Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster Briefing


18 Feb 2012

Nathi Mthethwa, Police Minister, Jeff Radebe, Justice Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Home Affairs Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Correctional Services, Andries Nel, Deputy Minister of Justice, and Fatima Chohan, Deputy Home Affairs Minister briefed the media and replied to questions at the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster Briefing

[Note: Transcript of Questions & Answers provided by Government Communications and Information Systems]


Journalist: If you could just please elaborate on the electronic monitoring of parolees. Who is going to be doing this, how is it going to be done and what is the cost of it.

Journalist: Congratulations on the achievements, I am surprised that more of it was not contained in the State of the Nation Address. On crime stats there is some discussion that the crime target which was reduced if I am not mistaken from 10% to 7% the serious and violent crime to 4% to 7% will now be increased again to bigger targets because government is doing so well. Is there any truth to that? Then secondly on the Protection of State Information Bill and cabinet’s endorsement does this open the door to the possibility and I could be corrected that government can decide that crime stats, a head of the organ of state can say that crime stats should be classified. And is that a possibility? Secondly can we please have an update from Minister Mapisa-Nqakula on the awaiting trial situation? It has been a challenge for your ministry for some time and what progress are we making on that. Finally I can’t speak about it because the President introduced the subject in his reply to the State of the Nation Address, in terms of the review of constitutional judgements, is the panel going to be appointed or the body going to be appointed this week in terms of that review? And was it left out of this discussion because the Presidency has handled it but has this cluster discussed whether or not that review is the start of a process which eventually is going to lead to a review of constitutional court powers. 

Journalist: My first question is to the Minister of Correctional Services, by the grace of God I haven’t been a recipient of your hospitality yet but I am told that honesty is not likely number one priority for some of your inmates. Now it seems to me that this Medical Parole Advisory Board is going to very much be dependent on inmates coming forward and requesting medical parole. How many people are on this Medical Parole Advisory Board? How many of these doctors are there and how are they not going to be flooded by the hundreds of thousands of requests, I am pretty sure you are going to get from inmates who suddenly feel very ill. Then secondly it seems as though there is no one here from the Department of Defence but the issue of border control is raised. One of the biggest problems you would very much know is the issue of security on the Lesotho border which is a 487km border which has a 165 people patrolling it including administrative and catering staff. Now I would like to know how this is an adequate number and given the state of the fence which is in disrepair only 60km of it has been repaired and 8km has already fallen into disrepair. How is the acceptable when the commercial agricultural sector in the Eastern Free State is basically being stolen, where cattle theft, vehicle theft and theft of grazing through the people of Lesotho sending their cattle into our country just continues unabated. How is it acceptable and what is going to be done to improve the situation.
Journalist: In terms of intensifying the fight against corruption, Minister Radebe could you please bring us up to speed on what is happening with the commission of inquiry into the arms deal. And has another judge been found and why is it taking so long.

Journalist: My question is based on pg 2 on rhino poaching; you say 20 alleged suspects have been arrested. Can you give us how many has been convicted and also would you tell us because we understand that most of these rhino horns that are poached are destined for countries such as China, Vietnam and Taiwan. Would you tell us what is being done in order to arrest the buyers in those countries.

Minister Jeff Radebe: Electronic monitoring the Minister of Correctional Services will deal with all those matters related to electronic monitoring, crime stats the Minister of Police will respond to that, the advisory board obviously Minister of Correctional Services. The issues around rhino, Minister of Police will answer to that. We have no intention of classifying crime stats we are going to be releasing them on an annual basis as I have indicated including the surveys of the perception of how people feel about the issues of crime. On the issue of the judgements assessment we have already issued a statement that we will address that issue specifically during the course of this week so we don’t want to cloud it with this particular cluster briefing. On the issue of because Minister of Defence is not here, on the issue of border control by the SANDF we indicated, okay there is a member of the Defence Force here but I just wanted to indicate that as we have said beginning April of this year we are going to be introducing four companies including along the Lesotho border to but there is a general here who can bring more information.

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula: Thank you very much Minister Radebe. Starting with the Medical Parole Board, we have appointed ten doctors a chair, vice chair and representatives from the various provinces but also it is important to say that this Medical Parole Board this panel of experts will be charged with the responsibility of looking at all applications for medical parole. Yes the legislation makes a provision for an inmate to initiate the process however it does not depend solely on the inmate obviously we have approximately 170 000 and if all of them can initiate a process and that would mean the fact that you would allow them to go out to leave the centres it means we will be opening the floodgates and it is not possible. What happens in this provision is one a member of the public a family member or even an inmate will initiate the process. However the final decision will be taken in terms of recommendation will be made by this independent panel of medical experts. The reason being we don’t want medical doctors who have links with the inmates who have been looking after the inmates over a long period of time we want an independent panel to be the one that studies the reports if there is a need to conduct further tests and that will be done and then make a final recommendation. Obviously in the case of inmates who are serving life that recommendation will come to the Minister but in the case of all other categories of inmates the recommendation will be given and made to the parole boards which are responsible for parole at the centres. And of course that will come into effect from the 1st of March we don’t anticipate challenges with this process, we think that we have reasonable regulations that will serve to guide the Medical Parole Board. I should also say the first meeting of that medical parole will be this coming week and this is where they will be studying everything all the provisions of the legislation, look at the regulations and even developed their own framework for dealing with these matters.

On remand detention yes our new remand detention is coming into affect on the 1st of March as well so on the 1st of March we will see that some provisions of the new amended act will be made, will be gazetted and that will come into effect so the remand detention branch comes into effect on the 1st of March and of course there are some aspects of that remand detention section in the legislation which will not necessarily come into effect on the 1st of March such as for instance the wearing of a uniform by the remand detainees because the procurement of those have been very slow. In terms of structure remember this was meant to ensure that remand detention is properly structured and is properly run and we will have of course the list of remand detention facilities listed on that gazette.
The question on electronic monitoring, I should start by saying that this is a pilot project and anything that is pilot all of us need to understand it means we are looking at the pro’s and con’s of this innovation. Secondly we believe that in deed we need to build confidence from the side of society, make sure that people appreciate that okay our parolees and our probationers indeed are being properly monitored so there is no repetition of some of the things that has happened in the past where an inmate would be released today and a few days later that inmate would commit a gruesome crime. So this really strengthens our monitoring capacity and in terms of company and what it cost those are matters that you can refer to the accounting officer.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa: The first question there is no such on the first question about the statistics being increased and so on. The second question the Minister of Justice answered just to say that this was a decision of cabinet and as such it will continue as the cabinet decided that we should share with the public on the crime statistics on an annual basis. The question from Jan-Jan on stock theft you actually spoke about stock theft as it affects Eastern Free State farmers in fact it affects most of the people even in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape and of Free State. There is this issue and I think he knows the fact that this is a new situation where government is redeploying the army into the borders and as the Minister of Justice has said the program continues but again the interaction continues with the communities particularly looking at this matter of stock theft as one of the serious crimes.

On rhino poaching; the number of people that have been convicted I mean we can get that outside of this. What I can say in this matter is that as it is one of the transnational crimes which are agreed upon by member states of Interpol, we started to engage with our counterparts in some of the continents like Asia. Last November we interacted with my counterpart on this matter as it has been pointed out that most of this poaching head towards that and it is not only in Asia by the way other continents are affected but we will continue to interact with our colleagues so that they also assist us on this matter. Thank you.

Journalist: Sorry my question about the Arms Deal inquiry?

Minister Jeff Radebe: The Arms Deal inquiry is going to be proceeding not that there is nothing that is being done the commissioners are in place with Judge Seriti as well as Legodi, Judge President Musi the infrastructure has been secured so we are going to be waiting from them to tell the public when it is going to begin but they are hard at work in terms of this preparatory phase. So there is nothing that is outstanding except the implementation.

Siphiwe Dlamini (Defence representative) I think both the chairperson, Minister Radebe and Minister Mthethwa have touched on the issue around the deployment of the SANDF. Indeed we will be deploying a further company in the Lesotho area as from the 1st of April but I must add that the reason we have been successful in the northern part of the countries is because our deployment in those areas is intelligence driven. We work very close with the communities the community leaders the farming community in those areas. We would also like to make an announcement that we will be meeting the farming community which we have met through the Agri SA and the National African Farmers Union, we are working very close with those groupings and we will be meeting them in the Free State in the next month or so, we are just trying to tie up those meetings. Thank you very much. A company comprises of 150 boots on the ground that is a 150 people on the ground so we will be adding another 150 to the ones already there. Thank you.

Journalist: Minister Mthethwa a question to you regarding the conviction rates and crime stats. Could you just give us an update on the conviction rates from the detective service what the success rate is? At the recent committee meeting it was said that the detective conviction rate are less than 10%, I think they said 5% in the Free State in particular. So all of these numbers and the increases in conviction in the courts are fantastic but the people are not getting to court because of the lack of the problem in the detection services. Then maybe to Mr Dlamini from the Department of Defence are these companies going to get more money it doesn’t help they are on the ground but they don’t have any vehicles or petrol to drive around and actually do some detecting. Is the cluster going to be arguing for a bigger budget to combat this scourge and a last question just regarding Lesotho it was mentioned at the same police committee meeting by two different provincial commissioners that they are having a challenge working with the Lesotho government saying that cooperation is pretty much nonexistent. I would just like to understand from government side whether you are talking to the Lesotho government and asking them to do something from their side as well. Thank you.

Journalist: On the Anti-Corruption Task Team you said that additional funding of an R150m will be given to them could you just tell us how much funding they had so far. And then you also said in improving best of perception, trust and willingness to invest in South Africa, could you tell us if you had any representation from international companies, investors expressing their concerns about corruption in South Africa. Then turning to the cybercrime strategy that strategy was first tabled to cabinet almost three years ago by the former Communications Minister in fact it has been on development for ten years from what I recall. Why suddenly is it a priority? Why has it suddenly moved to a priority status? Thank you.
Journalist: Following on the cybercrime policy framework if you could elaborate what the scope of that is likely to be and whether that has to do with things such as for example talking to social media sites, I see that you note here social media sites have an undesired consequence and that they are tools and platforms that accelerate criminal activities. Does that mean that this policy is going to be considering restricting access to them and perhaps even further I am looking at RIM encrypting of BBM’s, if you could elaborate on that. Then also if you could please give us some idea of what you are planning with the 10111 service. Thanks.

Journalist: Follow up question. To the Minister of Correctional Services I need to understand how this new Medical Parole Board is going to operate, you’ve got ten doctors as I understand it that will have to deal with every single person in jail who through themselves or through their family feel that they are too ill to serve their sentence. There are a R170 000 people in jail you don’t believe that even though this system starts on the 1st of March which is 9 days away you are going to have any problems with implementing that’s my understanding of what you were saying, you must correct me if I’m wrong. To the Minister of Police and actually to Mr Dlamini of the Defence Force; do you think government is doing enough to help those rural people who as you correctly claimed are also in the Eastern Cape but also in the Southern District of KZN the Bergville areas have got the same problem. It is not a matter of where exactly they are situated it was just easier to get information from the Free State. The Minister of Defence at a meeting of defence in April of 2010 promised that she would visit these areas this has not materialised is government doing enough is it taking it seriously enough now that it is going to put 300 people onto a border which in the Free State alone is 460km long.

Minister Jeff Radebe: I think Minister Mthethwa has already answered the issue of the conviction rate that we will provide statistics. On the issue of more money for the Defence Force the normal budgetary process takes its course. Relationship with Lesotho is very good; relationship about 18 months ago the President had a state visit to Lesotho and this issue was one of the agenda items so as a cluster we are unaware of a non cooperation from Lesotho. The Anti Corruption Task Team it is not as if there is a budget that says Anti-Corruption Task Team because the budget are in line function departments so what this does this fund when we confiscate or freeze assets of criminals then that money is invested back into the effort of fighting crime. So this R150m is sought of gives more capacity to the ACTT to continue fighting against crime and corruption especially corruption the last time I recall where this money was distributed was before my time 2005-2006 but right now it is R150m that has been dispersed to the NPA through the Special Investigating Unit the Asset Forfeiture Unit to the Department of Police, I think Social Development and the Department of Justice. Cybercrime strategy there is a document but it has not yet been finalised it has come before cabinet during the last quarter of 2011. You will recall that at that time it was co-ordinated through the department of communications as this cluster we took a decision that the policy is inappropriately located in communications so we took the decision that the lead department must be state security. So it is under review and it will be coming to cabinet shortly.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa: Well thanks. I think the first point has been answered. The types of crimes which would be targeted on this cybercrime strategy cuts across, its importance is as a result of crime displacement particularly where you see criminals moving more to this space of ICT and occupying the cyberspace. So it has to be enhanced from that point of view, Gaye asked about 10111 she asked what is your plan on 10111? Maybe you can help Gaye you see because plans are what I would say maybe we will come back to that one just to say that we keep on improving that area. Gauteng for instance has intensified and their improvement is seen and we have said that this should be rolled out to all other provinces particularly on 10111. On the issue again Jan-Jan on stock theft not that the Minister has not visited this areas as was said earlier on, is that there are other areas she has not covered the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans. We have also been interacting with these communities as a cluster because it is not the issue of the Minister of Defence, we have met these communities all over as you say, cutting across provinces and interacted that it has to be looked into from the point of view of the border line area but also internally in those areas where the targets are. That is why we have gone about re-establishing and strengthening the stock theft unit within the police under the Rural Safety Plan which we unveiled last year together with the players there, farm workers unions, business people, Agri South Africa, FAWU and all those people. So they are part and parcel of that program to ensure that indeed we focus on this area because we have said in the past and we continue to say, that people who stay in rural areas view stock as their bank and therefore as government we have to take that seriously because it is equivalent to bank robbery. And this is our approach to this matter and that is why on my instruction I told the management of the police to reintroduce this area in particular to ensure that we safeguard those banks. Thank you.

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula: May I just remind all of us that with regards to medical parole processes in the past in the current provisions in our legislation the process would be initiated by the case management committee together with the doctors at the same time. And that recommendation will be made to the parole board and the board would take a decision now we have 52 parole boards countrywide and sitting here at head office you wouldn’t even know how many inmates have been granted parole and what the reasons for granting parole are. Now we found ourselves in a situation where it’s time there are high profile cases and these matters are brought to our attention and it creates a problem because as a Minister it is take difficult for you to explain the process and the reasons why medical parole was granted. Now in this case anyone can initiate yes it will include inmates who believe they are very sick but it does not mean that they it will be granted medical parole. Now a family member a member of the public or an inmate himself or herself may initiate the process, however preparations in the same way that you would have your process going through the case management committee the doctors then the parole board. The same process again of preparing of documents by the case management committee together with the doctors at the centre the difference this time is that then your independent panel of medical experts will then come in, study the report, discuss with the doctors at the centre who have been looking after the inmate, if there is a need because these are people who are practising medicine. It is not as though they will be fulltime in this job these are people who have their own practises some of them are working for the public hospitals and they will then take it upon themselves after studying the report to discuss with the doctors, with the inmates and if there is a need to go through to run more tests they do so and place the recommendation before the parole board. So there will no parole board that will take a decision on medical ground without this decision going through the independent panel of doctors. I think I am emphasising independent because indeed this panel of medical experts are people who have no links with Correctional Services who will then come with an independent view on each one of these cases. Yes we have a number of inmates however it does not mean that if you sneeze or you have flu then you get medical parole or you would be even considered for that. It also doesn’t mean if you are HIV positive and you have a low CD4 count therefore you will be granted medical parole right, it is about sick people very sick people and we do have people who are very sick of course they are a drop in the ocean at the centres. So yes we have many people who are HIV positive, we are people who have suffered from TB but of course TB does not mean you are dying tomorrow or you are very sick, it is curable, CD4 count which is low you get ARV’s and your CD4 pushes up, it does not mean that you are very sick. So you may initiate a process really believing that you are very sick but in fact the doctors may decide looking at you this is really not a case for medical parole. What we did not do is to list the ailments because the ailments vary, I do also want to say that we do have people that have been inflicted by stroke who are completely disabled and at times a person gets blind from the stroke and these are some of the cases that obviously you would have to seriously discuss but of course you would have to strike a good balance and be assured that this person does not pose a risk to society. When people hear about this new medical parole board which will allow for all medical categories but does not talk to terminally ill in the sense that the current provisions do, they think well it means we are opening floodgates and people would be walking out. It also provide for people who are totally in capacitated who can’t do for themselves however it does not mean that at the point of conviction if you were disabled then because you are disabled and you are in a wheelchair you will be granted medical parole. We have cases of extremely of very sick people, I can’t describe it and of course some of them indeed may be cases which do not pose a risk to society and obviously perhaps the medical parole board will then put forward a recommendation. I hope this is clear now, thank you.
Journalist: To the Correctional Services Minister, just on the medical parole and the monitoring. When it comes to the monitoring you said there is a pilot project that is on the way how much is this pilot project costing, who is involved in the pilot project can you just elaborate on it a little bit more. How will a prisoner or an inmate become eligible for this electronic monitoring, how many are going to be put on the electronic monitoring. Then on the medical parole, how many people are you anticipated to be medically paroled? How soon will a person be able to apply with this new board being put in place for medical parole? And then to the Minister of Police you said the success the 10111 has had here in Gauteng is going to be rolled out throughout the country. Can you elaborate on those successes and also what kind of things are you looking at changing at 10111 centres in general.

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula: To be honest I really can’t predict how many people will be considered or even allowed to leave our facilities on the grounds of their medical condition. Of course I did say that on the 1st of March all these will be gazetted, the new provisions on remand detention and the new medical parole policy which has been a subject of a long debate and consultations in the past year. 1st of March to be gazetted and it immediately kicks in it means that people who want to apply for medical parole or doctors who would want to initiate that process or even case management committees may write, apply from the 1st of March. Let me also remind you that in this past month we had a situation for instance where the media raised a number of questions about a process that had been initiated by the Friends of Jackie Selebi and you would recall that I went out and responded to the media query by saying no in terms of our current legislation he did not qualify, he does not qualify and the reason being that process was initiated by people outside of the current provisions which end on the 29th of February. On the 1st of March you will now have a new arrangement all together where it is beyond the case management committee, the doctor who looks after a person or the parole board itself you now have a team that’s going to come in and do its own independent assessment of each one of the cases. I don’t want to predict how many people we are talking about but obviously there will be people with immediate affect who would have to be considered for this.

The pilot for the electronic monitoring, I think we pointed out earlier on with this pilot we are targeting 150 inmates and 70 of those 150 are lifers. You will recall with the coming of the Van Vuuren judgement for instance last year some time, May we have had to consider approximately 400 lifers and out of those we had 55 who have been granted parole and 113 who are on day parole. But before then you had lifers and inmates who had been out on parole so the pilot will then do a pilot on the 150 and 70 of those will be lifers which means it will be the 55 that we have just granted parole plus the others who have been out who were granted parole earlier on. But of course in that 150 you have other categories maybe a person has served a 15 year term and was granted parole when he was doing his 7th year right and once you are granted parole and we know that this is an inmate who have committed a gruesome crime because that is where we need to start, gruesome murders, armed robberies and so on. You tag for purpose of monitoring because as things are if you look at some of the conditions that we give to inmates there is a lot of restriction on movement of the inmates but in fact these are people who must get jobs so when we tag it allows for the inmate to move beyond which means the new conditions for parole will be set, will be determined including that you may go out and find a job and of course from your workplace you come back. And of course if you don’t that thing actually gives us a signal at the control room there is a national control room that has been established, it gives a signal immediately as to what the inmate is trying to do, whether you are trying to remove the tag or have moved beyond the boundaries that have been determined for you. That pilot costs R6m per year because it is a pilot, I don’t know what finally it will cost when we have done a review after a year what this tender will cost us. The company that is actually doing it right now is called EMESS and for details about that as I said earlier on you may want to consult with the accounting officer. Thanks.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa: Firstly 10111 is meant for rapid response that is the major aim of 10111 and in addition to that we have been rolling out sector policing because 10111 plus sector policing with sector policing you will have patrols in our areas and the vehicles in those areas all of them would have numbers not call centres this time but the cellphone numbers where people call directly to that. What is different in Gauteng they embarked on an intensive program of engaging other stakeholders, business, partners and others to improve the capacity of 10111 in ensuring that indeed it serves the public?  You would know that this has had some challenges in the past because of a number of things one accounting factor to that which is difficult to undo are the prank calls to 10111 itself but generally there has been improvement in so far as that is concerned and because of this clear plan that we implemented with the other stakeholders. Thank you.
Journalist: To the Minister of Correctional Services given the findings of the Special Investigating Unit on BOSASA tender could you please tell us how it is possible that this contract has now been extended again.

Journalist: (Bad audio) To the Minister of Correctional Services just for clarity we apologise we seem to be hammering on this but we just don’t want to misinterpret this. Does regarding the new policy on medical parole do I understand you correctly in saying that every single application for medical parole will go to one of the 52 medical paroles board and then go on for review from the independent panel? So if there is for argument sake a 150 000 applications every single one will go to the independent board because I think that’s the issue. And the second question Minister you mentioned there are some cases that will need priority does this mean the high profile cases will get priority?
Journalist: The chairperson has mentioned that the Department of Correctional Services will soon launch a government sponsored halfway houses. How soon will those launches take place and how much budget will actually be allocated to towards those launches. Thanks.

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula: On the SAU Report/BOSASA matter this contract on catering in particular has been extended for 12 months and colleagues you will remember that during my budget speech last year I gave a directive that the department should start preparing itself for sourcing catering, for inmates to cook for themselves and a year down the line we have discovered that in fact and by the way I think that sometimes when we talk about this contract and BOSASA, people believe that all 242 centres are actually, catering in those 242 centres is being done by BOSASA, there is no truth to it. It is 7 management areas where we have this contract with BOSASA now at the point where the contract ended the commissioner was given a report together with the CFO that in fact those 7 management areas some of the kitchens people were not ready some of the centres were not ready to provide for kitchens, I don’t know what happened when people took a decision to outsource catering. It would seem people then declared kitchens that we have now belong to the company, the pots everything all equipment that is required for catering belongs to this company. So we don’t have kitchens which are ready in some of the 7 management areas to be taken over by inmates. But of course we do have inmates who are ready to provide for catering who will be able to cook for other inmates but if you don’t have the equipment then it cannot be done. Some of the kitchens that we have will not be able to meet the health standards. So the contract that has been extended and I think it is important for us to say this we have not extended the contract for another five or three years we have extended the contract for 12 months and during that period all management areas will start preparing themselves to provide for their own catering. There was a long debate it was a very agonising debate amongst ourselves where a recommendation was put forward that in fact we should extend for six months and we thought that would be the best thing to do but then the service provider came in with prices that were very high and finally the management decided on 12 months.
On medical parole, I don’t know if there are a 150 000 people who are sick now but I think I did talk to the fact that this whole thing should not be trivialised it can’t be about you having a flu, it can’t be about you having to have an operation to remove your appendix, I am not a medical person I am just thinking off the cuff, it is not about that. If I may say this we have in one facility in Pietermaritzburg inmates one who have severe cancer of the colon and the one is on a stage four of the cancer. Maybe if you look at that case if you go and Google with stage 4 is you would say but why didn’t you grant medical parole, but the truth of the matter is the moment you make an announcement and I am sure you have had this experience where you work as well, once you say I am reviewing a policy there tends to be a pause and stagnation, everybody just freezes and waits for the new policy to come into place. People are reluctant to take decisions because they would rather wait so the transitional period becomes a very difficult period between the current and the new. So we are not talking about 150 000 inmates even though we have people who are very sick in our centres we have many people who will not qualify for medical parole because they are not very sick they are just sick. I think the most important we should appreciate with the new provisions is that here we are covering our backs, we are protecting ourselves, we are protecting government people must believe and have confidence in decisions and the quality of decisions that we take. So the quality of medical parole decisions that we will take from now onwards will be decisions that can stand up to scrutiny by the South African society and of course other people will take responsibility for that.
The last matter on the halfway houses we are launching the first halfway house on the 24th of February this coming week. Sitting here I am not sure what the budget is going to be but I want to say this about the halfway houses, we have had halfway houses that are run by NGO’s. We have never had a halfway house that is run by government and truth be told we have many offenders who could have been long granted parole but because of some of the requirements of having an identifiable physical address before you are granted parole, you can’t allow them to walk away. In fact these are people that can be taken back into society, reintegrated in their communities and can actually play a very important role in those communities but because there is no identifiable physical address. Whose fault is it; perhaps it is our fault together with the whole of government generally because at the point when a person goes into incarceration and there is no physical address, my view is that in order for rehabilitation to work it is important that you partner with the family. You have a number of inmates who are in our facilities some of whom have been disowned, effectively from November 2010 we have initiated what is called a dialogue our youth in the centres and their parents or families. And this has really yielded good results in that we see a number of young people who are registering to study so rather than sitting around. We have seen an increase from three registered schools that we have with the Department of Education to nine last year and this year we will push it up to 13. Which means the partnerships we have with the communities and the families are yielding results so we believe this initiative of the halfway houses that will be run by civil society but under the hospices of the Department of Correctional Services is one way of partnering with communities, society of slowly introducing some of these juveniles into reintegrating to their communities. I believe it is a good project it is working elsewhere in the world and I don’t see why it should not work with us. The problem about having halfway houses which are purely run by NGO’s is that you really have no control in what happens in that halfway house. In fact if we you are going to have strict regulations and you have this partnering between government and the people who are running the halfway house it may make better sense and yield better results. This will be the first halfway house it is not the last and we hope that we will be able to roll out some of these halfway houses. Perhaps to say that typical case you have is a young person about 19years, juvenile was found with dagga, his a first offender and this child is given 18 months and lives under a bridge in town, you go to your facility this child has served already 15 months of his time, why is this person not given parole, Minister we don’t know his address and we don’t know where his family is. Now you only start tracing family at the time the person is due for parole right you are not going to find the family and if the person was staying under a bridge at the point when you arrested him and convicted him of wrongdoing you are not suddenly going to find a family that is willing to open its arms to him. The child will go back to where he lived before he was incarcerated so that is really the genesis of this whole notion of halfway houses and I now hope that the media will really assist us in mobilising communities to give us support in launching this halfway houses. And I say this is the first one and of course because it is the first one it is a pilot it means that for a start we will push in 8 inmates and monitor them very closely and then slowly we will then increase. Thank you very much.

End of briefing


Minister Jeff Radebe: Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster media briefing

19 Feb 2012

During the delivery of the 2012 State of Nation Address, the President recommitted us all to building a South Africa which truly belongs to all who live in it and to create a conducive environment, free of crime and corruption for all to enjoy the hard earned freedoms and rights, enshrined in our Constitution. We are therefore mandated, as the JCPS Cluster, to deliver on our agreed commitment to ensure that all people in South Africa are and feel safe (Outcome 3).

Following our commitment to the President through the Delivery Agreement we developed a number of strategic and tactical interventions aimed at improving the state of public safety in our country.

The Agreement constitutes government’s programme of action in making South Africa safe for all citizens and visitors, attractive to investors fighting crime and corruption and contributes to the creation of an environment conducive for building stable families and communities.

The overall targets require that we change the way we approach the fight against crime and corruption through strong partnerships while ensuring that the Criminal Justice System is people-centred and victim friendly. Based on this approach, we are now beginning to see the result of our consistent effort to fight crime and corruption. In addition, those whom we serve are regaining their trust the in criminal justice system.

Output 1: Reduce overall levels of serious crimes and in particular contact crime

Over the past three years, government put in place various plans aimed at eradicating crime. The September 2011 national crime statistics, supported by various business industry statistics indicate a steady decline in various categories of crime.

Our performance reflects that between 2009/10 and 2010/11 financial years, overall serious crime levels decreased by 5%. For the first time in eight years the murder rate dropped by 6.5%, attempted murder decreased by 12.2%, sexual offences have also reflected a decrease of 4.4%. The decreases were achieved through various interventions, including proper planning, police visibility and coordination with other security agencies.

Whilst we note a decrease in sexual offences, we remain seriously concerned about the increase in rape cases. In an effort to address this sensitive matter, we have begun to reintroduce the South African Police Service (SAPS) Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units with a special focus on crimes that are prevalent amongst vulnerable groups. We have also attended to improving infrastructure such as victim friendly rooms at police stations, Thuthuzela care centres, domestic violence shelters and places of safety throughout the country.All of these are done in an effort to ensure the centrality of the victim, particularly a vulnerable victim. In addition, the services that are rendered in these facilities are better coordinated and undertaken by officials who receive on-going and specialised training.Our efforts in this regard have been felt on the ground even though there is a very long road that lies ahead. The report on Victim Empowerment Survey undertaken by Statistic South Africa, published in November 2011 indicates that the victims of crime are beginning to feel the impact of the interventions of government in the fight against crime and the protection of the victims.

We have noted the recent increase in ATM bombings, and these can mainly be associated with the heat that the criminals are feeling in bank robberies as well as cash-in-transit-heists. Intensive detective and intelligence work, supported by various agencies, is currently underway to hunt, arrest and prosecute those responsible for those crimes.

In fighting organised crime vigorously, the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (the Hawks) identified, tracked and arrested 50 of the country’s most wanted criminals. In recent weeks, the unit has arrested over 20 alleged rhino poachers.

Fundamental in the reduction of crime is the spirit of partnership, which speaks to our community-participation philosophy. More and more South Africans are joining the fight against crime and government calls on the nation to play its part in anti-crime campaigns. Furthermore, on-going training, equitable distribution of policing resources, creation of a professional police service that continues to wage war on criminals will be consolidated during the course of this calendar year and the next financial year.

While we are encouraged by the declining trends in we remain concerned about the levels of crime, particularly crimes against women, children and the elderly. Once again, we want to reiterate our firm commitment that we shall spare neither strength nor effort in ensuring that all in South Africa are and feel safe.

Output 2: An effective Criminal Justice System (CJS)

The strengthening of partnerships within the Criminal Justice System will remain a priority this year. This will include not only communities but a variety of role-players within government, business, interest groups, media, municipalities, religious and youth formations as well as international law enforcement agencies.

As part of improving service delivery, we are in the process of reviewing our 10111 operations in order to ensure the efficiency of the system. This may include the revised deployment of resources in order to make the system more effective.

High-tech equipment, vehicles and other tools procured during the 2010 FIFA World Cup continue to be used to safeguard all people within the country.

On average 1687 courts function daily and for 2011 on a quarter-to-quarter basis they have continued to improve the case finalisation rate, although we are still slightly below the target we set for ourselves in this regard. For the period April to December 2012, we finalised 327818 cases with an impressive conviction rate. The High courts had a conviction rate on average of 84,4% (752 cases); Regional Courts 74,2% (21 886 cases) and district courts 90,5% (185884 cases). A focus area for 2012 will be increased attention to increase the case finalisation rate at all court levels in conjunction with all role players.

The country-wide situation regarding the outstanding and backlog cases per court level has continued to improve. As at the end of December 2011, we had succeeded in reducing the backlog numbers to the lowest number of backlog cases 32902 (15.9%) than in the past 5 years.During the period April 2011 to December 2011, the backlog courts removed 16436 cases from the court rolls. With 77 additional backlog courts functioning at present (55 regional and 22 district courts), the Case Backlog Reduction intervention is yielding results. Between April 2009 and December 2011, a total of 40 298 were removed from the court rolls as a result of the additional regional and district backlog criminal courts. A total of 134 new prosecutors who graduated from the Justice College this past Friday will be deployed all over the country in order to further increase capacity around our courts. The impact will be the speedy finalisation of increased number of cases which has been a challenge in giving effect to provide access to justice.

In addition and in order to better provide for the efficient judicial system as well as to minimise the delays in finalising cases on the court rolls, The Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) has initiated Case Flow Management and a process to set uniform norms and standards for the judiciary. Engagements are underway between the Chief Justice and the Heads of Court to ensure that norms and standards are used throughout the country in driving and improving performance in courts. This is consistent with tenets of the Constitution with regard to speedy justice. Further measures now in place to assist with case flow management include the following:

A High Court Case Flow Management (CFM) structure is now in place, chaired by Judge President Mthiyane; whilst for the lower courts a Lower Courts National Integrated CFM Committee (NICFM) led by the Regional Court President Ms Monaledi is in place.

Provincial Integrated CFM forums are also in place, with most of the forums led by either the Judge Presidents of the provinces or the Regional Court Presidents.

A CFM Workshop is planned with all lower court NICFM stakeholders for 1 March 2012 to ensure synergy between regional and national case flow management structures for effective coordination of CFM.

With a view to strengthen the general policy on parole and correctional supervision the Correctional Matters Amendment Act provides for a new medical parole policy and correctional supervision. It lays the legislative basis for management of remand detainees and regulates detention in police cells by stipulating that no inmate may be detained in police cells for a period exceeding seven days.

A newly established Medical Parole Advisory Board – with the key mandate being to look into all seriously and terminally ill inmates who have submitted reports requesting release on medical grounds – has been appointed with effect from 1 March 2012. This Board will be chaired by Dr Victor Ramathesele with Dr Angelique Coetzee as Vice-Chairperson and a list of members sitting on the board is available from the Department of Correctional Services on request. To deal with overcrowding at correctional facilities and to minimise the possibility of violation of parole conditions, a pilot project on the electronic monitoring of parolees and probationers was implemented on 14 February 2012. The pilot involves 150 parolees including 70 convicts on life sentences who are on parole. This will ensure that certain categories of offenders serve their sentences in the community and thereby contribute to the alleviation of overcrowding in correctional facilities.

The electronic monitoring of parolees and probationers will alleviate challenges of parolees absconding from the system of community corrections while also reducing the risk of recidivism. We hope that the strengthening of community corrections will encourage the Judiciary to explore alternative sentencing options making incarceration a last resort.

The Department of Correctional Services will soon launch the inaugural Government-sponsored Halfway House initiative. This is aimed at enabling social reintegration for parolees and ultimately reduces the chances of re-offending.

Halfway houses will enable Correctional Services to monitor parolees without verifiable residential addresses as part of their parole conditions.

The Halfway House initiative will be administered by civil society under the supervision of the Department and will allow parolees to seek employment, receive proper orientation in the community and pursue further education and training opportunities in preparation for their eventual full reintegration back into society.

Output 3: Corruption within the JCPS cluster combated to enhance its effectiveness and its ability to serve as a deterrent against crime

The Cluster is intolerant of any illegality within its ranks which undermine efforts to render quality services to communities. This includes corruption, theft of equipment, interference with evidence intended for trial purposes as well as collusion with criminals. The Cluster has compiled a report with a view tounderstand the nature and extent of illegality within its ranks and will be developing proper targets on this based on this report.

In the last year, 192 officials in the JCPS cluster were criminally charged with corruption; 86 of them were convicted.296 of them were put through departmental disciplinary processes for misconduct.

The Protection of State Information Bill, once passed into law, will, amongst others, regulate the manner in which the state information is protected, and promote transparency and accountability in governance while recognising that state information may be protected from disclosure in order to safeguard the national interest of the Republic. This Bill will provide for a thorough and methodological approach to the determination of which state information may be protected. In addition, it will criminalise espionage and activities hostile to the Republic and provide for certain other offences and penalties.

It is important to note that the officials who manipulate the classification of state information to hide corrupt activities will themselves be guilty of a criminal offence and will be dealt with harshly in terms of this proposed legislation.

Output 4: Perceptions of crime among the population managed and improved

The recent Victims of Crime Survey (2011) indicate that victims of crime are beginning to see results in the fight against crime and the improvement in the treatment of victims. Among other things, the survey found that over 40% of households felt that the level of both violent and non-violent crime had decreased in their area of residence during the period 2008 to 2010.Furthermore, of those surveyed, about 60% of households were satisfied with the way police and courts are doing their work.

The 2011 survey also revealed that 32,1% of households recorded that levels of crime had increased, compared to 2007 where 57,1% felt that crime had increased. With regard to personal safety, 88,2% and 27% felt safe walking in the areas during the day and at night respectively, compared to 2007 when the response was 76% and 23% respectively. Further Victim Surveys will continue on an annual basis under the auspices of Statistics South Africa to monitor perceptions of the public and victims of crime. The results of these surveys will help government to develop targeted interventions in line with what the people in South Africa feel are areas of serious concerns supported by the trends.

Output 5: Levels of corruption reduced improving investor perception, trust and willingness to invest in South Africa

Cabinet has approved additional funding of R150 million from the Criminal Assets Recovery Account (CARA) for the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) which comprises the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit and the National Prosecuting Authority (both prosecutions and asset forfeiture). These resources are aimed strengthening the capacity of these law enforcement agencies in our resolve to fight corruption.

As you are aware, we have set ourselves a target of arresting and prosecuting the100 persons suspected of serious corruption who have more than R5 million in illicit assets by April 2014.

Achievements against the target:

In the first 18 months of improving coordination of the law enforcement agencies which is led through the Anti-Corruption Task Team, significant progress has been made towards reaching our target. However, much more needs to be done.

For the period between April and December 2011 we can report as follows:

  • 56 persons are now being investigated (32 this year)
  • 26 of them have been arrested and appeared in court, (12 this year)
  • 19 of them have had their assets frozen
  • The value of assets frozen is R579 million

The current priority case investigations involve a total of 157 suspect persons.

Through concerted effort and coordination within our cluster, the impact of our work is beginning to be felt. This, we believe, will have a deterrent effect on potential offenders.

Output 6: Effective and integrated border management

Government decided to strengthen borderline security by deploying the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) working in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies. Effective border management is part of the government crime prevention strategy, which assists to deal with cross-border crime syndicates and curb poaching.

The SANDF deployment of forces continues in a phased approach working with other government role players, the Police, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) as well as departments of Home Affairs, Tourism, Public Works, Transport, Health, State Security and Agriculture.

To date, seven companies have been deployed and, as of April 2012, a further four4 companies will be deployed on the Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho border that will bring the total number of deployed companies to 11.The deployment includes army engineers who are conducting repairs and maintenance on the Zimbabwe/Mozambique border fence (approximately 140 km).

As part of this deployment, operations are being conducted to combat cross-border crime, stock theft and illegal grazing, as well as rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park (KNP). Thirteen rhino poachers were captured through this operation. These deployed companies have confiscated contraband to the value of more than R16 million in the financial year 2011/12. It included 7593kg of dagga and 453 kg copper. Additionally, 522 cattle were recovered and 737 small stock. More than 14000 undocumented foreign nationals were apprehended, 51 stolen vehicles were recovered and 36 criminals were arrested.

The rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park has decreased since the deployment of the SANDF in that area. However the poachers have shifted their focus and are now targeting private parks where we have seen a number of increased killings of the rhinos. Law enforcement agencies are collaborating in dealing with this challenge.

Output 7: Integrity of identity and status of citizen and residents secured

The Department of Home Affairs has begun re-orientating itself towards ensuring an optimal balance between its security imperative and service delivery. In this regard, substantial service delivery improvements, amongst which are increased efficiency levels and the management of key processes, especially in the civic environment (improved turnaround of IDs and passports), have been noted.

In addition, the Department of Home Affairs has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the banking industry, through the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), to roll out the online fingerprint verification system in all participating banks.

The implementation of this system will enable the banks to verify details of their clients with the Department, through the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS). In this way, it will help protect South Africans against identity theft and fraud as well as the attendant corruption. It will at the same time mitigate the loss suffered by the banks and their clients.

The National Population Register (NPR) was introduced and implemented to secure the integrity of identity and status of citizens. During the first six months of 2011/12, a total of 336558 births of children were registered between 0 and 30 days.Identity Documents issued to persons aged 16 years and above during the first six months of 2011/12 amounted to 685769. New processes have been implemented to address the late registration of births.

The Department is currently finalising a draft immigration policy for discussion and consultation. Proper immigration management at ports of entry is critical and constitutes the first line of defence for any country.

We encourage South Africans to safeguard their IDs as their passports in order to make it difficult for criminals to commit crime using these important documents.

Output 8: Cyber-crime combated

Government remains committed to fighting and defeating cyber criminals. Pursuant to this a Cyber-security Policy Framework will be tabled with Cabinet shortly. In addition, the finalisation of specific cybercrime plans will be a priority for 2012. The police have in the interim put operational measures in place to deal with incident management in this regard and several cases have been prosecuted by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), whilst others are currently under investigation.

The reduction in cyber-crime is, however, interdependent and multi-faceted. It requires the intervention of parents in monitoring their children’s online activities in order to ensure that they do not become victims of human and drug trafficking as well as other abuses.

The increased access to cyberspace has resulted in improved networking and instant communication through the use of social networking sites. Due to their popularity and their instant nature, they have an undesired consequence in that they are tools and platforms that accelerate criminal activities.

The need for all of us to have our SIM cards registered in compliance with Regulation of Interception of Communication Act (RICA) was among other things intended to combat cybercrime. To date, approximately 37 million SIM cards have been registered in accordance with this legislation. This will reduce the possibility for criminals using cyber technology to plan and execute crime. In this way, we seek to increase the chances of their detection and enhance the quality of evidence which we will present before the courts during trial.

The JCPS cluster led by the police, has already begun intensifying cooperation with police services in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and within INTERPOL to fight crime syndicates, particularly cyber criminals. Furthermore, we are aware of the urgent need to up the skill of our investigators and detectives in order to register more victories against criminals. We have noted commendable work and good progress made by various agencies in attending to for example the Post Office heist.

As government in general and as this cluster in particular, we will remain steadfast in ensuring that all people in our country enjoy their freedoms and all amenities attendant to a safe, secure and democratic South Africa. The fight against corruption will be intensified. We value partnerships we have with progressive organised formations as we believe that working together we can do more in the fight against crime. We trust that the other branches of the State, the Legislature and the Judiciary, will continue to identify with our cause and support it in the areas of their work. Crime and corruption must not be allowed to undermine the democracy we struggled so hard for and for whom so many sacrificed so much.


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