World Cup Dedicated Courts; Human Trafficking during 2010 Soccer World Cup: Department of Justice briefing

Committee: Justice and Correctional Services

Chairperson: Mr M Gungubele (ANC)

Date of Meeting: 02 Aug 2010

Summary

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (the Department) informed the Committee that before the 2010 World Cup it had conducted preparations, together with other departments, to pre-empt any human trafficking activities during the tournament. In addition to identifying common law crimes to prosecute human trafficking offenders, the Department had considered support structures for victims, including initiatives by the Department of Social Development, and had focused on the steps for repatriation of human trafficking victims. In future, the Standard Operating Procedures would be revised, and the two departments would continue to work together. Members were concerned that the Department did not appear to have interacted sufficiently with all stakeholders, and gathered statistics from the South African Police Service and the Department of Social Development prior to making this presentation, noting also that there was no official report presented on human trafficking statistics during the World Cup. It was necessary that reports on human trafficking, which was a priority matter, should be given regularly.

The Department then presented a report on the 2010 FIFA World Cup Administration of Justice Project (the Project), which aimed to identify the roles to be played by the various integrated justice stakeholders, and ensure the effective administration of justice during the 2010 World Cup, especially where foreigners were involved. An assessment had been conducted after the World Cup based on methodology agreed upon in advance. The Project’s implementation had prevented duplication of efforts, and had achieved strengthening of coordination and alignment of all plans. The Department had guided all structures and had put in place the necessary leadership to do so, as well as a task team. There had been a clear direction of day-to-day services, which had been piloted at three prior events. The Project was now in its closing stages. Stakeholders had been fully briefed. The Special Court operations had been successful, with 222 cases being heard, of which 202 were finalised, with 138 convictions. 20 were outstanding, but were being reduced day by day. Members commended this presentation, and asked whether it would be possible still to have attorneys acting as volunteer judicial officers, in line with what had happened during the World Cup, whether two sessions a day could be held at Courts, commented that this seemed similar to the previous Saturday Courts, and asked whether it was possible to run this Project as a permanent feature of the Department, and what lessons could be applied to future case-flow management. Members noted that the case involving Algerian nationals had been taken on review, and asked whether any other of the cases had been challenged, and whether any outstanding matters also involving foreign nationals. Members suggested that the Department should consider using young legally qualified people as volunteers, and urged that the successes evident from this Project should be taken further, whilst also cautioning that whilst cases should be expedited, fair justice should prevail. Members also expressed their appreciation for assistance given by the Law Societies and Legal Aid South Africa.


Minutes

2010 Soccer World Cup: Trafficking of Persons: Management Implementation Report: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ) presentation 
Ms Kamogelo Lekubo-Wilderson, Director, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, presented a report on the implementation plan for and management of the threats around human trafficking during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ or the Department) had conducted training in its regional divisions to ensure combating of human trafficking, and common law offences were also used to prosecute offenders. The Department had also considered a support structure for victims. The Department of Social Development (DSD) accredited 13 shelters where managers and staff were trained to provide victim empowerment programmes. Frontline Officers were also set up in order to check and assess whether victims had suffered from human trafficking. The Department focused on the repatriation of victims, as it had anticipated that some victims of human trafficking would want to be repatriated. Service Points were set up, including Thuthulezi Care Centres, Victim Empowerment Forums and government offices. The Department had to make sure that Frontline Officers were able to identify and assess victims of human trafficking. DSD currently had a unit that dealt with the repatriation of victims. In future, the Standard Operating Procedures would be revised. The two departments had the capacity and ability to work together, and this would continue.

Discussion
Mr J Jeffery (ANC) asked if there were any trafficking instances that were detected and prosecuted during the 2010 World Cup.

Ms Lekubo-Wilderson replied that there were no trafficking cases that went to court.

The Chairperson said that there was a difference between detecting, and actually taking cases to court, and asked for an appropriate answer.

Ms Lekubo-Wilderson said that she was unsure of the position of the South African Police Services (SAPS), but that, if any crimes were detected, SAPS would have had to refer any cases to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for assessment.

The Chairperson again asked if there were any cases of human trafficking detected.

Ms Lekubo-Wilderson replied that there were none detected through the courts.

Mr Jeffery said that this answer was not satisfactory. Detection of instances would be done through SAPS and the DSD. He asked if there had been any reports from police or social workers.

The Chairperson asked if, as a matter of fact, there were any cases of human trafficking that had, up until now, been detected.

Ms Lekubo-Wilderson replied that the Department of Labour had reported that this department had not detected any human trafficking, and DSD was busy compiling a report.

The Chairperson interrupted and asked if it would be correct to say that to date, DOJ did not have any records of human trafficking.

Ms Lekubo-Wilderson replied in the affirmative.

The Chairperson said that the matter should be left at that point.

Mr Jeffery said that it was a pity that after the presentation there was no clarity on this issue. Before the 2010 World Cup there were reports that thousands of people had been victims of human trafficking during the previous World Cup, but these reports had been dismissed. It would appear from the report that the numbers were exaggerated. This was a useful lesson for all South Africans. It would also be useful to hear from Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on what their assessments were on human trafficking were during the 2010 World Cup. He was in no way intending to belittle human trafficking reports, but wished to stress that it was important not to exaggerate or misrepresent the point.

The Chairperson said that human trafficking was not being belittled. The Committee should await all the relevant reports from all departments concerned.

Mr S Swart (ACDP) said that the issue could be viewed from different angles. The publicity on this issue before the World Cup could have reduced the amount of human trafficking. It was not known how many cases had been opened by SAPS at this stage. There was a case reported in Welkom, following a raid, and it was possible that a docket had been opened.  There was another case in Maitland that indicated that women were being kept against their will. Large-scale corruption within departments also contributed to human trafficking.

Mr Jeffery said that the issue was that South Africa should know if there was any trafficking during the 2010 World Cup. The issue in Welkom was not related to the World Cup, as there were no games being held there.

The Chairperson said that the Committee was not comfortable with the readiness of the Department to make this presentation; the Department should have interacted with all stakeholders before making this presentation to Parliament. The Committee had a legislative responsibility regarding human trafficking and needed to have all relevant information.

Ms N Michael (DA) added that whilst it was important to know what happened during the World Cup, it was also necessary to be kept abreast of what was happening all the time.

Mr Swart requested a report on the outcome of the Malachi case and the sentencing in the Kwazulu Natal (KZN) case, as well as all other cases involving human trafficking of which the Department was aware.

2010 FIFA World Cup Administration of Justice Project: Department of Justice & Constitutional Development (DOJ) presentation
Mr Mosalanyane Mosala, Chief Director, DOJ, informed the Committee that the 2010 FIFA World Cup Administration of Justice Project was initiated in order to determine the roles of the various integrated justice stakeholders. The aim of this was to ensure the effective administration of justice during the World Cup, especially where foreigners were involved. An assessment was conducted after the tournament, based on the methodology agreed upon before the start of the tournament. The methodology covered the concept, the planning and initiation stages, and the execution. It included an assessment on what DOJ had to do and where this department fitted into the bigger scheme of things.

DOJ had to deliver on the guarantees signed by the Minister with the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA). As a result of this guarantee, DOJ became part of a wider project that included the South African police as well. The project resulted in preventing a duplication of efforts, strengthening of coordination and alignment of all plans. The Department was tasked with the establishment of a FIFA 2010 World Cup Administration of Justice Project (the Project). The output of this project was to lead and guide other structures that had been identified. These identified structures were the Minister of Justice, a national steering committee, a project office, nine provincial steering committees and other relevant departments. Necessary leadership was provided to ensure the smooth running of all preparations. A task team was put together in order to identify and develop the direction that the Project would undertake. Project plans and detailed schedules also had to be developed. Services that had to be rendered by DOJ were analysed and determined. This had resulted in there being a clear direction of day-to-day services that were rendered during the World Cup. Trial runs were used during the Super 14 Rugby Tournament, the Rand Easter Show and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.

DOJ was still busy unrolling the final closing stages of the Project. All stakeholders were briefed and were up to date. The Special Court operations were very successful, and were a good lesson for the future. 222 cases went through the Special Courts during the World Cup, of which 202 were finalised, with 138 convictions. There were only 20 outstanding cases.

Discussion
The Chairperson said that the presentation was well formatted and was more or less in line with what the Committee expected.

Mr J Sibanyoni (ANC) asked if it was possible to have attorneys acting as volunteer adjudicators in the judiciary, as was the case during the World Cup. He also asked if it was possible to have two court sessions, in the same manner as had been done during the World Cup.

Mr Alberto Swanepoel, Project Manager: 2010 FIFA World Cup Administration of Justice Project, DOJ, commented that similar solutions could be implemented at a lesser impact but with a bigger yield. The focus was on case flow management. The fast tracking of cases did not compromise any issues of legality.

Mr Sibanyoni asked what had been the outcome of the case involving the Algerian nationals, asking whether any legal aid had been available to them.

Mr Swanepoel noted that there had been a request, as had been expected, for the case involving the Algerian nationals to be re-opened.

Ms N Michael (DA) noted that there would be a review of the sentence handed down in this case. She said that there were reports in media publications about similar issues, and asked how many of the cases had actually been reviewed.

Mr Mosala replied that the only case taken on review was that involving the Algerians.

Mr S Ntapane (ACDP) asked if there were any foreigners involved in the 20 outstanding cases. He also asked if there were any legally qualified and unemployed volunteers who could perhaps be used by the Department, and, if so, urged that their services should be used.

Mr Mosala replied that a plan was currently in place to deal with the outstanding cases, and added that the updated figures given yesterday indicated that there were now less than 20 to be finalised. Some of the cases did involve foreigners. 

Ms Siziwe Kenqu, Deputy Director, DOJ, replied that young legally qualified persons had been sourced. The Department was engaging with its human resources section to ascertain where these young volunteers could be placed and whether or not they could be offered entry-level posts.  

Mr Swart commended the Department on the success of this project.

Ms D Smuts (DA) agreed with Mr Swart. She asked how the lessons learnt from this Project would be implemented in the case flow management of future cases, and how it would be applied in the seven-point plan.

Mr Mosala replied that the implementation of the lessons learnt should be taken further, but it was up to the Department’s management team to do so.

Dr Khotso De Wee, Chief Operations Officer, DOJ, replied that there was no additional mandate for this Project so it was not sure whether this would finally be incorporated into the seven point plan.

Ms N Michael (DA) commented that South Africa expected that the successes from this Project would continue, and urged that this should be done.  

Dr Khotso De Wee added that it would be difficult to say that the project could not be replicated in all the 750 courts of South Africa. The budget allocated was R45 million, of which only R5 million had been spent so far. The level of focus and communication could be maintained. The challenges included the amount of overtime that would be necessary, as well as a consideration of whether the conditions would be in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and the fact that more personnel would have to be employed. Case backlogs in specific courts could be targeted for the application of this Project. A new unit, designated to improve on service delivery in courts, was being put together. He agreed that there were lessons that could be drawn from this Project.

Ms Smuts cautioned that if justice was dispensed at speed, then there was a risk that justice would be dispensed with altogether. However, there were lessons that could be drawn from this Project.

Mr Swart asked if the Project had been different from the Saturday courts that used to run, and asked if this model could be re-visited. The Law Societies and Legal Aid South Africa also deserved to be thanked. He said that perhaps there was room to engage with the private sector to try to set up a partnership.
         

Mr De Wee thanked his team and acknowledged the positive remarks from the Committee. He said that this Project had been similar to the Saturday Courts, which were appreciated while they ran, and these Saturday Courts had certainly assisted in the reduction of case backlogs.

The meeting was adjourned.