Correctional Services: Minister's Budget Speech
11 Apr 2011
Correctional Services Budget Vote Speech 2011/12 by Minister NN Mapisa-Nqakula in the National Assembly, Parliament of RSA Good Hope Chamber, Cape Town
12 Apr 2011
Deputy Minister of Correctional Services
Members of the Correctional Services Portfolio
Honourable Members of the Extended Public Committee
National Commissioner of Corrections and senior Management of DCS
Judge Van Zyl, Office of the Inspecting Judge
Acting chairperson and members of the National Council on Correctional Services
Officials and offenders watching from our centres
Distinguished guests, including the representatives of Correctional Services from Bermuda, Cameroon, Kenya , Uganda and Botswana
Comrades and friends
Firstly, allow me to convey our apologies that the Deputy Minister, adv. Ngoako Ramathlodi, is not able to join us for this Budget Vote debate as he is attending to the appointment of judges in the Judicial Service Commission.
Two days to this day, in 1993, the ringing of a gunshot brought to the end the life of one our notable struggle heroes and servant of our people, comrade Chris Martin Tembisile Hani. Almost immediately, those of us who were in the leadership of our movement recognised the delicate period within which this event happened and our fears that the intentions of those who planned this killing might succeed and our country will be plunged into civil war. Ironically, it was Hani’s own dedication to peace that resounded in the minds of all South Africans as we received the plea by our leadership to honour his legacy by not allowing ourselves to distract from the quest of leading our people to freedom. We remember Chris Hani, we remember that which he has asked us never to forget or forego that “If you want peace, then you must struggle for social justice.”
Our freedom, for which he died, has brought with it peace, the struggle for social justice continues, and we meet as we do today, to deliver this budget vote in honour and dedication to him.
This budget vote debate this year is about focusing the planning process of the department toward the full implementation of the 2005 white paper on corrections, and the commitments we have made in the performance agreement signed between the Minister and the President.
We are determined that the provisions of our policy and laws should be used to ensure that those people who do not have to be in our centres do not receive custodial sentences.In line with the commitment of the Freedom Charter, it remains our commitment that “imprisonment should be only for those who committed serious offences against society.”
In 2005 the department committed itself to ensure full implementation of the white paper within 15 years, and six years on, the system is still not ready to ensure the correction of offending behaviour through rehabilitation.
The organisation continues to face serious organisational and policy challenges that inhibit its ability to implement both the White Paper and the Correctional Services Act of 1998.
The system and organisation of Corrections in our country remains unchanged. It remains largely organised the way the old prison system was, yet it should deliver policy on policy objectives of the new system espoused in the white paper.
It is important for all of us to understand that the policy shift towards rehabilitation and the development of the white paper, in so far as its implication for the work of the department, its operations, processes and systems, was a fundamental one. It requires the creation of a completely new system, ethos and emphasis in both the organisation and functioning of our penal system. This is not about tweaking, but a total overhaul of the system.
After eighteen months of diagnosing the key challenges facing the department, we are ready to roll out a blueprint for high level transformation agenda within the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).
Our report to you as the Legislature is that the interventions that we said we were going to make in stabilising the operations of the department, are yielding success. As we report on these interventions, our message to you is that we are on track.
Overcrowding remains a priority for us. As a result, we have decided to deal with this problem in a sustained and integrated manner. We will be focussing on a phased fast-tracking of implementing the electronic monitoring for parolees and probationers. The introduction of a new system for the management of remand detention will also alleviate overcrowding through the effective implementation of the Bail Protocol. The department will also appoint court liaison officials to coordinate joint assessments for placement of both remand detainees and people sentenced to less than 24 months to be diverted to correctional supervision.
We are also in favour of the draft protocol on interstate inmate transfer within Southern African Development Community (SADC) as this will help in reducing the number of inmates from other SADC countries who are incarcerated in our centres.
Medical Parole policy review
Our undertaking was that relevant provisions governing the consideration of offenders for medical parole will be amended to bring the Act in line with the new draft policy. I am happy to confirm that the Correctional Matters Amendment Bill passed by this House, has now been concurred to by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). Once the President signs it into law, the new policy for medical parole will become effective.
Another objective of the Correctional Matters Amendment Bill was to provide for a new system for the management of remand detention. Together with a new white paper on remand, the Bill provides for the establishment of distinct remand detention facilities, maximum detention period, a distinct clothing for detainees, care services offered to detainees, and access to the benefit of consideration for release based on medical grounds.
Procurement of new facilities on the Public Private Partnership model
As indicated last year, we conducted a policy review regarding the procurement of four new facilities through the Public Private Partnership model. Following this undertaking, we held a meeting with the bidders and formally expressed our position regarding the need for the state to provide security and custodial services in the new centres. The bidders responded to our policy review considerations, and offered their views. On the basis of this new process, we requested an extension for the bid validity period until October 2011.We have appointed an inter-departmental Bid Evaluation Committee to take the process forward.
Special Investigating Unit
During a joint appearance of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the department before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the SIU indicated that they are satisfied with the department’s implementation of the SIU recommendations, in so far as those recommendations related to the department. Both the police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) are continuing to work on those recommendations that are related to criminal investigations.
Appointment of parole board chairpersons
All the outstanding appointments for chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of the parole boards have been finalised. I have however been concerned about the levels of inconsistencies between the different parole boards in their interpretation of both law, policies and procedure governing the consideration of offenders for placement on parole. I have also been concerned about the resultant inconsistencies in decisions of the various boards to the extent that offenders have developed a preference to be incarcerated in one centre over the other on the basis of the high chances of being granted parole in such a centre.
In this regard we have agreed that the National Council on Correctional Services (NCCS) will assist in the training of parole boards.
Despite the work of the parole boards being autonomous, we are looking at a credible mechanism that will ensure adherence and compliance with the law and provide oversight for quality of the decisions of parole boards.
After eighteen months of diagnosing the key challenges facing the department, we are ready to roll out a blueprint for high level transformation agenda within the Department of Correctional Services.
The budget of the department for the 2011/12 is R16,559 billion increasing to R17,805 billion and ultimately to R18,828 billion over the 2012/13 to 2013/14 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
Expenditure is expected to grow from R15.2 billion in 2010/11 and is projected to reach R18.8 billion in 2013/14 at an annual growth rate of 7.3 per cent.
There are also budget cuts of R48.1 million in 2011/12, R54.8 million in 2012/13 and R57.8 million in 2013/14, were effected on the Administration programme following a Cabinet decision to this effect.
The expenditure for the previous year totalled R14,7 billion from a total budget of R15.4 billion. There under expenditure of R726 million, represents 4,7 percent of the total budget. This amount, however, is preliminary as the financial year has just ended, and it is due to decrease as a result of clearance of suspense accounts, corrections of misallocations, capitalisation of compensation of employees and final virement.
Honourable members, as you are aware, on 31 March 2011, the Constitutional Court handed down judgment in the Van Vuren judgment and ruled that the Minister of Correctional Services will consider the placement of lifers sentenced before 1 March 1994 without the involvement of the NCCS.
I welcomed the clarity provided by the Constitutional Court and have immediately started with the consideration for placement on parole of the 385 lifers falling within this time period.
I have in the past week considered 88 lifers of which 21 were granted full parole, 24 granted day parole and 43 have not been approved for placement on parole.
There has recently been criticism from certain sections of our society of the process of renaming centres that we announced earlier this year. It is unfortunate that some among us have adopted a simplistic view that this is being done at the expense of more pressing issues that need our attention given the challenges of the department. We do not agree. The public campaign for the renaming of our centres was designed as a public awareness campaign to galvanise communities and getting them to discuss the work of correctional services and rehabilitation. We are bringing communities to identify with the activities of the centres where they live, to make those centres part of the community and to associate with them.
Contrary to the impression that is being created this campaign is not about naming these centres after political leaders. Although we have received submissions including names of political leaders, our inclination is more towards names that bring hope and identifies with our objective of second chances for both the offenders and the community. We have always given the example of the Qalakabusha Correctional Centre as one of the names that represent the notion of second chances and encourages a positive outlook to the purpose of the centre in the community.
We have decided to pilot a project that supports the establishment of Halfway Houses that will serve as a transition facility for these offenders to bridge between their life in incarceration and reintegration into communities. Initially the pilot will focus on juveniles who have not been released on parole due to lack of formal addresses as well as young people who were homeless at the time of their incarceration. We are currently in discussions with potential partners, both in government and private sector for support in achieving this and we should implement the pilot before the end of this year.
During the presentation of the budget vote last year, we undertook to give the issue of the provision of formal education a priority alongside with programs for skills development for offenders.
Considering that youth constitute close to 70% of our offender population, we have decided to make formal education compulsory for all youth.
This year we have engaged the department of basic education to have more centres registered as fulltime schools. The following additional centres will now be eligible to offer the National Curriculum Statement syllabus for 2011: Usethubeni Youth Centre, St. Albans, Barbeton medium, Barbeton maximum, Cradock Youth Centre and Emthonjeni Youth Centre.
We are working towards declaring the 13 dedicated youth facilities out of the 241 correctional facilities in the country, full time centres of learning.
Honourable members and colleagues,
Last year we lifted the moratorium on filling of vacant posts, that was in existence in the department due to budget constraints. We have since filled 2 234 posts, including 706 vacant positions in administration to allow for our trained officials to be deployed to centre-based positions, 1 032 learnerships for training in our colleges and 496 interns to assist with our asset verification project. We intend to fill the all the outstanding vacant posts by the end of March next year.
In addition four advertised Regional Commissioner and three Deputy Regional Commissioner positions will be filled by the end of May to provide for a full complement of management structures in the regions.
We have made considerable progress in addressing the concerns of the Auditor General that have resulted in qualification of our financial statements over the past ten years. One of the four key qualification matters relating to assets, was the issue of opening balances that could not be supported by documentation.
It is envisaged that before the finalisation of the annual financial statements, DCS and National Treasury would have agreed on the adjustment to the opening balance and consultations on this matter done with Auditor General and the Audit Committee.
DCS and National Treasury (Office of the Accountant-General) meet on a monthly basis to assess progress with regard to areas of audit qualification.
In line with the focus of government on performance information, the department has started a process of improving performance information that will be used for management and decision making processes. The process includes the audit of performance information by the Internal Audit component and the Diagnostic on performance information by National Treasury. These interventions were initiated to assist the department in having appropriate systems to support the preparation of performance reports.
Information Technology will play a major role on enabling us to do a phased rollout of the White Paper and to deliver on the rest of our strategic imperatives. We have now approved the creation of the IT branch to be headed by Deputy Director-General (DDG): GITO to oversee the work of the branch and to provide support for IT business requirements in the department. A program manager who is also appointed as the acting DDG has since been appointed and has already conducted a diagnosis of our IT challenges and provided a report in this regard. Based on this diagnosis, a lot of planning is currently underway for using Information Technology to increase the security of our processes, controls and the way our facilities are operated.
We are going to use the best internationally adopted security standards to improve our old computing and network infrastructure. The secured network will be in place by the end of this financial year. It will allow us to provide state-of-the-art channels for delivering education and related programmes to offenders and to improve communication during times of emergencies. The new network will be scalable to accommodate the network data from the surveillance system that is currently running outside our department.
We will also supply new technology based search equipment, such as body scanning machines in identified key centres around the country.
During this year we will also finalise our discussions with the Department of Home Affairs to partner in the identification database of offenders through the utilisation of their Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).
We have continued to be concerned about the level of healthcare provision for offenders in our centres. Our intention is to provide effective needs based care to all offenders.In this regard we established a joint task team with the South African Medical Association, which conducted an assessment of the challenges currently faced by the department in the provision of healthcare services. The team has made various proposals covering the structure and organisation of our health care services, the pharmaceutical services, HIV and AIDS as well as professional staffing.
We have since upgraded our Healthcare Services to a Chief Directorate and provided for additional dedicated directorates for Pharmaceutical, HIV and AIDS, and Psychology.
The Offender Labour Policy Framework is ready to be rolled out as policy after consultation with civil society has been concluded. Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Corrections and the Branch Finance will finalise the costing of the framework to allow for funds to be made available for implementation. However as we indicated last year, offender labour continues to be implemented in various centres with offenders going out into our communities to undertake renovation work in schools, libraries, refurbishment of impoverished households as well as initiating community nutrition gardens as part of government’s anti-poverty campaign.
We are currently in discussions with the National Treasury in terms of which DCS will establish a trading entity for the management of revenue derived from the sales of products from our workshops and farms, so that the proceeds from these sales can be retained and utilised for cost recovery, buying of raw materials and payment of the required stipend to offenders.
Chairperson, Honourable members,
In appreciation of the many complex security challenges that confront us, we have established the office of the chief security officer who will assume responsibility for the integrated security management of the department across the board. The Chief Security Officer shall report to the accounting officer and will be responsible for developing policies and standard operating procedures for strategic security risks; develop our gang intelligence unit; the training and resourcing of our Emergency Support Teams as well as ensuring the effective participation of DCS in strategic cluster programs such as the Joint Intelligence Structures.
The civil society organisations has a clear directive to prioritise the review of our anti-gang strategy with a view of implementing a cluster based approach to the detection and combating of gang activities in our centres.
The department will continue with the process of establishing its own vetting field at a cost of R12 million this year.The enhancement of our own internal capacity is necessary as we remain concerned that the bulk of our officials are still not vetted at the correct security clearance levels.
We have also taken a strong stance against corruption and have directed that the backlog for disciplinary cases should be cleared. We are going to be setting up dedicated employee relations capacity to advice and process disciplinary cases relating to corruption within the department.
Last February, we presented a Memo to Cabinet informing Cabinet about our intention to establish a Ministerial Task Team to audit various categories of inmates in the centres and to look at best practices in response to the problem of overcrowding within our correctional facilities.
We mandated the Task Team to look at the utilisation of various legal provisions for the controlled release of offenders and to investigate other matters related to this.
The scope of the Task team was extended in March last year to also look into those aspects of our Operating Model of the department that were impacting on the effective application of policies.
We received the report of the Task team in January this year and included in their findings and recommendations are issues relating to some of the delivery requirements for the white paper, including issues of organisation, people, processes, and facilities.
To this end an Enterprise Program Management Office (EPMO) function in the Commissioner’s Office, has been set-up in February 2011 to drive and assist with the design, but more importantly the implementation of various Projects emanating from the recommendations of the Task Team Report, the White Paper requirements as well as looking at international Best Practice. Some of the white paper requirements will be implemented as quick wins by the EPMO, and include the development of sentence plans for all offenders, effective functioning of CMCs, centre level performance review, model for professional services and consistency in the application of policy instruments.
We continue to maintain and view sound relations with our stakeholders with whom we should work in partnership both inside and outside the centres to ensure the success of rehabilitation. We recently held a two day stakeholder conference to consult on future policy considerations and potential areas of partnership.
We are also consolidating partnership efforts for international cooperation through various initiatives linked to our international work. We recently hosted an international conference for all National Commissioners of Corrections in the SADC region. The conference looked at various areas of cooperation amongst states as well as shared best practices.
The Department of Correctional Services will continue bilateral and multilateral partnerships in pursuit of Outcome 12 of the Government’s Program of Action by providing institutional support to the African Correctional Services Association (ACSA) thereby making a contribution to advance penal reform in Africa.
We have also continued to maintain a cordial working relationship with the Office of the Inspecting Judge, with regard to both their administrative support as well as the processing and auctioning of their reports and recommendations. The work of the Inspecting Judge continues to safeguard the human rights of our offenders and to keep us true to our stated political commitment that “no person shall be condemned by an order of a government official.” We are all accountable for this commitment.
We are indeed indebted to all members of the portfolio committee, its Chairperson and the whips for the support they have given us, particularly with the amount of work they had put into the processing of the Correctional Matters Amendment Bill last month.
Our message to you is that we are an organisation at work. It is our endeavour to build confidence in rehabilitation both amongst the offenders and the public. It is only when offenders realise the benefit of rehabilitation that they will actively take part in the programs aimed at changing their lives for the better. Equally it is important for the public to embrace the idea of rehabilitation in order for them to receive and continue to support offenders upon their reintegration and help them to become worthy members of society.
We are inviting communities to join us in partnerships to ensure that corrections, as a societal responsibility, succeeds and ensures public safety amongst our communities.
We remain determined that in this endeavour we should succeed.
Issued by: Department of Correctional Services
12 Apr 2011
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