The Committee’s researcher presented a comprehensive analysis of the Budget and Strategic Plan of the Department, focusing on the context of the budget allocations, and suggesting certain questions that the Members needed to ask in view of the increase or decrease of the various allocations to programmes, and the impact that this would have upon those programmes.
The Department then joined the Committee to present its Strategic Plan and Budget for 2010/11. It was noted that the correctional centre population was currently 161 000, and a breakdown was given. The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) had to strive to find a balance between the safety of inmates and their eventual reintegration into communities. The White Paper was to be applied incrementally over 15 to 20 years. Rehabilitation attracted the biggest budget allocation, across programmes of Corrections, Care, Development and Social Reintegration. Security was fundamental to rehabilitation. In respect of Occupation Specific Dispensation, planning had to be very focused. Targets were adjusted, but critical elements were seen as compensation of employees, health expenditure, livestock, capital works and contract obligations. Ensuring the safety of society implied the need for effective rehabilitation programmes and remand detention, as well as reduced parole violations. The DCS was attempting to improve the position of overcrowding and was developing strategies for inmate labour, and was also improving the parole system. The budget for compensation of employees took up 69% of the budget in the current year, and would decrease over the next three years. Some of the highlights of objectives, indicators and targets were given for the programmes. The goals for the Master Information System Planning, which ensured that DCS had a technology base for its operations; the Organisational Development Strategy, which aimed to build institutional capacity; and the Crime Prevention Strategy, which would help the DCS to deliver on its mandate, were given. The Service Delivery Improvement Plan aimed to improve effectiveness, through better compliance with Public Service Regulations and the White Paper on Transformation of Service Delivery, a three year review process on identified key services and monitoring of this through quarterly reports. The budget presentation detailed the figures and highlighted the factors informing the increase of funding. The main item giving rise to the growth of the budget was the allocation towards personnel. The budget also indicated a shortfall of R394 million, in total.
Members were firstly extremely concerned at the budgeting for an overdraft, which National Treasury did not allow, and it was stressed that a full written response must be given in ample time for the Members to study it and prepare their comment when the budget was tabled the following week. Exact items and amounts were to be detailed in the answer, and the budget must be re-drawn in consultation with National Treasury. Members also questioned the rationale for the selection of security equipment at certain facilities, stressing that an escape had occurred where no such installation had been made. The Members questioned whether it would not be appropriate for the Department to re-deploy administrative staff to the correctional centres and needy regions, especially to security posts, as Members felt that the large allocations to personnel perhaps meant that other programmes would not be realised. The issue of the recruitment and retention of social workers was raised, but not fully answered. Members also felt that insufficient comment was made around absenteeism, and how this was to be solved. Members questioned the measures to address overcrowding, noting that Kimberley was not full and Pollsmoor was overcrowded. Members did not receive much detail on the sentence plan, although several questions were asked. Other questions were asked about juveniles and children in the correctional centres, foreign nationals, programmes for juvenile offenders, how the outcomes were measured, and what was to be done for parolees.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson noted that the Committee would not be briefed on the appointment of the National Commissioner. That appointment would be finalised during the coming week, and would be effective from 1 April.
Parliamentary Research Unit presentation on Department of Correctional Services (DCS) budget and Strategic Plan
Mr Mpho Mathabathe, Committee Researcher, Research Unit of Parliament, tabled a presentation giving Members a comprehensive overview of the strategic plan and budget of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). He put the Department’s budget into context, saying that it represented 14% of the total budget for its Cluster, while representing 3.8% of the total national budget for the current year. In comparison with the previous financial year, there had been an increase of 1%. In rand value the budget was just over R15 billion. Of that amount R10 billion (70%) was utilised towards compensation of employees. In fact, in its security programme, an even larger percentage (98%) of the allocation would be spent on compensation of employees.
Two other significant points emerged from the research. The budget was not cognisant of the vision of the White Paper. The budget did not prioritise rehabilitation programmes. In terms of its operations, there were three priorities, namely the fight against crime (which was in line with the aims of government, as outlined in the State of the Nation Address); its societal responsibility and improved service delivery. He suggested that these be points of engagement with the Department.
The Department had five programmes: Administration, Security, Corrections, Care, Development, Social Reintegration and Facilities. In the administration programme, there continued to be reliance on the services of consultants rather than employees of the Department. The Security programme utilised the highest percentage of budget on employees’ compensation. Corrections had received an increase of R340 million and yet this was the programme where the greatest difference to society could possibly be effected by means of rehabilitation programmes. The researcher viewed this as a serious constraint. Under the Care programme, clarity was needed on how the programme would achieve its goals, since its budget had decreased by 5.6%. He suggested that questions could be asked whether a problem would arise in, for example, providing adequate meals. For the Development programme, the budget increased by 20%, but Members needed to know what informed that increase. Social reintegration had its particular challenge, in that it was well known that offenders were relapsing into a delinquent life after release, and this gave rise to the question whether the programme offered by the Department was effective, and whether such effectiveness would improve with more funding, or whether it was lacking in something else. It was suggested that members could peruse the programme’s objectives and formulate questions on this basis. The Facilities programme would come into sharp focus because of recent developments concerning an offender’s escape, and the expensive equipment installed to counteract such eventualities. The research pointed to a compromise position with the video equipment being installed at correctional facilities, in that there were fewer pieces of equipment than those installed in courts. This therefore not only pointed to DCS not keeping apace with the courts, but also to the equipment perhaps not being of the necessary sophistication, in view of the number of escapes. This programme had received an increase of 9.33% in its allocation.
Mr Z Madasa (ANC) was interested to know the ratio, in courts and in correctional facilities, of the video equipment.
The Chairperson pointed to 98% of the budget being spent on compensation of employees in the security programme. He asked what the vacancy rate in the Department was, and depending on how high that was, how that would impact on the current “overbudgeting” for this item.
Mr Velile Mbethe, Chief Director, National Treasury, responded that the current vacancy rate was 5%. This were for the posts of psychologists and social workers.
The Chairperson said he would certainly explore this question with the Department.
Mr A Fritz (DA) asked whether the reintegration of offenders amounted to mere policing, rather than a more substantive programme. He said in terms of the Care programme, he had learned that as of the end of the month, all contracts with social workers were to be terminated. He said that if the Social Reintegration programme already faced known challenges, he could not understand the logic behind the termination of these contracts on such a huge scale. He felt that this translated into a dilution of attention to a very serious problem.
Mr S Abram (ANC) expressed a sincere appreciation for the work the Researcher had accomplished with this presentation.
Mr J Selfe (DA) pointed out that table 20.6 on page 407 of the 2010 Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) depicted a nil vacancy. This had been clarified by the Chairperson, Mr Mbethe and National Treasury, who concluded that there was in fact a vacancy rate of approximately 5%.
The Chairperson thanked the Researcher for his work
Department of Correctional Services (DCS): Presentation of budget and Strategic Plan for 2010/11
Dr Jenny Schreiner, Chief Deputy Commissioner, Department of Correctional Services, said that the Strategic Plan was due to be tabled on 25 March 2010.
She noted that the budget would be tabled by Ms Nandi Mareka, whilst the Strategic Plan would be presented by Dr Joey Coetzee. Her task was to present an overview which would contextualise the rest of the presentation.
Dr Schreiner said that the DCS had undergone an intense review process to achieve alignment to government outcomes. She said the correctional centre population was currently 161 000, of whom 50 000 were remand detainees, and 111 000 were sentenced offenders. Of the sentenced offenders, 57 000 were youths, 8 000 were minimum offenders, 56 000 were medium offenders, and 22 000 were maximum offenders. These figures were the result of the reclassification process. She said the end result of its operations was to strive to find a balance between the safety of inmates and their eventual reintegration into communities.
DCS’ approach to the White Paper was that it should be applied incrementally over 15 to 20 years. She noted that rehabilitation formed part of the core mandate of DCS. This aim therefore had the biggest budget and was to be found within four of the DCS programmes – Corrections, Care, Development and Social Reintegration. Furthermore, she said that security was fundamental to rehabilitation.
Because of constraints in funding the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD), the planning therefore had striven to be very focused, and DCS had also moved some of its strategies to the outer years of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period. This meant targets had to be adjusted. If the DCS were to realise its mandate, there would need to be an increased budget. DCS was therefore in engagement with National Treasury (NT) to discuss this. It was also trying to manage the budget with regard to the filling of posts, since there was a reduction in budget over the MTEF period for compensation of employees. However there was a clear identification of critical elements of its operations, which received focused attention. These were compensation of employees, essential (health) expenditure on inmates, livestock, capital works and contractual obligations.
A major outcome set out in the Strategic Plan was the safety of society. This implied having effective rehabilitation programmes and remand detention, as well as reduced parole violations. Improvements had been made, or were developing, in the reduction of overcrowding, and the provision of offender labour. The Committee would be briefed on labour for inmates as the strategy developed in the year ahead. The parole system had been identified as an area needing improvement, with the medical parole regulatory framework about to be finalised.
With regard to youth, a youth development programme was currently being procured, involving training of social workers over the MTEF period, while existing programmes and workshops continued. Compliance with the Child Justice Act, as from 1 April 2010, would ensure that children were not held without a host of factors being considered. The criminal justice review was a critical process which looked at remand detention, and the probation system.
The budget for compensation of employees took up 69% of the budget in the current year, and would decrease over the next three years. She said it was correct that it should take up the largest slice, and was in keeping with DCS’s focus on ensuring appropriate and effective staff utilisation. She said staff at centre level would increase with the migration of staff from regional offices and national office to the OSD and to centre-based posts.
Ms Nandi Mareka, Chief Financial Officer, DCS, informed the meeting that the funding was divided into programmes and ran over the MTEF period up to 2012/13. About R1.1 billion had been added to the funding through migration of posts, from the Department of Public Works (DPW).
The Department’s total budget was just over R15 billion, which was set to increase over the MTEF period to just over R18 billion in 2012/13. An additional R600 million had been allocated, mainly for the improvement and building of new facilities.
According to slide 13, 98% of the budget for the Security programme would be spent on compensation for employees in the current year. Funds would also be used towards the improvement of correctional centres under this programme.
In the Care programme additional funds would go towards improved health care of inmates.
She tabled the remaining slides giving the breakdown, by programme, of the funds allocated for the current year, as well as for the MTEF period, highlighting some factors which informed the increase in the funding, stressing throughout that the DCS was under-funded in several areas (see attached presentation for details). She noted that in respect of Facilities, the funds would primarily be utilised for capital assets and the building of new correctional facilities.
The main item giving rise to the growth of the budget was the allocation towards personnel. The constraints experienced in this budget could be seen in the shortfall, which amounted to R394 million, in total.
Strategic Plan briefing
Dr Joey Coetzee, Deputy Commissioner: Operations, DCS, said that Dr Schreiner had already highlighted the content of Slide 5, dealing with the structure of the strategic plan, as well as Part B, dealing with priorities.
He noted that the Strategic Plan was divided into sections, marked A to F, with each setting out the measurable objectives and performance measures or indicators (see attached presentation for details).
He proceeded to set out some of the highlights of the objectives, indicators and targets. Finance and supply targets would be measured against the number of Historically Disadvataged Individuals (HDI) suppliers. In Corporate Services, some of the indicators were the number of working days and grievances recorded, annual leave, and posts not filled. Targets included an approved organisational structure, and software to enhance the PERSAL (personnel) system. In central services, the management systems would assist in information driven decision making. The targets for operations and management support included a reduction in audit queries. In respect of Security, the indicators included prevention of persons incarcerated from compromising the safety of the public, and reducing the number of assaults, linked to the installation of equipment such as turnstiles. DCS aimed to reduce unnatural deaths in correctional centres to below 2%. Under the Corrections programme, one of its targets was the management of instalment of video postponement equipment in 14 facilities. The Care programme had a measurable objective of ensuring the personal well-being of inmates by providing various needs-based services. The Development programme set a target to monitor and report on enrolment in skills development and similar educational activities. Under the Social Reintegration programme a target was to revise medical parole legislation and policy.
Dr Coetzee also presented the goals for three portfolios. These were the Master Information System Planning, which ensured that DCS had a technology base for its operations; the Organisational Development Strategy, which aimed to build institutional capacity; and the Crime Prevention Strategy, which would help the DCS to deliver on its mandate.
He noted that the Service Delivery Improvement Plan (SDIP) comprised three elements, which had the overall aim to improve effectiveness. These were compliance with Public Service Regulations and the White Paper on Transformation of Service Delivery, a three year review process on identified key services including managing payment of bail, managing access of service providers to facilities, improved scheduling of visitations and the improvement of telephone etiquette, and lastly monitoring of this through quarterly reports.
Comm Coetzee said that all of this must be seen against the backdrop of the budget constraints. He also stressed that other factors were the need to see the White Paper as a 15 to 20 year undertaking. He gave the DCS’s commitment to partnerships, and commitment to continued cooperation with the Portfolio Committee and the office of the Auditor General.
The Chairperson wondered whether the new Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act (the Money Act) enabled a change to the budget. He said that the Strategic Plan may look good, but perhaps could not be implemented due to constraints in funding. He noted that although there were many goals set out in the Strategic Plan, the financial side did not necessarily correlate. Slide 7 showed an increase of 7%, but in real terms, after accounting for inflation, this would actually be 5%. He said in some of the other programmes it seemed in reality there was actually no funding for those at all. A bigger reality was, as shown in Slide 8, that not only were there no funds, but no political will to realise those goals.
The Chairperson also commented that it seemed that the Strategic Plan was directed away from, rather than towards, the White Paper.
He said the shortfall of R396 million, shown in Slide 21, was a huge concern. On the one hand it reflected on strategic management, and on the other it raised questions about National Treasury policy procedure, and he asked if a representative from National Treasury could speak to that.
Mr Mbethe said that in terms of National Treasury policy, an overdraft was not allowed.
The Chairperson requested Mr Mbethe to report to the Committee should DCS go into overdraft on the spending as presented here today. He said that if National Treasury were to condone an overdraft he would regard it as a problem. Furthermore, he was concerned that some projects would suffer or be compromised in some way as a result of re-arrangements with the budget.
Mr Mbethe confirmed that an overdraft on the allocation from National Treasury was not allowed, and that the DCS would have to re-arrange its budget before the tabling of the budget next week. It was imperative that the problem be corrected.
The Chairperson said that the Department now had until 25 March to correct this serious issue, since it had been made very clear by NT that no Department could budget beyond its means, and beyond what it had been allocated. He did not want any further debate on the matter and asked for the Department to comply without delay.
The Chairperson questioned whether the shortfall was not perhaps resulting from some flaw in calculating the increase in bed spaces. He said perhaps the kind of bed space needed in the facilities would cost the same, rather than having varying costs, and if that was the case, there would be a reduced cost, which could then adjust the budget sufficiently to cope with eliminating the shortfall.
Mr Alfred Tsetsane, Chief Deputy Commissioner: Corporate Services, DCS, said that the cost of providing additional bed space was not a simple division sum because the costs varied depending on the type of upgrade needed, and this project did not only need the building of new cells. He offered to provide the Committee with a breakdown of costs which would show the cost for only the building of a new cell.
The Chairperson asked, in relation to offender labour, what the funding model would be, and whether there were any restrictions.
Mr Tsetsane said that DCS worked closely with the Gauteng Department of Education, which provided work in maintaining schools, such as painting and cleaning. The DCS’ input costs were for labour only, while the Department of Education made provision for the rest of the costs. The Johannesburg Metro was also willing to enter into such an arrangement. The plan was the same with the Department of Public Works (DPW)and the municipalities but so far these had not committed to such an arrangement.
The Chairperson asked if more detail could be given for sentence plans in the rehabilitation programme.
Mr Tsetsane said that the sentence plan was not in the desired format as yet, but that every inmate had a plan before appearing before the Parole Board.
The Chairperson noted that the allocation of 69% of the budget to compensation of employees was a major concern. He asked whether strategic management, in order to effect savings, could include the redeployment of office staff to the “coal-face”, so that they could rather guard the inmates, and whether that would present any difficulty. He was asking this also in light of the fact that the other four programmes, combined, were given only a meagre 27% of the budget. He was not sure that the projects could be achieved, because in real terms the budget was not only in deficit but it would also be affected by inflation. He asked for clarity on these calculations.
Ms Mareka said that the constraints in the budget meant that there were no new projects and the budget therefore provided for only what DCS was contractually bound to pay.
The Chairperson then asked for a list of the existing projects, so that the Committee could study it and make further inputs, before the budget speech on 24 March, because he intended to raise this point in his debate.
Ms Mareka said that under the Administration programme the devolved funding from DPW (R1.1 billion) included costs for stores as well as municipal costs.
Dr Schreiner said that with the OSD process, some of those posts in the regions should be under the rest of the public service, and that this migration was being managed.
Ms W Ngwenya (ANC) felt that the Strategic Plan ignored the White Paper, and asked for a response on that.
Ms Ngwenya said that, under the Social Reintegration programme, the management beyond the release of the inmate seemed a challenge. She wanted to know how the DCS planned to face that challenge. She said the support provided to parolees must be structured and successful enough to ensure an increase in the number of parolees.
Mr Tsetsane gave an example of 150 parolees who were provided with training in the Johannesburg metro municipality. Of those, 25 had found employment in the municipality, and the rest found employment with government. He said this was despite the lack of a budget. This effort had been successful due to partnership with NGOs who would work directly with parolees. The costs lay in the remuneration of personnel who facilitated these services.
Ms Ngwenya asked if this reply could be provided in writing with more detail, because she was interested in monitoring this. She would also want a report on this agreement with the City of Johannesburg as well. She would be following up on this.
Mr Madasa said he was not convinced that anything had improved in the delivery of the sentence plans. He said it was not clear how the sentence plans would be improved and achieved.
Mr Tsetsane said that each inmate had a right to a minimum of a facility i.e. a bed. Some of the sentence plans were more complex and did not include partnerships with NGOs and other entities.
Mr Madasa said that in regard to security of inmates, he wondered why assaults and deaths had a target to reduce by a percentage of 2%, rather than reducing to zero. It was inconceivable to him that the aim should not be a zero target, and suggested, as it stood, that some deaths and some assaults would be acceptable to DCS. He said this was a “chilling” statistic. As a human rights issue, it spoke of failure, and this must be addressed.
Mr Madasa said there was an uneven number of personnel allocated to the number of inmates, as well as that same ratio across provinces. He asked if there was a link to success in those facilities and provinces.
Dr Schreiner said that there was a process underway to optimise the utilisation of staff. There were different ratios in different provinces and different facilities and this was more complex in some facilities.
Another member of the delegation said that there was further work being done in the regions on adjusting staff ratios.
Ms M Phaliso (ANC) wanted to know whether there were plans, firstly for foreign nationals, and secondly to address the overcrowding situation in correctional centres. She cited a problem at a facility in Bloemfontein around the readiness for release. She said the overcrowding was a very distressing issue.
Mr Tsetsane said that within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Relations, programmes were under way, and if not, a memorandum of understanding was in place to deal with deportation of foreign nationals.
Ms Phaliso asked how the Child Justice Act would impact on the budget, and whether facilities and services would be age-appropriate and linked to the degree of seriousness of the crime. She also asked about the impact on the budget as a result of awaiting trial juveniles, and asked whether training was being provided for these officials in this field of work.
Mr Tsetsane said that once the Child Justice Act was in effect, no child would be kept in a correctional centre unless absolutely necessary. This necessitated a thorough evaluation for all children. He said certain facilities had been designated for this purpose. He agreed that currently there were too many children (those under 18) being held in correctional centres. However, the crimes they had committed were often extremely aggressive, such as murder and sexual crimes. The DCS was ready to implement the Child Justice Act, as required, on 1 April.
Ms Phaliso asked why there was such high reliance on the use of consultants. She said if this was reduced it would had a positive effect on the budget.
Dr Schreiner said that the use of consultants occurred mainly in IT services rendered to DCS. She said the nature of this work necessitated the use of consultants rather than having such skills in full time employ. However, DCS noted the concern and gave an undertaking to manage and reduce the number by doing more recruitment in this field.
Ms Phaliso asked for an indication of the number of awaiting trial juveniles.
Ms C Blaai (COPE) asked which portion of the Rehabilitation programme budget went towards compensation of employees. Furthermore, she asked for a breakdown of that portion, into professional and non-professional employees.
Dr Schreiner said the remand detention budget was within other budgets and this detail would be provided to the Committee in writing.
Ms Blaai asked for the distance of the remand centres from the courts and wondered whether this played a role in the size of the budget.
Mr Tsetsane said that he did not have information on the distance from the courts, but said that there were 11 such facilities and he would provide in writing, its locations by later this week.
Ms Blaai wanted to know what was the allocation of the budget to DCS’ Head Office. She referred to Slide 27, on Financial service aid.
Ms Mareka said this was R1.6 billion for the capital works programme, including new facilities and renovations.
Ms F Nyanda (ANC) said she noted the increase in the budget. Leading on from that she wanted to know whether any programme would be compromised as a result of a lack of funds.
Ms Subashini Moodley, Chief Deputy Commissioner: Development and Care, DCS, said that the care programme had had to be reduced. This was in the cost of nutrition.
Dr Schreiner added the reductions in cost would be minimal in so far as they related to essential services such as health.
Ms Nyanda asked whether the Department of Health was responsible for the cost of administering of antiretroviral treatment (ARV).
Ms Moodley said that the number of inmates receiving ARVs was 6 500, and this cost was borne by DCS. There was a plan to request the Department of Health to in future provide for this cost. The DCS to date, had spent R16 million on this treatment.
Ms Nyanda asked what criteria were applied for the approval of building of new facilities.
Mr Tsetsane said that the first facility would be completed by 1 April.
The Chairperson noted that the budget for the care programme had fallen by R80 million, and wanted to know how this would compromise the programme. He asked for the correct interpretation of this matter, as it was so serious that the Committee could motivate for the delegation’s removal from their positions.
Ms Mareka repeated that no new projects would be embarked upon, but that other services would be cut.
The Chairperson asked for a more detailed response to this question, saying that it needed to be exactly stated which items in the budget would be reduced and what those figures were. He insisted that this information must be produced to the Members before the tabling of the budget next week, so that it could be included in the forthcoming debate.
Mr Fritz questioned the provision of new facilities at the cost of R1.7 billion. He asked whether an alternative approach had been considered, for example whether the protocols to reduce overcrowding would reduce the need for new facilities. He asked what planning had been done to inform this decision.
Mr Fritz asked, in regard to non-custodial sentencing, what had been the findings of the many task teams that had tackled this issue over the years. His opinion was that planning was poor, because the Kimberley facility would never be full, while the Pollsmoor facility was chronically overcrowded.
Mr Tsetsane said the facilities, as announced by the Minister, were not suitable. He said the Kimberley facility would be full by the end of the year. Factors influencing the decision to build new facilities included the need for a new women’s facility. Some facilities needed upgrading, which made use of the same funding. DCS was looking at cheaper ways of construction. These facilities would be completed by 2014.
Mr Fritz asked about the termination of contracts of social workers, and whether the reasons could be given.
Mr Fritz commented that there was no adequate explanation given for how absenteeism would be solved.
Mr Tsetsane said that the absenteeism was a management issue, due to the staff shortages, but was receiving attention. Currently there was a 7-day, 2-shift system and this would be improved by year end. The health risk monitor (as part of personnel services) in the Strategic Plan was of a standard which set the example for other departments to follow.
The Chairperson said that whether this was really “setting the example “ was debatable, since the information available to the Committee indicated otherwise. It was widely known that after the off-days on the current shift system, staff took sick leave, and this was key to understanding the high level of absenteeism. He reminded the delegation that these were the matters that would inform members when they entered into the debate on the budget next week.
Dr Schreiner said DCS was acutely aware of the problem of sick or inappropriate leave. The feedback from an exercise on the organisational culture had reflected that this was an issue that needed to be addressed. She said it required a multi-pronged approach, including looking at the link between morale and health.
Mr Fritz wanted to know how the outcomes of the programmes for rehabilitation would be judged – for instance, would it be whether an inmate had graduated from a learning programme, or had learned to control his or her anger.
Mr Tsetsane responded that the outcomes could be related to sport or religion, and other more complex outcomes, but ultimately would be based on a sentence plan.
Ms Moodley said the partnerships with NGOs included a quality assurance being conducted for the programmes they offer, in order to ensure that those programme added value and were outcomes-based. There was also a re-offending tool being developed, which would help to measure the success of the programmes.
Mr Fritz felt that the term “reintegration” was not really applicable for the work that was carried out, and that it should be revised. He said the Cuban model was useful to help inform the aims of this programme.
Mr Madasa asked what was being done to rehabilitate, as previous comments had not been sufficient.
Mr Madasa asked whether the new principles of bidding would apply to the construction of the new facilities.
The Chairperson asked that the remaining questions be answered in writing.
The Chairperson asked about the installation of X-ray equipment, with reference to the ENE, page 399. He wanted to know on what basis, out of 300 sites, 16 sites had been selected for this installation. He noted that Westville (where there had recently been an escape) was not selected for this equipment.
The Chairperson also noted that the tracking devices for facial recognition were meant to be installed by the end of March, again at only 17 facilities. He asked whether this had been done.
The Chairperson asked if the target of 2012 for the installation of other tracking devices would be achieved by the set date, and what the rationale was behind the selection of the sites.
Mr Tsetsane said that the tracking device incident at Westville facility, from which the inmate had escaped, had caused a setback for the programme, because this facility had now been prioritised. He said 66 facilities had been identified for access control. The X-ray scanner needed to be upgraded, since without this the utilisation and availability of such equipment posed a serious risk. The technology plan however, was going ahead and would be completed soon.
The NT and Auditor-General’s representatives reminded DCS that over-expenditure needed to be authorised and must be obtained strictly in advance.
Mr Mbethe, National Treasury, added that DCS, being in the Cluster, caused a ripple effect not only to the rest of the cluster, but even beyond that into other government departments. He felt that some inmates could be eligible for shorter stays in correctional centres, but may be hamstrung by factors such as a lack of money to pay for bail. He said that the growth rate of inmates had accelerated a few years ago, and although it was now declining, South Africa was still buckling under the burden of social crime, which made up 75% of crime. He said he was encouraged by the increase in release of inmates who were a low risk to their communities, and that National Treasury would continue to work together with DCS to help achieve its goals.
Dr Schreiner said that the additional information required would be made available before the tabling of the budget and Strategic Plan next week. DCS would continue to work hard. It would reflect on the deficit, and how to re-prioritise, in conjunction with National Treasury. She said the capital works allocation had been re-prioritised to other areas in consultation with Treasury. With the tracking of the budget through the financial year, she would ensure that there was no over-expenditure. She said pressure was being brought to bear on the budget by a combination of the recession and DCS’s responsibility to deliver on its strategic objectives. She said that there was no deliberate plan to overspend, and this would be clarified over the next few days.
Dr Schreiner said that the DCS would be looking forward to a continued, vibrant engagement with the Committee during the coming year.
Other Committee Business
The Committee adopted and seconded the minutes of the previous meeting.
Some logistical issues for forthcoming meetings and visits to provinces were discussed.
The meeting was adjourned.
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