the Scorpions fell under the command structure of the police.
A: Mr Mthethwa clarified that the Scorpions no longer existed and had been relocated to the police
Q: A reporter recalled that some time ago, the Chairperson of the Safety and Security Portfolio Committee had indicated that the committee would put pressure on the Department about the issue of police brutality and apartheid era tactics used by the police.
A: Mr Mthethwa replied that the police had adopted a culture of human rights and that the mentality of “skop, skiet and donner” was not part of the new dispensation. No one, including the police, had the right to assault or violate another persons rights. The Independent Complaints Directorate needed to be strengthened to ensure that it had the capacity to deal with complaints of that nature.
Q: A reporter sought clarity on whether the investigations that were currently being carried out by the Scorpions would be continued by the new unit.
A: Mr Mthethwa replied in the affirmative.
Q: A journalist asked if the intelligence services had uncovered any potential threats to the upcoming elections, particularly in the volatile
A: Dr Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Intelligence, indicated that the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster had the responsibility of assisting the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to ensure that the elections were free and fair. He was confident that all the correct structures were in place and the Department had deployed law enforcement agents to hotspot areas in all provinces. It was critical that all political parties observe the code of conduct and use the appropriate structures in the IEC to resolve disputes.
Q: A journalist enquired why the South African government had not responded to a request to assist in combating piracy along the Somalian coastline.
A: Dr Cwele replied that the country’s armed forces were overstretched and could not provide any further deployments.
Media briefing ended.
JUSTICE, CRIME PREVENTION AND SECURITY CLUSTER
MEDIA BRIEFING, 05 MARCH 2009, PRETORIA
Over the past 15 years of our democracy, the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster departments have undergone a mammoth transformation in terms of their doctrines which today are based on a human rights culture, a more representative workforce and systems of accountability. These enormous changes were borne out of a myriad of statutory, non-statutory and former homeland structures that existed prior to 1994.
In our mission to make
Such transformation also meant the adoption of a new ethos where crime was not viewed as just a security issue but also a social issue requiring a community partnership with the South African Police Services, rehabilitation of offenders to break the cycle of crime and inculcating in public servants a culture of service to the people of this country.
The changing of South Africa’s constitutional system from parliamentary to the supremacy of the Constitution, redefined the independence of the judiciary making constitutional values the guide that judges follow to interpreting statutes.
Government systems were modernized to enhance the performance of departments and significant partnerships were formed with big business, academics, civil society and the media. To this end, government recognises the importance of these partnerships, including in the safety and security arena, to achieve our goals of halving poverty and employment by 2014 and as such creating a better life for all.
The contribution of Community Policing Forums, who on a daily basis work to make our communities a safer place is immeasurable and will certainly lead us to effectively combat crime.
Government policies have been fine-tuned, strategies strengthened to guarantee delivery and monitoring and evaluation tools sharpened to measure government’s progress towards creating a safer and more secure
This report represents the progress made by the JCPS cluster, as part of the regular report-back on the work done by the various clusters in pursuance of the Apex priorities identified at the beginning of 2008. One of the objectives of the cluster is to ensure a seamless, comprehensive and integrated approach.
APEX PRIORITY (18) IMPLEMENT SPECIAL CRIME COMBATTING & SECURITY INITIATIVES
The impact of the National Crime Combating Strategy implemented in earnest in 2002, is evident in the positive reversal of almost all crime trends. However, challenges remain such as the shift in the pattern of crime and the violent nature of the crime.
The Centre for Study of Violence and Reconciliation has completed their report on the causes of violent crime in
We experienced significant success in our crime prevention and combating operations during the festive season. This we attribute to the three-pronged approach that firstly, placed an emphasis on intelligence-driven operations and data analysis; secondly, a partnership with communities and law enforcement agencies such as traffic and local government structures; and thirdly, a zero-tolerance approach to criminals.
The operations during this period have further indicated a steady downward trend in most crime categories and in some cases achieving a more than ten percent reduction.
A Victim Empowerment Programme Stakeholders Summit was hosted by the Department of Social Development. Its purpose was to develop an action plan for the role of Non-Governmental Organisations in their partnerships with government to provide services.
An agreement, signed by the Minister for Safety and Security and the
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) also hosted a Sexual Offences Indaba which dealt with challenges and successes of the Thuthuzela Care Centres as well as the Anti-Rape Strategy.
Seven hospital-based Thuthuzela Care Centres were opened in 2008 in Kopanong and Thembisa (
As part of its transformation and improving access to Justice, particularly for vulnerable groups and further recognising the scourge of sexual violence in our society, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007, has provided a legal framework to provide an integrated approach to the management of sexual offences thereby aiming to reduce secondary trauma to victims of such violence.
In ensuring that the legal framework and the rights are realised as well as operationalised for effective service delivery to ensure effective service delivery, the Act had prescribed in S62, the Inter-Sectoral Committee for the Management of Sexual Offence Matters. A monitoring framework is overseen by the most senior officials in government. Also significant to note is that this structure aims to eradicate the fragmented nature of service delivery by ensuring that the Directors-General of the relevant departments meet regularly to ensure co-ordination.
The functions of this Committee are to develop the draft national policy framework which must include:
the implementation of the priorities and strategies contained in the national policy framework,
measure progress on the achievement of the national policy framework
ensure that the various organs of states comply with the roles and responsibilities allocated to them in the National Policy Framework
And monitor the implementation of the framework.
To this end, the first DG’S Inter-Sectoral Committee (ISC) on the Management of Sexual Offences Convened on the 17th February 2009. Forming part of its agenda was the appropriate placement of the Structure within the Justice Cluster and further ensuring that the operational structures supporting the DG ISC were aligned and co-ordinated. It was resolved in view of the gravity of the sexual violence that the operational committees there-under would report directly to the DG ISC.
APEX PRIORITY 19: REDUCE THE NUMBER OF LONG OUTSTANDING CASES PENDING TRIAL
The backlog reduction project is proving to be successful and provides additional capacity to the Courts through the employment of ex-magistrates or contract magistrates.
There has been a significant decrease in the backlog of regional court cases from 20 452 in November 2006 when the project started to 11297 in December 2008. On average we have finalised 11, 5 cases per month - which is nearly double that of the normal regional court.
To deal with overcrowding in correctional centres, Cabinet in its January Lekgotla, endorsed a Governance Model, specifically; the establishment of a dedicated branch or division within the Department of Correctional Services headed by a Deputy Director General which will focus on management of awaiting trial detainees and remand Detainees.
The branch will inter alia coordinate all the services of remand detainees in
APEX PRIORITY 20: PARTNERSHIPS AND COMMUNICATION ON FIGHTING CRIME
The project aims to mobilise support and participation by all sectors of society in the fight against crime; the establishment of communication partnerships around crime fighting; and to strengthen public confidence in law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime.
In December 2008, the Minister for Safety and Security convened a National Anti Crime Summit involving the JCPS Cluster Departments, Business, NGOs, Organs of Civil Society, Community Policing Forums, Faith-based Organisations and Traditional Leaders with the aim of deepening partnerships against crime.
The summit ended with a commitment to implement short- and medium-term plans on improving local police service delivery, crime prevention, violent and organized crime, migration, and communication.
A number of communication initiatives such as the ‘It starts with you”; The Movement for Good; and the Active Citizen Initiative, in partnership with the International Marketing Council are underway.
The Strategic Business Partnerships for Growth in Africa also launched a report in collaboration with the Presidency on the “Impact of Crime on Small Business in
Action for a Safe South Africa, a civil society initiative, is an inclusive and constructive social movement that enables every South African to contribute in making our country safe through sustained actions that prevent crime.
Founded on a model that focuses on the prevention of crime rather than the enforcement of the law, Action for a Safe South Africa aims to actively address the root causes of crime; create broad awareness about the causes of violent crime; and mobilise South Africans to work together to address crime through practical projects that tackle the causes of violent crime.
Other activities includes the JCPS Directors General cluster visits to KwaZulu/Natal,
During 2008, 8 999 reservists were recruited in addition to the 7 412 who joined in 2007. The total number of reservists stands at 49 049. The Ministry for Safety and Security will host a summit on reservists on Thursday, 19 March 2009. This aims to strengthen the current role and future of the reservists.
Community Police Forums (CPFs)
1 105 CPFs out of 1 113 police stations were established and are functioning well. The National Community Police Consultative Forum (NCPCF) remains focused on mobilising communities in the campaign “ACT Against Crime Together”.
Successful partnerships continue in rural safety, farm watches, neighbourhood watches and sector police forums, including organisations such as Business Against Crime and media houses such as Prime media, the Kagiso Group and the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
DIRECTORATE OF PRIORITY CRIME INVESTIGATION (DPCI)
Following the adoption of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Act and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Amendment Act 5, it has been agreed that the Joint Team will take joint responsibility for all aspects of the joint operational running of the DSO as soon as possible after 1 March 2009 to ensure an effective and constructive process.
The projects under investigation by the Scorpions will not be affected. On the date of transfer, not a single member of the former DSO was transferred to work at a police station and in the interim will jointly work with the specialized detective units of the Police: Organized Crime and Commercial Crime units.
The head of the new unit will soon be appointed by the Minister for Safety and Security, after discussions with the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development. The appointment will also be ratified by Cabinet.
The DSO, SAPS Commercial Crime and Organized Crime unit members will not automatically join the DPCI, but will be subjected to strict selection criteria which includes, polygraph tests, top secret clearances and competency tests, to ensure that the unit is staffed by men and women of impeccable integrity, whose credentials are beyond question.
REVIEW OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM (CJS)
The Review of the CJS is an intervention, complementing the existing government initiatives to combat crime, specifically focused on addressing the weaknesses and shortcomings within the daily functioning of the CJS.
The CJS Review comprises research into the above has been grouped into five streams being: Legal and Policy Framework; Capacity; Modernisation; Performance Evaluation; and Governance. A draft report on the Research conducted has been finalised and work in this regard will continue in the new administration.
Implementation of the CJS Review Seven-Point-Plan
The 7-Point Plan, approved by Cabinet in November 2007, consists of a package of seven fundamental and transformative interventions that were adopted to achieve a new dynamic and coordinated Criminal Justice System. The 7-point plan entails:
The adoption of a single Vision and
The establishment, through legislation or by protocol, of a new and realigned single CJS coordinating and management structure flowing seamlessly from Cabinet to each court, and the appointment of a person from the Executive as Head of the CJS structure with coordination and management functions and not executive powers.
Making substantial changes to the present court process in criminal matters through practical, short and medium term proposals to improve the performance of the courts, particularly the Regional Courts during the initial phase.
Implement key priorities identified for the component parts of the CJS, which are part of or impact upon the new court process, especially as it pertains to improving capacity.
Establish an integrated and seamless National CJS IT database / system containing all information relevant to the CJS and review and harmonise the template for gathering information relating to the CJS.
Modernise, in an integrated and holistic manner, all aspects of the systems and equipment of the CJS, including the fast-tracking of the implementation of present projects and modernisation initiatives.
Involve the population at large in the fight against crime by introducing changes to the Community Policing Forum regime, including expanding the role to deal with all matters in CJS, for example, policing, parole boards; provide financial and administrative infrastructure to give it “teeth”.
In order to deal with the implementation process, an Office for Criminal Justice System Reform has been set up to coordinate such activities.
Various Task Teams (comprising relevant representatives of the JCPS departments) have been established, each busy with work in various stages of completion, which will be processed through the JCPS. Some of the tasks include the following:
The Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill, 2 of 2009 was introduced into Parliament on 13 January 2009. Consultation with the public is in progress. The Bill deals with, among others, DNA, fingerprinting and biometric issues (including the sharing of “person information” across government departmental boundaries, strengthening of the forensic crime fighting capacity, i.e., collection, storage & use of fingerprinting & DNA evidence, and the establishment of a DNA database).
Legislation introducing video conferencing to postpone court cases of Awaiting Trial Detainees via camera was passed by Parliament at the end of 2008 and awaiting sanction by the President. Preparations for implementation have commenced. The purpose of this legislation is to provide greater security at courts and minimize the risks of awaiting-trial detainees escaping.
The establishment of an Integrated, Seamless and national CJS Business Information System, which is being operationalised in three phases to build a new IT infrastructure, is in progress.
A Bail Protocol relating to the procedures to be followed in applying section 63A of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977. (This protocol allows the court, on application by a Head of a prison and if not opposed by the Director of Public Prosecutions concerned, to order the release of a certain accused persons on warning in lieu of bail or to order the amendment of bail conditions.) This Protocol will contribute to the proper and efficient implementation of the law in line with the Constitution, as well as contribute to reducing overcrowding at correctional centres.
APEX PRIORITY 24: INCREASE SANDF INTAKE (MILITARY SKILLS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME)
The Military Skills Development System’s main aim is to rejuvenate the SANDF, provide it with scarce skills as well as serve as a feeder system for the Defence Reserves.
Since the establishment of the MSDS in 2003, the SANDF has recruited and trained over 23 000, of whom 12 000 have been appointed in the Regulars. More than 5 000 are available in the Reserve service. It is encouraging to note that 2 150 persons, after completion of their MSDS service, have been assisted by the Department to find employment in the labour market.
Among the 12 000 MSDS recruits, who are with Regulars, are members who are receiving scarce skills training to become pilots, engineers, professional health workers, naval combat officers, airspace controllers and technicians.
It is hoped that this programme will benefit our young people against the challenge of youth unemployment in our country.
As part of its counter intelligence mandate, NIA has made significant progress in its vetting rollout. This has, in part, been enhanced by the establishment of Vetting Fieldwork Units (VFU’s) which have increased capacity for vetting investigations. The use of technology has also expedited the process of vetting.
FORTHCOMING MAJOR EVENTS
Planning for both the 2009 Elections and Confederation Cup has been completed. The security services are confident that security and stability will prevail during these exciting and important events.
Based on reports from the Voter Registration period some areas have been identified as being potentially volatile and to this end security forces are deployed and monitoring the situation very closely. To ensure an environment conducive for free and fair elections, a comprehensive JOINTS (Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure) operational plan is in place.
The security services have adopted an intelligence-driven approach to determine the deployment of reaction forces for identified hotspots. Close to 20 000 polling stations will be secured. The security Ministers will in the near future provide a detailed briefing on the state of readiness for the forthcoming elections.
Preparations for the Confederation Cup are well underway. The plan provides for the following operational elements in the four host cities: Crime Prevention and Combating; Intelligence; VIP Protection, Border Security, Transport Security, City Security, Stadium Security, Accommodation Security, Security of Teams and other dignitaries at base camps, practice venues and specific events, Fan Park Security, Tourism Security, and Contingency plans.
The screening and accreditation concept for the Confederations Cup and 2010 has been developed and agreed to by all relevant stakeholders.
SECURING THE SOUTH AFRICAN PASSPORT
The Department of Home Affairs has, as part of its turnaround programme, employed a multi-pronged approach to improve the security of the South African passport. This entails improving the integrity of enabling documents such as identity documents and passports; the closing of a loophole previously used by non-South African citizens to apply for a birth certificate; tightening the production process for the identity document; and the introduction of online fingerprint verification that will eliminate the role of third parties in the application and collection of passports.
A new South African passport with highly complex security features will be introduced in April 2009.
The Counter-corruption unit continues to work, in partnership with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to identify persons involved in corruption and fraud within the department. During the 2008 / 2009 financial year sixty-six Home Affairs officials were arrested and a further eighteen suspended on allegations of fraud.
The Human Trafficking awareness campaign led by the NPA’s Sexual Offences & Community Affairs (SOCA) unit on behalf of government will launch a public awareness campaign.
A National Task Team represented by the departments of Justice, Health and Social Development, has been set up and is working on a National Action Plan to establish policy and to allocate departmental responsibility to ensure that
This 12-month programme has a regional component to it, which will serve as a means of disseminating best practice, exchanging information and co-ordinating activities with other countries to address human trafficking, with a particular focus on countries that are a ‘source’ of trafficking.
No related documents