Minister of Correctional Services Budget speech & responses by ANC and DA
03 May 2016
Minister of Correctional Services, Mr Michael Masutha gave his Budget Vote Speech on the 03 May 2016.
Members of the media, ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to share with you some insights on the Department Correctional Services (DCS) budget vote.
DCS has committed itself to the provision of humane custody and the rehabilitation offenders before placing them back into society. Hence, the impact of correctional and rehabilitation programmes remains the epitome of this department. In the implementation of 11 correctional programmes, we have trained over 380 correctional intervention officials which has resulted in 69 000 offenders, serving at least 24 month sentences, completing the intervention programmes.
Yet again, we are reporting an improvement on the parolee and probationer compliance levels which is standing at 98% in both cases. Considering that in the 2013/14 financial year we reported a compliance rate of 84,89%, this strengthens the much needed trust in the system poised to increase the numbers of non-custodial sentencing by the judiciary.
Issues related to security have been attracting negative publicity for the department. We have conducted a number of raids, cleaning our facilities of contraband items, yet more is still needed. It is for this reason that we are now installing cellphone detection technology.
We have completed staff training in seven correctional centres, and we are now dealing with the big five. In addition, the Department of Health has granted us a licence to install body cavity scanners. Installation has already started in Johannesburg, St .Albans, Pollsmoor and Kgosi Mampuru II.
We are in a process of establishing an integrated inmate management system (IIMS). This system will give us a single capture and view point of all inmate and offender information in all correctional centres, including the 228 community corrections offices across the country.
We have appointed 30 executive and senior managers, prioritising scarce and critical skills so that we can break the cycle of crime through safe custody, rehabilitation and social reintegration. Operation Hira assisted us to sustain a vacancy rate of 9.5%, driving the mass recruitment of doctors, engineers, nurses, psychologists, social workers and artisans. In the same breath, a total of 3034 learners are at different stages of their basic training as part of three Correctional Services Learnership groups.
Important to note is that we have provided a lifeline to thousands of unemployed youth, including 14 child-headed households. We are giving hope for a better life for many destitute households. Plans are afoot for a further recruitment of 2064 learners in the 2016/17 financial year.
The youth in our country is hungry for opportunities. All of us have a responsibility to create a favourable future, and find means to prevent them from committing crime. We have taken practical steps by means of offering solutions to the challenge of youth unemployment, poverty, inequality and their entrapment in the vicious cycle of crime.
We are utilising the expertise developed internally across the 243 correctional centers, to empower youth at risk of committing crime. This relates to technical skills development, food production and processing expertise to give hope for young people.
There is testimony that our skills development and rehabilitation programmes are indeed working. We are able to showcase pockets of excellence among ex-offenders who used their skills effectively upon release. I have invited amongst others, Nathi Mankanyi, who has become a successful artist after serving his time in our care.
Lwandile Sityata is also my special guest, holding the WBA, WBO, WBF and IBO Championships. With positive attitude, our programmes are able to produce Champions.
Case flow management is being improved significantly in our courts. Reducing children in custody in line with the Child Justice Act is also progressing well. We have moved from 4126 children in 2003 to only 288 in 2015. This is a 93 percent improvement. Provision of yellow uniform for the remand detainees is also going well, currently standing at 86 percent. R35 million is allocated for the completion of this project in this financial year.
We have commissioned research projects with the University of Limpopo and UNISA respectively to study the impact of our Sex Offender Treatment Programme and Substance Abuse Treatment Programme. The results will be instrumental in terms of redesigning intervention programmes and effectively responding to the growing numbers of sex offenders in our facilities.
We also received R15.9 million from the National Skills Fund which will be used to enhance the provision of technical, vocational and occupational skills to offenders. A total of 1732 offenders successfully completed their programmes and will be graduating in June 2016. A recent testimony to this is a case of Boksburg Correctional Centre where on Tuesday last week (26 April) 25 artisan offenders graduated.
Allow me to acknowledge a small but profound contribution of Talk Radio 702, which secured a job for one of the inmates recently graduated from Boksburg Correctional Centre. We want to see more of these example out there. Indeed, corrections is a societal responsibility and all of us have to make a positive contribution in giving ex-offenders a second chance in life. I always request ex-offenders to disclose their past honestly when applying for employment.
A number of stakeholder consultation forums to review the parole system have begun. It is important that we professionalise the work of our parole boards as this will improve the country’s parole administration. We are also introducing a tool that will monitor compliance with the Correctional Services Act. This will make it possible that we come up with interventions which will ensure overall performance improvement and better response to our challenges.
It is important to state that for too long, the victim of crime has been left out of the criminal justice system somewhat. I am currently reviewing the effectiveness of the Service Charter for Victims of Crime and the Minimum Standards with the view of assessing the effectiveness of the Charter in providing support to the victims of crime. To date, we have contracted 63 auxiliary social workers to assist us in the tracing of victims of crime.
Provision of comprehensive primary health care services to all inmates is amongst the best in the first world. Our TB cure rate is standing at 81 percent. Over 19 000 inmates tested for HIV and 97 percent of those with a CD4 count lower than 600 were placed on anti-retro-viral therapy.
The Finance turnaround strategy is being implemented to address concerns from AG and SCOPA. This seeks to transform our department into an effective, compliant and service focused institution. The aim is to resolve governance and internal control failures, and achieve a clean audit in the foreseeable future.
The Department is allocated R21.577 billion for the 2016/17 financial year. The nominal allocations for Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration will increase by 26.6% and 18% respectively over the medium term expenditure framework. Budget allocation for Rehabilitation will increase from R1.217 billion in 2016/17 to R1.541 billion in 2018/19. Social Reintegration will increase from R807 million to R954 million over the same period.
As I earlier indicated our commitment towards improving correctional intervention programmes, the department will re-prioritise within compensation of employees budget of the Incarceration programme to allocate R193.4 million in 2016/17, R206.6 million in 2017/18 and R220.6 million in 2018/19 in order to capacitate the case management committees.
It is worth mentioning that the department has received an unqualified report on Assets for the first time in many years. Yes, there are areas that require some attention and we are working towards improving the accuracy of performance information.
In order to improve the capacity of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services, we have appointed Justice Johann van der Westhuizen. His wealth of knowledge, experience and insight will help us speed up the transformation towards a real people’s developmental correctional system.
Correctional Services is transforming. We have moved away from the regime of punishment and placed emphasis on enhancing human development, where restorative justice is respected.
The National Development Plan requires that the criminal justice system must ensure that all people in South Africa are and feel safe. We have structured our budget in a manner that will ensure there is relevant and effective rehabilitation of inmates to empower them with skills to survive the outside world and curb the scourge of re-offending once they leave our correctional facilities.
The responsibility is huge, yet encouraging. We rely on you to tell the world on the ground-breaking developments we continue to unleash in this regard. Hold us accountable and let us continue to engage as we move South Africa forward.
I thank you.
Budget Vote Speech by Dr Motshekga (ANC) on Correctional Services
Honourable Minister - Michael Masutha,
Deputy Minister - Thabang Makwetla,
The Incoming Inspecting Judge of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services - Justice Johan van der Westhuizen,
The National Commissioner - Commissioner Zach Modise,
Honourable Members of Parliament
I will not dwell much on the report that we have tabled as the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, save to say that the report was duly adopted and the ANC fully supports Budget Vote 10 of the Department of Correctional Services.
I would rather dwell on issues of moral regeneration, rehabilitation and social reintegration as they relate directly to national efforts to build a socially cohesive society in which the value of every citizen is measured by our common humanity (Ubuntu/Vuthu).
Moral degeneration leads to overcrowding in our correctional centres, In order to be able to deal with this problem we have to start to deal meaningfully with our challenge of 'social disorganisation'. By this I mean our inherited problems wrought by apartheid-colonialism, leading to broken families, a rot of societal values, poverty, unemployment, blocked opportunities for the majority African and coloured communities. These challenges are clearly depicted by Statistics South Africa's report entitled The Social Profile of Youth, 2009-2014, which was released by the Statistician General, Dr Pali Lehohla and his team, two weeks ago. Our social disorganization is the root of our moral degeneration and crime, but, by no stretch of imagination, the only one.
The inmate population in South Africa's facilities is about 159 000, where 116 000 are sentenced offenders and more or less 44 000 are awaiting trial detainees. These are centres which are designed to hold only 120 000 inmates. Fifteen percent of awaiting trial detainees have actually been granted bail by the courts, as little as R500 in some instances. The main reason for their stay behind bars until their trials is that they cannot afford to pay that bail.
While the introduction of section 49G of the Correctional Services Act will help to alert the National Prosecuting Authority and the courts about the detainees who have spent long periods of time in detention awaiting trial, thee Heads of Correctional Centres, especially on our overcrowded urban centres such as Pollsmoor, Westville, Kgoshi Mampuru, and others, need to ensure that they utilise other tools available such as section 63A of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), especially where conditions of incarceration present health hazards to inmates.
The DCS and the judiciary also need to find each other regarding the implementation of the Electronic Tagging of inmates who have been convicted of less serious, non-violent offences and those awaiting trial for minor offences.
There are many other interventions which require the decolonisation of our justice system. This includes such initiatives as traditional courts and community courts. These initiatives - unlike the modern westernized and adversarial court systems which are designed for incarceration and retribution - rely on such principles as restorative justice.
The main issue is to see crime as a societal problem which the whole of society and the state apparatus should put its hands on deck to try and find solutions to.
The National Development Plan: Vision 2030, envisages a society where everyone is and feels safe. Our constitutional system also envisages a correctional system which rehabilitates and reintegrates ex-offenders. However, our society needs rehabilitation itself so that ex-offenders are released back to society that observes some minimum standards of moral values. There is a need for radical moral regeneration of our society and the embracing of the values of Ubuntu-Botho.
The DCS's mission is to contribute to a just, peaceful and safer South Africa through the effective and humane incarceration of inmates, and the rehabilitation and social reintegration of offenders. The over-arching goal is to build a safer South Africa where all people are and feel safe. To this end the DCS has committed, inter alia, to attend to the rehabilitation and social reintegration of sentenced offenders.
The achievement of this goal is hampered by budgetary constraints as in the previous years the bulk of the allocation, about 81% goes towards the Administration and Incarceration programmes which receive 18% and 63% respectively. The Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration programmes again receive the lowest allocations which when combined only amount to 9,6% of the total DCS's budget. That is 0,8% less than in 2015/16. The allocations mean that we have not made a significant shift from the prison to the correctional system.
On the positive side the Incarceration programme provides for services and well-maintained physical infrastructure that support safe and secure conditions of detention consistent with protecting the human dignity of inmates, which is not possible in the squatter camps and townships the majority of the offenders come from.
The improved quality of life in our correctional centres makes life in these centres more attractive than outside. This works against rehabilitation and social reintegration as it motives offenders to re-offend, in order to return to the comfort of the correctional centres. This recidivism creates large numbers of awaiting trial detainees, overcrowding in the correctional centres and diminishes the prospects of rehabilitation and social reintegration of offenders.
We require more resources for rehabilitation and social reintegration to prevent recidivism. We should make life outside more attractive than inside the correctional centres. This imperative makes rehabilitation and social reintegration a societal matter.
Our society is sick and breeds criminals. For this society to play a meaningful role in the rehabilitation of and social reintegration of offenders the society itself must be healed. This society can be healed by addressing the prevailing socio-economic conditions in our society.
Some in and outside this House tend to deny that the sickness of our society stems from the legacy of Apartheid, colonialism, more specifically, land dispossession, exclusion of African people from participation in the mainstream economic life of the country, confinement of Africans in the barren native reserves which became Bantustans, turning Africans into migrant labourers who dwell in single sex hostels, townships and squatter camps. The resulting socio-economic conditions are still with us. It is these conditions which appear to have become a permanent feature of our society which make rehabilitation and social reintegration a great challenge.
The formation of the racist Union of South Africa in 1910, and the land dispossessions of 1913 laid a firm foundation for the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequalities. This triple challenge in turn, resulted in the deepening of the moral degeneration which makes our society sick.
Healing our society therefore, requires radical measures to root out racism, and the acceleration of the land restitution and redistribution of the natural resources. It is therefore imperative that this Parliament passes a law criminalizing racism, amends the land restitution Act and more specifically, restructure ad empower the Land Claims Court as a matter of extreme urgency.
A sick society produces sick people. Our correctional centres seek to deal with the situation through: correctional, offender development, psychological, social and spiritual services programmes.
Although the allocation reflects a nominal increase of 5,37% the Rehabilitation programme again receives the second lowest allocation - 5.6% of the DCS's overall allocation. Most of the allocation will go towards compensation of employees. The largest part of the allocation - R795,6 million - will go towards the Offender Development sub-programme, with sub-programmes Psychological, Social and Spiritual Services, and Correctional Programmes receiving R371 million and R51 million respectively.
Here it is important to realise that spiritual and psychological services provided to offenders must be matched by further education and training and, in particular, skills development programmes. The reports at hand show that the Department is succeeding to make our correctional centres "Centres of Excellence". We would like to commend the Department as this will enhance the rehabilitation and social reintegration of offenders.
We would also like to commend the Department for ensuring that the skilled inmates ploughed back their expertise into communities. We would like to call on the Department to procure some services from the inmates to enhance the rehabilitation and generate income necessary to strengthen the rehabilitation and social reintegration of offenders.
The Department is doing well in the social reintegration of inmates. This programme focuses on offender preparation for release, for the effective supervision of parolees and for offenders' reintegration into society. This sub-programme includes: supervision, community reintegration, and community corrections. The programme receives 4% of the DCS's total budget. Once again this is a very low percentage for this important programme which targets:
increasing the number of probationers and parolees reintegrated through halfway house partnerships by 30, to 140.
increasing participation in restorative justice programmes by offenders, parolees, probationers and victims to 9 000.
The Department must be commended for the rollout of the electronic monitoring system for which R551,6 million is projected. Sadly this project attracts competing business interests some of which come from officials in other state departments and some from amongst us in this house. The strategy in this regard is to cause the DCS officials to be investigated and/or taken to court while the instigators of these processes become interested onlookers. Some of these unfounded and/or malicious investigations only serve to discredit the department and delay their service delivery simply because some interested parties are not happy with the outcome of tender processes.
In these circumstances it is not enough to investigate into the wrongdoing or otherwise of the DCS officials but also officials of other departments and some MPs who have interest in these tenders. We cannot afford to disrupt the work of government in pursuit of private and selfish interests.
We have full confidence in the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the Office of the Auditor General. These offices must be allowed to deal with these matters. Malicious media leaks only tarnish the image of government and some law-abiding citizens.
Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration is made much more difficult by our lack of self-knowledge. As Justice Johan van der Westhuizen, the new head of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services observed, there is one thing human beings do not know much about - themselves. In other words we do not know much about human behavior and why people do the things they do or commit some of the most gruesome crimes that they commit.
This lack of self-knowledge creates big business for some scrupulous religious leaders who claim that people commit some of the most gruesome crimes because of Satan or possession by demons or evil spirits. On the other side Satan claims that it is God who gave the right to choose between right and wrong. People are free to choose the wrong and find themselves on his side. Thus Satan says he cannot be blames for people's choices.
By blaming Satan and demons rather than ourselves some religious leaders flood the correctional sent res and our communities to help believers fight against Satan and demons. No amount of sermons and advocacy of positive values will bring about the moral regeneration required to combat and prevent crime and corruption. We need a new approach to moral regeneration based on self-knowledge.
The individual comprises a spiritual and a material personality. The development of the individual must include both the spiritual and material personality. The spiritual personality comprises the psychological and intellectual aspects while the material or physical aspects comprises water, fire, earth and air. Offender Development and for that matter any human development programme must address both spiritual and material needs of individuals.
The question which arises here is whether the spiritual and psychological services offered in the correctional services centres are informed by a sound understanding of human nature, at least from the standpoint of the indigenous African people who are the majority of the South African population and inmates in our correctional centres.
Our social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists steeped in Western Christian belief that there will be no life after death until resurrection when Jesus returned. On the contrary the African majority believe that only the material or physical body dies. While the spirit survives and interacts with both the spiritual and the material world.
This belief system has serious implications for the spiritual and psychological wellbeing of inmates. The outright rejection of indigenous African beliefs denies African traditional healers access to some of the correctional centres thus depriving the inmates the services of traditional (or alternative) health practitioners.
We need a holistic human reconstruction and development programme rooted in the belief that human development must address both the spiritual and material needs of the individual.
The Khemetic or Hermetic (i.e. ancient African) spiritual tradition says that the human soul emanates from the Divine Light (Kara) and descends into the material body through fourteen rungs of the ladder of creation. Upon its descent the soul gathers seven virtues and seven vices which constitutes the human conscience which is a mechanism that helps the individual to choose between right and wrong. The seven vices draw the soul towards the material body while the seven virtues draws the soul towards the spiritual (or divine) world.
Thus the human soul must be re-awakened to its divinity to enable it to rise above the pigsty of materiality and lead a virtuous life. There are spiritual techniques such as African yoga and martial arts which can be used to reawaken or regenerate morality.
Thus Nelson Mandela defined moral regeneration as a spiritual transformation which is a prerequisite for social and economic development. This means that spiritual development and material well-being of the individual are two sides of the same coin. We must therefore redefine moral regeneration to include spiritual and socio-economic development of the individual and communities.
The rehabilitation and social reintegration of offenders is not an end in itself. It must help the individual to achieve spiritual and material well-being. This new moral paradigm should apply in correctional centres and society.
The deepening moral degeneration in society is one of the key sources of crime and corruption which in turn leads to overcrowding in our correctional centres.
On 18 April 2002 government launched the Moral Regeneration Movement as a societal issue. Today the MRM has been left to non-governmental organisations which are not funded for this work and have other priorities. Government has to convene a Moral Regeneration Summit in July, Nelson Mandela month, to review the life and performance of the MRM since its inception.
The deepening moral degeneration also impedes the national efforts to build a socially cohesive and prosperous society in which the value of every citizen is measured by our common humanity (ubuntu/Botho). Moral regeneration directed at both the spiritual and material well-being of society is therefore a prerequisite for the realisation of the desired national democratic society.
Moral regeneration cannot and should not be left to one department or non-governmental sector. We believe that it is a societal issue located in the Office of the Deputy President. We recommend that this office should convene the Moral Regeneration Summit involving civil society, the private and public sector. We believe such a summit will also contribute significantly to social cohesion and nation building.
Correctional services state a reflection of the ANC’s culture of impunity: James Selfe DA Shadow Minister of Correctional Services
The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, James Selfe MP at the budget vote on Correctional Services.
I would like to begin by thanking the many dedicated officials in the Department for the incredibly dangerous job they do. The DCS occupies an absolutely crucial place in the criminal justice system. Unless it succeeds in rehabilitating criminals, prisons will simply become universities of crime, from which inmates will emerge yet more skilful and dangerous criminals than they were before they were admitted.
Each year, Parliament debates the Correctional Services appropriation. I have participated in those debates fairly continuously since 1994. And since 1994, the story has been depressingly similar: it has been a story of overcrowding, of corruption, and of the pernicious influence of gangs. Since 1994, there has been a change of narrative, but, I fear, not a change of heart. My colleague. The Hon. Horn, will expand on this.
But I want particularly to highlight corruption. Corruption occurs between prisoners, between prisoners and staff, and within the system as a whole. The fact that it flourishes in the DCS is in part to do with the fact that so much of what happens in prison is not reported. There is a culture of secrecy.
But there is also a culture of impunity.
On 16 November 2009, I sat in the Portfolio Committee and heard the acting head of the SIU, Willie Hofmeyr, describe the situation in the DCS at that time. He told us that the Bosasa Group and its affiliates, Phezulu Fencing and Sondolo IT had benefitted from prison tenders worth more than R3 bn since 2004.
At the heart of this scam was to frame the tender in such a way that only one company could be awarded it. At the time, Mr Hofmeyr said:
It is a matter that justifies the institution of legal proceedings by the Department to recover damages from the company.
But it wasn’t only about this company alone. As recorded by the PMG, the committee heard as follows:
The general findings of the SIU in relation to these four tenders were that proper procurement processes were not followed by the DCS. This was aggravated by payments made to the CFO and the Accounting Officer at the time that tenders were being awarded to this company and its affiliates.
In respect of the food contract, the report recommended that –
The NDPP considers instituting criminal proceedings against Gillingham, Commissioner Mti, Sondolo, Bosasa and their office bearers…
While in respect of the fencing contract, the SIU recommended that –
The NDPP considers instituting criminal proceedings against Gillingham, Commissioner Mti, Phezulu, Bosasa and their office bearers…..
This SIU report, and the allegations that the then CFO Patrick Gillingham was paid R2,1 million in bribes, and that the then Accounting Officer, Linda Mti, was given a house, were then referred to the NPA to prepare a criminal prosecution. Seven years later, no criminal prosecution has occurred, and no legal action was instituted to recover moneys from Bosasa, despite what Mr Hofmeyr said.
Instead, Bosasa continues to provide food in many correctional centres, and Linda Mti was recently appointed the head of security in the Nelson Mandela Metropole!
You see, corruption flourishes where there is a culture of impunity.
Now the SIU has been called in again to the Department, this time to investigate the allegations of irregularities in the procurement of the electronic monitoring system. These irregularities apparently include alleged interference in the bidding process by Ms Nontsikelelo Jolingana, at that time the acting National Commissioner. But these events took place early in 2014, and it has taken until now to bring in the SIU.
And more recently there are serious questions that have been raised about the award of a contract to SA Fence and Gate to do the same work that Phezulu had undertaken a few years ago. These questions are not being raised only by me: SCOPA is concerned that the tender was framed in such a way that only SA Fence and Gate could be awarded it. Sound familiar? Has the National Treasury instructed the DCS to cancel this or the Inmate Management System contract? If so, what has the response of the Department been? How much longer before the SIU is called in to investigate the award of this tender?
Corruption thrives when there is a culture of impunity.
But then this culture starts right at the top. It starts when there is a President that ducks and dives, and uses every delaying trick in the book, and squanders state resources on avoiding answering to the 783 criminal charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering with which he has been indicted, and which have now, by order of court, been reinstated.
But the ANC and its allies officially endorse the culture of impunity. The City Press reports that a SANCO executive member, Mr Emanuel Moloi, said
I am telling you this comrade is not being prosecuted.
While an ANC NEC member is quoted as saying
We have already taken a stance of defending this man…People’s careers are at stake here. They would not want to say whether this man is right or wrong.
They say a fish rots from the head. There is plenty that is corrupt in the state of Correctional Services, but they are allowed to get away with it because of the appalling example set by President Zuma and by the gutless way in which the ANC defends it.
Correctional Services mismanagement continues to deteriorate, despite government promises: Werner Horn DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services
The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by the DA’s Shadow Deputy Minister of Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Werner Horn MP at the budget debate on Correctional Services.
On 16 July 2014, in his first Correctional Services budget speech, the Minister – with all the promise a new broom holds – not only correctly identified overcrowding of correctional centres as the big issue facing this Department, but also promised that this Department was poised to take delivery of services to what he called “unprecedentedly higher levels”.
Reduction of overcrowding is a prerequisite for improvement in service delivery by DCS. Overcrowding impacts detrimentally on every function of Correctional Services. Overcrowding places an undue burden on the employees of Correctional Services. It compounds all of the social ills associated with correctional facilities, creates a dangerous working environment and ultimately is possibly the main reason for the constant struggle of DCS to fill funded vacant positions and retain its workforce. Overcrowding furthermore impacts very negatively on the rehabilitation and social re-integration of inmates.
Today, nearly two years later, the persistence of overcrowding, the failure to implement solutions and the consequences of the continued overcrowding of our correctional facilities gives us a near perfect snapshot of what is awry with correctional services.
In that maiden speech the Minister promised a multi-pronged overcrowding management strategy, including the building of additional bed spaces, better management of the parole system and promotion of successful social re-integration and reduction of re-offending.
In the DCS budget of 2014 an allocation of just more than R1 billion, over the medium term up to and including the 2016/17 budget, was made with a view to create 5 900 additional bed spaces.
Implementation however did not materialise. In 2014/15, none of the planned 1081 bed spaces materialised, in 2015/16 the target was adjusted downwards to 518 and therefore even if against all realistic expectations the plan to increase the number of bed spaces this year by 925 succeeds the Minister will still fail spectacularly to honour the promise made in his maiden speech.
And it’s not as if this failure happened overnight or without warning. Fact is that we have heard the same lame excuses of problems with DPW and contractors every time we have tried in Committee to engage about this issue – without ever seeing any sign of the political will needed on the part of the Minister to resolve this issue.
What we rather have seen is new, even more bloated promises. In the Forward to the 2015/16 APP of the Department the Minister, without showing any signs of shame or admitting failure to meet his previous promises, now promise the creation of 6787 new bed spaces by 2019/20.
Regarding the solution now proposed of DCS becoming self-sufficient in respect of infrastructure projects, we believe this is nothing more than a facile attempt to divert attention, because such an approach simply does not tie in with the ANC’s insistence that nothing serious is wrong with DPW.
Chair: In 2014 the Minister also promised broadening the use of electronic monitoring. Unfortunately ever since July 2014, when the use of about 1 000 electronic tags were introduced, nothing has been done to broaden the use of this modern monitoring system. Yet another broken promise.
In 2014 the Minister targeted what he called “better management of the parole system” as part of the solution to overcrowding. Indeed, at the time we were in need of a Minister who would be able to administer parole in a fair, transparent, rational manner – free of political considerations. This Minister has turned out not to be that Minister.
The actions and decisions of Minister Masutha regarding parole has only strengthened the public perception that this government only cares to involve itself with high profile parole applications and then simply cannot deal with it in the a-political manner needed to re-build public trust in the parole system.
No wonder then that the promise to address recidivism by improving rehabilitation and social re-integration of inmates has also been little more than promises, with these programmes simply not being able to yield quality results in the suffocating environment created by overcrowding.
Chair: DCS, despite having many committed capable officials, continues to struggle. The failure of this Minister to constructively lead DCS does not help. The fact that he has a Deputy who, apart from having an insatiable appetite for travel to just about anywhere but the Portfolio Committee where he has been conspicuously absent for the whole of this term, and who apparently does very little else, is not assisting the Minister or DCS.
Two years down the line, DCS is again in serious need of a new broom.
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