Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster media briefing
05 Sep 2011
Minister Jeff Radebe, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development; Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Department of Police; Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, Department of Correctional Services and Deputy Minister Andre Nel, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, answered questions posed by the media after the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster briefing document was presented (see Appendix below for Media Briefing document).
Journalist: Minister there is a lot of wording here in the statement about the importance of tackling corruption. It also says in the statement it is a major priority for Government to deal with corruption specifically in procurement. What message if any do you think it sends to the investors that you mentioned in the first paragraph when the Government appoints a person like Mr Tony Yengeni with a criminal record. Particularly in the procurement related issues to such an important task as the Defence Review Committee?
Journalist: Statistics from the Institute of Security Studies that were placed before Parliament’s Justice Committee indicate that under the existing Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act violent crime must come down and the number of people killed by police has gone up. Why do you need the Draft Section 49 which makes it easier for police to shoot people running away?
Journalist: Minister Radebe I just want to know whether there has been any progress in securing additional funds for the Public Protector as they have indicated that they are unable to continue with some of their investigations.
Journalist: My first question is to the Minister of Correctional Services. Minister I am just curious to know when the tenders will be awarded for the building of the new prisons, can we expect an announcement soon. The other question I am not sure I think it should be to the Minister of Justice or the NPA, I am not sure where the issue is at the moment. The SIU did an investigation in Correctional Services a while ago about BOSASA procurement and the issue has since grown. As far as I know the NPA has to prosecute or are the police investigating. Where is this issue now? Because the SIU found that there was (speaking off the mic).
Journalist: The RICA Database, we heard while ago that there was going to be an audit on this database. We got a brief statement from Vodacom a couple of weeks ago but nothing yet from the Department of what has been done to look at ensuring that integrity is being maintained. The second is what the conduct of prison warders is. The reason I ask is two incidences that have recently come to mind and that is the issue of the sex warder. It took the Department three weeks fire this guy when he was found to be having sex with this police woman yet the warders who have been accused of torturing prisoners remain on duty, statements have not been taken from these people and the whistle-blowers continues to be victimised by these warders. What kind of message does that send about the attitude that Correctional Services to the treatment of prisoners? And are you more concerned about image than you are about doing the duty?
Minister Jeff Radebe: Tackling corruption, we are committed to uprooting corruption from which ever quarter whoever is involved. The mere fact that the President has signed 18 proclamations is an indication of an unreserved commitment to fighting this. On procurement, that is our particular focus at the moment. Tony Yengeni and Defence Review, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans has answered this question comprehensively in
Additional funds for the Public Protector. Where have a system in
Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula: On the matter of the PPP’s, we have set ourselves a deadline for that process. Remember we had taken a decision to conduct a proper evaluation of the current PPP’s with the intention to review whether in fact PPP model for correctional services is the best model or not. But also to look at the experiences that we have had with the two PPP’s but also to look at the momentary value for PPP’s. Our deadline is October 2011 and therefore maybe we should wait until such time that we present that report to the
Protection of warders, I don’t know if we do protect warders who have committed wrong because we do not really.
Journalist: (speaking off the mic)
Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula: Ok. Victimization of whistle-blowers I am not aware that there are whistle-blowers who have been victimized. But I am aware that there is a report for instance from Grondbend( unclear) Correctional Facility which was presented an allegation that was presented to me by Mr Buekang (unclear) from the Democratic Alliance 2 weeks ago. That matter is also under investigation, where there is an allegation that our correctional officers do victimize whistle-blowers. So where there have been evidence of wrongdoing obviously we act against such people. The last one is on the SIU investigation; I don’t know what to say anymore. I think we have been discussing this matter for quite some time. This matter is not in the hands of the Department of Correctional Services, we are the Department that was being investigated, a report came out which was presented to the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions and I am aware. I think I have said this to you before that in fact that report is now with the Office for Serious Economic Crimes of the Police who are conducting further investigations on each one of the allegations contained in the report. It is very difficult to say when that process will be concluded, it is very difficult when prosecutions will be done. But the point is there is a further investigation of each one of the allegations made in that report and I think ours is to wait for that process to be concluded. Thank you.
Deputy Minister Andre Nel: I think just three brief points to make firstly is that there is on-going interaction between the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Department of Communications and the mobile industry on the issue of dealing with any violations of the RICA legislation. We are due to meet with our counterparts in the Department of Communications next week and I am sure that following that we would give a more detailed briefing. Secondly increasingly law enforcement officials both the police and the prosecution are commenting on the favourable effects of RICA legislation in prosecuting crimes and particularly serious crimes. In the past couple of weeks a number of cases, convictions in a numbers of cases have turned exactly on cellphone evidence either in terms of the communication between individuals involved in crime or determining the location of individuals that were involved in crime. And I think it vindicates the usefulness of this legislation. Lastly just to emphasise the point that we made a while ago is that this legislation is basically sound. What we are talking about are violations of the law and I think at a previous occasion we used the analogy of legislation dealing with firearms. It is illegal to possess a firearm that is not licensed, if you go and buy an unlicensed firearm from somewhere it does not mean that the legislation that prohibits illegal firearms is faulty. It means that someone has contravened the law and that is what needs to be focussed on. Thank you very much.
Journalist: Minister Radebe this question is for you. I am aware of the fact that you a member of the JSC but you sat in on the interview this weekend of the Chief Justice nominee Moegeng Moegeng and just want to know did you find that it was a fair process. Do you find there was enough interrogation or do you think there was too much? Do you think he was victimised too much what was your impression.
Journalist: To Minister Radebe, reports say that the JSC has concluded and that there is a 16-7 majority in favour of Moegeng but of course that has not been made public. I am wondering whether you can confirm this and whether the President has been told about this and what is the way forward.
Journalist: It was reported on radio this morning that both the ANCYL disturbances last Tuesday in Johannesburg and some service delivery protests over the weekend had made use of Blackberry telephones and that the encrypted nature of Blackberry messaging makes it impossible to use it in terms of RICA. Will you be approaching Blackberry and or change the law to outlaw the encrypted messaging?
Minister Jeff Radebe: Just further clarity on the question about BOSASA our understanding is that both the police when they have completed their investigation the National Director will take a decision whether to prosecute or not so that is where the thing is. On the JSC, I don’t think it is for me to evaluate the JSC process but I think all South Africans for two days they saw how the process was. I think it is a robust engagement my personal view is that live broadcast are something that we need to promote in
On the JSC I know that the Deputy Chief Justice, Moseneke has already informed the President about the outcome of the JSC. It is for the President now to complete the process of consultation and I read in the media that he is meeting with the leader of the Democratic Alliance, Madame Helen Zille this evening so after that engagement, I am sure the President will apply his mind as to what he has to decide.
On the ANCYL this is a Government media conference it has nothing to do with political parties but in so far as the Blackberry thing, I want to indicate here that we have not taken a decision as Government. The Cyber Policy is in the process of being debated and decided upon by Cabinet so whoever says anything about Blackberry is premature at this particular point in time. Thank you.
Journalist: Another question for Minister Radebe. In the tradition of cluster briefings and journalists asking very probing questions, I would like to know from you Minister what your favourite music is. (Laughing)
Journalist: A follow up on your answer about the JSC question. As one of the masses who do not possess DSTV, I felt severely deprived this weekend, I had to beg and borrow to watch this on E-News. Do you think in future you would push with SABC to have this live broadcasting? I think they had about three hours on Saturday morning on radio which was not enough for me. And also another question every time we select judges the transformation of the judiciary comes into question and that fact that we don’t have enough black lawyers coming through the ranks to become judges. Do you think the processes are adequate? Just something about that.
Minister Jeff Radebe: For music I don’t want to answer right now but I would like to invite him to either in
On the broadcasting of interviews for judges, I fully support as a Minister and also as a Member of the JSC. I think it will be good thing if SABC can broadcast future interviews live on television and also on radio.
On black lawyers there is a process that we are finalising as a Department of Justice of coming up with a model that will help us to ensure that the points that were made by Justice Moegeng in this interview that in the Constitutional Court most of the time they only see senior white lawyers. So that is the process that we need to utilise the legal services that we procure as a Government to spread the work so that many black lawyers particularly women both white and black must be able to benefit out of the legal services that the Government chance out every year because we are the biggest litigator in South Africa and the state attorneys the biggest law firm in the continent of Mother Africa, so there is no reason why people should be crying for a long time without being heard and that we need to give them an opportunity to expose themselves into this world of law. So with those few words I would like to thank you.
END OF MEDIA BRIEFING
Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster media briefing
The task of fighting crime requires a united
We remain committed to the Delivery Agreement signed with the President to ensure a safe, stable and democratic
The extent of the progress made is reflected in the findings of the survey conducted in the past three quarters by the Government Communications Information Services (GCIS). The survey indicates that our endeavour to fight crime is having a significant impact in the lived reality of South Africans. There is growing indication that South Africans are increasingly feeling safe. Evidently, the number of respondents who see crime as a major challenge is gradually going down. Currently, the number of respondents who views crime as a major challenge in our country has gone down from 33% to 25%.
Output 1: Reduced overall levels of serious crime, in particular, contact and trio crimes
Based on the previous Crime Statistics as released in September last year, government is making considerable progress in dealing with crime, particularly in relation contact crimes including trio crimes. We have noted a decrease in murder as well as various other categories; and this was to a large extent achieved through coordinated cluster efforts, including improving the detection and conviction rates. We also need to emphasize that our success in dealing with crime is also premised in line with a community-policing approach. To this end; we want to commend millions of law-abiding South Africans who continue to partner with government.
The fight against crime is stymied by the recent upsurge in police killings which stood at 56 during the period under review. On the 8th of July the Minister of Police convened a Summit Against Attacks on and Killings of Police Officers with the objective of seeking solutions from all sectors of our society. A Multi-Disciplinary Committee has since been formed to effectively manage investigations on killings of the police, and counselling of their families.
Output 2: Effective and integrated Criminal Justice System (CJS)
We continue to implement the recommendations of the Criminal Justice System Review, which among others, include the modernisation of our systems.
Audio Visual Remand System
The roll out of the Remand Video System in the Criminal Justice System, which allows for remand court proceedings to be conducted via video linkage, eliminates the unnecessary transportation of Remand Detainees to and from court and the risks associated with that process. The business benefit of utilizing such technology has been reflected in the reduction of case delays and detentions to minimum periods. The national implementation of the first phase of the project concentrated on the high volume Correctional Centres and associated courts. So far, 47 courts and 22 Correctional Centres have been equipped with the Video Remand System. Of the 47 courts, 17 are already operational. It is envisaged that the rest of the courts (27) will be operational by the end of September 2011. Of the 22 Correctional Centres 10 are operational. The use of technology in this area proved to be a modernisation aspect of immense benefit to the criminal justice system.
Correctional Matters Amendment Act
In May of 2011 President Jacob Zuma signed into law the Correctional Matters Amendment Bill following approval by both houses of Parliament.
The Correctional Matters Amendment Act came into effect on the 1st of September of 2011 will enhance the effectiveness and integration of the country’s criminal justice system with a revised Medical Parole Policy, New Management System for Remand Detainees and Overall Enhancement of the Parole System.
Parole Management and Electronic Monitoring
The Department of Correctional Services recently announced plans to conduct a pilot program by December of 2011 for the use of electronic monitoring of parolees and in future certain categories of sentenced offenders and remand detainees.
The use of electronic monitoring will significantly enhance monitoring capacity of the Department of Correctional Services in respect of parolees with regard to their movements as well as their adherence to conditions of parole. This will lead to the diversion of those convicted of minor offences away from custodial sentences to perform community service while the department is able to account for their geographical location.
In line with the
All those lifers who have been granted parole will by December 2011 form part of the pilot program on electronic tagging and monitoring.
Introduction of New Generation Mother and Child Facilities
The Department of Correctional Services is in the process of relocating women offenders who are serving time with their babies in correctional centres into new-generation Mother and Child facilities where the environment will be most conducive for the child's development. We have recently opened such facilities in
Countrywide there are 56 regional backlog courts and 22 district courts. The target in relation to the backlog cases is to reduce the number of long outstanding cases on the court rolls. There was a marked decrease in the number of outstanding cases from 218 660 to 197 391 (9.7%) during March and June 2011. This has now further decreased between June and July 2011, from 197 391 to 192 487 (a reduction of 4905 cases in that period.)
National Register for Sex Offenders
We have successfully implemented Phase 1 of the National Register of Sex Offenders. This Register is intended to protect children and the mentally disabled persons from those persons who have been convicted of sexual offences. All court orders that relate to convictions of this crime under the new Sexual Offences Act, continue to be captured in the Register. We have noted an increase in the number of sex offenders registered from 1202 to 1612 during the period under review (April to August).
Output 3: Corruption within the JCPS Cluster combated to ensure its effectiveness and its ability to serve as deterrent against crime
The Cluster has intensified its efforts to root out corruption within its own Departments, as a result a total of 362 cases were investigated and 291 arrests were made (167 public officials and 124 members of the public). All of these officials have appeared in court and their cases have resulted in 155 convictions thus far.
Output 4: Perception on the management of crime among the population improved
Crime Victim Satisfaction Survey
The Crime Victim Satisfaction Survey has been undertaken and a report on this survey is undergoing internal consultation amongst the Cluster Departments. The survey will give us reliable feedback and help us to consolidate our efforts to improve our services.
Roll out of Victim Support Rooms
We continue to roll out the Victim Support Rooms (VSRs) in an effort to show empathy to victims of violent crime, especially in cases of sexual offences, child abuse and domestic violence. For the period under review, we have increased the number of VSRs from 806 to 900 across the country. These facilities compliment the Thuthuzela Care Centres and are meant for interviews, statement-taking and other consultations. There are currently 27 fully operational Thuthuzela Care Centres in the country and 9 more are being established this year.
Output 5: Levels of corruption reduced thus improving investor perception, trust and willingness to invest in
Government has noted the concerns of South Africans regarding the levels of corruption in our country, as highlighted by the GCIS research findings. We recognise that corruption holds the potential to erode all the gains made in our hard earned democracy and commit to find sustainable solutions quell these acts of criminality.
The Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) has made significant progress in fighting corruption. Actual joint operations have commenced. In this regard 116 accused persons are appearing in court relating to 42 cases with R579 million assets restrained in total. Of the 116 accused only 19 have assets more than R5m, with restraints in place.
During the last financial year, the President issued no less than 18 Proclamations authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to conduct investigations – the most ever in the history of the SIU. Most of these focussed on procurement related irregularities as it is a major priority for government to deal with corruption in procurement, and to ensure better value for money. For the first time, these investigations included two of the Metropolitan Municipalities (Tshwane and Ekurhuleni) as well as the SABC.
Some of the other key investigations include: the procurement of accommodation by the national Department of Public Works, a number of municipalities in the Western Cape, the procurement department of SAPS, the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, the broadening of the investigation into contracts for building low-cost housing, and the on-going investigations into the irregularities in the social grant system.
Recently, significant progress has been made with the arrest of two former senior managers of the City of
The return of SANDF to the borders will be implemented in a five-phase approach over the next four years with a total of twenty-two (22) companies. The Defence Force is currently covering 1 500 kilometres of the border. At the end of the full deployment, it is estimated that the SANDF would cover 4 471 kilometres of land border, 2 700 kilometres of maritime border and 7 660 kilometres of air border.
Some of the items seized at our ports of entry include the following: Hand weapons confiscated (17); Dagga (1231.40 kg); Copper (653kg); Cattle recovered (38); Illegal foreigners apprehended (20825); Stolen vehicle recovered (27); Criminals arrested (451); Contrabands confiscated (R2 627,119); Tik 138 units.
Output 7: Integrity of Identity and Status of Citizens and Residents secured
With a view to ensuring delivery on this output, the Department of Home Affairs aims to ensure that birth is the only entry point for South Africans to the National Population Register. A credible and accurate National Population Register not only ensures that government knows exactly who in the country is a South African citizen and who is a foreign national, but enables government to plan timeously to meet the needs of the country’s citizens since it has accurate data at its disposal.
In terms of the registration of babies, in the quarter April – July 2011, the total number of births registered was 133,262, which is 12% of estimated births of 1,1million projected by the Department in the financial year 2011/12.
Another core objective of the National Population Registration Campaign is in the issuance of IDs to 16 year olds. In this regard, the Department of Home Affairs has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Education to enable it to visit secondary schools to receive applications from those who are 16 years old. The Department has also prioritised the issuance of IDs to those who are in matric.
The Department has also endeavoured to ensure that immigration is managed effectively and securely in the national interest, including economic, social and cultural development. In this regard, the Department aims to realise a positive skills migration trend of around 50 000 migrants annually. In the quarter April – June 2011, a total of 1234 scarce skills permits were issued.
The Cluster has also prioritised the finalisation of applications for work, business and corporate permits. To this end, a total of 7 054 permits were issued in the quarter April – June 2011. This is part of attracting scarce skills into the country and boosting the economy which will help with job creation.
Output 8: Integration of ICT Systems and Development of a Cyber-Security Policy
A draft cyber security policy has been completed. This policy will be presented to Cabinet during the course of this financial year. Parallel to this, we will continue to prioritise crimes committed through Internet fraud, including pornography and human trafficking as well as the hacking of business websites.
Roll Out of Automated Fingerprint and Identification System (AFIS) at Correctional Facilities
The Department of Correctional Services has now initiated the roll out of the Automated Fingerprint and Identification System (AFIS) in correctional centres around the country.
We have made significant progress in this area in that we have installed facilities for capturing and storage of fingerprint data at 145 sites. The integration of this system into the Police, Home Affairs and the Department of Social Development systems is expected to be completed by the end of this quarter.
The JCPS will continue to work with all its strategic partners and the South African community at large, in collaborative efforts aimed at turning the tide in the fight against crime and corruption in order to ensure that ‘All people in South are and feel safe’.
We wish to continue on this trajectory. The gains we have made must render us neither complacent nor oblivious of the challenges that still lie ahead. The challenges are not insurmountable. We will accelerate delivery in order to realize a deserved better life for all.
No related documents